Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
H/t reader squodgy:
“The Taliban were the ones who tried to eradicate both Opium & Marijuana production.
This starved the CIA of its main income source needed to fund covert ‘black ops’.
Invading Afghanistan had no purpose other than to reinstate that income flow.
This article is pure disinfo apart from the fact that it was and still is a cash cow for the Military Industrial Complex.”
– Does Obama Want to Stay in Afghanistan to Harvest Its Opium? (Global Research, June 9, 2014):
“opium production has increased 33 fold from 185 tons in 2001 to 6100 tons in 2006. In 2007, Afghanistan provided approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin…”
So it’s really:
Opium poppy cultivation is up in Afghanistan
despitebecause the infamous mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater being paid $569m by the Pentagon to stop itguard it.
– Former Blackwater gets rich as Afghan drug production hits record high (Guardian, March 31, 2015):
Opium poppy cultivation is up in Afghanistan despite the infamous mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater being paid $569m by the Pentagon to stop it
In a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year.
Yet there is a clear winner in the anti-drug effort – not the Afghan people, but the infamous mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater.
H/t reader M.G.:
“The evil bastard who founded Blackwater walks free while his employees get convicted of murder. What it is to be a friend of GW Bush……no consequences…….this should show anyone there is zero difference between the two parties……
Bet this won’t be covered by corporate media.”
– Blackwater Founder Remains Free and Rich While His Former Employees Go Down on Murder Charges (The Intercept, Oct 22, 2014):
A federal jury in Washington, D.C., returned guilty verdicts against four Blackwater operatives charged with killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians and wounding scores of others in Baghdad in 2007.
The jury found one guard, Nicholas Slatten, guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter: Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard. The jury is still deliberating on additional charges against the operatives, who faced a combined 33 counts, according to the Associated Press. A fifth Blackwater guard, Jeremy Ridgeway, had already pleaded guilty to lesser charges and cooperated with prosecutors in the case against his former colleagues. The trial lasted ten weeks and the jury has been in deliberations for 28 days.
– How Blackwater Survived Iraq Probes Of Being “Above The Law” – By Threatening To Kill Investigators (ZeroHedge, June 30, 2014):
Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, The NY Times reports that the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. However, as James Risen reports, a senior official of the notorious private security firm allegedly threatened to kill a government investigator leading the probe into the firm’s Iraqi operation. Stunningly (or not), the US embassy sided with him and forced the inspector to cut the visit short.
As The Times reports, based on documents which were turned over to plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Blackwater… According to the documents, the investigators found numerous violations, including changing of security details without the State Department’s approval, reducing the number of guard details and storing of automatic weapons and ammunition in Blackwater employees’ private rooms.
– 400 Blackwater Mercs Deployed In Ukraine Against Separatists, German Press Reports (ZeroHedge, May 11, 2014):
In what is becoming a weekly ritual, the German press continues to demolish the US case of “idealistic humaniatrian” Ukraine intervention. Recall, that it was a week ago that German tabloid Bild am Sonntag, hardly the most reputable source but certainly one which reaches the broadest audience, reported that dozens of CIA and FBI agents were “advising the Ukraine government.” This conclusion is hardly a stretch and certainly based on facts considering the recent semi-secret jaunt by CIA head Brennan to Kiev. Fast forward one week when overnight the same Bild reported that about 400 elite mercenary commandos of the private US security firm, Academi, f/k/a Xe Services, f/k/a Blackwater “are involved in a punitive operation mounted by Ukraine’s new government” against east Ukraine separatists.
Bild cites sources who report that on April 29, Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) informed the Angela Merkel government about Academi commandos’ involvement in Kiev’s military operations in eastern Ukraine. Spiegel adds that “the information originates from U.S. intelligence services and was presented during a meeting chaired by the Chancellor’s Office chief Peter Altmaier (CDU). At the meeting were present the president of the intelligence agencies and the Federal Criminal Office, as well as the intelligence coordinator of the Chancellor’s Office and senior Ministry officials.”
Bild am Sontag did not have information about who was paying the Blackwater commandos: it is well-known they do not come cheap.
RT has more:
In March, media reports appeared suggesting that the coup-imposed government in Kiev could have employed up to 300 mercenaries.That was before the new government launched a military operation against anti-Maidan activists, or “terrorists” as Kiev put it, in southeast Ukraine.
At the time, the Russian Foreign Ministry said then that reports claiming Kiev was planning to involve “involve staff from foreign military companies to ‘ensure the rule of law,’” could suggest that it wanted “to suppress civil protests and dissatisfaction.”
In particular, Greystone Limited, which is currently registered in Barbados and is a part of Academi Corporation, is a candidate for such a gendarme role. It is a similar and probably an affiliated structure of the Blackwater private army, whose staff have been accused of cruel and systematic violations of human rights in various trouble spots on many occasions.
