The (Not So) Secret (Anymore) US War in
Wednesday 01 December 2010
Despite sustained denials by US officials spanning more than a year, US military Special Operations Forces have been conducting offensive operations inside Pakistan, helping direct US drone strikes and conducting joint operations with Pakistani forces against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in north and south Waziristan and elsewhere in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, according to secret cables released as part of the Wikileaks document dump. According to an October 9, 2009 cable classified by Anne Patterson, the
The cables also confirm aspects of a Nation story from November 2009, "The Secret US War in Pakistan," which detailed offensive combat operations by JSOC in
In one operation in September 2009, four
In another operation cited in the cables, the
The ability of US special operations forces to operate in
Such statements might help explain why Ambassador Richard Holbrooke lied to the world when he said bluntly in July 2010
Pentagon spokespeople have repeatedly insisted that the
A special operations veteran and a former CIA operative with direct experience in Pakistan have told The Nation that JSOC has long engaged in combat in Pakistan—which raises a question
In 2006, twelve "tactical action operatives" from Blackwater were recruited for a secret JSOC raid inside
A former senior executive at Blackwater confirmed the military intelligence source's claim that the company is working in
According to the executive, Blackwater works on a subcontract for Kestral Logistics, a powerful Pakistani firm, which specializes in military logistical support, private security and intelligence consulting. It is staffed with former high-ranking Pakistani army and government officials. While Kestral's main offices are in
Blackwater operatives also integrate with Kestral's forces in sensitive counterterrorism operations in the North-West Frontier Province, where they work in conjunction with the Pakistani Interior Ministry's paramilitary force, known as the Frontier Corps (alternately referred to as "frontier scouts"). The Blackwater personnel are technically advisers, but the former executive said that the line often gets blurred in the field. Blackwater "is providing the actual guidance on how to do [counterterrorism operations] and Kestral's folks are carrying a lot of them out, but they're having the guidance and the overwatch from some BW guys that will actually go out with the teams when they're executing the job," he said. "You can see how that can lead to other things in the border areas." He said that when Blackwater personnel are out with the Pakistani teams, sometimes its men engage in operations against suspected terrorists. "You've got BW guys that are assisting...and they're all going to want to go on the jobs—so they're going to go with them," he said. "So, the things that you're seeing in the news about how this Pakistani military group came in and raided this house or did this or did that—in some of those cases, you're going to have Western folks that are right there at the house, if not in the house." Blackwater, he said, is paid by the Pakistani government through Kestral for consulting services. "That gives the Pakistani government the cover to say, 'Hey, no, we don't have any Westerners doing this. It's all local and our people are doing it.' But it gets them the expertise that Westerners provide for [counterterrorism]-related work."
The military intelligence source confirmed Blackwater works with the Frontier Corps, saying, "There's no real oversight. It's not really on people's radar screen."
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In November 2009, Capt. John Kirby, the spokesperson for Adm. Michael Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Nation, "We do not discuss current operations one way or the other, regardless of their nature." A defense official, on background, specifically denied that Blackwater performs work on drone strikes or intelligence for JSOC in
In January 2010, on a visit to
Since the Nation story originally ran, Blackwater has continued to work under the Obama administration. In June, the company won a $100 million global contract with the CIA and continues to operate in
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs