Information Underground Weekly Report: Blackwater and Private Security Companies

Stories from the Conspiracy Central Forum:

A day to remember from 1933

Posted by Ognir

Long before the Hitler government began restricting the rights of the German Jews, the leaders of the worldwide Jewish community formally declared war on the “New Germany” at a time when the U.S. government and even the Jewish leaders in Germany were urging caution in dealing with the new Hitler regime. The war by the international Jewish leadership on Germany not only sparked definite reprisals by the German government but also set the stage for a little-known economic and political alliance between the Hitler government and the leaders of the Zionist movement who hoped that the tension between the Germans and the Jews would lead to massive emigration to Palestine. In short, the result was a tactical alliance between the Nazis and the founders of the modern-day state of Israel – a fact that many today would prefer be forgotten.

Know Your History

France’s Secret Wars in Africa

Posted by Hei Hu Quan

For 40 years, the French government has been fighting a secret war in Africa, hidden not only from its people, but from the world. It has led the French to slaughter democrats, install dictator after dictator – and to fund and fuel the most vicious genocide since the Nazis. Today, this war is so violent that thousands are fleeing across the border from the Central African Republic into Darfur – seeking sanctuary in the world’s most notorious killing fields

2 Koreas Strike Wide Reconciliation Deal

Posted by Maximus Minimus Mediumus

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea pledged to detail its nuclear programs and disable all activities at its main reactor complex by year’s end, then signed a wide-ranging reconciliation pact with South Korea Thursday promising to finally seek a peace treaty to replace the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun also said they would open regular links across their heavily fortified border under the deal struck a day after the North made its firmest commitment yet to nuclear disarmament.

They Come at Night and Murder the Monks

Posted by hardboilednwokilla,1518,509232,00.html

They surrounded a monastery on Weiza Yandar Street. All the roughly 200 monks living there were forced to stand in a row and the security forces beat their heads against a brick wall. When they were all covered in blood and lay moaning on the ground, they were thrown into a truck and taken away. “We are crying for our monks,” said the man, and then he was gone.

Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma’s ruling junta has revealed.

The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: “Many more people have been killed in recent days than you’ve heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand.”


Licensed to Kill

Bush Justice Department embraces torture as a tool for collecting intelligence

by Scott Horton

The Bush Justice Department does have an essential law enforcement mission, though sometimes it seems to behave much more like a criminal syndicate. It warmly embraces the crime of torture as a tool for collecting human intelligence notwithstanding both its manifest illegality and immorality and the uniform view of intelligence professionals that torture consistently produces corrupted, inherently unreliable information. In so doing of course it is engaged in a fairly primitive game of self-protection. It can’t acknowledge the fundamental criminality of its conduct, so it turns the Justice Department into its consigliere. Three different lawyers in the office of legal counsel have rendered formal opinions giving a stamp of approval to a universal crime. Indeed, this sort of legal dexterity now seems to be accepted as a rite of passage for “movement” lawyers–a fact which is very revealing of the new character of the “movement.” It has nothing to do with ideals, and everything to do with personal fidelity. In each of these cases, the opinion boils down to the fundamental principle of the authoritarian state, namely: if the Leader authorizes it, then it must be okay. I can’t wait to see the intellectual conversion that will occur on January 20, 2009, when the opposition party furnishes the Executive.

Why Not Impeachment?

by Robert Parry

The disclosure that the Bush administration secretly reestablished a policy of abusing “war on terror” detainees even as it assured Congress and the public that it had mended its ways again raises the question: Why are the Democrats keeping impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney “off the table”?

Dangerous Crossroads: US Sponsored War Games

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) has announced the conduct of major war games under Vigilant Shield 2008 (VS-08).

Vigilant Shield 2008 (15 to 20 October, 2007) is designed to deal with a “terrorist” or “natural disaster” scenario in the United States. The operation will be coordinated in a joint endeavor by the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.

