Posts Tagged ‘Söldner’

BRD: Die andere Piratenpartei

Donnerstag, September 29th, 2011

“Söldner für deutsche Schiffe

Private Militärdienste sind ein gutes Geschäft – auch für deutsche Unternehmen

Von Hermannus Pfeifer, Hamburg

Trotz zahlreicher Piratenüberfälle sieht die Bundesregierung einen Einsatz der Bundespolizei auf deutschen Handelsschiffen eher skeptisch. Anders als im Luftverkehr gebe es bei Handelsschiffen keine besondere Schutzpflicht des Staates, hieß es am Freitag aus Regierungskreisen. Bundesinnenminister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) befürwortet den Einsatz privater Sicherheitsdienste. Allerdings sollen deutsche Reeder dabei nur Söldner von Firmen einsetzen dürfen, die eine staatliche Zulassung haben.

Der hierzulande verbotene Einsatz von privaten Piratenjägern ist weltweit längst Praxis. Auf jedem zehnten Handelsschiff fahren nach Angaben der Gewerkschaft ver.di bewaffnete Söldner mit. Reeder nennen noch höhere Zahlen: Sicherheitsdienste kämen die Unternehmen unterm Strich billiger als Versicherungsprämien und Lösegelder. Aus Sicht der Reeder erscheint es alternativlos, die Piraten-Bekämpfung »in professionelle Hände zu legen«, sagt Claus Brandt, Experte der Beratungsgesellschaft PWC. 27 deutsche Reedereien setzen bereits bewaffnete private Sicherheitsdienste ein, weitere sechs Reedereien unbewaffnete Wachleute. Eigner nutzen dabei das Seerecht aus: Lediglich auf Schiffen unter Schwarz-Rot-Gold gilt deutsches Recht. Von den 3659 Schiffen mit bundesdeutschen Eigentümern fahren jedoch nur 570 unter deutscher Flagge.

Im privaten Sicherheitsgeschäft auf See tummeln sich bekannte internationale Größen. Zu den ersten Firmen, die das Geschäftsfeld Piratenabwehr für sich erschließen wollten, gehört Blackwater. Das Unternehmen, das sich in Irak einen zweifelhaften Ruf erwarb, tritt heute unter dem Namen »Xe Services« auf. Erfahrungen auf See konnte die Firma zunächst nicht vorweisen. Inzwischen hat Blackwater/Xe eine Reihe ehemaliger Marinesoldaten unter Vertrag, meldet der Infodienst »Streitkräfte und Strategien«. Trotzdem, so Piratenexperte Michael Weisfeld, haben viele Reeder »wenig Vertrauen zu den international tätigen Sicherheitsfirmen«. Sie fordern daher eine staatliche Zertifizierung und dürften im Regelfall lieber auf deutsche Militärfirmen setzen.

Der Bundesverband Deutscher Wach- und Sicherheitsunternehmen (BDWS) wiegelt ab, das Interesse der Mitgliedsfirmen sei »verhalten«. Dazu dürfte die unsichere Rechtslage beitragen. So sind Kriegswaffen für private Militärfirmen in Deutschland tabu. Außerdem erfordern Pirateneinsätze eine aufwendige Logistik. Die Teams gehen vor der Südspitze Indiens oder vor Tansania auf hoher See von eigenen Versetzbooten an Bord und fahren drei, vier Tage mit, um später auf der anderen Seite des Gefahrengebietes wieder auszusteigen. Schnellfeuerwaffen und Maschinengewehre bringen Sicherheitsleute mit. Der Transport solcher Kriegswerkzeuge durch Häfen und Flughäfen dürfte nur in wenigen Fällen legal ablaufen.

Die Münchner Firma Result Group bietet auf ihrer Internet-Seite die »Begleitung von Schiffen in High-Risk-Areas« wie den Golf von Aden und Indonesien an. Das Unternehmen soll von einem Hauptkommissar der bayrischen Polizei gegründet worden sein und wirbt mit seinen 60 »hoch qualifizierten Experten«, die früher unter anderem für das Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) der Bundeswehr oder die GSG 9 der Bundespolizei gearbeitet hätten.

Konkurrent International Security Network (ISN), eine GmbH aus dem badischen Rheinmünster, wirbt gleich mit einem kürzlich erfolgten Besuch des Generals a.D. Ulrich Wegener. Der frühere Chef der Spezialpolizeieinheit GSG 9 soll sich von der »taktischen und strategischen Leistungsfähigkeit« beeindruckt gezeigt haben. Innerhalb von 48 Stunden könne ISN Einsatzkräfte und ihr üppiges Equipment weltweit einsetzen.

Rolf Uesseler, Autor des Standardwerkes über private Militärfirmen (»Krieg als Dienstleistung«), befürchtet, dass See-Söldner »die Demokratie zerstören« könnten. Und die Gewerkschaft ver.di hält private Piratenjäger eher für einen Teil der »Ausweitung des Problems«. Es drohe eine Gewaltspirale auf dem Meer.”

 

(Quelle: Neues Deutschland.)

Siehe auch:

Verdi für einen Einsatz der deutschen Marine zum Schutz für Frachter!

Global: Söldner-Firmen manipulieren Wikipedia

Mittwoch, Juli 13th, 2011

“Erinys International: Spinning for the private military

By Steven Harkins and David Miller

 

soeldner

With billions of dollars of government and corporate contracts to be won in conflict hotspots such as Iraq and the Congo, today’s private military companies work hard to distance themselves from scandal and the age-old ‘dogs of war’ and ‘mercenary’ tags. Spinwatch examines how one leading firm, Erinys International, has even taken its PR drive onto Wikipedia.

 

The Erinys is an ‘avenging deity’ from Greek and Roman mythology sometimes used to represent ‘conscience personified’.[1] Alternatively spelt as Erinyes, the creature can also take the form of ‘hideous snake-haired monsters (usually three in number) who pursued unpunished criminals’.[2] The private military contractor Erinys International is likely to have chosen the name because of its association with the concept of justice. This mythology is explained as such on the firm’s Wikipedia entry:

    ‘The word ’Erinys’ refers to the avenging deities in Greek religion, who lived at the entrance to the Underworld. Their first duty was to see to the punishment of those who had committed some crime in the world above, but had arrived at Hades without obtaining absolution from the gods. Sometimes this duty extended to the world of men, where the Erinys (also called Dirae, Furiae, Eumenides or Semnae) would pursue criminals, at the behest of Nemesis, permitting the fugitive no rest’.[3]

This description of the Erinys mythology more than likely captures the company’s thinking because it was added to Wikipedia by Erinys business and legal advisor Peter W Roberts.[4]

Under the username ‘Peterwroberts’, Roberts made 11 edits to Erinys’ Wikipedia entry between 9 May 2008 and 6 March 2009 out of a total 38 edits by other users since its creation in December 2006. He summarised his edits as: ‘Update Iraq contract detail’, ‘Update details on J Garatt and A Morrison’, ‘Update Group company functions’, ‘Update of Greek Mythology’, ‘Updated and corrected references and allegations’, and ‘Correcting errors and completing information on Ministry of Oil contract. Erinys Iraq did not have a contract with KBR’.[5] These were his only edits across Wikipedia with that username.

‘Deleting’ the scandals

Roberts’ summary descriptions cover the information he added to the Wikipedia page yet neglect to mention what he removed. This included an entire section entitled ‘Scandals’. Roberts also removed references, including an Observer article stating how many staff Erinys had in Iraq, and describing photographs of ‘two employees of Erinys restraining [a] 16-year-old Iraqi with six car tyres around his body. The photographs, taken last May, show the boy frozen with fear in a room where the wall appeared to be marked by bullet holes’. [6]

Erinys admitted the photographs were genuine but argued they acted at the behest of the boy’s father and that:

    This process lasted for approximately three minutes, when the youth broke down in tears, at which point the tyres were immediately removed and the individual released into the custody of his father. [7]

A Guardian article removed by Roberts from the deleted ‘scandals’ section outlined a lawsuit brought against Erinys by the family of a US soldier killed in a collision with an Erinys vehicle in 2005.[8]

Roberts also removed reference to a Pacific News Service report alleging Erinys had employed former South African security personnel Francois Strydom and Deon Gouws.[9] Strydom was killed in a bombing incident in Baghdad on 28 January 2004. The article alleged Strydom was a former member of Koevoet, the South African apartheid-era paramilitary police unit notorious for acts of violence, torture, and murder, which had also waged a dirty war against Namibian rebels. Gouws, who was injured in the bombing that killed Strydom, was a former member of the South African Security Branch and the notorious Vlakplaas death squad. In 1996 he had received an amnesty from the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission after admitting to acts of petrol bombings, arson, car bombings and murder. These included:

    between 40 to 60 petrol bombings of the homes of political activists; a car bombing in 1986 that killed an ANC activist; an arson attack on the home of a doctor who was later assassinated by a Security Branch death squad; the deaths of at least nine recruits to the military wing of the ANC who were shot and their bodies burned; and the extra-judicial murder of five would-be bank robbers who were lured into a trap by the Vlakplaas.[10]

Gouws was also involved in the 1986 murder of regional minister and opposition leader Piet Ntuli.[11] The two men were not directly employed by Erinys but were hired via a subcontractor named SASI.[12] Erinys issued a statement after a War on Want report highlighting the allegations, distancing themselves from Stryom, Gouws and SASI:

    Erinys carries out detailed background checks of its prospective employees and has never employed `former apartheid-era paramilitary police and mercenaries from South Africa’. The War on Want reference is to an incident in January 2004, when a subcontractor to Erinys in Iraq was found to have employed such people after failing to carry out background checks: Erinys terminated that subcontract shortly afterwards. WoW would have known this by reference to articles in the Pretoria News of 29 January 2004, which stated that the individuals were employed by a sub-contractor. [13]

From the scandals section, Roberts also removed an article claiming that traces of Polonium 210 were found at their London offices after they had received a visit from Alexander Litvinenko.[14] A report by Global Security.org into the Erinys subcontract arrangement with private military contractor Airscan was also removed. This report said:

    The contract for aerial surveillance granted in December 2003 was awarded to Erinys Iraq, which awarded a subcontract to Florida-based AirScan Inc for aerial surveillance of the pipelines in support of Erinys. AirScan provides night air surveillance of the pipeline and oil infrastructure, using low-light television cameras.[15]

Conflict of interest editing?

