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billbuckhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:23 PM
Original message
Check out Blackwater's website! This is what liberalism is up against
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. That was scary
The reflection in the goggles tells a lot about these criminals.
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Gramps Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. No one deserved what happened to those guys. n/t
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RummyTheDummy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Oh really? I thought the fundie credo was....
Live by the sword, die by the sword. They were attempting to profit from war and more specifically other people's suffering. While it is unfortunate for their families, they knew what they were getting into.
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Gramps Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Do you feel the same way about our soldiers, too??? n/t
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RummyTheDummy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. Of course not
Only a moran would draw that comparison. You see, they CHOSE to be over there. They were in it for the money. That's a lot different from some poor buck private from East St. Lous who got in for some easy money for college and not some phony war. Do you really think even one of those soldiers in Iraq would stay there if given the choice. If you say yes, turn off Fox news and read a book.

Huge difference.
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. Gramps ? ...
While I STRONGLY agree with your view about the soldiers, I must admit: there IS a difference between Soldiers doing their duty for God and Country, and those who fight for money ...

NO: ... it is NOT right that ANY one's basic humanity should be so insulted as those who were murdered by that mob, and I apologize for the attitude of some here in DU who would, apparently, accept the willful infliction of awful indignities on those with whom they disagree with, even as they reject those same indignities generally ...

and NO: ... EVEN though we hold the mercinaries with contempt (and our own government for 'privitizing' our military with such privateers - Isnt that why we have Green Berets, Army Rangers and Navy SEALS ?), ... We here at DU OF COURSE love the soldiers: they are our fathers. mothers, sisters, brother, aunts, uncles AND cousins .... We would NEVER wish harm upon our own ....

Yes: ... OUR government and their use of 'private armies' is troubling and infuriating: but even then: NO man deserves to be torn to pieces like that: ...

Those acts degrade ALL humanity .... They are despicable and animalistic ..... a liberal can NEVER accept such wanton cruelty, since it undermines the very values of common and universal humanity that form the crux of liberal philosophy ....
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Crunchy Frog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
24. Our soldiers are in a different classification.
They are not in Iraq by their own choice, they have to go wherever our government tells them to go, and do whatever our government tells them to do. They make shit wages, eat crappy food, and often have to purchase their own body armor. I regard them as victims of the Bush regime.

These other people are mercenaries. They go there entirely of their own free will, and get paid very well to do it. They probably also get massive life insurance policies, so I don't buy their plea for donations to help the families.

These mercenaries are often involved in very shady dealings that we know nothing about because there is no accountability.

The bottom line is that they voluntarily chose to place themselves in the middle of a war zone with insufficient protection, and they paid the price.

By the way, just out of curiosity, how do you feel about the large numbers of Iraqi civilians, including children, who are getting killed, often horribly. Are their lives less important than the lives of American mercenaries? Where is your outrage on their behalf?
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Gramps Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #24
28. mercenaries vs. Iraqi civilians and children
> By the way, just out of curiosity, how do you feel about the large numbers of Iraqi civilians, including children, who are getting killed, often horribly. Are their lives less important than the lives of American mercenaries? Where is your outrage on their behalf?

I don't like civilians and children getting killed, of course. At least we don't take the extra steps of burning, decapitating, dragging, and hanging the civilians and children when they get killed.
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Do you feel that all our dead and wounded GI's should have been
sacrificed to avenge the deaths of fucking mercenaries that often have committed atrocities for money or some pathological desire (not to say that the four mecrcenaries necessarily did so)-isn't that a horrible abuse of our professional troops who didn't choose to go there for money?
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Gramps Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. Seems to me that the terrorists are sacrificing more of their own. n/t
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bobbyboucher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. Come on Gramps,
peddle that shit elsewhere. Mercs are mercs, period. Don't try to spin that "we are the good mercs" bullshit. There aren't any good mercs.
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #33
38. You evaded answering a simple question, Gramps.
I support our military and their families because they take an oath to our Constitution, which is US.

I loathe mercenaries, as does most of the civilized world.

Did you know that until recently our wounded GI's had to pay mercenaries for the meals served in US military hospitals?

Did you know that our tax money slated for defense is paid to mercenaries that get awarded contracts from Rumsfeld's DoD-plus they are able to charge for services?

Surely you are aware that Rumsfeld's DoD is missing over ONE TRILLION DOLLARS. I'm not naive, I'm aware of grey and black budgets.

Then there is the interesting relationship between political contributions and awarded mercenary contracts.

Good night, Gramps, welcome to DU btw.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #28
35. We don't have to take extra steps

That can be done in one step
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Gramps Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. Hmmm, not DEAD. Maybe that was one of Clinton's? n/t
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jimshoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #28
39. No... we bulldoze them into trenches with the utmost dignity
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #28
43. when you are dead...
.... you are dead. all the extra step may outrage the living, but the dead could care less. they are dead, you know.
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 06:31 AM
Response to Reply #43
49. More that a few that we bulldozed into the trenches
were still alive when they were covered up.
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. They were too macho for their own good.
They paid for it with their lives.
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Gramps Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. How are these guys different from the US Military? n/t
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. At up to $1000 per day and you need to ask?
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #9
20. Need an Army? Just Pick Up the Phone

The industry rose to prominence under President George H.W. Bush Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, received a $9 million contract to study supplementing military efforts after the Persian Gulf war. The Clinton administration sent more work to contractors, but it is under the current president, a strong believer in government privatization, that things started booming. Gary Jackson, the president of Blackwater, envisions a day when any country faced with peacekeeping duties will simply call him and place an order. "I would like to have the largest, most professional private army in the world," he told me.

This raises some obvious questions. Shouldn't war be a government function? Why rely on the private sector for our national defense, even if it is largely a supporting role? Part of the reason is practical: since the end of the cold war, the United States military has been shrinking, from 2.1 million in 1989 to 1.4 million today. Supporters of privatization argue that there simply aren't enough soldiers to provide a robust presence around the world, and that by drafting private contractors to fix helicopters, train recruits and cook dinner, the government frees up bona fide soldiers to fight the enemy. (Of course, in the field, the line between combatant and noncombatant roles grow fuzzier, particularly because many of the private soldiers are armed.) Private contractors are supposed to be cheaper, too, but their cost effectiveness has not been proved.

Low manpower and cost savings aren't the only reasons these companies appeal to the Pentagon. For one, substituting contactors for soldiers offers the government a way to avoid unpopular military forays. According to Myles Frechette, who was President Bill Clinton's ambassador to Colombia, private companies performed jobs in Latin America that would have been politically unpalatable for the armed forces. After all, if the government were shipping home soldiers' corpses from the coca fields, the public outcry would be tremendous. However, more than 20 private contractors have been killed in Colombia alone since 1998, and their deaths have barely registered.

This points to the biggest problem with the outsourcing of war: there is far less accountability to the American public and to international law than if real troops were performing the tasks. In the 1990's, several employees of one company, DynCorp, were implicated in a sex-trafficking scandal in Bosnia involving girls as young as 12. Had these men been soldiers, they would have faced court-martial proceedings. As private workers, they were simply put on the next plane back to America.

more ...