“Among the candidates for the role of gendarme is the Barbados-registered company Greystone Limited, which is integrated with the Academi corporation,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “It is an analogue, and, probably and affiliated body of the Blackwater private army, whose employees have repeatedly been accused of committing grievous and systematic human rights abuses in different troubled regions.”
As this is not the first time Academi has been implicated in the Ukraine, its canned response is already prepared. This is what it said back on March 17:Some irresponsible bloggers and an online reporter have recently posted rumors that ACADEMI employees (operating under the name of Blackwater) are present in Ukraine. They are not and ACADEMI has no relationship with any entity named Blackwater or with the former owner of Blackwater, Erik Prince. Such unfounded statements combined with the lack of factual reporting to support them and the lack of context about the company, are nothing more than sensationalistic efforts to create hysteria and headlines in times of genuine crisis.
The basics: Those who understand the facts know that Erik Prince sold the company (which he had renamed ‘Xe’) in 2010 and retained the rights to the ‘Blackwater’ name. The new management of ACADEMI has made tremendous efforts to build a responsible, transparent company ethos, evidenced by the numerous awards ACADEMI has received for being among the most compliant companies in our industry. More information can be found here.
Sure enough, moments ago the soldier for hire company followed up with a second denial, when as German Zeit reported, “the U.S. security services denied a ZEIT ONLINE report, that it has put mercenaries in Ukraine.”
Of course, since no western entity, and certainly not the company itself, would ever admit its involvement in the Ukraine as it would promptly crash the official US foreign policy track claiming US non-involvement in Ukraine, none of this is surprising.
Readers may have greater luck inquiring Blackwater directly via their Twitter account. After all #AskJPM was such a smashing success we don’t see a reason why #AskBlackwater wouldn’t work just as well.
Upcoming Courses in New Iberia, LA: Jun 30 – M1911A1 Handgun Armorer; Jul 01 – Mossberg 500/590 Armorer (2-days) http://t.co/2nC1tSmgy7
— ACADEMI, LLC (@AcademiElite) May 9, 2014
Finally, in this proxy war between west and east, to believe that the US won’t throw everything it can at Putin is naive, and as such the involvement of trained US mercenaries in Ukraine is beyond debate.
However what is certainly surprising and far more interesting, is the persistent attempts by the German press to discredit none other than their biggest “Developed world” ally, the US. It is almost as if someone (a quite wealthy and powerful someone) has material interests that diverge with those of the Obama administration, and hence converge with those of Putin. Alongside the emerging China-Russia axis, keeping tabs on just how close to Russia Germany is willing to get, is easily the most notable story in the entire Ukraine conflict.
– Blackwater Guards Finally to be Tried for Killing 14 Iraqi Civilians (AllGov, April 13, 2014):
One of the darkest episodes during the U.S. occupation of Iraq last decade is finally resulting in the prosecution of private American security guards who killed more than a dozen Iraqi civilians in a single incident.
The name Blackwater became famous after the 2007 event in which guards from the security firm’s Raven 23 unit opened fire in Baghdad’s Nisour Square on September 16. The shootings, which the Iraqi government said were unprovoked, killed 14 people and wounded 20 others.
The guards claimed they came under attack from insurgents while carrying out their duties for the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), which had hired the firm that has since undergone multiple name changes (Blackwater Worldwide, then Xe Services, now Academi).
– The ‘Crackdown’ Begins: Ukraine Launches “Anti-Terrorist” Operations In Eastern Ukraine, Arrests 70 (ZeroHedge, April 8, 2014):
Despite Russia’s veiled threat that any ongoing action against pro-Russian demonstrators had the potential to instigate civil war and bring action by the Russian forces, Ukraine’s interior minister Arsen Avakov has announced, Reuters reports, that Ukraine has launched an “anti-terrorist” operation in the eastern city of Kharkiv and about 70 “separatists” have been arrested for seizing the regional administration building. Is this the red-line that Putin laid down last night?
As Russia made clear last night, as ITAR-TASS reports,
Greystone is a subsidiary of Blackwater (= Xe = Academi).
– Blackwater’s Black Ops (The Nation, Oct 4, 2010, by Jeremy Scahill):
One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the “intel arm” of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.
– Russia Accuses US Mercenaries Of Inciting Civil War In Ukraine (ZeroHedge, April 7, 2014):
In response to claims by the Ukraine government (and the west) that Russia provoking trouble in Eastern Europe – with The White House’s Jary Carney even suggesting that pro-Russia demonstrators were paid – Russia’s foreign ministry has responded. Posting via their Facebook page, Russia urged Ukraine to halt any interior military preparations which could instigate a civil war. But the kicker, for which we anxiously await a rebuttal, is Russia’s comment that they “are particularly concerned that the operation involves some 150 American mercenaries.”