Although some of the removed Wikipedia material may have contained inaccuracies, it is also clear that much undisputed information was removed too. In one example, accurate coverage of the Iraq lawsuit even contained the caveat ‘It was a very tragic accident for which Erinys and its employees have been thoroughly exonerated’.[16] The wholesale deletion of these paragraphs and references may well breach Wikipedia’s ‘Conflict of Interest’ rules, which it describes as ‘an incompatibility between the aim of Wikipedia, which is to produce a neutral, reliably sourced encyclopedia, and the aims of an individual editor’.[17] It also raises questions over Erinys International’s public relations activities and why the material was removed. On the Alexander Litvinenko case it was widely reported that Litvinenko had visited Erinys’ offices, not just in the article Roberts removed from Wikipedia.[18] [19]Roberts argues however it was inaccurate because Erinys International has never had offices in the UK:

    Erinys International does not have, and never has had, offices in the UK. The confusion may be because Erinys UK Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Erinys International) subleased part of its offices at 25 Grosvenor Street to Titon International – a company set up by John Holmes and in which Erinys International was a shareholder. I believe that Titon International had used the services of Litvinenko in some way (although I have no details) and I am aware that Tim Reilly of Erinys UK Ltd had met Litvinenko on at least one of his visits to the Grosvenor Street office.[20]

However in 2009, Erinys International headed notepaper in fact listed its ‘Europe’ office as being located at 25 Grosvenor St.[21] While there may have been inaccuracies in the article, Roberts also removed material that was true.

The Southern Africa connection

The removal of the article about the South African SASI employees is more interesting. Several Erinys group founders have worked in the private military industry in Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. Some have served in the military or intelligence services of southern African States. For example, former non-executive chairman of Erinys International[22] Sean Cleary has a military intelligence background and co-founder of Erinys International Fraser Brown left the British military to sign up with the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI) where he served for four years in the Para Commandos between 1975 and 1979.[23] At that time the Rhodesian regime was engaged in a bitter guerrilla war with the liberation movements whose demands included ending the racist system of government, which denied black people the vote. The RLI remained one of only two ’all-white‘ units in the armed forces until the war ended in 1979-80.[24] Some accounts describe the culture of the all white RLI as deeply racist and at least some of the regiment as engaging in torture. One memoir recounts the experiences of ‘K’, a veteran of the RLI:

    This is painful listening. Starkly, Fuller relates K’s confessions, particularly the torture of a young African woman. The veterans’ conversations are saturated with racial slang and expletives, echoing the violence of their acts. He and his friends, said K, were not animals – they were ‘worse than animals’.[25]

Erinys is often reported to be ‘full of former South African special forces soldiers’.[26] A team of bodyguards assigned to Tom O’Donnell, the man in charge of policing the Iraqi oil pipeline, were all South African nationals.[27] In 2005 a PBS journalist went on patrol with an Erinys team and observed that ‘Most of them are South Africans, with thick accents.'[28] Peter Roberts plays down the significance of the South African contingent of Erinys employees arguing that:

    ‘The maximum number of expatriates employed by Erinys Iraq (under the OPF, USACE and other contracts) was probably about 400. They were not exclusively British and South Africa[n] and in 2005 I noted 21 different nationalities in the expatriate workforce’.[29]

However the 2002 appointment of Sean Cleary as a non-executive chairman of Erinys also connected the company to Apartheid-era intelligence and propaganda networks, albeit that his activities with such groups came before his time with Erinys. Cleary was a South African military intelligence operative in the 1960s and later became a South African diplomat based, among other places, in the US.[30] After leaving the diplomatic service in the 1980s Cleary set up a series of companies in London and elsewhere. Some were reportedly lobbying and propaganda fronts for the Apartheid regime. Cleary also acted as spokesperson for Jonas Savimbi of UNITA, the US and Apartheid proxy engaged in subverting the Angolan government.[31]

One company set up by Cleary in the 1980s, Strategy Network International, was described by Africa News as a key part of ‘an extensive network of right-wing organizations linked to the South African government’. According to the Africa News investigation, ’Cleary’s group spearheaded the 1989 election campaign in Namibia for pro-South African politicians running against the Namibian independence movement, SWAPO.[32] The Independent reported that Strategy Network International was specifically created to lobby against economic sanctions and as propagandist for Unita, the Angolan opposition group, and for the so-called ‘transitional government’ of Namibia set up in defiance of UN resolution 435 on Namibian independence.[33] The company was also involved in trying to convince Margaret Thatcher’s government to continue to oppose sanctions on South Africa, in this capacity they facilitated a 1989 visit to apartheid-era South Africa for current Prime Minister David Cameron.[34]

Cleary resigned from his position with Erinys in October 2003 because, according to managing director Jonathan Garratt, they had ‘gone beyond his operational experience’.[35] Cleary argued that he left because ‘once I understood that Erinys would be acting in Iraq in a role that might cross the line and take it into that grey zone of international law that you delineate’.[36]

In 2010 the spotlight turned on Erinys’ activities in Iraq again with the Wikileaks publication of the Iraq war logs. It was reported that Erinys had been involved in a high number of ‘escalation of force’[37] incidents.[38] Erinys issued a statement arguing they had always acted ‘in accordance with the terms of RUF (Rules for Use of Force) and, in all cases where Erinys staff fired a weapon during the term of the USACE contract, a serious incident report was completed and sent to USACE, who had the option of mounting an investigation if they considered it appropriate’. [39]

This rebuttal is one of several sent to more than 10 media outlets and non-governmental organizations by Erinys International in an attempt to manage their public profile.[40] It was against this backdrop that the Erinys Wikipedia entry was amended. Although it is clear that some of this spin operation corrected errors or mistakes it also appears to have removed from Wikipedia and the web legitimate materials that Erinys perceived might cast their activities in a negative light.


