Seguridad privada

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in Moscow, April 2023. Yulia Morozova / Reuters

In early May, tensions between the Russian Defense Ministry and Wagner, the private military company close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, burst into the open. For months, Wagner soldiers had been playing a lead part in Russia’s siege of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, at enormous human cost. Now, Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner’s combative leader, had had enough. In a lurid video he released, he stood surrounded by the dead bodies of Wagner soldiers in Bakhmut, hurling expletives at Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, as well as at the head of the general staff and the head of Russian forces in Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin with his mercenaries in Ukraine, May 2023. Press service of "Concord" / Reuters Press service of "Concord" / Reuters

Russia’s infamous Wagner paramilitary company may be headed for defeat in Ukraine. The group has sustained enormous losses in the last five months, and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is embroiled in a high-stakes feud with Russia’s top military brass, who have accused him of indirectly aiding Ukraine by “sowing rifts” among Russian forces. Late last week, Prigozhin publicly castigated Russia’s senior military leadership for not supplying Wagner with enough ammunition and threatened to withdraw his forces from the city of Bakhmut. According to the British Ministry of Defense, the Kremlin may be looking to replace the Wagner contingent in Ukraine with forces from another private military company—one that it can more tightly control.…  Seguir leyendo »

This video image from July 9 shows several men in custody, suspected of being part of the 28-member hit squad accused in the assassination plot of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. (AFP/Getty Images)

Last week’s assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has reopened controversies about the global market for force. Many of those implicated in the assassination were involved in or became engaged via the private security sector.

Though details are still emerging around Moïse’s assassination, it seems a Florida-based security company, CTU Security, helped connect Colombian operatives with those interested in changing the Haitian government. At least some of those involved claimed they were deceived — they believed they were contracting to protect important people or, perhaps, to further the mission of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Authorities are investigating possible connections inside Haiti’s security forces.…  Seguir leyendo »

Some unlikely names are beginning to appear in Syria, Egypt, Libya and countries which lie south of the Sahel belt of Africa. Wagner Group, a Russian private military company (PMC) which won its spurs in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine and in Syria where it guards oil facilities, has spread its wings to the Central African Republic, where a hundred of its men are training the army which is being rebooted after free elections brought a new man, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, to the presidency two years ago. Russia had already agreed to sell weapons to the country despite a UN embargo which followed severe rioting in 2013, to the consternation of the United States and France.…  Seguir leyendo »

Avión de la contratista militar Blackwater (ahora Academi) lanzando suministros en Afganistán. Foto: United States Army.


El Parlamento Europeo ha aprobado un Informe sobre Empresas Militares y de Seguridad Privadas (EMSP) que insta a regular su concepto, actividades y proyección exterior. Una regulación necesaria para superar la indefinición, complejidad y vacío legal en el que se encuentran.


El Informe es un primer paso hacia la regulación de las Empresas Militares y de Seguridad Privadas (EMSP) que apoyan a las Fuerzas Armadas regulares en sus actividades, término bajo el que se conoce en español las Private Security Companies o Private Military Companies (PSC o PMC, en sus siglas inglesas) y más comúnmente conocidos como contratistas privados.…  Seguir leyendo »

The publication of the draft investigatory powers bill on Wednesday was a golden opportunity for the UK government to draft legislation that would provide security and privacy for the law-abiding citizens of the UK, and then by influence, for the world as a whole. That, however, is not what we have been handed.

What is on the table is a proposal for greater access to greater levels of data with nothing more substantial than a process of judicial review.

Digesting these proposals will take time, but at first glance this is a blueprint for the agencies and police to weaken the security and privacy of the masses in the name of national security.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ten years ago, I found myself in Burundi, sipping a Coke with the country’s president, the American ambassador and the president’s 8-year-old daughter. The president’s life was in danger, and the American government sent me in to keep him alive.

The Rwandan genocide had begun in 1994 after the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda were assassinated. In 2004, an extremist Hutu group planned on assassinating the new president of Burundi to reignite it. My job was to prevent this from happening.

