Nov 23

Related info:

‘Anti-Establishment’ Trump Won’t Pursue Charges Against Hillary: “She’s Been Through Enough”


Trump-Satanic-Hand-SignDonald-Trump-666-hand-sign

5 Things to Know About Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Pick for Education Secretary:

The prominent Michigan philanthropist is an ardent supporter of charter schools.

President-Elect Donald Trump on Wednesday said he will nominate the Michigan philanthropist and prominent Republican donor Betsy DeVos to be U.S. Education Secretary. The announcement signals that big changes could be on the way for schools and students around the country. Here are five things to know: Continue reading »

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Apr 01

Apr 1, 2016

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Mar 24

Eric Prince

America’s Top Rogue Mercenary – Blackwater’s Erik Prince is Under Federal Investigation:

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. Continue reading »

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Feb 04

BlackWater

Media Ignores Dozens of Blackwater Mercenaries Killed in Yemen

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Apr 01

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.”

Flashback:

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 despite because the infamous mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater being paid $569m by the Pentagon to stop it guard it.


An Afghan farmer harvests in an opium poppy field in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on 27 March 2015. Afghanistan is listed as world’s largest opium producer.
An Afghan farmer harvests in an opium poppy field in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on 27 March 2015. Afghanistan is listed as world’s largest opium producer.

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. Continue reading »

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Oct 28

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.”


Erik Prince

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. Continue reading »

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Jul 12

blackwater


Blackwater awarded over $1bn from State Dept. since threat on investigator’s life (RT, July 11, 2014):

The US State Department has allocated more than a billion dollars in contracts to the security firm Blackwater and its later manifestations since a top official for the company threatened a government investigator’s life in 2007.

The Huffington Post reported that the notorious security contractor Blackwater, its subsequent incarnations, and its subsidiaries have received more than $1.3 billion since the fall of 2007 for training and operations the world over.

In August 2007, State Department investigator Jean C. Richter said a Blackwater project manager, Daniel Carroll, told Richter “that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” where the investigator was observing – and criticizing – the company’s operations. The New York Times reported the details of the threat last month. Continue reading »

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Jul 01

blackwater_logo

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.

Continue reading »

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May 11

Related info:

The ‘Crackdown’ Begins: Ukraine Launches “Anti-Terrorist” Operations In Eastern Ukraine, Arrests 70

Russia Accuses US Mercenaries Of Inciting Civil War In Ukraine

Ukrainian Authorities To Tame Eastern Regions With Mercenaries From Blackwater Subsidiary


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.

blackwater ukraine

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.

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.

 

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Apr 17

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).

Continue reading »

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Apr 08

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, Continue reading »

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Apr 08

Greystone is a subsidiary of Blackwater (= Xe = Academi).

Related info:

Ukrainian Authorities To Tame Eastern Regions With Mercenaries From Blackwater Subsidiary

Flashback:

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.


GREYSTONE

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… Continue reading »

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Mar 26

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.

Continue reading »

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Jan 19

How Erik Prince, Founder Of Blackwater, Will Help China Subjugate Africa (ZeroHedge, Jan 18, 2014):

As we previously explained numerous times (here originally and here most recently) Africa is a crucial region in the world…

As Western economies start to regress in earnest following decades of failed and destructive monetary inflation and debt accumulation, as we warned previously, yield-starved investors are allocating real capital to the one industrially untapped continent in the world: Africa. However, we’re not seeing industry moving to Africa to set up shop. Rather, politically-directed capital flowing into the African resources sector is fueling and financing the strongest consumer boom in the world. It’s a vendor financing model for Asia, and it portends a major boom and bust cycle for the African continental economy.

And as the fight begins to accelerate, as Mike Krieger notes, nations will increase their efforts…

Africa-1

 – How Erik Prince, Founder Of Blackwater, Will Help China Subjugate Africa (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Jan 15, 2014):

China’s ongoing colonization of Africa represents yet another sad development in the continent’s tragic history. I briefly highlighted this topic once before in December 2012, via a “Guest Post” I suggest reading titled: Africa in the Crosshairs.