Notes

[1] Erinys Definition, Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co, Freedictionary.com, Accessed 09-May-2011
[2] Erinyes Definition, The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company, Accessed 09-May-2011
[3] Erinys International, Wikipedia, Accessed 09-May-2011
[4] Peterwroberts, Revision as of 15:49, 9-May-2008 (Update of Greek Mythology), Wikipedia, , Accessed -9-May-2011
[5] Peterwroberts, User contributions, Wikipedia, Accessed 09-May-2011
[6] Anthony Barnett and Patrick Smith, ‘British guard firm ‘abused scared Iraqi shepherd boy’, The Guardian, 14-November-2004, Accessed 09-May-2011
[7] Anthony Barnett and Patrick Smith, ‘British guard firm ‘abused scared Iraqi shepherd boy’, The Guardian, 14-November-2004, Accessed 09-May-2011
[8] Suzanne Goldenberg, US soldier’s family brings legal action against British private security firm, The Guardian, 30-October-2007, Accessed 9-May-2011
[9] Louis Nevaer, Hired Guns in Iraq May Have War Crimes Pasts, Pacific News Service, New America Media, 3-May-2004,  Accessed 09-May-2011
[10] Mark Perlman, Apartheid Enforcers Guard Iraq For the U.S., Jewish Daily Forward, 20-February-2004, Accessed 05-October-2009
[11] Truth & Reconciliation Commission, Human Rights Violations, Truth & Reconciliation Commission, 4-December-1996, Accessed 09-May-2011
[12] Erinys International, Response to allegations made by War on Want against Erinys, Erinys International, Accessed 09-May-2011
[13] Erinys International, Response to allegations made by War on Want against Erinys, Erinys International, Accessed 09-May-2011
[14] Robin Stringer, London Police say Polonium Found at Two More Premises, Bloomberg, 28-November-2006, Accessed 09-May-2011
[15] Intelligence Facility Protection Service (FPS) Facilities Protection Forces, Globalsecurity.org, Accessed 9-May-2011
[16] Erinys International, Revision as of 18:15, 27-April-2008, Wikipedia, 27-April-2008, Accessed 09-May-2011
[17] Conflict of Interest Rules, WP:Conflict, Wikipedia, Accessed 09-May-2011
[18] Duncan Gardham, Bodyguard with friends in high places The accused, The Daily Telegraph, 23-May-2007
[19] Suzanne Goldenberg, US soldier’s family brings legal action against British private security firm, The Guardian, 30-October-2007, Accessed 9-May-2011
[20] Peter Roberts, RE: Erinys Profile, 8-October-2009, E-mail to editor@spinprofiles.com
[21] See Screengrab of Erinys response to War on Want showing the company’s London address, created 20 December 2009, Powerbase,
[22] Sean Cleary, E-Mail to David Isenberg, 25-December-2004
[23] Erinys International, Company Overview – Management Profiles, Erinys International, Accessed 12 April 2008
[24] Kevin Douglas Stringer, Military organizations for homeland defense and smaller-scale contingencies: A comparative approach, New York: Praeger, 2007. Google Books, , Accessed 09-May-2011
[25] Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier Alexandra Fuller. 2004. Read by Lisette Lecat. 7 tapes. 9.5 hrs. Recorded Books. 1-4025-8277-3, Accessed 09-May-2011
[26] Jim Krane, ‘U.S. employs private armies: Missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world use freelance fighters’, St. John’s Telegram (Newfoundland) November 2, 2003 Sunday Final Edition, SOURCE: The Associated Press, The Big Picture; Pg. A11
[27] Chuck Yarborough, Plain Dealer Reporter ‘Struggling with security’, Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio),February 15, 2004 Sunday, Sports Final / All, Correction Appended, NATIONAL; Pg. A1
[28] Marcela Gaviria, Private Warriors: Frontline, PBS, 21-June-2005, Accessed 09-May-2011
[29] Peter Roberts ‘Comments on Article and Reasons for Amendment’, modified 9 September 10:26, attached to Peter Roberts ‘Re: Application for User Status’, email to editor@spinprofiles, 9 September 2009, 11:28
[30] Sean Cleary, Speakers: World Knowledge Forum 2002, World Knowledge Program, Accessed 10-September-2009
[31] Elaine Windrich, Angola’s War Economy: The Role of Oil and Diamonds, HNet Book Reviews, 11-September-2009, Accessed 11-September-2009
[32] Victoria Brittain, ANGOLAN WAR SPAWNS COMPLEX WEB OF PROFITEERS Fierce, deadly conflict continues, Insight Guardian News Service, 5-April-1993
[33] Patricia Wynn Davies, Richard Dowen and John Carlin, The Attack on Sleaze: How apartheid regime set out to woo Tories: Patricia Wynn Davies tells the story of the firm which gave MPs a South African perspective, The Independent, 26-October-1994, Accessed 11-September-2009
[34] Jane Merrick & James Hanning, Cameron’s freebie to apartheid South Africa, The Independent, 26-April-2009, Accessed 09-May-2011
[35] Jonathan Garratt, Letter to David Isenberg, Asia Times, 04-November-2004, Accessed 09-May-2011
[36] Sean Cleary, E-Mail to David Isenberg, 25-December-2004
[37] According to the Guardian ‘escalation of force’, is ‘military parlance for a series of actions that begins with nonlethal measures (such as visual signals with flags, spotlights or flares), but may graduate to potentially lethal force, with warning shots, disabling shots (to vehicle tyres) or, if all other measures have failed, deadly shots, depending on the perceived level of threat’.
[38] Pratap Chatterjee, Iraq war logs: military privatisation run amok, The Guardian, 23-October-2010, , Accessed 09-May-2011
[39] Pratap Chatterjee, Iraq war logs: military privatisation run amok, The Guardian, 23-October-2010, Accessed 09-May-2011
[40] A list of known examples is compiled at ‘Managing Erinys’ public profile’: ‘Erinys’, Powerbase ”

(Quelle: Spinwatch.)

Vereinigte Arabische Emirate: Die geheime Privatarmee des Scheichs

Sonntag, Mai 15th, 2011

“Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder

By MARK MAZZETTI and EMILY B. HAGER

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Late one night last November, a plane carrying dozens of Colombian men touched down in this glittering seaside capital. Whisked through customs by an Emirati intelligence officer, the group boarded an unmarked bus and drove roughly 20 miles to a windswept military complex in the desert sand.

The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom.

Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.

The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest or were challenged by pro-democracy demonstrations in its crowded labor camps or democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.

The U.A.E.’s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country’s biggest foe, the former employees said. The training camp, located on a sprawling Emirati base called Zayed Military City, is hidden behind concrete walls laced with barbed wire. Photographs show rows of identical yellow temporary buildings, used for barracks and mess halls, and a motor pool, which houses Humvees and fuel trucks. The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.

In outsourcing critical parts of their defense to mercenaries — the soldiers of choice for medieval kings, Italian Renaissance dukes and African dictators — the Emiratis have begun a new era in the boom in wartime contracting that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And by relying on a force largely created by Americans, they have introduced a volatile element in an already combustible region where the United States is widely viewed with suspicion.

The United Arab Emirates — an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state — are closely allied with the United States, and American officials indicated that the battalion program had some support in Washington.

“The gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official who knew of the operation. “They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.”

Still, it is not clear whether the project has the United States’ official blessing. Legal experts and government officials said some of those involved with the battalion might be breaking federal laws that prohibit American citizens from training foreign troops if they did not secure a license from the State Department.

Mark C. Toner, a spokesman for the department, would not confirm whether Mr. Prince’s company had obtained such a license, but he said the department was investigating to see if the training effort was in violation of American laws. Mr. Toner pointed out that Blackwater (which renamed itself Xe Services ) paid $42 million in fines last year for training foreign troops in Jordan and other countries over the years.

The U.A.E.’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, declined to comment for this article. A spokesman for Mr. Prince also did not comment.

For Mr. Prince, the foreign battalion is a bold attempt at reinvention. He is hoping to build an empire in the desert, far from the trial lawyers, Congressional investigators and Justice Department officials he is convinced worked in league to portray Blackwater as reckless. He sold the company last year, but in April, a federal appeals court reopened the case against four Blackwater guards accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

To help fulfill his ambitions, Mr. Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, obtained another multimillion-dollar contract to protect a string of planned nuclear power plants and to provide cybersecurity. He hopes to earn billions more, the former employees said, by assembling additional battalions of Latin American troops for the Emiratis and opening a giant complex where his company can train troops for other governments.

Knowing that his ventures are magnets for controversy, Mr. Prince has masked his involvement with the mercenary battalion. His name is not included on contracts and most other corporate documents, and company insiders have at times tried to hide his identity by referring to him by the code name “Kingfish.” But three former employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements, and two people involved in security contracting described Mr. Prince’s central role.

The former employees said that in recruiting the Colombians and others from halfway around the world, Mr. Prince’s subordinates were following his strict rule: hire no Muslims.

Muslim soldiers, Mr. Prince warned, could not be counted on to kill fellow Muslims.

A Lucrative Deal

Last spring, as waiters in the lobby of the Park Arjaan by Rotana Hotel passed by carrying cups of Turkish coffee, a small team of Blackwater and American military veterans huddled over plans for the foreign battalion. Armed with a black suitcase stuffed with several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of dirhams, the local currency, they began paying the first bills.

The company, often called R2, was licensed last March with 51 percent local ownership, a typical arrangement in the Emirates. It received about $21 million in start-up capital from the U.A.E., the former employees said.

Mr. Prince made the deal with Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates. The two men had known each other for several years, and it was the prince’s idea to build a foreign commando force for his country.

Savvy and pro-Western, the prince was educated at the Sandhurst military academy in Britain and formed close ties with American military officials. He is also one of the region’s staunchest hawks on Iran and is skeptical that his giant neighbor across the Strait of Hormuz will give up its nuclear program.

“He sees the logic of war dominating the region, and this thinking explains his near-obsessive efforts to build up his armed forces,” said a November 2009 cable from the American Embassy in Abu Dhabi that was obtained by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

For Mr. Prince, a 41-year-old former member of the Navy Seals, the battalion was an opportunity to turn vision into reality. At Blackwater, which had collected billions of dollars in security contracts from the United States government, he had hoped to build an army for hire that could be deployed to crisis zones in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He even had proposed that the Central Intelligence Agency use his company for special operations missions around the globe, but to no avail. In Abu Dhabi, which he praised in an Emirati newspaper interview last year for its “pro-business” climate, he got another chance.

Mr. Prince’s exploits, both real and rumored, are the subject of fevered discussions in the private security world. He has worked with the Emirati government on various ventures in the past year, including an operation using South African mercenaries to train Somalis to fight pirates. There was talk, too, that he was hatching a scheme last year to cap the Icelandic volcano then spewing ash across Northern Europe.

The team in the hotel lobby was led by Ricky Chambers, known as C. T., a former agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who had worked for Mr. Prince for years; most recently, he had run a program training Afghan troops for a Blackwater subsidiary called Paravant.

He was among the half-dozen or so Americans who would serve as top managers of the project, receiving nearly $300,000 in annual compensation. Mr. Chambers and Mr. Prince soon began quietly luring American contractors from Afghanistan, Iraq and other danger spots with pay packages that topped out at more than $200,000 a year, according to a budget document. Many of those who signed on as trainers — which eventually included more than 40 veteran American, European and South African commandos — did not know of Mr. Prince’s involvement, the former employees said.