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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
40. The military missed the barbacue
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 09:55 PM by saigon68

Only the merecenaries were invited to attend
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #40
45. Regular military wasn't good enough to guard
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 10:26 PM by seemslikeadream
Mr. Bremmer. He had a private service. Like the one that would do his shirts.

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PaDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:26 AM
Response to Reply #7
50. Family member and close friend interviewed
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 07:35 AM by PaDUer
the other nite on 2 media outlets. The friend, Garth, from Scranton, was a green beret, met Scott, navy seal, when they were doing special ops and were bunkmates. Garth said Scott was well-trained and was paid well..
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. They were being paid to murder people

They were murderers. They were not in the military, they were not defending their country, they were paid killers.
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Gramps Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. How is this different from our troops over there??? n/t
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Our sons and daughter are in the US Military
They are fighting for me and you. They are dying for me and you. Mercenaries fight for money. They have no alligence to any country. They will go anywhere and fight for anyone as long as they get paid.

In 1998, Col. Bruce D. Grant wrote a strategy research project at the U.S. Army War College questioning companies like MPRI.

Not only did he conclude that what they do is illegal, because they circumvent congressional oversight, but he also wondered how military men and women could sell their expertise to the highest foreign bidder.

"This dangerous trend removes military expertise from public accountability and corrupts our military," Grant wrote.

"The unintended consequences of profit-motivated military assistance could detract from U.S. foreign policy objectives, result in tragedy when misused by recipients and leave a dispirited military."
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Gramps Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. Would Blackwater fight for Osama if paid? n/t
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. If the price were right, sure.
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RummyTheDummy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Why wouldn't they?
If the price is right, of course.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #21
29. Anyone anytime if the price is right
WarBusiness - African Black Gold

Child soldiers wait in Bule for orders to move. When this photo was taken, they were the only defense forces in a 25-mile radius. Two days later they too pulled out, and Bule was attacked.

very long but very good.

one tiny snip:

In April 2001, an MPRI representative met with the Pentagons regional director for Central Africa to discuss the companys hopes of winning the contract to train Equatorial Guineas forces. They may need our help or moral support, Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski wrote in a memo on the meeting, obtained by ICIJ under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. She quoted the MPRI representative as saying that Equatorial Guinea was the Kuwait of the Gulf of Guinea and, in a briefing paper three months later, advanced that characterization to a possible Kuwait of Africa with huge oil reserves that was US-friendly for both investment and security reasons. Kwiatkowski also noted in her April memo that the highest-ranking U.S. official to meet with Obiang when he visited Washington early in 2001 was an assistant secretary of agriculture that after French President Jacques Chirac had spared time to meet with him.

Despite concerns about Equatorial Guineas human rights record, Obiangs currency rose dramatically after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. When he visited the United States as it marked the first anniversary of the attacks, Obiang was among 10 African leaders to meet with President George Bush for talks on the prospect of war with Iraq and peace and development on the African continent.

ended up here because of this:

If you've been reading the news the last few days you may have noticed this odd and somewhat mysterious story of a US-registered cargo plane loaded with 64 "mercernaries" and various military equipment which was impounded

Sunday night at Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe "after its owners had made a false declaration of its cargo and crew."

When asked about it on Monday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said "We have no indication this aircraft is connected to the U.S. government."

That seemed like a rather less than unequivocal response. And behind the scenes US government officials said they didn't believe the US government had any connection with this operation. But they wanted to make sure before saying anything definitive.

Now, if you look at the press accounts, what's caught people's attention is the US registry of the plane. Specifically, it's registered to a company called Dodson Aviation, which is based in Kansas.

Now, Dodson says they sold the plane to a "reputable" firm in South Africa about a week ago. "I think they were going to use it for charter flights," company director Robert Dodson told the Associated Press.

Now here's a little more detail.

Dodson Aviation of Kansas has a South African subsidiary, Dodson International Parts SA Ltd (According to their website, "Dodson International Parts SA (Pty) Ltd is the African division of United States based companies Dodson International Parts Inc. and Dodson Aviation. The company was established in 1998 and is based at Wonderboom Airport, Pretoria.") And it was from this subsidiary's hangar at an airport just north of Pretoria that the aforementioned mercenaries boarded the plane.

Now, here's where this gets a little murky.

I wanted to find out more about Dodson International Parts SA Ltd. What I found something out about was a company that sounded very similar: a South African company called Dodson Aviation Maintenance and Spare Parts.

They're also in the airplane business.

Not exactly the same name. But remember, the South African company is the subsidiary of two American companies, Dodson Aviation and Dodson International. If these aren't the same company, or closely related companies, I'd figure they often get confused for one another.

In any case, here's what I found about Dodson Aviation Maintenance and Spare Parts.

They come up in the December 2000 Report of the Panel of Experts to the United Nations on Sierra Leone, in the section of the report dealing with the arms trade.

Here's the section that caught my eye (italics added) ...

187. Fred Rindel a retired officer of the South African Defence Force and former Defence Attach to the United States, has played a key role in the training of a Liberian anti-terrorist unit, consisting of Liberian soldiers and groups of foreigners, including citizens of Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Niger and The Gambia.
188. The panel interviewed Mr Rindel extensively. Rindel was contracted as a security consultant by President Charles Taylor in September 1998, and training started in November 1998. The contract included consultancy services and strategic advice to convert Charles Taylor's former rebel militia into a professional unit. The Anti-Terrorist Unit is used in Liberia to protect government buildings, the Executive Mansion and the international airport, and to provide VIP Security and the protection of foreign embassies. The numbers trained were approximately 1200. Because of negative media attention, Rindel cancelled his contract in Liberia in August 2000.

189. In 1998, ECOMOG identified a plane, registration number N71RD, owned by a South African company, Dodson Aviation Maintenance and Spare Parts, as having carried weapons to Robertsfield in September of that year. The plane is a Gulfstream 14-seater business jet that cannot be used for arms transport, but there are other relevant connections. Fred Rindel was the owner of Dodson. The company was closed on 31 December 1998, but during the period under investigation, the plane was leased to, and operated by, Greater Holdings (Liberia) Ltd., a company with gold and diamond concessions in Liberia. The plane was used for the transport of the Greater Holdings' staff to and from Liberia.

Mr. Rindel's name came up earlier in 2000 in testimony at the UN Security Council by then-UN Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke in a discussion of Sierra Leone (italics added) ...

In regard to arms trafficking to Sierra Leone, Mr. Chairman, we remain concerned and I would like to add a few more items to the record. The principal Africa countries involved in arms trafficking to the RUF - though they deny it - include Burkina Faso, Liberia and Libya.
In 1999, planes landed in Ouagadougou, allegedly coming from the Ukraine, with several tons of small arms and ammunition. This incident, which the Ukrainians say has stopped, is one that we believe should be brought to the attention of your committee.

In regard to trafficking, arms brokers have played a vital role in keeping the RUF supplied with weapons and other military materiel. A well-known arms and diamond dealer in Sierra Leone, Zief Morganstein, in July 1999 arranged for a Continental Aviation-based charter out of Dakar to fly a shipment of small arms from Bulgaria to Sierra Leone. Last year the RUF received 68 tons of weapons from Bulgaria, which Morganstein may have helped arrange. There have been other connections between former government officials from South Africa during its Apartheid regime who now operate as private individuals, including Fred Rindel, the South African Defense Attache in Washington, who now works as a security consultant in Liberia and trains Liberian troops and RUF insurgents. There are other charges about other businessmen who are reportedly helping the Sierra Leone government coming from various countries around the world.