Unfortunately, Erik Prince of Blackwater infamy is now coming to town, which can only mean more pain, suffering and servitude for Africa.

From the South China Morning Post:

Continue reading »

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Dec 06

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.

Continue reading »

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Nov 22

You can’t make this stuff up!

Related info:

The Afghan “drug war” is of course a “full success”

Afghanistan: Opium Cultivation Rose Substantially In 2012 (New York Times)

Afghan Opium Poppy Farming Increases 20%, Fuelled By High Opium Prices (Guardian)

CIA Created Afghan Heroin Trade (Veterans Today)

Afghanistan: Is Creating A ‘Narco-State’ Considered ‘Nation-Building?’ (Veterans Today)

Brought To You By Poppy Bush, Obama Bin Bush And Al-CIAda: Photos Of U.S. And Afghan Troops Patrolling Poppy Fields June 2012

Breaking News: Afghanistan – America’s ‘Total Lie War’ (Veterans Today)

Afghanistan: Heroin Production Rose Between 2001 And 2011 From Just 185 Tons To A Staggering 5,800 Tons/Year

Afghan Opium Production Increases By 61 Percent, Opium Yield Rises 133 Percent From 2010

War On Drugs Revealed As Total Hoax: US Military Admits To Guarding, Assisting Lucrative Opium Trade In Afghanistan

Afghan Opium Production ‘Rises By 61%’ Compared With 2010 – Per-Hectare Price Of Opium More Than Doubled

… 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.

Continue reading »

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Sep 23

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.

Continue reading »

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Aug 09

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. Continue reading »

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Mar 07

Here we go again!

The seeds are safe …

Syria Crops Sheltered In Arctic Doomsday Seed Vault … To Protect Them From Wars And Natural Disasters

… and there are only disposable, unwanted humans (and another central bank that is not controlled by the Rothschild’s) left from the elitists perspective.

Flashback 1:

US Troops Deploying on Jordan-Syria Border (Video)

Dr. Webster Tarpley: The NATO-CIA Destabilization Of Syria Is Under Way! (Video)

’15,000 Strong’ Army Gathers To Take On Syria:

An insurgent army which claims to be up to 15,000 strong is being coordinated from Turkey to take on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, which risks plunging the region into open warfare.

– Global Research’s Michel Chossudovsky: Syria’s ‘Peaceful Protesters’ Are ‘Death Squads Directly Supported By Turkey And Israel’ Armed With Heavy Machine Guns (Video)

Flashback 2:

On record: Interview With US General Wesley Clark (Ret.): US Government Planned To ‘Take Out 7 Countries In 5 Years’: ‘Starting With Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan And Finishing Off Iran (Video)

It’s Libya 2.0 (Links are down below.)

And not only the Mossad, the CIA and Blackwater ‘operate’ in Syria, but also Al-CIAda (Links are also down below.)

We are ‘the rising’ 4th Reich and by now we know how awakened, peaceful Germans must have felt like, when Hitler ‘liberated’ Poland in 1939.

Total despair, because they knew that their country has been hijcked by a criminal cabal and that it is too late to do anything about it.

See also: Albert Pike Predicted Three World Wars In 1871



Members of the Free Syrian Army patrol an area in Qusayr, 15 kms (nine miles) from Homs. (AFP Photo / STR) Ahmed Jadallah)

Mossad, CIA and Blackwater operate in Syria – report (RT, Mar 6, 2012):

A security operation in Homs reveals Mossad, CIA and Blackwater are involved in the military violence in this part of Syria, as over 700 Arab and Western gunmen and Israeli, American and European-made weapons were detained in Baba Amr district.

­Syrian security forces got yet further proof of Western powers’ military involvement in Syria’s internal conflict, reports Al-Manar, a news agency, affiliated with Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based militant group and political party.

Around 700 gunmen were recently arrested in the former rebel stronghold of Babar Amr.

“The captured gunmen held Arab nationalities, including Gulf, Iraqi, and Lebanese. Among them were also Qatari intelligence agents and non-Arab fighters from Afghanistan, Turkey, and some European countries like France,” the agency quotes Syrian expert in strategic affairs Salim Harba as saying.

