Political abstractions may be leaky, but they hold water long enough to get the job done.
There's a paragraph about the "terrifying background", in absolutely no detail whatsoever.
This sort of thing has become a subgenre of its own, one where the documentation almost always falls well short of the promise.
People should think about what the cries of "Wolf!" are doing to our ability to spot truly documented and disturbing problems.
Sounds like an interesting guy, but probably not someone you want to meet in a dark alley.
The Scahill book is http://www.amazon.com/Blackwater-Powerful-Mercenary-Revised-...
The Wright book is http://www.amazon.com/American-Desperado-Life---Soldier-Gove...
I've read both and highly recommend them.
(But even a mouse can spook a grown man when he's tense and anticipating bad things happening.)
True, but definitely someone to whom you want to entrust the President's most extreme authority.
Your tax dollars at work.
How's that for your tax dollars at work?
Blackwater got it names from the swamps surrounding the area: "the Great Dismal Swamp, a vast swamp on the North Carolina/Virginia border, now mostly a National Wildlife Refuge...There, he created his state-of-the-art private training facility and his contracting company, Blackwater, which he named for the peat-colored water of the swamp."
But apparently if Blackwater wanted to shot the person that named it they can do that.
For trying to get away from the story book evil sounding-ness of an entity named "Blackwater", they sure didn't do very good with "Xe", which sounds even more mysterious and potentially evil-doing IMO.
Academi sounds a lot better though. And they do a lot US LE/gov't/etc. training which is probably what they would rather emphasize than their being a "private mercenary company".
If you want to have a debate, lets talk about ending the various wars the USA is fighting in various forms around the world. Not whether a particular covert surgical tactic is being carried out by the correct kind of soldier.
And this happens on the soil of the United States of America!
One particular way in which this is different, is that the CIA can't go out and decide that it (as an organization) wants to freelance for other nations or organizations.
Blackwater, once set up as a paramilitary organization who specializes in covert assassinations... who's to say they're not moonlighting for Zetas or the Russian mob? What's the ethical block stopping them? They're already secretly killing people for money.
Yes, you could only hire people that went through your own training program, but hiring ones that went through other training programs would give more plausible deniability. It also could be an excellent Way to sow seeds of distrust between otherwise friendly parties.
Now, track what each shell corp does and who their customers are. I hope you have a vast team dedicated to sorting that out.
Academi is staffed by experienced, former CIA personnel who know the ins and outs of the trade.
And if you further need convincing, look at Air America and South American CIA operations where the CIA didn't even know what was going on under their OWN chain of command.
The CIA is (mostly) not some mystical, all-seeing spy organization. They suffer the same problems as any company/agency of their size. Bureaucracy, and especially PHBs.
One of the disadvantages of committing illegal and morally questionable acts is that you become vulnerable to the consequences of the disclosure of those acts.
The point is that when you move from dirty intelligence work to hiring mercenaries to perform large scale purges and intentionally make them unaccountable in order to shield yourself from war crime prosecution ... that's a level normally reserved for totalitarian states or exceptionally corrupt states.
Since the 70's and 80's these types of organizations have normally been called "death squads", most people have heard that term in connection to the violence in central and south america during that time.
You would have to be exceptionally cynical about the state of US democracy to not be a little shocked by the scale of this.
Blackwater didn't get that "villainous" reputation by being particularily targeted. I guess you could argue that the frequently reported "indiscriminate" firing was a different Blackwater/Xe/Acedemi department and you might be totally right.
And I guess that depends on when the number of extrajudicial killings by a funded group kept unaccountable specifically to avoid prosecution reaches a level that you would call "large scale". No one seems to know the scale, but it's certainly beyond what any historian is going to call "targeted assassinations" in the future.
As with many things, the slippery slope isn't apparent until you've started the slide.
Accountability hacking perhaps.
We don't officially torture prisoners (anymore), but unaccountable private contractors can run wild, hidden from all that pesky human rights oversight.
Governments can easily get out of hand if not vigilantly watched and stopped when necessary, or they will create situations where they can punish whoever they want for whatever reason they say.
I think that in this technological era, secret government (or private) killings, war, domination of resources by force, etc., is completely inexcusable. I think that the structures are unfortunately supported by primitive Social Darwinist belief systems.
I am actually optimistic that when violence and violence suppression really becomes an information technology (i.e., a non-wealthy person can run a program/device that fabricates and launches his own swarm of protective robots) that will lead to a more equal distribution of resources and generally less violence and coercion. May sound far-fetched, and maybe it is.. but things are so fucked up, I have to hope for some science-fictiony sounding solutions.
