Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan

At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.

The source, who has worked on covert US military programs for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has direct knowledge of Blackwater’s involvement. He spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity because the program is classified. The source said that the program is so “compartmentalized” that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence.

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  • Five Rupees Blog – Pakistan

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Things You Will Never Read On This Blog: Shireen Mazari May Have Been Right About Blackwater In Pakistan

    Bloody hell. The interwebs have erupted with this story from The Nation (the American one) on the alleged activities of Blackwater in Pakistan. I’m too tired to read it closely right now and wade through the qualifications and sourcing issues, but suffice it to say that (a) Rehman Malik, I predict, will be out of a job in less than four weeks and (b) that there will be some sort of triumphalist statement from the Taliban in the next four days.

    Shit, meet fan.

    Comments here

  • Nov. 25
    ISLAMABAD: An offer of dialogue with ‘estranged brothers’, promises of probes into political murders, army pullout from a key area, halt to new cantonments and more local control on resources marked a conciliation package for Balochistan that the government unveiled in parliament on Tuesday.

    In a special joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate, the PPP-led coalition also committed itself to more autonomy for the largest but least populated province, though the issue must wait for constitutional amendments being considered by a special parliamentary committee that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said was expected to present its report ‘very soon’.

    The prime minister made the offer of dialogue as part of his government’s aim to ‘heal the broken hearts’ in a brief Urdu speech while an English-language draft of the package called ‘Aghaz-i-Haqooq-i-Balochistan’ (beginning of the rights of Balochistan) was read out later by PPP Senator Raza Rabbani, who headed a parliamentary committee that finalised the document, which also envisages release of detained political workers, return of dissidents living in exile and identification of missing persons.

    The murders to be judicially probed include that of former provincial governor and nationalist leader Akbar Bugti, who was killed in a cave hideout in a 2006 military operation and was described in the package document as a ‘shaheed’ (martyr).

    The sitting, summoned by President Asif Ali Zardari, was prorogued after the presentation of the package which, the prime minister said, would be debated in another joint sitting to be called after Eidul Azha.

  • Claim: Pentagon tried to ‘intimidate’ journo covering Blackwater

    By Daniel Tencer
    Thursday, November 26th, 2009 — 9:22 pm

    The office of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest-ranking soldier in the US, tried to intimidate a reporter working on a story about security contractor Blackwater’s operations in Pakistan, the reporter claims.

    Jeremy Scahill — whose story alleging secret assassination and bombing campaigns inside Pakistan run by Xe Services, formerly Blackwater, appeared in The Nation on Monday — said he received a phone call from Adm. Mullen’s office the day before the story appeared, informing him that his story “didn’t match up with reality.”

    Speaking to Laura Flanders’ GRITtv, Scahill described how he got little cooperation from the government in his investigation — until he received a phone call from Adm. Mullen’s office the day before the article was to be published.

    “I didn’t call them,” Scahill said. “They called me. They wouldn’t tell me how they got my number. They wouldn’t tell me how they heard about the story. And they told me that my story didn’t match up with reality.”

    Scahill said he interpreted the move as an attempt at intimidation.

    “How would any journalist perceive a call from the top US military chain of command, when you haven’t called them [and] they won’t tell you how they heard about the story? I did take it as an act of intimidation on the part of Adm. Mullen’s office.”

    The following video was posted to the Web by GRITtv, November 25, 2009. Scahill’s comments about Adm. Mullen start around the 8:00 mark.

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