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Corporate mercenaries

As George Bush plans a major ‘surge’ in US troop numbers in Iraq, recent figures show that there are already 48,000 private security personnel working there. A report from War on Want confirms the steady build up in the number of corporate mercenaries, many of them British, doing jobs that were previously done by armed service personnel. The turnover of one company, Aegis, increased from £554,000 in 2003 to £62 million last year, most of it through work in Iraq, while ArmorGroup, another British firm, trebled its turnover from $71 million in 2001 to $233.2 million last year.

These companies are not under the same scrutiny as British soldiers and many tend to operate outside the law with scant respect for human rights. John Hilary of War on Want said: ‘The occupation of Iraq has allowed British mercenaries to reap huge profits. But this government has failed to enact laws to punish their human rights abuses, including firing on Iraqi citizens.’

 
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