From Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, College
mer-ce-nar-y - adj. 1. working or done for payment only; motivated by a desire for
money or other gain; venal; greedy. ... n. 1. a professional soldier serving in a
foreign army for pay. 2. A person paid for his work or services; hireling. . . .
ve-nal - adj. 1. that can readily be bribed or corrupted; mercenary: as, a venal
judge. 2. capable of being obtained for a price; as, venal services. 3.
Characterized by corruption or bribery; as a venal bargain. . . .
greed - n. excessive desire for acquiring or having; desire for more than one
needs or deserves . . .
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
~ o ~
September 21, 2007
Congressional Testimony About
Blackwater Mercenaries: Hired Guns,
Above the Law
Jeremy Scahill, The Nation
Testimony of Jeremy Scahill before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee,
September 21, 2007
My name is Jeremy Scahill. I am an investigative reporter for The Nation magazine
and the author of the book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful
Mercenary Army. I have spent the better part of the past several years researching the
phenomenon of privatized warfare and the increasing involvement of the private sector
in the support and waging of US wars. During the course of my investigations, I have
interviewed scores of sources, filed many Freedom of Information Act requests,
obtained government contracts and private company documents of firms operating in
Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. When asked, I have attempted to share the results of
my investigations, including documents obtained through FOIA and other processes,
with members of Congress and other journalists.
View special YouTube Video of Jeremy Scahill.
I would like to thank this committee for the opportunity to be here today and for taking
on this very serious issue. Over the past six days, we have all been following very
closely the developments out of Baghdad in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of as
many as 20 Iraqis by operatives working for the private military company Blackwater
USA. The Iraqi government is alleging that among the dead are a small child and her
parents and the prime minister has labeled Blackwater's conduct as "criminal" and
spoke of "the killing of our citizens in cold blood."
While details remain murky and subject to conflicting versions of what exactly
happened, this situation cuts much deeper than this horrifying incident. The stakes are
very high for the Bush administration because the company involved, Blackwater USA,
is not just any company. It is the premiere firm protecting senior State Department
officials in Iraq, including Ambassador Ryan Crocker.
This company has been active in Iraq since the early days of the occupation when it
was awarded an initial $27 million no-bid contract to guard Ambassador Paul
Bremer. During its time in Iraq, Blackwater has regularly engaged in firefights and other
deadly incidents. About 30 of its operatives have been killed in Iraq and these deaths
are not included in the official American death toll.
While the company's operatives are indeed soldiers of fortune, their salaries are paid
through hundreds of millions of dollars in US taxpayer funds allocated to
Blackwater. What they do in Iraq is done in the name of the American people and yet
there has been no effective oversight of Blackwater's activities and actions. And there
has been absolutely no prosecution of its forces for any crimes committed against
If indeed Iraqi civilians were killed by Blackwater USA last Sunday, as appears to be the
case, culpability for these actions does not only lie with the individuals who committed
the killings or with Blackwater as a company, but also with the entity that hired them
and allowed them to operate heavily-armed inside Iraq--in this case, the US State
While the headlines of the past week have been focused on the fatal shootings last
Sunday, this was by no means an isolated incident. Nor is this is simply about a rogue
company or rogue operators. This is about a system of unaccountable and out of
control private forces that have turned Iraq into a wild west from the very beginning of
the occupation, often with the stamp of legitimacy of the US government.
What happened Sunday is part of a deadly pattern, not just of Blackwater USA's
conduct, but of the army of mercenaries that have descended on Iraq over the past four
years. They have acted like cowboys, running Iraqis off the road, firing indiscriminately
at vehicles and, in some cases, private forces have appeared on tape seemingly using
Iraqis for target practice. They have shown little regard for Iraqi lives and have fueled
the violence in that country, not just against the people of Iraq but also against the
official soldiers of the United States military in the form of blowback and revenge
attacks stemming from contractor misconduct. These private forces have operated in a
climate where impunity and immunity have gone hand in hand.
Active duty soldiers who commit crimes or acts of misconduct are prosecuted under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice, the court martial system. There have been scores of
prosecutions of soldiers-- some 64 courts martial on murder-related charges in Iraq
alone. That has not been the case with these private forces. Despite many reports--some from US military commanders--of private contractors firing indiscriminately at
Iraqis and vehicles and killing civilians, not a single armed contractor has been charged
with any crime. They have not been prosecuted under US civilian law; US military law
and the Bush administration banned the Iraqi government from prosecuting them in
Iraqi courts beginning with the passage of Coalition Provisional Authority Order 17 in
The message this sends to the Iraqi people is that these hired guns are above any
US contractors in Iraq reportedly have their own motto: "What happens here today,
stays here today." That should be chilling to everyone who believes in transparency and
accountability of US operations and taxpayer funded activities-- not to mention the
human rights of the Iraqis who have fallen victim to these incidents and have been
robbed of any semblance of justice.
The Iraqi government says it has evidence of seven deadly incidents involving
Blackwater. It is essential that the Congress request information on these incidents
from the Iraqi authorities. What we do know is that in just the past nine months,
Blackwater forces have been involved with several fatal actions.
Last Christmas Eve, as Katy mentioned, an off-duty Blackwater contractor allegedly
killed a bodyguard for the Iraqi Vice President. Blackwater whisked that individual out of
the country. Iraqi officials labeled the killing a "murder" and have questioned privately
as to why there has apparently been no consequences for that individual. Blackwater
says it fired the individual and is cooperating with the US Justice Department. To my
knowledge no charges have yet been brought in that case.
This past May, Blackwater operatives engaged in a gun battle in Baghdad, lasting an
hour, that drew in both US military and Iraqi forces, in which at least four Iraqis are said
to have died. The very next day in almost the same neighborhood, the company's
operatives reportedly shot and killed an Iraqi driver near the Interior Ministry. In the
ensuing chaos, the Blackwater guards reportedly refused to give their names or details
of the incident to Iraqi officials, sparking a tense standoff between American and Iraqi
forces, both of which were armed with assault rifles.
The actions of this one company, perhaps more than any other private actor in the
occupation, have consistently resulted in escalated tension and more death and
destruction in Iraq--from the siege of Fallujah, sparked by the ambush of its men there
in March of 2004, to Blackwater forces shooting at Iraqis in Najaf with one Blackwater
operative filmed on tape saying it was like a "turkey shoot" to the deadly events of the
Colonel Thomas Hammes, the US military official once overseeing the creation of a
new Iraqi military, has described driving around Iraq with Iraqis and encountering
Blackwater operatives. "[They] were running me off the road. We were threatened and
intimidated," Hammes said. But, he added, "they were doing their job, exactly what they
were paid to do in the way they were paid to do it, and they were making enemies on
every single pass out of town." Hammes concluded the contractors were " hurting our
Brigadier General Karl Horst, deputy commander of the 3rd Infantry Division said of
private security contractors, "These guys run loose in this country and do stupid stuff.
There's no authority over them, so you can't come down on them hard when they
escalate force.... They shoot people, and someone else has to deal with the aftermath.
It happens all over the place." Horst tracked contractor conduct for a two month period
in Baghdad and documented at least a dozen shootings of Iraqi civilians by contractors,
resulting in six Iraqi deaths and the wounding of three others. That is just one General
in one area of Iraq in just 60 days.
The conduct of these private forces sends a clear message to the Iraqi people:
American lives are worth infinitely more than theirs, even if their only crime is driving
their vehicle in the wrong place at the wrong time. One could say that Blackwater has
been very successful at fulfilling its mission--to keep alive senior US officials. But at
It is long past due for the actions of Blackwater USA and the other private military firms
operating in Iraq--actions carried out in the names of the American people and with US
tax dollars--to be carefully and thoroughly investigated by the US Congress. For the
Iraqi people, this is a matter of life, and far too often, death.
