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Mercenaries At Work

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  • Mercenaries At Work

    Excerpt from an article @ http://www.sott.net/articles/show/16...-4-August-2008

    [red bold highlite mine]

    '...Mercenaries at work

    The military-industrial complex has changed radically since World War II or even the height of the Cold War. The private sector is now fully ascendant. The uniformed air, land and naval forces of the country as well as its intelligence agencies, including the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the NSA (National Security Agency), the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and even clandestine networks entrusted with the dangerous work of penetrating and spying on terrorist organizations are all dependent on hordes of "private contractors." In the context of governmental national security functions, a better term for these might be "mercenaries" working in private for profit-making companies.

    Tim Shorrock, an investigative journalist and the leading authority on this subject, sums up this situation devastatingly in his new book, "Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing." The following quotes are a précis of some of his key findings:

    "In 2006 ... the cost of America's spying and surveillance activities outsourced to contractors reached $42 billion, or about 70 percent of the estimated $60 billion the government spends each year on foreign and domestic intelligence ... [The] number of contract employees now exceeds [the CIA's] full-time workforce of 17,500 ... Contractors make up more than half the workforce of the CIA's National Clandestine Service (formerly the Directorate of Operations), which conducts covert operations and recruits spies abroad ...

    ..."The key phrase in the new counterterrorism lexicon is 'public-private partnerships' ... In reality, 'partnerships' are a convenient cover for the perpetuation of corporate interests."

    Several inferences can be drawn from Shorrock's shocking exposé. One is that if a foreign espionage service wanted to penetrate American military and governmental secrets, its easiest path would not be to gain access to any official U.S. agencies, but simply to get its agents jobs at any of the large intelligence-oriented private companies on which the government has become remarkably dependent. These include Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), with headquarters in San Diego, California, which typically pays its 42,000 employees higher salaries than if they worked at similar jobs in the government; Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the nation's oldest intelligence and clandestine-operations contractors, which, until January 2007, was the employer of Mike McConnell, the current director of national intelligence and the first private contractor to be named to lead the entire intelligence community; and CACI International, which, under two contracts for "information technology services," ended up supplying some two dozen interrogators to the Army at Iraq's already infamous Abu Ghraib prison in 2003. According to Major General Anthony Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib torture and abuse scandal, four of CACI's interrogators were "either directly or indirectly responsible" for torturing prisoners.

    Remarkably enough, SAIC has virtually replaced the National Security Agency as the primary collector of signals intelligence for the government. It is the NSA's largest contractor, and that agency is today the company's single largest customer.

    There are literally thousands of other profit-making enterprises that work to supply the government with so-called intelligence needs, sometimes even bribing congressmen to fund projects that no one in the executive branch actually wants. This was the case with Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Republican of California's 50th District, who, in 2006, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in federal prison for soliciting bribes from defense contractors. One of the bribers, Brent Wilkes, snagged a $9.7 million contract for his company, ADCS ("Automated Document Conversion Systems"), to computerize the century-old records of the Panama Canal dig!...'

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/16...-4-August-2008

  • #2
    While it's true it would be "easy" for foreign nationals to "infiltrate" the different intelligence agencies, most foreign nationals that I met or worked with that weren't recruited assets in said country, were merely being used in a "translator" fashion. Heck, we utilized many a foreign national to translate for us (mostly Afghanistan).

    As far as contractors in general, they're needed right now. Especially the ones from GE and the like that are in charge of repairing equipment, such as the SIGINT stuff, however all of those contractors were US citizens. (Even the Iraqi ex-pat that left Iraq 20 something years ago)

    This is how things are for now, but not forever. Even BW is "refocusing" their attention to other non-security related fields.
    “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

    "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."

    Comment


    • #3
      The contractors employees would still have to be vetted just as if they worked directly for the government. Backgrounds are still conducted and they are still periodically checked.
      A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by farewelltonavy
        When this empire falls, it won't fall because of outside powers invading, it will be because our own greed, incompetence and putting personal wealth before national interest. That is the sad truth
        Yes, indeed. Pogo, the comic strip character once said; 'We have met the enemy........and it is us.'

