Midnight Special - Anti-Imperialism Edition

war is peace two.jpg"For behind all imperialism is ultimately the imperialist individual, just as behind all Peace is ultimately the peaceful individual."
Irving Babbitt

(Fuck you John Bolton)

Trump has signed the $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill. Now we won't have the bullshit threat of a government shutdown every three fucking weeks. For awhile. There are all sorts of summaries and analysis out there if you want to get into it. Almost all of it ignores the elephant in the room, defense spending, i.e., U.S. imperialism and the quest to rule the world. It's mentioned of course but the fact that defense spending is well over half of the discretionary budget (and that doesn't include intelligence/spying, the Veterans Administration and die Homeland Security budgets, i.e., the total military/security/intelligence/police/prison industrial complex) and any questions as to why that is, are completely ignored by all but the radical voices on the internet.

"Hey you're asking some pretty logical questions. Radical, man."

In looking at the defense budget I noticed something interesting. The budget category for military personnel for 2017 was $138 billion dollars. That's out of the total $590 billion defense budget not including the overseas operations (direct war and regime change) budget.

https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53626

The other broad categories of the defense budget are operations and maintenance (245 billion), procurement (104 billion), Research, development, testing and evaluation (68 billion) and Other (35 billion).

The U.S. has about 2.2 million active duty, reserve and paramilitary personnel (1.3 active 865 K reserve, 7k paramilitary). Compare that to Russia which has about 1 million active, 2.5 million reserve and 700K paramilitary (4.2 million total); and China which has 2.2 million active, 510K reserve, and 660K paramilitary (3.4 million total).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_military_an...

Now compare the 2016 defense budgets for those three countries:

*United States - 611 billion (2.2 million military)
*China - 215 billion (3.4 million military)
*Russia - 69 billion (4.2 million military)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

Some Big Al observations:

-Russia has twice as many total military personnel as the U.S. but the U.S. budget for military personnel alone is twice of Russia's total defense budget.

-China has one third more military personnel but only a third more total defense budget than the U.S. military personnel budget alone.

-China has a military budget of 215 billion (2016). Think about that. China isn't operating 1000 military bases worldwide with special forces military personnel conducting operations in over 150 countries for the purpose of ruling the world like the United States of Greedy Bastards. But they ain't no spring chickens are they?

-So what's up with that?

-Imperialism isn't restricted to the current top dog. Any anti-imperialism or antiwar movement has to go global.

-And what's up with the military personnel totals vs. budget outlays? Ya, we always knew the Red Armies could come up with many millions of slaves to fight against the western imperialists. But now, China and Russia are capitalist countries whose citizens expect more than communist wages. Their brainwashed citizens are serving their country in legitimate professional and middle class military occupations, just like their capitalist western competitors in the neverending human game of greed and power. How can China and Russia maintain much larger military personnel forces with such smaller budgets?

-FUBAR, just FUBAR.

-It's a human problem. It's not just the U.S., all humans play the same fucking games. Seen how many billionaires China and Russia have? Already? Or India with all the poverty in that country of over a billion? There's a global military industrial complex now and it's out of control.

-Things to worry about: pain in tooth, might have to go to the dentist; brakes on the car; leak in the bathroom; nuclear war.

-We have to stop this madness. We have to save ourselves. We CAN save ourselves. Power to the People. Let the midnight special, shine an ever lovin' light on you.

Ya, Keep on Trucking, baby.

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again, if it weren't for your anger bonded to a vivid sense of humor during these recent days, I don't know where I'd be. But as to the subject of your essay, I find it useful to think about the INSPECTOR GENERAL DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Report of summer 2016, wherein $6.5 Trillion was unaccounted for by the Pentagon for the fiscal year 2015, over 10 times the military budget for that year.

Here we will find the answer to your question, not, as you may think, that the American taxpayer is squandering trillions on perks for profiteers, exactly, but that we are arming our enemies. Because that's how it's done.

Winston Churchill wrote eloquently about the fact that WWII was not only the most violent war in human history but also the most preventable. He blamed it principally on U.S. loans to Germany for rearmament.

