In 1991, the United States Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency assisted the Colombian government with the integration of staffs between the Colombian Army and the murderous right-wing paramilitary. I commented some years later on the obvious: if the staffs are integrated, they are the same organizaiton. This development went overwhelmingly unremarked in the US press, which both failed to see the signficance of this and purposely complied with officialdom’s silence about it.
It seems we’ll hear little about the fact that this kind of integration has taken place in the United States between the US armed forces – special operations in particular – and the international criminal enterprise formerly named Blackwater, a highly-paid DOD contractor that employs – much as Colombia did with the paramilitaries – these mercenaries, many of them veterans of special operations who figured out where the big paychecks are, to do the wet work that would create a firewall of plausible deniability for the government’s forces.
The Af-Pak War, which Obama has just escalated in his obsequious deference to the torture general, Stanley McChrystal, is only conventional and marginally accountable on the Afghan side of the border. In Pakistan, it is an old fashioned, albeit newly technologized, secret war, run primarily by the CIA, and involving chronic violations of international law, human rights, and Pakistani sovereignty. It is also, as the following article details, a joint operation between the military and corporate paramilitaries.
I will suggest, as I forward this story through the blog, that the story be forwarded to as many Pakistanis as possible, in the hope that the popular resistance to US predations in Pakistan itself will increase pressure on the Pakistani government to expel the United States military from all operations in Pakistan. I offer – small as it is – my own best wishes and endorsement to Pakistan’s people in this effort, and encourage any and all peaceful means to accomplish this expulsion.
To the people of Pakistan, my country’s government is bullying your government to flagrantly violate your sovereignty, and using your land – as well as killing, maiming, and displacing Pakistanis – to expand a desperate and doomed imperial adventure, treating your country and people as pawns. We citizens of the United States are not synonymous with the government of the United States, and half of us, according to recent polls, are opposed to this war. Non-violent resistance changed the character of our country, and is part of your historical legacy as well. I hope one day soon we can act together in peaceful and sustained solidarity – as fellow children of God – to end the war that my government has brought to your land.
Here is the story from Jeremy Scahill:
At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.
The source, who has worked on covert US military programs for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has direct knowledge of Blackwater’s involvement. He spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity because the program is classified. The source said that the program is so “compartmentalized” that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence.
The White House did not return calls or email messages seeking comment for this story. Capt. John Kirby, the spokesperson for Adm. Michael Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Nation, “We do not discuss current operations one way or the other, regardless of their …