Continue reading »

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Nov 10

See also:

US Torture Hearings: Sergeant Chuck Luther Tells Congress How Army Tortured Him (Video)

US Soldiers Tell The Truth: Confess to Institutionally-Sanctioned War Crimes!

American Soldiers Are WAKING UP!!!

US Soldier: The Enemy Is At Home


Fallujah Veteran: ‘I Served The 1%’ (Information Clearinghouse, Nov. 08, 2011):

Thoughts on the role of veterans in the Occupy movement

I did not serve my country in Iraq; I served the 1%. It was on their behalf that I helped lay siege to Fallujah, helped kill thousands of civilians, helped displace hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and helped destroy an entire city. My “service” served Exxon-Mobil, Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, and other multinational corporations in Iraq.

My family in Massachusetts is not safer because of my service, and Iraqis are not freer. I helped oppress Iraqis in a manner far more brutal than what has been experienced by the Occupy movement at the hands of the New York and Oakland police departments.

I was an occupier and am now an #occupier. I once served the 1%, but now try to serve the 99%. That is why I must speak up when I see the Occupy movement being led astray by the same nationalism and “Ameri-centrism,” the same thoughtless praises for U.S. troops and veterans, and the same hypocrisy that led us into the so-called “War On Terror” and the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many of us have joined the Occupy movement, because we identify as members of the 99%, but the media only began to highlight our participation after Cpl. Scott Olsen was shot in the head by the Oakland police with a projectile on Oct. 25. Olsen was immediately rushed to the emergency room, and his name soon became a rallying cry. A nationwide call was put out for vigils in solidarity with Olsen.

Going to war is not “serving our country”

The Occupy movement was quick to highlight Olsen’s “service” and his two deployments to Iraq. The New York Times noted that “his injury—and the oddity of a Marine who faced enemy fire only to be attacked at home—has prompted an outpouring of sympathy, as well as calls for solidarity.”

Although Olsen appears to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—he is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace,—the Occupy movement’s response to his attack has revealed ambivalence on these issues.

The Occupy movement has glossed over the irony that Olsen was put in the hospital by some of the same tactics that his Marine Corps has used against Iraqis. It has not drawn a connection between what happened to Olsen and what happened to Iraqis who peacefully protested against the U.S. occupation of their country—like in Fallujah on April 28, 2003, when the U.S. fired into a crowd of protesters and killed 13 civilians. Countless other identical incidents have taken place, even today as Iraqis also protest unemployment, corruption and lack of services.

When the Occupy movement mentions Olsen’s “service” without clarifying who he served, they hide the lies of the 1% and ignore the more than 1 million dead Iraqis, the millions of refugees and orphans, and the dramatic rise in cancers and birth defects in Iraq.

We must stand for the most affected victims of Wall Street

I watched a Youtube video the other day of U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Shamar Thomas shouting at the NYPD: “If you want to go kill or hurt people, go to Iraq. Why are you hurting U.S. citizens?” as a crowd of Occupy Wall Street protesters cheered him on.

Over 2.5 million people have watched this video, and Thomas appeared on Rosie O’Donnell’s television show and made several appearances on Keith Olbermann. Everyone championed his “service” and decried police brutality against U.S. citizens. Nobody questioned the dismissal of the value of Iraqi lives.

We should all decry police brutality wherever it rears its ugly head. Yet police brutality and the murder of innocent civilians in foreign countries in service of the 1% are both moral issues, and to decry one without decrying the other suggests a serious disconnect.

These attitudes in our movement are deeply troubling to me. We decry economic injustice at home, but stay silent about the unjust occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. We decry police brutality at home, while the U.S. war machine brutalizes innocent people abroad. We need to understand that Iraqis, Afghans, Palestinians, Libyans and everyone else who has fallen victim to the 1% and its war machine are part of the 99%, too.

We can love our country, but we should not value American lives more than any other. We can set up a Scott Olsen Support Fund, but we should not ignore the rise in cancers and birth defects that U.S. weapons have caused in Iraq.

