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  1. Default

    nadir of morality and Spirit.
    In WAR there is NO morality or Spirit.Only self-preservation....

    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

  2. #62


    Erik Prince: American Bin Laden - CIA Asset, Money & Gunmen

    by leveymg

    Share this on Twitter - Erik Prince: American Bin Laden - CIA Asset, Money & Gunmen
    Fri Dec 04, 2009 at 08:21:35 AM PST

    Erik Prince is the American Osama Bin Laden: a CIA asset with a lot of money and gunmen working for him.

    The parallels extend further than recent reports that Prince was a paid CIA agent. See,
    The top people at Blackwater were CIA managers that ran a number of double-agents within al-Qaeda as Agency assets until 9/11. Before he headed a Blackwater subsidiary, Cofer Black was CIA Chief of Station in Khartoum in the mid-1990s at the time that bin Laden, Abu Zubaydeh, KSM and many of the other principal 9/11 plotters were running CIA-assisted paramilitary operations against the Serbs and Russians from bases in Sudan. Al-Qaeda continued to operate against the Russians until 9/11, and at least thirteen of the 19 hijackers were originally recruited and trained to fight in Bosnia and Chechnya.(1)
    But, that's just the beginning of the strange network that binds together a group of CIA alumni, Blackwater, and al-Qaeda. MORE, below . . .

    1991 - 2001: The CIA-al Qaeda Relationship From Afghanistan to 9/11
    The U.S. has never officially acknowledged its role in covert operations that occurred inside the breakaway Muslim areas of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Aside from the open U.S. military intervention that followed the November 2005 Dayton Peace Accord that ostensibly ended major hostilities in Bosnia, U.S. intelligence operations in the region remain classified. It is an open secret, however, that in the civil wars that followed in Bosnia, Kosovo, Dagestan, and Chechnya, the Central Intelligence Agency worked with several Islamic states, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and Iran, and had a cooperative role in arming, financing, and training their paramilitaries and allied mercenary groups and various Jihadist organizations, including what we know today as al-Qaeda.
    Because the CIA role is still classified, important details about the relationships between Jihadist groups and U.S. intelligence remain obscured, particularly the contacts with Usama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures. This is an important part of trying to piece together a more accurate picture of the events and motives that led up to the 9/11 and related attacks. It is simply impossible to understand why 9/11 and the USS Cole attacks happened as they did without knowing more about the details of the relationship between U.S. intelligence and non-state actors, such as bin Laden, as well as other private intelligence contractors and paramilitary splinter groups.
    As anyone who has tried to put together the pieces must acknowledge, there are huge gaps in the official record. The narrative must remain provisional unless and until key individuals involved reveal what they know. Some of them never will. What facts we do know have been assembled below.
    1993-95 - Cofer Black and Bin Laden in Khartoum
    Black has admitted in Congressional testimony that in 1995 he met bin Laden in Sudan. He is the only CIA officer who admits to having direct contact with UBL since the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan ended in 1989. By Black's telling, it was an angry, armed mano-a-mano, shortly after which they both left the country.[2]
    Larger events indicate that Osama bin Laden had a far more cooperative and recent relationship with the CIA than is publicly acknowledged. The partnership did not end with the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Indeed, Bin Laden was central to the secret U.S. war against the Serbs and in the oil-rich region of the former Soviet Republics in the Transcaucasus and Central Asia that followed the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. It is not by coincidence that the head of covert Saudi paramilitary forces moved to Sudan in 1991. That man was Osama bin Laden, and his distancing from the Royal Court at Riyadh gave both room to operate more freely at a time of tension over the U.S. presence inside Saudi Arabia.
    Numerous accounts point to the conclusion that bin Laden never fully severed his ties with his Saudi intelligence handlers. Far from it. Given the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi intelligence establishments, and their coordinated paramilitary operations against Russia and its allies throughout the 1990s, the separation between al-Qaeda and the CIA can be measured as only a fraction of a degree, and overall can be characterized as more cooperative than hostile for most of the decade.
    This conclusion is backed up by the fact that Bin Laden was allowed to leave Saudi Arabia in 1991 with his own private fortune intact, accompanied by several hundred of his loyal Mujaheddin fighters. In secret, the Saudi Royals continued to fund bin Laden and his forces, allegedly with the understanding that they would direct their wrath at targets outside Saudi Arabia. By striking that deal, Bin Laden effectively acted as a double-agent for the ruling regime, diverting the fundamentalist opposition from internal overthrow. [Posner, 2003, pp. 40-42] Posner states the Saudis "effectively had [bin Laden] on their payroll since the start of the decade." [Time, 8/31/2003] This arrangement is reaffirmed by the additional tranches paid to bin Laden in 1996 and 1998. Alain Chouet, head of French counter-terrorism, echoes the conclusion that bin Laden’s 1994 "loss of Saudi nationality is nothing but a farce." [Le Monde (Paris), 4/15/2007] Martin Indyk, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs under President Clinton, writes in Foreign Affairs,
    "The Saudis had protected themselves by co-opting and accommodating the Islamist extremists in their midst, a move they felt was necessary in the uncertain aftermath of the Gulf War. ... [O]nce Crown Prince Abdullah assumed the regency in 1996, the ruling family set about the determined business of buying off its opposition." The regime allowed global charities to be "subverted," turning them into channels for diverting unofficial funds to bin Laden's paramilitaries and allied Jihadist groups. "[T]he Clinton administration indulged Riyadh’s penchant for buying off trouble as long as the regime also paid its huge arms bills, purchased Boeing aircraft, kept the price of oil within reasonable bounds, and allowed the United States to use Saudi air bases to enforce the southern no-fly zone over Iraq and launch occasional military strikes to contain Saddam Hussein." [Foreign Affairs, 1/1/2002]
    In 1993, a new CIA station chief arrived in Khartoum. Cofer Black arrived with an intense focus on bin Laden, and that would be his primary mission for most of the the rest of his CIA career. Bin Laden was not then considered to be the worldwide terrorist mastermind that he would come to be portrayed after 9/11. After the February 26, 2003 WTC bombing, Bin Laden's name came up as one of the associates of Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman and as the financial backer of the Martyr Azzam Hostel in Peshawar where Ramzi Yousef had stayed. Bin Laden's name, along with names of more than 118 others (plus the Sudanese mission to the United States), was included on a list, distributed by federal prosecutors, of potential unindicted co-conspirators. But, the US never sought his extradition from Sudan, and the CIA station in Khartoum never actually made any effort to snatch him, as occurred in 1993 to Carlos the Jackal, who had also taken refuge in Khartoum.
    Rather than being isolated and besieged in Sudan at the time Black was Chief of Station, UBL freely moved in and out of Sudan during his time there. He was part of an official Saudi delegation to Albania in 1994. Bin Laden shuttling to Bosnia on numerous occasions even after the Dayton Peace Agreement (which bin Laden violently opposed) was initialed on November 20, 1995. Bin Laden frequently flew in and out of Khartoum International Airport aboard an executive jet purchased for him in the United States in 1993, and used several satellite phones also bought in the U.S.; 1100 calls from these phones were deencrypted and analyzed by U.S. intelligence before bin Laden stopped using them regularly in 1998. All this while, Al-Qaeda continued large scale paramilitary operations in Kosovo, Chechnya, Dagestan and elsewhere in the former southern Soviet and Yugoslav region.
    Six days before the Bosnia Accord was signed, a powerful truck bomb ripped through the offices of the Saudi National Guard in Riyadh, killing five U.S. citizens and wounding 34 other Americans in an attack for which bin Laden denied involvement but was later indicted by a U.S. Grand Jury. A few days later, several gunmen were killed as they failed to storm bin Laden's Khartoum compound. Billy Waugh, a CIA contract agent posted in Khartoum, approached Black with an alternative idea -- which Black "loved" but rejected -- of killing bin Laden and dumping his body on the grounds of the Iranian Embassy, so that Iran would be blamed.
    Getting Osama bin Laden just was not a CIA priority at that time. As Steve Coll acknowledges in Ghost Wars , which includes an account of bin Laden and Black in Sudan, "American strategy in 1995," Coll writes, "was to contain and frustrate Iran and Iraq." Coll continues at p. 277,
    "In this mission, Saudi Arabia was an essential but illusive ally. Then, too, there was the crucial importance of Saudi Arabia in the global oil markets . . . There was little impetus to step back and ask, big uncomfortable questions about whether Saudi charities represented a fundamental threat to American national security. The Saudis worked assiduously to maintain contacts with the CIA, outside of official channels. Several retired Riyadh station chiefs and senior Near East Division managers went on the Saudi payroll as consultants during the mid-1990s."
    Until shortly before he left Sudan, bin Laden was still seen and treated by the CIA primarily as a Saudi intelligence asset and as a valuable liaison with Islamist paramilitary groups around the world. If there was a falling out with the Agency while Cofer Black was station chief in Khartoum, it resulted from bin Laden's refusal to toe the American line in the Bosnian cease-fire, the bombing in Riyadh, and bin Laden's own diminished role as global commander of covert Saudi paramilitary forces after Crown Prince Abdullah took power. Whatever actual conflict occurred between Black and bin Laden did not happen until late in the game, and was likely a result of much larger events and decisions taken about bin Laden at a very high level, rather than anything that Black and Waugh might have dreamed up.
    The official acquiescence of the Saudi regime with the 1995 Bosnia accord signaled a severe blow to bin Laden's own power, prestige and funding. Wherever Saudi Arabia and its allies had challenged the Russians, al-Qaeda fighters had been the point of the Sunni spear, a Holy Warrior's role that bin Laden relished, and all sources acknowledge, did not willingly give up.
    The confluence of two events are pivotal in the decision to distance bin Laden further from the Saudi court. On November 29, 1995, nine days after the Dayton Accord was initialed, King Faud suffered a massive stroke, and his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah assumed power. Faud lingered in a vegetative state for a decade, during which time succession remained in question. On August 1 2005, Faud died and Abdullah officially ascended to the throne. Bin Laden did not come out ahead in this untidy transition of power, but he was not altogether abandoned by the regime, either. He remained under the wing of Prince Turki al Faisal, who at the time of his sudden retirement and departure from Washington on September 4, 2001, had just renewed his 25-year tenure as Director of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate (GID).
    Cofer Black left Sudan in late 1995 shortly before bin Laden removed himself, eventually arriving in Afghanistan the following May after reportedly shopping for political asylum in London. Black has never publicly specified the exact dates of his departure or the terminal confrontation with bin Laden. One clue about when this happened may be that in October 1995 the FBI received a volume of 40 CIA files on bin Laden, thick with NSA and CIA telephone intercepts of bin Laden's communications in Khartoum acquired over several years.Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp. 148-149; Wright, 2006, pp. 242-244, cited at UBL would not be placed on the FBI's international Wanted List until just months before the August 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings.
    But, just as bin Laden continued to serve Saudi intelligence interests after his "exile" to Sudan, so too did that role follow him into Afghanistan, after Pakistani ISI with the backing of Saudi GID intelligence pushed the Taliban into power in Afghanistan.
    In a little-noted coincidence in early 1995, Ahmed Badeed, chief of staff to GID head Prince Turki, flew into Kandahar airport to meet with Mullah Omar, the spiritual head of the Taliban, who would soon become bin Laden's right-hand man after his arrival in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Cofer Black was appointed Task Force Chief in the CIA Near East and South Asia Division, still focused on bin Laden, a role he would hold for the next three years.
    Blowback: Bin Laden Works With the U.S. in Bosnia
    Bin Laden had been a critical component in the paramilitary capability of intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, as well as the CIA. His network played a central, coordinated role with the U.S. in Bosnia. In November, 1994, bin Laden met with the Bosnian President after delivering hundreds of fighters and tonnes of arms from bases in Sudan, at the same time that US envoy Richard Holbrooke and then head of the US European Intelligence Directorate Gen. Michael Hayden were in Bosnia on the same mission. U.S. Special Forces and bin Laden's Mujahedin carried out joint military operations for a short period in the area around Ploce, Croatia. The CIA facilitated travel and training inside the U.S. for a number of Jihadist figures, including bin Laden "Services" operation, later known as al-Qaeda. Persons known by U.S. intelligence to be al-Qaeda paramilitary and financiers continued traveling to and operating inside the U.S. with apparent impunity until 9/11.