Yet, VS-08, which includes a massive deployment of the US Air Force resembles a war-time air scenario rather than an anti-terrorist drill. The VS-08 war games extend over the entire North American shelf. Canadian territory is also involved through Canada’s participation in NORAD. (See Nazemroaya, October 2007)

These war games are being conducted at an important historical crossroads, amidst mounting US pressures and threats to actually declare a “real war” on Iran.

VS-08 is predicated on the doctrine of preemptive warfare, with a vie to protecting the Homeland. The war games are coordinated with anti-terrorist drills directed against presumed Islamic terrorists.

1) What is the origin of Blackwater?
Blackwater USA was formed in 1997 to provide training support to military and law enforcement organizations. In 2002 Blackwater Security Consulting (BSC) was formed. They are the single beneficiaries of government no-bid contracts due to the amount of military and intelligence insiders from the Pentagon and CIA. In the new world order of mercenaries Blackwater is one of a growing number of outsourced pseudo-military security companies such as Aegis, DynCorp, Triple Canopy, Intercon, Steele Foundation, American Security Group, Blackhawk, Wackenhut and an Israeli company called Instinctive Shooting International (ISI). The men work for ISI, which describes its employees as “veterans of the Israeli special task forces from the following Israeli government bodies: Israel Defense Force (IDF), Israel National Police Counter Terrorism units, Instructors of Israel National Police Counter Terrorism units, General Security Service (GSS or ‘Shin Beit’), Other restricted intelligence agencies.” The company was formed in 1993. Its website profile says: “Our up-to-date services meet the challenging needs for Homeland Security preparedness and overseas combat procedures and readiness. ISI is currently an approved vendor by the US Government to supply Homeland Security services”.

Blackwater is rapidly expanding its operations, creating a new surveillance-blimp division, fleet of 20 planes, launching new training facilities in California and the Philippines, and increasingly setting its sights on the lucrative world of DHS contracts. It is clamoring to get into Darfur and has also hired Chilean troops trained under the brutal rule of Augusto Pinochet in addition to South African commandos from the Apartheid era.

2) What is the background of Erik Prince, the founder and CEO of Blackwater?
Blackwater’s owner and founder is Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL. Erik Prince attended the Naval Academy, graduated from Hillsdale College, and was an intern in George H.W. Bush’s White House. Prince has contributed $168,000 to the Republican National Committee since 1998, and also has supported the candidacies of politicians such as President George W. Bush and Senator Tom Coburn. A CIA source with whom I spoke said that Prince is very tight with top agency officials and has a “green badge,” the security pass for contractors who have access to CIA installations. “He’s over there [at CIA headquarters] regularly, probably once a month or so,” this person told me. “He meets with senior people, especially in the D.O.” (The D.O., or Directorate of Operations, runs covert operations; last year, it was absorbed by the newly created National Clandestine Service). Blackwater founder Erik Prince shares Bush’s fundamentalist Christian views. He comes from a powerful Michigan Republican family and social circle, and his father, Edgar, helped Gary Bauer start the Family Research Council.

3) There have been reports that Blackwater is involved with extraordinary rendition torture flights. Is there any substance to this?
An investigation by the European Parliment on the CIA using British airports to execute ‘torture flights’, has uncovered fresh evidence that a plane repeatedly linked to the controversial programme landed in the UK in June. Further details indicate that on June 2, 2007, at 4:36 pm, the CASA-212 Aviocar Flight touched down at RAF Mildenhall Airfield in Suffolk, UK. Its registration number N964BW, clearly visible on the fuselage, identified it as a plane which the European Parliament says has been involved in ‘ghost flights’ to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad.

Records show the plane is owned by Blackwater USA, a CIA contractor described as “the most secretive and powerful mercenary army on the planet”. An eyewitness, who previously worked as an RAF electronic warfare expert, said that as the plane – a CASA-212 Aviocar Flight #N964BW – taxied to a stop on the runway it was met by a US military Humvee. The vehicle contained four US security policemen armed with M16 assault rifles, who accompanied the camouflaged crew to the airport terminal.