Now, I've scanned the news coverage of this and I haven't seen any mention of this seeming connection. So perhaps these are two utterly unrelated companies?

As of Tuesday the situation in Zimbabwe seems to be calming down, though now there are apparently fears in Equatorial Guinea that these mercenaries were somehow intended to assist a coup in that country. (No, I can't keep up either.) "Some 15 mercenaries have been arrested here," the country's Information Minister Agustin Nse Nfumu told Reuters. "It was connected with that plane in Zimbabwe. They were the advance party of that group."

Equatorial Guinea is next door to Gabon. And Joe Wilson used to be the US Ambassador there back in the day. So maybe he can make some sense of this. I can't. But I'd be very interested to talk to the investigators who put together that UN report and see if there's any connection between Dodson International Parts SA Ltd and Dodson Aviation Maintenance and Spare Parts. /

I just can not forget that Poppy's gold mining buddies Barrick
are in Congo
War is Golden for the Bush Administration
And the commodities connection? President Pretzel's relentless hissy-fit for war on Iraq has of course goosed the price of gold enormously--and that's set Bush Family coffers a-clinking. How so? In the waning days of his failed presidency, Bush I invoked an obscure 1872 statute to give a Canadian firm, Barrick Corporation, the right to mine $10 billion in gold from U.S. public lands. (U.S. taxpayers got a whopping $10,000 fee in return.) Bush then joined Barrick as a highly-paid "international consultant," brokering deals with various dictators of his close acquaintance. Barrick reciprocated with big bucks for Junior's presidential run. And in another quid for the old pro quo, last year Junior dutifully approved Barrick's controversial acquisition of a major rival. (Barrick is also one of the biggest polluters in America, by the way.)

The money behind Barrick is from Saudi arms dealer and Bush family friend Adnan Khashoggi, who was identified as conduit in the Iran-Contra conspiracy. In 1986 he was arrested and charged with fraud but failed to be convicted. In one of his last acts as president Bush pardoned Khashoggi's alleged co-conspirators, who were key members of Bush's own cabinet. As a result, no case could be made against Khashoggi or against Bush himself.

Where was flight N4610 heading?

March 10 2004 at 08:11AM

They were 64 "heavily built men", mostly white. No, they were all black. No, only 40 of them were black.

The plane left South Africa illegally from Wonderboom airport, strayed into Zimbabwe airspace and was ordered down. No, the plane left the country legally, having filed a flight plan to Harare and then on to Burundi. No, the plane was headed for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The men on board were suspected of being mercenaries hired to overthrow Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. No, they were on their way to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. No, they were going to the eastern DRC to carry out security duties.

These are just some of the stories surrounding the flight of N4610, a Boeing 727-100 cargo plane that has been impounded in Harare.

And 64 - though some reports say there are 67 - of those who were aboard, whether they were white, black or a mixture, and whether they were mercenaries or honest men, are in Harare cells facing intense interrogation.

On Tuesday, a company named in connection with the flight disputed all the speculation, saying the "mercenaries" were in fact security people "going to eastern DRC".

They were stopping in Zimbabwe to pick up mining equipment, "Zimbabwe being a vastly cheaper place for such".

Charles Burrow, a senior executive of Logo Logistics which had chartered the Boeing 727 freighter, said via telephone from London that most of the people on board were South African and had military experience, but were on contract to four mining companies in the DRC. He declined to name the companies. ...

Plane Did Stop At Grantley Adams - Thursday 11, March-2004

A UNITED STATES registered plane at the centre of controversy after being detained on Monday with 64 suspected mercenaries aboard by the Zimbabwean government did stop at Grantley Adams International Airport last Saturday morning.
Informed sources told the DAILY NATION yesterday that the aircraft, a Boeing 727 (100 series), with registration number N4610, landed in Barbados shortly after midnight for refuelling before leaving around 6:30 a.m.

Sources also indicated that the aircraft, which Zimbabwean officials alleged also carried military equipment, had arrived from the Hope Air Force Base in North Carolina, United States, before its stop-over in Barbados.

Further reports stated that the plane, originally a commercial PanAm Airways aircraft up until a week ago, was being operated by the American Air Force, but international Press reports stated it had been sold to a South African company. ...

Deep in the heart of Congo, millions struggle to survive after more than a century of instability brought on by brutal colonists, military dictatorships, and war.

Corporate Mercenaries - Executive Outcomes Leads to Bush

Executive Outcomes is the most infamous mercenary company in operation today. Unlike traditional mercenary companies, it operates as the heavy partner in a web of related companies. Sandline international is such a sister company: 170 elite South African dogs of war were hired to crush the Bougainville freedom Fighters for $22m. Just another job for the likes of Sandline international? Paul Vernon investigates...

Set up in 1993 by Tony Buckingham and Simon Mannl <1>, Executive outcomes (EO) has worked in Asia, Africa and South America. Most of it's personnel are hired from South Africa.

Buckingham is the chief executive of Heritage Oil and Gas, which is now registered in the (tax-free) Bahamas. When EO was hired by the Sierra Leone government to crush people's revolt, Heritage received much of the payment in the form of mining rights. Sir David Steel MP happens to be a director of Heritage as well as a close friend of Buckingham. Recently Sierra Leone was thrown back into chaos with another military coup.

Eeben Barlow, the present CEO of Executive Outcomes, is a veteran of the Civil Co-operation Bureau, which allegedly assassinated antiapartheid activists. Barlow is the frontman for the group he told Newsweek (2) in February: "I'm a professional soldier. It's not about politics. I have a job to do. I do it." EO is thought to have a annual turnover of more that 20 million.

The South African government, with help from officials from the United Nations, has begun to draft proposals of legislation aimed to counter what officials called "the increasing frequency with which our soldiers-of-fortune are operating overseas".(7)

Executive Outcomes ties lead to London and Bush
Executive Intelligence Review January 31, 1997, pp. 42-43
by Roger Moore and Linda de Hoyos