So I think it's likely we are arming ISIS and Saudi Arabia and Israel and China and Sudan. All of it. And in the spirit of keeping our senses of humor, I can just see the Bush family and their colleagues laughing hysterically at our failure to respond, our standing here gobsmacked.

http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/documents/DODIG-2016-113.pdf

INSPECTOR GENERAL DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
July 26, 2016

MEMORANDUM FOR UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (COMPTROLLER)/ CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
DIRECTOR, DEFENSE FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING SERVICE AUDITOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
SUBJECT: Army General Fund Adjustments Not Adequately Documented or Supported (Report No. DODIG-2016-113)

We are providing this report for review and comment. Army and Defense Finance and Accounting Service Indianapolis personnel did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in third quarter adjustments and $6.5 trillion in yearend adjustments made to Army General Fund data during FY 2015 financial statement compilation. We conducted this audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards…

FY 2015 Financial Statement Compilation Adjustments Not Supported or Documented

… Specifically,

• OASA(FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in JV adjustments for third quarter and $6.5 trillion in JV adjustments for yearend, and

• DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not document or support why DDRS-B removed at least 16,513 of 1.3 million feeder file records during third quarter FY 2015….

I take it back! This is just the Army, not the Pentagon, not the entire Defense budget.

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Big Al's picture

@Linda Wood The example of WWII in particular. We don't think much about the hidden mechanics behind everything. It happened then, it's happening now. It's like with the CIA and MK Ultra. People tend to discount the probability of it happening now. Like that's something we used to do but don't now because we're more civilized or something. Right.

Speaking of, I was reading earlier and the author suggested the arms being sold to Saudi Arabia are partly or largely being stockpiled for the use by the U.S. and proxies in a major war with Iran/Russia/China.

The world is a powderkeg.

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Pricknick's picture

are much more expensive.
We have a volunteer (mercenary) force. Very few who enlist do it for country.
They do it to survive.
China and Russia both have military machines that are based on country pride and defensive over offensive standing.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

For that matter, why does any progressive or anti-war person refer to it as the "defense budget," when there's very little truly "defensive" about it.

Why not just call it what it is: "The Military Budget." Or "The War Budget." Or even better, "The World Domination Budget?"

When you insist upon using the establishment's "defense" terminology, you unconsciously promote their implicit meme--that the military is really there to protect us; that all that Pentagon spending somehow serves a "defensive" purpose.

From now on, any anti-imperialist should stop using terms such as "defense budget."

Think!!!

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Big Al's picture

@SoylentGreenisPeople We're talking amongst adults here and we know what the defense budget really is about. If you look closely, you'll see clues in the essay. The fact that it is about imperialism and the "defense" budget clearly indicates the defense budget is really about imperialism.

There's a time and a place.

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Big Al's picture

@SoylentGreenisPeople Seriously.

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gulfgal98's picture

@SoylentGreenisPeople The Dept of Defense used to be called the Dept of War until after WWII, when they renamed the Dept of War as the Dept Defense as a rebranding. I personally believe the name Dept. of War is far more appropriate in that the US is the most war mongering nation on earth.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

@SoylentGreenisPeople

They keep using identifying terms in an Orwellian fashion to affect our perceptions/confuse understanding, etc., and we'd be better off not adopting them and allowing them to continue to warp our system of communication into just another one of their confusion tactics.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

mimi's picture

a little stinky pick-up truck is not doing the trick anymore.

Just saying Good Morning from Germany.

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Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

Big Al's picture

@mimi have a great day, even in a little stinky truck.

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Thank you.

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Big Al's picture

@OPOL

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Mark from Queens's picture

From Jacobin, Dark Money At The Pentagon:

In the spring of 2017, Mark Skidmore, an economist at Michigan State University who specializes in public finance, heard what he thought was an erroneous, but interesting, claim: that a Pentagon report indicated the Army had posted $6.5 trillion worth of unsupported accounting adjustments for 2015. He was intrigued, though knowing that the Army’s budget was $122 billion, and that the entire 2015 budget for the Department of Defense (DoD) was $565 billion, he assumed it was an error — the figure was surely “billion,” not “trillion,” already a hefty number for an unaccounted-for adjustment.

To his shock, upon examining the report himself, he found no such error: the figure was $6.5 trillion, fifty-four times the spending authorized by Congress. To investigate the matter further, Skidmore got in touch with Catherine Austin Fitts, a former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and the person who had made the initial claim that had so shocked Skidmore.

With the help of two graduate students, Skidmore and Fitts trawled through thousands of government reports to find similar unsupported adjustments. They were shocked by what they found: since 1998, the Pentagon logged unsupported adjustments worth at least $21 trillion, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development registered $350 billion worth.

There isn't even a word for this insanity. Perverse or obscene don't quite come close to explaining how a country justifies such a thing. Policeman of the world, my ass. Just take a look at our own law enforcement, justice and penal system. Barbaric doesn't quite explain there either.

No one would disagree, if they were informed dispassionately by a responsible media. But there isn't any. So reflexive American Exceptionalism blinds the masses to any nascent criticism that could reverse this beyond insanity.