A report last November by a European Parliament committee placed the plane – registration number N964BW – is on a list of “companies and aircraft used by the CIA for extraordinary rendition flights”. The plane was previously registered with the Bolivian army, and has been pictured on the ground in the Afghan capital Kabul within the past year. The American Federal Aviation Authority lists the plane as being operated by two companies, Aviation World Wide Services and a sister company, Presidential Airways.

The European Parliament committee report describes these as shell companies operating as subsidiaries of Blackwater USA, “an important contractor for the CIA and the US military” which bases the planes in Malta. Research by a further group, The American Centre for Media and Democracy, claims that flight-tracking internet technology shows the plane landed at least twice in the first six months of 2006 at Camp Peary, the U.S. naval reservation in Virginia known as The Farm and widely alleged to be a CIA training facility. Another smoking gun in Blackwater’s involvement in “extraordinary rendidtions” regards their Vice-Chairman J. Cofer Black. Who is a thirty-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency and was one of the key CIA people in Africa throughout the ’70s and ’80s. Particularly in support of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. J. Cofer Black is reputed to have essentially run the extraordinary rendition program. He was a key figure in the extraordinary rendition program, the government-sanctioned kidnap-and-torture program, and he’s now a major figure at Blackwater USA.

3) What was Blackwater’s role in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?
To establish a precedent of using pseudo-military mercenaries without accountability or oversight domestically within the U.S. At the behest and aegis of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. Deputized by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco their role was to was to stop looters and confront criminals. Many of the mercenaries had gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges and confirmed that they’d been deputized.

Jeremy Scahill interviewed Cofer Black–the former head of counterterrorism at the CIA, and now one of the top people at Blackwater–at a mercenary conference, and he told me that they sent a helicopter and a bunch of their guys down there without any contracts at first. Within days of their guys deploying down there, Blackwater was handed a very lucrative $409,000 contract–literally to guard a morgue in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

4) There have been widespread reports from witnesses and insiders of Blackwater’s murderous escapades. What are they?
In an October 1, 2007 Congressional report, based on 437 internal Blackwater incident reports as well as internal State Department correspondence, says that that Blackwater’s use of force “is frequent and extensive, resulting in significant casualties and property damage.” It notes that Blackwater’s contract authorizes it to use lethal force only to prevent “imminent and grave danger” to themselves or the people they are paid to protect.

“In practice, however,” the report says, “the vast majority of Blackwater weapons
discharges are pre-emptive, with Blackwater forces firing first at a vehicle or
suspicious individual prior to receiving any fire.” Among the incidents cited in the

On June 25, 2005, a Blackwater team in Hillah fatally shot an Iraqi man, a father of
six, in the chest. The victim’s family complained to the State Department, which said
in an internal report that the Blackwater gunmen initially failed to report the killing
and tried to cover it up.

On Oct. 24, 2005, Blackwater guards fired on a car that failed to heed a warning to
stop. In the gunfire, a civilian bystander was hit in the head with a bullet, but
Blackwater personnel did not stop.

On Nov. 28, 2005, a Blackwater motorcade traveling to and from the Iraqi oil
ministry collided with 18 different vehicles. According to an internal Blackwater report of the incident, the statements from employees were “invalid, inaccurate, and at best, dishonest.” Two Blackwater employees were dismissed, but there was no other apparent action taken as a result.

On Dec. 24, 2006, a drunken Blackwater employee shot and killed a bodyguard for Iraq’s Shiite vice president, Adel Abdul-Mahdi. The AP previously reported the contractor had gotten lost on the way back to his barracks in Baghdad’s Green Zone and fired at least seven times when he was confronted by 30-year-old Raheem Khalaf Saadoun.

The guard was terminated by Blackwater. Within 36 hours of the shooting, the department allowed the 26-year-old contractor to be transported out of Iraq, according to a staff report. An unnamed State Department official then recommended Blackwater pay the guard’s family $250,000 as an “apology.”

But the Diplomatic Security Service, the department’s own law enforcement arm, said that was too much money and might prompt other Iraqis “to ‘try to get killed'” in order to provide for their families, according to the report. “In the end, the State Department and Blackwater agreed on a $15,000 payment,” the report says. Initial news coverage by Middle Eastern media of the killing said a “U.S. soldier” was responsible.