Exposes appearing on both sides of the Atlantic on the mercenary group Executive Outcomes, threaten to blow the lid off the British intelligence nexus already identified as responsible for the February 1986 murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, and for the current cataclysmic destabilization of Africa on behalf of circles associated with the Queen of England's Privy Council and Sir George Bush.
The exposes appeared in the French daily {Le Figaro} on Jan. 16, the {London Observer} on Jan. 17, and the February issue of the American magazine {Harper's.}
Executive Outcomes is the mercenary arm of a vast
network of British-South African corporations dealing in gold, diamonds, and oil, primarily, but not exclusively, in Africa, that come under the umbrella of Strategic Resources Corporation, headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa. Described universally as an ``advance guard of a corporate network that includes mining, oil, and construction companies,'' Executive Outcomes is active in 13 African countries, including Uganda. For its services, it demands a lien or franchise on the exportable raw resources, particularly mineral wealth, of the client country--in the same fashion as the British East India Company of the 18th and 19th centuries, which in turn functioned as the ``advance guard'' of the British monarchy.
Executive Outcomes was incorporated offshore, on the Isle of Man, in 1993, by Anthony Buckingham, a British businessman, and Simon Mann, a former British officer, the {Observer} reported, based on a leak to it from British intelligence. Buckingham is also chief executive of Heritage Oil and Gas, which in turn is linked to the Canadian firm Ranger Oil. Other firms operating out of the same headquarters in Chelsea Plaza 107, London, include Branch International Ltd. and Branch Mining Ltd.
Preliminary investigation by {EIR} has further determined that Executive Outcomes lies at the heart of the British monarch's raw materials cartels and secret intelligence operations, in conjunction with Bush's rogue apparat:
Through Sir David Steel, a former leader of the Liberal Party, Executive Outcomes and, presumably, its deployment, is a subsumed operation of the Queen's Privy Council. Steel is a close friend of EO's Buckingham, and is on the board of directors of EO's sister firm, Heritage Oil and Gas, according to {Le Figaro.} In 1977, Steel was inducted into the Privy Council, making him the youngest member of Britain's highest-level policy-making body.
The links between Executive Outcomes and Ranger Oil point to operational ties with the Bronfman family of Canada, whose scion, Edgar Bronfman of Toronto Broncorp, sits on the board of directors of Ranger. Recently, the Bronfman family merged its mammoth real estate firm, Trizec, with Barrick Gold, whose senior advisory board includes Sir George Bush. Barrick Gold is deeply involved in northeastern Zaire, where it has purchased 83,000 square kilometers of land. Zairean sources report that the so-called Zairean rebel Laurent Kabila is no more than a mercenary for Barrick and Anglo American Corp., sponsored by the British Crown-backed Ugandan and Rwandan militaries. Executive Outcomes, {Le Figaro} and other sources further verify, is deeply entrenched in Uganda, the key British marcher-lord state in the region.

Immaculate, 32, in Drodro hospital. She was attacked by Lendu forces and now waits for treatment from locals who have no medical supplies. Bandages were recovered from the ground after looting and are being rewashed to be reused.

Mercenaries aimed to topple oil-rich despot

The inside story of the ties that bind President Obiang and powerful American interests

By Paul Lashmar
14 March 2004

The tale of the 67 men of assorted nationalities now in a Zimbabwe jail accused of being mercenaries continued to unfurl yesterday like the plot of a lurid airport novel.

A bit too much like fiction, in fact, involving as it does a cast that includes the despotic leader of a little-known West African state, the Eton-educated son of an English cricket captain, fake passports, and a shadowy company registered in the Channel Islands that is linked to SAS old boys. All this, plus talk of CIA, MI6 and Spanish secret service activity, and a plane now impounded at Harare airport that contained equipment more suited to burglary than seizures of power.


But if who paid whom for what services has not yet been revealed, the intended target is not in doubt: President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, leader of a country whose lack of renown belies its strategic significance. And for "strategic" read oil. Not for nothing is this land known in US government circles as the "Kuwait of the Gulf of Guinea". Not without reason has President Bush welcomed President Obiang, a confirmed if not convicted corrupt despot, to the White House. He may be a despot, but as presider over an oil-rich state, he is their despot.

The sight and smell of oil is everywhere palpable in the port of Malabo. From here you can see the flames shooting into the night sky from the offshore oilrigs. Every day tens of thousands of barrels are extracted from huge crude oil reserves underneath the seabed off Equatorial Guinea.It is one of the oil-rich sub-Saharan countries that now supplies 15 per cent of American oil. Experts predict that the amount of oil the US receives from the prolific fields of Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Angola will double in the next five years. Hence the succour that American companies - and, since 9/11, the American government - have given to Obiang. Vice President Dick Cheney has said: "Along with Latin America, West Africa is expected to be one of the fastest-growing sources of oil and gas for the American market." ...

Gravediggers at work in Kinshasa's largest cemetery, where there are more than 50 burials per day. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 2 million people have died since 1996 as a result of violence, starvation, and lack of access to basic health care.

Plaza 107 and its links to Executive Outcomes

The Diamond Dogs

This commercial enterprise has given EO its nickname; 'the diamond dogs of war'. A recent United Nations report noted that once a firm like EO is able to establish security in an area 'it apparently begins to exploit the concessions it has received by setting up a number of associates and affiliates' which engage in 'legitimate' businesses. Such firms thus acquire 'a significant, if not hegemonic, presence in the economic life of the country in which it is operating'.

One of the Plaza 107 group firms is Branch Energy (BE), an English corporation which registered in the Isle of Man, a tax haven, in April 1994. EO is a major shareholder in BE, with 6o per cent of BE Angola, 40 per cent Of BE Uganda, and 40 per cent Of BE Sierra Leone. In June 1996 BE merged with Carson Gold, controlled by Canadian mining magnate Robert Friedland, to form Diamond Works Inc. This company, which has prospecting rights in Congo, Namibia, Botswana and Senegal, and is now the second largest concession holder in Angolait, was recently awarded the Alto Kwanza diamond exploration concession in Bie Province, covering an area of more than 18,ooo sq. km. In July 1996 the Sierra Leone government awarded the company a twenty-five-year lease to the Koidu diamond fields in the Kono region 'liberated' by EO. Diamond Works has contracted Lifeguard, another SRC subsidiary, at us$6o,ooo a month to protect its diamond fields in Sierra Leone.

Another line of analysis suggests that the prime mover in the employment of EO in Sierra Leone came from the South African mining house Gencor. In 1996 Gencor sold its controlling interest in the Australian company Cudgen RZ to another Australian firm, Renison Goldfields Consolidated (RGC). A subsidiary of RGC, Consolidated Rutile Ltd., in partnership with the us firm Nord Resources Group, controls half of Sierra Rutile Ltd, which with an annual production worth US$200 Million a year is the largest rutile mine in the world. The mine was the regional headquarters for Eo during their operations in West Africa and when they withdrew Sierra Rutile Ltd. took out a contract with Lifeguard.

America's secret armies
A swarm of private contractors bedevils the U.S. military

Those who recall the awful sight of the corpse of Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in 1993 also recall the American reactionthe prompt withdrawal of troops. Yet when four retired Special Forces operators were taken hostage and one of them tortured three years later in Liberia, no one knew. Brian Boquist, a former Special Forces officer and founder of International Charter Inc. of Oregon, told U.S. News how he and his small aviation company wound up on the firing line. ICI was hired by the State Department in December 1995 to provide air and logistics support to the regional peacekeeping group of West African states known as ECOMOG. As Liberia spiraled into bloody chaos, about two dozen ICI staffers snatched weapons off dead locals and defended the U.S. Embassy until U.S. Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces arrived on April 9, 1996. ICI stayed on to airlift about 40 tons of food for some 40,000 refugees and won the State Department's Contractor of the Year award for their actions.

There's much to investigate. For starters, the Pentagon does not even know how many contractors it uses. Last spring, Army Secretary Thomas E. White revived an effort to count all contractors under his purview. A preliminary report to Congress in April guessed that the Army contracted out the equivalent of between 124,000 and 605,000 person-work-years in 2001. Nor is there a reliable count of the contractors who provide "emergency essential" services on the battlefront and elsewhere, despite the urging of the Department of Defense (DOD) inspector general a decade ago. In an internal E-mail last fall, one colonel urged that the Army logistics chief review all field systems to see what contractor support they entail. It reads: "At the very least, he could count these little beggars in some fashion before they show up on the battlefield and surprise some poor commander with horrific support, real estate and security requirements."