Omigod, it's an RT link. Oooh, scary. At least that's what YouTube (also captured by the scorned Clinton Cabal's loss creating the Russian Red Herring Mania/Most Embarrassing Epoch in U.S. History) wants you to think. Underneath all Rt videos now is the pronouncement, that they are "funded in whole, or in part, the Russian Government." Pathetic bastards.

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"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

@Mark from Queens

they get to 'adjust' the numbers on both to suit their purposes. As long as it's only the public getting screwed over, though, it's just fine...

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

GE and Boeing send us their heartfelt thanks. If we ever need military personnel, we'll just send Trump.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

that US military grunts and their families need on the pay they get.

...In looking at the defense budget I noticed something interesting. The budget category for military personnel for 2017 was $138 billion dollars. ...

But how else are the military contractors going to make their pile - and I gather that mercenaries are on the increase; wasn't someone here posting concerns about Trump turning Afghanistan? over to whatever the heck Blackwater's being called now...

Just woke up, caffeine level low on top of breathing difficulties caused by leaving my (relatively, lol) chemical-free room, had to look 'em up, and am beginning to wonder if Blackwater armies are going to wind up fighting each other in a monopoly all over the globe, just as CIA-funded and Pentagon-funded terrorists wound up fighting each other in the noble pursuit of spreading - whatever the code form of the word 'democracy' means in NeoLib/Con to the Psychopaths That Be - in other people's countries.

Yeah, I know this undoubtedly is old news - from 2011 - to you guys, but, man... this is an absolute gotta, gotta, gotta read in full at source, even if just for a refresher in view of what's going on.

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/world/middleeast/15prince.html

Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder

By MARK MAZZETTI and EMILY B. HAGERMAY 14, 2011

Correction Appended

...The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom.

Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.

The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.

The U.A.E.’s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country’s biggest foe, the former employees said. ...

...The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.

In outsourcing critical parts of their defense to mercenaries — the soldiers of choice for medieval kings, Italian Renaissance dukes and African dictators — the Emiratis have begun a new era in the boom in wartime contracting that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. ...

(And the perps of the Bush Admin who started this more active phase of the corporate/military global takeover are, of course, still active in the US government, Darth Cheney 'mentoring' the Trump Admin through their assigned functions in advancing/completing The Plan.)

Oh, wait - this has to be controlled by the (2011) State Department - so that's all right then!

...Still, it is not clear whether the project has the United States’ official blessing. Legal experts and government officials said some of those involved with the battalion might be breaking federal laws that prohibit American citizens from training foreign troops if they did not secure a license from the State Department.

Mark C. Toner, a spokesman for the department, would not confirm whether Mr. Prince’s company had obtained such a license, but he said the department was investigating to see if the training effort was in violation of American laws. Mr. Toner pointed out that Blackwater (which renamed itself Xe Services ) paid $42 million in fines last year for training foreign troops in Jordan and other countries over the years. ...

Lol, wonder if they have already trained troops to fight CIA/Pentagon-backed terrorists?

Wait, if it's Mr. Prince's company still after he sold it, what does Opposite Day Virtual Reality do to the principles of property?

...For Mr. Prince, the foreign battalion is a bold attempt at reinvention. He is hoping to build an empire in the desert, far from the trial lawyers, Congressional investigators and Justice Department officials he is convinced worked in league to portray Blackwater as reckless. He sold the company last year, but in April, a federal appeals court reopened the case against four Blackwater guards accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

To help fulfill his ambitions, Mr. Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, obtained another multimillion-dollar contract to protect a string of planned nuclear power plants and to provide cybersecurity. He hopes to earn billions more, the former employees said, by assembling additional battalions of Latin American troops for the Emiratis and opening a giant complex where his company can train troops for other governments.

Knowing that his ventures are magnets for controversy, Mr. Prince has masked his involvement with the mercenary battalion. His name is not included on contracts and most other corporate documents, and company insiders have at times tried to hide his identity by referring to him by the code name “Kingfish.” But three former employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements, and two people involved in security contracting described Mr. Prince’s central role. ...

The article goes on to quote Mr Prince as saying that he won't hire Muslims because they can't be counted on to kill Muslims.

Sorta like American and other PTB need mercenaries because their own militaries can't be counted on to kill their fellow-citizens at home?

Although at Standing Rock, even the all-important optics were defied in using civil forces to appallingly brutalize people forming Prayer Circles and standing on their own (illegally swiped) land in protest over having their water and land forcibly and directly poisoned for life-destroying polluting industry profiteering and their health and future destroyed with that of the land... but the people stood firm in literally fighting for life on the planet and so they unleashed the privately-run mercenaries with the hounds of hell which was somehow better when done by private companies, that being perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the whole unrolling fascist horror:

https://www.democracynow.org/2016/11/21/jeremy_scahill_tigerswan_securit...