A journalist looking for any reference that would support his article. I'm not saying the US Gov. isn't contracting private security firms to carry some of their dirty work. But saying "Huh a former lt-col from the Air Force confirmed <whatever>" isn't worth anything. In fact, all it does, in my opinion, is uncover and expose how naive is the reporter.
A former Air Force lieutenant-colonel... is it supposed to mean anything? It's a claim to Authority, with a weak authority to bring forward.
It's a bad world. I am not sympathetic to the plight of those who associate with terrorists (even if they themselves haven't committed a terrorist act) and find themselves it Gitmo or dead. Are mistakes made? Of course, CIA has a long history of public f'ups, however their degree of success is noteworthy, though often unheralded. Bin Laden was found because of CIA, the Iranian and North K nuke programs have been slowed and countless people AREN'T dead because of CIA. The Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Bloc was hastened due to CIA and Reagan forcing the issue by spending the Soviets into insolvency because of the arms race. Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton were avid weilders of covert action -- it's not a political party issue.
On the British side, MI6 is right there with CIA. The old Deuxiéme Bureau as well as German Intelligence is highly active in the black operations side of geopolitical affairs. This isn't peculiar to America, though in America, we have a (mostly) free press and a scandal-hungry populace that tends to sensationalize missteps or failures.
Let's not through the baby out with the bathwater. I'm far more worried about getting blown up on the PATH train than ending up in CIA (or their proxy's) crosshairs.
I see, you've fallen for the pro-U.S propaganda. Where random groups are designated 'terrorists' and thus deserving of your hatred.
> Iranian and North K nuke programs have been slowed and countless people AREN'T dead because of CIA.
100% pure speculation. Other countries getting Nukes (or nuclear energy) is non of the USes business, unless you accept other countries making attempts to disable american power as well.
The US flat out lied about iraq, and was proved to have lied. Yet you believe them on North Korea and Iran... how about reflecting on facts, rather than propaganda?
But why is NK having nukes a problem? There is no proof they want to use them. Just posturing... Very similar to India and Pakistan.
Did the CIA get upset when France developed and tested nuclear weapons? Do some countries deserve trust while others don't? What has North Korea done, that caused the mistrust?
The simple answer about France vs India and Pakistan is that France signed and supposedly adheres to the Non-Proliferation Treaty on Nuclear Weapons, but has joined as a 'nuclear weapon state', and are one of the five members of the UN Security Council. Being on the council means that they can have weapons, but agree to use them responsibly, and their adherence to the treaty means that they can verify the safety of their devices, that they are adhering to the treaty's requirements on inspection by the IAEA, and that they are abiding all disarmament requirements specified therein.
India and Pakistan, having not ever accepted the treaty in the first place, are in a different position. Their nukes are treated with skepticism naturally, but they haven't ever agreed to anything so are exempt from its guidelines.
North Korea is a unique case, in that it did sign the treaty, but later withdrew its acceptance and are now, as you say, 'posturing', after never having come into compliance when they were abiding the treaty and having acceded. That there are questions as to their governmental leadership, and that they are testing nuclear devices in secret only exacerbates that, at the very least, we need to keep our eyes on what they are doing.
France at the time was a member of NATO. So, no, probably not.
Do some countries deserve trust while others don't?
I would rephrase it 'do some governments deserve trust ...
Intent matters. The UK is not possibly going to blow up New York City. For a while there in the 50s and 60s the same could not be said for the USSR.
What has North Korea done, that caused the mistrust?
In no particular order ...
Last remaining Stalinist regime in the world.
Kidnap foreigners for entertainment purposes.
Started a war in 1950. One that isn't officially over.
In that war executed tens of thousands of citizens of the country they invaded.
Once in a while they do insane stuff like shell their neighbor' land, blow up parts of their navy.
Constantly dig tunnels under their border with ROK in order to bypass border defenses.
(Except the Stalinism)
If Y there is no talking to you. Have a nice day.
What's Israels intent? (I thought unification)
Are they comparable? Seems, at face value, they are.
I'm not sure what you are getting at with the governance point.
> If Y there is no talking to you. Have a nice day.
Really? That's the position you want to take?
Type of government - representative democracy versus totalitarian dictatorship.
That's the position you want to take?
But frankly, the situation is shaky. Pakistan is fairly developed considering the region it's in. It's also unstable because of the military from what I can understand. So it's reasonable not to label them as a terrorist nation and possibly pushing them into a more unstable state. That's the analysis that I've heard, but I don't know much about Pakistan.