Maria, a mother of three, lost her arm defending her children in Nizi, Eastern Congo. She says soldiers ate flesh from the arm after they had amputated it.

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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #21
30. Evidence of U.S. Role in Coup 'Operation Jaded Task'

April 7: Conclusive Evidence of U.S. Role in Kidnapping and Coup

Monday, April 4, 2004
Media Contact: Dustin Langley 212-633-6646

As Bush Administration Scrambles to Shore Up Appointed Haitian Regime Commission to Present Conclusive Evidence of U.S. Role in Kidnapping and Coup

Date: Wednesday, April 7
Time: 6:30- 9:30 pm
Location: The Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College

Panel to include: Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Major Owens, Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Ossie Davis, Gil Noble, Amy Goodman, Ron Daniels, and other prominent activists and journalists

The Bush Administration is facing a growing crisis over its role in the coup in Haiti and the kidnapping of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who continues to speak out about his abduction by the U.S. The 15-member organization of Caribbean nations, CARICOM, has refused to recognize the U.S.-installed regime and has called for an investigation, despite intense pressure and threats from the U.S. The 53-member African Union has raised the same demand.

On Wednesday, April 7, the Haiti Commission of Inquiry will initiate a public inquiry of the role of the Bush Administration in the crisis in Haiti. Delegations that visited both the Central African Republic and the Dominican Republic will present conclusive evidence that U.S. Special Forces armed, trained, and directed the "rebels" and engineered the abduction of President Aristide.

The preliminary report from the Commission states, "two hundred U.S. Special Forces soldiers came to the Dominican Republic as part of 'Operation Jaded Task,' with special authorization from President Hiplito Mejia. We have received many reports that this operation was used to train Haitian rebels. We have received many consistent reports of Haitian rebel training centers at or near Dominican military facilities. We have received many consistent reports of guns transported from the Dominican Republic to Haiti, some across the land border, and others shipped by sea."

Johnnie Stevens of the International Action Center, a member of the delegation to the Central African Republic, said, "The U.S.-installed Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue, has hailed the paid mercenaries as freedom fighters, and had thus discredited himself among the Caribbean nations."

Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a desperate bid to lend some credibility to the Latortue government, is now visiting Haiti for the first time. This attempt to put U. S. weight behind the isolated colonial-style regime is a response to its growing isolation. Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, said, "This visit by Powell is a sign of the Bush Administrations growing isolation and disarray. The U.S. is desperately trying to shore up a discredited regime in the face of international opposition to the appointed government of Haiti after the stinging rebuke directed at the U.S. by the recent CARICOM meeting." Flounders is a member of the Haiti Commission of Inquiry and was part of the delegation to the Central African Republic, where she visited with President Aristide shortly after his kidnapping.

Kim Ives from Haiti Progres, who was part of the delegation to the Dominican Republic, told the media, "In the course of our investigation here, we met with many Haitians who were forced to flee Haiti following the coup d'etat of Feb. 29. Their testimony gave very concrete names and faces to the stories of violence which we have heard that the so-called rebels, trained and assembled in the Dominican Republic, have carried out in Haiti over the past month. We were also touched by the tears of refugees who told us of how they are apprehensive over the fate of their loved ones left behind in Haiti."

For more information, or to schedule an interview with a member of the Commission, call Dustin Langley at 212-633-6646.

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39 West 14th Street, Room 206
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #21
41. They would jump in a lake and screw fish if paid enough
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 09:59 PM by saigon68
The money paid to them, should be feeding and clothing the homeless in Amerika
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 01:01 AM
Response to Reply #21
48. Interesting question
Now which nation trained Osama anyway? Was it at the advice of the military industrial complex?
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Walt Starr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
25. Mercenaries deal in death for profit
Fuck 'em. They knew the risks but a grand per day was worth the risk in their eyes. They gambled on death and lost.

Again I say, Fuck 'em.
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RummyTheDummy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
2. They should be prosecuted for false advertising
Clearly they're not as "elite" as they proclaim.
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tnlefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
4. The logo states that they are 'dedicated to democracy everywhere'
Yeah, right at gunpoint. I noticed that there are people seeking jobs in homeland security in the ads section. Makes me feel warm, safe and snuggly.
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DemoTex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. Looky here! Deep in the website:
Aviation Consultants
to the Regional Airline Industry
(select for more information)

STI's expertise can optimize your company's
capabilities in:

Labor Relations & Negotiations
Regulatory Compliance Audits
Company Publications
Quality Assurance Training Programs
Flight Standards Maintenance

Labor Relations & Negotiations!? WTF? I wonder if ALPA knows it's potentially up against mercenaries in labor tactics and negotiations at regional airlines?
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jimshoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Gestapo"R"Us
Now you can hire your own storm troopers and head crackers. Lovely!
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #6
32. Stan Goff posts new article about Blackwater and Mercenaries
Stan Goff the ex US Army Special Forces Sergeant just posted an article he wrote about the new mercenary outfits and their use by Uncle Sam to do the dirty stuff Uncle Sam doesn't want to be held accountable for if and when shit hits the fan. For example, he gave the case of the US missionary's plane which was falsely identified as a drug runner and shot down on the advice of one of these civilian "contractor" agencies which had been hired to provide reconnaissance services for the CIA in South America. A mother and her 7 month old daughter died in the subsequent crash. When the US Congress tried to investigate they couldn't get any answers from the State Department or from the CIA and were told that no information could be provided about the incident because of "privacy concerns" as the company was a private entity.

Here's what Goff had to say about Blackwater and one of its senior people Gary Jackson, apparently killed in Fallujah.

On the combat end, Blackwater USA is mostly ex-SEALs with a few former SWAT cops thrown in, run by a blustering hyper-macho ex-SEAL named Gary Jackson. One of the victims of the Fallujah ambush a WWF-looking body-builder-type had boasted to a reporter staying in his hotel in Baghdad that he preferred hand-to-hand combat so he could see his quarry eye to eye. When I was running a Special Forces A-Detachment, this kind of talk would have sent me seeking a way to reassign you out of my team.

But it's part of that whole right-wing culture of militarism, one that is pimped aggressively by the entertainment media to our young, who have no notion of its fascistic origins.

Executive Outcomes, based in South Africa, and broken into smaller groups two years ago to further conceal its activities, is run by veterans of the Apartheid regime's dirty wars. The oddly named LIAT Finance and Construction, of Israel, specialized in raiding Sierra Leone for its diamonds, and Israeli mercenaries in Latin America are known to contract with governments and drug cartels by turns. Sandline of UK, mostly peopled by ex-SAS, was also involved in Sierra Leone.13. Blackwater has actually hired former members of the military of Augusto Pinochet, the reactionary dictator of Chile installed during a 1973 CIA-supported coup d'etat.14

The list of these PMCs is long and growing, and they are being filled with these macho military narcissists.