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by farewelltonavy
          When this empire falls, it won't fall because of outside powers invading,
          Off the top of my head I can't think of one "great" empire ever falling due to invasion/foreign intervention. They all fell because of internal strife.
          A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by farewelltonavy
            I bet even when it happens, there will be still some who would believe that W was one of the greatest presidents in history
            Depends on what you're talking about...

            I'm not a Bush-supporter these days (IE: biggest issue = the BORDER, out of control spending, etc)....

            But...

            If you're talking about the war.... I'd say you're right. People will probably hail him as a great President, but it will probably be 20 years from now. He did something that was very unpopular to the world because it was the right thing to do..... and there were many who wanted to take the same action, but didn't have the means (or... the balls) to do it.
            1*

            Comment


            • #7
              When this empire falls, it won't fall because of outside powers invading, it will be because our own greed, incompetence and putting personal wealth before national interest. That is the sad truth
              Well comrade how about you tell us about those successful socialist societies and how a government should define thier way of life.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Rifleguy View Post
                Well comrade how about you tell us about those successful socialist societies and how a government should define thier way of life.
                +1, Comrade.
                1*

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by farewelltonavy
                  I bet even when it happens, there will be still some who would believe that W was one of the greatest presidents in history
                  He may well be...Truman was despised in his day much like W is now. Fastforward 50+ years and Truman is now considered by many to be one of the greats.
                  A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ray8285 View Post
                    He may well be...Truman was despised in his day much like W is now. Fastforward 50+ years and Truman is now considered by many to be one of the greats.
                    Thats not the first time I have seen people say that and I agree with your statement. Bush made the hard choices and stayed through. Chirac and Schroeder tried to destroy the transatlantic relationship and blame the US yet as soon as those two left office, France and Germany had a whole different attitude.

                    One thing I will miss of Bush should Obama get elected is that whatever Bush says, he doesn't need an aide to "explain" what he really meant. How many times has Obama said one thing only to have an aide the next day say thats not what he meant? I honestly loss count as its Obama's MO.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally Posted by ray8285 View Post
                      He may well be...Truman was despised in his day much like W is now. Fastforward 50+ years and Truman is now considered by many to be one of the greats.
                      Truman despised? How so, Ray? Why did he stop Gen. MacArthur from going after the Red Chinese Army at the Yalu River? MacArthur was a brilliant military strategist. Fooled the hell out of the Commie Army, by advancing south, as the Commies followed, then boarded ships to head up North to cut-off the Commies from their supply lines, and reinforcements. For this he was relieved of his Command, and brought back from Korea?

                      Bush's war in Iraq will never be considered a brilliant military manuever. Never. If he were that brilliant, he'd have had 700,000 feet on the ground in Iraq. His moment of glory was post-9/11 when the country would've given him their all to kick Muslim asses. But instead, he started to push legislation for internal policies restricting America's movement, instead of going after the enemy; A MacArthur he isn't.

                      Originally posted by Rifleguy View Post
                      Thats not the first time I have seen people say that and I agree with your statement. Bush made the hard choices and stayed through. Chirac and Schroeder tried to destroy the transatlantic relationship and blame the US yet as soon as those two left office, France and Germany had a whole different attitude.

                      One thing I will miss of Bush should Obama get elected is that whatever Bush says, he doesn't need an aide to "explain" what he really meant. How many times has Obama said one thing only to have an aide the next day say thats not what he meant? I honestly loss count as its Obama's MO.
                      Rifleguy,

                      Obviously, you've never heard Bush speak.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Stormy View Post
                        Truman despised? How so, Ray?
                        His approval ratings at the end of his second term are better than only one president, W.

                        You can't tell me what the world will think of Iraq 20 years from now, no one can. It could turn out to be the greatest move in the ME in history.
                        A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally Posted by Stormy View Post
                          Truman despised? How so, Ray?
                          Originally posted by ray8285 View Post
                          His approval ratings at the end of his second term are better than only one president, W.