Mr. Chambers did not respond to requests for comment.

He and Mr. Prince also began looking for soldiers. They lined up Thor Global Enterprises, a company on the Caribbean island of Tortola specializing in “placing foreign servicemen in private security positions overseas,” according to a contract signed last May. The recruits would be paid about $150 a day.

Within months, large tracts of desert were bulldozed and barracks constructed. The Emirates were to provide weapons and equipment for the mercenary force, supplying everything from M-16 rifles to mortars, Leatherman knives to Land Rovers. They agreed to buy parachutes, motorcycles, rucksacks — and 24,000 pairs of socks.

To keep a low profile, Mr. Prince rarely visited the camp or a cluster of luxury villas near the Abu Dhabi airport, where R2 executives and Emirati military officers fine-tune the training schedules and arrange weapons deliveries for the battalion, former employees said. He would show up, they said, in an office suite at the DAS Tower — a skyscraper just steps from Abu Dhabi’s Corniche beach, where sunbathers lounge as cigarette boats and water scooters whiz by. Staff members there manage a number of companies that the former employees say are carrying out secret work for the Emirati government.

Emirati law prohibits disclosure of incorporation records for businesses, which typically list company officers, but it does require them to post company names on offices and storefronts. Over the past year, the sign outside the suite has changed at least twice — it now says Assurance Management Consulting.

While the documents — including contracts, budget sheets and blueprints — obtained by The Times do not mention Mr. Prince, the former employees said he negotiated the U.A.E. deal. Corporate documents describe the battalion’s possible tasks: intelligence gathering, urban combat, the securing of nuclear and radioactive materials, humanitarian missions and special operations “to destroy enemy personnel and equipment.”

One document describes “crowd-control operations” where the crowd “is not armed with firearms but does pose a risk using improvised weapons (clubs and stones).”

People involved in the project and American officials said that the Emiratis were interested in deploying the battalion to respond to terrorist attacks and put down uprisings inside the country’s sprawling labor camps, which house the Pakistanis, Filipinos and other foreigners who make up the bulk of the country’s work force. The foreign military force was planned months before the so-called Arab Spring revolts that many experts believe are unlikely to spread to the U.A.E. Iran was a particular concern.

An Eye on Iran

Although there was no expectation that the mercenary troops would be used for a stealth attack on Iran, Emirati officials talked of using them for a possible maritime and air assault to reclaim a chain of islands, mostly uninhabited, in the Persian Gulf that are the subject of a dispute between Iran and the U.A.E., the former employees said. Iran has sent military forces to at least one of the islands, Abu Musa, and Emirati officials have long been eager to retake the islands and tap their potential oil reserves.

The Emirates have a small military that includes army, air force and naval units as well as a small special operations contingent, which served in Afghanistan, but over all, their forces are considered inexperienced.

In recent years, the Emirati government has showered American defense companies with billions of dollars to help strengthen the country’s security. A company run by Richard A. Clarke, a former counterterrorism adviser during the Clinton and Bush administrations, has won several lucrative contracts to advise the U.A.E. on how to protect its infrastructure.

Some security consultants believe that Mr. Prince’s efforts to bolster the Emirates’ defenses against an Iranian threat might yield some benefits for the American government, which shares the U.A.E.’s concern about creeping Iranian influence in the region.

“As much as Erik Prince is a pariah in the United States, he may be just what the doctor ordered in the U.A.E.,” said an American security consultant with knowledge of R2’s work.

The contract includes a one-paragraph legal and ethics policy noting that R2 should institute accountability and disciplinary procedures. “The overall goal,” the contract states, “is to ensure that the team members supporting this effort continuously cast the program in a professional and moral light that will hold up to a level of media scrutiny.”

But former employees said that R2’s leaders never directly grappled with some fundamental questions about the operation. International laws governing private armies and mercenaries are murky, but would the Americans overseeing the training of a foreign army on foreign soil be breaking United States law?

Susan Kovarovics, an international trade lawyer who advises companies about export controls, said that because Reflex Responses was an Emirati company it might not need State Department authorization for its activities.

But she said that any Americans working on the project might run legal risks if they did not get government approval to participate in training the foreign troops.

Basic operational issues, too, were not addressed, the former employees said. What were the battalion’s rules of engagement? What if civilians were killed during an operation? And could a Latin American commando force deployed in the Middle East really be kept a secret?

Imported Soldiers

The first waves of mercenaries began arriving last summer. Among them was a 13-year veteran of Colombia’s National Police force named Calixto Rincón, 42, who joined the operation with hopes of providing for his family and seeing a new part of the world.

“We were practically an army for the Emirates,” Mr. Rincón, now back in Bogotá, Colombia, said in an interview. “They wanted people who had a lot of experience in countries with conflicts, like Colombia.”

Mr. Rincón’s visa carried a special stamp from the U.A.E. military intelligence branch, which is overseeing the entire project, that allowed him to move through customs and immigration without being questioned.

He soon found himself in the midst of the camp’s daily routines, which mirrored those of American military training. “We would get up at 5 a.m. and we would start physical exercises,” Mr. Rincón said. His assignment included manual labor at the expanding complex, he said. Other former employees said the troops — outfitted in Emirati military uniforms — were split into companies to work on basic infantry maneuvers, learn navigation skills and practice sniper training.

R2 spends roughly $9 million per month maintaining the battalion, which includes expenditures for employee salaries, ammunition and wages for dozens of domestic workers who cook meals, wash clothes and clean the camp, a former employee said. Mr. Rincón said that he and his companions never wanted for anything, and that their American leaders even arranged to have a chef travel from Colombia to make traditional soups.

But the secrecy of the project has sometimes created a prisonlike environment. “We didn’t have permission to even look through the door,” Mr. Rincón said. “We were only allowed outside for our morning jog, and all we could see was sand everywhere.”

The Emirates wanted the troops to be ready to deploy just weeks after stepping off the plane, but it quickly became clear that the Colombians’ military skills fell far below expectations. “Some of these kids couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn,” said a former employee. Other recruits admitted to never having fired a weapon.

Rethinking Roles

As a result, the veteran American and foreign commandos training the battalion have had to rethink their roles. They had planned to act only as “advisers” during missions — meaning they would not fire weapons — but over time, they realized that they would have to fight side by side with their troops, former officials said.

Making matters worse, the recruitment pipeline began drying up. Former employees said that Thor struggled to sign up, and keep, enough men on the ground. Mr. Rincón developed a hernia and was forced to return to Colombia, while others were dismissed from the program for drug use or poor conduct.

And R2’s own corporate leadership has also been in flux. Mr. Chambers, who helped develop the project, left after several months. A handful of other top executives, some of them former Blackwater employees, have been hired, then fired within weeks.

To bolster the force, R2 recruited a platoon of South African mercenaries, including some veterans of Executive Outcomes, a South African company notorious for staging coup attempts or suppressing rebellions against African strongmen in the 1990s. The platoon was to function as a quick-reaction force, American officials and former employees said, and began training for a practice mission: a terrorist attack on the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, the world’s tallest building. They would secure the situation before quietly handing over control to Emirati troops.

But by last November, the battalion was officially behind schedule. The original goal was for the 800-man force to be ready by March 31; recently, former employees said, the battalion’s size was reduced to about 580 men.

Emirati military officials had promised that if this first battalion was a success, they would pay for an entire brigade of several thousand men. The new contracts would be worth billions, and would help with Mr. Prince’s next big project: a desert training complex for foreign troops patterned after Blackwater’s compound in Moyock, N.C. But before moving ahead, U.A.E. military officials have insisted that the battalion prove itself in a “real world mission.”

That has yet to happen. So far, the Latin American troops have been taken off the base only to shop and for occasional entertainment.

On a recent spring night though, after months stationed in the desert, they boarded an unmarked bus and were driven to hotels in central Dubai, a former employee said. There, some R2 executives had arranged for them to spend the evening with prostitutes.

Mark Mazzetti reported from Abu Dhabi and Washington, and Emily B. Hager from New York. Jenny Carolina González and Simon Romero contributed reporting from Bogotá, Colombia. Kitty Bennett contributed research from Washington.”

 

(Quelle: New York Times.)