    Bin Laden was also key to financing the Bosnian War, as well as the offensives that sprung up in Kosovo, Chechnya, and in other strategic assets that the west worked with the Saudis to strip away from the Russian sphere in the 1990s. Author Adam Robinson notes that bin Laden took over the leading role in financing Islamist militias after BCCI collapsed in 1991. Bin Laden had just just moved to Sudan, ruled by Hassan al-Turabi. Robinson observes, "Without a system by which money could be transferred around the world invisibly, it would be relatively simple for terrorist funds to be traced. Dealing with this crisis fell to al-Turabi. In desperation he turned to Osama.... The future of the struggle could come to rest on Osama’s shoulders." After his arrival in Sudan, bin Laden led a small team of financial experts who developed a plan to replace the functions of BCCI. Bin Laden had previously developed contacts with many of the main Islamist backers during the Afghan war. "During the summer of 1991 he discreetly made contact with many of the wealthiest of these individuals, especially those with an international network of companies.... Within months, Osama unveiled before an astonished al-Turabi what he called ‘the Brotherhood Group.’" This is apparently a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which overlaps "The Golden Chain" that finances al-Qaeda, after a document describing that network was seized in March 2002 raid by Bosnian police authorities of the premises of the Benevolence International Foundation in Sarajevo. Robinson says this group is made up of 134 Arab businessmen with a collective wealth of many billions of dollars. The network will effectively replace BCCI for Islamist militants. [Robinson, 2001, pp. 138-139]
    While bin Laden and Black were in Sudan, that country became the center for financing and supporting the Saudi paramilitary forces abroad. The Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), the primary conduit for worldwide financing of Bosnian Serb arms imports, was based in Khartoum with an office in Vienna, was intimately interlinked with al-Qaeda's own financial ties to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Some $200 million flowed through TWRA accounts going to the Bosnian President and his party, much of it originating from Saudi Prince Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz, one of the co-directors of Saudi intelligence, and the leader of the Sudaairi Seven, the primary rival for power with Crown Prince (now King) Abdullah. See,
    Many of the details of Saudi financing of the 9/11 attack remain redacted in the 28-page blacked-out section of the Commission Report. While some AQ-Saudi intelligence agency affiliated charities were shut down after 9/11, TWRA continues operating to this day.
    Fallout: The post-9/11 Assassination Program
    You can draw your own conclusions about whether Black was UBL's CIA control officer in Sudan, but it has to at least be considered as a possibility. Black would have been ideally placed in Sudan to deal with bin Laden, both in the less confrontational stage early after his arrival and later. Black's thorough familiarity with bin Laden and his network would also explain his appointment in 1999 to head CIA counter-terrorism at a time it was reorganized to focus on Al-Qaeda.
    The story advances to the next stage when just before his 2002 CIA retirement as head of CTC, which was charged with killing or capturing bin Laden, Blackwater was given a global CIA contract to assassinate al-Qaeda figures, an assignment that may be connected to the killings of three prominent Saudis and the commander of the Pakistani Air Force reported by Richard Posner. See,
    Possibly related, Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, son of the Saudi intelligence chief, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack on July 22, 2002. That death has been identified as part of a series of killings that resulted from statements reportedly made by Abu Zubaydeh after his capture in late March, 2002 in which he reportedly revealed the names of a number of prominent Saudi and Pakistani figures behind the attack.
    If you want to understand 9/11, you have to understand the political context within Saudi Arabia, especially the split within the Saudi Royal family and the succession struggle that many anticipated would turn into a violent civil war in Saudi Arabia. In November 1997, oil prices collapsed, accompanying a financial blowout in the Asian economies. Saudi Arabia experienced severe economic crises during 1998 and early 1999, when crude oil dipped below 10 dollars a barrel, prompting a slash in spending to counter a 12-billion-dollar deficit. It was at that time that significant domestic insurgency, centered in the Wahhadist clergy, emerged that threatened the rule of the Royal family, that was itself split after King Faud's 1995 debilitating stroke.
    Bin Laden was a wild card in several decks, even after his exile. Bin Laden's paramilitaries remained loyal to him, so al-Qaeda continued to be an instrument of various intelligence agencies, and also a tool of contesting factions within the Royal Family. The actual outcome of consolidated power by the Abdullah circle after 9/11 may or may not necessarily have been the intended outcome.
    Also, in the late 1990s, interested outside parties saw a range of political and economic opportunities in a destabilized Saudi Arabia. So, despite many opportunities, bin Laden was never done away with, even after the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings. If for no other reason that U.S. and other intelligence agencies harvested such a rich load of information about each other and the Saudi opposition from monitoring UBL, he was worth far more alive. So long as he retained his potential usefulness, there was ample reason to keep him in operation.
    1999: Black Brought Back In From the Field
    After the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings, Black was brought in from the field by CIA Director George Tenet to head the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center (CIA/CTC), along with a Tenet protege Richard Blee. They worked closely with Rob Richer, promoted in 1999 to Head of the CIA's Near East Division, who later also went over to Blackwater.
    In late December 1999, the NSA picked up a communication from Khalid al-Midhar through an AQ message center run by his father-in-law in Yemen. That communique indicated that a summit meeting of al-Qaeda figures was being convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the first two weeks of January, 2000.
    The CIA/CTC had ten days to prepare surveillance, including videotape, of that meeting. According to the 9/11 Commission, both the 9/11 Planes Operation and the USS Cole attacks were planned there. According to his testimony before the 2002 Joint Intelligence Committee, CIA Director Tenet received more than one briefing at the time about that al-Qaeda planning summit.
    January 2000: Black and Blee Let the Flt. 77 Hijackers Into the U.S., Withhold Files from FBI
    In the second week of January, al-Midhar and his partner Nawaf al-Hazmi departed Kuala Lumpur in the company of "Khalad" bin-Atash, who headed bin Laden's personal security detail in Sudan.
    On January 15, 2000, al-Hazmi and al-Midhar entered the US at Los Angeles, and immediately met Omar al-Bayoumi, an air attache working under civilian cover (Dallah-AVCO Air Services) out of the Saudi Consulate in LA. Al-Bayoumi gave the pair funds from a Riggs Bank account held in the name of the wife of Saudi Ambassador Bandar bin Sultan and drove them to San Diego, installing them in a rental unit under the supervision of several figures (including an Imam at that mosque who would again emerge as a person of interest in a high-profile terrorist attack in 2009).
    The entry into the US of the pair, who went on to hijack AA Flt 77 that crashed into the Pentagon was noted at CTC. A warning cable was drafted by the FBI liaison officer, but withheld at the direct order of the CTC Assn't Director, Richard Blee, Cofer Black's No. 2.
    Black and Blee ran CTC and the Bin Laden unit Alec Station during the next 20 months that the Flt. 77 hijackers were allowed to run free inside the US, taking flight training and meeting frequently with other 9/11 attack cell members. During that time, the FBI I-49 National Security Unit, under the command of John O'Neill -- which was charged with monitoring AQ inside the US, and had been frustrated in its investigation of the Cole attack - was kept in the dark. O'Neill resigned from the FBI shortly before 9/11. He was killed during the collapse of the World Trade Center, where he had taken the job as head of security. In the summer of 2001, O'Neill and I-49 officers had repeatedly clashed with Black and Blee over the CIA's refusal to turn over CIA files about the AQ cells the FBI knew from other sources were plotting attacks inside the US. FBI warrants for electronic surveillance requested by field agents were blocked by ranking officials in Washington.
    What would explain these extraordinary actions by CTC commanders? One possible explanation is "The Plan" to penetrate Al-Qaeda with double-agents. Tenet has testified that this was part of his own 1998 initiative to "make war" on al-Qaeda following the East Africa Embassy bombings. Cofer Black tells it differently. The Plan was Black's own idea, approved by Tenet, Black claimed in a magazine interview. See, . Intelligence writer and author Joe Trento has stated that he was told by a U.S. intelligence officer that al-Hazmi and al-Midhar has been treated as operatives working for a friendly intelligence service, the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate. On the other hand, James Risen cautions that in 1997 the CIA’s bin Laden unit Alec Station sent a memo to CIA Director George Tenet warning him that the Saudi intelligence service should be considered a "hostile service" with regard to al-Qaeda. Alec Station Chief Michael Scheuer, who had founded the "virtual station", was replaced shortly thereafter by Richard Blee. At the very least, the CIA-GID relationship remained as convoluted and ambivalent as the Agency's dealings with bin Laden, himself. The Agency was, in fact, dealing with both factions within the split Saudi intelligence apparatus, while President Bush and his backers also hedged their bets.
    July-August, 2001: Black and Tenet Try to Talk Bush Into Terminating the Planes Operation
    By July, it was clear what the targets of the hijackers were and the time-frame they would be hit. On the 10th, Tenet, Black, and Blee got into a CIA SUV, and visited National Security Advisor Condi Rice, and had a tense meeting with her about al-Qaeda. According to Tenet, she seemed to understand the threat, but was ambivalent in her response. Finally, in mid August, Tenet boarded a CIA jet for an unscheduled meeting at the Bush ranch in Crawford, where the President had been deposited for safe-keeping since returning in late July from Genoa, Italy. During that G-8 Conference, US agencies and civil aviation were on high alert over reported Al-Qaeda attacks, and ground-to-air missiles were installed to protect Bush from suspected al-Qaeda attack by aircraft. That alert was stood-down after Bush returned to the US.
    Tenet went on to perjure himself before the 9/11 Commission, falsely claiming he had had no communication with Bush during the final 60 days before 9/11. In fact, records showed they had talked on at least a dozen occasions, including the face-to-face on either August 15 or the 23rd, the latter being the date the FBI finally got an alert and received some of the contents of the CIA file that detailed the Kuala Lumpur summit and the entry of al-Hazmi and al-Midhar 19 months earlier.
    2002-2009, Containment and Cleanup: From CTC to Blackwater
    Black resigned from the CIA in April 2002, after interrogation of Abu Zubaydeh revealed the names of leading Saudi and Pakistani figures who had bankrolled the operation, and after the apparently willful failure of Jawbreaker (or, the White House sabotage thereof), the CIA-run operation to capture bin Laden in Afghanistan the previous December.
    In early 2002, after Bin Laden escaped across the unguarded Pakistani Border from Tora Bora, Erik Prince was in Afghanistan meeting with CIA Executive Director "Buzzy" Krongard, who handed Blackwater a series of contracts, including one to carry out worldwide assassinations. The sudden emergence and growth of Blackwater, which had little previous military contracting experience, is curious and startling. In recent statements, US Gov't officials have said that while millions were spent, the CIA-funded Blackwater hit teams did not bag any bad guys. Or, maybe they did, and that must now be plausibly denied.
    After his departure from CIA, Krongard was, in turn, appointed a Director of the Whitewater/Xe Board last year. It is strange that the same names keep appearing in the same places in the middle of the same "intelligence failures", and that so many of them ended up at Blackwater/Xe.
    Apparently, "willful" is the watchword for the negligent and reckless mismanagement by the White House of this element of the CIA, many of whom went on to Blackwater, and in the actions of these individuals in failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks and their failure to capture top terrorist leaders thereafter. Perhaps, Prince has a point when he pleads that he and the others at Blackwater are being made "scapegoats" for decisions taken at a higher pay-grade. If one views 9/11 and the intelligence disasters that followed, it's clear that there was a systemic policy failure that happened in spite of the efforts of those on the ground.
    Finally, there is Erik Prince. The Agency always has an ongoing need for wealthy, well-connected adventurers willing and able to provide trained gunmen for off-the-books operations. In the 1990s, that role was filled by Osama bin Laden. During the Bush years, those shoes were tried on by Erik Prince at Blackwater Lodge and Training Center. Behind the legend of the Sheikh and the Prince, is the shadow of Cofer Black and a small clique of covert operation professionals whose job it was to carry out Presidential policy, no matter how criminal, risky or misconceived.