Jeremy Scahill: TigerSwan Security, Linked to Blackwater, Now Coordinates Intel for Dakota Access
StoryNovember 21, 2016

...The water protectors have also faced attacks and surveillance from private security companies working for the Dakota Access pipeline company. On September 3rd, unlicensed private security guards unleashed attack dogs on Native Americans trying to protect a tribal burial site from destruction. The private security firm TigerSwan security is in charge of coordinating intelligence for the Dakota Access pipeline company. TigerSwan has links to the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater.

For more, we’re joined by Intercept reporter Jeremy Scahill, who has spent years reporting on private security contractors, including TigerSwan. ...

...And this firm, TigerSwan, was founded by a Delta Force operative named James Reese and has done voluminous amounts of covert and overt work for the U.S. military in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. And, you know, you realize that you have this convergence of all that has been so wrong in the post-9/11 world, with these big environment-destroying companies, the stripping even further of indigenous rights, private security forces, the brutality against protesters, the paramilitarization of law enforcement. And now our incoming president—I still feel strange saying that—Donald Trump also has business connections to the pipeline project? Is he going to divest? Is he going to—I mean, like, this is going to go from the level of Obama just being, you know, really bad on these policies to Trump actively trying to make it worse for the environment.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, in a recent interview, the head of the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, Kelcy Warren of Energy Transfer Partners, said he’s 100 percent confident that Trump will support the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline. Kelcy Warren has donated more than $100,000 to Trump’s campaign, while Trump himself gas between $500,000 and a million dollars invested in Energy Transfer Partners, according to his own disclosures.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Oh, no, and I remember, you know, you and I were talking about this back when—you know, when Cheney was coming in, and then we were talking about Enron, and we were talking about the people that they put on their commission about energy. You know, Trump’s choice of who he’s going to put in as energy secretary or secretary of the interior—they’re even talking about potentially Sarah Palin being the interior secretary. But, you know, I don’t know, was like, you know, Ronald McDonald not available? I mean, it’s really sick, some of the people. You know, putting Mike Huckabee in charge of health and human services, a guy who said that abortion is like worse than the Holocaust? And, I mean, it really feels like we’re watching a not-so-slowly moving train wreck in this country right now. ...

Not just 'in this country' - and if they hadn't been getting away with this elsewhere, the blatant expression of fascism exerted against the American people wouldn't now be settling in to roost at home, where the US terrorists-in-chief are based.

From 2014:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2576490/Are-Blackwater-active-Uk...

Has Blackwater been deployed to Ukraine? Notorious U.S. mercenaries 'seen on the streets of flashpoint city' as Russia claims 300 hired guns have arrived in country

Unidentified armed men seen on the streets of Donetsk in east Ukraine
Russian diplomat claims 300 mercenaries had arrived in Kiev this week
Mercenaries in the region could give Putin pretext for military action
Donetsk has been the scene of big pro-Russian demonstrations this week

By Damien Gayle

Published: 17:49 EDT, 8 March 2014 | Updated: 05:07 EDT, 9 March 2014

... At least two videos published on YouTube earlier this week show burly, heavily armed soldiers with no insignia in the city, which has been gripped by pro-Moscow protests.

In one of the videos onlookers can be heard shouting 'Blackwater! Blackwater!' as the armed men, who wear no insignia, jog through the streets.
Scroll down for video

Donetsk was this week the scene of civil unrest as pro-Russian elements among its citizens seized control of the regional administration headquarters and another government building.

Yesterday thousands of people gathered in the city centre waving Russian flags and calling for a referendum to determine the status of the strategically important coal-mining region. ...

... The context of the videos is not clear, but it appears that the armed men had turned up at a street protest against the new regime. They wander around brandishing their weapons before suddenly fleeing the scene as passers-by shout 'Blackwater! Blackwater!'

Since the videos emerged, Twitter has been alive with speculation that mercenaries linked to Blackwater, now known as Academi, are active in Ukraine, helping to prop up the embattled new pro-western government.

And a Russian diplomat in Kiev told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday that 300 employees of private security companies had arrived there.

'These are soldiers of fortune proficient in combat operations. Most of them had operated under private contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other states,' the source said. Interfax reported that the diplomat did not disclose the nationalities of the mercenaries but said, 'Most of them come from the United States'. ...

... The videos which emerged this week come amid reports in Russian media which claimed that 300 'strong' men had arrived at Kiev's Boryspil airport carrying military-style bags.

Reports speculated that they were being sent to regions in eastern and southern Ukraine where Russian-speaking and ethnic Russian groups posed a secessionary threat to the new government.