We have problems with North Korea having nuclear weapons because they are extremely volatile. Their interactions with the South prove it. Those tunnels into SK that they used to send commandos in an assassination attempt? Or maybe the sinking of the South Korean warship? The shelling of an island? The list is LONG and a cursory glance of their Wikipedia page will prove that.
Can you honestly tell me that you'd feel safe if North Korea had nukes?
Parts of the ISI, their counterpart to the CIA, helped foster terrorist training camps in Afghanistan with the aid of American weaponry and money during our covert push against the Soviets. This was partly done so that fighters trained in those camps could then be shipped to Kashmir to do battle against the Indian army in that region.
Pakistan is a very difficult topic. I recommend two books by Steve Coll to understand it better, "On the Grand Trunk Road" and "Ghost Wars," two fascinating books on the recent history of this region. I recently read both and they're worth your time.
True that. I never thought about it that way.
> What has North Korea done, that caused the mistrust?
They're frickin nuts. They run horrific internment camps. Their ideology includes our defeat. (The western capitalist powers.)
Pakistan is a hodge-podge, which includes terrorist and islamist elements. I'm not up on the situation in Yemen.
That's literally what the measure of allowing countries nukes is.
Though, granted, North Korea withdrew from the "pinkies crossed" promise. But there are other countries (India, Pakistan, Israel) that have nuclear weapons but haven't promised to use them responsibly. Which no one seems to phased about, so why North Korea?
North Korea has repeatedly attacked its neighbours with no good cause. Those other countries haven't.
Israel repeatedly attacked/s its neighbours (even occupying them). North Korea is timid in comparison.
Good cause is debatable (for both Israel, and North Korea).
You know they keep trying right ?
As I say, good cause is debatable.
US states have an overarching political, financial and political system that in some parts supercedes the rights of the states.
So I don't think the two are really comparable.
So let's look at that one "neighbor". It's reasonable to consider whether that is truly a "neighbor", or is a split of an original united single nation that was split over ideological differences, exacerbated by foreign influences.
The american south declared independence from the american north. The north asserted the right to restore its country through military force and waged a massive destructive war to reunite the nation. This was facilitated by foreign governments supplying arms to both sides.
This is extremely comparable to the current N/S Korean schism, right down to the difference in philosophies regarding human rights by the two sides.
To object to efforts to reunify a split nation by force in one situation, one must object to efforts to reunify a split nation by force in the other situation, in order to remain ideologically consistent. This is why I asked "Do you also object to the War Between the States as unnecessary aggression of the North against the South?"
I just came back from North Korea and it is like stepping back 50 years. But one thing is very clear they very much believe in a reunified Korea under Kim Jong Un. And as has been demonstrated with their previous tunnel attempts under the DMZ they are willing to do this by force.
Show me where France has on repeated occasions attacked their neighbours and destabilised the region.
I'm not sure I accept that premise. But the U.S isn't listed there? So where is the U.S interest here? Or are we going to go with "stability in the region is in the USes interest"?
North Korea, by and large, is a problem for South Korea. Just as Taiwan is a problem for China (or vice versa). Where does a country draw the line of "national interest"? Because it seems (in the case of the CIA) to have gotten out of hand.
> Show me where France has on repeated occasions attacked their neighbours and destabilised the region.
Substitute France with Israel then. There is no consistency with the U.Ses labeling of 'Evil'/'terrorist' regimes.
There's some debate as to how much of the NK artillery force is capable of striking Seoul, but there's no doubt that at least some of it can.
And that's just conventional weaponry (explosives, possibly chemical and biological weapons).
Nukes are a completely different ballgame.
NK could disrupt affairs in countries in which the US has significant economic and strategic relationships. But its ability to directly affect the US is somewhat less. At least so long as you're thinking in terms of artillery and missile launches. A ship-board nuke could still make for a really bad day in New York, LA, Houston, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, or even Chicago or other Great Lakes ports.
There is a view that the US actions are unfair and unjust. The delivery method is not terrorism but the end result is indistinguishable in terms of justness or fairness. For example, torturing a man not found guilty of any crimes.
With that in mind, you yourself would be a co-conspirator of the nature you mention your lack of care for above.
If A.N. Other opposing, aggrieved party was to become as effective as the CIA at culling people, such as yourself or your loved ones (in no way are you or your loved ones doing anything "wrong" although you do sympathise with the American unaccountable "bully" philosophy) i'm certain your view would change overnight.