    Always, the buck stops at the President's desk. 9/11 happened on George W. Bush's watch, and he is ultimately the one who must be held accountable. But, that does not seem to be in the cards.
    In the small, dark world of black operations, everyone indeed knows each other, all too well. It's time the American people learned more about what really happened, even if the system seems to be headed for yet another catastrophic failure of accountability.
    (1) See, ; ;
    (2) See, ;,-MoneyGunmen

    [ dailykos (?!) as a source?!]
    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

  3. #63


    Congressman Prepares Legislation to Ban Blackwater
    by Jeremy Scahill, January 14, 2010
    Email This | Print This | Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum

    As multiple scandals involving Blackwater continue to emerge almost daily, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is preparing to introduce legislation aimed at ending the US government’s relationship with Blackwater and other armed contracting companies. “In 2009, the U.S. government employed well over 20,000 armed private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there is every indication that these figures will continue to rise in 2010,” Schakowsky wrote in a “Dear Colleage” letter asking for support for her Stop Outsourcing Security (SOS) Act. “These men and women are not part of the U.S. military or government. They do not wear the uniform of the United States, though their behavior has, on numerous occasions, severely damaged the credibility and security of our military and harmed our relationship with other governments.”
    Schakowsky originally introduced the bill in 2007, but it only won two co-sponsors in the Senate: Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Ironically, Clinton—now Secretary of State— is currently the US official responsible for most of Blackwater’s contracts. “The legislation would prohibit the use of private contractors for military, security, law enforcement, intelligence, and armed rescue functions unless the President tells Congress why the military is unable to perform those functions,” according to Schakowsky. “It would also increase transparency over any remaining security contracts by increasing reporting requirements and giving Congress access to details about large contracts.”

    Meanwhile, a national coalition of groups opposed to Blackwater have issued an open letter to Congress urging support for Schakowsky’s SOS Act and have called on Congress to investigate the US Justice Department’s handling of the criminal case against the Blackwater operatives alleged to have been responsible for the 2007 Nisour Square massacre. On New Year’s Eve, federal Judge Ricardo Urbina threw out the case alleging prosecutorial misconduct. “Considering all of the millions of tax payer dollars that have gone into funding Blackwater, as well as paying for all of the various investigations into their illegal and unethical activities, the citizens of the United States deserve to know the truth,” said Dan Kenney, co-coordinator of “No Private Armies.” Their letter to Congress and an accompanying petition can be found here.
    Here is the full text of Schakowsky’s letter:
    January 07, 2010

    Become an Original Cosponsor of a Bill to Return
    Security Functions to Government Personnel
    Dear Colleague:
    I invite you to join me in cosponsoring a bill which would responsibly phase out the use of private security contractors for functions that should be reserved for U.S. military forces and government personnel.
    In 2009, the U.S. government employed well over 20,000 armed private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there is every indication that these figures will continue to rise in 2010. These men and women are not part of the U.S. military or government. They do not wear the uniform of the United States, though their behavior has, on numerous occasions, severely damaged the credibility and security of our military and harmed our relationship with other governments.
    In addition, legal jurisdiction over civilian contractors remains murky, leaving the very real possibility that we cannot punish contractors who commit serious crimes while serving the United States government overseas. As illustrated by the recent dismissal of the case against the Blackwater guards accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, prosecution of private security contractors who commit severe abuses remains exceedingly difficult.
    It has been recently reported that at least two of the men killed by the New Year’s Eve suicide attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan was a contractor employed by Xe Services, the company formerly known as Blackwater. If true, this confirms the extent to which private companies have become integrated into not just our military and State Department, but also our intelligence services.
    My bill recognizes that our armed forces and security personnel have been so overtaxed that it is not possible to immediately eliminate the use of private contractors for functions that should be reserved for U.S. military personnel. However, it puts us on the path of restoring military functions to the military. The legislation would prohibit the use of private contractors for military, security, law enforcement, intelligence, and armed rescue functions unless the President tells Congress why the military is unable to perform those functions. It would also increase transparency over any remaining security contracts by increasing reporting requirements and giving Congress access to details about large contracts.
    To join me as an original cosponsor or for more information, please contact my staff.

    Jan Schakowsky
    Read more by Jeremy Scahill

    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

  4. #64


    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Outsourcing War: The Rise of Private Military Contractors

    Outsourcing War: The Rise of Private Military Contractors (PMCs) - by Stephen Lendman

    In The Prince, Machiavelli (May 1469 - June 1527) wrote:

    "The mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous, and if anyone supports his state by the arms of mercenaries, he will never stand firm or sure, as they are disunited, ambitious, without discipline, faithless, bold amongst friends, cowardly amongst enemies, they have no fear of God, and keep no faith with men."

    In an August 11, 2009 Global Research article titled, "The Real Grand Chessboard and the Profiteers of War," Peter Dale Scott called Private Military Contractors (PMCs) businesses "authorized to commit violence in the name of their employers....predatory bandits (transformed into) uncontrollable subordinates....representing....public power in....remote places."

