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Report: Obama using Blackwater for assassinations in Pakistan
The Obama administration is using mercenaries with the firm formerly known as Blackwater to kidnap and assassinate high value targets in Pakistan, according to a published report.
The program, operated out of the US Joint Special Operations Command, "is so 'compartmentalized' that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence," an unnamed source with direct knowledge of the program told The Nation reporter Jeremy Scahill.
Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater, is also allegedly involved in intelligence collection for a drone bombing campaign in the country.
Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan
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 run 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.
The source, who has worked on covert US military programs for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has direct knowledge of Blackwater's involvement. He spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity because the program is classified. The source said that the program is so "compartmentalized" that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence.
The White House did not return calls or email messages seeking comment for this story.
A former senior executive at Blackwater confirmed the military intelligence source's claim that the company is working in Pakistan for the CIA and JSOC, the premier counterterrorism and covert operations force within the military. He said that Blackwater is also working for the Pakistani government on a subcontract with an Islamabad-based security firm that puts US Blackwater operatives on the ground with Pakistani forces in counter-terrorism operations, including house raids and border interdictions, in the North-West Frontier Province and elsewhere in Pakistan. This arrangement, the former executive said, allows the Pakistani government to utilize former US Special Operations forces who now work for Blackwater while denying an official US military presence in the country. He also confirmed that Blackwater has a facility in Karachi and has personnel deployed elsewhere in Pakistan. The former executive spoke on condition of anonymity.
His account and that of the military intelligence source were borne out by a US military source who has knowledge of Special Forces actions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. When asked about Blackwater's covert work for JSOC in Pakistan, this source, who also asked for anonymity, told The Nation, "From my information that I have, that is absolutely correct," adding, "There's no question that's occurring."
In addition to planning drone strikes and operations against suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Pakistan for both JSOC and the CIA, the Blackwater team in Karachi also helps plan missions for JSOC inside Uzbekistan against the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, according to the military intelligence source. Blackwater does not actually carry out the operations, he said, which are executed on the ground by JSOC forces. "That piqued my curiosity and really worries me because I don't know if you noticed but I was never told we are at war with Uzbekistan," he said. "So, did I miss something, did Rumsfeld come back into power?"
Amazon Review :
"Kalush and Sloman appear to have raked through every known Houdini archive to produce the most comprehensive and controversial biography ever written about the man, with its contention that he was a spy who may have been murdered by a cult."-- Tony Barrell, "London Sunday Times"
SKL's Amazon Review :
Harry Houdini : The Man, The Myth, The Spy, The Secret Service Agent
A lot of people love reading about Harry Houdini the magician, the Handcuff King the escape artist but did you know that he was a spy & a Secret Service agent?
I can prove it with one book & a few well versed words here.
The book I am talking about is one I am just over half way through & it is entitled "The Secret Life of Houdini : The Making of a Superhero."
This book is awesome & I encourage everyone to read it and enjoy the story of Harry Houdini from beginning to end.
It tells about the man, the myth, the spy, the Secret Service agent who was a performer who made the world love him & his shows & continually conquered his every demon, including his own self loathing while continually re-creating himself for the world at large.
Yes this book still fits into this world of the wide web that is the internet.
The book is all about how all of Harry Houdini's having been a major instigator in World War I in the propaganda & success of America while Harry Houdini, or some may know him better as Ehrich Weiss, a Jewish man who changed his identity to fit better into the world and to better sell himself to the world as an entertainer at large for War World I in the rise of Germany the first time it came to power.
The fact that the book is from archival data and letters both from & to Harry Houdini is what makes this book so intriguing.
Please feel free to enjoy the book & I would love to hear anyone else's opinion & thoughts on this subject.
A lot of people do not know that the Secret Service was a spy agency at one time and was connected to the spy world like the C.I.A., N.S.A., D.I.A. & the rest of the alphabet Intelligent Agencies.
Harry Houdini taught our American Dough Boys how to escape from handcuffs, being tied in ropes, & how to escape from torpedoed ships by being on stage in an ampitheater & having actually being a teacher of the American military.
Quote from : Blackwater/Xe
Xe Services LLC (pronounced /ˈzi/), still usually referred to as "Blackwater", is a private military company founded as Blackwater USA in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark.
In October 2007, the company was renamed Blackwater Worldwide. Blackwater has a wide array of business divisions, subsidiaries, and spin-off corporations but the organization as a whole has courted much controversy.
Based in North Carolina, Xe operates a tactical training facility (36°27′N 76°12′W / 36.45°N 76.2°W / 36.45; -76.2) which the company claims is the world's largest, and at which it trains more than 40,000 people a year, mostly from US and other military and police services.
The training consists of military offensive and defensive operations, as well as smaller scale personal security.
The company announced on February 13, 2009, that it would operate under the new name "Xe".
In a memo sent to employees, President Gary Jackson wrote that the new name "reflects the change in company focus away from the business of providing private security."
A spokesman for the company stated that it feels the Blackwater name is too closely associated with the company's work in the occupation of Iraq.
Spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said there was no meaning in the new name, which the company took over a year to arrive at in an internal search.
Xe is currently the largest of the US State Department's three private security contractors. Of the 987 contractors Xe provides, 744 are US citizens.
At least 90 percent of the company's revenue comes from government contracts, of which two-thirds are no-bid contracts.
Xe provided security services in Iraq to the United States federal government, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency on a contractual basis.
They no longer have a license to operate in Iraq: the new Iraqi government made multiple attempts to expel them from their country, and denied their application for an operating license in January 2009.
However, the company is still under contract with the State Department and some Xe personnel will likely remain working illegally in Iraq at least until September 2009.
Amazon Review :
The superlative British miniseries becomes a smart, soap opera-free film courtesy of The Last King of Scotland's Kevin Macdonald.
His writers, including Tony Gilroy (the Bourne series) and Billy Ray (Breach), haven't simply condensed and Americanized the six-hour series--they've reinvented it.
Now set in Washington D.C., veteran journalist Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe, replacing Brad Pitt, who dropped out over script changes) still collaborates with editor Cameron Lynne (a delectably imperious Helen Mirren) and junior reporter Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) on a story involving Cal's politico pal, Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), but there's a new subtext behind their plunge into sex scandals and corporate malfeasance, since this State of Play also eulogizes old-school beat reporting, and in interviews, Macdonald has acknowledged the influence of newsprint classics like All the President's Men (the Watergate Hotel even shows up as a location).
So, while Cal and Della, the Globe’s blogger, try to determine whether the congressman’s aide Sonia (with whom he was having an affair) died at her own hands or the hands of another, they're also fighting for their careers and the survival of their ailing paper.
Stephen's political rival Senator Fergus (Jeff Daniels), does his best to stymie their efforts, but PR flack Dominic Foy (Jason Bateman) becomes a reluctant ally.
Though fans of the series may miss a few characters, like Cameron's son (played by James McAvoy in the BBC version), Oscar-winning documentarian-turned-filmmaker Macdonald remains true to its spirit.
Be sure to stay through the poignant end credits, during which he returns to his doc roots. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Taking these guys out saves lives