Saturday, March 22, 2008

I was overwhelmed by the two story lines today, China, Tibet, Olympics, the US, Iraq, Al Qaeda, lies, hidden agendas, who's worse? How'll it end WW3?

I was Going through the BBC and American MSM this morning it was all about the underhanded American's, passportgate, Mukassey saying terrorists threats are mindboggling, Al Qaeda threats in Iraq,all designed to fear monger with not a one spec of proof offered. As for China it was all about Tibet, the crackdown, how open China will be, Bush insisting he is going to the Olympics, and China declaring a blockade on news coverage. It was overwhelming the amount of BS. With two dozen stories on those two subjects alone I was flustered not knowing what to talk about. I got to wondering who was the most underhanded and had it reaffirmed that despite what we want there is no way in hell we are going to be able to avoid this upcoming WW3. The subversion practiced on citizens just to What?
I just don't get it? Do the math! Al-Qaida: Overselling the enemy SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

How is it that despite being told there are no more than 6,000 al-Qaida fighters in Iraq, while there are 158,000 U.S. troops stationed there (never mind the coalition forces and the Iraqi military police), we're also being told that al-Qaida is there to stay? The Associated Press reported the "U.S. Commanders: al-Qaida in Iraq to stay" story last week, describing the group's "remarkable staying power" in a country in which we're to believe that the group has little support from locals?

How can a terrorist army of 6,000 with no roots in Iraq prior to our invasion of the country and with nothing in the way of major visible support from the outside (that would be preventable) be any match for our trained military and mercenary contractors? Heck, they might leave as soon as we do. It's not as though al-Qaida in Iraq has much in the way of connections and support from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida. As much as President Bush would love to make the connection between bin Laden and Iraq stick, a Pentagon-sponsored study recently debunked that myth. Indeed, there's a duality with the message we're receiving from Bush: Al-Qaida (in Iraq) is on the run (so the surge is a success!), but they're really tough, so we're probably going to have to go ahead with maintaining those permanent/long-term bases in Iraq.

In what appears to be a move to align himself with the Bush administration's long-term plans for Iraq (Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama oppose permanent bases), Sen. John McCain, who also maintains that al-Qaida in Iraq is on the run (but still not beaten), keeps trying to link the group to Iran. He's done that several times in recent months. But there's no link between the Shiite nation and the Sunni terrorist group, and in an embarrassing turn of events, Sen. Joe Lieberman (himself no fan of Iran) felt compelled to publicly correct him. 6000 Al Qaeda beating 158000 Americans?

While the Bush-McCain line of thinking is at work, it will be impossible for us to get an honest assessment of al-Qaida in Iraq. I have to tell you, After following McCain in the middle east, listening to his misstatements there and listening to him in England, and now in France, I am struck by the simple fact that he is the one chosen by the right to follow Bush's war mongering agenda and the guy, partisanship aside, Is losing it seeming to have dementia and not even being capable of carrying an intelligent cohesive conversation. I know it sounds like his boss but we can not afford this again.

Then there was the overwhelming subversion with Tibet, the Olympics, and news blackouts in China because of their success? Don't expect to turn on your TV during the Beijing Olympics and see live shots of Tiananmen Square, where Chinese troops crushed pro-democracy protests nearly two decades ago. Apparently unnerved by recent unrest among Tibetans and fearful of protests in the heart of the capital, China has told broadcast officials it will bar live television shots from the vast square during the games.

A ban on live broadcasts would disrupt the plans of major international networks, who have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to broadcast the August 8-24 games and are counting on eye-pleasing live shots from the iconic square. The rethinking of Beijing's earlier promise to broadcasters comes as the government has poured troops into Tibetan areas wracked by anti-government protests this month and stepped up security in cities, airports and entertainment venues far from the unrest.

The communist government's resorting to heavy-handed measures runs the risk of undermining Beijing's pledge to the International Olympic Committee that the games would promote greater openness in what a generation ago was still an isolated China. If still in place by the games, they could alienate the half-million foreigners expected at the games. Like the Olympics, live broadcasts from Tiananmen Square were meant to showcase a friendly, confident China -- one that had put behind it the deadly 1989 military assault on democracy demonstrators in the vast plaza that remains a defining image for many foreigners.

"Tiananmen is the face of China, the face of Beijing, so many broadcasters would like to do live or recorded coverage of the square," said Yosuke Fujiwara, the head of broadcast relations for the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co., or BOB, a joint-venture between Beijing Olympic organizers and an IOC subsidiary. BOB coordinates and provides technical services for the TV networks with rights to broadcast the Olympics, such as NBC. China to block certain live broadcasts

* I don't get it? We are as bad as they are but I don't understand with China's dirt poor human rights record how it is that they were even allowed to hold the Olympics in the first place? What does that say as to where the world is headed in the near future? Amidst all this with China crushing and trying to hide Tibet's so called "Sabotage", American's warned of constant spying even in their bedrooms, Bush says he is going to the Olympics anyway! Why? What is this all going to prove? What is to be gained besides more war if we stay in Iraq? attack Iran? The promise of future war? I do not see it all ending any other way but! What the Hell does that tell you?

James Joiner
Gardner Ma


Dave Dubya said...

It just goes to show Bush is of the same mentality as the Chinese dictatorship. He's probably jealous of them. They have more people to bully, torture and lie to.

And the olympics will draw more attention than he gets. Let's hope he doesn't get too competative on that, and start a war with Iran or Venezuela.

Karen said...

It's sad Tibet has to take advantage of an opportunity to get the world's attention.

Glad Nancy Pelosi went there to show her support.

an average patriot said...

You know, I just can't figure this out and can't stop trying! We are no damn different than the Chinese but what the hell is going on? they are going to stifle or delay real time broadcasts to cover up problems. Americans are told to be expected to be spied on even in your rooms. Reporters are being told there are some things they can not cover. Meanwhile the chief idiot is saying everything is fine and he's going to the Olympics.
Look at the two countries not to speak of Russia and look at the future that alone is painting the hell with anything else. Hope? Come on! Fair elections! I don't think so.

an average patriot said...