Following our DU copyright rules, I can only post 4 paragraphs. The complete article is available at Mike Ruppert's From The Wilderness website for subscribers at:

You will have to subscribe to the web site to read the article (I think it's about $30US per year). In addition to the subscriber only material, there's lots of free articles on Bush and 9/11, Peak Oil and the energy crisis, CIA and drug smuggling etc. available at , so you can check it out and see for yourself where Ruppert's coming from before you decide to shell out the cash.

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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
11. blackwater also hired General Pinochet's thugs
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 08:55 PM by RainDog,13755,1162441,0...

US contractor recruits guards for Iraq in Chile

Forces say experienced soldiers are quitting for private companies which pay more for similar work

Jonathan Franklin in Santiago
Friday March 5, 2004
The Guardian

The US is hiring mercenaries in Chile to replace its soldiers on security duty in Iraq. A Pentagon contractor has begun recruiting former commandos, other soldiers and seamen, paying them up to $4,000 (2,193) a month to guard oil wells against attack by insurgents.

Last month Blackwater USA flew a first group of about 60 former commandos, many of who had trained under the military government of Augusto Pinochet, from Santiago to a 2,400-acre (970-hectare) training camp in North Carolina.

From there they will be taken to Iraq, where they are expected to stay between six months and a year, the president of Blackwater USA, Gary Jackson, told the Guardian by telephone.

"We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals - the Chilean commandos are very, very professional and they fit within the Blackwater system," he said.
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RummyTheDummy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Ugh. More outsourcing
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #11
34. the Chilean commandos are very, very professional
With their favorite tool Testicle Crushers.

These guy will bring Democracy alright
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cosmicdot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:57 PM
Response to Original message
19. I couldn't find any info on Directors, etc.
The admin officers can't be the bread and butter of this outfit

my immediate reaction of the site: impressed me as formal corporate militia
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billbuckhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. How about that Blackwater trainingcenter?Who needs School of the Americas?
6000 acres of the most comprehensive private tactical training facilities in the United States and it's all on private land!
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FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
27. Here's the rest of the story. The mercenaires fired on the
demostration against the closing of the newspaper. 200 women and children were shot that day. They just opened fired on the crowd. Killed 30. The murder of the mercenaires was revenge. Amazing how little cover that story got isn't it. The Bush people are murders. Every single day on both sides of the conflict.
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
42. Wonder what kind of gov contracts we have with these firms.
Mercenary business is probably pretty good this year. They like the word EXECUTE!
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #42
44. Post-War Contractors Ranked by Total Contract Value in Iraq and

Campaign Contributions of Post-War Contractors

Don't forget about the grey and black budgets.
Rumsfeld's DoD is missing over ONE TRILLION DOLLARS.
:grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr: :grr:
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
46. A little disjointed research on the mercenaries,,,,


Business has been booming for Blackwater, which now owns, as its press release boasts, "the largest privately-owned firearms training facility in the nation." Jackson told the Guardian, "We have grown 300 percent over each of the past three years and we are small compared to the big ones. We have a very small niche market, we work towards putting out the cream of the crop, the best."

The practice of using mercenaries to fight wars is hardly new, but it is becoming increasingly popular in recent years. During the first Gulf War, one out of every 50 soldiers on the battlefield was a mercenary. The number had climbed up to one in ten during the Bosnian conflict. Currently there are thousands of Bosnian, Filipino and American soldiers under contract with private companies serving in Iraq. Their duties range from airport security to protecting Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Apart from Chile, the other popular source for military recruits is South Africa. The United Nations recently reported that South Africa "is already among the top three suppliers of personnel for private military companies, along with the UK and the US." There are more than 1,500 South Africans in Iraq today, most of whom are former members of the South African Defense Force and South African Police.

According to the Cape Times, among the South African companies under contract with the Pentagon are Meteoric Tactical Solutions, which "is providing protection and is also training new Iraqi police and security units," and Erinys, a joint South African-British company, which "has received a multimillion-dollar contract to protect Iraq's oil industry," the Cape Times reported.


It is also only a matter of time before U.S. soldiers grow unhappy with the presence of mercenaries in their midst. The high salaries and shorter terms of employment offered to mercenaries will inevitably make a serious dent on the military's budget. As Blackwater's Jackson acknowledged in the Guardian, "If they are going to outsource tasks that were once held by active-duty military and are now using private contractors, those guys are looking and asking, 'Where is the money?'"



In a brief but intense firefight, Thomas hit one of the attackers with a single shot from his M4 carbine at a distance he estimates was 100 to 110 yards.

He hit the man in the buttocks, a wound that typically is not fatal. But this round appeared to kill the assailant instantly.

It entered his butt and completely destroyed everything in the lower left section of his stomach ... everything was torn apart, Thomas said.

Thomas, a security consultant with a private company contracted by the government, recorded the first known enemy kill using a new and controversial bullet.

The bullet is so controversial that if Thomas, a former SEAL, had been on active duty, he would have been court-martialed for using it. The ammunition is nonstandard and hasnt passed the militarys approval process.


You can watch a Streaming video of this blended-metal bullet technology taken at the 2003 Shoot-out at Blackwater on the manufacturer's site here: /

The ammo that Thomas used was a so-called blended-metal-technology round, manufactured by RBCD of San Antonio and distributed by LeMas Ltd. of Little Rock, Ark. For the past four years, RBCD has been featured during AFJs annual Shoot-out at Blackwater training center (August AFJ), where the ammos unique performance has impressed most of the special operators observing its effects. Designed to release maximum energy in soft tissue, the armor-piercing limited penetration ammo will bore through hard targets, such as steel and glass, but will not pass through a person or even several layers of drywall. ((watch the video to see what they mean by "will not pass through a person)) /

I've been in Falluja when the entire city has been under collective punishment, which occurs nearly everytime someone attacks a U.S. patrol there. People are enraged, and rightly so. So when one of those white, shiny SUV's with the big black antenna drives by with guys with crew cuts in them wearing body armor holding guns (yes, it is THAT obvious and easy to see), what do you think might happen to them?

The other reason I bring this up is because of this: Last night I'm going through customs at the airport in Amman, and I find myself standing in line behind five men with crewcuts and their 'handler', a little bit older fellow from Turkey (I saw his passport). The men were all in their late 20s, to late 30s I'd say, and from their discussion had all been in Iraq before.

They wouldn't tell me who they were working for, but when they were lugging huge plastic boxes with locks on them off the baggage belt, then went and hopped into their nice, white SUV, it was pretty much a no-brainer.

Blackwater Security Consulting won a $35.7 million contract to train over 10,000 soldiers from several states in the U.S. in the art of 'force protection,' according to Mother Jones magazine. They also hire mercenaries from South Africa and other countries as well, and the pay in Iraq is $1,000 per day. Wonder how that makes our soldiers feel, who make barely over that each month?

Blackwater signed a $35.7 million contract with the Pentagon to train more than 10,000 sailors from Virginia, Texas, and California each year in "force protection." Other contracts are so secret, says Blackwater president Gary Jackson, that he can't tell one federal agency about the business he's doing with another.