I wasn’t a member of the C.I.A. or a covert military unit. I was a “contractor” (“mercenary” to some), working for a company called DynCorp International.…  Seguir leyendo »

I live my life in the open: I'm easily googleable, emailable, and you can figure out from my Twitter and Instagram accounts what I've been doing. For a while my phone number was posted publicly on my Facebook profile.

I'm aware that these sites and services are tracking me. I know they're collecting my data, crunching it and selling it to advertisers, who in turn try to sell me things, and I am OK with this.

It's the cost of admission. These services help me stay connected with my friends and interact with strangers, and in turn I grant them permission to analyze my tweets and profile my Facebook interests for profit.…  Seguir leyendo »

In recent months, the issue of privacy has come to the forefront in a number of cases, including the latest revelation that the U.S. government has been secretly collecting Verizon customers' phone records. Here's a selection of op-eds on related issues.

We're losing control of our digital privacy

The erosion of privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment, written to protect us against unreasonable search and seizure, began in earnest under President George W. Bush. The Patriot Act, passed overwhelmingly but hastily after 9/11, allows the FBI to obtain telecommunication, financial, and credit records without a court order. Moreover, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act's 2008 amendment act grants U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Oct. 12, 2010, Jimmy Mubenga was deported from Britain. The 46-year-old Angolan had come to the country as a refugee 16 years earlier. But after his involvement in a pub brawl and a subsequent criminal conviction, the government ordered his deportation. Three private security guards escorted him through Heathrow Airport and onto British Airways Flight 77 to Luanda, Angola. The exact details of what followed are still unclear and currently subject to criminal investigation.

Several passengers onboard the plane reported that Mr. Mubenga repeatedly complained that he could not breathe and that he was being held down with his head between his knees by security guards.…  Seguir leyendo »

It's one of the most contentious but least understood issues now before Congress. It's one that does not align neatly along party lines and has split the business community.

The issue is online piracy - the illegal sale of copyrighted and trademarked products on rogue pirate websites. Proposals aimed at putting these rogue websites out of business, now pending in the House and Senate, would strengthen restrictions on foreign-based rogue websites, while imposing new obligations on U.S.-based firms that facilitate their operation.

These proposals address a legitimate problem. But they may have unintended negative consequences on the operation of the Internet and on free speech.…  Seguir leyendo »

Todos conocemos en qué consiste el ritual del regreso del cuerpo de un soldado muerto en tierra extranjera: música solemne, bandera nacional, escoltas y saludos, recogidos con gran detalle en los medios de comunicación. Políticos y generales tienen palabras de consuelo para los apesadumbrados familiares, muchos de ellos tan jóvenes que con frecuencia tienen bebés en brazos.

Pero no fue eso lo que vivió Deely, la hermana de Robert, un exparacaidista que murió en una emboscada en Irak y cuyo cadáver fue llevado desde Kuwait al aeropuerto de Glasgow. El encargado de la funeraria explicó a Deely que en el avión habían llegado 10 cadáveres, dos de ellos imposibles de identificar.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the 14th century there were two pandemics. One was the Black Death, the other was the commercialisation of warfare. Mercenaries had always existed, but under Edward III they became the mainstay of the English army for the first 20 years of what became the Hundred Years war. Then, when Edward signed the treaty of Brétigny in 1360 and told his soldiers to stop fighting and go home, many of them didn't have any homes to go to. They were used to fighting, and that's how they made their money. So they simply formed themselves into freelance armies, aptly called "free companies", that proceeded around France pillaging, killing and raping.…  Seguir leyendo »

In a 6-to-5 vote last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit dismissed a lawsuit against a company accused of helping the CIA carry out the "extraordinary rendition" of terrorist suspects, transporting them to other countries for interrogation and, the lawsuit alleged, torture.

The five men who sued Jeppesen DataPlan, a Boeing subsidiary that reportedly provided flight planning and logistical support, could not use even public records to make their case that the company played a key role in the rendition program. The reason? The federal government intervened and invoked the "state secrets" doctrine to assert that allowing the lawsuit to proceed would endanger national security.…  Seguir leyendo »

Under orders from President Hamid Karzai, over the next four months Afghanistan will be phasing out almost all foreign private security companies, a move meant to bring the country’s vast security apparatus under tighter government control.