The US administration perspective… (via WaPo)
In Washington, the Obama administration expressed deep skepticism that the scattered uprisings and building takeovers in cities such as Donetsk and Kharkiv have been spontaneous. “There is strong evidence suggesting some of these demonstrators were paid,” said Jay Carney, the White House spokesman.
“If Russia moves into eastern Ukraine, either overtly or covertly, this would be a very serious escalation,” Carney said.
The Ukrainian perspective…
Blackwater, then Xe and now Academi.
Greystone is a subsidiary of Blackwater.
– Ukrainian authorities to tame Eastern regions with aid of private military company (ITAR-TASS, March 25, 2014):
Dnepropetrovsk, March 25. /ITAR-TASS/. An overseas private military company will engages in the suppressing of protest moods of the mostly Russian-speaking population in the East of Ukraine, a source at the Security Service of Ukraine said Monday
“The case in hand is Greystone Ltd. company,” he said.
– U.S. Commandos’ New Landlord in Afghanistan: Blackwater (Wired, Dec 5, 2012):
U.S. Special Operations Forces have a brand new home in Afghanistan. It’s owned and operated by the security company formerly known as Blackwater, thanks to a no-bid deal worth $22 million.
You might think that Blackwater, now called Academi, was banished into some bureaucratic exile after its operatives in Afghanistan stole guns from U.S. weapons depots and killed Afghan civilians. Wrong. Academi’s private 10-acre compound outside Kabul, called Camp Integrity, is the new headquarters for perhaps the most important special operations unit in Afghanistan.
You can’t make this stuff up!
The Afghan “drug war” is of course a “full success” …
– Afghanistan: Opium Cultivation Rose Substantially In 2012 (New York Times)
– CIA Created Afghan Heroin Trade (Veterans Today)
– Afghanistan: Is Creating A ‘Narco-State’ Considered ‘Nation-Building?’ (Veterans Today)
– Breaking News: Afghanistan – America’s ‘Total Lie War’ (Veterans Today)
… for the CIA and its overlords.
– Pentagon Wants to Keep Running Its Afghan Drug War From Blackwater’s HQ (Wired, Nov 21, 2012):
The U.S. war in Afghanistan is supposed to be winding down. Its contractor-led drug war? Not so much.
Inside a compound in Kabul called Camp Integrity, the Pentagon stations a small group of officers to oversee the U.S. military’s various operations to curb the spread of Afghanistan’s cash crops of heroin and marijuana, which help line the Taliban’s pockets. Only Camp Integrity isn’t a U.S. military base at all. It’s the 10-acre Afghanistan headquarters of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater.
Those officers work for an obscure Pentagon agency called the Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office, or CNTPO. Quietly, it’s grown into one of the biggest dispensers of cash for private security contractors in the entire U.S. government: One pile of contracts last year from CNTPO was worth more than $3 billion. And it sees a future for itself in Afghanistan over the long haul.
– Ex-Blackwater to teach US spies survival skills (RT, Sep 22, 2012):
The Pentagon has awarded Academi, the security company previously known as Blackwater, part of a $20 billion five year contract to train military intelligence agents. It comes despite the firm earlier being fined by a US court for illegal arms trade.
The US Defense Intelligence Agency announced on Thursday that it would hire six private security companies, including Academi, for the contract. The contractors are to train agents “before they leave on overseas deployments, to provide them with a foundation of hard and soft skills relevant to living and working in hostile and austere environments,” the document says.
– Blackwater Pays Millions in Arms Smuggling Case (Wired, Aug 8, 2012):
Depending on how you look at it, the world’s most notorious mercenary firm just got away with misleading the government about arming and training foreign governments — or the company agreed to pay millions, only to defer a potential prosecution on those charges. The firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to fork over $7.5 million to the Justice Department $7.5 million to avoid going to court on 17 criminal charges. It’s not exactly a bank-breaker for the company, now known as Academi LLC. Then again, the legal deal announced yesterday doesn’t get Academi entirely off the hook.
– Once called Blackwater, firm changes name (Sydney Morning Herald/AFP, Dec. 13, 2011):
The US security firm formerly known as Blackwater, which was barred from Iraq over a deadly 2007 shooting, has renamed itself a second time.
USTC Holdings, the investor consortium that acquired ex-Blackwater firm Xe Services in December 2010, announced ACADEMI as the new name and brand for Xe Services.
The rebranding came as President Barack Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday, marking America’s exit from a war launched to oust Saddam Hussein.
“We have had a year of extraordinary changes that have resulted in a new, better company,” ACADEMI president and chief executive Ted Wright said in a statement.
“I know that everyone at ACADEMI shares in this commitment to promote the highest standards of ethical conduct, compliance and integrity in all of our activities.