In the bigger picture, this body should seriously question whether the linking of
corporate profits to war making is in the best interests of this nation and the world. I
would humbly submit that the chairs of relevant committees in both the House and
Senate use their power of subpoena to compel the heads of the major war
contracting companies operating on the US payroll in Iraq to appear publicly
before the American people and answer for the actions of their forces. I am
prepared to answer any questions.
September 20, 2007
The Age of Irresponsibility
How Bush has created a moral vacuum in Iraq
in which Americans can kill for free.
By Michael Hirsh, Newsweek
Imagine a universe where a man can gun down women and children anytime he
pleases, knowing he will never be brought to justice. A place where morality is null and
void, and arbitrary killing is the rule. A place that has been imagined hitherto only in
nightmarish dystopian fiction, like “1984,” or in fevered passages from Dostoevsky—or
which existed during the Holocaust and Stalinist purges and the Dark Ages.
Well, that universe exists today. It is called Iraq.
And the man who made it possible is George W. Bush.
The moral vacuum of Iraq—where Blackwater USA guards can kill 10 or 20 Iraqis on a
whim and never be prosecuted for it—did not happen by accident. It is yet another
example of something the Bush administration could have prevented with the right
measures but simply did not bother about as it rushed into invading and occupying
With America’s all-volunteer army under strain, the Pentagon and White House knew
that regular military cannot be used for guarding civilians. As far back as 2003, then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld convened a task force under Undersecretary of
Defense David Chu to consider new laws that might be needed to govern the
privatization of war.
Nothing was done about its recommendations.
Then, two days before he left Iraq for good, L. Paul Bremer III, the Coalition
Provisional Authority administrator, signed a blanket order immunizing all
Americans, because, as one of his former top aides told me, “we wanted to make
sure our military, civilians and contractors were protected from Iraqi law.” (No
one worried about protecting the Iraqis from us; after all, we still thought of ourselves as
the “liberators,” even though by then the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib and other places
Nor can these private armies even be prosecuted in America under U.S. law. The
Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000, which permits charges to be brought in
U.S. courts for crimes abroad, apparently applies only to Defense Department
contractors (and even then the administration has rarely used it).
Blackwater and other security firms work for the State Department. Even today,
despite the crucial role of Blackwater and other private security firms—who employ up
to 30,000 operatives in keeping the civilian side of the U.S. occupation going — Iraqis
can do nothing if they are abused or killed by them....
As anyone who has been in Iraq (like me) knows, on the ground the unspoken rule of
Bush’s counterinsurgency efforts over the past four years has been that almost
all Iraqis, at least the males, are guilty until proven innocent. Arrests, beatings and
sometimes killings at the hands of security firms and sometimes U.S. military units are
arbitrary, often based on the flimsiest intelligence, and Iraqis have no recourse
whatever to justice except in a few cases like Haditha. Imagine the sense of helpless
rage that emerges from this sort of treatment. Apply three years of it and you have a
furious, traumatized population.
And a country out of control.
And now we have the awful absurdity of U.S. diplomats going out to make allies among
Iraqis and build civil society—winning “the battlefield of the mind,” Marine Maj. Gen.
Douglas Stone told The Washington Post—surrounded by security guards who
operate in an amoral universe and are hated by Iraqis.
The Blackwater phenomenon undermines the Petraeus surge, which applies
counterinsurgency principles that require winning over the local population, and
isolating the bad guys from them. Instead, Blackwater is seen by Iraqis as the face
of a malignant occupation....
As Maureen Dowd has pointed out, so passé is the concept of taking responsibility that
people who do bad things are even skipping the usual stage of shame, or “slinking
away.” Instead they are “slinking back” into public life.
The Bush administration’s lack of concern about holding its employees responsible for
their actions extends to obstructing civil suits against rogue contractors under the False
Claims Act. “None of the lawsuits has been successful,” says lawyer Alan Grayson. “In
a couple of the cases the government has said the case has to be shut down because it
involves state secrets.” (The Justice Department has said it is carefully looking at the
Who has been in charge of this? None other than Peter Keisler, the former head of
Justice’s civil division who is now acting attorney general, says Grayson, who is
involved in several cases against Blackwater and other contractors.
“They run people off the road. They treat the local population like it’s some big shooting
gallery. It’s not just Blackwater; it’s everybody.”
No, that’s letting the responsible party off too easily: it’s the Bush administration.
© 2007 Newsweek, Inc.
From AMERICAN DYNASTY - Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Deceit in the House of
Bush, by Kevin Phillips:
INDIANA BUSH AND THE AXIS OF EVIL
As president, Bush senior gloried in the Gulf War and the 1989 invasion of Panama,
both cast as strikes for democracy–even if the dictators attacked were former friends.
Over a decade...his web of covert international relationships prompted charges of his
participating in and covering up in three actual or alleged illegalities: the Republican
Party’s “October Surprise” negotiations with Iran in 1980, supposedly undertaken to
ensure that no hostages taken in Iran would be released before the election; the Iran-Contra scandal; and “Iraqgate,” secretly arming Iraq from 1984 to 1990 before
hurriedly changing course after Saddam Hussein took Kuwait.
Two catchphrases recur in the family resume: “arms deals” and “clandestine
operations.” A third recurring association would be “cover-up.”
George W. Bush was a willing recipient of the inheritance–witness the CIA and BCCI
ties of some who finance him, from Arbusto to Harken Energy a decade later. For
example, James Bath, who invested fifty thousand dollars in the 1979 and 1989
Arbusto partnerships, probably do so as U.S. business representative for rich Saudi
investors Salem bin Laden and Khalid bin Mahfouz (Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law). Both men were involved with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International,
the rogue bank and occasional CIA front known for financing arms deals – indeed,
bin Mahfouz owned 20 percent of its stock.
Bath, who made his fortune investing for the two Saudis, was a colorful Texan – and
then some. According to former Houston Post reporter Pete Brewton, Bath was “an
asset of the CIA, reportedly recruited by George Bush himself” in 1976 to keep the
Agency up to date on Saudi activities.
A decade later, Harken Energy, the company willing to handsomely buy out George
W.’s crumbling oil and gas business, had its own CIA connections. Chairman Alan
Quasha was the son of a Philippine lawyer connected to the Nugan Hand Bank, a
notorious Australian bank closely linked to the CIA.
Equally to the point, 17.6 percent of Harken’s stock was owned by Abdullah Bakhsh,
another Saudi magnate reported by some to be representing Khalid bin Mahfouz.
A U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating BCCI in 1992 reported on how the bank
bought friendship and favors from politicians around the world; details of the
investigation were published in two books: False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI,
the World’s Most Corrupt Financial Empire, by Peter Truell, and The Outlaw Bank:
A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI, by Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne.
According to the latter, the story of the Bush involvement in the BCCI scandal involved
the “trails that branched, crossed one another or came to unexpected dead ends.”...
As we have seen, Jeb Bush began his business career in Miami collaborating with
Cubans tied to the CIA or to kindred intelligence agencies in pre-Castro Cuba. He
socialized with Adbur Sakhia, BCCI’s Miami branch manager and later its top U.S.
Official. Jeb Bush’s partners and early associates included a number of Cuban emigres
with CIA, Nicaraguan ‘contra, or Batista-era Cuban intelligence connections.
To say that armaments, clandestine operations, and money-laundering banks recur
in the history of the Walker-Bush family is no exaggeration at all. No other presidents
have been so caught up in this kind of foreign policy. And the Bushes’ preoccupations
are not clear until you consider the whole dynasty. It is the dynastic aspect that truly
reveals the pattern – the clandestine behavior over multiple generations....
