By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 14 — The killer in Orlando, Omar Mateen, worked since 2007 at private military contractor G4S. A co-worker there is quoted that it was “quite apparent that the guy had anger issues and was very unstable” — but G4S kept him on.
G4S is a member of the UN Global Compact, and when Inner City Press asked the UN why this mercenary firm was a member, the response was the business is “not illegal.” How about, irresponsible?
On June 14, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: the shootings in Orlando, the… the shooter, or Omar Mateen, was an employee of this G4S, which is a security or private military contractor. And it’s come up before in this room, because somehow it’s a member of the Global Compact, even though there are many controversies surrounding its actions. It was said… The Wall Street Journal quoted one of his co-workers as saying he had anger issues and was very unstable. I’m just wondering if there are any… what’s the procedure for the UN Global Compact, number one, allowing in a company that’s basically a mercenary or private military contractor, but, two, when it becomes clear that they’re providing automatic weapons to somebody who is described as having…?
Spokesman Dujarric: Okay. I think we’re jumping to conclusions here. First of all, I know our colleagues at Global Compact are as saddened and heart-broken as we are all about what happened in Florida. Whenever concerns are raised about a company, such as the one you mentioned, contacts are had, and they are having… there are being… they are monitoring the investigation at this point, and they will monitor and decide whether or not appropriate action should be taken with G4S’ place in the Global Compact.
Inner City Press: And is there any… just relatedly, on the Global Compact, are there any Ng Lap Seng-affiliated or funded companies that remain… at one time, the World Harmony Foundation was in…?
Spokesman: Not that I’m aware of, but that’s a question you need to ask them.
The UN Global Compact allows companies to claim affiliation with the United Nations as long as their practices are not illegal — and even then, the Global Compact put on its board of directors a South Korean businessman convicted of fraud with the SK Group, Chey Tae-won.
On March 15, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has any problem with his Global Compact allowing the company G4S to join, despite it being a private military contractors which has even “supplied security technology to seven Israeli prisons and two remand prisons located in Israel and on the occupied West Bank.”
Nesirky’s response was to say that Ban has confidence in long time Global Compact director Georg Kell.
But G4S reportedly faced prosecution for the death of an Angolan deportee in the UK – click here for that.
Subsequently, Kell’s and the Compact’s spokesman Matthias Stausberg sent Inner City Press a previously put out response to criticism of the Compact by the UN’s own Joint Inspection Unit. Inner City Press replied:
At the noon briefing I asked about the Global Compact accepting private military contractor G4S into the Compact, despite protests about its involvement in, for example, prisons in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This is what I am requesting a Secretariat response on, for example this link.
Please advise, thank in advance.
Stausberg asked for more time to respond — therefore this couldn’t be included in the initial story — and subsequently on this point wrote to Inner City Press that “the provision of private security services is not an illegal activity. We therefore saw no reason to deny G4S participation in the UN Global Compact.”
In fairness, Stausberg’s full response, praising and defending G4S, is set forth below. While he raises a question about the term “mercenaries,” we note that private military contractors, and even forms of mercenaries, are not illegal either.
Here is the question: should the only standard applied by and to the UN Global Compact be whether an activity is “legal”? Manufacturing weapons is legal, as is the production of pornography.
Would the UN Global Compact allow pornographers and weapons merchants to join? Apparently yes.
In any event, as to G4S, note that
Scotland Yard is considering bringing a corporate manslaughter charge [under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007] against the world’s largest private security firm over the death of an Angolan deportee.
Detectives investigating the death of Jimmy Mubenga, who collapsed while being deported on a commercial flight from Heathrow, have interviewed whistleblowers from G4S, the company hired by the government to deport foreign nationals.
They are considering whether the company could be held responsible for his death under rarely used legislation that came into force three years ago.
Now what will the UN and Global Compact do? Watch this site.
Subject: Press Q at noon re Global Compact accepting private military contractor G4S into the Compact
Hi Matthew, here are some answers for you:
Since you use the term “mercenary”, can you please clarify (and provide sources) which current G4S activities you believe would qualify under commonly accepted definitions of the term mercenary (e.g., as in the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries)?
2. The provision of private security services is not an illegal activity. We therefore saw no reason to deny G4S participation in the UN Global Compact.
3. Regarding the specific provision of security technology to various clients in Israel and the Occupied Territories, please note the recent announcement by G4S that it will cease providing certain services and technologies through its Israeli subsidiary. (http://english.themarker.com/danish-company-halts-equipment-supply-to-west-bank-in-wake-of-public-protest-1.349239)
4. Please note also that G4S is a signatory to the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC), which was launched in November 2010 as a voluntary initiative to improve industry standards and ensuring respect for human rights and humanitarian law by private security service providers. While the ICoC is not intended to replace national regulation and state control, it marks a critical effort to clarify the role of non-state actors in this arena.
Final note: even regarding the announcement of getting out of the West Bank, note that G4S’ predecessor Group 4 Falck made a similar claim in 2002 which was subsequently disproved. But the question raised is not limited to G4S but to whether the only standard applied by and to the UN Global Compact should be whether an activity is “legal”? Under Ban Ki-moon, the UN descended into taking sponsorship money for its slavery memorial from Macau based businessman Ng Lap Seng, then evicting the Press which reported on it. Watch this site.
Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56 Click here for Inner City Press’ Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press’ December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
* * *
Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN’s $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund. Video Analysis here
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