release from Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Illinois), April 25, 2001
APRIL 25, 2001
SCHAKOWSKY INTRODUCES BILL TO END FUNDING OF SECRET WAR AND PRIVATE ARMIES
IN ANDEAN REGION
INFORMATION FROM CIA CONTRACT WORKERS RESULTED IN DEATH OF AMERICAN MISSIONARY
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) today
introduced the Andean Region Contractor Accountability Act (ARCAA), legislation
that would prohibit the federal government from funding private armies
in the Andean region. Currently, taxpayer funds are used to pay private
companies millions of dollars to fight the war on drugs in the Andean
The American taxpayers are funding a secret war that could suck
us into a Vietnam-like conflict. Those private military contractors are
not held accountable for their actions, and may draw the U.S. deeper into
regional conflicts and civil wars, said Schakowsky, who toured Colombia
earlier this year.
has a right to know that the defense Department is outsourcing dangerous
missions to private armies that operate free from public scrutiny. Is
the U.S. military privatizing its missions in order to avoid public controversy
or embarrassment? Is it to hide body bags from the media and thus shield
them from public opinion? Schakowsky added.
The bill specifically
states that the U.S. government cannot enter into a contract with private
organizations or individuals to carry out military, law enforcement,
armed rescue, or other related operations in the countries of the Andean
region, including any operations relating to narcotics control efforts.
This bill would not hinder humanitarian activities or aid. Currently,
private companies are being paid by the federal government to pilot drug-crop
fumigation aircraft, fly helicopters transporting Colombian army battalions,
gather aerial intelligence and perform armed search and rescue missions.
Schakowsky said that with the presence of private armies and contractors,
the potential for an escalation of a larger conflict exists today in the
region, particularly in Colombia where private military personnel have
been involved in direct fire fights with rebel forces. She also pointed
to the recent incident in Peru where the action of unnamed CIA contractors
resulted in the murder of an American missionary and her baby daughter.
The bill is cosponsored
by Representatives Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) and Jim McGovern (D-MA)
As of May 24, this document
was also available online at http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/il09_schakowsky/