German Arms Firm Ends Blackwater Deal After TV Report

Weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch said it would end its relationship with Blackwater after German media reported that the controversial US-run military firm was using its guns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Blackwater, a private security company which has been contracted to protect high-profile US officials and foreign dignitaries in Iraq, had been using Heckler & Koch machine guns in both Iraq and Afghanistan, German broadcaster ARD’s “Report Mainz” program reported Monday, Feb. 19.

The German arms manufacturer contacted the program shortly before the report was aired on Monday night and said it would cut all its ties to the US firm, according to “Report Mainz.”

The German company on its Web site described its work with Blackwater as a “unique and strategic partnership” in which the two firms were cooperating to develop “special edition” firearms and offer training courses in the United States to use Heckler & Koch weapons.

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Hayden Admits: Contractors Lead ‘Enhanced Interrogations’ at CIA Black Sites

Ciaprison In testimony before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, Director of Central Intelligence Mike Hayden admitted to using contractors for “enhanced interrogation” at the CIA’s secret prisons, the so-called black sites.  It was an issue first raised last summer on The Spy Who Billed Me.  From Tuesday’s exchange:

FEINSTEIN:  I’d like to ask this question: Who carries out these [enhanced interrogation] techniques? Are they government employees or contractors?

HAYDEN: At our facilities during this, we have a mix of both government employees and contractors. Everything is done under, as we’ve talked before, ma’am, under my authority and the authority of the agency. But the people at the locations are frequently a mix of both — we call them blue badgers and green badgers.

FEINSTEIN: And where do you use only contractors?

HAYDEN: I’m not aware of any facility in which there were only contractors. And this came up…

FEINSTEIN: Any facility anywhere in the world?

HAYDEN: Oh, I mean, I’m talking about our detention facilities. I want to make something very clear, because I don’t think it was quite crystal clear in the discussion you had with Attorney General Mukasey.

Earlier, Senator Feinstein has asked Attorney General Mukasey whether the use of contractors in coercive interrogation techniques (i.e. enhanced interrogation techniques) is legal.  Specifically, Senator Feinstein asked:

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FBI program alleged to prepare businesses for martial law

A public-private partnership program on infrastructure preparedness and protection run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation allegedly has briefed its corporate members on the possibility of martial law and the use of lethal force, according to an exclusive report in the magazine The Progressive.”One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation—and what their role might be,” writes Matthew Rothschild in the Feb. 7 report, quoting an anonymous whistleblower on the program. “‘Then they said when—not if—martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,’ he says.”

Rothschild’s report details InfraGard, a program set up between the FBI and a number of businesses engaged in maintaining elements of “critical national infrastructure,” such as agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation. The program’s 23,000-plus members provide information to the FBI and in turn receive privileged information from the FBI on threats to infrastructure.

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Connecting The Many Undersea Cut Cable Dots

by Richard Sauder

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

4 February 2008

The last week has seen a spate of unexplained, cut,  undersea communications cables that has severely disrupted communications in many countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. As I shall show, the total numbers of cut cables remain in question, but likely number as many as eight, and maybe nine or more.

The trouble began on 30 January 2008 with CNN reports that two cables were  cut off the Egyptian Mediterranean coast, initially severely disrupting Internet and telephone traffic from Egypt to India and many points in between. According to CNN the two cut cables “account for as much as three-quarters of the international communications between Europe and the Middle East.“ CNN reported that the two cut cables off the Egyptian coast were “FLAG Telecom’s FLAG Europe-Asia cable and SeaMeWe-4, a cable owned by a consortium of more than a dozen telecommunications companies”.(10) Other reports placed one of the cut cables, SeaMeWe-4, off the coast of France, near Marseille.(9)(12) However, many news organizations reported two cables cut off the Egyptian coast, including the SeaMeWe-4 cable connecting Europe with the Middle East.  The possibilities are thus three, based on the reporting in the news media: 1) the SeaMeWe-4 cable was cut off the coast of France, and mistakenly reported as being cut off the coast of Egypt, because it runs from France to Egypt; 2) the SeaMeWe-4 cable was cut off the Egyptian coast and mistakenly reported as being cut off the coast of France, because it runs from France to Egypt; or  3) the SeaMeWe-4 cable was cut both off the Egyptian and the French coasts, nearly simultaneously, leading to confusion in the reporting. I am not sure what to think, because most reports, such as this one from the International Herald Tribune, refer to two cut cables off the Egyptian coast, one of the two being the SeaMeWe4 cable,(11) while other reports also refer to a cut cable off the coast of France.(9)(12)  It thus appears that the same cable may have suffered two cuts, both off the French and the Egyptian coasts. So there were likely actually three undersea cables cut in the Mediterranean on 30 January 2008.