Veterans have an important role to play in this movement, but we are not heroes because of our participation in the wars, and it is shameful for anyone to use us to appeal to patriotism; that only serves the 1%. What we have to offer this movement is a first-hand account of what the 1%  has done all over the world at the expense of the 99%. We as veterans are in a better position than anyone else to fight against the dangerous beliefs that put veterans on a pedestal. It is our responsibility to speak out against injustice, no matter where it occurs in this world.

The author is a Marine Corps veteran of the second siege of Fallujah and a member of March Forward!. He is the founder of the ‘Justice for Fallujah Project’ which will host various events during the second annual ‘Remember Fallujah Week,’ Nov. 16-19. Click here for more information.

This item was first published at www.answercoalition.org

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Jul 12

Blackwater’s New Director: Bill Clinton’s Lawyer (Wired, July 6, 2011):

Blackwater’s rebranding continues at a torrid pace. Danger Room has learned the latest Washington greybeard hired to spruce up the image of the world’s most infamous private security firm is Jack Quinn, a top Washington lobbyist and former White House counsel to President Bill Clinton.

Now renamed Xe and owned by an investor consortium called USTC Holdings, the company is bringing Quinn — pictured left, with Rep. Joe Crowley — onto its board as an “independent director.” He’ll focus on “governance and oversight,” keeping the company out of trouble, especially with the government. USTC Holdings’ Jason DeYonker says that Quinn’s reputation for “commitment to the highest ethical standards of conduct in both the public and private sectors” makes him a great fit.

To be cynical about it, a man who gave legal advice to Clinton knows a whole lot about crisis management. Which is important, since Xe intends to keep providing security to U.S. diplomats in dangerous places – activities that, under its old leadership, led its guards into a shooting debacle that killed 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Quinn is one of a string of board members and executives Xe brought on to draw a bright line between the old Blackwater and the new. All of them are powerful people, like ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Quinn’s lobbying clients include AT&T, old-folks association AARP and Visa.

Continue reading »

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Jun 09

Real-Life Mercenaries to Star in Blackwater, the Videogame (Wired, June 7, 2011):

Blackwater Worldwide, the real-life mercenary team linked to the killing of civilians and noncombatants in Iraq during U.S. operations there, will be the subject of a Kinect-supported videogame coming to the Xbox 360 later this year.

Published by 505 Games and titled, simply, Blackwater, the game is being produced in consultation with the private security contractor’s founder, the former Navy SEAL Erik Prince.

A news release called it “an intense, cinematic shooter experience,” set in a fictional North African town, in which players, as Blackwater operatives, battle two warlords’ factions to protect the city.

“This game and its immersive Kinect-based approach will give players the chance to experience what it is like to be on a Blackwater team on a mission without being dropped into a real combat situation,” Prince said in a statement issued by 505. The game was developed in conjunction with former Blackwater members “to ensure accuracy of moves, gestures and gameplay,” the 505 release said. “The game also features a selection of officially-licensed weapons for your soldier to choose from.”

The game may also be played using a standard controller.

Blackwater, renamed to Xe Services LLC, was contracted by the U.S. government to provide training and diplomatic security, most notably in the Middle East, for much of the last decade. Its presence alongside U.S. diplomatic and military personnel came under scrutiny after several incidents resulting in the deaths either of civilians or Blackwater employees themselves.

Its involvement in Iraq became enough of a controversy that the company renamed itself to Xe in the aftermath. Its employees were involved in shootings later found to be unjustified, including one in which 17 Iraqis were slain, prompting the government there to revoke Blackwater’s license to operate in the country. Both the U.S. State Department and the FBI called that incident a reckless use of force that killed innocents, but an FBI investigation could not conclusively prove Blackwater was responsible for all deaths. In another 2006 incident, a Blackwater employee was fired after he, allegedly drunk, shot and killed a security guard of the Iraqi vice president.

Though none of its employees have faced prosecution, Blackwater/Xe has been heavily criticized in Congressional hearings as a cost-ineffective private contractor whose uses of force have embarrassed and compromised U.S. diplomatic interests. Additionally, the leak of diplomatic documents by Wikileaks in October 2010 alleged Blackwater committed serious abuses while in Iraq, including killing civilians. The State Department dropped Blackwater as its main private security contractor in 2009.