It is sickening! There is no truth being told here either. Tibet merely wants Autonomy under a peaceful successful China. I don't get it!
I thought it was pretty good that Pelosi was there but it was tempered by the fact that she talks tough then does nothing. Then that White House spokesWoman said only President Bush can speak with any authority. Shit, what authority and what the hell is he going to do? Nothing!

Minnesotablue said...

Love your blog! I haven't watched one speech Bush has made cause I get so angry about him I absolutely can't look at him!

an average patriot said...

nice to hear from you! I have to tell you, he is tough to even friggen look at then he has to worsen it by opening his mouth
I can't watch or listen to the idiot either. I try but I end up screaming and turning the channel. I hate to even read his crap but I have to so I can dissect it and speak the truth!
His and Cheney's idiocy is mind boggling and legendary and they think it's funny. After this trip of McCain's he is their equal and worse. He's got Dementia, Repugs must love him! God help us if they steal this election too!

Brother Tim said...

America's 231 year experiment is just a blip on the radar screen, a blink of the eye, compared to peoples who have a 5,000+ year history. THAT is what Americans fail to understand or acknowledge.

Patience is a quality Americans are in short supply of. When we want for something, we want it now. Peoples like Iraq, Iran, Russia, and China, can, and will, wait for a generation or more, for fulfillment of their plans. That's the reason they produce the most chess masters. They can think many moves in advance, and alter plans when necessary.

The mighty triumvirate we created, consisting of Russia, China, and Iran, will be our undoing. Mark my words on that.

The self-serving, arrogant Americans think that THEIR military is the only one in the world with secret weapons programs like HAARP. When the sh*t hits the fan, Jim, I think you will be amazed at what ends up getting thrown at us.

an average patriot said...

As usual you make me think! our history isn't long but isn't it as far as this facade we call a Democracy.
I must say I am prepared for the worst and fully expect it while hoping for the best but that is a pipe dream!
Bush or the warmonger in chiefs are banking on HAARP and I have to hope they know something we do not but I doubt it.
There are clandestine programs in the US, Russia, and China, so I wouldn't count on it. What really peeves me is that all parties Bush in particular is willing to gamble with ours and the worlds future!

an average patriot said...

I forgot! You know I agree with you as to the Triumvirate and they will have many eager friends.

Larry said...

Look at this Jim:

American Political Metaphysics
An Iranian Perspective

By Dr. Haider Mehdi

Manouchehr Mottaki, Iranian Foreign Minister, and his entire foreign policy establishment, along with academics and experts at the Institute for Political and International Studies, appear to be perplexed and amazed at the global political behavior of the US and its allies. They also seem to be baffled and agonized at the Security Council’s role in defying international law and acting as an extended arm of American foreign policy. In an international conference on Iran’s Peaceful Nuclear Program and Activities held in Tehran on March 9, 2008, the Iranians put their case before the world with remarkable skill and accuracy of information and debated their perspective with precision, logic, rationality and diplomatic assertiveness. The participants in the conference were told that current Iranian cooperation with the IAEA was unprecedented in history. Indeed, a 3000-hour investigation by the atomic agency and Iran’s willing and full compliance with the agency requirements say a million things about this nation’s honorable intentions in upholding the rule of international law as well as about world organizations that are supposed to act in a fair manner and treat all nations equally, impartially and without bias or prejudice.

Iran, as a nation, has deep roots in spiritual and religious discourse and faith in humanity’s righteousness. Its poetry and literature are full of metaphysical references to humankind’s sense of compassion, justice, insights into human nature’s philosophical consciousness and adherence to logic, reason and above all, the equality of all people and nations. There is an overwhelming faith in global morality and an associated conviction that all disputes between different countries can be resolved by dialogue and appropriate adjudication.

On the other hand, the American dogmatic global doctrine is fundamentally based on the use of POWER, both political and military, in the promotion of its capitalistic ideological enterprise and the expansion of its authority worldwide. The Iranian world view and the American global perspective are two diametrically opposed concepts. Hence, the Iranian people have great difficulty in comprehending American political behavior vis-à-vis Iran’s desire to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The Iranians will be well-advised to understand that the US has, traditionally and historically, misused the UN and the Security Council innumerable times as a tool and an extended arm of its foreign policy adventurism by exerting pressures and other tactics on this world body. In the conduct of global politics, the Americans conveniently disregard the notion of morality when self-interest is at stake. The Security Council’s role in slamming sanctions against Iran is a plan of action deliberately orchestrated by the US and its Western European allies to continue their power dominance of the region.

Added to the US traditional imperialistic approach to global politics is another dimension: the Bush administration’s unilateralism in international relations has closed all doors to the possibilities of conflict-resolution by dialogue and mutual understanding amongst nations or through resolutions at the forum of an international organization. Ironically and illogically, another contemporary development in the conduct of global affairs promoted by the US is the notion of its political metaphysics: the notion that America has the right to judge another nation by “assumed intentions” -- the Americans have assumed that Iran’s desire for nuclear technology is entirely for the purpose of acquiring nuclear weapons. Mind it, this assumption has no basis in ground realities or facts – the IAEA’s extensive and exhaustive investigation has no substantial evidence to support this allegation (neither did Saddam’s Iraq have WMDs!). And yet, the US and its allies insist that Iran must be penalized – not because it actually intends to develop nuclear weapons, but because in the view of the American metaphysical approach, Iran is guilty of a crime that it has not committed, that it has not the power or instruments or modalities to commit – but it must be held “guilty” and “punished” because the US believes that an intended global crime of the future has been conceived. Remarkably, this conceived crime of the future has no substantiation in Iranian political behavior or policy planning – it is an imaginary fabrication pushed to the limits of human irrationality and illogical conclusion. And yet, the US persists on its implausible, unreasoned and absurd view.

