The Obama administration has retained services of the notorious Blackwater guards to carry out drone attacks in Afghanistan, a new report reveals.
Despite controversial records of indiscriminate civilian killings in Iraq during the Bush administration, the shadowy US-based paramilitary security company has continued its ongoing relationship with Washington under President Barack Obama.
A fresh report by the New York Times revealed on Friday that Blackwater USA has been contracted to work with the unmanned Predator drones that carry out assassinations and terrorize villages in eastern and southern Afghanistan and the border regions of Pakistan.
It added that Blackwater personnel also ‘assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs’ — a work formerly carried out by the CIA.
Blackwater, which has changed its name to Xe Services LLC, began assisting the CIA in Afghanistan after gaining a contract to protect a new intelligence station in Kabul in 2002.
The drone assassination program under Obama’s ‘Af-Pak theater’ mission — which has left many civilians dead — shows no substantive distinction to the Bush administration’s hiring of Blackwater to carry out ‘targeted assassinations’ in Iraq with snipers and ambushes.
All the more, the security firms’ deployment in Pakistan is in clear violation of international law, as the US has never declared war on the South Asian state.
The new report comes in the wake of Thursday’s revelations that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had hired Blackwater in 2004 to carry out assassinations of those who Washington called ‘terror suspects’ over alleged links to al-Qaeda militant group.
The multimillion-dollar covert contracts had enabled the North Carolina-based group to execute its military tactics generally accepted as ‘excessively’ forceful.
In its most infamous episode, in September 2007, Blackwater agents killed 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in an ‘unprovoked’ attack, after opening random fire on pedestrians with machine guns and rocket launchers.
The bloody incident drew the public’s Ire in Iraq and worldwide condemnation, forcing the company to change its name to be able to return to Iraq.
However, even though the current US administration has barred Xe Services LLC from carrying guns in Iraq, a considerable number of former CIA authorities continue to work in collusion with the notorious security provider.
These relationships reveal that what has so far been exposed regarding Washington’s pacts with Blackwater — pacts concluded behind the backs of the American people — is only the tip of the iceberg.