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					Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater's Secret Relationship With Big Business - Democracy Now!




                                                                     September 16, 2010
                                                                from DemocracyNow Website




        In his recent piece for The Nation, "Blackwater's Black Ops," Jeremy Scahill reveals how private security firm Blackwater
        (now known as Xe) has provided security and intelligence services to a range of powerful multinational corporations over
        the past several years.

        Blackwater has also provided intelligence and training to foreign governments, including those of Jordan, Canada and the
        Netherlands.

        In conversation with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Scahill explains that the documents he has obtained link
        Blackwater to the shady intelligence services of corporations such as Chevron and Monsanto.

        But Scahill's research may be just the tip of the iceberg.

                "This needs to be investigated," says Scahill, "I'm hoping that other journalists can follow up on what
                Blackwater was doing...for these powerful multinational corporations."




        RUSH TRANSCRIPT
                AMY GOODMAN: "Blackwater’s Black Ops" - that’s the title of an explosive new article in The Nation
                magazine that reveals how entities closely linked with the private security firm Blackwater have provided
                security and intelligence services to a range of powerful corporations over the past several years. The
                companies include Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Royal
                Caribbean Cruise Lines.

                Blackwater has also provided intelligence and training services to foreign governments, including the
                Kingdom of Jordan, the Canadian military and the Dutch police. In 2007, former Pakistani Prime Minister
                Benazir Bhutto worked with Blackwater when she returned to Pakistan to campaign for the general
                elections. Bhutto was assassinated in December of 2007.

                The new revelations come from documents obtained by The Nation. They show that Blackwater’s work for
                corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies: Total Intelligence Solutions
                and the Terrorism Research Center. Both companies are owned by Blackwater’s owner and founder, Erik
                Prince.

                Today also marks the third anniversary of the Nisoor Square massacre, when Blackwater guards gunned
                down seventeen Iraqi civilians and wounded twenty in a fifteen-minute shooting spree in Baghdad.

                For more, we’re joined now from New York by investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill. He’s a Puffin


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Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater's Secret Relationship With Big Business - Democracy Now!

                Foundation writing fellow at the Nation Institute. He’s a Democracy Now! correspondent and author of the
                book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His new article in online at
                thenation.com.

                Jeremy, welcome to Democracy Now! How did you get a hold of these documents?

                JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, Amy, as you know, journalists who do this kind of sensitive work have an
                obligation to protect their sources, so I’m not going to go into any detail about where these documents came
                from because of ethical obligations that I have as an investigative journalist to protect my sources. And
                we’re living in a climate right now where there is really a war against whistleblowers and others, so I prefer
                to leave it at that.


                AMY GOODMAN: Tell us what you found. Tell us how many documents you got and what’s in them.

                JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I was provided with an extensive array of documents that included internal
                company emails from various entities controlled by Erik Prince, including Total Intelligence Solutions, the
                Terrorism Research Center, Blackwater itself, documents that not only relate to these corporations that you
                mentioned - Monsanto, Disney, Chevron and the rest - but also documents that relate to some very powerful
                people that were veteran CIA operatives that worked on lethal CIA programs before coming to Blackwater.

                Among them was Cofer Black, the former head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, the man who after
                9/11 told Congress that the gloves had come off, in terms of the tactics that the United States was using in
                the so-called war on terror. Another figure was Rob Richer, who is the former deputy director of operations
                at the CIA, and Enrique "Ric" Prado, who is a twenty-four-year CIA veteran and was a veteran paramilitary
                operative in the CIA’s Special Operations Group, the most lethal of the CIA entities.

                And in terms of Ric Prado, what is significant about him is that Prado and Erik Prince were the two figures
                that set up the CIA assassination program that Blackwater was at the center of. And what the documents
                that I obtained show is that Ric Prado, beginning in 2007, took the network of foreign operatives that
                Blackwater had developed for the CIA’s assassination program, operatives that Ric Prado describes in the
                documents I obtained as "deniable," and therefore a "big plus" to clients that would want to hire them, and
                attempted to offer this network of deniable assets around the world to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

                And in fact, he emailed an eighteen-year veteran of the DEA who had recently come to work for Erik Prince
                and asked that executive if the DEA would be interested in such a network. And this eighteen-year DEA
                agent, who now was working for the Blackwater network of companies, told Prado that there could be
                interest in that and actually gave him the name of the special agent in charge of the Special Operations
                Division, which is a very secretive entity within the Department of Justice that’s controlled by the DEA.

                And this executive also suggested that attachés for the DEA in Mexico, in Colombia, in Thailand and
                elsewhere may also be interested. Now, I haven’t been able to confirm whether or not this network was
                activated and, if it was, for what purpose, but this is very, very explosive.

