Another False Ending: Contracting Out the Iraq Occupation

Another false ending to the Iraq war is being declared. Nearly seven years after George Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln, President Obama has just given a major address to mark the withdrawal of all but 50,000 combat troops from Iraq. But while thousands of US troops are marching out,
thousands of additional private military contractors (PMCs) are marching in. The number of armed security contractors in Iraq will more than double in the coming months. While the mainstream media is debating whether Iraq can be declared a victory or not, there is virtually no discussion regarding this surge in contractors. Meanwhile, serious questions about the accountability of private military contractors remain. In the past decade, the United States has dramatically shifted the way in which it wages war – fewer soldiers and more contractors. Last month, the Congressional Research Service reported that the Department of Defense (DoD) workforce has 19 percent more contractors (207,600) than uniformed personnel (175,000) in Iraq and Afghanistan, making the wars in these two countries the most outsourced and privatized in US history. According to a recent State Department briefing to Congress’ Commission on Wartime Contracting, from now on, instead of soldiers, private military contractors will be disposing of improvised explosive devices, recovering killed and wounded personnel, downed aircraft and damaged
vehicles, policing Baghdad’s International Zone, providing convoy security and clearing travel routes, among other security-related duties.

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Blackwater guards indicted for murder

blackwater 070919 mn1 Blackwater guards indicted for murder

A federal grand jury has added an additional indictment to a former Blackwater empl

oyee involved in the murders of two Afghan civilians in May of 2009, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

Two Blackwater guards have been charged with second-degree murder for the fatal shootings.

The Virginian-Pilot reports,

[Christopher] Drotleff, of Virginia Beach, and [Justin] Cannon, of Corpus Christi, Texas, were working for a subsidiary of Blackwater, also known as Xe, to train the Afghan police force in Kabul. The indictment alleges they were drinking that day when they became involved in a traffic accident and began firing their weapons at another car.

Drotleff and Cannon say they fired in self-defense, in fear for their lives, at a car that was speeding toward them. The government counters that the victims were all shot from behind.

Source

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

US intelligence reliant on ‘contractors’

US intelligence agencies are dangerously dependent on contractors, with 30 per cent of the spy workforce potentially bound to shareholders more than the nation.

Despite a ban on private hands performing “inherently government functions”, 265,000 of the 854,000 people with top-secret clearance in the US are contractors, working in all the most sensitive areas, the Washington Post revealed yesterday. The claims came on the same day that President Barack Obama’s nominee to run US intelligence efforts, James Clapper, headed to Capitol Hill for a confirmation hearing.

Read the Story HERE…

Paper: CIA now pretending contractors are CIA officers

The Washington Post’s Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Dana Priest drove another stake into the heart of the US military industrial complex in today’s Post: In June, a stone carver from Manassas chiseled another perfect star into a marble wall at CIA headquarters, one of 22 for agency workers killed in the global war initiated by the 2001 terrorist attacks. The intent of the memorial is to publicly honor the courage of those who died in the line of duty, but it also conceals a deeper story about government in the post-9/11 era: Eight of the 22 were not CIA officers at all. They were private contractors.

Read the Story Here…