Iran is faced with a dangerous adversary whose global political behavior has become a matter of concern for all Muslim nations as well as the entire South and Latin American developing countries. The fact of the matter is that America has never reconciled to any revolutionary change anywhere in the world: it did not reconcile to the Russian revolution, it has not come to terms with the Chinese Communist Revolutions, it has not accepted the Socialist Movements in South America and the Non-aligned Movements in the Third World. “The problem is,” said Dr. Maqsood Noori, a Pakistani delegate, “that the US is yet to reconcile to the Iranian Islamic Revolution even after 30 years.” America is an ideological monster that has no intellectual or philosophical strengths or abilities to understand the dynamics of the Iranian Islamic Revolution – the desire of a nation to live by its own history, values, culture and its independent views of itself and the world in which it co-exists with other nations. However, America stubbornly insists that the rest of the world must submit to its military and political power.

That is a mistake that the US has made historically and is making in the contemporary global political system. Consequently, American global behavior has turned the entire world into a conflict arena (global conflicts help American acquire power and richness trough arms sales). There is no end in sight to these American policies; blindness is an asset when one does not wish to see the world as it is.

Iran has limited options in confronting its main adversary. It cannot abandon its legitimate right to nuclear technology, nor should it even consider such a course under the Security Council’s pressure and the US-Western promoted sanctions. Iran must go on a massive diplomatic offensive targeted at the public-at-large in all Muslim nations and the rest of the world highlighting its absolute cooperation with IAEA and its exemplary role in upholding international law. Iran must assume a global leadership role to meet head-on the American-Western ideological morass by exposing the glaring contradictions that are incompatible with the 21st century public political consciousness. The Iranians need to be the voice of humanity in bringing about a transformation in contemporary global politics from that which is based solely on power to one founded on the equality of nations – incorporating fairness, justice, logic, rationality and humanitarian values.

“Ahmadinejad has a message,” recently wrote Dr. Abdullah Al Shayji, a professor of political science at Kuwait University , “which is that politics and strategy can achieve much more than war.”

But the question is: Will Americans and their allies listen to reason? Will they respond positively to the humanity’s contemporary consciousness in global affairs? Will they finally come to terms with equality of nations? Will they finally dump their imperialistic thinking? Will they respect others’ wishes as they expect theirs to be respected by others? Will they honor and admire other values and cultures the way they do their own?

I, for one, am not so optimistic! We must go on awakening America and the West…!

It is another global war against Western colonialism – may that be physical occupation or an irrational attempt to have control over minds.

The present Iranian struggle is to win over the American and Western European political mindset…and triumph over their irrationality!

Larry said...

It's coming soon Jim:

The Coming Uncertain War against Iran

By Ramzy Baroud

When Admiral William J "Fox" Fallon was chosen to replace General John Abizaid as chief of US Central Command (CENTCOM) in March 2007, many analysts didn't shy from reaching a seemingly clear-cut conclusion: the Bush administration was preparing for war with Iran and had selected the most suitable man for this job. Almost exactly a year later, as Fallon abruptly resigned over a controversial interview with Esquire magazine, we are left with a less certain analysis.

Fallon was the first man from the navy to head CENTCOM. With the US army fighting two difficult and lengthy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and considering the highly exaggerated Iranian threat, a war with Iran was apparently inevitable, albeit one that had to be conducted differently. Echoing the year-old speculation, Arnaud de Borchgrave of UPI wrote on 14 March 2007 that an attack against Iran "would fall on the US Navy's battle carrier groups and its cruise missiles and Air Force B-2 bombers based in Diego Garcia".

Fallon is a man of immense experience, having served equally high-profiled positions in the past (he was commander of US Pacific Command from February 2005 to March 2007). The Bush administration probably saw him further as a conformist, in contrast to his predecessor Abizaid who promoted a diplomatic rather than military approach and who went as far as suggesting that the US might have to learn to live with an Iranian nuclear bomb.

Fallon's recent resignation may have seemed abrupt to many, but it was a well-orchestrated move. His interview in Esquire depicted him as highly critical of the Bush administration's policy on Iran; the magazine described him as the only thing standing between the administration and their newest war plan. Further, his resignation and "Secretary of Defense Robert Gates's handling of [it] is the greatest and most public break in the Bush team's handling of preparations for war against Iran that we are ever likely to see," wrote respected commentators and former CIA analysts Bill and Kathy Christison on 12 March. "Gates has in fact publicly associated himself with the resignation by saying it was the right thing for Fallon to do, and Gates said he had accepted the resignation without telling Bush first."

Fallon's resignation represents a bittersweet moment. On the one hand it's an indication of the continued fading enthusiasm for the militant culture espoused by the neo-conservatives. On the other, it's an ominous sign of the Bush administration's probable intentions during the last year of the president's term. Sixty-three-year-old Admiral Fallon would not have embarked on such a momentous decision after decades of service were it not for the fact that he knew a war was looming, and -- having considered the historic implications for such a war -- chose not to pull the trigger.

Unlike the political atmosphere in the US prior to the Iraq war -- shaped by fear, manipulation and demonisation -- the US political environment is now much more accustomed to war opposition, which is largely encouraged and validated by the fact that leading army brass are themselves speaking out with increasing resolve. Indeed pressure and resistance are mounting on all sides; those rooting for another war are meeting stiff resistance by those who can foresee its disastrous repercussions.

The push and pull in the coming months will probably determine the timing and level of US military adventure against Iran, or even whether such an adventure will be able to actualise (one cannot discount the possibility that as a token for Israel, the US might provide a middle way solution by intervening in Lebanon, alongside Israel, to destroy Hizbullah. Many options are on the table, and another Bush-infused crisis is still very much possible).

