Despite the U.S government massively increasing spending on its own war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, private security contractors are still flourishing, even though their reputations are at an all-time low. RT’s Dina Gusovsky spoke to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky – who fears the private firms have an even greater capacity to wage war, than America itself.
Peter Dale Scott: The President does not choose the mindset, it chooses the people who become President
Peter Dale Scott a former Canadian diplomat and Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His most recent books are Drugs, Oil, and War (2005), The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11 and the Deep Politics of War (2008) and Mosaic Orpheus (poetry, 2009).
EXCLUSIVE…Blackwater’s Youngest Victim: Father of 9 Year-Old Killed in Nisour Square Gives Most Detailed Account of Massacre to Date
Today a Democracy Now! exclusive report from Jeremy Scahill about a nine year old boy, shot in the head and killed by Blackwater in the infamous Nisour Square massacre. His father, who is suing the private military contractor, provides the most detailed eyewitness account of the massacre to date. Scahill has conducted an in-depth investigation of the massacre and of nine-year old Ali Kinani’s death. He files an exclusive report with Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films.
The Supreme Court’s recent decision to open the floodgates and allow corporate funds to be used in federal elections will further strengthen the influence of the military-industrial complex. We talked to U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-08) about his efforts to push back against the influence of war contractors and other corporations in our elections.
Last Friday as I was searching the headlines for noteworthy and interesting news articles I came across a fairly lengthy and detailed story on Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi. Considering the saturated state of this recent CIA slaying story and the reporting source, I almost skipped the article, but then, something caught my eye; something easy to miss with the naked eye, at least those of gullible US Media readers-believers. It wasn’t the story itself, nor was it the flowery details in an attempt to make it a possible future ‘Hollywood Action Drama’ worthy of a six figure movie rights offer. It also wasn’t due to the authors, since neither one of them was familiar to me. No, it was none of that. What caught my attention and held it there for the next few hours was the very calculative and selective usage of a word in the title; Victim: Continue reading →
Whenever Frank Anderson speaks the way he did at a recent public forum in Washington, D.C. about “essential state functions performed by businesses,” people better listen. Mr. Anderson is the president of the Middle East Policy Council, but previously he was the chief of the Near East and South Asia Division of the CIA.
A discussion—relayed over C-Span—featuring Mr. Anderson, was among established scholars and policy wonks focused on national security in that tumultuous area of the world. Mr. Anderson was asked about Blackwater, the controversial corporation whose profits come from Pentagon and State Department contracts to provide security to U.S. government personnel in west and central Asia and to perform such secret operations that it could have an identity crisis with the CIA.
Blackwater is a corporation that provides mercenary soldiers and supporting security personnel to the US government.
Erik Prince, the founder and owner of the now infamous US corporation, Blackwater, hails from Holland, Michigan where his family was both powerful and prominent in two institutions – (1) the Republican Party and (2) the evangelical Christian Church. After scandals hit his large and lucrative firm, Prince ordered a curious rebranding that changed its name to Xe.
Reports that mercenaries employed by the notorious Blackwater-Xe military contracting firm participated in CIA assassinations in Iraq and Afghanistan have further exposed the real character of so-called “good war” that is being escalated by the Obama administration.
Citing former employees of the firm and US intelligence agents, the New York Times reported Friday that Blackwater gunmen, ostensibly contracted as security guards, “participated in some of the CIA’s most sensitive activities—clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees.”
These “snatch and grab” operations—many of them involving killings of individuals suspected of participating in the resistance to US occupation—“occurred on an almost nightly basis during the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006, with Blackwater employees playing central roles,” the Times reports.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has recruited private security guards from Blackwater for clandestine operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a report says.
The New York Times cited statements by former company employees and intelligence officials as evidence that Blackwater guards participated almost nightly in “snatch and grab” raids on suspected militants during the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006.
In an explosive new article in The Nation magazine, investigative journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reveals the private military firm Blackwater is part of a covert program in Pakistan that includes planning the assassination and kidnapping of Taliban and Al-Qaeda suspects. Blackwater is also said to be involved in a previously undisclosed U.S. military drone campaign that has killed scores of people inside Pakistan. The article says the program has become so secretive that top Obama administration and military officials have likely been unaware of its existence. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Scahill joins us for his first interview since the story broke.[Includes rush transcript]
Why is the largest military machine on the planet unable to defeat the resistance in Afghanistan, in a war that has lasted longer than World War II or Vietnam?
Afghanistan ranks among the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world today. It has one of the shortest life expectancy rates, highest infant mortality rates and lowest rates of literacy.
The total U.S. military budget has more than doubled from the beginning of this war in 2001 to the $680 billion budget signed by President Barack Obama Oct. 28. The U.S. military budget today is larger than the military budgets of the rest of the world combined. The U.S. arsenal has the most advanced high-tech weapons.
Blackwater Said to Approve $1 Million in Iraqi Bribes After Shootings
By MARK MAZZETTI and JAMES RISEN
November 10, 2009
WASHINGTON — Top executives at Blackwater Worldwide authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were intended to silence their criticism and buy their support after a September 2007 episode in which Blackwater security guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, according to former company officials.
By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The founder of Blackwater USA deliberately caused the deaths of innocent civilians in a series of shootings in Iraq, attorneys for Iraqis suing the security contractor told a federal judge Friday.
The attorneys singled out Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL who is the company’s owner, for blame in the deaths of more than 20 Iraqis between 2005 and 2007. Six former Blackwater guards were criminally charged in 14 of the shootings, and family members and victims’ estates sued Prince, Blackwater now called Xe Services LLC and a group of related companies.