Spooky indeed! Obama, Colombia, Afghanistan, drugs and more...
Obama and the CIA: According to Wayne Madsen, the White House press office has made it clear that they do not want any journalists asking about Obama's post-graduate employment with "Business International Corporation (BIC), a global financial and political information company that WMR previously reported was a front for the CIA."
A lot of people don't trust Madsen. I treat him warily. To be fair, though, Madsen does seem to have gotten there first on the BIC story. Here's what he wrote in February of 2009:
After graduating from Columbia University in 1983, Barack Obama went to work for a firm called Business International Corporation (BIC), a firm that was linked to economic intelligence gathering for the CIA. For one year, Obama worked as a researcher in BIC's financial services division where he wrote for two BIC publications, Financing Foreign Operations and Business International Money Report, a weekly newsletter. An informed source has told WMR that Obama's tuition debt at Columbia was paid off by BIC.
I printed much the same thing in August, based on reporting by John Pilger and William Blum. Having fallen out of the habit of reading Madsen, I did not know that he had gotten there first.
I'm fascinated by the claim involving Obama's tuition debt. After school, Obama seems never to have cared much about paying back student loans. He pinballed his way through three very expensive institutions of higher learning without fretting about how he was going to pay for it all.
When I was making the high-school-to-college transition, I had some friends from affluent families, and they never seriously contemplated Occidental: It was too pricey. So how did Obama do it?
That said, please recall that we're dealing with a claim, not a fact. Madsen's source is unnamed. That's a common problem in Madsen-land.
Colombia: Madsen offers an even more intriguing claim, also based (I'm sorry to say) on info from anonymous tipsters:
WMR has learned from informed sources in Kabul that Obama has been extremely friendly, through personal correspondence on White House letterhead, with a private military company that counts among its senior personnel a number of Afghan mujaheddin-Soviet war veterans who fought alongside the late Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Masood. The firm is also involved in counter-insurgency operations in Colombia, where Obama is building seven new military bases, and Iraq.
Seven new bases in Colombia? Yes. Madsen is not the only one with this story.
The odd thing is, Obama has denied the reported military project:
"There have been those in the region who have been trying to play this up as part of a traditional anti-Yankee rhetoric. This is not accurate," Obama told Hispanic media reporters.
"We have had a security agreement with Colombia for many years now. We have updated that agreement. We have no intent in establishing a U.S. military base in Colombia," Obama said.
Yet later in the same Reuters story, we learn:
The new security arrangement would allow the Pentagon to lease access to seven Colombian military bases for U.S. support in fighting drug traffickers and guerrillas involved in the cocaine trade.
The agreement would also increase the number of American troops in Colombia above the current total of less than 300 but not more than 800, the maximum permitted under the existing pact.
Okay, so we are leasing bases, not building them. And we are adding more troops. But Obama says that we are not establishing a U.S. military base in Colombia.
Of course, Obama said that he would also renegotiate NAFTA. Speaking of which, here's a disconcerting sub-head in the WSJ:
Obama to Colombia: Military base now, free trade later.
I vote for neither.
A lot of Obots thought they were voting for neither. Now they're in the rationalization business -- which I, thank Jeebus, do not have be in.
If you don't mind reading SocialistWorker.org (odd, isn't it, how all real socialists can't stand Obama?), chew on this:
The current conflict centers around the October 30 signing of a military pact between Colombia and the U.S. that gives the American armed forces the use of seven military bases in Colombia, and grants immunity to U.S. soldiers operating in there.
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and President Barack Obama claim that the U.S. military presence in Colombia will serve only to combat narco-traffickers and leftist guerillas, not threaten Colombia's neighbors. Yet as the Venezuelanalysis.com Web site reports, this claim "is contradicted by the 2010 fiscal year budget of the U.S. Air Force Military Construction Program, which states that...the pact 'provides a unique opportunity for full-spectrum operations in a critical sub-region of our hemisphere' and 'supports mobility missions by providing access to the entire continent.'"
Sounds like Obama is trying to double-talk us into war. Just like Dubya. And anyone who thinks that American covert operatives are in the business of stopping the drug trade must be high. The only guys who get stopped are competitors.
So who or what is the private military contractor involved with these bases? Here is a bit from a handy-dandy Wikipedia article on such contractors:
In 2006, a U.S. congressional report listed a number of PMCs and other enterprises that have signed contracts to carry out anti-narcotics operations and related activities as part of Plan Colombia. DynCorp was among those contracted by the State Department, while others signed contracts with the Defense Department. Other companies from different countries, including Israel, have also signed contracts with the Colombian Defense Ministry to carry out security or military activities.
So, could Madsen have been referring to DynCorp? Possibly. Here's a cute little DynCorp fact you may not know:
According to whistleblower Ben Johnston, a former aircraft mechanic who worked for the company in Bosnia, Dyncorp employees and supervisors engaged in sex with 12 to 15year old children, and sold them to each other as slaves.
