Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

NEW YORK TIMES PEDDLES LIES IN ARTICLE

We Posted the New York Times Article here and felt we should post this also

Cross Posted from Eben Barlow’s Military and Security Blog

They say if you tell a lie enough times, it eventually becomes “the truth”.

The New York Times have certainly tried to keep up with that adage, prompting me to write to them a few minutes ago.

My letter read as follows:

Pretoria,

South Africa

15th May 2011

Dear Editor,

It was with interest that I read your article headlined Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder dated 14 May 2011 by your journalists Mark Mazzetti and Emily B Hager.

As the founder and chairman of the now defunct Executive Outcomes, I found it of even greater interest that they state in their article as fact that Executive Outcomes was “a South African company notorious for staging coup attempts…in Africa”.

Indeed, the only fact in their reference to Executive Outcomes is that it was a South African company.

Had your journalists done even the most basic of research, they would have discovered that:

Executive Outcomes was intimately involved in drafting the South African government’s legislation on foreign military companies

Executive Outcomes had a licence from the South African government to conduct its business

Executive Outcomes only accepted contracts from legitimate, internationally recognised governments. This included South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Sierra Leone and Indonesia to name a few

The South African media apologised to me for allowing themselves to be used to perpetuate disinformation on both myself and my company.

The book Executive Outcomes: Against all Odds, was written by myself and published in 2007 by Galago Publishing, detailing the company’s origins, contracts and activities. To date, no information I gave in the book has been refuted by any party.

I personally remain opposed to coups and I also run a blog where I have written, warned against and prevented coups in Africa (http://eebenbarlowsmilitaryandsecurityblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/warning-against-joining-planned-coup.html)

However, as your paper accepted and published a factually incorrect comment on Executive Outcomes, despite it being libellous, I reserve the right to take legal action. Meanwhile I demand that your journalists furnish me with proof of any coup attempts planned or staged by the defunct Executive Outcomes. Should your journalists argue that the failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea is an example of such an action, may I point out that Executive Outcomes closed its doors in January 1998. It therefore cannot, in any way, be linked to a coup attempt several years later. If any ex-Executive Outcomes men were recruited by the planners of such a coup, Executive Outcomes can still not be linked to the attempt.

I look forward to your comments.

Sincerely,

EEBEN BARLOW

Please see the original with comments here

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , | Leave a comment

‘Old cluster bomb’ kills three Iraqi children

AFP at Google   May 15, 2011

DIWANIYAH, Iraq — Three young boys were killed and another was badly wounded on Sunday when an unexploded cluster bomb detonated in south Iraq, medical and security officials said.

The children, who officials estimated were aged between six and 12, were playing in a garden in the village of Al-Attah, just east of the southern city of Diwaniyah, when the bomb exploded at about 2:00 pm (1100 GMT).

“Diwaniyah hospital received the bodies of three children killed by an old cluster bomb, and one other was seriously wounded,” said Ahmed al-Bideri, spokesman for the provincial health department.

A police official, who declined to be named, confirmed the toll and also attributed the explosion to a cluster bomb.

Iraq last year asked for international help to clear an estimated 20 million unexploded land mines and ordnance that are a legacy of the 1980-1988 war with Iran, the 1990 assault on Kuwait and the 2003 US-led invasion.

Please read the entire article here

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Casualties, Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Iraq, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

US Cuba Programs: The Stuff of Spies?

by Frances Robles McClatchy Newspapers

MIAMI — To the U.S. government aid workers who he suspected were secret agents, Cuban professor Raul Capote was “Pablo.” He went by “Daniel” with his Cuban government contacts, who were spies for sure.

Now Havana claims that for the six years that he worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on educational workshops and library programs, Capote was a spook, too.

“The man started asking, what materials do you need?” Capote said in an installment of a Cuban documentary series, “Cuba’s Reasons.” “The contacts that came – it was never the same person twice, always someone new – started to buy me what I needed for my work: money, camera, laptop, memory drives, all kinds of gear to pass information.”

Capote is one of the Cuban intelligence agents recently exposed by Havana in its quest to pull the curtain back on one of the most controversial elements of Cuban-U.S. relations: USAID democracy programs. In a series of videos aired on state-run television and posted on the Internet, USAID contractors are shown meeting with alleged members of civil society, establishing libraries, arts workshops, distributing powdered milk and discussing secret electronic equipment.

Please read the entire story here

May 15, 2011 Posted by | State Department, USAID | , , , | Leave a comment

Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder

By and at The New York Times

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Late one night last November, a plane carrying dozens of Colombian men touched down in this glittering seaside capital. Whisked through customs by an Emirati intelligence officer, the group boarded an unmarked bus and drove roughly 20 miles to a windswept military complex in the desert sand

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.

Please read the entire story here

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , | 1 Comment

Committee wants checks on defense industry’s supply chain

DOD’s supply chain management has been on GAO’s High Risk List since 1990

By Matthew Weigelt    May 13, 2011  Federal Computer Week

The House Armed Services Committee’s defense authorization bill would require defense officials to research where they’re getting their supplies in the age of the global marketplace.

The fiscal 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540) would require the Defense Department to conduct an assessment of its industrial base to find any potential gaps that may affect the military’s operations.

Then, the Government Accountability Office would be double-checking DOD’s work to make sure it’s actually complete. GAO would review how DOD did its assessment and that recommendations for better management are reasonable, according the bill.

Please see the original at Federal Computer Week

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense | , , , | Leave a comment