How is the delivery method not terrorism? If a guy named Muhammad kills 12 ordinary civilians he is a terrorist but if a guy named Andy/Joe/Steve kills 12 / 112 people in Iraq / Afghanistan by going on a shooting spree / dropping a bomb on a civilian home / aspirin factory / wedding and its not terrorism? There was a Muslimy-named guy who killed American soldiers (not civilians) at Fort Hood and he was labelled a terrorist. The guy named James who has killed 12 civilians is not a terrorist, he is a "suspect".
1998 Clinton knowingly bombed the aspirin factory that provided cheap medicines to millions of Africans:
In 1985, when I was the Deputy Director of the Reagan White House Task Force on Terrorism, they asked us—this is a Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism; I was the Deputy Director of the working group—they asked us to come up with a definition of terrorism that could be used throughout the government. We produced about six, and each and every case, they were rejected, because careful reading would indicate that our own country had been involved in some of those activities.
After the task force concluded its work, Congress got into it, and you can google into U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2331, and read the U.S. definition of terrorism. And one of them in here says—one of the terms, "international terrorism," means "activities that," I quote, "appear to be intended to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping."
Yes, well, certainly, you can think of a number of countries that have been involved in such activities. Ours is one of them. Israel is another. And so, the terrorist, of course, is in the eye of the beholder.
According to eyewitnesses, Hasan had taken a seat at an empty table and bowed his head for several seconds when he suddenly stood up, shouted "Allahu Akbar!"
when an American (white Christiany) kills innocent CIVILIANS (whether American civilians in Colorado or Iraqi or Afghan civilians) he is not called a terrorist
but when an American (brown, Muslimy) kills SOLDIERS he is called a terrorist.
What is terrorism? Killing soldiers (who are trained to kill people) or killing civilians (who did not sign up for any murder and terror)?
Or is terrorism the act when non-white folks (Americans or otherwise) or non-Christians or non-Americans kill anyone? Apparently it's not called terrorism when Bush kills 1 million people or Obama kills Afghan women and children who are celebrating at weddings.
Killing unarmed soldiers doing administrative work in their own country when they are not on combat duty is terrorism.
Obama trying to kill a terrorist and then accidentally killing civilians is not terrorism.
It all comes down to intent, no?
>Obama trying to kill a terrorist and then accidentally killing civilians is not terrorism.
>It all comes down to intent, no?
Oh yeah, when we bomb wedding parties out intent is good, when they killed civilians their intent was bad, that was simple, now I get it.
Clinton knowingly bombed Sudan pharmaceuticals factory (I have posted the link somewhere on this page) and killed half million infants by sanctions alone (1996 UN estimate of the period 1991-1996), Bush knowingly went to Iraq when there was no link to any attack on US, Obama went into Libya for no good reason (oil contracts), Obama has killed hundreds of civilians in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan with unmanned drone attacks and his latest piece of art is to label all adult males present in the site where he wanted to bomb as "militants".
That's neat of Pres Obombya, Americans own the whole world; the Afghans, Somalis, Yemenis, Pakistanis just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, so they are all terrorists. Let's kill them and call them militants unless proven otherwise (just imagine Osama using the same logic, oh there were bad guys in those buildings, the intent was to kill only those who were bombing Iraq).
If the CIA had never gotten involved in Iran, would Mosaddegh have maintained rule? It's doubtful.
The CIA, in its own words, seems to feel that it was responsible for the "overthrow" of Mosaddegh, in a "coup" (their words).
At the time of the coup, Mosaddegh was more popular than before, enjoying majority support, and had just been granted emergency powers by parliament for six months, which then renewed them for twelve. I respectfully dispute your suggestion that, absent CIA interference, it's doubtful that he would have maintained rule.
1. The plot to overthrow Mosaddegh went off exactly as planned. Ignoring any moral factors, it was very a impressive operation. I wouldn't doubt that CIA took as much responsibility for it as they could.
2. It is true that Mosaddegh had broad popular support, but he was also opposed by a large fraction of the population (eg. the mass protests that called for his head).
I'll take back the comment that he wouldn't have been able to maintain rule (I'll readily admit I can't predict the future). However, my point is that the CIA didn't create a coup out of thin air.
What the CIA did in Iran was provide operational support for the anti-Mosaddegh forces. Not really all that different than what the CIA did in Afghanistan during the war with Russia.
What about the coups and assassinations in several dozen other countries? Chile 9/11/1973, Brazil 1964, Guatemala 1954, Venezuela 1992+2002, Haiti 1991+2004 (Aristide was forced to board a US military plane that took him into exile), Congo coup 1960 and Patrice Lumumba's assassination 1961?
