Friday, December 11, 2009
Blackwater "never under contract to participate"
Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Xe Services, said Blackwater was never under contract to participate in covert raids with CIA or Special Forces troops "in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else." Corallo added: "Any allegation to the contrary by any news organization would be false."
Some requests from the field for lethal raids were rejected at CIA headquarters because they posed excessive risks to the U.S. teams or to civilians, or because intelligence experts merely wanted to keep watching the prospective targets.
But when the time came to carry out those raids -- often against figures who were thought to be al-Qaeda leaders -- some CIA field officers assigned responsibilities among the available personnel without regard to which ones were contractors or federal employees, according to the source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss classified operations.
That meant Blackwater personnel helped to kill some of the targets and did not merely defend the CIA officers taking part in the raids, the source said.
Review of all Blackwater contracts with C.I.A.
On an almost nightly basis during the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006, Blackwater personnel played central roles in “snatch and grab” operations, clandestine raids with C.I.A. officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees. Separately, former Blackwater employees said they helped provide security on some C.I.A. flights transporting detainees in the years after the 2001 terror attacks in the United States. George Little, a C.I.A. spokesman, would not comment on Blackwater’s ties to the agency. But he said the C.I.A. employs contractors to “enhance the skills of our own work force, just as American law permits.”
“Contractors give you flexibility in shaping and managing your talent mix — especially in the short term — but the accountability’s still yours,” he said. The C.I.A. director, recently initiated an internal review examining all Blackwater contracts with the agency to ensure that the company was performing no missions that were “operational in nature,”
Monday, December 07, 2009
Picked up by the SAS, then handed over
According to the lunar Muslim calendar, 2004's new year - the beginning of the month of Muharram - fell on February 22. Amanatullah Ali, a rice merchant from the village of Ghabyanwal in Pakistan's Punjab, was coming to the end of a business trip to Iran. He crossed the border in Iraq - a pilgrimage considered especially auspicious during Muharram. While he was on his way there, in or around Baghdad, he was picked up by the SAS, then handed over to the Americans and flown to Bagram which has 650 detainees. On three occasions since he was detained, the Red Cross has helped Amanatullah to speak to his family by telephone,
'He wasn't captured by Americans,' Abdul Razzaq says, 'but by British. It was the British who took him.'
Friday, December 04, 2009
Secretly extradited to the United States
Federal agents arrested Hossein Ardebili an Iranian attempting to purchase phased array radar in Georgia, Eastern Europe in '07 and secretly extradited him to the United States. Although Ardebili wanted to meet the salesmen in Dubai, the undercover Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent lured him to Georgia. Phased array antennae date from WWII and are used in FM radio broadcasting as well as in radar, where the radar beam is electronically steered through phased array systems to direct radar beams fast enough to maintain a fire control quality track on many targets simultaneously while also controlling several in-flight missiles.
The Iranian, who has been quietly jailed in a Philadelphia-area prison for nearly two years, pleaded guilty to charges in 2008 and faces up to 140 years in prison.
The case had been sealed from public view while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents scoured the dealer's laptop to pursue hundreds of leads about Iran's covert effort to acquire American military gear. Ardebili, whose nickname online was Alex Dave, negotiated the purchases of 1,000 state-of-the-art radar shifters, 10 gyro chip sensors used in advanced aircraft applications, and a digital air computer for an F-4 aircraft, prosecutors said.Ardebili, a former Iranian government procurement official, pleaded guilty May 19, 2008, to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which essentially prohibits arms and other sales to Iran. He was also charged with money-laundering and conspiracy.
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