                          You can't tell me what the world will think of Iraq 20 years from now, no one can. It could turn out to be the greatest move in the ME in history.
                          Ya think? We'll just have to wait and see.

                          ps. A Gen. MacArthur, he isn't. Nor a Harry Truman.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Stormy View Post
                            Ya think? We'll just have to wait and see.

                            ps. A Gen. MacArthur, he isn't. Nor a Harry Truman.
                            I don't know how it will turn out, that's my point. He has some qualities very similar to Truman. Truman was not a compromiser, nor is W and that has been there biggest negative. The lack of compromise led to what are now considered Trumans greatest decisioins. IF Iraq turns out like most people hope, the same will be said of W.
                            A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ray

                              Ray,

                              Heres' an example of what is written many years later, about a leader who used 'weapons of mass destruction' to allegedly save 'millions' of US soldiers lives. Take the article for what's it worth.

                              ------------------------------------------------------------


                              August 6, 2008
                              Tsuyoshi Hasegawa Re-Examines the Japanese Surrender
                              The Atomic Bombing of Japan

                              By KEVIN YOUNG

                              Since the late 1940s the common justifications for President Truman's decision to drop two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have consisted of four basic assertions: 1) that the bombs saved more lives than they took by eliminating the need for a US ground invasion of Japan, 2) that the bombs were dropped on military targets essential to the Japanese war machine, 3) that the bombs were dropped only after a process of careful deliberation by US leaders, 4) that those leaders were forced into dropping the bombs because of the Japanese leadership's refusal to surrender, and 5) that the bombings effectively ended the Pacific war by convincing Japan's leaders to surrender. These five assertions had their origins in the public statements of Truman, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and others in the years 1945-47, and constitute the core of what might be labeled the "official narrative" concerning the use of the atomic bombs [1].

                              Historical scholarship in recent decades has completely refuted the first three assertions. Most scholars who have studied the use of the atomic bombs agree that Truman and his advisers knew a mainland invasion of Japan to have been "an unlikely possibility" given Japan's dire military situation in late-July 1945 [2]. Even in the event of a US mainland invasion, the highest projected casualty estimates for US forces were not "over a million" like Stimson and Truman later claimed, but between 30,000 and 50,000 [3]. More importantly, prior to August 1945 Truman and his advisers had considered it possible that the war would end without either the atomic bombs or a mainland invasion by US forces [4].

                              The claims that Truman and advisers used the bombs on military bases, and after careful consideration of alternatives, have both been proven false; Hiroshima and Nagasaki were major population centers, not military targets, and high-level officials later admitted that the bombs had been used hastily [5]. US officials clearly knew beforehand that the bombings would result in massive civilian deaths in both cities, but as J. Samuel Walker notes, that realization made little impact on US leaders given the long-established strategy of targeting civilian populations [6]. In fact, very little deliberation occurred as to whether or not the bombs should be dropped; according to historian Barton Bernstein, "it was not a carefully weighed decision but the implementation of an assumption" [7]. Once the bombs were developed, it was assumed they would be used.

                              Recent scholars have also pointed to some of the motives for the bombings not mentioned by Truman and others: the desire to assert US power vis-�*-vis the Soviet Union [8]; the political imperative of not appearing soft on Japan [9]; the need to justify the $2 billion spent on the Manhattan Project to develop the bombs [10]; and the pervasive anti-Japanese racism that increased US officials' (and the public's) enthusiasm for the bombs' use [11].

                              Yet until recently even revisionist historians have continued to accept the last two major points of the official narrative listed above. First, most scholars have accepted the claim that Japan rejected the Potsdam Proclamation (issued by the Allies on 26 July 1945, calling for the Japanese to surrender unconditionally), and that the rejection of the ultimatum led immediately to the bombs' use. Second, there has been general agreement that the atomic bombs played a central role in forcing Japan to surrender.