    True enough. Those performing security functions are paramilitaries, hired guns, unprincipled, in it for the money, and might easily switch sides if offered more. Though technically accountable under international and domestic laws where they're assigned, they, in fact, are unregulated, unchecked, free from criminal or civil accountability, and are licensed to kill and get away with it. Political and institutional expediency affords them immunity and impunity to pretty much do as they please and be handsomely paid for it.

    So wherever they're deployed, they're menacing and feared with good reason even though many of their member firms belong to associations like the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA) and the British Association of Private and Security Companies (BAPSC). Their conduct codes are mere voluntary guidelines that at worst subject violators to expulsion.

    When IPOA wanted Blackwater USA investigated (later Blackwater Worldwide, now Xe - pronounced Zee) for slaughtering 28 Iraqis in Al-Nisour Square in central Baghdad and wounding dozens more on September 16, 2007, the company left the association and set up its own, the Global Peace and Security Operations Institute (GPSOI), with no conduct code besides saying:

    "Blackwater desires a safer world though practical application of ideas that create solution making a genuine difference to those in need (by) solving the seemingly impossible problems that threaten global peace and stability."

    Blackwater, now Xe, makes them far worse as unchecked hired guns. Wherever deployed, they operate as they wish, take full advantage, and stay unaccountable for their worst crimes, the types that would subject ordinary people to the severest punishments.

    In his book "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," Jeremy Scahill described a:

    "shadowy mercenary company (employing) some of the most feared professional killers in the world (accustomed) to operating without worry or legal consequences....largely off the congressional radar. (It has) remarkable power and protection within the US war apparatus" to practice violence with impunity, including cold-blooded murder of non-combatant civilians.

    Employing Mercenaries - A Longstanding Practice

    Called various names, including mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, dogs of war, and Condottieri for wealthy city states in Renaissance Italy, employing them goes back centuries. In 13th century BC Egypt, Rameses II used thousands of them in battle. Ancient Greeks and Romans also used them. So didn't Alexander the Great, feudal lords in the Middle Ages, popes since 1506, Napoleon, and George Washington against the British in America's war of independence even though by the early 18th century western states enacted laws prohibiting their citizens from bearing arms for other nations. Although the practice continued sporadically, until more recently, private armies fell out of favor.

    Defining a Mercenary

    Article 47 in the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions provides the most widely, though not universally, accepted definition, based on six criteria, all of which must be met.

    "A mercenary is any person who:

    (a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;

    (b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities:

    (c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of the Party;

    (d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

    (e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and

    (f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces."

    This Article's Focus and Some Background

    This article covers the modern era of their resurgence, specifically America's use of private military contractors (PMCs) during the post-Cold War period. However, the roots of today's practice began in 1941 in the UK under Captain David Stirling's Special Air Service (SAS), hired to fight the Nazis in small hard-hitting groups. In 1967, he then founded the 20th century's first private military company, WatchGuard International.

    Others followed, especially during the 1980s Reagan-Thatcher era when privatizing government services began in earnest. As vice-president, GHW Bush applied it to intelligence, and then defense secretary Dick Cheney hired Brown and Root Services (now KBR, Inc., a former Halliburton subsidiary) to devise how to integrate private companies effectively into warfare.

    The Current Proliferation of PMCs

    According to PW Singer, author of "Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry:"

    Included are companies offering "the functions of warfare....spanning a wide range of activities. They perform everything from tactical combat to consulting (to) mundane logistics....The result is that (the industry) now offers every function that was once limited to state militaries."

    Warfare, in part, has been privatized so that "any actor in the global system can access these skills and functions simply by writing a check."

    In the 1991 Gulf War, the Pentagon employed one PMC operative per 50 troops. For the 1999 Yugoslavia conflict, it was one for every 10, and by the 2003 Iraq War, PMCs comprised the second largest force after the US military.

    They've also been used in numerous civil wars globally in nations like Angola, Sierra Leone, the Balkans throughout the 1990s, Papua New Guinea, and elsewhere. From 1990 - 2000, they participated in 80 conflicts, compared to 15 from 1950 - 1989.

    Singer cites three reasons why, combined into "one dynamic:"

    1. Supply and demand

    Since the Cold War ended in 1991, the US military downsized to about two-thirds its former size, a process Dick Cheney, as defense secretary, called BRAC - Base Realignment and Closure, followed by privatizing military functions. But given America's permanent war agenda, the Pentagon needed help, especially because of the proliferation of small arms, over 550 million globally or about one for every 12 human beings, and their increased use in local conflicts.

    2. Changes in the conduct of war

    Earlier distinctions between soldiers and civilians are breaking down, the result of low-intensity conflicts against drug cartels, warlords and persons or groups aggressor nations call "terrorists," the same ones they call "freedom fighters" when on their side for imperial purposes.

    High-intensity warfare also changed, so sailors aboard guided missile ships, for example, serve along side weapons and technology company personal, needed for their specialized expertise.

    In addition, the combination of powerful weapons and sophisticated information technology let the Pentagon topple Saddam with one-fourth the number of forces for the Gulf War. This strategy can be just as effective in other conventional warfare theaters, depending on how formidable the adversary, but it doesn't work in guerrilla wars - the dilemma America faces in Afghanistan, earlier in Iraq and still now as violence there is increasing.

    3. The "privatization revolution"

    Singer calls it a "change in mentality, a change in political thinking, (a) new ideology that" whatever governments can do, business can do better so let it. The transformation is pervasive in public services, including more spent on private police than actual ones in America. And the phenomenon is global. In China, for example, the private security industry is one of its fastest growing.

    By privatizing the military, America pierced the last frontier to let private mercenaries serve in place of conventional forces. Singer defines three types of companies:

    1. "Military provider firms"

    Whatever their functions, they're used tactically as combatants with weapons performing services formerly done exclusively by conventional or special forces.

    2. Military consulting companies

    They train and advise, much the way management consulting firms operate for business. They also provide personal security and bodyguard services.

    3. Military support firms

    They perform non-lethal services. They're "supply-chain management firms....tak(ing) care of the back-end, (including) logistics and technology assistance...." They also supply intelligence and analysis, ordnance disposal, weapons maintenance and other non-combat functions.

    Overall, the industry is huge and growing, grossing over $100 billion annually worldwide, operating in over 50 countries. By far, the Pentagon is their biggest client, and in the decade leading up to the Iraq War, it contracted with over 3,000 PMCs, and now many more spending increasingly larger amounts.

    A single company, Halliburton and its divisions grossed between $13 - $16 billion from the Iraq War, an amount 2.5 times America's cost for the entire Gulf War. The company profits handsomely because of America's commitment to privatized militarization. More about it below.

    Since 2003, Iraq alone represents the "single largest commitment of US military forces in a generation (and) by far the largest marketplace for the private military industry ever."

    In 2005, 80 PMCs operated there with over 20,000 personnel. Today, in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, it's grown exponentially, according to US Department of Defense figures - nearly 250,000 as of Q 3, 2009, mostly in Iraq but rising in Afghanistan to support more troops.

    Not included are PMCs working for the State Department, 16 US intelligence agencies, Homeland Security, other branches and foreign governments, commercial businesses, and individuals, so the true total is much higher. In addition, as Iraq troops are drawn down, PMCs will replace them, and in Afghanistan, they already exceed America's military force.