Blackwater was founded in 1997 by former U.S. Navy SEAL Erik Prince and were one of several private security firms employed by the U.S. government to protect its diplomatic missions overseas.

With the outbreak of the Iraq war in 2003 the company's operations expanded and its revenue mushroomed, but a string of controversial killings by its personnel led to a rebranding, first to Xe and then to Academi, its current name.

As well as acting as security contractors, Blackwater are seen by some as a private army that can promote U.S. interests without official military involvement.

Technically they are a multinational company and can by hired by anyone, but the board of directors includes a number of U.S. establishment figures including John Ashcroft, the former Attorney General, and former NSA chief Bobby Ray Inman. ...

...Donetsk, home city of deposed president Yanukovich, has seen the most persistent pro-Moscow demonstrations in a wave of protests that have erupted across southern and eastern cities. ...

This - from 2004 - lays it out nicely in a short article that needs to be read in full at source. Apparently at that point, they had concerns about sneaking underneath the Geneva Conventions... nowadays, of course, those sort of human and sane agreements are considered by those within the interconnected web of The Psychopaths That Be the world over to be safely viewed in the same distorted light as they do such as the US Constitution and human/humane morality.

http://revcom.us/a/1236/blackwater.htm

After Fallujah: The Truth About the Blackwater Mercenaries

Revolutionary Worker #1236, April 11, 2004, posted at http://rwor.org

"We have established a global presence and provide training and tactical solutions for the 21st century. Our clients include federal law enforcement agencies, the Department of Defense, Department of State, and Department of Transportation, local and state entities from around the country, multinational corporations and friendly nations from all over the globe."

Blackwater corporate website

"I would like to have the largest, most professional private army in the world."

Gary Jackson, president of Blackwater USA

"Blackwater . right now has contracts that [Gary Jackson] says are so secret that he is not able to tell one branch of the Feds that he's working for a different branch of the Feds.. Much of the interview I had with them was couched in this -- this almost cowboy-like secrecy. They were very proud of being on these top secret missions."

Barry Yeoman, author of "Soldiers of Good Fortune," on Democracy Now

...The official story is that these heavily armed mercenaries were in Fallujah to "protect food shipments." But that day, there were no "food shipments" in sight. The Marines had just gone door-to-door arresting men for interrogation--and so there has been speculation in Fallujah that these commandos were on a mission to capture or assassinate people fingered as part of the resistance.

When asked about their mission, Blackwater refused to comment--and told reporters to talk to their lawyers. The Geneva Conventions make hired mercenaries illegal--so private armies today "officially" claim that they are not in the battle zones to actually fight or assassinate, but only for "security" or "training" or (perhaps) "guarding food shipments."

Blackwater is a highly connected mercenary corporation--based in North Carolina, but with offices in McLean, Virginia, near CIA headquarters. They operate a 5,200-acre state-of-the-art commando training ground in North Carolina's Great Dismal Swamp--basically a private military base. It provides privatized training for U.S. military personnel and police. ...

...Privatizing the Empire's Dirty Work

"Private military corporations become a way [for government officials] to distance themselves and create what we used to call `plausible deniability.'"

Daniel Nelson, former professor at the Defense Department's Marshall European Center for Security Studies

"In recent years, soldiers-for-profit have served in Liberia, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia. They have guarded Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, and built the military detention facilities holding Al Qaeda suspects in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. They have been an essential part of the American war on drugs in Latin America."

Barry Yeoman, Mother Jones , May/June 2003

"Under a shroud of secrecy, the United States is carrying out military missions with people who don't have the same level of accountability."

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

Blackwater was founded in 1997. Like dozens of similar companies, it has been growing with amazing speed, thanks to huge contracts from the Pentagon.

And Blackwater is just a small piece of a much, much larger trend.

Barry Yeoman describes another corporate mercenary operation in Mother Jones (May/June 2003): "Military Professional Resources Inc., one of the largest and most prestigious firms, boasts that it can call on 12,500 veterans with expertise in everything from nuclear operations to submarine attacks. MPRI deploys its private troops to run Army recruitment centers across the country, train soldiers to serve as key staff officers in the field, beef up security at U.S. military bases in Korea, and train foreign armies from Kuwait to South Africa. At the highest echelons, the Virginia-based firm is led by retired General Carl Vuono, who served as Army chief of staff during the Gulf War and the U.S. invasion of Panama. Assisting him are General Crosbie Saint, former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe; Lt. General Harry Soyster, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency; and General Ron Griffith, former Army vice chief of staff. MPRI's parent company, L-3 Communications, had more than a dozen lobbyists working on its behalf, including Linda Daschle, wife of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle."