Lovely. Johnston was, of course, fired, and his charges did not lead to an official investigation. DynCorp continues to receive billions of taxpayer dollars. And just to add to the cynicism quotient, we learn that DynCorp has also been accused of trafficking in narcotics out of Colombia:
According to a monthly DEA intelligence report from last year, officers of Colombia's National Police force intercepted and opened, on May 12, 2000, a US-bound Federal Express package at Bogota's El Dorado International Airport. The parcel "contained two (2) small bottles of a thick liquid" that "had the same consistency as motor oil." The communiqué goes on to report that the liquid substance "tested positive for heroin" and that the "alleged heroin laced liquid weighed approximately 250 grams."...the package belonged [to] an unnamed employee of DynCorp, who was sending the parcel to the company's Andean operations headquarters at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.
Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky wants to ban the use of private military contractors. Fat chance, but I appreciate the fact that Schakowsky gets it.
"Reports that DynCorp employees have been implicated in drug trafficking, the very thing they are paid to help prevent, only strengthens my conviction that outsourcing is the wrong policy...."
Well, it's the right policy if you're out to make some money as a dope peddler.
DynCorp is also involved in a big way in -- you guessed it -- Afghanistan. Among many other tasks, DynCorp trains the Afghan police forces, which are universally despised:
"The police would stop people driving on motorcycles, beat them and take their money," said Mohammad Gul, an elder in the village of Pankela, which British troops have been securing for the past three days after flying in by helicopter.
He pointed to two compounds of neighbors where pre-teen children had been abducted by police to be used for the local practice of "bachabazi," or sex with pre-pubescent boys.
"If the boys were out in the fields, the police would come and rape them," he said. "You can go to any police base and you will see these boys. They hold them until they are finished with them and then let the child go."
Small wonder the Taliban has enjoyed a renewed popularity.
Remember all those stories about KBR and Haliburton getting no-bid contracts in Iraq? Same shit, different day.
Last year DynCorp and Fluor, together with KBR, became part of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or Logcap, a huge contract once awarded exclusively to KBR.
In July the Pentagon announced that it planned on having DynCorp and Fluor take over KBR's work in Afghanistan under Logcap, doing everything from providing laundry to food and fuel. The decision came as President Obama sent 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan to go after the Taliban in an expanding war.
I'm beginning to wonder: Is Obama Bush III -- or is he Cheney II?
DynCorp brags about its anti-narcotics activities. But last year, we saw a couple of stories that make one wonder.
In April, a DynCorp employee in Afghanistan -- a security team leader involved with training those wonderful Afghan cops -- was found dead of a drug overdose:
Investigators are looking into a number of allegations, including that the employee procured drugs on monthly trips to Thailand, and that his superiors were aware of his conduct and failed to take action...
Thailand? Why would a DynCorp guy training cops in Afghanistan be going to Thailand on a routine basis? Apparently, the company knew about these trips...
The probe also involves allegations that the employee was arrested by Thai police in March for stealing a $14,000 watch; that employees who spoke about the issue to State Department officials were threatened with retaliation by supervisors; and that company drug testing following the man's death resulted in four other employees testing positive, the sources said.
So wrote the WP; if there were follow-up reports, I have not seen them.
Pretty much the exact same thing occurred to another DynCorp employee in September:
A U.S. contractor helping to train Afghanistan's national police was found dead of a possible drug overdose last week in Kabul, just months after the State Department reprimanded his company for another worker's drug-related death.
The Afghan cops are widely thought to be involved in the drug trade. Maybe their trainers are getting a cut?
DynCorp receives massive U.S. government contracts to combat narcotics in Afghanistan, yet -- surprise, surprise! -- the trade has exploded there. Your tax dollars built a $37 million bridge (outsourced to an Italian firm!) between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and that bridge has now proven to be an enormous boon to heroin traffickers.
"You can give your bag of heroin to one of the guards, and he will carry it across for you."
Remember, DynCorp trains security personnel in Afghanistan. To be fair, I don't know if they have ever trained any H-toting guards who work on that bridge.
The U.S.-financed bridge has made drug trafficking even easier, truck driver Mohammed said with a toothy smile: "You load the truck with drugs."
The ferry that used to operate at Nizhny Panj carried about 40 trucks a day. The bridge can carry 1,000 vehicles daily.
Every day last year - extrapolating from United Nations estimates - an average of more than 4 metric tons of opium, which can be made into some 1,320 pounds of heroin, moved on the northern route. Put another way, the equivalent of nearly 6 million doses of pure heroin - at 100 milligrams each - is carried across the northern Afghan border each day.
Maybe that's why Obama escalated. He is putting in enough troops to protect the profitable status quo -- but not enough to transform Afghanistan into a modern, civilized nation.
Why do you think they call it Hopium?