In recent months, private military companies have also played a key role in preparing for a war with Iraq. They supply essential support to military bases throughout the Persian Gulf, from operating mess halls to furnishing security. They provide armed guards at a U.S. Army base in Qatar, and they use live ammunition to train soldiers at Camp Doha in Kuwait, where a contractor, whose company ran a computer system that tracks soldiers in the field, was killed by terrorists last January. They also maintain an array of weapons systems vital to an invasion of Iraq, including the B-2 bomber, F-117 stealth fighter, Apache helicopter, KC-10 refueling tanker, U-2 reconnaissance plane, and the unmanned Global Hawk reconnaissance unit. In an all-out war against Saddam Hussein, the military was expected to use as many as 20,000 private contractors in the Persian Gulf That would be 1 civilian for every 10 soldiers-a 10-fold increase over the first Gulf War.

Indeed, the Bush administration's push to privatize war is swiftly turning the military-industrial complex of old into something even more far-reaching: a complex of military industries that do everything but fire weapons. For-profit military companies now enjoy an estimated $100 billion in business worldwide each year, with much of the money going to Fortune 500 firms like Halliburton, DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon. Secretary of the Army Thomas White, a former vice chairman of Enron, "has really put a mark on the wall for getting government employees out of certain functions in the military," says retired Colonel Tom Sweeney, professor of strategic logistics at the U.S. Army War College. "It allows you to focus your manpower on the battlefield kinds of missions."


The use of private military companies, which gained considerable momentum under President Clinton, has escalated under the Bush administration. "There has been a dramatic increase in the military's reliance on contractor personnel to provide a wide range of support services for overseas operations," one Washington law firm advises its defense-company clients in a recent briefing paper. "In addition, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, resulted in a rapid expansion of U.S. military activity in many areas of the globe, and President Bush's ongoing war on terrorism will likely require even greater contractor support for military operations in the future."



The current business boom is in Iraq. Blackwater charges its clients $1,500 to $2,000 a day for each hired gun. Most security contractors, like Blackwater's teams, live a comfortable if exhausting existence in Baghdad, staying at the Sheraton or Palestine hotels, which are not plush but at least have running water. Locals often mistake the guards for special forces or CIA personnel, which makes active-duty military troops a bit edgy. "Those Blackwater guys," says an intelligence officer in Iraq, ]"they drive around wearing Oakley sunglasses and pointing their guns out of car windows. They have pointed their guns at me, and it pissed me off. Imagine what a guy in Fallujah thinks." Adds an Army officer who just returned from Baghdad, "They are a subculture."


At the Pentagon, which has encouraged the outsourcing of security work, there are widespread misgivings about the use of hired guns. A Pentagon official says the outsourcing of security work means the government no longer has any real control over the training and capabilities of thousands of U.S. and foreign contractors who are packing weapons every bit as powerful as those belonging to the average G.I. "These firms are hiring anyone they can get. Sure, some of them are special forces, but some of them are good, and some are not. Some are too old for this work, and some are too young. But they are not on the U.S. payroll. And so they are not our responsibility.",9171,110104... ?

Because the Geneva Convention expressly bans the use of mercenaries -- individual soldiers of fortune who fight solely for personal gain -- private military companies are careful to distance themselves from any associations with such hired guns. To emphasize their experience and professionalism, many firms maintain websites brimming with colorful PR material; the industry even funds an advocacy group, the International Peace Operations Association, which portrays military firms as more capable and accountable than the Pentagon. "These companies want to run a professional operation," says the group's director, Doug Brooks. "Their incentive is to make money. How do you make money? You make sure you don't screw up."

When the companies do screw up, however, their status as private entities often shields them -- and the government -- from public scrutiny. In 2001, an Alabama-based firm called Aviation Development Corp. that provided reconnaissance for the CIA in South America misidentified an errant plane as possibly belonging to cocaine traffickers. Based on the company's information, the Peruvian air force shot down the aircraft, killing a U.S. missionary and her seven-month-old daughter. Afterward, when members of Congress tried to investigate, the State Department and the CIA refused to provide any information, citing privacy concerns. "We can't talk about it," administration officials told Congress, according to a source familiar with the incident. "It's a private entity. Call the company."

The lack of oversight alarms some members of Congress. "Under a shroud of secrecy, the United States is carrying out military missions with people who don't have the same level of accountability," says Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a leading congressional critic of privatized war. "We have individuals who are not obligated to follow orders or follow the Military Code of Conduct. Their main obligation is to their employer, not to their country."

Private military companies emphasize their patriotism and expertise, positioning themselves as a sort of corporate battalion staffed by ex-soldiers who remain eager to serve their country. Military Professional Resources Inc., one of the largest and most prestigious firms, boasts that it can call on 12,500 veterans with expertise in everything from nuclear operations to submarine attacks. MPRI deploys its private troops to run Army recruitment centers across the country, train soldiers to serve as key staff officers in the field, beef up security at U.S. military bases in Korea, and train foreign armies from Kuwait to South Africa. At the highest echelons, the Virginia-based firm is led by retired General Carl Vuono, who served as Army chief of staff during the Gulf War and the U.S. invasion of Panama. Assisting him are General Crosbie Saint, former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe; Lt. General Harry Soyster, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency; and General Ron Griffith, former Army vice chief of staff.


The companies don't rely on informal networking alone, though. They also pour plenty of money into the political system -- especially into the re-election war chests of lawmakers who oversee their business. An analysis by Mother Jones shows that 17 of the nation's leading private military firms have invested more than $12.4 million in congressional and presidential campaigns since 1999.

The firms also maintain platoons of Washington lobbyists to help keep government contracts headed their way. In 2001, according to the most recent federal disclosure forms, 10 private military companies spent more than $32 million on lobbying. DynCorp retained two lobbying firms that year to successfully block a bill that would have forced federal agencies to justify private contracts on cost-saving grounds. MPRI's parent company, L-3 Communications, had more than a dozen lobbyists working on its behalf, including Linda Daschle, wife of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. Last year L-3 won $1.7 billion in Defense Department contracts.

From a United Nations report to the General Assembly:


General Assembly

29 August 1995

Fiftieth session
Item 106 of the provisional agenda*


Use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights
and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to

72. It is the Special Rapporteurs belief and this view is generally shared by the first meeting of experts that one of the new forms of mercenary activity is that which takes place through private security companies that hire out military services, using mercenaries for that purpose. The fact that international legal texts do not refer to this modality has facilitated its rapid expansion. At the same time, the proliferation of mercenaries hired by companies and their participation in armed conflicts, illegal arms traffic, drug traffic and violations of human rights bespeak the need for regulation, control, prevention and oversight of such companies. The United Nations must accordingly assist States in establishing mechanisms to regulate those companies and in harmonizing their national legislation.


76. Clearly, international rules refer to States, not enterprises. Consequently, such enterprises can claim that they are not responsible for unlawful acts with which States alone can be charged. Thus, if an enterprise hires mercenaries who commit human rights violations, the enterprise is not responsible and the violations go unpunished.


88. The third point concerns payment which is, without any doubt, the defining factor of mercenary status and activity. Mercenaries, particularly those who are hired to participate in combat or to train those who are to make up battalions, columns or commando units are typically individuals who have been in the military or who have received military training, and above all who are former members of special commando or parachute units and have experience in the use of sophisticated weapons. The mere fact that it is a Government that recruits mercenaries, or hires companies that recruit mercenaries, either in its own defence or to provide reinforcements in armed conflicts, does not make such acts any less illegal or illegitimate. Governments are authorized to operate solely under the Constitution and the international treaties to which they are parties. This point of view should be taken into account in a broader legal definition of mercenaries.