Privatized corporate military operations now draw an estimated $100 billion in business worldwide each year -- much of it going to top U.S. corporations like Halliburton, DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, Grumman, and Raytheon. The military-industrial companies that once just created the guns and warplanes now provide mercenary forces for "privately" carrying out the military attacks and defoliation-- especially in Colombia where large numbers of "contractors" serve as agents and trainers for the U.S government.

Over 15,000 military "contractors" are now stationed in Iraq, working for dozens of companies--a force larger than the British contingent in the war zone. There is reportedly one mercenary in place for every 10 occupation soldiers. "Private" military firms and contractors operate mess halls, guard bases, serve as bodyguards, train soldiers, and maintain key weapons systems. The New York Times reported that "contractors" are now starting to deploy their own fleets of armored cars.

Such "contract" soldiers have had a free hand in threatening and killing Iraqi people. A former Special Forces member documented ( Washington Times , October 6, 2003) that military contractors guarding ministries on behalf of coalition authorities repeatedly killed Iraqis--without punishment or inquiry.

From the point of view of the Pentagon and CIA, there are several clear advantages to privatizing their more controversial operations. ...

Nowadays... blatant and brutal banditry by tech-enabled warlords..

Could this be what's really being investigated regarding 'Trump/Russia 'collusion? From below:

...Now, under the Trump administration, observers expect things to get worse. Academi and Erik Prince have cozy business ties to the administration. Prince was even caught up in the investigation examining Trump’s ties to Russian interests: In a secret meeting brokered by the United Arab Emirates in the Seychelles on January 11, 2017, Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, allegedly discussed plans to create a secret back channel to communicate with Russia. ...

Damn, have been hoping that Putin really is maneuvering around these guys as an independent...

(These guys are doing amazing work and need donations, btw - wish to FSM I had money!)
https://www.nationofchange.org/2018/02/01/blackwater-corporate-mercenari...

Blackwater and the Corporate Mercenaries who’ve changed the rules of war

No matter what they call themselves, they are soldiers of fortune and now quietly operate around the world.
Emily Ludolf / Occupy,com / News Report - February 1, 2018

Mercenaries have gone corporate. The United Nations Mercenary Convention, signed in 2001, defines and places limits on what constitutes mercenaries. Although there are notable holdouts, the position of the UN is that mercenarism is against international humanitarian law. But this hardly seems to matter because, by exploiting loopholes in international law along with some creative “lawyering,” the modern mercenary now operates with impunity. With enough paperwork cloaking them, private military and security companies work in the shady cracks of the justice system, where they flaunt their mercenary role with no fear of punishment. No matter what they now call themselves, they are soldiers of fortune.

The public remains largely unaware that these so-called “security companies” now quietly operate around the world. G4S, for example, is the third largest private employer on Earth, yet most people have never heard of it. Companies like these often provide straightforward services such as prison or event security. But increasingly, the line between security and quasi-military operations has been blurred as corporations take on ever more military-capable assignments. Companies in this line of work staff themselves with ex-Special Forces, presumably for their skills in combat.

Now, those same firms are lobbying to privatize war. Many recall Blackwater, a company that became notorious in the Iraq War when its “employees” murdered 17 Iraqi civilians. After re-branding Blackwater as Xe, then selling it in order to escape its universally bad reputation, company founder Erik Prince went on to create Academi (Blackwater 3.0). Prince, who is the brother of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, then had the audacity to propose that America’s ongoing war in Afghanistan be outsourced to private companies. In a shameless act of self promotion, Prince wrote opinion pieces published last year in Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, paining a romantic portrait of the history of mercenary forces while advocating the private outsourcing of the Afghanistan war in the style of the Dutch East Indian Trading Company.

That wasn’t all. The new site Buzzfeed obtained a private pitch deck in which Prince detailed how the Afghanistan war of his fantasies would be funded — with potential profits from war in the Helmand province alone reaching more than $1 trillion. Prince, of course, has faced no real consequences for the documented atrocities that were committed by his former firm, Blackwater. If anything, his power and influence have grown as he continues to amass enormous profits from a shadowy security contracting industry.

Defining modern Mercenaries in the U.S. context

The U.S. remains one of the notable holdouts of the 2001 UN treaty — known in full as the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries — and it is unlikely we will ever join. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq increasingly relied on private contractors, Blackwater being only the most infamous. During both wars, in fact, private contractors frequently constituted a majority of forces serving, according to the Congressional Research Service. Although the majority of contractors served in non-combat roles, like construction or intelligence analysis, they increasingly acted in combat and security roles.