In an atmosphere of hyped militancy, Fallon's resignation might be viewed as a positive sign, showing that the cards are not all stacked in favour of the war party. Nonetheless, it is premature to indulge in optimism. Prior signs have indicated a serious rift among those who once believed that war is the answer to every conflict. Yet that didn't necessary hamper the war cheerleaders' efforts.

Last December, the National Intelligence Estimate -- an assessment composed by all American intelligence agencies -- concluded that Iran halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003, and that any such programme remained frozen. Meanwhile the "bomb-first-ask-questions-later" crowd suggested that such an assessment is pure nonsense. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain has since then sung the tune of "bomb Iran", -- literally -- and Israel's friends continue to speak of an "existential" threat Israel faces due to Iran's "weapons" -- never mind that Israel is itself a formidable nuclear power.

According to Borchgrave, "McCain's close friend Senator Joe Lieberman... invoking clandestine Iranian explosives smuggled into Iraq, has called for retaliatory military action against Tehran. He and many others warn that Israel faces an existential crisis. One Iranian nuclear-tipped missile on Jerusalem or Tel Aviv could destroy Israel, they argue."

In fact, Lieberman, and other Israel supporters need no justification for war, neither against Iran nor any of Israel's foes in the Middle East. They have promoted conflicts on behalf of that country for many years and will likely continue doing so, until enough Americans push hard enough to restack their government's priorities.

An attack on Iran doesn't seem as certain as the war against Iraq always did. Public pressure, combined with courageous stances taken by high officials, could create the tidal wave needed to reverse seemingly determined war efforts. Americans can either allow those who continue to speak of "existential threats" and wars of a hundred years to determine and undermine the future of their country, and subsequently world security, or they can reclaim America, tend to its needy and ailing economy, and make up for the many sins committed in their name and in the name of freedom and democracy.

Larry said...

Here are some dirtbags Jim:

Blackwater's World Of Warcraft
Need a private-label armored vehicle? A detachment of Chilean infantrymen? A special forces "engagement team"? Erik Prince's expanding global private army is at your service–and the war in Iraq was just the beginning.

When blackwater founder Erik Prince took his seat before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last October, in the midst of a firestorm over the killing of 17 civilians in Baghdad by his contractors the previous month, the 38-year-old was at the helm of a fast-growing global business—and had the confidence to match. Sporting a neatly pressed suit and a fresh military-style haircut that evoked his service as a Navy seal, Prince had been prepped by crisis-management specialists from the Beltway PR firm Burson-Marsteller, and throughout the tense four-hour hearing he leaned back frequently to confer with his lawyer. A private man who seldom gives interviews, he nevertheless seemed at ease in a room filled with politicians, cameras, and reporters. He extolled his men's professionalism—"I believe we acted appropriately at all times"—and bristled at the term most commonly used to describe his line of work. "The Oxford dictionary defines a mercenary as a professional soldier working for a foreign government," he said. "We have Americans working for America, protecting Americans."

The truth is a bit more complex. As profit margins in the private security industry have narrowed—Blackwater clears just 10 percent on its primary State Department contract, Prince testified—the ceo has increasingly looked beyond American shores. More and more of his foot soldiers now come from Third World countries, and his corporate network is aggressively pitching for business from foreign governments. (It has already trained naval commandos in Azerbaijan and has been hired to train special forces troops in Jordan.) In his most ambitious moments, Prince has set out a vision in which his companies would act as for-profit peacekeepers, working with the United Nations and other international organizations in conflict areas around the world. Even Blackwater's marketing materials are infused with the imagery of global humanitarianism; one of the company's recent ads shows a tiny malnourished infant being spoon-fed and proclaims the company's intention to "provide hope to those who still live in desperate times."

Yet the most important vehicle for Prince's global aspirations isn't Blackwater proper, but Greystone Limited, a company he quietly founded in 2004 as his firm's "international affiliate." According to Chris Taylor, a former Marine Recon soldier who until May was Blackwater's vice president for strategic initiatives, Prince sought to build a new brand. "Blackwater has a sexy name and people pay attention to it," Taylor says, and sometimes that high profile "may not fit the proposed mission." In particular, he says, "international opportunities" were to be "looked at through Greystone."

Nearly all of the 20 or more companies Prince has launched or acquired over the years are U.S. based. Greystone, however, was incorporated in the Caribbean tax haven of Barbados, although it is managed from Blackwater's headquarters in Moyock, North Carolina. (The Barbados address and phone number listed in the federal government's contractor database trace back to a firm that specializes in shielding corporate revenues from U.S. tax authorities.) "As far as I know, they were the same company with different names," notes a contractor who worked for Blackwater in Iraq.

Unlike Blackwater, Greystone has managed to stay almost entirely out of public view, and it remains a mystery even to industry insiders. Doug Brooks, president of the International Peace Operations Association, a trade group of which Greystone was a member until late last year, couldn't say what the company does. (Blackwater pulled out of the group last October after the ipoa launched an investigation into its conduct; Greystone followed suit in November.) Neither could R.J. Hillhouse, a political scientist and private-security expert who follows the industry closely. Even a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which has issued contracts to Blackwater on which Greystone works as a subcontractor, admits he has never heard of the company.

Despite—or perhaps because of—its close-to-the-vest MO, the company has built up a certain mystique. One contractor we spoke to said he was present when Greystone managers arrived to claim their office space at Blackwater's Baghdad headquarters. They were a different breed from the "yee-haw cowboys" that filled Blackwater's ranks, and their tattoos indicated backgrounds in elite military units like Marine Recon, the Navy seals, and the Green Berets. "They didn't talk to the other Americans," he said, let alone foreigners. "They had different bodies, different mentalities, and used different language. They had a different professional attitude."