In a company e-mail obtained by the committee, a Blackwater employee said the mistake in the news “gets the heat off of us.”

On Sept. 16, 2007, 11 Iraqis were killed in a shoot-out involving Blackwater guards protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Baghdad. Blackwater says its guards acted in self-defense after the convoy came under attack. Iraqi witnesses have said the shooting was unprovoked. The convoy of four Blackwater vehicles drove into
the square about half an hour after a bombing prompted another Blackwater team that was guarding a U.S. diplomat to rush from the area and back to
the Green Zone, the enclave in Baghdad where U.S. and Iraqi government agencies have headquarters. The police officer, whom CNN is identifying only as Sarhan, said the Blackwater guards “seemed nervous” as they entered the square, throwing water bottles at the Iraqi police posted there and driving in the wrong direction. He said traffic police halted civilian traffic to clear the way for the Blackwater team. Then, he said, the guards fired five or six shots in an apparent attempt to scare people away, but one of the rounds struck a car and killed a young
man who was sitting next to his mother, a doctor.

Sarhan said he and an undercover Iraqi police officer ran to the car but
they were unable to stop it from rolling forward toward the Blackwater
convoy. “I wanted to get his mother out, but could not because she was holding her
son tight and did not want to let him go,” Sarhan said. “They immediately
opened heavy fire at us.” “Each of their four vehicles opened heavy fire in all directions, they shot and killed everyone in cars facing them and people standing on the street,” Sarhan said. The shooting lasted about 20 minutes, he said.
“When it was over we were looking around and about 15 cars had been destroyed, the bodies of the killed were strewn on the pavements and road.”
Sarhan said no one ever fired at the Blackwater team.

“They became the terrorists, not attacked by the terrorists,” he said. “I saw parts of the woman’s head flying in front of me, blow up and then her entire body was charred,” he said. “What do you expect my reaction to be? Are they protecting the country? No. If I had a weapon I would have shot at them.”
Mohammed Abdul Razzaq was driving into Nusoor Square with his sister, her three children and his 9-year-old son Ali at the same time the Blackwater team arrived.
“They gestured stop, so we all stopped,” Razzaq said. “It’s a secure area so we thought it will be the usual, we would stop for a bit as convoys pass. Shortly after that they opened heavy fire randomly at the cars with no exception.”
“My son was sitting behind me,” he said. “He was shot in the head and his brains were all over the back of the car.” The others ducked and were spared, he said. He later counted 36 bullet holes in his car, six in his sister’s headrest.
“Anyone who got out of his car would be killed,” he said. “Anyone who would move was killed. Anyone sitting in a car was killed.”
“I saw a guy in a small car who got out to flee, they shot him and he hit the ground,” Razzaq said. “They fired at him again and again with his blood flowing in the street, but they continued to shoot him.”

Blackwater has had to fire dozens of guards over the past three years for problems ranging from misuse of weapons, alcohol and drug violations, inappropriate conduct and violent behavior, says the 15-page report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. A total of 122 Blackwater mercenaries ahve been terminated by Blackwater, and is roughly one-seventh of the work force that Blackwater has in Iraq, a ratio that raises questions about the quality of the people working for the company. Blackwater has been involved in 195 shooting incidents since 2005, or roughly 1.4 per week. In more than 80 percent of the incidents, called “escalation of force,” Blackwater’s guards fired the first shots even though the company’s contract with the State Department calls for it to use defensive force only, it said. In the vast majority of cases, Blackwater mercenaries fired their weapons from moving vehicles without stopping to count the dead or assist the injured, the report found.