    According to a September 21, 2009 Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report, as of June 2009, PMCs in Afghanistan numbered 73,968, and a later year end 2009 US Central Command figure is over 104,000 and rising. The expense is enormous and growing with CRS reporting that supporting each soldier costs $1 million annually, in large part because of rampant waste, fraud and abuse, unmonitored and unchecked.

    With America heading for 100,000 troops on the ground and more likely coming, $100 billion will be spent annually supporting them, then more billions as new forces arrive, and the Iraq amount is even greater - much, or perhaps most, from supplemental funding for both theaters on top of America's largest ever military budget at a time the country has no enemies except for ones it makes by invading and occupying other countries and waging global proxy wars.

    Regulating PMCs

    Efforts to do so have been fruitless despite the General Assembly trying in 1989 through the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries. It took over a decade to get the required 22 signatories, but neither
    America or other major PMC users were included.

    An earlier effort also failed when in 1987 a special UN rapporteur was established to examine "the use of mercenaries as a means of impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination." It was largely ignored, and a 2005 effort won't likely fare better under a working group for the same purpose. Nor will industry associations functioning more for show than a commitment to end bad practices that will always go on as long as rogue firms like Xe and others like it are employed.

    Singer noted how PMCs have been involved in some of the most controversial aspects of war - from over-billing to ritual slaughter of unarmed civilians. Yet none of them have ever been prosecuted, convicted or imprisoned, an issue Singer cites in listing five "dilemmas:"

    1. Contractual ones - hiring PMCs for their skills, to save money, or do jobs nations prefer to avoid. Yet unaccountability injects a "worrisome layer of uncertainty" into military operations, opening the door to unchecked abuses.

    2. PMCs constitute an unregulated global business operating for profit, not peace and security when skilled killers are hired - former Green Berets, Delta Force soldiers, Navy Seals, and foreign ones like the British SAS.

    3. Conducting public policy as serious as war through private means is worrisome, including covert operations to avoid official oversight and legislative constraints.

    4. Moving private companies into the military sphere creates disturbing gray areas. PMCs can't be court martialed, and international law doesn't cover them. Further, operating in war zones makes them even less accountable as who can prove their actions weren't in self-defense, even against unarmed civilians.

    5. Increasing PMC use also "raises some deep questions about the military itself." How do you retain the most talented combat troops when they can sell their skills for far greater pay? Also consider the uniqueness of the military.

    "It is the only profession that has its own court system, its own laws; the only profession that has its own grocery stores and separate bases;" its own pensions and other benefits for those staying around long enough to qualify. So what happens when it's transformed into a business with profit the prime motive? Simple - more wars, greater profits. The same idea as privatizing prisons - more prisoners, fatter bottom line.

    Another consideration is also worrisome. Given America's imperial ambitions, global dominance, permanent war agenda, and virtual disregard for the law, public distrust is growing for politicians who never earned it in the first place.

    Given the Pentagon's transformation since 1991, the number of services it privatized, and America's permanent war agenda, what will conditions be in another decade or a few years? How much more prominent will PMCs be? How much more insecurity will result? How soon will it be before hordes of them are deployed throughout America as enforcers in civilian communities outside of conflict zones, with as much unaccountability here as abroad? What will the nation be like if it happens?


    In his book, "Halliburton's Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War," Pratap Chatterjee describes a company tainted by bribes, kickbacks, inefficiency, corruption and fraud, exploitation of workers as near-slaves, and other serious offenses, yet operates with impunity and sticks taxpayers with many billions of dollars in charges.

    Before spun off in 2007, KBR won the bulk of Iraq contracts as part of Halliburton, many of them no-bid. Earlier from 2002 to March 2003, it was involved with the Pentagon in planning the war and its role once it ended - the one co-founder George Brown claimed Lyndon Johnson described in the 1960s as a "joint venture (in which) I'm going to take care of politics and you're going to take care of the business side of it." Fast forward, and nothing's changed.

    In a February 19, 2009 article, titled "Inheriting Halliburton's Army," Chatterjee writes how their employees are in "every nook and cranny of US bases in Iraq and Afghanistan," yet stateside operations yield additional billions in revenue. He describes their "shoddy electrical work, unchlorinated shower water, overcharges for trucks sitting idle in the desert, deaths of KRB (its former subsidiary) employees and affiliated soldiers in Iraq, alleged million-dollar bribes accepted by KBR managers, and billions of dollars in missing receipts, among the slew of other complaints" that got wide publicity since the beginning of the Iraq war.

    He explains that since it got a 2001 contract to supply US forces in combat theaters, KBR grossed over $25 billion. It then got new contracts under Obama, leading Chatterjee to ask: "How did the US military become this dependent on one giant company?"

    Tracing its history since the 1960s, he noted its connection to Lyndon Johnson, its profiteering from the Vietnam War, again under Ronald Reagan, then more under GHW Bush and Dick Cheney, his defense secretary who accelerated the Pentagon's privatization agenda, then headed the company as CEO. Bill Clinton continued it, hiring KBR in 1994 to build bases in Bosnia, later Kosovo, and run their daily operations.

    Then under Bush/Cheney, outsourcing accelerated further, so today there's one KBR worker for every three US soldiers in Iraq. They build base infrastructure and maintain them by handling all their duties - feeding soldiers, doing their laundry, performing maintenance, and virtually all other non-combat functions.

    Despite its abusive practices, KBR is such an integral part of the Pentagon that Chatterjee asks "could Obama dismiss (its) army, even if he wanted to?" Not at all so expect KRB's $150 billion 10-year LOGCAP contract (the Army's Logistics Augmentation Program - beginning September 20, 2008) to continue, and KBR's army to remain on the march reaping billions from the public treasury as the nation's largest PMC war profiteer.

    PMCs Under Obama

    In February 2007, Senator Obama introduced the Transparency and Accountability in Military Security Contracting Act as an amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization Act, requiring federal agencies to report to Congress on the numbers of security contractors employed, killed, wounded, and disciplinary actions taken against them. Referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee, it never passed.

    Then in February 2009 as president, Obama introduced reforms to reduce PMC spending and shift outsourced work back to government. He also promised to improve the quality of acquisition workers - government employees involved in supervising and auditing billions of dollars spent monthly on contracts. Even so, PMCs are fully integrated into national security and other government functions, as evidenced by the massive numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan alone.

    Earlier, PMCs were at times used in lieu of US forces. As mentioned above, they helped General Washington win America's war of independence. Later the war of 1812, and in WW II the Flying Tigers fought the Japanese for China's Chiang Kai-Shek. In the 1960s and early 1970s, they were prominent nation builders in South Vietnam. From 1947 through 1976, the CIA's Southern Air Transport performed paramilitary services, including delivering weapons to the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

    In 1985, the Army's LOGCAP was a precursor for more extensive civilian contractor use in wartime and for other purposes. It's involved in pre-planned logistics and engineering or construction contracts, including vehicle maintenance, warehousing, base building abroad, and a range of non-combat functions on them.

    The Clinton administration's "Reinventing Government" initiative promised to downsize it by shifting functions to contractors as a way cut costs and improve efficiency. Later under George Bush, private companies got to compete for 450,000 government jobs, and in 2001, the Pentagon's contracted workforce exceeded civilian DOD employees for the first time.

    In 2002, under Army Secretary Thomas White, the military planned to increase its long-term reliance on contracted workers, a plan known as the "Third Wave" after two earlier ones. Its purposes were to free up military manpower for the global war on terror, get non-core products and services from private sources so Army leaders could focus on their core competencies, and support Bush's Management Agenda.

