H/t reader squodgy.
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The US government (CIA) hates competition:
– 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)
– U.S. Ready to Offer Mercenaries $10 Billion for a Drug-War Air Force (Wired, Dec 4 , 2012):
Unsure how your private security firm makes money as the U.S. war in Afghanistan winds down? One option: Go into the drug trade — more specifically, the lucrative business of fighting narcotics. The State Department needs a business partner to keep its fleet of drug-hunting helicopters and planes flying worldwide. You could make up to $10 billion-with-a-B.
Starting next month in Melbourne, Florida, the State Department will solicit some defense-industry feedback on a contract to help operate its 412 aircraft, based in at least eight nations, before it reopens the contract for bidding. Among the missions the diplomatic corps needs fulfilled: “Provide pilots and operational support for drug interdiction missions such as crop spraying, and the transport of personnel and cargo,” according to a pre-solicitation the department’s bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs released on Friday.
From its headquarters at Florida’s Patrick Air Force Base, the State Department directs 51,000 annual hours worth of air operations. In Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Pakistan, and Guatemala, it mostly performs “counternarcotics and law enforcement activities,” explains State Department spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala, and in Afghanistan it does transportation support as well. Diplomats at the mega-embassy in Iraq also rely on State’s contractor air fleet to move about the country. And in recent years, that fleet has also needed to perform short-term air missions in Sudan, Honduras, Malta, Libya and Egypt. Private-security giant DynCorp currently holds the contract for supporting the diplomatic fleet.
WikiLeaks cables show Afghan interior minister Hanif Atmar was in a panic over the scandal involving foreign contractors. Atmar resigned in June this year. Photograph: Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images
A scandal involving foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen who took drugs and paid for young “dancing boys” to entertain them in northern Afghanistan caused such panic that the interior minister begged the US embassy to try and “quash” the story, according to one of the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.
In a meeting with the assistant US ambassador, a panicked Hanif Atmar, the interior minister at the time of the episode last June, warned that the story would “endanger lives” and was particularly concerned that a video of the incident might be made public.
The episode helped to fuel Afghan demands that contractors and private security companies be brought under much tighter government control. However, the US embassy was legally incapable of honouring a request by Atmar that the US military should assume authority over training centres managed by DynCorp, the US company whose employees were involved in the incident in the northern province of Kunduz.
There is a long tradition of young boys dressing up as girls and dancing for men in Afghanistan, an activity that sometimes crosses the line into child abuse with Afghans keeping boys as possessions.
Although rarely discussed or criticised in Afghanistan, it is conceivable that the involvement of foreigners could have turned into a major public scandal. Atmar himself warned about public anger towards contractors, who he said “do not have many friends” and said they needed far greater oversight.
Some explosive testimony this afternoon from a panel of whistleblowers testifying before the Senate’s Democratic Policy Committee on contractor abuse in Iraq.
A contractor died when a DynCorp manager used an employee’s armored car to transport prostitutes, according to Barry Halley, a Worldwide Network Services employee working under a DynCorp subcontract.
“DynCorp’s site manager was involved in bringing prostitutes into hotels operated by DynCorp. A co-worker unrelated to the ring was killed when he was travelling in an unsecure car and shot performing a high-risk mission. I believe that my co-worker could have survived if he had been riding in an armored car. At the time, the armored car that he would otherwise have been riding in was being used by the contractor’s manager to transport prostitutes from Kuwait to Baghdad.“
– Kellogg Brown & Root contractors used to destroy countless quantities of still-usable equipment that was difficult to transport in “massive burn pits” that were “burning 24 hours a day.”
– KBR’s ice foreman “was cheating the troops out of ice at the same time that he was trading the ice for DVDs, CDs, food and other items at the Iraqi shops across the street.”
– When KBR whistleblower Frank Cassaday reported weapons looting, he was placed in a jail tent by KBR security.
– KBR employees looted Iraqi palaces for treasure to sell on eBay.
Monday, April 28th, 2008 at 5:04 pm