6) The Bush administration has circumvented use of the military in the Iraq war by using military contractors such as Blackwater, who are intentionally beyond the scope of both international civilian and military law. What legal means are in place to keep forces like these in line and protect the rights and property of civilians?
Blackwater USA has 2,300 active personnel deployed in nine different countries around the world. The cost for each Blackwater mercenary in Iraq, is $445,000 per year. With 20,000 additional forces at the ready (as of March 2007), they have set their focus increasingly to getting these troops strategically positioned within the United States. Blackwater now has been seeking deployment in Illinois, California for military and law enforcement training, in addition to their active deployment in New Orleans during the aftermath of Katrina. However, the U.S. government has sidestepped the legal obstructions inherent in the Posse Comitatus Act by using mercenary contractors. For those who are unfamiliar, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the use of the Armed Forces as a Posse comitatus to execute the laws except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress. Since then there have been measures to malignantly reinterpret and subvert the intent of the original Act through means of surreptitiously passed Bills and Amendments. The ultimate goal being the clear use of the military in all domestic policing operations, with the police and the military being virtually indistinguishable. With the Bush administration effectively undermining the Posse Comitatus Act (John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122.ENR) and nullifying it under color of law, that will be eventually achieved. Until then, the covert use of Blackwater and other contracted mercenaries for contrived wars and synthetic emergencies, has altogether sidestepped the obstructive Posse Comitatus altogether by using what amounts to sanctioned gang members to patrol and police. Effectively Blackwater has been placed above the law with no accountability, oversight or punishment mechanism for war crimes and criminality in general.

7) Have there been any reprisals against Blackwater for egregious behaviour?
Yes, on March 31, 2004, four Blackwater soldiers were ambushed and killed in Fallujah. Their bodies burned and disfigured and then hung from a bridge. After which the U.S. launched a now notorious campaign of revenge attacks on the city of Fallujah that killed and maimed thousands. Many were civilians and it caused a massive resistance against the occupation that escalated the war to where it sits festering right now. Over 800 Blackwater soldiers have been killed in the course of the war yet their deaths have deliberately not been counted along with the other U.S. military deaths. Injuries as well as war crimes are not calculated nor officially documented. In effect they are exactly like black ops soldiers working for any intelligence agency, with zero oversight or accountability, and sanitized logistical information.

8) The Department of Homeland Security plans to keep its contract with Blackwater for two to five years, what does that mean?
No one knows as not even members of Congress can see these contracts. One member of Congress said that she’s not even allowed to see any of the contracts in general, but when she is, she has to go into a padded room. She’s not allowed to bring in any kind of writing equipment or paper, and she’s not allowed to say what she saw in that room after she’s viewed the contracts.

• Jeremy Scahill – Blackwater: Shadow Army (2006)

• “Revolving Door to Blackwater Causes Alarm at CIA” by Ken Silverstein of Harper’s magazine

• “In the Black(water)” by Jeremy Scahill – The Nation

• “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” by Jeremy Scahill

• “Blackwater Portrayed as Out of Control” by Richard Lardner – Yahoo News

• Blackwater Incident Witness: ‘It was hell’ by Jomana Karadsheh and Alan Duke – CNN News

See Also:

The World of Blackwater: Private Wars for Public Monies

recorded 9/21/07

By Mumia Abu Jamal of Prison Radio

1) 2:48 Radio Essay short – Mp3

2) 4:07 Radio Essay long – Mp3


The World of Blackwater: Private Wars for Public Money

{col. writ. 9/20/07} (c) ’07 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The news running off the wire was unexpected in its rarity: the Iraqi ‘government’ announced that the U.S. private security company, Blackwater, would no longer be able to function in the country, following the killing of over 20 Iraqis by Blackwater personnel.

According to published reports, the U.S. State dept. will essentially ignore the Iraqi order, announcing that Blackwater would continue to work in the country. Blackwater provides security for many Americans working in Iraq, as well as some of its chosen puppets. (So much for ‘a sovereign nation.’)

The recent Blackwater shootout wasn’t the first, and unless I miss my guess, it won’t be the last.

For folks who’ve been following the American security company (and others like them), it should surprise no one that this company was involved in the shooting of civilians.

According to some researchers and reporters, Blackwater was getting down similarly — in the U.S.!

