South Sudan Hires Ex-Blackwater Chief to Restore War-Damaged Oil Facilities

By Ilya Gridneff Dec 18, 2014 2:19 PM GMT+0100
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Erik Prince ran Blackwater from 1997 to 2010, when the company earned an estimated $1… Read More

The former head of U.S. security company Blackwater USA, Erik Prince, was hired by South Sudan to help repair damaged oil facilities and boost output cut by a year of civil war.

Prince’s Frontier Services Group Ltd. (500), a Hong Kong-listed logistics and transportation company, is being paid 18.7 million euros ($23.3 million) by South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum to transport supplies and perform maintenance on production facilities at the oil fields, Chief Executive Officer Gregg Smith said by phone from New York yesterday. About 30 employees including pilots, engineers and logistics technicians have been using helicopters and airplanes to reach South Sudan’s oil fields since September, Smith said.

“This is not supporting the army,” Smith said. “The contract is clearly with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining to support the oil field services and to make sure the production of oil keeps flowing.” Continue reading

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Syria Threatens Chemical Attack on Foreign Force

By NEIL MacFARQUHAR and ERIC SCHMITT

Published: July 23, 2012

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian officials warned Monday that they would deploy chemical weapons against any foreign intervention, a threat that appeared intended to ward off an attack by Western nations while also offering what officials in Washington called the most “direct confirmation” ever that Syria possesses a stockpile of unconventional armaments.

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Bulent Kilic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Syrian opposition fighters looked for snipers on Monday, after attacking a municipal building in Selehattin, near Aleppo.

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Reuters

Jihad Makdissi, the Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman, reading a statement on the country’s chemical stockpiles at a news conference in Damascus on Monday.

The warning came out of Damascus, veiled behind an assurance that the Syrian leadership would never use such weapons against its own citizens, describing chemical and biological arms as outside the bounds of the kind of guerrilla warfare being fought internally.

“Any stock of W.M.D. or unconventional weapons that the Syrian Army possesses will never, never be used against the Syrian people or civilians during this crisis, under any circumstances,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, said at a news conference shown live on Syrian state television, using the initials for weapons of mass destruction. “These weapons are made to be used strictly and only in the event of external aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.”

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Fighting Terrorism, French-Style

News Analysis

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Ian Langsdon/European Pressphoto Agency

French soldiers on patrol near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

By STEVEN ERLANGER
Published: March 30, 2012

FRANCE and the United States have different notions of liberty, equality and fraternity, though the words look roughly the same in both languages. Methods of combating homegrown terrorism — another French word dating from 1789 — are also quite different, stemming from different histories, legal systems and conceptions of the state.

The horrors in Toulouse — the murders of seven people in a bit more than a week by Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old French citizen of Algerian-born parents who claimed membership in Al Qaeda — created a fierce debate in France about whether the police and security services failed to identify him in time. The police also failed to take him alive, making it harder to discover the true breadth of his contacts and of his path to terrorism.

Mr. Merah clearly slipped through the French net, which relies heavily on human intelligence and judgment. The French are asking why, and whether he might have been more easily identified by the more automated — and expensive — American-style reliance on computerized monitoring of phone calls and the Internet. That question is unanswerable, of course. But the differences between the two countries and their methods are considerable.

“In the United States, it is the system that counts; in France, it is the men,” says Marc Trévidic, a senior investigating magistrate for terrorism in France.

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CIA operations in Iran underway to take out Tehran bigs in mission to dismantle weapons program  

Explosions and assasinations at Iran nuke base pinned to Israel may have been CIA

Monday, November 14 2011, 12:11 AM

Vahid Salemi/AP

 

In public Sunday, President Obama was at a summit unsuccessfully leaning on Russia and China to back diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuke program.

In private Sunday, there was more evidence of an efficient and brutal covert operation that continues to degrade Iran’s military capabilities.

Iranian officials revealed that one of the 17 men killed in a huge explosion at a munitions depot was a key Revolutionary Guard commander who headed Iran’s missile program. And the IRNA state news agency reported that scientists had discovered a new computer virus in their systems, a more sophisticated version of the Stuxnet worm deployed last year to foul up Iran’s centrifuges.

Iran said the army base explosion was an accident and the new Duqu virus was contained. But Israeli newspapers and some U.S. experts said it appeared to be more from an ongoing secret operation by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad to eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat.

The covert campaign encompasses a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and a similar explosion at another Iranian missile base two years ago both widely attributed to the Mossad.

“May there be more like it,” was all Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said when Army Radio asked about the new blast.

There was a third mysterious event: The son of a top Iranian hard-liner was found dead — a seeming suicide — in a Dubai hotel on Sunday. His father called it “suspicious” and linked to the base explosion, without elaborating. Continue reading

Silva Carvalho também ‘espiado’ na Wikileaks

A WikiLeaks publica um documento com a análise de Jorge Silva Carvalho sobre as interferências e manobras da Austrália em Timor e a transmissão das preocupações portuguesas face à interferência australiana que fez à embaixada americana em Lisboa. Pelo vista, até há uma tradição de intercepção das comunicações da secreta portuguesa… Mal sabia o discreto Silva Carvalho que a tanta exposição e visibilidade estava destinado! O documento é muito interessante, sobretudo, porque mostra bem como o SIED estava bem informado sobre a situação no terreno em Timor e sobre as manobras australianas e seus objectivos (controlo do gás e petróleo de Timor).

Portugal’s intelligence chief accused Australia

of “fomenting unrest” in East Timor

By Patrick O’Connor  25 April 2011

Leaked diplomatic cables sent from the US embassy in Lisbon, Portugal in June 2006 have revealed that a leading Portuguese intelligence official told American diplomatic officials that the Australian government had repeatedly “fomented unrest” in East Timor, in order to advance its “geopolitical and commercial interests.” The extraordinary exchange occurred two weeks after Canberra had dispatched a military intervention force to the oil and gas rich state, as part of its “regime change” campaign against Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.

The Australian government, then led by John Howard, targeted Alkatiri because of his perceived alignment with rival powers, especially Portugal, Timor’s former colonial ruler, and China. The Fretilin party leader was also despised by Canberra for his extraction of unwelcome concessions during negotiations over the division of the Timor Sea’s energy resources. Continue reading

With CIA help, NYPD moves covertly in Muslim areas

Pedestrians start their morning under the watchful eyes of surveillance cameras in Times Square in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2011. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the New York Police Department has become one of the country’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, one that operates far outside its borders and targets ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government.

By MATT APUZZO and ADAM GOLDMAN – Associated Press

NEW YORK — In New Brunswick, N.J., a building superintendent opened the door to apartment No. 1076 one balmy Tuesday and discovered an alarming scene: terrorist literature strewn about the table and computer and surveillance equipment set up in the next room.

The panicked superintendent dialed 911, sending police and the FBI rushing to the building near Rutgers University on the afternoon of June 2, 2009. What they found in that first-floor apartment, however, was not a terrorist hideout but a command center set up by a secret team of New York Police Department intelligence officers.

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Does the CIA Need a Country’s Permission to Spy on It?

No, but sometimes it helps.

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Pakistan‘s military is demanding that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sharply cut back its activities in the country in the wake of undercover agent Raymond Davis’s arrest on murder charges and subsequent release. In addition to scaling back the number of CIA drone strikes on Pakistani targets, Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has insisted on the withdrawal of all contractors working for the CIA and all operatives like Davis, who are working in “unilateral” assignments, meaning that only one country (read: not Pakistan) is aware of their presence. But since when does the CIA need a country’s permission to conduct intelligence operations? Isn’t the whole point that the local government isn’t supposed to know they’re there? Continue reading