At the same time, people get equally outraged when terrorists kill people and then want to blame CIA for their failings.
It's almost ridiculous how some people get so indignant about about imagined pacifist dirty hippies; I can almost feel their spittle as they typety tap tap their anonymous comments. At the same time, those narcissistic people get equally outraged when their imagined political opponents don't actually hold those silly projected beliefs and then want to blame those opponents for not buying into their logical fallacies.
Blah, blah, blah. Insert filler nonsensical blather here. End with some mindless proclamation demonstrating my reasonableness and obvious moral superiority.
So ... you are saying you are very much an anti-American. But your post indicates support for CIA, so I am confused.
Was a good thing that CIA installed brutal dictators after toppling the governments of dozens of elected leaders around the world from Chile and Brazil, Cuba and Guatemala and Iran to Indonesia?
Is it terrorism when a guy named James kills a dozen Americans and injures 5 dozen? Would he be called a "suspect" or a terrorist if his name happened to be Muhammad?
Is it a good thing when an American soldier kills a dozen Iraqi civilians?
For one, not all here are Americans. Some of us are Europeans, and lots of those are from countries that the CIA has royally fu*d over in the past. Like establishing a military dictatorship in my country in the 70s.
Second, it's "a bad world" mostly in part because of certain superpowers abusing their power and money-resource-influence grabbing. From the colonial overlords of the not-so-distance past, to the post-colonial overlords of today, and from the cold war superpowers, to the "global cop".
Things like arab fanatics are a sick byproduct of those forces (not to mention being directly _armed_ by the CIA in the past, like the OBL ally or that Hussein ally).
I agreed with most of what you said but you're wrong here, the Saudis forced the Soviets into insolvency because they didn't like the Soviet actions in Iran and Afghanistan. The Saudis were able to sell oil at a lower price than the USSR, took advantage of that and broke them. Any extra spending incurred by Reagan is a drop in the ocean compared the complete destruction of their revenue source.
Afghanistan was part of the Russian sphere of influence since the days of the imperial "Great Game" era. The Russians didn't invade Afghanistan because they got a kick out of tribal politics -- their sphere of influence was being threatened.
I was curious about your claim, so I did some cursory digging to compare defense spend against potential oil export revenue. "Potential" because I can't find evidence the USSR exported before 1990.
According to some inflation-adjusted data I found , from 1980-1990 (approximately the period everyone is likely discussing here), in real terms the $/bbl dropped from $104.49 to $40.67. At this point the analysis of your claim becomes rather challenging. According to the US EIA , the USSR had no import/export figures to report prior to 1992. What we have left is to posit their total imputed revenue loss upon all production, and guess at their losses from various barter-like trades they performed for the oil. I'd appreciate it if anyone had more accurate data (unfortunately, Wolfram Alpha doesn't have this kind of data).
Assume for the sake of discussion you were right, and the Saudis pushed down the price of oil from 1980-1990. How much did this cost the USSR in lost oil production revenue? I pulled total production numbers from an US EIA spreadsheet . By my calculations (I'll post the spreadsheet to a Google Docs if anyone is really interested in pursuing this), it is $2.2375E+12 USD in real terms, or $2.2T in round numbers. Even if the USSR consumed 50% and exported the rest in swap trades, that is still $1.1T over 10 years.
Taking refurb's numbers on defense spend and assuming an equal distribution across 10 years of $13.2B extra per year, or $132B over 10 years for the US. Even if we assume the USSR kept pace with that spending, or even doubled, you are right, the potential export losses on USSR oil dwarf the defense spending. If I were Russian, I'd want a Putin at the head of the table in a geopolitical climate that engineers that kind of machination, too. If this was engineered as some claim, it is one of the greatest untold stories of market manipulation and geopolitical chutzpah of astonishing scale.
Here is where it gets interesting and I can't connect the dots to tie up your theory. If you look at the US EIA figures , Saudi Arabian production dropped from 1980-1985. That is not consistent with the theory that Saudi Arabia pushed down prices during that period, as one would expect them to flood the market to accomplish a price decline.
I'm intrigued to hear other explanations of what caused that precipitous price decline in the 1980-1990 period that would be consistent with the available data.
You are looking at the data for Russia. Which was a part of the USSR until 1992m hence there is no stats prior to 1992. This link will help 
"At the time, the CIA declared him unavailable for questioning; the investigation was shut down before he was arrested or tried."
If this is not rotten corruption and MOB in its pures form, then what is?