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Fri, 07 Oct 2022
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From Baghdad To Bogota: The Global Reach Of Modern Mercenaries

Blackwater contractors in Iraq (2006)
© scuba_heath
Blackwater contractors in Iraq (2006)
Mexico's bloody drug wars could mean new opportunities for private military companies like XE Services, better known as Blackwater, which became infamous in Iraq. Latin America provides such firms with both quality recruits and new business opportunities.

Mexico City -- The Iraqi resistance nicknamed him "Al-Shaitan" (the devil) and put a hefty bounty on his head. In the United States, he has been decorated as a hero. Newspapers there call him the "deadliest sniper in U.S. history." During his various missions as a Navy SEAL he officially killed 150 people. The Texan himself counts his kills at 255.

These days, however, 37-year-old Chris Kyle is too busy running his own business to add to his "legendary" kill count. In 2009, after completing his military service - with full honors - he founded Craft International, a company that offers private military and security services and specializes in training sharpshooters. The company forms part of a new trend in military outsourcing, a business model that has quickly spread across the globe, including into Latin America, where modern mercenaries are being put to work in everything from mining to coca eradication.

Craft International is by no means the first such for-profit paramilitary venture. In 1997, another former SEAL, Erik Prince, used his generous inheritence to set up a large private facility specialized in training police and soldiers. Prince, whose wealthy family has close ties to the Republican Party, called his operation Blackwater and staffed the new company with a long list of experienced and skilled trainers.

Bad Guys

Bin Laden Death Coverup Continues: Compound Demolished

demolition 'Bin Laden compound'
© n/a
The compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which authorities claim was Osama Bin Laden's home for several years before his supposed killing by a US special forces team last May, has this weekend been totally demolished. Pakistani authorities began tearing down the house on Saturday night, working under floodlights, with the local population subject to a strict curfew and Pakistan Army soldiers and police personnel reportedly deployed in large numbers.

The high security surrounding the building since last May, coupled with its sudden and secretive demolition, have naturally led to suspicions that this weekend marked the successful completion of a brazen coverup - journalists have never been allowed to enter the building, and were banned from going anywhere near it very soon after Bin Laden's supposed killing. The total destruction of the death scene makes it much less likely independent verification of the official narrative will ever be established, though considering that no evidence proving Bin Laden was actually killed in the compound has ever been provided by the authorities, this weekend's events are hardly surprising.

The official account stretched credulity from the outset and changed significantly in the days and weeks following the Navy Seals' attack. At first we were told that Bin Laden had offered resistance by firing a weapon at the Seals, but it was soon admitted that the person shot had not in fact been armed. If the unarmed individual shot dead posed no threat, then it is hard to view his death as anything other than a cold-blooded execution. The claim that Bin Laden cowered behind his wife, who was initially reported to have been killed whilst her husband used her as a human shield, also had to be retracted.

Arrow Down

3 Doomsaying Experts Who Foresee Economic Devastation Ahead

Image
© Thinkstock
Behind the mainstream Wall Street happy talk about more stable financial markets and an improving economy are grim warnings of tough times ahead from a small cadre of doomsayers who warn that the worst of the financial crisis is still to come.

Harry Dent, author of the new book The Great Crash Ahead, says another stock market crash is coming due to a bad ending to the global debt bubble. He has pulled back on his earlier prediction of a crash in 2012, as central banks around the world have been flooding markets with money, giving stocks an artificial short-term boost. But a crash is coming in 2013 or 2014, he warns. "This will be a repeat of 2008-09, only bigger, when it finally hits," Dent told USA TODAY.

Gerald Celente, a trend forecaster at the Trends Research Institute, says Americans should brace themselves for an "economic 9/11" due to policymakers' inability to solve the world's financial and economic woes. The coming meltdown, he predicts, will lead to growing social unrest and anti-government sentiment, a U.S. dollar with far less purchasing power and more people out of work.

Bad Guys

No Justice! Judge Dismisses Organic Farmers' Case Against Monsanto

 Farmer Alan Madison fills a seed hopper with Monsanto hybrid seed corn near Arlington, Illinois, U.S. A group of organic and other growers say they're concerned they'll be sued by Monsanto if pollen from seeds like these drift onto their fields.
© Daniel Acker/Landov
Farmer Alan Madison fills a seed hopper with Monsanto hybrid seed corn near Arlington, Illinois, U.S. A group of organic and other growers say they're concerned they'll be sued by Monsanto if pollen from seeds like these drift onto their fields.

A New York federal court today dismissed a lawsuit against agribusiness giant Monsanto brought by thousands of certified organic farmers. The farmers hoped the suit would protect them against infringing on the company's crop patents in the future.

The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and several other growers and organizations do not use Monsanto seeds. But they were betting that the judge would agree that Monsanto should not be allowed to sue them if pollen from the company's patented crops happened to drift into their fields.