From African Business -
Soldier of Fortune-The Mercenary
as Corporate Executive
As the danger posed by armed insurgents and criminals increases, so does the
number of sophisticated 'private' armies. In the old days, these ex-soldiers were simply
called mercenaries and their activities were outside the law. Today, they have changed
their image and their orientation. The security business is booming. Francois Misser
and Anver Versi reveal the scale of this new growth industry.
They hate to be called mercenaries - particularly in Africa where the term conjures up
horrific images of blood-crazed dogs of war killing, burning, raping and looting.
"That era, the era of 'Mad' Mike Hoare, 'Black' Jacques Schramme and Bob Denard, is
finished, " they say. Today, they want to be called contract soldiers. They are
businessmen first. They have plush offices replete with works of art. They undertake a
variety of specialised services - training, intelligence gathering, personal and site
protection and, when necessary, they will go out and out your enemy for you. They
sign complex deals - bartering security against mining concessions for example, or
acting as arms purchasing agents.
"We are an international business like any other business," a pin-striped, bespectacled
and utterly harmless looking corporate head told us. "We have highly specialised,
intensely trained and thoroughly disciplined teams able to deliver a unique service:
security. The demand for all sorts of security is increasing. We go where we are
wanted and where the people can pay our fees."
Most of these organisations will only work with legitimate governments and only carry
out certain functions. What they now want is respectability.
And large profits.
They seem to be getting both. Organisations based in London and South Africa have
to be cleared by the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence respectively. Contracts
range from $1m to over $100m. Including perks and spin-offs, earnings can be as high
as $400m-$500m. Clients include not only weak or beleaguered regimes but
multinational companies and, as seems likely in the near future, the UN and other
There is little doubt that this is a major growth industry. The only cloud on the horizon is
the public and media perception of these contract soldiers as pariah soldiers of fortune.
The Geneva Convention bans the use of mercenaries but the distinction between
soldiers of fortune and private security firms is blurred.
The fall of the Berlin wall and the general thawing of the Cold War, added to the end of
Apartheid and South Africa's proxy wars in neighbouring states, have led to a significant
scaling down of regular armies both in Europe and Africa.
Demobilised soldiers, used to a regulated and cocooned world in barracks, have found
it difficult if not impossible to adjust to civilian life. Add to this the loss of a sense of
comradarie - 'the brotherhood of arms,' a life of adventure and danger and often a
genuine love for the profession - and you have a ready made pool of men eager, if not
desperate, to be recruited into private armies.
At the same time, the need for military muscle is increasing not only in Africa but
around the globe. The major superpower confrontations have been replaced by
hundreds of 'small wars.'
Cuts in African military budgets, failed demobilisation programmes and bad governance
have also created new areas of instability as unemployed soldiers find no other solution
but to go on the rampage - as has been the case in Zaire, Congo and Sierra Leone.
Only disciplined armed forces can bring renegade soldiers to heel.
International armed intervention has not been the answer, witness the fiasco following
the intervention of UN peace-making and peace-keeping forces in Somalia, Rwanda
and Angola. In addition the huge costs of these operations have made the West
increasingly reluctant to send troops to the continent. There is also a growing antipathy
towards sending expensively trained Western soldiers to sort out murderous little civil
wars in the developing world.
This has been largely behind US thinking as it works to create a pan-African force to
deal with conflict resolution. Here again there are mounting problems. Cost and
effectiveness are major considerations even if one were to ignore the convoluted
political adjustments that will have to be made if the force is to be regarded as neutral.
The general failure of ECOMOG, the military arm of the West African Economic
Community is a case in point.
Thus the argument for 'privatising' security and conflict resolution is now being given a
sympathetic ear instead of being rejected out of hand. The day of Mercenary
Incorporated as a legitimate, even respectable service organisation may be dawning.
Security has become an obsession for Africa's big business, especially mining. It is no
coincidence that De Beers, Anglo-American and the First National Bank fund
research at the Institute for Security Studies.
Among the organisations to first see opportunities in this climate of growing insecurity
was Executive Outcomes (EO) - perhaps the best known of the modern 'mercenary'
EO is led by a former Civil Cooperation Bureau officer, Mr Eeben Barlow and
specialises in clandestine warfare, combat air patrols, advanced battle handling and
Set up as a sophisticated operational unit from the word go, EO was among the first of
a new group of security specialist firms to sign important contracts. Under a $40m
contract in 1993, followed by a $95m contract in 1994, and additional month-to-month
contracts ending in January 1996, an estimated 500 EO personnel were flown to
In Sierra Leone, EO had deployed 170 men by May 1995. The country's finance
minister, Mr Thiamu Bangura was reported to have said that by September 1996, the
government was in debt to the company at a rate of $1.2m per month. But, following
pressure from IMF, the monthly payment was cut down to below $1m.
In both countries EO inflicted severe damage to rebel groups - UNITA in Angola and to
the Revolutionary United Front (RFU) in Sierra Leone, and drove the rebels out of
vital diamond mining areas thus enabling mining companies to keep operational.
The highly professional and disciplined manner in which EO carried out its objectives
helped create a new climate of acceptance in some quarters. A symposium on the
privatisation of security in sub-Saharan Africa, sponsored by the Pentagon's Defence
Intelligence Agency last June in Washington, invited Mr Barlow and other top guns -
like British Colonel Tim Spicer from Sandline International and retired DIA-officer, Lt.
General Edward Soyster, who represented the Virginia-based Military Professional
US oil giants like Texaco and Exxon, the mining company Sierra Rutile, NGOs, the
UNHCR and UNICEF were also represented. Interestingly, in contrast to the OAU
condemnations of mercenary activities during the 1960s and 70s, African states such
as Angola, Guinea-Conakry, Uganda and Zambia sent military attaches to the
According to the organisers, the aim is not to stop mercenary activities but "to make
private forces effective, efficient and loyal" and avoid "unlicensed firms or rogue states"
from creating havoc. (However, the deadlines of the profession, masked behind
business suites and glass-fronted offices, was soberingly exposed when Colonel Tim
Spicer was later to come to grief in Papua New Guinea).
Although EO is better known than other organisations, it is by no means the biggest
player world-wide or even on the continent. MPRI, for instance, had a turnover of $24m
in 1996. It has nearly 300 employees on its pay-roll and about 2,000 ex-Pentagon
officers available on database. In 1995, it won a contract to train the Angolan police
Rapid Intervention Force in, and is likely to extend its operations to, West Africa or the
Probably the largest private security transnational is Vinnell Corporation (Fairfax,
Virginia), a subsidiary of BDM International Inc. Since 1993, it has been controlled by
the Carlyle Group with former ex-CIA's vice-director Mr Frank Carlucci and US
Secretary of State Mr James Baker among the shareholders.
In 1995, BDM had a total turnover of $890m, of which 54% came from arms sales. Last
May Vinnell was awarded a three-year contract worth $163m for the Saudi Arabian
National Guard modernisation programme. It also has a training contract for military
systems in Egypt, according to the Antwerp-based International Peace Information
Another US group, Armor Holdings Inc., is indirectly becoming a major force on the
African market. Last April, it pooled interests with Defence Systems Ltd. (DSL), with
headquarters in Buckingham Gate, London, whose net revenues for 1996 amounted to
DSL, founded in 1981 by ex-SAS officers, has a world-wide staff of 4,000 people and
many clients in Africa. They include the Angolan parastatals Sonangol (oil) and
Endiama (diamonds), a cement factory, four embassies (including the American) in
Luanda and the main hotels. According to ex-DSL-security advisers, the company also
has an arrangement to train the Angolan police.
