Suicide Assassin Drones: A New Tradecraft Tool?

By now, most people have heard of the assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. In what might be a first, a world leader was targeted by a explosive-laden drone; in this case, two $8,000 DJI Matrice 600 Pros.  Each carried a payload of 2.2 pounds of C4 plastic explosive.

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This leads to the question: In the future, are more and more assassination attempts on politician leaders, dissidents and whistle-blowers going to be carried out by drone? Has the day of the drone assassination arrived?

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sealteam6Officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, SEAL Team 6 is today the most celebrated of the U.S. military’s special mission units. But hidden behind the heroic narratives is a darker, more troubling story of “revenge ops,” unjustified killings, mutilations, and other atrocities — a pattern of criminal violence that emerged soon after the Afghan war began and was tolerated and covered up by the command’s leadership.

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Former Blackwater Gets Rich as Afghan Drug Production Hits Record High

Source: The Guardian

In a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year.

Yet one clear winner in the anti-drug effort is not the Afghan people, but the infamous mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater.

Statistics released on Tuesday reveal that the rebranded private security firm, known since 2011 as Academi, reaped over a quarter billion dollars from the futile Defense Department push to eradicate Afghan narcotics, some 21% of the $1.5 bn in contracting money the Pentagon has devoted to the job since 2002.

The company is the second biggest beneficiary of counternarcotics largesse in Afghanistan. Only the defense giant Northrop Grumman edged it out, with $325m. Continue reading

Stratfor: Ukraine Coup Plotted by US Over Russian Stance on Syria


According to several sources, namely Stratfor, Ukraine has undergone a “Western-backed coup” in the course of the recent political upheaval that forced now-ousted President Viktor Yanukovych to leave the country.

Ukraine has been gripped by unrest since November 2013, when Yanukovych refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.

On February 23 2014, amid rising violence in the country, the Ukrainian parliament ousted Yanukovych and named Oleksandr Turchynov, the legislature’s speaker, as interim president.

As the crisis was brewing in Ukraine, US and European officials repeatedly expressed support for the anti-government Ukrainian protesters. The protests took violent forms as an increasing number of the protesters resorted to violence in confronting Ukrainian security forces.

Stratfor, an ad-hoc public intelligence provider, confirms what the more conspiratorial-minded among us have long suspected:

MOSCOW, December 19 (Sputnik) – The United States is behind the February coup in Kiev, which came in response to Russia’s stance on Syria, said George Friedman, the founder and CEO of Stratfor, a global intelligence company.

Russia has repeatedly said that the coup in Kiev was organized by the US, Friedman told Kommersant newspaper. Indeed, it was the most overt coup in history, the political analyst stressed.

The United States decided to act following Russia’s successes in the Middle East, a key region for the US. Americans saw that Russians could influence what was happening in the Middle East, Friedman said. Russians are one of the many challenges in the region that the US faces, he stated. The US thought Russia’s activities were an attempt to harm Washington, the political analyst told the newspaper, adding that events in Ukraine should be viewed in this context.

Russians seem to have underestimated how seriously the US would react to Moscow’s activities in the region and that they would easily respond, Friedman said. The US understood that the thing Russia wants the least is instability in Ukraine, he added.

The head of Stratfor, also known as “The Shadow CIA,” insisted that Russia’s involvement in Syria was not the only reason for the Ukrainian crisis. However, many in Washington started to perceive Russia as a problem, the expert told the newspaper, adding that at that time the US decided to divert Russia’s attention away from the Middle East.

Syria has been in a civil war since March 2011. Over 100,000 people have died as a result of the armed conflict. Russia repeatedly stated that the election of Syria’s president Bashar Assad was legitimate, and that the people of Syria should control their future. From the beginning of the war the US supported the opposition and stated that the conflict would not be over with Assad in power.

For more details, check out this article from March, 2014 on RSN:

If the US State Department’s Victoria Nuland had not said “Fuck the EU,” few outsiders at the time would have heard of Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the man on the other end of her famously bugged telephone call. But now Washington’s man in Kiev is gaining fame as the face of the CIA-style “destabilization campaign” that brought down Ukraine’s monumentally corrupt but legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

“Geoffrey Pyatt is one of these State Department high officials who does what he’s told and fancies himself as a kind of a CIA operator,” laughs Ray McGovern, who worked for 27 years as an intelligence analyst for the agency. “It used to be the CIA doing these things,” he tells Democracy Now. “I know that for a fact.” Now it’s the State Department, with its coat-and-tie diplomats, twitter and facebook accounts, and a trick bag of goodies to build support for American policy.  Read More>>

Documentary: Mexican Drug Cartels are now in the Oil Business

Cocaine & Crude

From Tamulipas to Oaxaca, Mexican cartels are now engaging in violence and intimidation against oil workers. When they are not in rural areas tapping Pemex pipelines for gas and oil (called Fuel Milking), they are taking material storage locations by force or violence and draining the tanks into their trucks. Apparently, they have learned over time that the Oil Business is just as profitable as the drug and gun business.

