Civilian contractors in Iraq placed under US military law

Iraq war, cartoon

By Jerry White:

Under a new law written into the 2007 military spending bill last year, private contractors working in Iraq will now be subject to US military law.

The provision, which was slipped through at the end of the last congressional session with virtually no debate, will for the first time place civilians working with the military under the jurisdiction of courts-martial and strip them of the constitutional right to a trial by a jury of their peers.

The measure was proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina) as a means of placing legal restraints on the nearly 100,000 private security contractors who have until now operated with impunity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the new law has provoked predictable opposition from private security firms, civil liberties lawyers say the new law is written so broadly that its impact could reach much further than the mercenaries contracted by the Pentagon.

If the Defense Department chooses to pursue a case, civilian government employees, non-US citizens and even embedded journalists could now be brought before a military court.

Mercenaries shooting civilians in Baghdad: here.

3 thoughts on “Civilian contractors in Iraq placed under US military law

  1. Arabic Edition of War Crimes Report published
    Posted by: “Charles Jenks” chaspeace
    Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:34 pm (PST)


    “U.S. War Crimes in Iraq and Mechanisms for Accountability” –
    published on October 11, 2006 by ten organizations concurrently, has
    now been translated into Arabic. The report is now fully accessible
    by Iraqis and other Arabic speakers in the Middle East.

    “We are making ‘U.S. War Crimes in Iraq and Mechanisms for
    Accountability’ available in Arabic because we want to increase its
    accessibilty to the people of Iraq so that they may have knowledge of
    the scope and illegality of certain U.S. conduct there,” said Nick
    Mottern, Director of “We hope that this will
    assist the Iraqi people in preventing further war crimes and in
    getting reparations for what has been done.”

    The Arabic language edition of the War Crimes Report is available for
    free download as a pdf file through these websites:

    Click to access war_crimes_arabic_ed_011307.pdf


  2. How ghost soldiers are bleeding the Iraqi army of guns and money

    http://www.timesonl newspaper/ 0,,174-2554802, 00.html

    January 19, 2007

    Widespread corruption has robbed the Iraqi Armed Forces of arms, money and troops, a Times investigation has discovered.

    Army numbers are swelled with “ghost soldiers” who appear on rosters but do not exist. A brigade commander was removed this month for selling weapons and fuel on the black market and officials in the Ministry of Defence support terrorism, according to one lieutenant-colonel.

    “Corruption is like termites. They eat from within and affect the morale of the soldiers,” Lieutenant-General Nasier al-Abadi, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces, who pledged to eradicate corruption, told The Times.

    The picture throws into stark relief the appeal for more weapons from the Iraqi Prime Minister. Nouri al-Maliki used an interview with The Times on Wednesday to chide the US for failing to give his forces enough weapons. The view from the ground suggests that there are no guarantees that such equipment would reach frontline troops, and underlines US concerns that they could end up in the hands of insurgents and militias.

    In the insurgent haven of Fallujah, Lieutenant-Colonel Tahsen Jabour Ahmed Sabih worries as much about corrupt military officials as he does about al-Qaeda. He wonders why he could not get enough weapons, vehicles or pay for his men.

    Then there are the “ghost soldiers”. Colonel Sabih knows that someone is receiving the fictitious troops’ salaries, but can do nothing about it. “Basically, the Ministry of Defence is weak. These people who work in MoD, some of them support terrorism. This doesn’t mean only to kill innocent people . . . they work for their personal benefit,” he said. “One hundred per cent, the problem in the MoD is corruption.” US Marine officers in Fallujah were even more blunt in describing how dirty practices were hindering the Iraqi Army. They succeeded in ousting Fallujah’s brigade commander, General Khalid Juad Khadim, who had enjoyed political protection inside the ministry.

    General Khadim, who is suspected of links to Shia militias, was accused of selling off fuel and weapons on the black market in Baghdad, said Lieutenant-Colonel James Teeples, who advised the Iraqi Army in Fallujah. “He likes to take pay from his soldiers,” Colonel Teeples said. “He sells weapons on the black market in Baghdad. He steals gasoline the coalition provides for the brigade.”

    He expressed most concern over the “ghost soldiers”. “The brigade, for instance, will submit a pay roster to the MoD every month,” he said. “Let’s say it has 2,000 names; 1,700 names may actually exist. What happens to the money for the other 300 people? It gets divided among various people, various key personnel in the brigade, especially the brigade general.”


  3. It’s Still About The Oil
    Posted by: “Corey” cpmondello
    Fri Jan 19, 2007 3:25 pm (PST)
    I wonder why there are still people of the USA that think this “war on terror” which has killed thousands and maimed even more for life, along with that, has motivated more people to become terrorists, and add to that, has caused more people of the whole earth the dislike America….. has anything to do with any other reason than oil?

    ************ **

    It’s Still About The Oil

    For more than four years, the Bush administration and its oil company cohorts have worked toward the passage of a new oil law for Iraq that would turn its nationalized oil system over to private foreign corporate control. On Thursday, January 18, this dream came one step closer to reality when an Iraqi negotiating committee of “national and regional leaders” approved a new
    hydrocarbon law. The committee chair, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, told Reuters that the draft will go to the Iraqi cabinet next week and, if approved, to the parliament immediately thereafter.

    The good news is that the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) so hotly desired by the Bush administration and the world’s oil companies that appeared in earlier drafts of the law have apparently been removed. The PSAs gave private companies (including foreign ones) control of Iraq’s oil production and 70 percent of the profits, specified that up to two thirds of Iraq’s known oil reserves would be developed by private companies and locked the government into 30-year contracts.

    Unfortunately, the bad news still outweighs the good.

    Full story;

    http://www.tompaine .com/articles/ 2007/01/19/ its_still_ about_the_ oil.php


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