Dec 05

The US government (CIA) hates competition:

Veterans Today’s Gordon Duff: Obama’s Drone Strikes On Pakistan Not Targeting Terrorists, But Securing $80 Billion US Opium Empire

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 (Public Intelligence)

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 (Daily Mail)

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

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

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

U.S. Special Forces board two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. The State Department uses similar aircraft to try to slow down the drug trade. Photo: DoD

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.

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May 10

Comedian Armando Iannucci got past security guards at the US State department in Washington with a pass which “could have been produced by a child”, in what he described as “probably international espionage”.

The identification he had with him was an amateurish BBC pass with his face show by a print out of a picture of him from the internet Photo: PAUL GROVER

Mr Iannucci was researching his latest film, the US-British political drama ‘In the Loop’, when he visited the department’s headquarters in the Foggy Bottom neighbourhood of the US political capital.

The identification he had with him was an amateurish BBC pass with his face show by a print out of a picture of him from the internet.

He flashed the card at the guards in the main reception of the building, said he had an appointment and was waved through.

The comedian then spent an hour walking around the building taking photographs, which were later used to help with the set designs for the film.

The writer, who also created political satire-cum-farce The Thick Of It for BBC4, said: “I had a terrible, amateur BBC identity pass, with basically my face printed off Google and my name under it.

“A child could have produced it in 20 seconds. I wandered up to the front reception of the State department and said ‘BBC. I’m here for the 12. 30.’

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May 04

The State Department has lost track of as many as 400 laptop computers, an internal audit ordered by the Inspector General has found.

“The importance of safeguarding official laptops and office equipment containing sensitive information is not a new concern,” said State Department overseer Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) through a spokesperson to CQ Politics. “I intend to review the facts about this situation.”

The computers belong to the Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, run by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which protects diplomats during stateside visits and trains and equips foreign police, intelligence and security forces. Anonymous sources say that officials are “urgently” scouring offices in the Washington, D.C. area to account for the equipment.

The State Department is not keeping good records of its inventory, official John Streufert told a panel at a February 6 meeting on the security of “personal identification information,” citing a “significant deficiency.” Mark Duda, the Inspector General’s representative, also warned of scandal like the one that erupted in May of 2006, after the home of a Veterans Administration employee was burglarized and a laptop he was using for a work project, containing names, Social Security numbers and birthdates of more than 26 million people, was taken.

“It’s the worst flaw you can have in management control,” said a “close observer.”

Published: Saturday May 3, 2008

Source: The Raw Story

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Apr 16

Representative Duncan Hunter, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, suggested that the military was being saddled with additional responsibilities because the State Department has been sluggish in responding to new needs. Hunter said “the need to train and equip foreign forces and to provide stabilization programs will remain necessary as we continue to fight the global war on terror.”

The Pentagon asked Congress Tuesday to give it permanent authority over training and equipping foreign militaries, in a shifting of roles from the State Department.

Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought Congressional approval for the change, as well as authorization for the Pentagon to spend 750 million dollars in 2009 in helping foreign militaries.

Gates told members of the House Armed Services Committee the foreign military assistance program is “a vital and enduring military requirement, irrespective of the capacity of other departments, and its authorities and funding mechanisms should reflect that reality.”

Some lawmakers said it raised questions about the military’s growing role in domains traditionally reserved for diplomats. Continue reading »

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