It’s a laudable goal. But it also means that foreign aid workers, government officials and companies will have to rely instead for security on the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army — arguably two of the most corrupt and incompetent organizations in the country. Without a more effective replacement for foreign security companies, Mr. Karzai’s order could make the situation in Afghanistan significantly worse.…  Seguir leyendo »

En juin 2009, l’Afghanistan comptait 74 000 contractors («mercenaires») pour 55 000 soldats américains (dont 7% sont armés, soit environ 5 200 Occidentaux, auquel il faut rajouter 2 000 ressortissants du tiers-monde et près de 20 000 employés afghans). La nouvelle politique impulsée par Obama ne va faire qu’accroître leur nombre. A mesure que le marché irakien se ralentit, les sociétés militaires privées basculent leurs activités en Afghanistan. Un phénomène de migration qui apparaît clairement à la lecture des statistiques. Si l’on s’en tient aux projections actuelles, le contingent privé pourrait atteindre un volume compris entre 120 000 et 140 000 privés pour 120 000 à 130 000 militaires réguliers (dont 100 000 Américains) d’ici à la fin 2010, soit un pic démographique analogue à celui qu’a connu l’Irak en 2007-2008, au plus fort des violences.…  Seguir leyendo »

Somali piracy attacks targeting shipping through the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean have significantly risen in quantity, sophistication and audacity. The U.S. Navy SEAL team rescue of the kidnapped crew of the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama last April provided a dramatic example not only of this threat, but also of the lethal force being brought to bear by states in the fight against piracy. However, this week's attack on the Panamanian-flagged vessel Al Meezan purportedly has demonstrated the first example of another form of lethal force being used against pirates: teams of armed private security guards hired by commercial shipping companies to protect their assets en route through the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’aide américaine à l’Afrique a des aspects préoccupants. En effet, les Etats-Unis ont besoin d’étrangers sans lesquels leurs guerres ne seraient pas possibles à ce niveau de déploiement de forces militaires. Le journal East African rapporte que des milliers d’Ougandais et de Kényans travaillent pour le compte d’entreprises de sécurité américaines payés par l’armée américaine, dont les soldats, rappelons-le, sont des volontaires. Ces entreprises auraient recruté, depuis la «guerre contre le terrorisme» initiée par George W. Bush, 1 million d’étrangers pour l’Irak et 1,5 million pour l’Afghanistan, qui travaillent comme gardes du corps, chauffeurs, mécaniciens, cuisiniers, et même gestionnaires. Officiellement, ils ne combattent pas.…  Seguir leyendo »

The mercenary firm Blackwater has become a symbol of the utter lawlessness and criminality that permeates the privatised wing of the US war machine. The company's operatives have shot dead scores of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, while former employees allege in sworn statements that Blackwater's owner Erik Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe", and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life". Five Blackwater employees will stand trial in federal court in the US on charges that they slaughtered 14 innocent Iraqis, while a sixth Blackwater operative has already pleaded guilty.…  Seguir leyendo »

La résurrection de la piraterie dans le golfe d’Aden pourrait-elle, par un effet de ricochet, convoquer celle des corsaires ? L’hypothèse, improbable au premier abord pour le néophyte, est plus que jamais d’actualité alors que le marché de la lutte antipiraterie est en train de connaître un véritable boom économique.

Etant donné l’incapacité pour les marines occidentales et les bâtiments de guerre d’assurer une présence globale et permanente aux côtés des navires de plaisance ou de pêche, l’idée de recourir à une néoflibusterie gagne inexorablement en crédibilité. Au niveau du droit international, l’idée d’armer ces néocorsaires rencontre nombre de problèmes techniques et légaux : l’opposition de l’ONU qui redoute une dérive anarchique, la réticence de certains armateurs qui craignent à juste titre de voir éclater des fusillades à bord de tankers ou de chimiquiers, nonobstant la variété des cadres juridiques régulant le recours aux mercenaires.…  Seguir leyendo »