CAAT on the prowl against PR aided mercenaries

Pressure group Campaign Against Arms Trade is to campaign for the incoming British government to act against mercenary groups amid concern that private armies are gaining respectability.

Pressure group Campaign Against Arms Trade is to campaign for the

incoming British government to act against mercenary groups amid concern

that private armies are gaining respectability.



CAAT yesterday issued a call for a future government to sign and ratify

Article 47 of the 1977 Protocol I of the Geneva Convention against

mercenary activity and to update the Parliamentary Enlistment Act of

1870 which outlaws mercenaries operating from the UK.



CAAT’s move is the first step in a broader PR campaign in which it hopes

to enlist the support of other non-governmental organisations.



It believes mercenary operations, most notoriously Executive Outcomes

and Sandline International, have used PR to achieve a facade of

respectability.



CAAT is putting together examples of where mercenaries have ’undermined

governments and created chaos’.



Since August 1996 there have been a growing number of reports in the

media of the new type of mercenary operation which is trying to throw

off its ’dogs of war’ image and replace it with the concept of ’military

consultancy’.



Evidence of mercenaries using PR was seen recently when Sandline used

Sara Pearson Associates to organise a London press conference for the

return from Papua New Guinea of its director Colonel Tim Spicer.



A spokesman for Johannesburg-based EO confirmed it did have a pro-active

PR strategy to get across its message about the ’privatisation of

security forces’. EO’s strategy includes speaking engagements for EO

chairman Eeben Barlow and plans for an EO site on the World Wide

Web.



Analysis, p7.



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