In Congo-Kinshasa, DSL's subsidiaries USDS and Sapelli SARL, whose soldiers carry
Uzi rifles, are protecting the installations belonging to the SOCIR oil refinery of Congo-SEP (the Belgian oil company Petrofina's subsidiary), and the US embassy.
Other DSL clients include De Beers, Shell, Mobil, Amoco, BP and Chevron; NGOs
(CARE and GOAL), UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR, UNAVEM and ONUMOZ.
DSL claims also to have experience in Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi,
Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. Its French subsidiary, CIAS, is
now trying to get a contract to protect the projected 1,100km pipe-line between the
Southern Chad oil fields and the port of Kribi in Cameroon.
The French connection
Although EO is no doubt the leading South African company, it is not the only one. One
competitor is Omega Support Ltd., led by the ex-SA military attache in Angola, Mr
According to The Guardian, Omega is closely tied to Strategic Concepts, created by
the former Military Intelligence officer Mr Sean Cleary, a staunch supporter of Jonas
Savimbi. South Africa's National Intelligence Service is convinced that Omega was
involved in supplying and training Laurent Kabila's Banyamulenge fighters during their
campaign against General Mobutu's army.
French companies, mostly run by ex-gendarmes, also have a presence. Secrets,
created by a former captain of the French gendarmerie intervention group, Mr Paul
Barril, signed, in 1992, its first three month contract to train Cameroonian President
Paul Biya's presidential guard.
Another ex-gendarme, Mr Robert Montoya, set up a company in Lome, called Service
and Security. It provides training to the Togolese anti-riot forces and equips them with
electric bludgeons, according to Le Monde.
Mr Jean-Louis Chanas, an ex-member of the French equivalent of the M16, the
Direction de la Securite Exterieure, has his own company, Eric SA, which competes
with DSL to win oil installations security contracts in Algeria.
The Israelis are also aggressive competitors. In 1994, according to the daily, Yedioth
Aharonoth a company called Levadan led by the retired General Ze'ev Zachrin,
signed a $50m contract with the government of Congo-Brazzaville, to train the local
army and former President Pascal Lissouba's "zulu" militia.
Another Isreali daily, Ha'aretz revealed that Silver Shadow, a security company led by
retired Lt. Colonel, Mr Amos Golan, recently made an offer to President Kabila of the
DRC to build up a special protection unit. But the Israeli government ordered the
company to stop the negotiations, since it is now prohibiting any security assistance in
countries with "unstable regimes."
Over the years, the services have become more specialised. Some firms focus on
providing protection, security, military training and sometimes participating in actual
combat. Others, tied to mining interests, are building business empires.
For example, EO is involved not only in military-related activities but undertakes to
provide functioning hospitals, reconstruction of devastated areas and de-mining
operations. In Sierra Leone, when the government faced difficulties in paying EO, its
sister company Branch Energy, which also belongs to the Strategic Resources
Corporation holding, obtained diamond concessions in the Kono region.
EO's boss, Mr Eeben Barlow has stakes in Diamond Works, a company registered on
the Vancouver stock exchange which owns concessions in Angola.
IDAS Resources, a Belgo-Dutch company with Israeli connections, based in the
Dutch West-Indies, has a joint venture agreement with American Mineral Fields
International on diamond concessions in the Lunda Norte province.
And the Israeli firm Levadan is a subsidiary of Kardan Investment, an import-export
company active in the diamond trade.
Despite the corporate-executive image that these groups are at pains to provide,
difficult ethical, moral and even pragmatic questions remain unanswered. For example,
although Mr Barlow claims that EO only works in coordination with governments, last
August, two Canadian papers, the Vancouver Sun and the Toronto Globe and Mail,
revealed that an Indian banker, Mr Rakesh Saxena, who owns a bauxite mine in Sierra
Leone, paid $70,000 to EO's parent company, Sandline to prepare a counter-coup
there. The disclosure of these plans jeopardised the entire operation.
Nobody can ignore the high human cost of these operations. It even remains to be
seen whether it really is cost-effective in the long run for a company or for a government
to buy private protection if the social causes of instability are not being addressed.
The DIA symposium concluded anyway that the issue will not go away and called for
some sort of code of conduct. But who sets the criteria? To whom will these
companies be accountable? Some African intellectuals complain that these firms only
secure the areas which are profitable, and protest against their disguised
On the other hand, there is no denying that armed insecurity is on the increase. With
weapons becoming cheaper, what is to stop bands of armed thugs terrorising and
paralysing countries or businesses under one political pretext or another?
Copyright © IC Publications Limited 1998. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be
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November 18, 2002
More Than 90 Arrested in
Fort Benning Protest
COLUMBUS, GA. - More than 90 people, including at least six nuns, were arrested
after marching onto Fort Benning yesterday during an annual protest of a program that
trains Latin American soldiers.
“I feel anger at the deliberate teaching of violence,” Caryl Hartjes, a nun from Fond du
Lac, Wis., said as she entered the compound, where she was arrested.
About 6,000 protesters gathered for the 13th annual demonstration by the School of
the Americas Watch, which continues to protest the Nov. 19, 1989, killings of six
Jesuit priests in El Salvador.
Protesters say people responsible for the killings were trained at the School of the
Americas, a Fort Benning program that was replaced last year by a new institute.
Protesters say the change was only cosmetic.
August 26, 2001
From Al Martin Raw, by Al Martin:
US State Department Sponsors
Training of Would-Be Terrorists
Huntsville, Alabama - The US State Department sponsors the training of would-be
terrorists at the Redstone Arsenal's Hazardous Devices School, which offers
"explosive ordinance disposal training."
This is the most exclusive explosives school in the United States. It's where firemen,
policemen, and municipal bomb squads are trained. It also provides training for the US
armed forces, FBI, CIA, as well as foreign army and intelligence personnel. This is the
most elite of the munitions schools in the United States and it's part of the Redstone
This facility is not run by the US Army or by the military. It is technically run by US
State Department employee Ray Funderberg, who's been covertly in charge of it for
about twenty years. An added note -- although Funderberg works for the State
Department, he dresses in a US Army Colonel's uniform. Official records indicate that
he supposedly works for the FBI.
According to a reliable source, one of the Iranians involved in the bombing of the
World Trade Center in New York, took training courses at the Redstone Arsenal's
school of explosives. He enrolled in this course under the guise of a Pakistani
military officer with Pakistani uniform and credentials.
This is important to note because Al Martin Raw has previously reported that many
hostile nations have a visible presence at the US Redstone Arsenal. Evidently
"terrorists," as well as regular armed forces and intelligence officers, are also being
"trained" at the Redstone Arsenal.
In other news, five new shipments of "marshmallows" (anti-personnel land mines) have
left the Redstone Arsenal. And this week the Friendly Colonel is once again doing
business under the "Gulf Coast Trucking and Receiving" moniker.
An inside source wants the Friendly Colonel to provide the State Department
employment forms necessary to bring more people in. One of the arms merchants
has a deal with the Russians to bring Palestinians into this explosives training
For instance, Palestinians would be brought in -- technically as members of the Chinese
(Taiwan) Army, even though they are Palestinians. They would hardly pass as
"Chinese," but since nobody cares, it's a done deal. Al Martin Raw readers should
understand that no one asks any questions about any thing at the Redstone Arsenal in
In fact, there are two Palestinians being trained there now in "explosives." As
mentioned before, none of them are who they appear to be. It's all just
convenience for paperwork. In case the Redstone Arsenal gets investigated, they
will claim, "No, these people are legitimate; here's the paperwork."
