By Wayne Madsen
August 31, 2009 — CIA used Blackwater-linked mercenaries as journalists
The CIA used credentialed journalists to engage in counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism operations from 2003 to 2005. WMR has learned that two individuals working as sub-contractors to the CIA had significant links to Blackwater’s CIA-approved and sanctioned operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran. Both traveled with credentials issued by United Press International (UPI), the wire service owned by News World Communications, owned by South Korean cult leader Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
One of the contractor fake UPI journalists obtained a journalist visa from the Iranian Interests Section, which operates under the Pakistan embassy in Washington, to visit Tehran in 2003 and engaged in “target analysis and spotting” for a planned U.S. attack on Iran. The fake journalist also maintained close liaison with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s office and officers of the Israeli Defense Force. The “reporter” also engaged in counter-intelligence/terrorism operations in the Pakistani northwest tribal border region with Afghanistan, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another journalist covert agent operated in Afghanistan with not only a UPI credential but also a UPI tri-band international cell phone, which the individual used to run up a huge phone bill making phone calls from Afghanistan and other locations to the United States.
One of the CIA journalist agents also swept up intelligence on the knowledge possessed by various overseas officials about what they knew about the 9/11 attacks. These included Taliban, Northern Alliance, and Pashtun officials in Afghanistan, Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) officers and mujaheddin elements once allied to the CIA during the Afghan war with the Soviet Union, Saudi government officials, and members of the neocon-linked Iraqi National Congress, including its leader Ahmad Chalabi.
Both faux journalists were also in Uzbekistan in the months following 9/11, ostensibly to cover the regional news from that country. However, the country was also a focal point for U.S. military activities in the region and in 2005 Uzbek forces launched an attack against protesters in Andijan, killing up to 1500 people. The government claimed the protesters were Islamic radicals but later admitted they were protesting poor economic conditions.
The CIA has long stressed that it does not use journalists as agents. However, the use of UPI-credentialed journalists in private military contractor covert operations puts a rest to that stated policy.
Both journalists in question were veterans of the U.S. Special Forces and had close links to the headquarters of the U.S. Army Special Forces at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Blackwater/Xe maintains a training facility at Moyock, North Carolina.
Over the past few days, the Associated Press has reported that the CIA used Blackwater contract assassins in other countries and there have been other reports that the firm used foreign mercenaries to carry out covert operations. The AP also quoted one former high-level CIA official as stating that the agency used Blackwater for hit teams because “you wouldn’t want to have American fingerprints on it.”
WMR has also learned that a Blackwater security operative infiltrated the presidential campaigns of former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska and Representative Ron Paul (R-TX). The operative, who was permitted to carry loaded weapons at televised presidential debates featuring other candidates, including Secret Service-protected candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as Senators John McCain, Joe Biden, and Chris Dodd, Representative Dennis Kucinich, and former Governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, also served in Iraq and had close ties with the Israeli Defense Force. The Secret Service refused to interfere with the Blackwater employee’s access to the presidential candidates of both parties, claiming that who presidential candidates chose to have as their personal security members was their business. The Blackwater employee also was permitted to fly on regularly-scheduled commercial flights with the loaded weapons.
The employee’s affiliations were not much of a secret as one source reported that he had a “huge Star of David” tattooed on his chest.
September 3, 2009 — Blackwater suspected of being in Pakistan
The mercenary private security contractor once known as Blackwater and now called Xe Services LLC is being reported in the Pakistani press as being seen with “other suspicious foreigners” in Peshawar and other parts of Pakistan. A report today in Pakistan’s “The News,” states that foreigners have been seen in the area around University Town in Peshawar and have been renting residences in the area. One local resident stated; “What we have been hearing about the presence of Blackwater or other suspicious foreigners in Peshawar and Pakistan is alarming.”
The report of Blackwater in Pakistan follows reports by Spiegel and WMR about the firm’s presence in the Philippines at the former U.S. naval base at Subic Bay. A report in today’s Philippines Inquirer states that the issue of Blackwater/Xe has now become a major political headache for the Philippines government. The report states: “Party list lawmakers want an investigation into reports US military contractor Blackwater (now Xe Services LLC) is training mercenaries at the Subic Bay free port in Olongapo City. In filing House Resolution 1380, Bayan Muna party list Representatives Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño and Neri Colmenares asked the committee on national defense and security to lead the inquiry.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has extended Xe’s (Blackwater’s) aviation services contract, through its Presidential Airways subsidiary, in Iraq. After lurid tales of a “man camp” and women and child prostitution in Iraq were revealed by two ex-Blackwater employees in a federal court deposition in the United States, another private security firm, Armor Group North America, owned by Wackenhut, has been tainted by allegations of bizarre sexual practices among its security force assigned to guard the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. The practices, according to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in a story broken by Gawker.com, included U.S. private mercenaries urinating on one another, drinking shots of vodka poured down the ass cheeks of other men, eating potato chips from the ass cracks of other men, and engaging in simulated anal sex. The use of prostitutes was also reported at the Armor Group residential compound in Kabul. WMR previously reported that private security companies in Kabul were regularly using prostitutes from China.
On June 12, 2009, WMR reported that one security firm was involved in hiring Chinese prostitutes who doubled as unwilling Chinese intelligence agents: “The Chinese prostitute agents are only given food, a small room, clothes, and cosmetics. Women who decide to leave the employment of the restaurants often simply “disappear” with a cover story in Kabul that they returned to China. There are suspicions among those who have tried to help the women that they are killed by the local Kabul mafia, which is made up of Afghan police and foreign civilian contractors. One young Chinese woman who worked at the Shanghai restaurant in Kabul turned up missing after she took a job at the British army base at Camp Sutra on Jalalabad Road in Kabul. The British embassy refused to get involved in tracking down the woman on behalf of her distraught family in Shanghai.”
One of the attractions that has possibly lured Blackwater/Xe into the Philippines and, particularly Olongapo City, the site of the old Subic Bay naval base, is the long history that the town has in “servicing” American military personnel with prostitutes. Previous attempts to lure Taiwanese, Russians, South Koreans, and others to the port complex were met with disdain by the local population, because they were considered “too cheap” when compared to the heyday of the American military presence.