                              Historian Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, however, has recently challenged both points. Hasegawa argues that Truman and others demanded "unconditional" surrender on July 26 assuming that Japan would not accept the offer, allowing the US to then justify use of the atomic bombs ("unconditional surrender" was understood to include the removal of the emperor from Japanese society, a severe affront to Japanese traditions). Challenging the argument that the bombs forced Japan's surrender, Hasegawa cites a number of Japanese sources suggesting that the Soviet declaration of war against Japan on August 7-8, not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, compelled Japan to surrender.

                              The Insistence on Unconditional Surrender

                              The official narrative holds that Truman and his advisers insisted on unconditional surrender from the Japanese in order to, in Stimson's words, "render them powerless to mount and support another war" [12]. The official version also holds that the Japanese "promptly rejected" the July 26 ultimatum [13]. Stimson claimed afterwards that prior to August 6 there had been "no indication of any weakening in the Japanese determination to fight" [14]. In turn, most recent historians have accepted the claim that Japan rejected the surrender ultimatum. J. Samuel Walker (cited above) notes some ambiguity in the Japanese response, but he nonetheless characterizes that response as a "contemptuous rejection" of the ultimatum and sympathizes with US officials who interpreted it as such [15].

                              But Hasegawa observes that no one in the Japanese government ever formally rejected the terms of the Potsdam Proclamation. During the days following the ultimatum at least some of the Japanese leaders were known to be contemplating its meaning, though Japan made no formal reply [16]. Instead, Truman and his staff "seized upon" an offhand (and very ambiguous) comment from Prime Minister Suzuki implying his reluctance, accepting that sole comment as representative of the official Japanese reaction [17]. Truman and his advisers intentionally fabricated Japan's "prompt rejection" of the offer and subsequently incorporated it into their narrative justifying the use of the bombs.

                              While the ultimatum was never rejected, Truman and his Secretary of State James Byrnes knew that the demand for unconditional surrender would not be readily accepted either. According to Hasegawa, they insisted on unconditional surrender knowing it was unlikely to yield any result, so that afterwards they could justify the bombs' use by citing Japan's intransigence [18]. Hasegawa's strongest supporting evidence for this claim is a detail of supreme importance, though one which is usually neglected in the standard histories: Stimson, Chief of Staff George Marshall, and General Thomas Handy had, prior to July 26, already approved a directive (circulated on July 24-25) that ordered the use of multiple atomic bombs against Japan "as soon as weather will permit" [19]. In addition, Hasegawa notes that US officials had not sent the ultimatum through normal diplomatic channels and cites passages from the diaries of Truman and Department of State adviser Walter Brown that suggest the ultimatum was merely a "prelude" to the use of the bombs [20].

                              The Soviet Entry, Not the Bombs

                              Hasegawa's second major challenge to what has become the official scholarly version of the bombs' use is that the Soviet declaration of war rather than the atomic bombs was the major factor compelling Japan to surrender. The direct role of the bombs in bringing about Japan's surrender has always been part of the official narrative, for obvious reasons [21]. Yet that argument has also gone virtually unchallenged among revisionist historians and those who criticize the bombs' use [22].

                              Hasegawa continually emphasizes Japanese leaders' need to maintain the Soviet position of neutrality. Both the hawks and the doves agreed on this imperative, though for slightly different reasons [23]. For several months prior to the Soviet invasion, Japanese leaders had been actively seeking to maintain Soviet neutrality. By mid-June members of the peace faction had begun pursuing Soviet mediation (in an unprecedented intervention, the emperor himself even started working directly with the "Big Six" leaders toward this end) [24]. War advocate Colonel Tanemura's April 29 memo emphasized the "life and death importance" that Japanese leaders from both factions attached to the issue of Soviet neutrality [25].

                              Given the Japanese imperative of keeping the Soviet Union neutral, Stalin's declaration of war on August 7-8 was disastrous. According to Hasegawa, Japanese leaders' diaries and testimonies suggest that the imminent Soviet invasion was more influential in compelling them to accept the Potsdam conditions. Although Emperor Hirohito's desire to end the war became more urgent after Hiroshima, only on August 9 after the Soviet declaration of war did he clearly say that "it is necessary to study and decide on the termination of the war" [26]. The other peace advocates in the Foreign Ministry on the same day began to urge acceptance of the Potsdam ultimatum [27]. The reactions of the more hawkish military officials seem to have been similar. Both Admiral Toyoda and Army Deputy Chief of Staff Kawabe were surprised at the news of Hiroshima but were not ready to temper their views on continuing the war [28]. Many military officials hoped to mount a final defense, but had counted on Soviet neutrality in order to do so [29]. The Soviet declaration of war destroyed those hopes, and severely weakened the war faction's leverage within the government.