                The other thing, Amy, that I think is really important on this CIA angle is that at one point, in one of the
                documents I obtained, we find that Blackwater set up a pricing chart for its services to hire people like
                Enrique "Ric" Prado or Cofer Black or Rob Richer to work for your private corporation or if you’re a wealthy
                individual.

                And among the services, you could pay more than $33,000 to have Ric Prado set up a - lead a four-man
                counter-surveillance team or counterintelligence team in the United States. You could pay $250,000 to have
                Prado set up a safe-house for you, plus expenses. And these services were also offered in places around
                the globe, in North Africa, in China, Japan, Russia, throughout Latin America.

                So essentially what you had is CIA-type services literally being offered at a price tag, a specific price tag,
                being put on them. And perhaps the most interesting among them is that for $5,000 a day you could hire
                Cofer Black, Rob Richer or Ric Prado to represent your interests in front of national decision makers.


                AMY GOODMAN: You also write, Jeremy Scahill, about what happened on this - well, three years ago - this


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Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater's Secret Relationship With Big Business - Democracy Now!

                is the third anniversary of the Nisoor Square massacre - what Blackwater did in response, the Blackwater
                operatives who opened fire and killed seventeen Iraqis.

                JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, the Nisoor Square massacre was the single greatest massacre of Iraqi civilians
                that we know about that was committed by a US force in Iraq. And what happened is that after the Nisoor
                Square massacre, Blackwater engaged in a rebranding campaign, where they attempted to shake the
                Blackwater name. They now call themselves Xe Services or the US Training Center.

                And what I think was most fascinating, in terms of this rebranding, as far as the documents I obtained, was
                - is that in January of 2008, Cofer Black, who was the vice chair of Blackwater and the chairman of Total
                Intelligence Solutions, Blackwater’s CIA, flew to Zürich, Switzerland, and he met with Kevin Wilson, who was
                the head of global security for Monsanto.

                And I actually talked to Kevin Wilson. I called him on the phone and reached him, and he seemed pretty
                surprised that I knew about the meeting, but he did confirm, ultimately, that he met with Cofer Black. And he
                told me that Cofer Black had informed him that Blackwater and Total Intelligence were totally separate
                entities.

                But if you see the email that Cofer Black sent after meeting with Kevin Wilson, he sent it to Erik Prince at
                Prince’s Blackwater email address and to Ric Prado at his Blackwater email address, and he told them that
                he had discussed with Kevin Wilson Blackwater becoming the intel arm, the intelligence arm, of Monsanto
                and that they had discussed using Blackwater/Total Intelligence operatives to infiltrate animal rights groups.

                Of course, Monsanto is at the center of many protests globally by farmers’ organizations, by animal rights
                activists, by environmental rights activists. You discussed earlier in the headlines this issue of hiring
                companies to spy in the state of Pennsylvania.

                So when I asked Monsanto about that, they said that no such discussion took place, but they did
                acknowledge that they hired Total Intelligence Solutions beginning in '08 and all the way up - working for
                Monsanto all the way up until earlier this year, in 2010. And they said that one of the things that they were
                doing for them was to monitor activists' blogs and websites on behalf of Monsanto.

                The Disney corporation hired Blackwater to scout movie locations in Morocco. And in that case, Rob Richer,
                former senior CIA officer, and Cofer Black, both of them reactivated their contacts in Morocco from their CIA
                days and used those sources as a way to build a sort of report for Disney.

                Deutsche Bank had them prepare - had Blackwater/Total Intelligence and the Terrorism Research Center
                prepare a report on countersurveillance tactics in China. And the Blackwater network of companies advised
                Deutsche Bank that they should not be - that they should not bring any electronic equipment when they go
                into China and that their executives should beware of female Chinese agents trying to get too close to them.

                And at one point, the analyst for Blackwater says, "If women aren’t coming onto you in the United States
                and they start coming onto you in China, well, then, you know something is suspicious."

                Perhaps what is going to be most eye-raising for some in Pakistan about what I’ve reported is the idea that
                Benazir Bhutto worked with Blackwater in the months leading up to her death. There’s an email that I
                obtained from Rob Richer, the former deputy director of operations at CIA working for Blackwater at the
                time, where it is revealed that American security has been hired by Bhutto.

                And richer writes back - and I think it’s important to quote this exactly as he said it - he writes to the other
                analysts for Blackwater and Total Intelligence Solutions, and he says,

                        "We need to watch this carefully from a number of angles. If our name surfaces, the Pakistani
                        press reaction will be very important. How that plays through the Muslim world will also need
                        tracking."

                Richer wrote, quote,

                        "We should be prepared to [sic] a communiqué from an affiliate of Al-Qaida if our name
                        surfaces," meaning Blackwater. "That will impact the security [profile]."


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Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater's Secret Relationship With Big Business - Democracy Now!


