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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So which is it?
Posted by Jill | 5:27 AM
Is the Obama Administration continuing some of the worst aspects of George W. Bush's war against the Muslim world, or is there a paramilitary force operating independently about which the Administration knows nothing and does not control? Which of those options is more horrifying? And does it matter, when it's true, and when the paramilitary force is Blackwater/Xe, the company run by one of the worst and most dangerous Christian Dominionist crusaders in the country?

As always, we turn to Jeremy Scahill, who has the details:
At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.

The source, who has worked on covert US military programs for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has direct knowledge of Blackwater's involvement. He spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity because the program is classified. The source said that the program is so "compartmentalized" that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence.


A former senior executive at Blackwater confirmed the military intelligence source's claim that the company is working in Pakistan for the CIA and JSOC, the premier counterterrorism and covert operations force within the military. He said that Blackwater is also working for the Pakistani government on a subcontract with an Islamabad-based security firm that puts US Blackwater operatives on the ground with Pakistani forces in counter-terrorism operations, including house raids and border interdictions, in the North-West Frontier Province and elsewhere in Pakistan. This arrangement, the former executive said, allows the Pakistani government to utilize former US Special Operations forces who now work for Blackwater while denying an official US military presence in the country. He also confirmed that Blackwater has a facility in Karachi and has personnel deployed elsewhere in Pakistan. The former executive spoke on condition of anonymity.

His account and that of the military intelligence source were borne out by a US military source who has knowledge of Special Forces actions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. When asked about Blackwater's covert work for JSOC in Pakistan, this source, who also asked for anonymity, told The Nation, "From my information that I have, that is absolutely correct," adding, "There's no question that's occurring."

"It wouldn't surprise me because we've outsourced nearly everything," said Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff from 2002 to 2005, when told of Blackwater's role in Pakistan. Wilkerson said that during his time in the Bush administration, he saw the beginnings of Blackwater's involvement with the sensitive operations of the military and CIA. "Part of this, of course, is an attempt to get around the constraints the Congress has placed on DoD. If you don't have sufficient soldiers to do it, you hire civilians to do it. I mean, it's that simple. It would not surprise me."


In Congress right now, we have Republican Senators with Dominionist leanings ranting about the rights of anti-abortion zealots to not have their tax dollars pay for abortions. What about MY rights to not have my tax dollars go to a company run by a guy who would be perfectly happy to force me to convert to his version of Christianity, a company with a record of rape and cover-up and corruption? What about MY religious freedom to not have my tax dollars pay for Erik Prince's Christian Crusade?

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Blogger Mr. Natural said...
There appears to be a "perfect storm" happening now, since the GWTF Bush crew gutted all accountability and oversight. Gutted the military's ability to support itself without huge numbers of outside contractors. Gutted the Democrats (evidently) of their spines. Revealed and encouraged the republican whacko corporatist world view. Denied climate change. Began the gutting of Medicare with the Part D scam. Murdered thousands of US military personnel in Iraq and probably millions of Iraqis, and continues to lie about it. It just goes on and on and on and on, hence the "perfect storm" moniker.

Thanks for this story, I blogged it with a via back here to you.