                              The major strength of Hasegawa's work, and one reason for its new arguments, is its in-depth analysis of Japanese primary sources. Few previous historians in the US had consulted the personal writings of figures like Toyoda, Kawabe, and Tanemura. But Hasegawa also makes more extensive use of Allied primary sources, including the memoirs and diaries of Truman, Byrnes, Brown, and others, which play a key role in his argument about the intent of the Potsdam Proclamation. Hasegawa's careful scholarship has significantly enriched our understanding of the intentions behind the demand for "unconditional surrender," as well as the dynamics behind the Japanese decision to surrender.

                              Sixty-Three Years Later

                              More ominously, though, the fact that Hasegawa's book comes six decades after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaski suggests the ease with which the official version of historical events often pervades both mainstream commentary and scholarly research. Even many conscientious historians have unthinkingly repeated the basic claims that Hasegawa challenges. Outside of the historical profession, though, all aspects of the official narrative are usually accepted without question, and very few of the preceding facts are known or acknowledged. Many of the long-refuted claims used to justify the use of the atomic bombs are even today frequently accepted as truth. For example, news anchors, journalists, and presidents in recent decades have continued to repeat outlandish casualty estimates for a US invasion which have no basis in the documents preceding August 1945 [30].

                              Based largely on the assertions and omissions of the official narrative, and that narrative's broad acceptance by mainstream commentators, much of the US public continues to deem the use of the atomic bombs justified. As two recent scholars note, the belief "that the bomb, and the bomb alone, ended the war and saved countless American lives remains an article of faith" [31]. The propaganda has been remarkably successful; many US citizens continue to support not only the use of atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, but have also advocated the use of nuclear weaponry in recent conflicts as well (in 1991 almost half of the US public supported the use of atomic weapons against Iraq) [32].

                              The acquiescence of the US public to war and violence overseas depends in large part on US leaders' ability to selectively exclude certain factual details from the historical record, but it also depends on the leaders' ability to shield the public from the human evidence—in this case, the images of charred corpses, deformed Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, and eyewitness accounts describing the immediate aftermath of the bombings. Such images are essential to any honest history of warfare, be it atomic or "conventional." The modern-day observer can never completely understand the horrifying experiences of the victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the photographs, video footage, and post-war fiction inspired by the bombings can at least offer a window into those experiences [33]. For precisely this reason war-making politicians have always sought to restrict access to this sort of information (a pattern which has reached new extremes in the US since 2001).

                              Sixty-three years after the US bombing of Japan (including not only the two atomic bombs but also the merciless area bombing of Japanese cities in spring and summer 1945) killed perhaps half a million people, few of the possible "lessons" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem to have been learned. The United States is currently engaged in two major wars that have claimed 1-2 million lives, with thousands more to follow should the US invade Iran or—as Obama and McCain both propose—further escalate military actions in Afghanistan. Public consent for these enterprises has depended on official lies and propaganda, alongside the narrative of US history common in high schools and news media across the country that portrays the US as exceptionally benevolent in the world sphere. The memory of World War II has been central to this portrayal, even though the history of US bombing strategy in the war, including the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, suggests a slightly different story. If known and acknowledged, this history might prompt important questions: was World War II really a battle between two moral absolutes, or, as Gandhi suggested, was the difference between the Axis and Allied commanders "only one of degree" [34]? Of even more direct relevance for today, are the domestic ingredients which gave rise to World War II—militarism, national chauvinism, and concentrated control over decision-making and the means of violence—things of the past? Contemporary solutions depend to a large degree on an honest accounting of the past, which offers plenty of lessons for those willing to listen....

                              (cont)

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