                There’s a word missing there, or there’s a typo.

                          "We should be prepared to" - what - "a communiqué." It’s unclear.

                And the missing word or the typo there will dictate, of course, the full meaning of that message, because
                Benazir Bhutto was assassinated two months later. So I’m sure that this bears much further scrutiny by the
                Bhutto family and the Pakistani government.

                This really needs to be investigated, what role Blackwater had in Benazir Bhutto’s security operations.


                AMY GOODMAN: You also mention Blackwater working for Chevron Corporation, a company we’ve both
                investigated together, Jeremy.

                JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, it looks like Chevron was a subscriber, in some form, to the intelligence services
                provided by Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center. Blackwater - or, excuse me,
                Chevron is listed on one of the documents that I obtained that shows the list of top ten vendors for the Total
                Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center for their client base.

                But there were no specifics about what the company - the companies, Blackwater-affiliated companies, did
                for Chevron. That’s also the case with some of the other companies on there. And I think one of the
                reasons why I wanted to put this out is that I’m hoping that other journalists are going to follow up on this
                and really press the issue - just exactly what was Blackwater doing, particularly after the Nisoor Square
                massacre, for all of these powerful multinational corporations?


                AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to go to break and come back. Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill is our
                guest. He has an explosive piece at thenation.com. It’s called "Blackwater’s Black Ops." Stay with us.


                [break]


                AMY GOODMAN: We’re finishing up with our guest Jeremy Scahill, independent journalist, and the piece in
                The Nation magazine, "Blackwater’s Black Ops." As we wrap up on this third anniversary of the Nisoor
                Square massacre, Jeremy, I wanted to go back to Ric Prado and the losing the secure phone line.

                JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. There was a flurry of emails at one point in October of 2009. Clearly, someone
                from the CIA had contacted Blackwater and was asking them to account for their secure telephone unit.
                These are telephone units that are encrypted and allow conversations that cannot be penetrated or
                eavesdropped on, and they’re used regularly, the more current version of it - they’re called STEs - are used
                regularly by the NSA or the CIA, by the President himself.

                And, you know, clearly, the - Blackwater had been issued one of these telephones because of its covert
                work for the CIA, of course, the CIA assassination program, that lasted at least from '04 to ’06 involving
                Blackwater. And various Blackwater officials are emailing around, and they can't account for it. And people
                are saying, "I have no dog in this fight. I’ve left the company."

                And then Ric Prado, who had left Blackwater and started his own covert operations shop called
                Constellation Security Group, Constellation Security Consulting - Ric Prado emails, finally, to kind of say,
                "Well, I’ll take care of this." And he says, "Have the OGA point of contact contact me." OGA, of course, is
                parlance for the CIA. It means "other government agency."

                Prado’s company, I think, Constellation, needs to be investigated, because he writes in these documents
                that he carried out operations in Mali, in North Africa, potentially involving Chad and Congo. We know, of
                course, that there’s increased CIA and Joint Special Operations Command activity happening on the African
                continent.




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Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater's Secret Relationship With Big Business - Democracy Now!

                And the role of this company, of this man who is a twenty-four-year veteran of the CIA, a paramilitary for
                the CIA, his company, his new company, needs to be investigated because it appears as though he’s taken
                some of Blackwater’s covert CIA business with him into his new company that he himself has started and
                now runs.


                AMY GOODMAN: And, Jeremy, you’re talking about Constellation Consulting Group, or CCG. We want to
                thank you very much for being with us, Jeremy Scahill. The piece is explosive. It’s at thenation.com.
                Interesting you raise the issue of Blackwater spying for Monsanto, because tomorrow on Democracy Now!
                from here in Bonn, we’re going to speak with Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, who took on Blackwater in
                a big way.

                PERCY SCHMEISER: The Parliament in Cape Town of South Africa, and coming out of the Assembly, one
                of Monsanto’s representatives from Johannesburg ran face-to-face into us, and he lost his cool, and he said
                to my wife and myself - and he shook his fist in our face and said, "Nobody stands up to Monsanto. We are
                going to get both of you, somehow, some day, and destroy you both."

                Phone calls my wife would receive: "You better watch it. We’re going to get you." They would come into our
                driveway and watch what my wife would be doing all day. They would use their vehicles and sit on the roads
                alongside of our farmland, watch us all day long, to try and intimidate us and to put fear into us.


                AMY GOODMAN: That’s Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, took on Monsanto Corporation in a big way.
                You’ll hear his story tomorrow here on Democracy Now!, as we continue to broadcast from Bonn, Germany,
                where the thirtieth anniversary of the Right Livelihood Awards is being held.




        VIDEO




                                               Return to Blackwater - War Mercenaries Inc. - The
                                                              Privatization of War
                                                Return to Monsanto - A Multinational Factory of
                                                                      Death




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