‘Prince of Mercenaries’ who wreaked havoc in Iraq turns up in Somalia

via Poor Richard’s Blog

By Guy Adams at independent.co.uk

Blackwater founder sets up new force to tackle piracy.

Erik Prince, the American founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, has cropped up at the centre of a controversial scheme to establish a new mercenary force to crack down on piracy and terrorism in the war-torn East African country of Somalia.

The project, which emerged yesterday when an intelligence report was leaked to media in the United States, requires Mr Prince to help train a private army of 2,000 Somali troops that will be loyal to the country’s United Nations-backed government. Several neighbouring states, including the United Arab Emirates, will pay the bills.

Mr Prince is working in Somalia alongside Saracen International, a murky South African firm which is run by a former officer from the Civil Co-operation Bureau, an apartheid-era force notorious for killing opponents of the white minority government.
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News of his latest project has alarmed, though hardly surprised, critics of Blackwater. The firm made hundreds of millions of dollars from the “war on terror”, but was severely tarnished by a string of incidents in post-invasion Iraq, in which its employees were accused of committing dozens of unlawful killings.

Mr Prince, a 41-year-old former US Navy Seal with links to the Bush administration, subsequently rebranded the company “Xe Services” and sold his stake in it. But he remains entangled in a string of lawsuits pertaining to the alleged recklessness of the firm.

For most of the past year, he has been living in Abu Dhabi, where he has close relations with the government and feels better positioned to dodge lawsuits. In an interview with a men’s magazine, he recently declared that the UAE’s opaque legal system will make it “harder for the jackals to get my money”.

The exact nature of his sudden presence in Somalia remains unclear. The Associated Press said yesterday that the army Mr Prince is training will focus on fighting pirates and Islamic rebels.

The leaked intelligence report which prompted the news agency’s story was compiled by the African Union, an organisation of African nations. It claimed that Mr Prince’s money had enabled Saracen International to gain the contract to train and run the private militia. But that element of the report was flatly contradicted by a spokesman for the Blackwater founder, who claimed that Mr Prince had “no financial role of any kind in this matter”.

In a written statement, the spokesman, Mark Corallo, added: “it is well known that he has long been interested in helping Somalia overcome the scourge of piracy. To that end, he has at times provided advice to many different anti-piracy efforts.” He declined to answer any further questions.

Whatever the exact details of Mr Prince’s role, his presence in Somalia will inevitably lead to renewed soul-searching about the growing privatisation of warfare. Critics of mercenary organisations, which are often prepared to operate where traditional armies fear to tread, claim they are often trigger-happy and lack proper accountability. In Iraq, Blackwater employees shot dead dozens of civilians; 17 people were killed in one incident alone in Nisour Square, Baghdad.

Criminal charges were eventually brought in the US against five Blackwater employees. However, they were dropped in 2009 after a federal judge ruled that the defendants’ rights had been violated during the gathering of evidence. Iraq’s Interior Ministry subsequently expelled all contractors who had worked with the firm at the time of the Nisour Square shooting.

Somalia, where the country’s UN-backed regime is fighting a civil war against al-Shabaab, a group of Islamic insurgents with links to al-Qa’ida, is, if anything, a more volatile country than post-invasion Iraq.

The government controls only a small portion of the capital, Mogadishu, where it has the support of 8,000 UN troops from Uganda and Burundi. It is training an army to extend its reach, but observers fear that its ranks will be weakened by the arrival of Mr Prince – who will pay his troops a far better wage.

Saracen’s shady corporate structure has not inspired confidence in its accountability. In 2002, the UN accused its Ugandan subsidiary of training rebel paramilitaries in the Congo. Recently, the firm has claimed to be registered to addresses in Lebanon, Liberia, Uganda and the UAE, some of which seemed not to exist when reporters tried visiting.

Read more articles at independent.co.uk

Former Spy With Agenda Operates a Private C.I.A.

via Activist Post

Mark Mazzetti
New York Times

WASHINGTON — Duane R. Clarridge parted company with the Central Intelligence Agency more than two decades ago, but from poolside at his home near San Diego, he still runs a network of spies.

