News you may have missed #0222

  • UN investigates claims Iran using Taiwan as nuclear conduit. United Nations officials are investigating intelligence claims that Iran has established a smuggling network using front companies in Taiwan to acquire equipment that it could use to make nuclear weapons.
  • Blackwater tied to secret CIA raids, say employees. “There was a feeling that Blackwater eventually became an extension of the agency”, said one former top CIA officer. IntelNews regulars will remember that we described last summer’s revelations of Blackwater’s participation in US special operations as “just the tip of the iceberg”.

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Blackwater CEO admits he was CIA agent

Erik Prince

Erik Prince

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The founder and CEO of private security company Blackwater has revealed he worked as a CIA spy and carried out a number of secret missions before being fired by the Obama administration. Erik Prince, who heads Blackwater Worldwide, recently renamed Xe, gave a rare interview to Vanity Fair magazine, in which he revealed that his relationship with the CIA was not only that of an operations contractor, but also that of an asset, that is, a spy. Prince’s revelation will not surprise seasoned intelligence observers; as I commented last August, it had become increasingly difficult to distinguish any operational demarcations between the CIA and the company formerly known as Blackwater. However, the mercenary company’s leading role in controversial CIA plans to assassinate high-level foreign officials was seen as a step too far by the new CIA leadership of Leon Panetta. Read more of this post

Blackwater aids US covert assassination, kidnapping ops

Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy Scahill

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Private mercenary firm Blackwater (recently renamed Xe) is part of a covert US program in Pakistan that includes planned assassinations and kidnappings of Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects. Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill published earlier this week in The Nation magazine an in-depth study of the controversial firm’s role in the outsourced operation, which was first revealed by The New York Times and The Washington Post last August (see previous intelNews commentary). The close operational association between US Special Forces, the CIA, and the private mercenary firm is well known, largely thanks to Scahill’s prior work. Read more of this post

US Looks Away from Worsening Philippines Rights Record

Lumbera

Lumbera

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS and IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Just days after Filipino prizewinning poet and dramatist Bienvenido Lumbera caught a Naval Intelligence Security Force agent spying on him outside his home, another Filipino intellectual has come forward with allegations of government spying. Pedro “Jun” Cruz Reyes, professor of creative writing at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, said he has been the subject of surveillance investigations by government agents since 2006. Such incidents are not a new phenomenon in the Philippines. In 2005, the US State Department noted in its annual human rights report that the Philippines National Police was the country’s “worst abuser of human rights” and that government security elements often “sanction extrajudicial killings and vigilantism”. However, the report adds that these practices are utilized “as expedient means of fighting crime and terrorism”, which may explain why no discernable action has been taken by US authorities to prevent them. In an article published today in The Foreign Policy Journal we examine the recent record of US-Philippine relations. Continue reading at The Foreign Policy Journal

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CIA deployed agents disguised as journalists, says ex-NSA analyst

Wayne Madsen

Wayne Madsen

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Former NSA analyst and US Navy intelligence officer Wayne Madsen has said that the CIA deployed at least two operatives posing as journalists in several world hotspots after 9/11. The two operatives, both US Special Forces veterans, were subcontracted to the CIA by private mercenary company Blackwater, and were accredited as journalists by Korean-owned United Press International (UPI). Madsen, who authors the daily Wayne Madsen Report, says the two operatives were active in Uzbekistan shortly after 9/11. One of them secured a travel visa to enter Iran in 2003, where he allegedly “engaged in target analysis and spotting for a planned US attack on Iran” (this was presumably before Washington decided to axe the rumored plan to launch a direct military attack on Iran in favor of an intensive plan of covert sabotage, as detailed by The New York Times last January). Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0088

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Comment: Blackwater’s role in CIA ops runs deep

Blackwater/Xe HQ

Blackwater/Xe

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
North Carolina-based military and intelligence contractor Xe had a major role in the CIA’s rumored post-9/11 assassination program and is active today in the Agency’s Predator drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The New York Times and The Washington Post cited “government officials and current and former [Xe] employees” in revealing that the CIA worked briefly with Xe –formerly known as Blackwater– in the context of a top-secret program to locate and murder senior al-Qaeda leaders. According to The Washington Post, Blackwater’s role in the operation was far from consultative, and included “operational responsibility for targeting terrorist commanders [and awards worth] millions of dollars for training and weaponry”.  The New York Times alleges that Blackwater’s central role in the operation was “a major reason” in CIA director Leon Panetta’s decision last June to inform Congress about the program, which CIA had kept hidden from Congressional oversight for seven years. Read more of this post

Is Blackwater being used in black ops in Iraq?

There is admittedly nothing special about the mercenary military firm, Blackwater, illegally smuggling weapons and related material into Iraq. The company is said to be facing large fines for having been caught around 900 times violating US State Department authorization prohibitions relating to the export of weapons or other technologies. The latest case, however, is a little bit different: Blackwater is being investigated for illegally shipping to Iraq assault weapons and silencers, hidden among sacks of dog food. Former CIA officer John Kiriakou has questioned the need for silencers by Blackwater and is quoted as saying that “the only reason you need a silencer is if you want to assassinate someone”. These latest revelations go some way toward confirming the suspicion of observers that, aside from security missions, the US is using Blackwater for certain black ops in Iraq. [JF]

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