Instead, the judge found that plaintiffs' allegations were "unsubstantiated ... given that not one single plaintiff claims to have been so threatened." The ruling also found that the plaintiffs had "overstate[d] the magnitude of [Monsanto's] patent enforcement." Monsanto brings an average of 13 patent-enforcement lawsuits per year, which, the judge said, "is hardly significant when compared to the number of farms in the United States, approximately two million."

Bad Guys

America's Missing Foundations

bag lady
© Linh Dinh
Americans are living on borrowed time, economically. Like air conditioners, copper pipes and aluminum siding of a foreclosed home, what remains of our prosperity will be violently stripped away. There is no economic recovery because the foundations for such are simply not there. Jobs still leave the country, and the only way we can compete with foreign slaves is to become slaves ourselves, and don't think for a moment that this isn't by design.

Whistle

Doxed for telling truth? Stratfor report on Syria propaganda

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© JERRY LAMPEN/AFP/Getty Images
Syrian blogger Amjad Balazy at the Foreign Ministry in The Hague on Dec. 9
Missteps in the Syrian Opposition's Propaganda Effort

Syrian opposition groups are mounting a propaganda campaign to create the impression that the Alawite community is splintering and that the Syrian regime is internally cracking. While the opposition has done a better job of organizing itself in recent months, the propaganda effort has been hampered by recent missteps and suffers from a lack of credibility and coordination.

Analysis

Syrian opposition groups are engaged in an aggressive propaganda drive to promote the perception that the Alawite community is splintering and that the Syrian regime is cracking from within. Most of the opposition's more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue, thereby revealing more about the opposition's weaknesses than the level of instability inside the Syrian regime.

The continuity of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's regime depends on his ability to maintain unity within a few groups: his own al Assad clan, the Alawite-dominated army and the wider Alawite community. Were his patronage networks to unravel and the regime's powerful figures to start viewing each other as liabilities worthy of elimination, the demise of the regime would not be far off.

Star of David

Israeli Spin: Terrorists Could Get Syrian Weapons

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In a bold case of the pot calling the kettle black, Israeli officials are warning that weapons from the Syrian authorities could end up in the hands of Muslim terrorists, when Israel and the West are almost certainly arming terrorists in Syria.

Defense officials told Haaretz yesterday, that Hezbollah, based in Lebanon and other terror groups, could end up with large amounts of weapons from the Assad regime, including SA missiles, high-trajectory long-range rockets and missiles, and biological and chemical weapons.

No evidence was given to support their claims. Much like Iran's nuclear threat, Israel is operating from the position of "ifs and maybes", a stance that essentially means they can accuse anyone of anything without proof.

"What has been passed on to Hezbollah so far? What will be passed on in the future? What will be divided between the two factions in Syria?" Said Israel Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel.

Perhaps a more important question we should be asking is who is providing weapons to the rebels in Syria?

Gen. Eshel stated, as far as Assad's fall is concerned, "the question is when, not if." Does that mean Israel are lending a helping hand?

Bad Guys

UK Chancellor George Osborne: Government 'has run out of money'

George Osborne
© Press Association
Mr Osborne is under severe pressure to boost growth, amid signs the economy is slipping back into a recession.
The Government 'has run out of money' and cannot afford debt-fuelled tax cuts or extra spending, George Osborne has admitted.
Britain and other leading economies are not ready to fund another eurozone bailout, UK Chancellor George Osborne said on Sunday.

In a stark warning ahead of next month's Budget, the Chancellor said there was little the Coalition could do to stimulate the economy.

Mr Osborne made it clear that due to the parlous state of the public finances the best hope for economic growth was to encourage businesses to flourish and hire more workers.

"The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years," the Chancellor said. "The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector."

Pirates

Armed Terrorist Attacks against Citizens, Law-Enforcement Forces, Oil Pipelines Intensified in Several Areas in Syria

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Terrorist groups continued armed attacks in Homs, Idleb and Damascus countryside targeting civilians and military personnel, and shelled residential areas with mortar shells and vandalized public and private facilities, not sparing even mosques to which citizens turned for protection.

The terrorist groups on Monday attacked citizens and law-enforcement members at several areas in Homs, and the authorities have been pursuing and clashing with them.

An armed terrorist group exploded two explosive devices behind the building of the Technical Services at al-Dablan Neighborhood in Homs.

The terrorists also shelled with mortars several neighborhoods of Homs. They also set off an exploive device in al-Khalidiye neighborhood that caused no injuries or casualties.

Vader

Lizzie Phelan: Massive bombing in Syria is Western response to Russia China veto, Israeli weapons found in Homs

Two explosions have hit Syria's northern city of Aleppo, state-run TV said on Friday. The attack struck the security compounds, killing at least 28 people and wounding 175 The blasts were the first in Syria's largest city. It has not been affected seriously by the Syrian uprising that began in March. Colonel Arif Hamood of the Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for the two blasts that targeted military and security buildings in the city.