Who is in control?

A New York Times article “U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts”, reports on the use of private actors in intelligence gathering missions, who seem to be largely beholding to no rules or laws.

“With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the expanded role of contractors on the battlefield — from interrogating prisoners to hunting terrorism suspects — has raised questions about whether the United States has outsourced some of its most secretive and important operations to a private army many fear is largely unaccountable.”

Another key quote –

“The private contractor network was born in part out of frustration with the C.I.A. and the military intelligence apparatus. There was a belief by some officers that the C.I.A. was too risk averse, too reliant on Pakistan’s spy service and seldom able to provide the military with timely information to protect American troops. In addition, the military has complained that it is not technically allowed to operate in Pakistan, whose government is willing to look the other way and allow C.I.A. spying but not the presence of foreign troops.”

which bears the painful unmistakeable stamp of the former VP Cheney who when faced with intelligence that did not suit his desires, like evidence of WMD in Iraq, simply ordered intelligence officers to find (make up?) that evidence, or simply set up his own ‘intelligence’ team. (LSW, it must be remembered, is no expert in the field and these statements can and should be checked). The prince of darkness or whatever he called himself, was of an opinion that laws were not meant for the likes of him (who did not see it as his role to go and fight in Vietnam as there were so many apparently more important things for him to do back home, spoken like a true…).

Cheney’s disregard of the law finds an unmistakable expression in these outside the law/outside control rogue operations.

The term ‘special operations’ is used four times in this article. It should be noted that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, presently commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), was
Commander for Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008. Conclusions are left to the reader.

Democracy Now has aired reports from Jeremy Scahill on the activities of private military firms (Blackwater among others) in Pakistan. Scahill also has an article in The Nation on the same topic.

It might be argued that Obama’s desire to look forward, instead of dwelling on the judicial transgressions of the previous admiistration was more designed, by intent or not, to allow the Bush policies/personnel to continue unabated and outside the control of the law.

The Pentagon, the Fed/economic policy, Mineral Management Services (read BP Gulf of Mexico disaster) all immediately come to mind as power centers which the Obama administration has shown no interest in controlling.

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