Drug cartels are diversifying their business from drug/gun running and intimidation to oil theft, drug/gun running and intimidation. This new business is extremely lucrative and they know this. In fact, there are interesting parallels between the Cartel business model and the model used by upper echelons of various powerful Governments around the world. Control the guns, control the drugs and control the oil. The money will come. Once you control the final point, currency, the world is yours. Until then, it’s a tool for the cartels. This is evident in their popularized saying: “Plata o Plomo”, meaning Silver or Lead. Take a payoff or DIE.

Vice News’ latest documentary covers the Cartel’s new venture into the business of oil theft and it’s impact. If for no other reason, watching this documentary will give you a good idea of the level of fear instilled in local workers and businessmen, even when they have armed Mexican Military escorts. Mexican Cartels are certainly no joke.

Watch the full 20m short, here:

Terror alert ‘reflects failure of US policy, shows Al-Qaeda power’

Source: RT

The US State Department’s travel alert and closure of more than 20 US embassies in Muslim countries are the result of a failure of US policy in the Arab world, and indicate how powerful Al-Qaeda has become there, author and historian Gerald Horne told RT.

Washington on Friday urged US travelers to take extra precautions due to the “continued potential for terrorist attacks” in the Middle East and North Africa. The alert, which warned of Al-Qaeda activity “possibly occurring and emanating from the Arabian Peninsula,” is applicable until at least August 31.

More than 20 US embassies and consulates have been temporarily closed in Muslim countries due to a “specific threat,” while the “increased threat” of Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks has prompted the UK and Germany to shut down their embassies in Yemen.

The global terror scares clearly show that the US policy in Middle East and North Africa has backfired, says Horne, who is Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, Texas.

RT:With 21 embassies closing it doesn’t appear that the threat is that specific. What could we be talking about here?

Gerald Horne: Recall September 11, 2012, when the US Consulate in Benghazi, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens, were subjected to attack. Mr Stevens, as you recall, was killed. What this alert basically reflects is that US policy in that part of the world has backfired. For example, in Syria, the United States has encouraged, if not supported, a war against the Damascus-based regime of [President Bashar] Assad. This has involved a number of US nationals and European nationals going into Syria to fight with the so-called jihadists. This is giving a shot in the arm to Al-Qaeda backed forces, such as the al-Nusra Front in Syria, which is tied to Al-Qaeda in Iraq… In the last month [they] have been engaged in a spate of car bombings in Baghdad and the surrounding region. So it seems to me that the State Department alert reflects a failure of US policy.

RT:And this is indicative of how powerful Al-Qaeda has become?

GH: Absolutely. The rumors about Al-Qaeda’s death have been greatly exaggerated. It is not only the fact that you have the US collaborating with the so-called Islamists in 2011 to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. It is the fact that those Islamists then spread their tentacles into neighboring Algeria, where there was an attack on an energy installation a few months ago, and into neighboring Niger, where the so-called Islamists attacked a uranium facility leading to a number of deaths. And into neighboring Mali where they took over basically Northern Mali before being expelled by the French forces. All this is a direct outgrowth, and a direct result of a failed US policy.

RT:What are the consequences of these embassies being shut? Could they be closed for a longer period – beyond Sunday?

GH: It is unclear how long these embassies and consulates will be closed down. But August is the month when US nationals, generally speaking, take vacations – and many of them take vacations and tours in that part of the world. Now with US embassies and consulates basically shuttered, this means that if they encounter any difficulties abroad they will not be able to go to their taxpayer-supported embassies and consulates to get assistance.

RT:Apart from embassies, what else or who else could be a target?

GH: Well, I am afraid to say, there might even be attacks, let’s hope not on the US mainland. I recall when there was a similar alert a few years ago, you had armed guards with machine guns in the Los Angeles airport, for example, because they were expecting some kind of attack. Obviously there are all sorts of US corporate facilities in that region that could be subjected to attack. It is a very dangerous turn of events.

RT:Is this a sign that US intelligence is actually working?

GH: Well, we’ll know within days or weeks. I don’t think so. Despite the drones, and the National Security Agency which monitors the Internet and bugs telephone calls, it is still astonishing how much the US intelligence agencies do not know about those who are plotting against US interests.