Suddenly an Afghani guy named Mohammed Habib winds up being a Colonel Sven
Larssen in the Swedish Army. This is an actual case. And it shows just how ridiculous
This deception at the Hazardous Devices School is really another School of
Americas story. The Friendly Colonel is being offered a $12,000 fee per person to fill
out the appropriate State department documents to allow people into the United States
on green cards for short stays - 30, 60, 90 day stays - and to enlist foreign nationals into
this program. What they're doing is using this program as a cover to bring people in to
be trained at the explosives school. The US State Department is actually conspiring
with foreign arms merchants and the governments they represent to allow hostile
foreign nationals to come to the United States using false documents to be trained at
They're asking the Friendly Colonel if he would "hire" these people as "trucking agents."
... To make this offer even more appealing, the Colonel is guaranteed that "there will be
no heat" - because the US State Department is complicit. This is a standing offer to
him from the State Department - to provide false documents for these foreign nationals
for $12,000 each.
Aiding in this enormous illegal covert operation of the United States Government, the
Colonel expects to make a million dollars by this time next year.
It is our opinion that these illicit operations at the Redstone Arsenal and adjoining
facilities - US Missile Command etc - now exceed the volumes of money and egregious
conduct of Iran-Contra itself. Now there are thousands of people involved making
millions of dollars.
At lunch, the brigadier general and others involved were all licking their chops at the
new F-22 Raptor program. They can't wait for that to get scaled up. There will be many
Chinese arms merchants who will supply fraudulent spare parts that don't work as
usual. They're looking at this program as "a fresh source to defraud more billions with
the Department of Defense with the complicity of senior officers through a complex
offshore network of arms dealers, not only foreign arms dealers, but cutouts for
American corporations that are producing components and systems for this aircraft.
The bottom line is that we are training individuals and foreign military personnel who are
hostile to the United States.
Al Martin Raw readers should also understand how the fraud is systemic, how the
fraud is all inter-connected, and how conspiratorial the fraud is, namely that it's all being
controlled by an elite group that runs through foreign governments, the Department of
Defense, and defense contractors.
Their agenda is clear - terrorism is good for business.
Terrorism pumps up everybody's budgets, especially defense, law enforcement,
As long as we can keep "foreign terrorism" alive, everyone benefits -- the Department
of Defense, the CIA, Department of State, the National Security Agency and many
others. They can all ask for more money in their budgets by pointing to the "terrorists."
We are in effect augmenting that threat, making sure it stays alive and healthy, so that
federal agencies can be funded with ever-increasing amounts of money, especially
those agencies that do not have to account for the expenditures of those monies.
They don't have to account for the missing monies because even if they're nominally
supposed to account for their budgets they don't. Witness the missing $1.1 trillion
from the Department of Defense.
The brigadier general who's in charge was actually concerned because he and his
associates (higher-ranking generals in the Department of Defense, who are committing
these frauds) have been notified by the foreign banks where they have deposits that
their deposits have grown to such enormous amounts of money that they are
unmanageable. They are being asked to transfer their money into other offshore illicit
accounts. Some of the banks they're doing business with are very small and obscure
offshore banks that simply can not handle such enormous flows of money.
But you can understand the enormity of the fraud, when you're talking about trillions of
dollars. This fraud is deep and systemic and involves a conspiracy of thousands of
high ranking military officers, high ranking State Department officials, Department of
Justice officials, CIA, National Security Agency officials, etc. and their "foreign
This is the "Very Real Vast Right Wing Conspiracy," which has never been called to
Now the Russians are coming on board with the ABM missile treaty. It can be predicted
that the Russians will drop their objections to our development of an ABM system in
exchange for advanced US military technology, with which, by the way, we are already
supplying the Russians and covertly rearming them. That was just an offer on the table,
yet we are already supplying the Russians with US highly advanced technology.
Like the notorious School of the Americas which trained foreign nationals in
American torture, interrogation and warfare techniques, the US State Department
In the final analysis, though, nothing is new.
The United States Government has covertly sponsored these activities in the
past, especially during "Iran-Contra" and "Iraq-Gate". We virtually built the Iraqi
military and there are many past correlations. For instance, the US did not stop
supplying Iraq with illegal weapons systems until three days before the beginning
of the Gulf War.
During "Iran-Contra," the US allowed the Sandinista regime to deal in narcotics so
they could generate revenues to purchase more East Bloc weapons in order to
become a greater threat to the US, so we could counter that threat by building the
Contra Army in which all sorts of fraud against the American taxpayers, corporations,
security firms, and banks could be hidden.
It is interesting to note that the Sandinista regime used two of the same companies to
purchase weapons for the Contras as well as the Sandinistas. These companies were
TransWorld Armaments Corp, based in Quebec City and owned by the infamous
Immanuel von Weigensburg and Defcon Industries of Lisbon, Portugal, a CIA-controlled arms merchant cutout also controlled by Major General Richard V. Secord,
as noted in the famous Lake Resources lawsuit (United States v. Richard Secord, cv
1202-A 1991 Eastern District Court of Virginia) . [See "The Conspirators: Secrets of an
Iran Contra Insider"]
Iraq Gate and Iran Contra are perfect examples of how similar these two operations are
compared to what's going on now.
We are creating an enemy and we are also supporting existing enemies for the purpose
of enriching a small clique of defense contractors, senior military and intelligence
officers, and politicians on the right. We are financing terrorism against us as well as
attempting to rebuild Russia and then build China into a new power under the concept
that covert wars are very profitable.
The "Fight Against Terrorism" has done an awful lot for the Republican Party. And it
has enriched a lot of people and corporations.
The drumbeat against "terrorism" continues full speed ahead....
~ ~ ~
AL MARTIN is America's foremost whistle-blower on government fraud and corruption.
A retired US Navy Lt. Commander and former officer in the Office of Naval Intelligence,
he has testified before Congress (the Kerry Committee and the Alexander Committee)
regarding Iran-Contra. Al Martin is the author of "The Conspirators: Secrets of an
Iran Contra Insider" (2001, National Liberty Press, $19.95; order line: 1-866-317-1390.) He lives at an undisclosed location, since the criminals named in his book have
been returned to national power and prominence. His column "Behind the Scenes in
the Beltway" is published regularly on Al Martin Raw: Criminal Govt Conspiracy
January 24, 2000:
German Inquiry Hints
at Old Boy Network
By Joseph Fitchett, International Herald Tribune
PARIS - Germany's political funding scandal shows signs of bringing to light a political
culture that has grown up outside the public eye and runs counter to Germany's
reputation for transparency in its governing practices.
The parliamentary inquiry that gets into full swing this week will investigate not only
former Chancellor Helmut Kohl but also a wider cast of prominent Germans,
according to officials close to the process. If the investigation reveals influence
peddling with the slush funds, and not just a practice of topping up campaign war
chests, the dimensions of the scandal could escalate and lead to a crisis of confidence
in the system of political parties in Germany.
So far, allegations have surfaced about at least one insider, Walter Leisler Kiep, a
well-known international figure in the German and U.S. power elite, who is under
investigation in connection with the transfer of a suitcase of cash from an arms
dealer in 1991 - the incident that led to the discovery of the slush funds.
Often described simply as a former treasurer of the Christian Democrats, a description
suggesting an obscure party bureaucrat, Mr. Kiep is in reality a much larger figure. A
successful businessman, he has also been an international go-between with wide
connections throughout the German and U.S. establishments.
For decades, he has enjoyed access to top corporate management and academic
institutions in both countries, chairing the international advisory board at Marsh &
McLennan, the giant U.S. brokerage, until the end of last year. He has been a pillar in
the sophisticated institutional world of private trans-Atlantic exchanges via the
organization he headed, Atlantik-Brucke.