Greystone's managing director is a 40-year-old ex-seal named Christopher Burgess, who first met Prince while the pair was in training for the Navy's elite unit. Burgess rarely grants interviews, but he agreed to answer some of our questions in writing. Asked why Greystone had chosen to incorporate in Barbados, he responded that the country "is a well known business center with established business practices and banking systems."

Tax benefits aside, at least one industry observer has suggested that offshoring Blackwater's sister company may have been an attempt to skirt strict regulations on the export of military services. Burgess disputes the notion. Greystone, he said, seeks "State Department licensure for all security services overseas," and complies with "other trade controls and restrictions." Taylor admits that taxes were a factor, but says the primary goal was to better position Greystone for international contracts. "It's a matter of focus and efficiency," he says. "I don't think it obfuscates anything."

The scion of a prominent and politically connected Michigan family, Erik Prince followed in his father's entrepreneurial footsteps. Edgar Prince was a billionaire auto-parts maker who provided seed money for conservative activist Gary Bauer's Family Research Council. After his father's death in 1995, Prince combined his inherited wealth and Special Forces background to launch Blackwater.

The company's original business goal was modest—training state and local cops to be better marksmen. But then came the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and with them a bonanza for the private security industry. Since then, Prince's holding company, Prince Group llc, has come to include numerous ventures. Among them are Presidential Airways, an air-charter and cargo-transport firm; Pelagian, a maritime security operation with its own 153-foot vessel, helipad-equipped and outfitted for training and disaster response; and defense projects to make high-tech armaments such as mine-resistant armored vehicles and surveillance blimps. In February 2007, Prince rounded out his operations with Total Intelligence Solutions, a "one-stop" intelligence and risk consultancy for the private sector staffed by former cia officials.

The total of the Prince Group's federal contracts, some of which are classified, is hard to ascertain. But according to government records, Blackwater alone pulled in close to $600 million in fiscal year 2006—an impressive figure considering its annual take from government work was well under $1 million prior to 9/11. Its checks come from a host of agencies, including the departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, and the cia, which, a European Parliament investigation alleges, has hired Prince's air-charter company to transport terrorist suspects to secret interrogation sites. (Blackwater denies any involvement in rendition flights.)

The Prince business model calls to mind an earlier generation of private security companies typified by South Africa-based Executive Outcomes and U.K.-based Sandline International. Through the 1990s, these companies deployed private armies for the embattled regimes of countries such as Angola and Sierra Leone, waging war against rebels allegedly in exchange for diamond and oil concessions. Although both are now defunct, their alumni remain among the industry elite; Tim Spicer, Sandline's former ceo, now runs Aegis Defence Services, which contracts with the Pentagon to coordinate security for all reconstruction projects in Iraq. And as Executive Outcomes founder Eeben Barlow wrote in a memoir released in South Africa last year, the main difference between his company and those now working in Iraq "under the guise of security companies" may simply be that Blackwater et al. have government backing. "After we had blazed the path for military consultancy and advisory work," he wrote, "companies realised that the military market was an open playing field."

None, perhaps, realized it more than Greystone, which has set out to meld government and corporate business into a seamless global web. In February 2005, the company was inaugurated at an exclusive event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. There, a carefully selected coterie of foreign dignitaries and international businessmen strode past armored vehicles conspicuously parked near the entrance. Inside, they browsed tables stocked with military-grade weapons and equipment, including uniforms, boots, knives, and gas masks, according to one invited guest. The keynote speaker was Cofer Black, the former State Department and cia official who, as head of the Agency's Counterterrorist Center, famously promised after 9/11 to deliver Osama bin Laden's head to the White House in a box of dry ice. Just two weeks before the Ritz-Carlton shindig, Black (now chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions) had joined a parade of officials leaving government service to work for Prince. In his speech, he urged attendees to consider our "changing world," the "far different threats" America faces, and the "creative solutions and approaches" required to deal with them.

Black's rhetoric closely echoed Greystone's promotional materials. "In today's grey world," reads one of the company's pamphlets, "the solutions to your security concerns are no longer as simple as black and white." Greystone offers clients full protective details staffed by special operations, law enforcement, and intelligence personnel "for any threat scenario around the world." It is prepared to train indigenous forces "in developing a capability to conduct defensive and offensive small group operations." Greystone contractors can stage mock "red team" attacks on secure installations to identify potential vulnerabilities. The company will work "in support of national security objectives as well as private interests" and is prepared to deploy "proactive engagement teams"—suggestive of offensive forces, not just security guards. Prince's companies maintain a small fleet of aircraft, including Little Bird helicopters, commonly used in Special Forces operations, and casa-212s, rugged turboprops with high-mounted wings for moving cargo or up to 28 passengers. Blackwater also has sought to acquire at least one Embraer Super Tucano fighter—a lightweight plane used by several Latin American governments for counterinsurgency, pilot training, and monitoring. In an early promotional video (see, Greystone operators, some wearing black ski masks, are shown doing everything from handing out food to refugees and protecting diplomats to jumping out of airplanes, running cars off the road, and landing strike teams on Iraqi rooftops—all to a synthesized drum-and-bass soundtrack.

"They have the ability to do whatever tickles your pickle," says one private-security contractor. "They have services literally from A to Z. Aviation. Special operations. Rescue. Ransom. You name it. If you got the money, they got the honey. You can hire 17 James Bonds with Arnold Schwarzenegger in charge, or you can knock on the same door and tell them, 'I'm a Kuwaiti businessman and would like protection for my convoys between Kuwait City and Baghdad, but I only have half a million dollars a month.' Greystone will take the contract, and they'll hire grunts."

In addition to being a regular subcontractor for Blackwater in Iraq, Burgess said Greystone has also been hired directly by "foreign governments and private sector clients to provide static security, K-9 support, [vulnerability] assessments, aviation maintenance and management, and training." He wouldn't specify clients or countries of operation "due to operational security concerns," except to say Greystone has worked "in various Middle Eastern countries."