Report on mercenaries presented to human rights commission
United Nations press release HR/CN/764. 14 March, 1997


The Special Rapporteur concludes in the document that mercenary activities are a form of violence used in the last 40 years to hamper the exercise the right to self-determination of peoples and to violate human rights. Mercenary activity has been increasing and has been observed in serious criminal activity, including terrorist attacks and drug and arms trafficking.



Soldiers for Sale

By Adam Zagorin, Time magazine, Vol. 149, no. 21, 26 May 1997
The Cold War is over, but with demand for military muscle stronger than ever around the world, hired guns are going corporate.


<snip> From the suburbs of Washington and Tel Aviv to London and Pretoria, a growing number of competitors are scrambling for contracts that run into millions of dollars, hawking their wares using everything from Websites to slick brochures.

For instance, contracts worth more than $170 million for training Saudi Arabia's national guard and air force have gone to Vinnell Corp. and a sister company, both partly owned by Washington's Carlyle merchant-banking group, whose chairman is former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci. Military Professional Resources Inc., another capital-area firm, won the business to improve the fighting skills of troops in Bosnia and Croatia. "We offer expertise from the greatest fighting force on earth, the U.S. military," says former Army General Harry Soyster, a vice president at M.P.R.I. M.P.R.I. deploys nothing more lethal than flip charts and Magic Markers. Of course, the firm will gladly show clients how to point and shoot an arsenal of weaponry, ranging from rifles to main battle tanks.

The hard guys are currently employing the hard sell. At a recent arms show in Abu Dhabi, an Executive Outcomes booth quietly competed for business with mercenaries from Britain, France and the U.S. Topflight mercenaries and military consultants, many recruited from elite military units like the U.S. Special Forces, Britain's S.A.S. and Scots Guards and South Africa's 32 Battalion, can command anywhere from about $3,500 a month for enlisted men to $13,000 a month for officers or fighter pilots. That is far more than most of those involved could make wearing a regular-army uniform, and the package is usually topped off with free death-and-disability insurance.


Here are some of the outfits that sell their men and arms to companies and governments around the world

A leader in its field, the firm is mainly staffed by apartheid-era, former South African military officers

Partly owned by a banking group whose chairman is a former U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Virginia-based firm trains Saudi Arabia's national guard

The low-key Israeli firm trained troops and bodyguards for Congolese President Pascal Lissouba, who then purchased $10 million worth of Israeli weapons and military equipment


Vinnell Corporation (Northrop Grumman)
12150 East Monument Drive
Suite 800
Fairfax, VA 22033
Phone: (703) 385-4544 Profile
Company Principals
Board of Directors
Contract History
Political Contributions

Founded in the early 1930s, Vinnell worked on the Los Angeles highway system before it started to expand into military construction during World War II. During the Vietnam War, the company built bases in South Vietnam that it later had to blow up after the United States withdrew from the country. According to The Boston Herald, a Pentagon official called Vinnell "our own little mercenary army" in a 1975 interview with The Village Voice.

Vietnam almost led Vinnell to bankruptcy, but a 1975 contract worth $77 million to train the Saudi Arabian National Guard started a long and lucrative history of involvement in the Middle East.


The Vinnell-Brown&Root joint venture had at least six contracts worth nearly $200 million from 1998 to 2002. In addition to the United States, Vinnell and VBR performed work in Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Northrop Grumman, the current parent company, had nearly 4,000 contracts worth close to $42.5 billion from 1990 through 2002.

Iraq contracts

Vinnell is responsible for training the New Iraqi Army (NIA). Work on the $48 million one-year contract began July 1, 2003, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2004. The contract includes a feature called "Not-To-Exceed Cost Ceiling," meaning that Vinnell's total contract invoices for the first six months cannot exceed 50 percent of the contract estimate, or $24,037,221.


<snip> Vinnell is using five subcontractors: Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Eagle Group International Inc., Omega Training Group, and Worldwide Language Resources Inc. As opposed to Afghanistan, where coalition forces conducted much of the training, the decision to outsource military training in Iraq reportedly was made because U.S. troops are spread too thin.


Government ties

Former Democratic congressman Vic Fazio is a senior partner in Clark & Weinstock, a consulting firm. During his time on Capitol Hill, he was a member of the Appropriations Committee, Budget and Ethics Committee and the Armed Services Committee. Fazio was part of the Democratic leadership from 1991 to 1998, rising to the party's third-ranking position as chair of the Democratic Caucus. Fazio has contributed more than $110,000 to mostly Democratic candidates since 1980.


ALTHOUGH the media repeatedly refers to the men killed in the recent attack in Iraq as 'civilian contractors' they were in fact mercenaries used as part of the US government's outsourcing of jobs too messy, too dull, or too questionable to be carried out by standard troops for whom the president and his aides might be held responsible. These firms include Blackwater, the one involved in the recent incident as well as Dyncorp and the Steele Foundation. The Steele Foundation, the third largest supplier of mercenaries, has 500 troops in Iraq and recently distinguished itself by - depending on who's telling the story - failing to protect Haitian president Aristide from kidnapping by the U.S. government or participating in the act.


The US government is the major holdout to these international agreements:

(see references for 29 of the 38 listed)

  1. Ottawa Treaty (the land-mine ban)
  2. Treaty on the Rights of the Child (only holdouts are the U.S. and Somalia)
  3. Protocol to enforce the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (vote was 178-1, the US the only holdout)
  4. United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  5. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  6. Convention on Biological Diversity
  7. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
  8. Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  9. International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings
  10. International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
  11. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
  12. Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes Against Humanity
  13. Forced Labor Convention
  14. Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention
  15. Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention
  16. Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age to Marriage and Registration of Marriages
  17. Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
  18. Convention on the International Right of Correction
  19. International Criminal Court
  20. Kyoto Accords (greenhouse gas reductions)
  21. UN Convention on Biological Diversity (regulating genetic engineering)
  22. UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
    Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (prohibiting programs like "Stars Wars")
  23. Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal
  24. Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes
  25. International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries
  26. International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
  27. Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
    Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
  28. Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers (prohibiting sale of arms to human rights violators & aggressors)
  29. Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
  30. Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, and Other Related Materials
  31. UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (bans toxic waste dumping, etc.)
  32. UN Moon Treaty
  33. Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  34. UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
  35. Protocol to enforce the Convention Against Torture
  36. United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime


International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, 4 December 1989.

The States Parties to the present Convention,

Reaffirming the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,

Being aware of the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries for activities which violate principles of international law, such as those of sovereign equality, political independence, territorial integrity of States and self-determination of peoples,

Affirming that the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries should be considered as offences of grave concern to all States and that any person committing any of these-offences should be either prosecuted or extradited,

<snip / on on it goes for ye of legal minds & more morality which the US refused to sign in the last 25 years! >

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MadProphetMargin Donating Member (756 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 12:55 AM
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Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 12:55 AM by MadProphetMargin

They're frickin' SS!

This shyt has to stop.


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