Siehe auch:

Hilfe von Prinz Blackwater

USA: Mehr privatisierte Schattenkriege niederer Intensität

Montag, August 23rd, 2010

“Der geheime Kampf gegen den Terrorismus weitet sich auf zwei Kontinente aus

WASHINGTON – Zuerst klang die Nachricht, die am 25. Mai (2010) aus dem Jemen kam, nach einem bescheidenen Erfolg im Kampf gegen die Terroristen: Ein Luftangriff in einem abgelegenen Wüstengebiet in der Provinz Marib, in dem angeblich die legendäre Königin von Saba geboren wurde, traf eine Gruppe von Verdächtigen, die zu Al-Qaida gehört haben sollen. Wie sich später herausstellte, wurde bei dem Angriff auch der Vizegouverneur dieser Provinz getötet, ein angesehener einheimischer Stammesführer, der nach Auskunft jemenitischer Offizieller versucht hatte, Al-Qaida-Mitglieder zur Aufgabe ihres Kampfes zu überreden. Ali Abdullah Salih, der Präsident des Jemen, übernahm die Verantwortung für seinen Tod und bezahlte Blutgeld an die in ihrer Ehre verletzten Stämme. Der Luftschlag war aber nicht das Werk der altersschwachen, einmal von den Sowjets gelieferten Luftwaffe des Präsidenten Salih. Es handelte sich nach Aussagen amerikanischer Offizieller um eine geheime Mission des US-Militärs, und es war mindestens die vierte derartige Operation gegen Al-Qaida, die seit Dezember (2009) in den ausgedörrten Bergen und Wüsten des Jemen stattgefunden hat. Der Angriff erlaubt einen Blick auf den Schattenkrieg, den die Obama-Regierung insgeheim gegen Al-Qaida und ihre Verbündeten führt. In etwa einem Dutzend Ländern – in den Wüsten Nordafrikas, in den Bergen Pakistans und in ehemaligen Sowjetrepubliken, die unter ethnischen und religiösen Konflikten leiden – haben die USA die Operationen ihrer Streitkräfte und ihrer Geheimdienste stark ausgeweitet; sie jagen den Feind mit ferngesteuerten Drohnen und Kommandotrupps und beschäftigen bezahlte Söldner als Spione und als Ausbilder, um einheimische Sicherheitskräfte für die Jagd auf Terroristen schulen zu lassen. Das Weiße Haus hat die mit Drohnen durchgeführten Raketenangriffe der CIA in Pakistan ausgeweitet, Einsätze gegen Al-Qaida-Mitglieder in Somalia angeordnet und lässt von Kenia aus geheime Operationen durchführen. Die US-Regierung arbeitet auch mit europäischen Verbündeten zusammen, um Terroristengruppen in Nordafrika unschädlich zu machen; zu diesem Zweck hat erst kürzlich ein französischer Luftangriff in Algerien stattgefunden. Das Pentagon unterhält zusätzlich ein Netzwerk privater Informanten, um Erkenntnisse über Schlupfwinkel Militanter in Pakistan und den Aufenthaltsort eines erst vor Kurzem in die Hände der Taliban gefallenen US-Soldaten zu sammeln. Der geheime Krieg hat zwar schon unter der Bush-Administration begonnen, wurde aber unter dem Präsidenten Obama, der einmal durch seine frühere Opposition gegen die Invasion des Iraks bekannt wurde, stark ausgeweitet. Die Öffentlichkeit wurde praktisch über keine der in letzter Zeit von der US-Regierung angeordneten aggressiven Operationen informiert. Im Gegensatz zu den Truppenverstärkungen in Afghanistan, die erst nach monatelangen heftigen Debatten zustande kamen, begann zum Beispiel die US-Militärkampagne im Jenem im Dezember (2009) ohne Vorankündigung und wurde auch niemals öffentlich bestätigt. Mitglieder der Obama-Regierung weisen immer wieder darauf hin, wie vorteilhaft es sei, den Kampf gegen Al-Qaida und andere Militante im Verborgenen zu führen; sie betonen, die großen Kriege in Afghanistan und im Irak stießen wegen der schwindelerregenden Kosten bei immer mehr Politikern und Wähler auf Ablehnung, und der Sturz von Regierungen und die jahrelangen Besetzungen beschleunigten nur die weitere Radikalisierung der islamischen Welt. Nach Aussage John O. Brennans, des führenden Anti-Terrorberaters des Präsidenten Obama, wollen die USA künftig nicht mehr mit dem “Hammer” zuschlagen, sondern mit dem “Skalpell” operieren. Brennan, ein Architekt der (Anti-Terror-)Strategie des Weißen Hauses, verwendete dieses Bild in einer im Mai gehaltenen Rede, in der er ankündigte, der Krieg gegen Al-Qaida und und ihre extremistischen Ableger werde sich über mehrere Generationen hinziehen. Aus einer derartigen Kriegsführung erwachsen aber auch viele Risiken: Misslungene Operationen könnten die Wut auf alle US-Amerikaner noch mehr steigern; die Verwischung der Grenzen zwischen Soldaten und Agenten könnte die US-Truppen den Schutz der Genfer Konventionen kosten; die Aufsichtsmechanismen des Kongresses, die zur Überwachung der Geheimdienste eingeführt wurden, könnten ausgehebelt werden, und aus dem Vertrauen auf autoritäre ausländische Herrscher und unzuverlässige Marionetten könnten sich unangenehme Überraschungen entwickeln. Der im Mai im Jemen durchgeführte Angriff provozierte zum Beispiel einen Racheakt von Stammesangehörigen aus der Region; sie verübten einen Anschlag auf eine Öl-Pipeline und verhalfen Al-Qaida damit zu einem Propaganda-Coup, der auf der ganzen arabischen Halbinsel Aufsehen erregte. Der Tod des stellvertretenden Provinzgouverneurs Jabir al Shabwani verursachte auch einen privaten Wutausbruch des Präsidenten Salih, und nach Aussage jemenitischer Offizieller konnte nur mit Mühe ein Rückschlag in den Beziehungen zu den USA verhindert werden. Die (Mord-)Aufträge der US-Regierung haben die Umwandlung der CIA – die eigentlich nur als Geheimdienst operieren soll – in eine paramilitärische Organisation beschleunigt und damit nach Meinung einiger besorgter Kritiker die Schwelle für künftige Quasi-Militäreinsätze gesenkt. In den Bergen Pakistans hat die CIA ihre Drohnen-Kampagne ausgeweitet; neben gelegentlichen Schlägen gegen Al-Qaida-Führer greift sie jetzt auch regelmäßig verdächtigte Menschenansammlungen und Nachschub-Konvois an, wie es sonst nur das Militär tut. Andererseits bedient sich auch das Pentagon immer häufiger der Methoden der CIA. Im Mittleren Osten und anderswo führen Kommandotrupps der Special Forces auf “geheimen Befehl” Spionage-Aufträge durch, die einmal zivilen Geheimdiensten vorbehalten waren. Unter Decknamen wie “Eager Pawn” (Wichtige Schachfigur) und “Indigo Spade” (Blauer Spaten) sind diese Einsätze noch weniger transparent als die unter Kongressaufsicht stehenden traditionellen verdeckten CIA-Operationen. Da US-Operationen zur Terrorbekämpfung nicht nur in Kriegsgebieten, sondern auch in Regionen stattfinden, in denen das Militär nicht eingreifen kann, werden vermehrt private Söldner eingesetzt deshalb wächst die Sorge darüber, dass die USA immer mehr ihrer wichtigsten Missionen an Privatarmeen übertragen, die manchmal niemand rechenschaftspflichtig sind.

Ein Versuchsgelände

Der Jemen ist ein Versuchsgelände für die “Skalpell”-Operationen, die Brennan empfohlen hat. Regierungsvertreter warnen vor dem wachsenden Einfluss des dortigen Al-Qaida-Ablegers und erinnern an den am 25. Dezember (2009) unternommenen Versuch, mit Hilfe eines jungen Nigerianers eine transatlantische Passagiermaschine zu sprengen. Einige amerikani sche Offizielle glauben, von den Militanten im Jemen könnte schon bald eine größere Bedrohung ausgehen als von der Al-Qaida-Führung in Pakistan. Die US-Offiziellen erklärten, man profitiere von dem Entschluss der jemenitischen Regierung, sich an dem Kampf gegen Al-Qaida zu beteiligen; die von den US-Streitkräften mit Cruise Missiles (Marschflugkörpern) und (zu Senkrechtstarts fähigen) Harrier-Kampfjets durchgeführten Luftschläge seien von der jemenitischen Führung gebilligt worden. Bei den Angriffen wurden nach Angaben der US-Offiziellen Dutzende Militante getötet, die weitere Anschläge geplant hätten. Das Pentagon und die CIA haben die Anzahl ihrer operativen Personen an der Botschaft in Sanaa, der Hauptstadt des Jemen, im Laufe des letzten Jahres stark erhöht. “Wir wollen bevorzugt zu lokal begrenzten Operationen in viel kleinerem Maßstab übergehen,” sagte Adam Smith, ein demokratischer Abgeordneter des Repräsentantenhauses aus Washington, der Mitglied des Ausschusses für die Geheimdienste und die Streitkräfte ist. “Zum ersten Mal in unserer Geschichte hat uns eine Organisation einen verdeckten Krieg erklärt,” äußerte Smith und meinte damit Al-Qaida. “Deshalb setzen wir ähnliche Elemente unseres Machtpotentials ein, um diesen verdeckten Krieg zu führen.” Einige Sicherheitsexperten ziehen Parallelen zum Kalten Krieg, in dem die USA in den Stellvertreterkriegen gegen die Sowjetunion auch verstärkt auf verdeckte Operationen setzte. Einige der Hauptakteure jener Tage sind zurückgekehrt, um Nebenrollen in dem neuen Schattenkrieg zu übernehmen. Michael G. Vickers, der half, die CIA-Kampagne zu organisieren, mit der in den 1980er Jahren Waffen und Geld zu dem Mudschaheddin nach Afghanistan geschleust wurden und dessen Aktivitäten in dem Buch und Film “Charlie Wilson’s War” (Charlie Wilsons Krieg) dargestellt wurden, steht jetzt im Auftrag des Pentagons an der Spitze der Aufsicht über die weltweit operierenden Special Forces. Duane R. Clarridge, ein berüchtigter ehemaliger CIA-Agent, der Operationen in Mittelamerika leitete und in den Iran-Contra-Skandal verwickelt war, tauchte in diesem Jahr wieder auf, um bei der Durchführung einer vom Pentagon finanzierten privaten Spionageaktion in Pakistan zu helfen. Bei der Umsetzung dieser Strategie kann das Weiße Haus Nutzen aus einer einzigartigen politischen Situation ziehen. Republikanische Abgeordnete werden Obama wohl kaum dafür kritisieren, dass er aggressiv Jagd auf Terroristen machen lässt, und viele Demokraten greifen eifrig nach jeder Möglichkeit, sich aus den langen, kostspieligen Kriegen zu lösen, die noch unter Bush begonnen wurden. Und doch wurden einige alte Hasen aus den Streitkräften und den Geheimdiensten (von dieser Entwicklung) überrascht. Jack Devine, ein ehemaliger CIA-Spitzenmann für geheime Operationen, der in den 1980er Jahren mithalf, den verdeckten Krieg gegen die sowjetische Armee in Afghanistan zu führen, betonte, aus seinen Papieren gehe hervor, dass er kein “Weichei” gewesen sei, wenn es um die Befürwortung verdeckter Operationen ging. Er müsse jetzt aber davor warnen, dass die Kontrollmechanismen, die eingeführt wurden, als der Kongress Geheimaktionen der CIA aus der Vergangenheit untersuchte, jetzt ausgehebelt werden könnten; der Kongress hatte sich damals mit Mordanschlägen der CIA (auf ausländische Politiker) und mit der CIA-Contra-Affäre befasst, bei der Geld aus heimlichen Waffenverkäufen an den Iran den rechtsgerichteten Contra-Rebellen in Nicaragua zugeflossen ist. “Weil wir damals Fehler gemacht und aus ihnen gelernt haben, hat der Kongress klare Regeln für verdeckte Operationen festgelegt,” erklärte er. “Jetzt praktizieren wir ein neues Modell, und ich mache mir Sorgen, weil es dafür keine klaren Regeln gibt.”