    In April 2003, the initiative stalled when White resigned, among other reasons for a lack of basic information required to effectively manage a growing PMC force, then estimated to be between 124,000 - 605,000 workers. Today, more precise figures are known and for what functions, but a lack of transparency and oversight makes it impossible for the public, Congress, the administration, or others in government to assess them with regard to cost, effectiveness, their services, whether government or business should perform them, and their effect on the nation for good or ill, with strong evidence of the latter.

    The 2008 Montreux Document is an agreement obligating signatories with regard to their PMCs in war zones. Seventeen nations ratified it, including America, Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and China, pledging to promote responsible PMC conduct in armed conflicts. Divided in two sections, its first one covers international laws binding on private contractors, explains states can't circumvent their obligations by using them, requires they take appropriate measures to prevent violations, address them responsibly when they do, and take effective steps to prevent future occurrences.

    The second section lists 70 practices for helping countries fulfill their legal obligations, including not using PMCs for activities requiring force, implementing effective control, using surveillance and sanctions in case of breaches, and regulating and licensing contracted companies, that in turn, must train their personnel to observe the rules of law.

    Given the obvious conflicts of interest, self-regulation won't work. Unchecked, combatant PMCs are accountable only to themselves, operating secretly outside the law - for the Pentagon as an imperial tool.

    Given Obama's permanent war agenda and how entrenched PMCs have become, expect little constructive change, save for tinkering around the edges and regular rhetorical promises, followed by new fronts in the war on terror and even greater numbers civilians and soldiers for them.

    Then add hundreds more billions diverted from vital homeland needs to enrich thousands of war profiteers, addicted to sure-fire blood money, and expecting plenty more ahead. They'll get it unless enough public outrage demands an end to this madness before it's too late to matter.

    Some Final Comments

    On January 13 (on, Jeremy Scahill reported that Representative Jan Schakowsky (D. IL and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence member):

    "is preparing to introduce legislation (Stop Outsourcing Security Act - SOS) aimed at ending the US government's relationship with Blackwater and other armed contracting companies."

    Originally introduced in 2007 but not passed, Schakowsky says:

    "The legislation would prohibit the use of private contractors for military, security, law enforcement, intelligence, and armed rescue functions unless the President tells Congress why the military is unable to perform those functions. It would also increase transparency over any remaining security contracts by increasing reporting requirements and giving Congress access to details about large contracts."

    Meanwhile on January 12, 2010, a coalition of groups opposed to Blackwater called on Congress to investigate why criminal charges against the company were dismissed on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct. They also want to "pull the funding on war profiteers like Blackwater (and) stop them for good."

    It's a tall order given how entrenched they are and expanding. In Haiti, for example, reports say Blackwater is there providing security, an indication perhaps of more contingents to follow, from them and other armed contractors, "authorized to commit violence in the name of their employers."

    Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

    Also visit his blog site at and listen to the Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.
    posted by Steve Lendman @ 3:09 AM
    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

  5. #65


    Blackwater's Owner Has Spies for Hire
    Ex-U.S. Operatives Dot Firm's Roster
    By Dana Hedgpeth
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, November 3, 2007

    First it became a brand name in security for its work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it's taking on intelligence.
    The Prince Group, the holding company that owns Blackwater Worldwide, has been building an operation that will sniff out intelligence about natural disasters, business-friendly governments, overseas regulations and global political developments for clients in industry and government.
    The operation, Total Intelligence Solutions, has assembled a roster of former spooks -- high-ranking figures from agencies such as the CIA and defense intelligence -- that mirrors the slate of former military officials who run Blackwater. Its chairman is Cofer Black, the former head of counterterrorism at CIA known for his leading role in many of the agency's more controversial programs, including the rendition and interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects and the detention of some of them in secret prisons overseas.
    Its chief executive is Robert Richer, a former CIA associate deputy director of operations who was heavily involved in running the agency's role in the Iraq war.
    Total Intelligence Solutions is one of a growing number of companies that offer intelligence services such as risk analysis to companies and governments. Because of its roster and its ties to owner Erik Prince, the multimillionaire former Navy SEAL, the company's thrust into this world highlights the blurring of lines between government, industry and activities formerly reserved for agents operating in the shadows.
    Richer, for instance, once served as the chief of the CIA's Near East division and is said to have ties to King Abdullah of Jordan. The CIA had spent millions helping train Jordan's intelligence service in exchange for information. Now Jordan has hired Blackwater to train its special forces.
    "Cofer can open doors," said Richer, who served 22 years at the CIA. "I can open doors. We can generally get in to see who we need to see. We don't help pay bribes. We do everything within the law, but we can deal with the right minister or person."
    Total Intel, as the company is known, is bringing "the skills traditionally honed by CIA operatives directly to the board room," Black said. Black had a 28-year career with the CIA.
    "They have the skills and background to do anything anyone wants," said RJ Hillhouse, who writes a national security blog called The Spy Who Billed Me. "There's no oversight. They're an independent company offering freelance espionage services. They're rent-a-spies."
    The heart of Total Intel operations is a suite on the ninth floor of an office tower in Ballston, patterned after the CIA counterterrorist center Black once ran, with analysts sitting at cubicles in the center of the room and glass offices of senior executives on the perimeter.
    A handful of analysts in their 20s and 30s sit hunched over Macintosh computers, scanning Web sites, databases, newspapers and chat rooms. The lights are dimmed. Three large-screen TVs play in the background, one tuned to al-Jazeera.
    The room, called the Global Fusion Center, is staffed around the clock, as analysts search for warnings on everything from terrorist plots on radical Islamic Web sites to possible political upheavals in Asia, labor strikes in South America and Europe, and economic upheavals that could affect a company's business.
    "We're not a private detective," Black said. "We provide intelligence to our clients. It's not about taking pictures. It's business intelligence. We collect all information that's publicly available. This is a completely legal enterprise. We break no laws. We don't go anywhere near breaking laws. We don't have to."
    Total Intel was launched in February by Prince, who a decade ago opened a law enforcement training center in Moyock, N.C., that has since grown into a half-billion-dollar business called Blackwater Worldwide. Prince has nine other companies and subsidiaries in his Prince Group empire, offering a broad range of security and training services. (One, Blackwater Security Consulting, is under scrutiny because of a Sept. 16 shooting incident in Iraq that involved some of its armed guards and in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed.) Prince built Total Intel by buying two companies owned by Matt Devost, the Terrorism Research Center and Technical Defense, and merging them with Black's consulting group, the Black Group. Devost, a cyber security and risk management expert, is now president of Total Intel.
    Devost runs day-to-day operations, overseeing 65 full-time employees. At the Global Fusion Center, young analysts monitor activities in more than 60 countries. They include a 25-year-old Fulbright scholar fluent in Arabic and another person with a master's degree in international affairs, focused on the Middle East, who tracks the oil industry and security in Saudi Arabia.
    Black and Richer spend much of their time traveling. They won't say where. It's a CIA thing. Black called at midnight recently to talk about Total Intel from "somewhere in the Middle East."
    "I don't spend a lot of time telling people where I am as part of my business," he said. "I am discreet in where I go and who I see. I spend most of my time dealing with senior people in governments, making connections."
    Black, who also serves as vice chairman of Blackwater Worldwide, said he also does "a lot more mundane things like go to conferences and trade shows," looking for business opportunities. "I'm going to have to go," he said. "My guy is motioning for me. I have to go meet people."
    Government people? Business people?
    All kinds.
    The company won't reveal its financial information, the names of its customers or other details of its business. Even looking at an analyst's screen at its Global Fusion Center wasn't allowed.
    "No, no," Richer said, putting his hands up. "There may be customers' names on there. We don't want you to see."
    In their conference room overlooking the Global Fusion Center, Total Intel executives fired off a list of some of their work. Are some recent bombings at major cities in India isolated incidents or should you pull your personnel out? What are the political developments in Pakistan going to mean for your business? Is your company popping up on jihadist Web sites? There's been crime recently in the ports of Mexico, possibly by rogue police officers. Is the government going to be able to ensure safety?
    Since 2000, the Terrorism Research Center portion of the company has done $1.5 million worth of contracts with the government, mainly from agencies like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Customs and the U.S. Special Operations Command buying its data subscription or other services.
    To Black and Richer, one of the most surprising things about being in the private sector is finding that much of the information they once considered top secret is publicly available. The trick, Richer said, is knowing where to look.
    "In a classified area, there's an assumption that if it is open, it can't be as good as if you stole it," Richer said. "I'm seeing that at least 80 percent of what we stole was open."
    As he's no longer with the CIA, Richer said he's found that people are more willing to share information. He said a military general in a country he would not name told him of the country's plan to build its next strike fighter. "I listened," Richer said.
    "We talked business and where we could help him understand markets and things like that." At the end of the conversation, Richer said, he asked the man, "Isn't that classified? Why are you telling me this?"
    Richer said the man answered, "If I tell it to an embassy official I've created espionage. You're a business partner."
    Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