Over the past two years, he has fielded operatives in the mountains of Pakistan and the desert badlands of Afghanistan. Since the United States military cut off his funding in May, he has relied on like-minded private donors to pay his agents to continue gathering information about militant fighters, Taliban leaders and the secrets of Kabul’s ruling class.

Hatching schemes that are something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy,” Mr. Clarridge has sought to discredit Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar power broker who has long been on the C.I.A. payroll, and planned to set spies on his half brother, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, in hopes of collecting beard trimmings or other DNA samples that might prove Mr. Clarridge’s suspicions that the Afghan leader was a heroin addict, associates say.

Read Full Article

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U.S. still undecided on joining landmines treaty

The United States has still not decided whether it will sign a 1997 global treaty to ban land mines but said on Tuesday it has invested heavily to help mitigate the impact the weapons have around the world.

The United States has not signed the Mine Ban Treaty or a global treaty banning cluster munitions, despite what it says are world-leading efforts to provide assistance for the clearance of landmines as well as the destruction of unsecured weapons and munitions.

Activists and groups of U.S. senators have urged the Obama administration to sign the Mine Ban Treaty which bars the use, stockpiling, production or transfer of antipersonnel mines. It has been endorsed by 158 countries, but the United States, Russia, China and India are among the countries that have not adopted it.

Source: Reuters

Cluster Bomb Manufacturers

Hi,
several people have asked whether Raytheon actually manufactures cluster bombs.

In discussing these it is necessary to distinguish between individual “bomblets” and delivery systems – the cluster bombs or missile wareheads. Different contractors manufacture bomblets and delivery systems.

Here are some descriptions of cluster bombs:

I took as my starting point for investigating Raytheon’s involvement with cluster bombs this Indymedia article

The article identified Raytheon Tamahawk and the JSOW AGM-154 missile as delivery vehicles for the BLU/97B bomblet.

The BLU/97B is a bomblet hundreds of which are packed together to create a cluster bomb.

Description of bomblet is at http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/asetds/u-b.html

It is manufactured by Alliant Techsystems.
The evidence for this is here (see half way down page, find on page: BLU 97/B)
also see here (just over half way down page, find in page: Alliant Techsystems).

The BLU/97B is used as payload in the following cluster bombs and guided missiles

I think this shows conclusively that Raytheon manufactures missiles with cluster bomb warheads which deploy the BLU/97B bomblet.

Julius

Source: This World Is Not For Sale

Profile: General Atomics

General Atomics.png
Type Private
Founded 1955
Headquarters San Diego, California, U.S.
Key people Neal Blue
Linden Blue
Website www.ga.com

General Atomics is a nuclear physics and defense contractor headquartered in San Diego, California. General Atomics’ research into fission and fusion matured into competencies in related technologies, allowing the company to expand into other fields of research. General Atomics and its affiliated companies are a leading resource for systems development ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle to remotely operated surveillance aircraft, airborne sensors, and advanced electric, electronic, wireless and laser technologies.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, provides unmanned aerial vehicles and radar solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including the Predator, Predator B, Sky Warrior and Predator C. The Reconnaissance Systems Group designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)/GMTI radar into both manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as the CLAW sensor control and image analysis software, and integrates sensor and communications equipment into manned ISR aircraft.

MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan.

source: Wikipedia

KBR to Get No-Bid Army Work as U.S. Alleges Kickbacks

KBR Inc. was selected for a no-bid contract worth as much as $568 million through 2011 for military support services in Iraq, the Army said.

The Army announced its decision yesterday only hours after the Justice Department said it will pursue a lawsuit accusing the Houston-based company of taking kickbacks from two subcontractors on Iraq-related work. The Army also awarded the work to KBR over objections from members of Congress, who have pushed the Pentagon to seek bids for further logistics contracts.

Rest of story HERE…

Dianne Feinstein: War Profiteer

The interventionist monopoly on the leadership of the two state-supported major parties isn’t the only enabling factor involved in ramping up the Afghan war. There is also the rising power of the imperial class to contend with – that is, the growing economic and political clout wielded by sectors of the U.S. economy dependent on military contracts and the direct links between lawmakers and “private” companies that profit from war. A particularly brazen example of the latter is Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and formerly the mayor of what is generally regarded as the most liberal city in the United States.

Click Here for the Rest of the Story…