Zusammenarbeit und Kontrolle

Der einleitende US-Luftangriff im Jemen erfolgte am 17. Dezember 2009 auf ein in der Provinz Abyan im Süden des Landes vermutetes Al-Qaida-Trainingslager. Zunächst gab die jemenitische Regierung bekannt, ihre Luftwaffe habe dabei etwa 34 “Al-Qaida-Kämpfer” , getötet, und weitere seien einer gleichzeitig durchgeführten Bodenoperation zum Opfer gefallen. Am nächsten Tag rief Obama den Präsidenten Salih an, um sich bei ihm für die gute Zusammenarbeit zu bedanken und ihm die Fortsetzung der US-Unterstützung zu versprechen. Salih hatte den Luftangriff gebilligt, weil nach Geheimdiensterkenntnissen Al-Qaida Selbstmordattentäter nach Sanaa unterwegs gewesen sein sollen; sein Einverständnis krönte die Bemühungen der US-Regierung, ihn auf ihre Seite zu ziehen; zu diesen Bemühungen gehörten auch Besuche des Obama-Beraters Brennan und des Generals David H. Petraeus, der damals (als CENTCOM-Chef) noch alle Militäreinsätze im Mittleren Osten befehligte. Die Berichte über US-Militärschläge im Jemen, die viele Details enthalten, die bisher nicht bekannt waren, beruhen auf Interviews mit US-amerikanischen und jemenitischen Offiziellen, die anonym bleiben wollten, weil die US-Militäreinsätze im Jemen und die jemenitischen Dokumente darüber geheim sind. Als der Luftangriff vom 17. Dezember durchsickerte, rief er sehr gemischte Reaktionen hervor. Die jemenitische Presse identifizierte die US-Streitkräfte schnell als Verursacher des Luftschlags. Al-Qaida-Mitglieder verbreiteten ein Video von getöteten Kindern und ver anstalteten einige Tage danach einen Protestmarsch, über den Al Jazeera einen Bericht ausstrahlte; in der Sendung trat ein Sprecher mit einer Kalaschnikow AK-47 über der Schulter auf, der an die jemenitischen Anti-Terror-Truppen appellierte: “Soldaten, ihr solltet wissen, dass wir nicht gegen euch kämpfen,” erklärte der AL-Qaida Vertreter inmitten wütender Jemeniten. “Zwischen euch und uns gibt es keine Probleme. Unser Problem sind die Amerikaner und ihre Agenten. Schlagt euch nicht auf die Seite Amerikas!” Der Angriff war von einem vor der jemenitischen Küste liegenden Schiff der US-Navy aus erfolgt. Es feuerte eine Cruise Missile ab, die nach einem Bericht von Amnesty International einen Sprengkopf mit Streumunition trug. Anders als herkömmliche Sprengköpfe zerteilen sich Streubomben nach dem Abwurf in viele kleine Sprengkörper, die nicht alle gleich explodieren und deshalb auch später noch viele, meist zivile Opfer fordern. Der Einsatz von Streubomben, den Amnesty dokumentiert hat, wurde von Menschenrechtsgruppen verurteilt. Eine Untersuchung des jemenitischen Parlaments ergab, dass bei dem Angriff mindestens 41 Mitglieder zweier Familien getötet wurden, die in der Nähe des provisorischen Al-Qaida-Camps lebten. Es wurde auch festgestellt, dass vier Tage danach drei weitere Zivilisten getötet und neun verwundet wurden, weil sie auf nicht explodierte Sprengmunition traten. US-Offizielle berichteten auch über Probleme, die bei der Entscheidung über Angriffe im Jemen aufgetreten sind. Weil die bewaffneten Drohnen der CIA alle bei der Bombardierungs-Kampagne in Pakistan eingesetzt waren, hätten nur Marschflugkörper zur Verfügung gestanden. Für geheime Luftschläge bevorzugt das Weiße Haus ansonsten Drohnen, weil sie Stunden oder sogar Tage über dem Zielgebiet kreisen können, bevor ihre Hellfire-Raketen abgefeuert werden; da durch lässt sich das Risiko verringern, dass einem Angriff auch Frauen, Kinder und andere Unbeteiligte zum Opfer fallen. Die Operation im Jemen hat auch die grundsätzliche Frage aufgeworfen, wer den Schattenkrieg eigentlich führen soll. Im Weißen Haus wird darüber diskutiert, ob die CIA die Kampagne im Jemen als “verdeckte Operation” übernehmen soll, weil die USA die Angriffe dann sogar ohne Billigung der jemenitischen Regierung durchführen könnten. Nach den gesetzlichen Vorschriften müssen verdeckte Operationen (der CIA) aber vom US-Präsidenten genehmigt und vom Geheimdienstausschuss des Kongresses bestätigt werden. Diese Voraussetzungen gelten nicht für die so genannten “Special Access Programs” (die speziellen Zugriffsprogramme) des US Militärs, zu denen die US-Luftschläge im Jemen bisher gehört haben. Offizielle der Obama-Administration verteidigen die Einsätze im Jemen. Die Luftschläge seien “sehr methodisch geführt worden”, und die Angaben über die Anzahl der getöteten unbeteiligten Zivilisten seien “stark übertrieben”, äußerte ein führender Anti-Terror-Experte. Er fügte hinzu, der Vergleich der erst am Anfang stehenden Kampagne im Jemen mit den US-Drohnenangriffen in Pakistan sei unfair, weil die USA ein Jahrzehnt gebraucht hätten, um ihr Informantennetz in Pakistan aufzubauen, das die Zieldaten für die Drohnen liefere. Nach jemenitischen Angaben mangelt es an verlässlichen Geheimdiensterkenntnissen über die Al-Qaida-Aktivitäten (im Jemen). “Es wird noch einige Zeit dauern, bis wir die notwendigen Kapazitäten entwickelt haben,” erklärte ein führender Offizieller. Am 24. Dezember (2009) schlug ein weiterer Marschflugkörper in dem abgelegenen Rafadh-Tal ein, das etwa 400 Meilen (ca. 650 km) südöstlich der jemenitischen Hauptstadt (Sanaa) liegt und zwei Stunden von der nächsten befestigten Straße entfernt ist. Nach Angaben der jemenitischen Behörden wurden dabei Dutzende Al-Qaida-Kämpfer getötet; unter den Toten seien auch Nasser al-Wuhayshi, der Chef des Al-Qaida-Ablegers im Jemen, und sein aus Saudi-Arabien stammender Stellvertreter Ali al-Shihri gewesen. Offizielle mussten später aber einräumen, dass keiner der beiden Männer getötet wurde; Augenzeugen vor Ort sagten aus, der Raketenangriff habe nur fünf niederrangige Al-Qaida-Mitglieder das Leben gekostet. Der nächste bekannt gewordene US-Luftschlag am 14. März (2010) war erfolgreicher; dabei wurden der Al-Qaida-Funktionär Jamil al-Anbari und vermutlich ein weiterer Kämpfer getötet. Der Al-Qaida-Ableger im Jemen bestätigte den Tod Anbaris. Am 19. Juni rächte sich die Gruppe mit einem tödlichen Anschlag der “Brigade des Märtyrers Jamil al-Anbari” auf eine Sicherheitseinrichtung der Regierung in Aden, bei dem 11 Menschen getötet wurden. Das fragwürdige Ergebnis der US-Angriffe im Jemen kann auch auf ein anderes unvermeidliches Risiko des neuen Schattenkrieges zurückzuführen sein: auf die Notwendigkeit, sich auf Angaben lokaler Informanten verlassen zu müssen, die unzuverlässig oder korrupt sein können und deren Absichten sich nicht mit denen der USA decken müssen. Amerikanische Offizielle haben in der Vergangenheit auch schon schlechte Erfahrungen mit (dem jemenitischen Präsidenten) Salih gemacht, einem gerissenen politischen Überlebenskünstler, der vor Wahlen mit radikalen Geistlichen paktiert und auch schon Geschäfte mit Dschihadisten (Gotteskriegern) gemacht hat. Bis vor Kurzem hatte der Kampf gegen Al-Qaida keinen Vorrang für seine Regierung, die sich seit 2004 mit einem periodisch aufflammenden bewaffneten Aufstand auseinandersetzen muss. Außerdem sind Salih – dessen Bild überall in der Hauptstadt zu sehen ist – und seine Regierung in den abgelegenen Provinzen, in denen die Militanten Zuflucht gefunden haben, sehr unbeliebt. Die dortigen Stämme neigen dazu, regelmäßig die Seite zu wechseln; das macht es schwierig, sich auf Informationen über Al-Qaida zu verlassen, die von ihnen kommen. “Ich halte zu jedem, der meine Tasche mit Geld füllt,” lautet eine alte Stammesregel. Auch die jemenitischen Sicherheitsdienste sind ähnlich unzuverlässig und haben zuweilen schon mit Dschihadisten zusammengearbeitet. In den letzten Jahren haben die USA auch jemenitische Anti-Terror-Teams ausgebildet, aber das Militär leidet ebenfalls unter Korruption und mangelhafter Disziplin. Es ist noch immer nicht klar, warum Shabwani, der Vizegouverneur der Provinz Marib, getötet wurde. An dem Tag, an dem er starb, wollte er im Wadi Abeeda, einer abgelegenen menschenleeren Ebene mit vereinzelten Orangenhainen östlich der jemenitischen Hauptstadt, mit Mitgliedern des Al-Qaida-Ablegers im Jemen zusammentreffen. Die wahrscheinlichste Erklärung für seinen Tod dürfte die mangelhafte Kommunikation zwischen jemenitischen und US-Offiziellen vor dem Angriff gewesen sein. Abdul Ghani al-Eryani, ein politischer Analyst aus dem Jemen, sagte, die vielen bei dem ersten Angriff getöteten Zivilisten und der Tod des Vizegouverneurs im Mai hätten “eine verheerende Auswirkung” gehabt. Diese Missgeschicke hätten “die Regierung in Verlegenheit gebracht und Al-Qaida und den Salafisten Munition geliefert”, erklärte er in Anspielung auf die religiöse Ausrichtung der Militanten. US-Beamte teilten mit, Präsident Salih sei über den Angriff im Mai sehr wütend gewesen, aber nicht so wütend, dass er eine Einstellung der geheimen US-Operationen verlangt habe. “Schließlich hat er nicht ‘Niemals wieder!’ gesagt,” äußerte ein Offizieller der Obama-Regierung. “Er hat uns auch nicht aus seinem Land geworfen.”