  6. #66


    From Blackwater to Xe, the Templar Crusade
    Mercenary soldiers and security personnel for the US government.

    by Michael Carmichael

    Blackwater is a corporation that provides mercenary soldiers and supporting security personnel to the US government.

    Erik Prince, the founder and owner of the now infamous US corporation, Blackwater, hails from Holland, Michigan where his family was both powerful and prominent in two institutions - (1) the Republican Party and (2) the evangelical Christian Church. After scandals hit his large and lucrative firm, Prince ordered a curious rebranding that changed its name to Xe.

    X is an archaic form of abbreviation for Christ and/or Christian that was derived from the cross and the Greek Alphabet. X or Chi is the Greek letter that is the initial of "Christos" - X - which at the same time served as a symbol for the cross. Sometimes written Chi-Rho, (Xp) is another abbreviation for Christos and his followers, the Christians. From the perspective of medieval Christian symbology, 'Xe' is a combination of the Christic cross and the Greek letter, Epsilon, the first letter in the Greek word, Evangelion, glad tidings or gospel. From the perspective of a modern member of the Knights Templar, Xe is immediately recognizable as it symbolizes Christian Evangelism.

    Prince's background

    Eric Prince's father owned a thriving automotive parts business and sent his son to Holland Christian School - an evangelical establishment that accepts students from Kindergarten through the 12th grade. Since then, Prince has converted to Roman Catholicism - and may be a member or associate of Opus Dei, a very conservative cult now described as a prelature that is a strong ally of the current pope, Benedict XVI, who - when he was a Cardinal - paved the way for the beatification and canonization of the cult's founder, St. Josemaria Escriva by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

    Here is a brief description of Erik Prince's religious background taken from a website :

    The founder and CEO of Blackwater is Erik Prince, son of Edgar Prince, the now deceased businessman from Holland, Michigan. Prince's background as a Western Michigander is not just limited to geography, the brother of Betsy DeVos has also embraced the conservative religious beliefs that his family promoted zealously, particularly with their money. Erik began his political career working as an intern for Gary Bauer at the Family Research Council and also worked in the Bush I White House, although he thought that this administration was too liberal. Prince disapproved of the Bush I administration to the extent that in 1992 he supported Patrick Buchanan for President, something that got him into trouble with his sister Betsy.

    Unlike his family, which is part of the Christian Reformed Church, Erik Prince is a Catholic. He most likely became Catholic when he married his first wife, who died of cancer shortly after they were married. Interestingly enough, most of the leadership at Blackwater is also Catholic, albeit a conservative wing of the church that is quite reactionary. Erik Prince is personally connected to conservative Catholic groups like Catholic Answer, Crisis magazine, and a Grand Rapids-based group, the Acton Institute. But Prince has not abandoned his Protestant/Evangelical roots and is a close friend of Watergate criminal turned believer Chuck Colson. They have shared the podium on several occasions, even once at Calvin College. According to Scahill, Prince is aligning himself with a new Catholic/Evangelical alliance called "Evangelicals and Catholics Together." The ECT manifesto states:

    "The century now drawing to a close has been the greatest century of missionary expansion in Christian history. We pray and we believe that this expansion has prepared the way for yet greater missionary endeavor in the first century of the Third Millennium. The two communities in world Christianity that are most evangelistically assertive and most rapidly growing are Evangelicals and Catholics."

    Prince's relationship to what Scahill calls the "Theocon" movement is not marginal. Prince himself writes about this relationship and it's importance, particularly with the mission of Blackwater. Prince says "Everybody carries guns, just like the Prophet Jeremiah rebuilding the temple in Israel - a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other."
    The current Crusade

    In 2004, the current pope signed a letter to the Bishops in the United States warning the laity not to vote for Catholic candidates who had voted in favor of women's rights to abortion. Cardinal Ratzinger's letter weakened the campaign of John Kerry and strengthened George W. Bush who had used the term, "crusade," to rally his forces shortly after 9/11. Speaking in Regensburg in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI made insensitive remarks about the Islamic faith that caused outrage in the Muslim world.

    Erik Prince's personal Crusade

    Among his personnel at Xe, Prince is known to be a high-profile Islamophobe who believes his personal mission in life is to bring about the total extinction of the Muslim population of this planet in what he has described as a global campaign of genocide or a, "Crusade."

    Here is an excerpt of an article about Prince that appeared in The Economist:

    In an affidavit lodged with a court in Virginia, one of the witnesses said that Mr Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe." The statement continues

    To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

    Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince's executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to "lay Hajiis out on cardboard." Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince's employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as "ragheads" or "hajiis."
    Michael Carmichael is the founder of Planetary.

    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

  7. #67


    From Blackwater to Xe, the Templar Crusade
    Mercenary soldiers and security personnel for the US government.
    Ed - very interesting.

    Opus Dei and Catholic-military-intelligence networks are most likely directly involved here.

    Which means SMOM. :evil:
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  8. #68


    I'm not well-studied on the topic but, having just passed through the wiki entry, SMOM doesn't seem like your average social club.
    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

  9. #69


    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Jewett View Post
    I'm not well-studied on the topic but, having just passed through the wiki entry, SMOM doesn't seem like your average social club.
    Ed - no need for wiki. :dancing:

    Try some of these links:

    (from post #47 through the Covert Action pieces)

    (particularly from post #6 onwards)

    And SMOM and Gladio frequently overlap (eg post #17):

    Also here:
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  10. #70


    Using WikiPedia is like looking at a topic as if from a plane flying at 5,000 feet; you can discern some features and the general lay of the land.

    Using other sites is like going to the library for three-year old travel guides.

    If you want a Keyhole-class high-resolution look at a topic,
    go to the Deep Politics Forum.
    "Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

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