U.S. Cities Increasing Use of Armed Mercenaries to Replace Police
Fri, 24 Apr 2009
I’m not sure if these 5-to-1 figures include security guards and mall cops or not, but either way, the trend is disturbing. It is, however, interesting to consider why and how privatized security forces actually differ from “traditional” police forces. In Iraq and other occupied nations, the argument is that mercenaries are not bound by regulations such as the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but inside America, are private citizens actually less accountable to the law than the police? Or are the police equally, if not more, lawless and unaccountable? They do, after all, have a much greater grasp of the legal system than private forces do. They know the laws, control their enforcement, and know how to manipulate them to their own advantage. Police are almost never held accountable for their acts of terrorism against the people.
Perhaps the problem isn’t private versus public “security”/“peacekeeping” forces, but rather, the monopolization of coercive mechanisms and legitimize violence by a few, to be used to keep the many in line. Like the ownership of the means of production, it doesn’t really matter if the government or private interests are in charge. Either way, the few control the many through the use of force.
[Posted By ShiftShapers]
By Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports
Republished from AlterNet
Some estimate that private security inside the U.S. actually outnumber police 5-to-1.
The United States is in the midst of the most radical privatization agenda in its history. We see this in schools, health care, prisons, and certainly with the US military/national security/intelligence apparatus.
There are almost 200,000 “private contractors” in Iraq (more than U.S. soldiers) and President Barack Obama is continuing to use mercenaries there and in Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine. At present, 70 percent of the U.S. intelligence budget is going to private companies.
This privatization trend is hardly new, but it is accelerating. While events such as the Nisour Square massacre committed in September 2007 by Blackwater operatives in Baghdad show the lethal danger of unleashing mercenary forces on foreign soil, one area with the potential for extreme abuses resulting from this privatization is in domestic law enforcement in the U.S.
Many people may not be aware of this, but since the 1980s, private security guards have outnumbered police officers.
“The more than 1 million contract security officers, and an equal number of guards estimated to work directly for U.S. corporations, dwarf the nearly 700,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States,” according to the Washington Post. Some estimate that private security operate inside the U.S. at a 5-to-1 ratio with police.
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U.S. Cities Increasing Use of Armed Mercenaries to Replace Police | | AlterNet