Mercenaries’ hazy legal definition is extremely useful to the U.S., for one because it enables the Pentagon not to count what are effectively additional “boots on the ground” in its tallies of fighters, casualties and deaths. As both wars dragged on, and America’s political will faltered, Washington’s increased reliance on security contractors actually caused contractor casualties to exceed official soldier casualties in 2009 and 2010. To this day, mercenary contractors constitute a significant proportion of combat deaths, although they aren’t officially “counted” as such.

Now, under the Trump administration, observers expect things to get worse. Academi and Erik Prince have cozy business ties to the administration. Prince was even caught up in the investigation examining Trump’s ties to Russian interests: In a secret meeting brokered by the United Arab Emirates in the Seychelles on January 11, 2017, Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, allegedly discussed plans to create a secret back channel to communicate with Russia.

The UAE has a longstanding relationship with Prince and Academi. Some suspect the country intends to increase its use of mercenary forces to exert power in the region. Qatar’s ex-Deputy Prime Minister Al-Attiyah told Spain’s ABC newspaper that plans were in the works to make Academi part of military training and combat operations in the region, although the plans were ultimately not executed.

What does all this mean? For starters, any military action taken by President Trump will more than likely include a large number of private contractors, and therefore will be in the financial interests of Prince and others in his profession. That private companies can wield so much power is a frightening prospect in an age when oligarchs and oligarchs — from Trump to Putin, Erdogan to Duterte — are boldly testing their megalomaniacal strength. These mercenary corporations, with their hefty military expertise in the form of ex-Navy SEAL and Delta Force founders, are in essence staffing parallel special forces operations and renting them out for profit. The only barrier these days to having your own private army of Navy SEALS, it seams, is having enough cash to employ them.

There is a reason why the United Nations stands firmly against the use of mercenary fighters: because mercenaries, at the end of the day, have performed far more atrocities than acts of valor on the battlefield. Prince and Blackwater are the clearest evidence of that. The fact is, if the Unites States cannot justify to the public why it is fighting a war and losing soldiers’ lives, it shouldn’t be allowed to hire mercenaries to conduct the ground operations of that war. Sadly, war is good business and the private security industry just had its biggest year yet, growing to a total size of $180 billion in 2017. If and when Donald Trump decides to start or enter the U.S. into a war, expect those profits to soar even higher.

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This, from 2013, doesn't sound good in multiple areas as I begin to read it; dare I continue to hope that Putin isn't in with The Plan? Looks like we the world's people have to figure out some way of saving ourselves after all and quit dreaming that someone with more power will throw a wrench in the corporate/military machine to help make it easier...

https://www.cnbc.com/2013/12/11/russias-kirill-dmitriev-puts-new-twist-o...

The $10 billion man out to change Russia's image
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera | @MCaruso_Cabrera
Published 11:57 AM ET Wed, 11 Dec 2013 Updated 1:24 AM ET Thu, 12 Dec 2013 CNBC.com

Kirill Dmitriev is on a one-man mission to change Russia's image in the eyes of world investors. The 38-year-old graduate of Harvard and Stanford runs Russia's newest sovereign wealth fund—the $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Unlike most sovereign wealth funds, which invest outside their country of origin (including two other Russian wealth funds that control more than $80 billion in assets) the fund that Dmitriev manages directs money back into Russia—co-investing in the country with the sovereign wealth funds of China, Abu Dhabi, Korea, Italy, France and Japan.

"Many people have misperceptions about Russia, and they feel the risk is greater than it really is," Dmitriev told CNBC. "So we put the (Russian) government's money alongside other investors' to make sure they are comfortable and understand that Russia can be an attractive investment destination."

Would-be investors in Russia have been scared off by developments such as the jailing of former Russian oligarch and businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, as well as the battle between Hermitage Capital Management's Bill Browder and the Russian government's subsequent jailing of Browder's attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison.

When it comes to global benchmarks for the country's investment and business climate, Russia's ratings have improved—but they're still closer to the bottom than to the top. Transparency International ranks Russia 133 out of 176 in its corruption index (see graphic below). The Heritage Foundation lists it 144 out of 184 in its ranking of economic freedom. The World Bank says Russia is 92 out of 189 in ease of doing business. Watchdog organization Freedom House describes Russia's status as "Not Free."

Dmitriev acknowledged that Russia faces challenges "such as bureaucracy and corruption that the government is trying to solve." But he suggested that those will be fixed over time: "Capitalistic Russia is only 20 years old. So it is building institutions."

When it comes to actual business deals, Dmitriev said the country is focused on infrastructure and other investments related to boosting the middle class in Russia, which he said has tripled in size in the last five years. ...

Oh, maybe this isn't as bad as it seems, as the aim is to to build up a previously asset-stripped country and population once-grossly impoverished due to a US-imposed utterly corrupt crony capitalism.