The investigation surrounding Mr. Kiep involves a possible charge of tax evasion in
connection with a suitcase of money handed over in a parking lot in Switzerland by
Karlheinz Schreiber, an arms dealer who is now in detention in Canada. Mr. Kiep
has maintained that he passed along the funds to the Christian Democrats as a
contribution for which other party officials were responsible. . . .
But the still murky transaction in Switzerland - which Mr. Kiep insisted involved payment
not to himself but to the Christian Democrats under Mr. Kohl - has been widely
portrayed in the German and international media as linked to an arms sale to Saudi
Arabia that required Kohl government approval. Mr. Kohl has denied that he was
influenced by any payment over the arms sale or any other political decision.
Mr. Kiep has denied any knowledge of improprieties in connection with the payment he
passed on or any close acquaintance with the contributor who turned out to be an arms
dealer. But Mr. Schreiber told a German newspaper, Bild, that he subsequently met Mr.
Kiep again at an event sponsored by Atlantik-Brucke.
No suggestion has surfaced that Mr. Kiep used his position at Atlantik-Brucke or
corporate access to facilitate bribes from the United States - which has had tough anti-corruption laws since a rash of arms-related scandals in the 1970s - or any wrongdoing
of the sort that has led to Mr. Kohl's embarrassing discrediting.
But Americans and Germans closely acquainted with Mr. Kiep say that his role -
simultaneously fund-raiser for a political party, prominent corporate leader and
philanthropic promoter of international cooperation - runs counter to perceptions about
the separation of politics and business in Germany and points up the existence of an
extensive ''old boy network'' among Bonn politicians that was never apparent to
Beyond the Schreiber incident, the current inquiry is expected to investigate alleged
kickbacks, perhaps running to millions of dollars, during the privatization of the
oil industry in former East Germany. French and German intermediaries under
investigation by Swiss magistrates were quoted by Le Monde in Paris as saying that Mr.
Kohl's demand for payments was pressed on French officials by a company run by Mr.
Whatever the outcome of the investigation, the mingling of business and politics at the
top of the Christian Democratic party has already jolted perceptions in Germany. The
notion that their country has a clear separation of government and business is part of
the reason most Germans have prided themselves on thinking that they have cleaner
politics than other European countries.
In practice, German political life and corporate business have overlapped via an elite
that includes Mr. Kiep. . . .
Trim and patrician at 73, Mr. Kiep has been an influential figure for decades in the
rarefied world of elite trans-Atlantic contacts. In 1984, he took charge of Atlantik-Brucke, a privately funded body designed to promote closer ties, in meetings largely out
of the public eye, among government officials and business and financial communities
in the United States and West Germany.
In the course of a business career that took him to the top of a German insurance
company, he always worked closely with American companies, including a stint as an
executive in West Germany for Marsh & McLennan. The American company took
over a German brokerage in which Mr. Kiep was a senior partner in 1990 until his
retirement in 1996.
On the U.S. side of Marsh & McLennan, Mr. Kiep was chairman of the company's
international advisory board - a group of dozen influential people from outside the
United States - before his term ended on schedule in December.
He has served on similar bodies at Columbia University and other American and
German academic institutions. He kept all of these positions during a criminal trial
that ended last year - with his discharge - over alleged financial malfeasance when
he was party treasurer for the Christian Democrats....
For more on Marsh & McLennan, GO TO > > > The Marsh Birds
From the net:
What Happens in Congress May Not Be As Important As
What Happens With CIA, The Military and The Private
Contractors Leading Us To War in Colombia . . .
WHEN THE CHILDREN OF THE BULL
MARKET BEGIN TO DIE
By Michael C. Ruppert
[Bill Clinton arrives in Cartagena Colombia on August 30, 2000 on the heels of three
unpublicized massacres by right wing paramilitaries designed to inflame FARC
guerillas. The real shooting and the American publicity machine churning out war fever
will start on the same day. This was the lead story in the June issue of "From The
While attention is being increasingly focused on a billion dollar military aid package for
Colombia that is nearing Bill Clinton's desk for signature, experience - especially that
taken so painfully from Vietnam - tells us that the real determinants of how deeply
involved we will become in Colombia are not in Washington, but already down there
stirring the pot.
As in Vietnam, and unlike the Contra War, Congress may just be playing "catch-up"
with events created by various interests serving more than one master. And experts are
becoming increasingly persuaded that our current Colombian experience is more like
Vietnam than anything since.
The likelihood of direct involvement of U.S. forces in a dense hostile terrain, controlled
by experienced, organized, well-armed, indigenous forces, toughened by three decades
of civil war is growing daily. And indicators of the imminence of conflict are not to be
found in whether the Senate or the House chops or adds a few dollars or helicopters
which can all be restored without fanfare to the Foreign Aid Bill in Conference
Committee at the last minute.
They are to be found in the movements and actions of money, the U.S. military and
some CIA/DoD connected corporations, possibly using "sheep-dipped" CIA and military
personnel disguised as employees of private companies in roles that can only expand
The money flow in and around Colombia, both as connected to the drug trade, to vast
oil reserves and to the other abundant resources accessible through the "back door" to
the Amazon, only hints at the financial and economic power accumulated in the
As FTW observed a year ago, the wealth accumulated by the FARC guerrillas, largely
through the "taxation" of the drug trade, was sufficient to induce Richard Grasso,
Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, to travel to Colombia seeking
investment funds for Wall Street. . . .
To understand the significance of this trade it must be noted that, in spite of the
continuing expansion of violence between the three dominant factions (government,
right wing paramilitaries and rebels), all of which deal prodigiously in drugs, Colombia
has been able to steadily expand its drug production every year for the past ten years.
Now the largest drug producing nation in the world, according to DEA and DoJ sources,
Colombia produces almost all of the world's cocaine and almost two thirds of all
the heroin entering the United States.
If one imagines three rivals locked in a raging gun battle, one wonders how or why they
could all simultaneously increase drug production at rates that would make major
corporations jealous. Clearly something else is operating here and that is the hand
guiding the huge accumulation of wealth resulting from decades of narco-expansion.
That hand, we believe, is the CIA. . . .
The Private Contractors
As noted by highly credible writers such as Peter Dale Scott, Col. Fletcher Prouty and
even the legendary "retired" CIA executive Ted Shackley in his book The Third Option,
the use of private corporations, whether directly owned by CIA as "proprietaries" or not,
is a common practice for the extension of U.S. military and diplomatic power. Examples
of the former in Vietnam include Civil Air Transport or Air America while examples of
the later include large multi-nationals such as Bechtel, Brown and Root, AT&T or any
of the major oil companies.
In regions where overt commitment of U.S. military forces is impolitic these private
corporations, as they have evolved in the last few decades, can accomplish a multitude
of objectives essential to inflaming regional conflicts to the point where U.S. military
forces must be called in to save the day.
The use of these companies, which serve as actual profit centers for their private
investors, their intelligence agency owners, or both, has evolved to the point where the
corporations offer off-the-shelf war making capabilities from infantry fighters, to aerial
reconnaissance, to general officers capable of setting up or commanding division sized
maneuvers in client countries. The survivability of these companies is a priori tied to the
creation of conflict and regional destabilization with the blessings of CIA so that there
will always be customers. Peace becomes the enemy.
One such corporation, heavily involved in both Colombia and in Kosovo is the Virginia
DynCorp, according to Alex Cockburn and Jeff St. Clair, is the nation's twenty-second
largest defense contractor with 1998 U.S. Government contract revenues of $475
million. DynCorp, which currently has between 300-600 contracted employees in
Colombia, is performing functions like crop eradication (using defoliants - like Vietnam),
to sophisticated aerial reconnaissance, to combat advisory roles training military and
possibly even paramilitary forces.
