In 2009, on this day Mr Gordon R. England, the Under Secretary of Defence for Military Outsourcing signed a multi-billion dollar "No Bid" contract with the American security company Xe Services (formerly Blackwater International).
CIA confirms Blackwater helpSince contracted guards had participated in CIA raids on suspected militants in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the contract award was considered a logical next step in the "small military footprint" objective laid down by former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. This strategem had been validated by a review of military strategy conducted after President John S. McCain's inauguration, because Pentagon benchmarking exercises had determined that the raids revealed a need for a greater level of involvement between the agency and Xe Services than previously considered necessary.
Founder and sole owner of the company, Mr Erik D. Prince confirmed that Xe were "delighted to receive a new contract to participate in covert raids with CIA and Special Operations".
In 2009, on this day US President John S. McCain awarded a $1bn no-bid contract to the private military company Blackwater Worldwide.Dropping in to Darfur
Doubts had been raised by members of the US Congress that Blackwater employees actually were "loyal Americans" and not mercenaries in the employ of a foreign government; in fact, hard evidence had emerged of Chilean soldiers fighting in Iraq, formerly trained by Augustus Pinochet's murderous regime. Nevertheless, the President had received sufficient confidence from assurances provided by founder and sole owner, Mr Erik. D Prince following Controversy and criticism of the 100,000 privately managed, armed security contractors working in Iraq.
Speaking at Lafayette Park, across from the White House McCain put a positive spin on the announcement. America, said McCain, had a long tradition of hiring private military contractors to achieve national security. Pointing to the inscription under the statue of Wilhelm von Steuben, the President recounted how the Prussian General trained George Washington's troops at Valley Forge, Pa.:
"He gave military training and discipline to the citizen soldiers who achieved the independence of the United States".
Vice Chairman and former CIA Counterterroism Chief J. (Joseph) Cofer Black had acted in a key brokerage role to secure the no-bid contract - using his rolodex of government contacts to convince the Administration that only Blackwater had the necessary resources for the operation they had in mind. In March 2006 Black allegedly suggested at an international conference in Amman, Jordan, that Blackwater USA was ready to move towards providing security professionals up to brigade size for humanitarian efforts and low intensity conflicts. It would appear that Mr Prince would now need to deliver on some of his earlier rhetoric about creating a private battalion that could be dropped into a trouble spot anywhere around the world (Darfur was expressly mentioned by Mr Prince).
In reality, American involvement in Darfur had been likely ever since the group "Human Rights First" claimed that over 90% of the light weapons currently being imported by Sudan and used in the conflict were from China. Likely became inevitable with the emergence of further evidence of the Sudanese government's murder of civilians to actually facilitate the extraction of oil. The U.S.-funded Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, which investigated attacks in southern Sudan during 2008 concluded that "as the Government of Sudan sought to clear the way for oil exploration and to create a cordon sanitaire around the oil fields, vast tracts of the Western Upper Nile Region in southern Sudan became the focus of extensive military operations".
Ironically, the announcement concluded a six year period of demonstration against Western Governments who stood accused of blind-folding (pictured) themselves to the human tragedies resulting from the War in Darfur.
In 2010, on this day US President John S. McCain was presented with a 140-page National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). The report, which represented the consensual view of all sixteen American intelligence agencies, concluded with a "moderate level of confidence" that the Great Nation of Iran would be fully equipped with an operational "Persian Bomb" by the end of the year.
The McCain MomentDespite his predecessor's State of the Union address stigmatising Iran within the "axis of evil", it was widely acknowledged that the nuclear technology had in fact originated from Pakistan, a putative ally in the "war on terror". But regardless of the fact that the late Prime Minister Benezir Bhutto had failed to prevent the Pakistani nuclear engineer A.Q. Khan shipping advanced weapons designs to Tehran, the reality was that the US now faced "the McCain moment". That phrase had been coined during the 2008 Presidential campaign when the then Senator said "There is only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option. That is a nuclear-armed Iran".
"There is only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option. That is a nuclear-armed Iran" ~ McCainThe possibility that a nuclear device, piggy-backed on a Shahab-4 missile would be used to "wipe the State of Israel off the map" was of course the worst case scenario. As far back as 2007, the option that Israel itself took pre-emptive action to destroy the Iranian nuclear technology had been taken off the table. In fact Washington analysts doubted that US, let alone Israel, could destroy all sixteen sites where research was being conducted. And then there was the "moderate" confidence level of the NIE itself, produced by the same agencies whose misintelligence had judged that Iraq had a WMD programme in 2003 based on the faulty logic that there was no contrary evidence to show the programme had stopped. And the decision to proceed with a pre-emptive strike was now in the hands of McCain. A faulty decision-maker who had unwisely decided to continue with his bombing run of Hanoi, disregarding a warning tone that an enemy SAM battery had locked onto him.