But even with the enormous debt created by that now greatly reduced by Putin's management, the universal health-care system, like everything else to do with the public under the US puppet-government, has been starved and unfortunately, the private health industry is growing there...

But if criminal investors are scared off by there being legal consequences, that is a good thing, in my opinion.

one more point from above:

...Asked about critics' complaints about Putin, Dmitriev defended his boss:

"They totally do not understand what President Putin is doing. Because he really brought stability and growth into a country that was torn by different business plans, that really had huge unemployment, was pretty much bankrupt," he said. He noted that Russia has grown into the world's sixth-largest economy "from being absolutely bankrupt" in only 13 or 14 years. ...

I guess you do what you have to do in a corrupted world structure where those weakened are torn unto profitable pieces by those wanting 'it all' and are left with no alternative - if you care about the lives, health and happiness of your long-suffering people.

And are surrounded by slavering NATO forces you must defend your country and people against...

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Operation_Gladio

... Official narrative

What has come to be called Operation Gladio was never intended to be publicly acknowledged. It was a multi-national military plan to arm and train clandestine groups in many (perhaps all) of its member countries and elsewhere in Europe. The official narrative on these networks is confused, contradictory and definitely incomplete, with many basic questions unanswered. The stated reasons for establishing undercover armed groups has tended to focus on use of the secret armies as a fifth column to provide armed resistance in the case of a Soviet invasion.
Problems

The power hierarchy of Gladio remains unclear to this day, and is unknown to elected national leaders. When the European Union learned of the existence of Gladio, it passed a resolution mandating national investigations to reveal what was going on, but as of 2016, only 5 countries have done so (including Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland). A large question mark therefore remains over the role that Operation Gladio has played, and continues to play in influencing events. It seems very likely that the deep state controls these forces whether through the national intelligence services or in more informal fashion. The connection, in particular, with false flag terrorist attacks is particularly concerning.
Operation Gladio B

Full article: Rated 5/5 Operation Gladio B

Sibel Edmonds has exposed an international development of the original Gladio program referred to as "Operation Gladio B", which can be understood as a response in the min 1990s to the subsidence of the Soviet threat after the end of the cold war. As a way of kickstarting the "war on terror", instead of nationalist extremists in European countries, radical Muslims are armed, trained and assisted to carry out terrorist attacks while law enforcement is prevented from intervening.
Introduction
Dr. Daniele Ganser Interview: Nato's Secret Armies - Operation Gladio

Operation Gladio first came to light in Italy in 1990, after over 40 years of clandestine operations. Members of the project revealed that similar projects existed in most if not all countries of Western Europe.[2] These stay-behind networks were, in essence, super secret armies in at least 14 European countries, which were kept secret from the official governmental structures of the host countries – being controlled by other forces such as the CIA and MI6. They remained mostly dormant but were also involved in anti-communist activities including anti-democratic agitation and false flag "terrorism".

The name Gladio, (or ‘Sword’ in Italian) was technically the name given to their operations in Italy, but has since come by extension to stand for the phenomenon as a whole. Evidence of such arrangements, which had been kept secret from both public and politicians democratically elected governments in the host countries for a quarter of a century was revealed through a series of scandalous revelations in Italy and other NATO countries during the 90s, and meticulously documented by Swiss historian Daniele Ganser in his 2004 book NATO’s Secret Armies,[3] arguably the most shocking book ever to be ignored by the corporate media. The evidence contained in Ganser’s book, of terrorism directed against the people by secret armies funded and organised by NATO and answerable to deep state elements within NATO, MI6 and the CIA rather than the respective governments is so shocking that the initial reaction of most people would be to reject it. And yet the claims have been substantiated by juridical inquiries in Italy, Switzerland and Belgium and have been debated (and condemned) in the European Parliament. ...

I keep coming back to this because so much else does.

A number of illegitimate governments/agencies/secretively manipulative leeches need to be brought down and trials held in international court to deal with the perpetrators involved with whatever exactly The Plan overall is, beyond the evident one of a global fascist takeover for micromanagement of a few psychopathic 'owners' apparently eager to kill off all (unpatented) planetary life - assuming that any non-corrupt courts can be found to do this - before the peoples of our various countries can hope to salvage what remains of our life-support system under actual democracy and begin fresh.

Hitler was also thought to be unstoppable. Of course, much of that ultimate win was due to Russia's strong defense in preventing the previous attempt of US industrialists to have a proxy Nazi army take over Russia in the process of imposing a fascist dictatorship on the world, and I personally feel that this may be part of the reason that those carrying on the current process toward that end have such a fanatical hatred of the country that defeated them the last time...

And again, this'll end up on a dead thread, lol.

up
1 user has voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.