When the history of the Colombian War is written it may well be noted that the first U.S.
casualties were actually three DynCorp employees killed when their reconnaissance
aircraft crashed on a mountaintop in the drug growing regions last summer. DynCorp
employees have been described as being arrogant and more than willing to get "wet" by
going out on combat missions and engaging in firefights.
A British source reminded us recently that DynCorp Chairman, Pug Winokur, begged
out of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown's ill fated last flight in the Balkans.
The same Pug Winokur is on the board of Harvard Endowments which had a behind
the scenes hand in destroying the economic research conducted by former Assistant
Secretary of Housing, Catherine Austin Fitts in 1996. That research was beginning to
illuminate how the drug trade generates profits for Wall Street through the subsidized
HUD housing market where Harvard is a heavy investor. . . . (For more on this
connection, GO TO > > > HUD)
The parallels between Colombia and Vietnam are inescapable and unavoidable. After
twenty-five years, the passing of an entire generation, the forces that govern us behind
the scenes are poised to unleash another "floating crap game" of profits, corporate
expansion, re-colonization and even genocide. The one glaring and hope-giving
difference is that this time the war will be justified on the basis of fighting not
Communists, but drug traffickers - and only one gang of drug traffickers at that.
We will see the American people's willingness to accept this ploy when the children of
the bull market begin to die. . . .
(For more on the Wall Street Connection, GO TO > > > Wall Street)
From The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider, by Al Martin:
THE NATIONAL PROGRAMS OFFICE
AND OPERATION SLEDGEHAMMER
In October 1983, Operation Black Eagle was reformulated from Operation Eagle. It
began with the appointment of Oliver North as Chairman of the powerful and then still
secret National Programs Office (NPO).
CIA Director William Casey thought this was necessary since the NPO had extremely
secure storage, transportation and air routes within the United States as well as in the
Caribbean and the Central and South American theaters. Such secure facilities would
be necessary for the envisioned trafficking in the quantities of cocaine and weapons
that Casey felt would be necessary.
These sites included such renowned places as Iron Mountain, Texas, the airfields
outside of Medford, Oregon, the airfields in Joplin, Missouri, etc. . . .
In terms of policy management, Casey formed a series of inter-governmental agency
Restricted Access Groups (RAGS). Ultimately three such groups were formed. The
top Restricted Access Group 1 was Vice President George Bush – as it was decided
that all narcotics, weapons and money operations vis-a-vis Iran Contra, would be
considered under the office of the Vice President.
Also included in these Restricted Access Groups were then Vice Presidential National
Security Advisor, Col. Donald Gregg, then Deputy Secretary of State, Lawrence
Eagleburger and Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, who was in charge of
the Inter-American Affairs Office (an office which served in no other capacity except
being a propaganda tool for the Nicaraguan Contras), Richard Armitage, and
Assistant Secretary of State, Bernie Aronson.
In the Department of Defense, the RAG group included Assistant Secretary of
Defense, Frank Carlucci, Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Stilwell, and
Casper Weinberger himself.
In the CIA, besides Casey, there was the infamous Deputy Director of Operations,
Clair George and Assistant Deputy Director of Operations, Alan Fiers.
Later in Restricted Access Group 3, in terms of CIA involvement, there would be
included various CIA Station Chiefs, such as the infamous and sinister Joseph P.
Fernandez, the Costa Rican Station Chief.
The names involved in the Restricted Access Group would change as these men
changed positions in government – from 1983 through 1986.
When Frank Carlucci left the Defense Department to become Presidential National
Security Advisor and Bobby Gates became Deputy Director of the CIA, Gates
supplanted Carlucci within Restricted Access Group 2.
When Gate’s nomination to become Director later failed, Gates was put back into
Restricted Access Group 1, when he took over from Carlucci as Presidential National
At the peak of Iran-Contra operations in the spring of 1986, there were approximately
1,000 direct Government employees involved – from Cabinet Secretaries all the way
down to Special Envoys. . . .
During the Iran Contra years (specifically from 1983 to 1986), a wide variety of
contingency operations were developed.
The most sinister of these, in my opinion, was Operation Sledgehammer.
I heard North discuss it extensively during one of the FDL meetings in Miami in the fall
of 1984. . . .
Sledgehammer was essentially a contingency operation to institute a putsch against the
United States Government (with tacit support of said Government) should knowledge of
Iran-Contra operations become publicly disseminated.
The feeling was that if people were to know the quantities of narcotics and weapons
being dealt and the enormity of State-sanctioned fraud against US banks (and other
financial institutions which taxpayers ultimately guarantee), there would be such a
reaction among the people that in order to divert public attention, it might become
necessary to institute a putsch having the tacit agreement of the Reagan
Administration. . . .
These NPO facilities were used as storage sites for advanced communication
equipment, for instance, that would be necessary for the control of cities by US armed
forces. . . .
There were some speculative media pieces done on Operation Sledgehammer in the
late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but it was nothing substantial. The few documents regarding
Sledgehammer that had leaked out in late 1986 and early 1987 would up in the hands
of attorney Paul Wilcher, for example.
And we all know what happened to Wilcher. . .
As a matter of fact, Danny Casolaro actually wound up with some of them, but
unfortunately he was liquidated before he could do anything with them.
Bill Moyle from Jane’s Defense Weekly also obtained some of these materials. Three
days later he was found hanged by his own necktie inside a closet in his hotel room in
Santiago, Chile, while investigating the famous Chilean arms dealer, Carlos Cardoen.
Another well-known journalist I knew at the time who had received some genuine
information regarding Operation Sledgehammer was Keith Wickenham.
Keith received certain materials from a certain party about ten in the morning. He drove
his automobile home to take a shower and get cleaned up and go back to his office.
About an hour later, when he was done, he got back into his automobile. When he
turned on his ignition, it blew up – with him in it.
The police ruled his death, or the car explosion, to be an “accidental vapor explosion.”
The local investigation was quickly closed and a few months later, all the files were
Another well-known journalist who obtained materials about this operation was Steve
Perry. He got them in Washington, secreted them in a safe deposit box in the First
National Bank of Washington and took a holiday. It was a little holiday he had
scheduled to go ice fishing in upstate New York.
The second day there, Mr. Perry fell through the ice and promptly drowned.
When the executor of his estate opened up the safe deposit box, there was nothing
I apologize when I said we all know what happened to Paul Wilcher.
Wilcher was a famous liberal attorney in Arlington, Virginia. Actually he lived in
Manassas, but he practiced in Arlington and had a condo there.
His firm represented many people like me who had been on the short end of the Iran-Contra stick when everything fell apart.
In the event that you’re not familiar with the story, Wilcher was simply murdered.
His beaten and naked body was found sitting on his own toilet seat in his own
The police – a man and woman police officer, arrived at the scene very early – when in
fact his killer was exiting the building. But they didn’t make the connection at the time.
A few days later, they did make the connection.
And when they made the connection through an artist rendering as to who it was, the
CIA saw a copy of that artist rendering too.
The two police officers were quickly put on paid leave and they used up all their
vacation and benefits. Then they were allowed to retire early with enhanced pensions.
Suddenly a few weeks later, bank accounts appeared for both of them at the Nassau,
Bahamas branch of the Royal Trust Company of Canada.
The two police officers are now comfortably retired in the Caribbean living under
(When Bill Casey headed the Agency, he would remark privately that his sense of
honor was such that “American police officers should not be liquidated unless
Regarding Operation Sledgehammer – all those who ever attempted to publicly
disseminate any genuine documents or information have now been liquidated, some 36
people in all.
Wilcher, by the way, was murdered by a guy named Eddy Castille, who is employed by
Department 4 (Domestic Wet Operations, or DWO) of the Agency. He’s one of their
shooters. . . .