Das Abwägen des Erfolgs

Trotz der Luftschläge (im Jemen) hat die Führung des Al-Qaida-Ablegers auf der arabischen Halbinsel überlebt, und es gibt kaum Anzeichen dafür, dass die Gruppe viel schwächer geworden ist. Die Al-Qaida-Kämpfer sind in den letzten Wochen mit mehreren Anschlägen auf Konvois der jemenitischen Armee wieder aktiv geworden. Al-Qaida hat es sogar geschafft, im Jemen ihre erste englischsprachige Online-Zeitung mit dem Titel “Inspire” (Inspirieren) herauszubringen – mit Instruktionen zur Herstellung von Bomben. Geheimdienstleute glauben, dass Samir Khan, ein 24-jähriger US-Amerikaner, der im letzten Jahr aus North Carolina kam, bei der Veröffentlichung dieses Machwerks eine wichtige Rolle gespielt hat. Der Testfall Jemen zwingt erneut zu der grundsätzlichen Abwägung, die auch nach den Anschlägen am 11. 9. (2001) getroffen werden musste: Machen die selektiven Schläge zur Ausschaltung von Terroristen die USA sicherer? Oder ermöglichen sie es dem Terrornetzwerk, seine Gewalttaten als Akte heroischen Widerstands gegen den Aggressor USA darzustellen und neue Rekruten zu Bekämpfung dieses Aggressors zu gewinnen? Al-Qaida versucht unermüdlich, die US-Angriffe für ihre Zwecke auszunutzen, und mit An war al-Awlaki, dem in den USA geborenen muslimischen Geistlichen, der sich jetzt im Jemen verbirgt, verfügt die Gruppe vielleicht über den ideologisch fähigsten Kopf, mit dem sich die USA seit 2001 konfrontiert sehen. “Wenn man sich an George W. Bush erinnert, wird man immer daran denken, dass er die USA in Kriege in Afghanistan und im Irak verwickelt hat; jetzt sieht es so aus, als wolle Obama als der Präsident in Erinnerung bleiben, der die Amerikaner in den Konflikt im Jemen hineingezogen hat,” äußerte der Geistliche in einer im März verbreiteten Internetbotschaft, in der er sich fast schadenfroh über die US-Kampagne (im Jemen) äußerte. Die meisten Jemeniten brächten wenig Sympathie für Al-Qaida auf und hätten auf die US-Luftschläge mit “passiver Empörung” reagiert, sagte der Analyst Eryani, fügte aber hinzu: “Ich denke, die Angriffe waren eher kontraproduktiv.” Edmund J. Hull, der von 2001 bis 2004 US-Botschafter im Jemen war, wies darauf hin, dass sich die Politik der USA nicht auf die Gewalt gegen Al-Qaida beschränken sollte. “Ich denke, es ist sowohl verständlich als auch zu rechtfertigen, dass die Obama-Regierung aggressive Operationen zur Terrorbekämpfung durchführen lässt,” meinte Hull, fuhr allerdings fort: “Ich mache mir aber Sorgen darüber, dass Terrorbekämpfung nur als Angelegenheit der Geheimdienste und des Militärs betrachtet wird. Um langfristig erfolgreich zu sein, müssen wir das Problem viel breiter angehen und auch politische, soziale und wirtschaftliche Hebel ansetzen.” Offizielle der Obama-Regierung behaupten, dass sie genau das täten – durch eine starke Erhöhung des Auslandshilfe für den Jemen und durch das Angebot, sowohl mit Geld als auch mit Ratschlägen bei der Bewältigung der schwierigen Probleme des Landes zu helfen. Sie betonten, im Mittelpunkt der Bemühungen der USA stünden nicht die Luftschläge, sondern die Ausbildung und Ausrüstung jemenitischer Elite-Einheiten und die Weitergabe von Geheimdienstinformationen, damit die Jemeniten selbst Al-Qaida besser bekämpfen könnten. Die bisherigen Ergebnisse begrenzter militärischer Eingriffe – auch der Luftschläge im Jemen – sind wenig ermutigend. Micha Zenko, ein Mitarbeiter des Center for Preventive Action beim Council on Foreign Relations hat sich in einem demnächst erscheinenden Buch mit solchen Aktionen beschäftigt; er hat die von ihm als “diskrete Militäroperationen” bezeichneten Aktionen untersucht, die seit Ende des Kalten Krieges im Jahr 1991 vom Balkan bis nach Pakistan durchgeführt wurden, und herausgefunden, dass sie selten ihren militärischen oder politischen Zweck erfüllt haben. Im Laufe der Jahre seien militärische Eingriffe zu einem beliebten Werkzeug geworden, das alle Diskussionen und Planungen beherrsche und dazu verführe, subtilere Lösungen zu verwerfen. “Wenn Terroristen Amerikaner bedrohen,” sagte Zenko, “fordern der Nationale Sicherheitsrat und einzelne Ausschüsse des Kongresses vehement, dass etwas getan werden muss.” Das fällt auch Besuchern der US-Botschaft in Sanaa auf, die feststellen, dass es dort von Militärs und Geheimagenten nur so wimmelt. Im Jemen haben jetzt erst ein mal die Schattenkrieger die Führung übernommen.

Muhammad al-Ahmadi aus dem Jemen hat zu dem Bericht beigetragen.”

