Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blackwater Founder Assembling Secret Mercenary Obama's secret military operations

http://news.antiwar.com/2011/05/15/blackwater-founder-assembling-secret-mercenary-army-for-uae
For the second time this year, Blackwater USA founder Erik Prince has been tapped as the leader of a secret military being formed in the desert. In January he was reportedly at the head of a “anti-piracy milita” in northern Somalia. Now, he is in the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE confirmed Prince’s hiring, saying he was providing “operational, planning and training support” for them, but offering no additional details. Documents leaked regarding the deal with Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, confirm that he is building up a new mercenary army for the emirates.
The mercenary force is largely composed of Colombians and reportedly also features a number of South African mercs who were involved in the Executive Outcomes corporate army of the 1990′s.
Officially the reason for the new mercenary army is “anti-terrorism” operations, but the force is also confirmed to be created to deal with “internal unrest.” A number of other nations in the region have faced pro-democracy uprisings in recent months, and the United Arab Emirates even provided troops to help Bahrain crush theirs.

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 direct 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.

Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/world/middleeast/15prince.html
The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.
In outsourcing critical parts of their defense to mercenaries — the soldiers of choice for medieval kings, Italian Renaissance dukes and African dictators — the Emiratis have begun a new era in the boom in wartime contracting that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And by relying on a force largely created by Americans, they have introduced a volatile element in an already combustible region where the United States is widely viewed with suspicion.
The United Arab Emirates — an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state — are closely allied with the United States, and American officials indicated that the battalion program had some support in Washington.
“The gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official who knew of the operation. “They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.”
Still, it is not clear whether the project has the United States’ official blessing. Legal experts and government officials said some of those involved with the battalion might be breaking federal laws that prohibit American citizens from training foreign troops if they did not secure a license from the State Department.
Mark C. Toner, a spokesman for the department, would not confirm whether Mr. Prince’s company had obtained such a license, but he said the department was investigating to see if the training effort was in violation of American laws. Mr. Toner pointed out that Blackwater (which renamed itself Xe Services ) paid $42 million in fines last year for training foreign troops in Jordan and other countries over the years.
The U.A.E.’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, declined to comment for this article. A spokesman for Mr. Prince also did not comment.

Obama sharply increases secret military operations

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jun2010/spec-j05.shtml
5 June 2010
The Obama administration has sharply increased the use of US Special Operations forces in secret military interventions around the world, according to a report Thursday by the Washington Post.
The Post reports that the administration has increased to 75 the number of countries where these elements, including US Army Delta Force and Green Beret troops, Navy Seals and other secretive units, are operating, compared to 60 at the beginning of 2009.
Funding for these operations has risen accordingly. The Obama White House has requested a 5.7 percent increase in appropriations for Special Operations in fiscal 2011, amounting to a total budget of $6.3 billion. It has also sought another $3.5 billion in contingency funding for Special Ops in 2010.
Citing senior US military and administration officials, the Post presents a telling picture of the Janus-like character of the Obama administration’s foreign and military policy: “Beneath its commitment to soft-spoken diplomacy, and beyond the combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration has significantly expanded a largely secret US war against al-Qaeda and other radical groups,” the newspaper states.
The article continues, “The surge in Special Operations deployments, along with intensified CIA drone attacks in western Pakistan, is the other side of the national security doctrine of global engagement and domestic values President Obama released last week.”
In other words, while mouthing phrases about diplomacy, universal values and the rule of law, Obama has presided over a dramatic escalation in the use of killing squads that have been responsible for assassination programs, torture and the murder of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. The use of these methods has been extended secretly to numerous other countries.
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