In the case of the cables cut off the Egyptian coast, the news media initially advanced the explanation that the cables had been cut by ships’ anchors.(10)(13) But on 3 February the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said that a review of video footage of the coastal waters where the two cables passed revealed that the area had been devoid of ship traffic for the 12 hours preceding and the 12 hours following the time of the cable cuts.(5)(11) So the cable cuts cannot have been caused by ship anchors, in view of the fact that there were no ships there.

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Secret CIA flights to Greenland reported

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Denmark will investigate claims that the CIA secretly used an airport on the Nordic country’s remote Arctic territory of Greenland to transport prisoners in the U.S. war on terror, the prime minister said Thursday.

Denmark, like many other European countries, began investigating reports in 2005 that the U.S. intelligence agency quietly touched down on their territory as part of the CIA’s so-called “extraordinary rendition” program.Human rights groups have criticized the practice, in which suspects are transported for interrogation to countries outside the U.S. for interrogation.

A Danish TV documentary broadcast Wednesday by the DR1 TV network claimed that prisoner flights not only used mainland Denmark’s airports and airspace but also touched down on Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory between Europe and North America.

“In the light of the new information, we will be looking into what happened and if need be, we will ask the Americans for explanations,” Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. He said Denmark has previously informed the United States that any unauthorized use of its airspace was “unacceptable.”

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Showdown in Blackwater’s Backyard

Marshall Adame is a Democrat running for Congress in North Carolina’s 3rd District, a jurisdiction along the Tar Heel state’s low-lying eastern coast that is home to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, Air Station Cherry Point, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, as well as Blackwater Worldwide’s 7,000-acre corporate headquarters and training facility. Adame is an underdog in the congressional race, where he will likely face seven-term Republican incumbent Walter B. Jones—who brought the term “freedom fries” to Congress—in the general election. Jones has since become an opponent of the Iraq war, atoning for his vote to authorize the war by writing letters of condolence to the families of dead soldiers—a “mea culpa to my Lord,” he says. But the incumbent and his Republican party are not the only obstacles Adame will have to overcome if he hopes to take over the 3rd District’s congressional seat. He also faces tough opposition from Blackwater.

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Pioneering Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction

The message to you the American citizen: Do not attack Blackwater Worldwide peacefully or otherwise.
The first secret courtcases against political activists in America have been and gone. The end game has begun.
 
Meet Blackwater; Cheneys Gestapo. The army of the New World Order.(travellerev)

By Jeremy Scahill.

Last week in Currituck County, N.C., Superior Court Judge Russell Duke presided over the final step in securing the first criminal conviction stemming from the deadly actions of Blackwater Worldwide, the Bush administration’s favorite mercenary company. Lest you think you missed some earth-shifting, breaking news, hold on a moment. The “criminals” in question were not the armed thugs who gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than 20 others in Baghdad’s Nisour Square last September. They were seven nonviolent activists who had the audacity to stage a demonstration at the gates of Blackwater’s 7,000-acre private military base in North Carolina to protest the actions of mercenaries acting with impunity — and apparent immunity — in their names and those of every American.

The arrest of the activists and the subsequent five days they spent locked up in jail is more punishment than any Blackwater mercenaries have received for their deadly actions against Iraqi civilians. “The courts pretend that adherence to the law is what makes for an orderly and peaceable world,” said Steve Baggarly, one of the protest organizers. “In fact, U.S. law and courts stand idly by while the U.S. military and private armies like Blackwater have killed, maimed, brutalized and destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.”

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