The company has also registered with the UN's procurement division, theoretically allowing it to compete for international peacekeeping contracts; speaking at a 2006 conference in Amman, Jordan, Black suggested that Blackwater could rapidly dispatch a brigade-size force to, say, Darfur. Taylor, the former Blackwater VP, says: "You just can't deny the capability that Erik Prince has developed to assuage human suffering around the world."

So far, though, the world seems disinclined to take advantage of Greystone's capabilities: In late December, after we asked a UN official about the company's presence in the organization's procurement database, Greystone and Presidential Airways were removed from the list; a UN source told us it was a temporary move pending an investigation into "ethical" concerns. For its part, Blackwater has tried to crack the African market with a bid to train South Sudanese security forces long engaged in battle with the country's Islamic regime, although a company spokeswoman says it has no current contracts to do so. Writing in the Lebanese daily An-Nahar late last year, Sudan's ambassador to Lebanon said that Blackwater had sought permission to enter Sudan under "a different name"—Greystone.

In his recent Capitol Hill appearance, Erik Prince played down his foreign recruiting.
Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing
In addition to prospecting for international contracts, Greystone has become Prince's primary recruiter of foreign military muscle. On its website, the company says its operators are drawn "from the best militaries throughout the world" and represent "numerous nationalities." Its reliance on foreign recruits, it claims, is a matter of "cultural sensitivity" and "awareness." What the PR materials don't say is that Greystone, along with other security companies, likely outsources its work overseas for the same reason many other businesses do—it brings down costs and helps bypass bothersome regulations. "They're going to pay these people a lot less, and they're not going to respect the same type of employee and labor rights that U.S. nationals would require," says Erica Razook, an Amnesty International lawyer whose work focuses on private-security contractors.

Consider the case of Greystone subcontractor ID Systems. Incorporated in Panama and headquartered in a nondescript office complex in Bogotá, Colombia, the company in 2005 placed newspaper ads that drew men with military experience—a plentiful commodity in a country torn by civil war and terrorized by guerrillas and paramilitaries. According to one ID Systems recruit, a former Colombian army officer who asked to remain anonymous, he and at least 30 other men were promised $4,000 per month to do security work for Blackwater in Iraq. They went through a quick refresher course in firearms and hand-to-hand combat at the Colombian army's cavalry school in northern Bogotá, he said; among the instructors were several Americans, all ex-U.S. military working for Greystone. Afterward, the recruits returned home to wait for the call to Iraq.

It came late one evening in June 2006. The men assembled at ID Systems' offices, where they were met by Gonzalo Adolfo Guevara, a former Colombian army captain who had overseen their recruitment. He handed them contracts and told them to be at the airport in four hours. They were told they would be making not $4,000 but $2,700 per month—still not bad in Colombia, where some workers only earn that much in a year. But the actual contract, which some of them didn't read until after they were airborne, provided for just $1,000 per month, or $34 per day.

On arriving in Baghdad, the men were issued weapons and introduced to Blackwater and Greystone managers. Bitterness turned to anger when they discovered that their pay was about one-fourth that of the Romanians they were replacing. They composed a letter to managers at ID Systems, Greystone, and Blackwater demanding either a raise or a ticket back to Colombia. The companies stonewalled, and it wasn't until three months later, after reports of the dispute had appeared in Semana, Colombia's largest newsmagazine, that the men were finally sent home. (Chris Taylor says there was no impropriety: "Before every single one of those professionals were deployed, they understood there was a change in the contract. Those who went understood perfectly what they were signing.") According to the former recruit, ID Systems continues to supply personnel to Greystone. But Guevara, the man who deceived the recruits about their wages, is no longer involved—he was shot and left to die outside a Bogotá bakery last May.

It was neither guevara nor Erik Prince who pioneered the idea of hiring foreign soldiers to do the business of the U.S. government. That took the imagination of a Chilean American businessman named José Miguel Pizarro. "Pizarro opened the door," says José Luis Gómez del Prado, a former diplomat who heads the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries; it's thanks to Pizarro that recruiting ex-soldiers from Latin America has become "a big business."

Born in California and raised in Santiago, Pizarro served ten years as an officer in the Chilean army and another three as a Marine Corps translator attached to the U.S. Southern Command. By March 2003, he was heading a small defense-consulting firm in suburban Washington, D.C. Pizarro was connected and well spoken. He was also telegenic, and as the U.S. stormed toward Iraq he was hired as an on-air military analyst with cnn en Español, the network's Spanish-language affiliate. It was there, in the cafeteria between shows, that he befriended a former U.S. general, also working as an analyst, who helped him hatch the idea of renting former Chilean soldiers to American private security companies. "He explained to me how the opportunity to do business in the Middle East was growing, that there was a need for private, professional security forces in Iraq," Pizarro recalls. "I started showing up in the cafeteria with pen and paper, taking notes, taking names. It took me several weeks to form the idea."

Before long, Pizarro was cold-calling security contractors to pitch his commandos. It wasn't an easy sell. "No one in any of the firms would even return his calls," says one industry expert Pizarro turned to for advice. Pizarro recalls his first meeting with Blackwater president Gary Jackson: "He told me, 'This is a respectable company, and we're going into a war zone. I need professional commandos, not peasants with rifles.'"

Not easily discouraged, Pizarro scored an appointment with Prince, who signed on for an initial batch of recruits to add to Blackwater's security operations in Iraq. Pizarro left the meeting starstruck with his first paying customer. "He's my hero," Pizarro says. "He's a patriot, a great Christian, and has the balls that 250 million Americans would love to have."

