American special forces have conducted multiple clandestine raids into Pakistan’s tribal areas as part of a secret war in the border region where Washington is pressing to expand its drone assassination programme.
A former Nato officer said the incursions, only one of which has been previously reported, occurred between 2003 and 2008, involved helicopter-borne elite soldiers stealing across the border at night, and were never declared to the Pakistani government.
“The Pakistanis were kept entirely in the dark about it. It was one of those things we wouldn’t confirm officially with them,” said the source, who had detailed knowledge of the operations. [continued…]
Few people by now can be unaware of Blackwater, later known as Blackwater Worldwide and now as Xe. The private security agency formed in 1997 and based in North Carolina is owned by Erik Prince, a former member of the US Navy Seal special forces, and has long-standing links with both the CIA and the FBI.
Its presence in Pakistan has been an open secret for some years. The investigative journalist and writer Jeremy Scahill, an authority on Blackwater and author of the bestselling Blackwater: the Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, revealed last month that it has been there since 2006. He says Blackwater is being employed for covert ops, essentially intended to target high-value al Qa’eda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, but it has also assisted in providing information for drone attacks and has kidnapped suspects and transported them covertly to the US for interrogation.
In other words, it is an American agency with a licence to kill or kidnap, thus exonerating official American agencies that might one day be held accountable. (Although personally I doubt if the CIA will ever be held accountable. I continue to aver that it is the only real rogue intelligence agency in the world. Mossad might enjoy liberty of action for any operation, but it cannot undertake one without the approval of the Israeli prime minister: no such restriction applies to the CIA.) [continued…]