Sunday, November 04, 2007

Blackwater Provides US Intelligence to Foreign Buyers

So today we are going to contemplate the politics of using the word treason, especially when it gets so cleverly wrapped in the trapings of globalization. Blackwater developed it's own private intelligence agency and now hires out former CIA agents and their experience to the highest foreign bidder. And they admit point out that they are gleaning information from foreign contacts, developed by it's employees while they were in government service, which would be considered the treasonous exchange of state secrets to a foreign government if these foriegners took their information to a US embassy. The silent side of that logic is that capitalism permits the exchange of US classified information and state secrets to a foreign private individual for money. Shortly after 9-11 there was a lot of focus on the dangers to democracy posed by non-state actors. But it seems that instead of learning from history, conservative Republicans were falling in love with the concept of developing armed religious mercenary forces beyond the control of world government.

You learn in government service that it's not enough to avoid providing proof of wrong-doing, but you must also avoid the opportunity to do that wrong. It's not enough not to be caught having sex with a prostitute, you must also not be found in her hotel room with money in your hand. Here we have former CIA agents and other civil servants, building a shadow intelligence agency to collect intelligence they insist is only open source, after having spent a career developing skills focused on intelligence that was anything but publically available. What do they plan to provide intelligence analysis on? Their Global Fusion Center, staffed around the clock, searches for warnings on everything from terrorist plots on radical Islamic Web sites to possible political upheavals in Asia, [b]labor strikes[/b] in South America and Europe, and economic upheavals that could affect private enterprise. "We're not a private detective," former CIA's head of counterterrorism Cofer Black said. "We provide intelligence to our clients. It's not about taking pictures. It's business intelligence. We collect all information that's publicly available. This is a completely legal enterprise. We break no laws. We don't go anywhere near breaking laws. We don't have to."

America and Iraq have learned quite bloodly over the past few months that Blackwater doesn't believe that any laws apply to them at all, or should. If laws applied to Blackwater, as they have consistently argued in court, the ability of the Commander-in-Chief to wage war would be crippled, even while Blackwater was busy changing it's name from Blackwater USA to Blackwater Worldwide. Odd that Black insists that their intelligence operations don't involve pictures, while the live feed from al-Jazeera plays in the background and GoogleEarth is a common feature on computers across America. Yeah, who can blame the reader who swallows that one. But what is Black talking about in terms of gathering information from terrorist websites that's publically available. We happen to have had it out in public quite recently that the gathering of information from these sites uses technologies that provide illegal uses if they were used to hack say, information from Target's pharmacy records about whose getting emergency contraception. Even open source, we are talking about a global form of Operation CHAOS. Yes, the building of files on union activists and anti-war protestors in order to protect the interests of the highest bidder. Funded by conservative Republicans who are using your tax money.

How concerned should a democracy be considering that this intelligence is being fed into an organization with no alligence to the United States, and will consist of analysis of anyone who they have been paid to spy on. Such activities can be reasonably understood to include infiltration both of internet groups and face-to-face of anti-war and fair trade organizations, labor unions and human rights groups. A list of the children of labor rights organizers in Brazil and their schools and routes home. A method of concealing arms shipments from international inspection or even the law. The interrogation of democracy activists in Burma. The suppression of local activists protesting the corrupt regime in Nigeria and it's support by international oil companies. All of which are activities fundamentally in odds with the spread of democracy in the world and the idea of open societies.

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