Back in Santiago, Pizarro formed a new company called Grupo Táctico—incorporated in Uruguay to sidestep Chilean laws prohibiting paramilitary activity—and posted an ad in a Chilean newspaper offering recruits $3,000 per month. More than a thousand men sent résumés, including some active-duty Chilean soldiers. Blackwater reps traveled to Chile to review the applicants, and by February 2004, Pizarro and about 75 of his top recruits—most of them former Chilean special forces, marine commandos, and paratroopers—were brought to Blackwater's compound in Moyock for training. Within weeks, they flew to Iraq, where they found themselves working alongside a veritable United Nations of security contractors: Nepalese and Indian Gurkhas, South Africans, and Eastern Europeans, to name a few. They became known as the "Black Penguins" because of the distinctive figures they cut on foot patrol, weighed down by weapons and flak jackets. Pizarro took to the term and designed a shoulder patch for his recruits: a penguin with an M-4 carbine across its chest.

to find their discount soldiers, Blackwater, Greystone, and their competitors have built recruitment networks reaching deep into the paramilitary milieus of the Third World. It works like this: Blackwater, for example, will win a U.S. government contract; it will then subcontract with itself—that is, with Greystone—to do the job. From there, Greystone looks to its network of international affiliates, firms like Pizarro's Grupo Táctico in Chile or ID Systems in Colombia, which maintain informal relationships with what are known in the trade as "briefcase recruiters"—individuals with connections to the local paramilitary scene. These men find the recruits and funnel them back up the chain until, finally, they are deployed alongside U.S. forces in Iraq. The practice also serves as a convenient firewall, shielding U.S.-based companies from direct liability for the actions of their subcontractors. "If a court is looking at these issues, where the contract is signed is a factor," explains Amnesty's Razook. "There is a lot there that would take it out of a U.S. court's control."

Briefcase recruiting is a little-known niche of the private security business that has attracted some less-than-savory characters. Take Julio (a.k.a. "George") Nayor, a Cuban American currently serving an 11-year sentence at a federal prison in Miami for drug trafficking. A one-time associate of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, Nayor escaped arrest in the United States in the early 1990s and fled, by means of a fake passport and various false identities, to San Salvador. There he reportedly opened a gym and several restaurants including one he named Karaoke George, which was adjacent to an upscale shopping mall.

In late 2004, Nayor placed newspaper ads seeking men to work on contract in Iraq for an unspecified U.S. security firm; recruits were to meet him at the karaoke bar. According to a Washington Post reporter who witnessed the scene, men lined up outside for weeks. "This is the future of global security," Nayor bragged to the reporter, adding that he'd already accepted 300 Salvadorans and expected to sign up many more, including veterans of the 380-man contingent that the Salvadoran government had contributed to the Coalition of the Willing. As soldiers in Iraq, they had earned a monthly salary of $280; as hired guns, they expected to make as much as $2,400.

Nayor disappeared as quickly as he had emerged, but nine months later many of the men who had interviewed with him were contacted by capros, a new company headed by two high-ranking Salvadoran military officers that, according to a Salvadoran newspaper, was recruiting for Greystone. In December 2005, Greystone representatives visited El Salvador to review the recruits, although it's unclear whether they were ever sent to Iraq. Some of the men later told the Salvadoran press that the company had encouraged them to rack up credit-card purchases in preparation for their deployment, then failed to reimburse them.

Nayor's own career as a briefcase recruiter was cut short in September 2006 by his arrest for allegedly plotting to assassinate El Salvador's president by shooting down his helicopter with a shoulder-fired missile. He was subsequently extradited to the United States to face some of his old drug charges.

By then, Greystone's search for contractors had expanded far beyond Latin America. In 2005, a Croatian newspaper reported that Greystone had dispatched a man named Marko Radielovic, who once worked for the aid group Mercy Corps, to perform a "feasibility study" on hiring former Croatian soldiers and police. The following year, the Filipino press reported that a company called Satelles Solutions had applied to lease land (about 25 acres) within the former U.S. Navy base at Subic Bay. Satelles was a Greystone front; its Filipino "owners" included a former high-ranking general and an attorney at a major law firm that specialized in advising foreign investors. Each held a few pennies' worth of Satelles stock, while Greystone controlled the rest.

The firm had been courting the Filipino government for some time; seven of its embassy employees were invited to Greystone's unveiling ceremony in Washington, the largest contingent by far of any foreign embassy. Greystone, according to Filipino news reports, hoped to build a jungle-survival training facility capable of processing up to 1,000 trainees a week. "It was merely a place to be able to provide training to customers in that part of the world," says Chris Taylor; it wasn't about creating a "third-country-national offensive force." Nevertheless, after Filipino legislators called for an investigation, the company withdrew its application.

For a while, it seemed to José Miguel Pizarro as if the private security boom might never end. Following Erik Prince's example, he began to diversify—launching a Chilean business intelligence firm catering to the defense industry, and a security company that, like Blackwater, could provide guards, police and military trainers, and even bomb-sniffing dogs. He also took on a new client, Virginia-based Triple Canopy. But then, as quickly as his star had risen, it fell as both Greystone and Triple Canopy canceled his contracts. Pizarro blames corporate intrigue—Blackwater didn't like his doing business with the competition, he claims—but the true reason may be far simpler. At the height of his operation, Pizarro charged a monthly fee of $4,500 per recruit, of which his men received $3,200. Recruits from other Latin American countries, meanwhile, were willing to deploy to Iraq for as little as $700 per month. "You can get five Colombian rifles for one Chilean," Pizarro says. "Do the math."

In January 2006, the last of his 1,157 Chilean commandos left Iraq. By the time Erik Prince testified before the House oversight committee last October, he acted as though he didn't remember Pizarro: "He might have been a vendor to us," he ventured when Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) asked him point-blank.

But if Prince has lost all memory of the Chilean recruiter, Pizarro hasn't forgotten his role model. Having focused of late on the strategic-consulting side of his business, he says he remains prepared to muster more than 1,200 Chilean commandos for deployment anywhere in the world. "Privatization of certain security services is a long-term trend with historical consequences," he says. "The entire future of private military companies is being redesigned as we speak."