Think back to 2005, when the winds, rains, and gushing waters from Lake Pontchartrain swept through New Orleans, another force beset the already besieged town.

Blackwater was one of the number of such companies, armed with automatic weapons and contracts from the Dept. of Homeland Security. They were allowed to play cowboy when people were suffering from this natural disaster.

Several years ago, writer and “Democracy Now!” correspondent, Jeremy Scahill reported a conversation he had with a man from one of those private security companies during the height of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Scahill described his conversation with a man named Michael Montgomery, who worked with an Alabama-based company known as Bodyguard and Tactical Security (BATS). This guy told Scahill that he was in New Orleans on the second night of the catastrophe. As Scahill explained:

They got stopped in the ninth ward. He said they came under fire from a group of people on an overpass that he described as black gang bangers. He said, “At the time I was on the phone with my business partner.” I said, “What did you do then?” He said, “I dropped the phone and opened fire.” I said, “With what kind of weapons?” –“AR-15 assault rifles and Glock 9’s.” Fired up at the people he described as black gang bangers on this bridge. I said, “Then what happened? Did you kill them?” He said, “Well, let’s just put it this way, I heard a lot of moaning and screaming, and the shooting stopped. Enough said. “

Scahill was making his remarks on the Friday, Sept. 23 rd, 2005 edition of the nationally broadcast program, “Democracy Now!”

According to Scahill, these and other such groups were functioning in Louisiana, without licenses to operate in the state. What they had were contracts from the Homeland Security Dept., and a letter from the Governor of Louisiana! Thus, armed with automatic weapons, they patrolled the property of the rich, while they waged war against the poor.

Scahill explained that after the shooting, army officers and Louisiana State Troopers came on the scene – but neither agency filed a report. Scahill continued:

So this is the climate of impunity…..[H] ow do we know that he was fired upon? How do we know what that incident was? Why wouldn’t law enforcement file any kind of report on a shootout in which this guy is openly bragging to having shot up a bunch of people he described as black gang bangers on an overpass?

There are almost as many contractors working in Iraq as there are U.S. soldiers — but the Blackwater people make a whole lot more money, and are better equipped.

That’s because they aren’t fighting for ‘democracy’, they’re fighting for good old American money. They are fighting for those who can afford them.

What do they care about Iraqis? What did they care about ‘Americans’ in the midst of the whirlwind and the storm?

–(c) ’07maj


Radio ConCen Has a New Homepage!

Many thanks go out to Chris Carota for taking the time to put up a complete listing by month and by author of all the Radio ConCen shows, complete with direct download links.


Ognir interviews Eric Huffschmidt on Radio ConCen

On Sunday, September 9th, Ognir was joined by a very special guest, Eric Huffschmidt, on Radio ConCen

Download the MP3 audio file (75M 44S; 14.51MB)

Later on in the evening, Ognir hosted the weekly roundtable discussion, with guests Hei Hu Quan, Mifune, and RCS.

Download the MP3 audio file (63M 23S; 17.33MB)

Ognir interviews Timothy McVic on Radio ConCen

Timothy McVic, A Question of God and End Times, Interviewed by Ognir for Radio ConCen.

Download the MP3 audio file (111M 49S; 25.59MB)

Ognir interviews Ry Dawson of on Radio ConCen

Ognir interviewed Ry Dawson of Anti-Neocons today on a session of Radio ConCen. Be sure to listen in to this interesting interview!
Download the MP3 audio file from the ConCen Tracker (81M 25S; 18.63MB)

ConCen Radio for Sunday, September 4th, 2007

Ognir hosted a session of Radio ConCen today, interviewing Bill Still and Pat Carmack, authors of the documentary Money Masters.

Download the MP3 audio file (74M 30S; 17.05MB)

ConCen Radio for Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Today, Ognir hosted a session of Radio ConCen with guests Ctrl, Hei Hu Quan, Mifune, and DeathStickBoy. The torrent is available on the tracker, along with a bonus Bobby Fisher audio.

Radio ConCen Sunday 2nd Sept 2007 Hosted by Ognir + Bonus Bobby Fisher Audio