Prince, who founded Blackwater in 1997, is no longer involved in Xe’s management or operations.

505 Games is no stranger to controversy; it is publishing Supremacy MMA a fighter/sports hybrid whose stylized violence and gritty, underground presentation of mixed martial arts has drawn criticism from some, saying it presents the sport in a poor light. Mixed martial arts is especially sensitive to depictions of violence and brutality, as they have been the basis for state-level legislation forbidding the sport.

Supremacy MMA also features, for the first time, female combatants in an MMA title, although they may not fight male characters.

Both Blackwater and Supremacy MMA are playable at E3 2011 in Los Angeles this week.

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May 16

May 16 (Reuters) — The crown prince of Abu Dhabi has hired the founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide to set up an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates, the New York Times reported Sunday.

The Times said it obtained documents that showed that the unit being formed by Erik Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, with $529 million from the UAE would be used to thwart internal revolt, conduct special operations and defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from attacks.

The newspaper said the UAE’s decision to hire the contingent of foreign troops was taken before a wave of popular unrest spread across the Arab world in recent months, including to neighboring Bahrain and Oman.

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May 06

The consortium in charge of restructuring the world’s most infamous private-security firm just added a new chief in charge of keeping the company on the straight and narrow. Yes, John Ashcroft, the former U.S. attorney general, is now an “independent director” of Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater.

Ashcroft will head Xe’s new “subcommittee on governance,” its backers announced early Wednesday in a statement. The subcommittee is designed to “maximize governance, compliance and accountability” and “promote the highest degrees of ethics and professionalism within the private-security industry.”

In other words, no more shooting civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, no more signing for weapons its guards aren’t authorized to carry in war zones, no more impersonations of cartoon characters to acquire said weaponry, and no more ‘roids and coke on the job.

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Jan 23

Blackwater founder sets up new force to tackle piracy


Blackwater employee on patrol in Baghdad

Erik Prince, the American founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, has cropped up at the centre of a controversial scheme to establish a new mercenary force to crack down on piracy and terrorism in the war-torn East African country of Somalia.

The project, which emerged yesterday when an intelligence report was leaked to media in the United States, requires Mr Prince to help train a private army of 2,000 Somali troops that will be loyal to the country’s United Nations-backed government. Several neighbouring states, including the United Arab Emirates, will pay the bills.

Mr Prince is working in Somalia alongside Saracen International, a murky South African firm which is run by a former officer from the Civil Co-operation Bureau, an apartheid-era force notorious for killing opponents of the white minority government.

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Oct 27

See also:

US ‘concerned’ about Iran influence in Afghanistan (Telegraph):

The White House said on Monday the world has “every reason to be concerned” about Iranian influence in Afghanistan, after President Hamid Karzai admitted receiving bags of money from Tehran.

Flashback:

Former UK ambassador Craig Murray (The Raw Story):

Murray alleged that in the late 1990s the Uzbek ambassador to the US met with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to discuss a pipeline for the region, and out of that meeting came agreements that would see Texas-based Enron gain the rights to Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits, while oil company Unocal worked on developing the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.

“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.

“There are designs of this pipeline, and if you look at the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, as against other NATO country forces in Afghanistan, you’ll see that undoubtedly the US forces are positioned to guard the pipeline route. It’s what it’s about. It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”



Karzai: Blackwater behind terrorism

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said US private security firms, including Xe Services LLC, formerly known as Blackwater, are being behind terrorism in the country.

At a press conference in Kabul, Karzai said that US security companies have been behind explosions that have claimed the lives of women and children.

The Afghan president added that they have caused “blasts and terrorism” in different parts of Afghanistan over the past months.

The Afghan president said his administration cannot even distinguish between the bomb blasts carried out by US security firms and those of the Taliban militants.

“In fact we don’t yet know how many of these blasts are by Taliban and how many are carried out by them (US security companies).”

Blackwater has been involved in the murder of several Afghan citizens over the past years. The company has also been struggling with a trail of legal cases and civil lawsuits, including one for killing 17 Iraqi civilians during a Baghdad shootout in 2007.