The well-known Iran-Contra attorney in Texas, Dave Parker, is a notable example of
what happens to people who ever mention Castille’s name.
Former Army CID investigator Bill McCoy told Parker to keep his mouth shut when
Parker was disseminating information about this guy.
After Parker’s office was bombed, after his house burned down, after his car was blown
up and after he was beaten up three or four times – he got the message.
He has never mentioned the guy’s name publicly again.
Another interesting transaction was the famous KGB document purchase of 1991,
which was arranged by none other than Dick Armitage and Frank Carlucci.
When Frank and Dickie left the Government, they immediately went to Moscow and
opened up an office of the Blackstone Investment Group.
Although it was supposed to be an investment office, it was essentially a conduit for
money coming out of Washington to purchase KGB documents.
In 1991, an enormous sale from the KGB files was consummated for $36 million.
It always struck me as somewhat humorous that the sheer volume of documents
purchased was so large that it took the entire cargo bay of a Southern Air Transport C-130, which was used to fly the stuff out of Moscow.
The purchased documents were a real grab bag of what would have been very
politically damaging documents, especially for Republicans in the United States – had
they ever been made public. . . .
It’s interesting to note that the only general in the KGB who objected to the sale (now
chief of the North American Desk) was the very loyal and patriotic General Alexander
Included in the deal, by the way, was a package (let’s call it a travel package) wherein
over 300 KGB generals and colonels were allowed to enter the United States and were
provided with very comfortable homes, mostly in northern Virginia.
Most KGB generals now get a check for $12,000 a month from the Agency.
KGB colonels get $8,000 a month plus a panoply of favors.
Most of these guys are now in the import-export business. The have offices in and
around McLean, Virginia.
It’s also interesting to note that four former KGB generals have import-export offices in
the same building in McLean where Oliver North has his office.
How easy it is to purchase the silence of others with the appropriate-sized slice of the
The reason I mention this? It’s an interesting case study in the way things work and the
decisions men make.
For his loyalty to the Soviet Union, General Karpov will soon retire a broken – and
financially broke – man in the run-down dacha he owns in the Crimea.
On the other hand, a KGB general who cooperated by keeping his mouth shut is
already retired in a very comfortable brick colonial home in Silver Springs, Maryland.
He also has a Mercedes Benz and a golf course membership.
Back to Iran-Contra. Let us take a look at the Department of Justice role in Iran-Contra.
More specifically, let us examine its political liabilities control and suppression function.
In a effort to insulate Ed Meese from the more tawdry affair of liability control and
suppression, the S-1 (Suppression-1) function of the Department of Justice was put in
the hands of his subordinate, Deputy Attorney General George W. Terwilliger.
This Terwilliger is a real piece of work. His equally sinister and dreaded henchman,
Lowell Jensen, is now a federal district judge in California.
Terwilliger, by the way, is now a senior partner in the Washington, DC law firm of
Woods, McGuire, one of the repositories for nasty right-wingers in waiting (the ultimate
repository being the Heritage Foundation).
Included in the Suppression Control Unit of the Department of Justice (which, of
course, is a secret unit of the Department) were what I used to call the Sinister Bobbsey
Twins – Associate Attorney General David Margolis, then Chief of Domestic
Criminal Operations, and the equally sinister Mark Richards, then Chief of the
International Crime Section.
The function of these people was to prosecute those who had talked too much – or who
might talk too much in the future – such as the way I was prosecuted in 1986, although
The Suppression Unit in the Department of Justice is so powerful it reaches into all
The Unit maintains control features into all politically sensitive US Attorneys’ offices that
were involved in Iran-Contra – Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Atlanta, etc.
In Miami, for instance, the Control Unit’s hand-picked boy was the powerful, infamous,
dreaded and sinister William Richard Scruggs, who is still an Assistant US Attorney
In West Palm Beach, it was Jay Lewis, who would prosecute politically sensitive
narcotics cases, such as the Jack DeVoe case.
These were cases where people had actually trafficked in narcotics on behalf of, with
the complicity of, or at least with the acquiescence of the Agency.
The people had now become politically expendable. And there was a whole route
maintained for people like me who got prosecuted in the aftermath of Iran-Contra.
Tremendous resources were devoted to these prosecutions too.
The people who were rather mid-level in the Department of Justice within the
Suppression Group at the time are now senior officials.
A good example is Lee Radek, an Associate Attorney General and also the head of
Justice’s Public Integrity Section.
Public Integrity? What a joke that is.
The Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice, by the way, is full of ex-CIA players.
At the time, Lee Radek’s assistant was Deputy Associate Attorney General Bobby
Muller. Bobby was forced out of the Department in 1992 for having a big mouth. He
was an alcoholic and he fancied himself a Republican cocktail circuit dandy.
The problem was is that in the Beltway, Bobby would get half in the bag – and in an
effort to be humorous – would run his mouth off about what people had said. He would
do it when there were members of the press around.
It was a riot the stuff that Bobby would say.
Bobby was the one who forced that comment out in June 1992, the public comment
George Bush made to Sarah McClendon about Iran-Contra.
When McClendon asked George about Iran Contra, George Bush said, “Sarah, if
people ever knew what we had done, we’d be chased down in the streets and lynched.”
It was also Bobby who reiterated what Bob Dole had said when Bob Dole was half in
I myself was not ten feet from Bob Dole during the Reagan re-inauguration dinner in
January 1985, which was held inside the Watergate Hotel because it was so freezing
outside. . . .
Bob Dole was half smashed.
Frank Carlucci was there. Armitage was there. The whole gang, the whole cabal was
And Bob Dole said, “America. Land of the Naive and Home of the Provincial.
September 20, 2001
Bin Laden is a monster partly
‘Made by USA’
By Mort Rosenblum, The Associated Press
PARIS - Osama bin Laden, now America’s public enemy No. 1, was the type of Soviet-hating freedom fighter that US officials applauded when the world looked a little
Though not singled out specifically for Washington’s praise, Western and Middle
Eastern sources say, bin Laden received US support to fight Soviet troops in
Afghanistan as he was shaping his al-Qaida terrorist network.
“I warned the CIA about getting involved with this sort of Muslim extremist,” said Pierre
Lacoste, the admiral who headed French intelligence at the time. “This business of ‘the
enemy of my enemy is my friend’ can be very dangerous.”
During the 1980s the United States supported several ragtag rebel groups eager to fight
the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Americans provided funds and arms, including Stinger
“Bin Laden was just emerging as a leader, but he was already an Islamic idealist,
clearly with no love for the West,” Lacoste said in an interview, one of several veterans
of that period who sketch a similar picture.
Although bin Laden insists he never took any CIA funds directly, he was heavily funded
by Saudi interests and received American logistical and political support, Lacoste said.
US officials at the time say aid was given first under President Carter and then under
President Reagan. Reagan once praised the Afghans and Arab guerrillas who helped
them as “freedom fighters.”
Herman Cohen, who in the 1980s was deputy assistant secretary of state for
intelligence and then on the National Security Council, said aid was channeled through
Pakistan and given to groups selected by Pakistanis.
“We didn’t understand at that point what was happening,” Cohen said. . . .
Some of the Pakistanis involved were themselves Islamic fundamentalists, he added.
Cohen is now a private consultant in African affairs....
Bin Laden made ample use of the American equipment lavished on rebel groups during
the Soviet resistance, Girardet said. When Moscow retreated in 1989, CIA operatives
departed, leaving splintered factions to fight for supremacy.
Bin Laden was lionized when he returned to Saudi Arabia but soon ran afoul of the
kingdom’s ruling family. He moved to Sudan, building up his organization, and then to
Afghanistan in 1996. . . .
# # #
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Last updated on October 1, 2008, by The Catbird.