 

Originalquelle: The New York Times, 14.08.10

Übersetzung: Jung, Wolfgang; erschienen in “Luftpost, Nr. LP 171/10 – 20.08.10

Irak: USA erhöhen die Zahl paramilitärischer Truppen

Freitag, Juli 23rd, 2010

“Iraq Withdrawal? Obama and Clinton Expanding US Paramilitary Force in Iraq

By Jeremy Scahill

UPDATE: In Iraq today, three private security contractors were killed in a rocket attack on Baghdad’s Green Zone. All of them were employees of Triple Canopy, the security company hired by the Obama administration to take over much of Blackwater’s work in Iraq. Another fifteen people were wounded in the attack. The dead included two Ugandans and a Peruvian. The attack highlights the inevitable consequences of an emerging Obama administration policy wherein more contractors are going to be deployed to Iraq and many of them will be so-called third country nationals like those killed in today’s attack. The coming surge in contractors in Iraq is being done under the auspices of the State Department’s diplomatic security division, which was massively expanded under the Bush administration paving the way for the Department’s almost total reliance on private contractors for security in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

As a candidate for president, Senator Hillary Clinton vowed to ban the use of private security contractors, which she referred to as mercenaries. ‘These private security contractors have been reckless and have compromised our mission in Iraq,’ Clinton said in February 2008. ‘The time to show these contractors the door is long past due.’ Clinton was one of only two senators to sponsor legislation to ban these companies. Fast forward to the present and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is presiding over what is shaping up to be a radical expansion of a private, US-funded paramilitary force that will operate in Iraq for the foreseeable future–the very type of force Clinton once claimed she opposed.

The State Department is asking Congress to approve funds to more than double the number of private security contractors in Iraq with a State Department official testifying in June at a hearing of the Wartime Contracting Commission that the Department wants ‘between 6,000 and 7,000 security contractors.’ The Department also has asked the Pentagon for twenty-four Blackhawk helicopters, fifty Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles and other military equipment. ‘After the departure of U.S. Forces [from Iraq], we will continue to have a critical need for logistical and life support of a magnitude and scale of complexity that is unprecedented in the history of the Department of State,’ wrote Patrick Kennedy, under secretary of state for management, in an April letter to the Pentagon. ‘And to keep our people secure, Diplomatic Security requires certain items of equipment that are only available from the military.’

What is unfolding is the face of President Obama’s scaled-down, rebranded mini-occupation of Iraq. Under the terms of the Status of Forces agreement, all US forces are supposed to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Using private forces is a backdoor way of continuing a substantial US presence under the cover of ‘diplomatic security.’ The kind of paramilitary force that Obama and Clinton are trying to build in Iraq is, in large part, a byproduct of the monstrous colonial fortress the United States calls its embassy in Baghdad and other facilities the US will maintain throughout Iraq after the ‘withdrawal.’ The State Department plans to operate five ‘Enduring Presence Posts’ at current US military bases in Basrah, Diyala, Erbil, Kirkuk and Ninewa. The State Department has indicated that more sites may be created in the future, which would increase the demand for private forces. The US embassy in Baghdad is the size of Vatican City, comprised of twenty-one buildings on a 104-acres of land on the Tigris River.

In making their case to Congress and the Defense Department for the expansion of a private paramilitary force in Iraq, State Department officials have developed what they call a ‘lost functionality’ list of fourteen security-related tasks that the military currently perform in Iraq that would become the responsibility of the State Department as US forces draw down. Among these are: recovering killed and wounded personnel, downed aircraft or damaged vehicles, convoy security and threat intelligence. The department also foresees a need to run a tactical operations center that would dispatch of armed response teams. Ambassador Kennedy said that without military equipment and an expansion of personnel, ‘the security of [State] personnel in Iraq will be degraded significantly and we can expect increased casualties.’

For years, companies operating in the private security/defense logistics industry have predicted an increased reliance on contractors in Iraq that would accompany a draw-down of official US forces. What is clear from the current State Department plan for Iraq is that the United States is going to have armed forces in the country for the foreseeable future. The only question is, How many will be there as uniformed soldiers and how many will be private paramilitaries?”

 

(Quelle: The Nation.)

USA: Der militärisch-industrielle Komplex im Zenith?

Freitag, Juli 23rd, 2010

“The secret private-sector government

BY GLENN GREENWALD

Former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey, The Washington Post, today, arguing against civilian trials for Guantanamo detainees:

The civilized world has tried over several hundred years to establish rules of warfare so that those who wear uniforms, follow a recognized chain of command, carry their arms openly and do not target civilians are treated as prisoners of war when captured. Those who follow none of these rules are treated as war criminals, not as ordinary defendants accused of ordinary crimes and entitled to far more robust protection than war criminals.

Dana Priest and William Arkin, The Washington Post, today, on the sprawling network of private corporations performing core U.S. military and intelligence functions:

Private contractors working for the CIA have recruited spies in Iraq, paid bribes for information in Afghanistan and protected CIA directors visiting world capitals. Contractors have helped snatch a suspected extremist off the streets of Italy, interrogated detainees once held at secret prisons abroad and watched over defectors holed up in the Washington suburbs. . . . Contractors kill enemy fighters.  They spy on foreign governments and eavesdrop on terrorist networks. They help craft war plans. They gather information on local factions in war zones. . . .

Most of these contractors do work that is fundamental to an agency’s core mission. As a result, the government has become dependent on them in a way few could have foreseen: wartime temps who have become a permanent cadre. . . .

Since 9/11, contractors have made extraordinary contributions – and extraordinary blunders – that have changed history and clouded the public’s view of the distinction between the actions of officers sworn on behalf of the United States and corporate employees with little more than a security badge and a gun.

Contractor misdeeds in Iraq and Afghanistan have hurt U.S. credibility in those countries as well as in the Middle East. Abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, some of it done by contractors, helped ignite a call for vengeance against the United States that continues today. Security guards working for Blackwater added fuel to the five-year violent chaos in Iraq and became the symbol of an America run amok. . . .

Contractors in war zones, especially those who can fire weapons, blur ‘the line between the legitimate and illegitimate use of force, which is just what our enemies want,’ Allison Stanger, a professor of international politics and economics at Middlebury College and the author of ‘One Nation Under Contract,’ told the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting at a hearing in June.

The irony here is that the decision to declare enemy fighters in Afghanistan as ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ — which is what, in turn, ‘justified’ denial of Geneva Conventions protections for them (at least until the Supreme Court ruled otherwise) — was grounded in the fact that they do not, as Mukasey put it, ‘wear uniforms, follow a recognized chain of command, carry their arms openly.’  That’s what made them, in the U.S. lexicon, not only ‘unlawful combatants’ but even Terrorists.  But, of course, exactly the same is true for our countless private contractors who are acting as combatants for the U.S. in multiple parts of the world; as Priest and Arkin document, they are so numerous and unaccountably embedded in secret government functions that they are literally ‘countless':

Making it more difficult to replace contractors with federal employees: The government doesn’t know how many are on the federal payroll. Gates said he wants to reduce the number of defense contractors by about 13 percent, to pre-9/11 levels, but he’s having a hard time even getting a basic head count.

‘This is a terrible confession,’ he said. ‘I can’t get a number on how many contractors work for the Office of the Secretary of Defense,’ referring to the department’s civilian leadership.

In sum, if you combine this second Post installment with the first one from yesterday, the picture that emerges is that we have a Secret Government of 854,000 people so vast and secret that nobody knows what it does or what it is.  Roughly 30% of that Secret Government — engaged in the whole litany of functions from spying to killing — is composed of private corporations:  ‘The Post estimates that out of 854,000 people with top-secret clearances, 265,000 are contractors.’  That there is a virtually complete government/corporate merger when it comes to the National Security and Surveillance State is indisputable:  ‘Private firms have become so thoroughly entwined with the government’s most sensitive activities that without them important military and intelligence missions would have to cease or would be jeopardized.’

As little oversight as National Security State officials have, corporate officials engaged in these activities have even less.  Relying upon profit-driven industry for the defense and intelligence community’s ‘core mission’ is to ensure that we have Endless War and an always-expanding Surveillance State.  After all, the very people providing us with the ‘intelligence’ that we use to make decisions are the ones who are duty-bound to keep this War Machine alive and expanding because, as the Post put it, they are ‘obligated to shareholders rather than the public interest.’  Our military, our CIA, our spying agencies (such as NSA) are every bit corporate as they are governmental:   in some cases more so.  So complete is the merger that it’s the same people who switch seamlessly back and forth between governmental agencies and their private ‘partners,’ which means we have not only a vast Secret Government, but one that operates with virtually no democratic accountability and is driven not by National Security concerns but by its own always-expanding private profits.   Just read the years of work from Tim Shorrock — which disgracefully was not even cited by the Post — documenting how dangerous all of this.

Priest and Arkin wrote yesterday that what they were describing wasn’t quite the same as Dwight Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell warning about the ‘military industrial complex’ and the threats it poses to democracy (largely because, as they put it, the mission of this entity is more ‘amorphous’ than it was in Eisenhower’s time).  Please read the relevant portions of Eisenhower’s warning and decide for yourself if this isn’t exactly what he was talking about:

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.  The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.  We recognize the imperative need for this development.  Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

That sounds quite on-point to me.  Everyone should decide for themselves if we have the ‘alert and knowledgeable citizenry’ which Eisenhower said was necessary to ‘compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.’  If we empower a massive private industry this way — with core governmental authorities — to gorge on unchecked power and huge private profits at the public expense, all derived from Endless War and civil liberties abridgments, why would one expect anything other than Endless War and civil liberties abridgments to be the inevitable outcome?”

 

(Quelle: Salon.com.)