Indeed, the private security industry could be heading toward a shake-up—though not necessarily in the way Pizarro would like. Many of the new players could suffer the fate of any startup, disappearing or being swallowed by larger firms. "The problem these guys have is that they're not very profitable," says Larry Johnson, a former cia officer who works as a consultant for Special Forces. Johnson, who's part of an investment group that was offered a crack at purchasing Triple Canopy when it went up for sale last year, says the firm clears, at most, 5 percent on about $170 million in annual revenue. "They're like a dollar wind machine," he says. "Dollars come in and dollars go out, but I don't see how they stay in business doing that."

Prince and his diversified group of companies, though, are positioned to endure. The Greystone model doesn't depend on America's wars: Whether the future of the business lies in what the industry calls "peace and stability" work or in providing "proactive" strike forces to private clients, some element of the Prince network is in a position to deliver. "They're soldiers of fortune," says the security director of a well-known humanitarian ngo. "Today they are willing to do the bidding of the United States, because the United States is willing to pay them. Who are they willing to work for tomorrow?"

Larry said...

Check out what position Joe Lieberman has applied for.

How Insane Is John McCain

an average patriot said...

you know it is an underlying theme of mine. I will be on it again today but these right wing war mongers will not be denied and it is sickening to hear us and the world demeaned so they can just continue their wars. It gets worse today of all days for these perverted Christian assholes.
Anyway! Iran, as a nation, has deep roots in spiritual and religious discourse and faith in humanity’s righteousness. Its poetry and literature are full of metaphysical references to humankind’s sense of compassion, justice, insights into human nature’s philosophical consciousness and adherence to logic, reason and above all, the equality of all people and nations. There is an overwhelming faith in global morality and an associated conviction that all disputes between different countries can be resolved by dialogue and appropriate adjudication.

On the other hand, the American dogmatic global doctrine is fundamentally based on the use of POWER, both political and military, in the promotion of its capitalistic ideological enterprise and the expansion of its authority worldwide. The Iranian world view and the American global perspective are two diametrically opposed concepts. Hence, the Iranian people have great difficulty in comprehending American political behavior vis-à-vis Iran’s desire to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The Iranians will be well-advised to understand that the US has, traditionally and historically, misused the UN and the Security Council innumerable times as a tool and an extended arm of its foreign policy adventurism by exerting pressures and other tactics on this world body. In the conduct of global politics, the Americans conveniently disregard the notion of morality when self-interest is at stake. The Security Council’s role in slamming sanctions against Iran is a plan of action deliberately orchestrated by the US and its Western European allies to continue their power dominance of the region.
They and all of us are screwed as Bushco has all the abusive power he needs to wage total war in the name of peace and it is coming quickly. I heard McCain in France say China has defiled it name and world standing. Frig! I constantly tell everyone Bushco decries the world for its actions while they themselves are leading the way.
You know we have been hearing rumors of a desire by the waest of having Israel be the western Capital of the weorld. Also while their McCain shunned the Palestinian's while visiting Israel and telling them Jerusalem should be their Capital.
Peace my ass! Now Cheney is there saying he wants peace and bushco is not just willing to fight for Peace but to go all the way. Yeah Destroy the world in the name of peace! What the hell is that? Iran and the world are screwed in the name of Christianity, new world order, and peace.
I might just post most of this today as I have to go to the nursing home and entertain for Easter but will be back! I did want to check on the number of Amercans killed in Iraq today and on the 10 explosions in the green zone. Success! AAARRRGGGHHH!

an average patriot said...

I too thought Fallon taking command over there was the ket to the kick off and wrote accordingly.
However with all his tactical and Commend experience he became the stop to an Iran attack because he knows the folly of an attack.
I then realized his dismissal to be the ket to the attack and now McCain was in Israel saying we want peace but on our terms, and today Cheney the friggen idiot is over there saying he wants peace and will destroy the world to have his way. It is going to happen real quick now. I am sickened!

an average patriot said...

I remember when he was testifying. I was very suspect. Now looking at this!
Even Blackwater's marketing materials are infused with the imagery of global humanitarianism; one of the company's recent ads shows a tiny malnourished infant being spoon-fed and proclaims the company's intention to "provide hope to those who still live in desperate times."

Yet the most important vehicle for Prince's global aspirations isn't Blackwater proper, but Greystone Limited, a company he quietly founded in 2004 as his firm's "international affiliate." According to Chris Taylor, a former Marine Recon soldier who until May was Blackwater's vice president for strategic initiatives, Prince sought to build a new brand. "Blackwater has a sexy name and people pay attention to it," Taylor says, and sometimes that high profile "may not fit the proposed mission." In particular, he says, "international opportunities" were to be "looked at through Greystone."

Clok and Dagger Peace your way and to the highest bidder? This is the future? Destruction for peace on your terms? oh shit!

an average patriot said...

I read that but in reality Mccain does need a baby sitter. He has Dementia just like his boss. I keep wondering what the position promise is to Lieberman?
You know, hearing of the anti catholic end of this I hope Brother sees this but I included this years ago now in my manifesto to the world. scroll down a page or two. Check out The week of July 33rd, 7th Sunday after Pentecost!Catholic World

Aardvark EF-111B said...

WW3 is on the way, only because people like you wants it the most & can't stop theorizing for it!!!

an average patriot said...

You don't get it! We do not matter! Bush and Cheney are in charge. Bush is the chief warmonger and the only decider who would rather listen to his dog than we the people. Better start thinking though it is too late
This has been long in the works. While the chief war monger Cheney is through his two faces talking peace I suspect he is tidying up loose ends before attacking Iran.
That was a foregone conclusion and the reason they attacked Iraq to get our military back into the middle east. They will get this going. I suggest you start paying attention to recent history and stop believing the BS. I can't link you without losing this. This is old but I suggest you Google The right wing 2003 Perle Wurmser Report A Clean break Read it and weep about the foregone conclusion. Then it gets worse!