Earlier in June, the CIA reportedly admitted that Blackwater had been loading bombs on US drones that target suspected militants in neighboring Pakistan.

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Oct 03

Never mind the dead civilians. Forget about the stolen guns. Get over the murder arrests, the fraud allegations, and the accusations of guards pumping themselves up with steroids and cocaine. Through a “joint venture,” the notorious private-security firm Blackwater has won a piece of a five-year State Department contract worth up to $10 billion, Danger Room has learned.

Apparently, there is no misdeed so big that it can keep guns-for-hire from working for the government. And this is despite a 2008 campaign pledge from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ban the company from federal contracts.

Eight private security firms have won State’s giant Worldwide Protective Services contract, the big Foggy Bottom partnership to keep embassies and their inhabitants safe. Two of those firms are longtime State contract holders DynCorp and Triple Canopy. The others are newcomers to the big security contract: EOD Technology, SOC, Aegis Defense Services, Global Strategies Group, Torres International Services and International Development Solutions LLC.

Don’t see any of Blackwater’s myriad business names on there? That’s apparently by design.

Blackwater and the State Department tried their best to obscure their renewed relationship. As Danger Room reported Wednesday, Blackwater did not appear on the vendors’ list for Worldwide Protective Services. And the State Department confirms that the company, renamed Xe Services, didn’t actually submit its own independent bid.

Instead, they used a blandly named cut-out, “International Development Solutions,” to retain a toehold into State’s lucrative security business. No one who looks at the official announcement of the contract award would have any idea that firm is connected to Blackwater.

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Sep 06

blackwater-now-xe

Blackwater Worldwide created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq, according to Congressional investigators and former Blackwater officials.

While it is not clear how many of those businesses won contracts, at least three had deals with the United States military or the Central Intelligence Agency, according to former government and company officials. Since 2001, the intelligence agency has awarded up to $600 million in classified contracts to Blackwater and its affiliates, according to a United States government official.

The Senate Armed Services Committee this week released a chart that identified 31 affiliates of Blackwater, now known as Xe Services. The network was disclosed as part of a committee’s investigation into government contracting. The investigation revealed the lengths to which Blackwater went to continue winning contracts after Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in September 2007. That episode and other reports of abuses led to criminal and Congressional investigations, and cost the company its lucrative security contract with the State Department in Iraq.

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May 05

Erik Prince
Erik Prince

Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, the American private security organisation, has claimed that his employees have called in airstrikes in Afghanistan.

He also mocked Afghan military recruits for needing lessons in how to use a toilet, and questioned the value and quality of other countries’ troops in the country.

In a speech in January at the University of Michigan which was secretly recorded, he questioned the will to fight of many Nato troops in Afghanistan, saying that “a lot of them should just pack it in and go home”.

Blackwater, now renamed Xe Services, has been a lightning rod for controversy surrounding America’s use of private contractors in war zones since its personnel killed 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad square in 2007. Continue reading »

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Apr 17

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The former president of Blackwater Worldwide was charged Friday with using straw purchases to stockpile automatic weapons at the security firm and filing false documents to cover up gifts given to the King of Jordan.

The federal indictment charges Gary Jackson, 52, who left the company last year in a management shakeup, along with four other former workers. The charges against Jackson include a conspiracy to violate firearms laws, false statements and possession of an unregistered firearm.

Also indicted were former general counsel Andrew Howell, 44; former executive vice president Bill Mathews, 44; former procurement vice president Ana Bundy, 45; and, 65-year-old Ronald Slezak, a former weapons manager.

The charges open a new front of the government’s oversight of the sullied security company. Several of the company’s contractors have previously been charged with federal crimes for their actions in war zones, but the company’s executives have so far weathered a range of investigations.

The company has been trying to rehabilitate its image since a 2007 shooting in Baghdad left 17 people dead, outraged the Iraqi government and led to a federal charges against several Blackwater guards — accusations later thrown out of court after a judge found prosecutors mishandled evidence. Around the time that Jackson left the company, Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services.

The latest case stems from a raid conducted by federal agents at the company’s headquarters in Moyock in 2008 that seized 22 weapons, including 17 AK-47s. Continue reading »

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