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Pierce writes: "On Thursday, we discussed why it would be a terrible idea for whoever's president next to install Tom Cotton at the head of the CIA."

CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. (photo: Guardian UK)
CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. (photo: Guardian UK)

A CIA-Related Plan That Should Terrify All of Us

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

05 December 17


n Thursday, we discussed why it would be a terrible idea for whoever’s president* next to install Tom Cotton at the head of the CIA. On Friday, we got a look at the writhing ball of snakes that exists at the highest level of this administration*. Given all we know about both these phenomenon, what could be a better idea than giving this national security apparatus a system of private mercenary armies to carry out whatever Cotton or the White House think needs doing, including reviving the inhumane practice of “renditioning” people into torture chambers in Poland and Thailand? Buzzfeed has the story.

One of the proposals would involve hiring a private company, Amyntor Group, for millions of dollars to set up a large intelligence network and run counterterrorist propaganda efforts, according to the sources. Amyntor’s officials and employees include veterans of a variety of US covert operations, ranging from the Reagan-era Iran–Contra affair to more recent actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Amyntor declined to discuss the proposals, but a lawyer for the company said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the type of contract being contemplated would be legal “with direction and control by the proper government authority.” Another proposal presented to US officials would allow individuals affiliated with the company to help capture wanted terrorists on behalf of the United States. In keeping with that proposal, people close to the company are tracking two specific suspects in a Middle Eastern country, the sources said, for possible “rendition” to the United States. A source speaking on behalf of the company stressed that while Amyntor officials are aware of and involved in the rendition plan, the company itself would not be involved.

So the government wouldn’t be involved, except that the company would be acting with “the direction and control from the proper government authority,” except that the company wouldn’t be involved either. You can almost hear the fcks clustering themselves already. And they’re clustering under an administration* that is as paranoid as it is feckless.

Those familiar with the proposals say one of the driving impulses for privatizing some missions is a fear by some supporters of President Donald Trump, outside government, that the CIA bureaucracy has an anti-Trump bias that would thwart efforts to fulfill the president’s objectives. “The system does not work,” one source who is sympathetic to the Amyntor efforts told BuzzFeed News. “The people leaking this to you just want to destroy the president.”

Dark as the prospect of this notion is, there nevertheless is a punchline to it, and it involves the company that would run this system if it ever is constructed.

Amyntor Group is a reclusive company headquartered in Whitefish, Montana, a town of 6,500 residents that recently gained notoriety after a company based there won, then lost, a $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. There is no known relationship between the two companies. Amyntor’s website describes its mission as “providing extraordinary security solutions.” It claims to “maintain an experienced cadre of cleared professionals that possess Subject Matter Expertise (SME) in the areas of intelligence training, collections and analysis, risk assessment, and counterintelligence to support U.S. and friendly foreign government activities around the globe.”

What the hell goes on in Whitefish?

Is it to strange and shady public-private partnership what Delaware is to incorporation and South Dakota is to credit cards? Are aliases listed alphabetically in the voting rolls or just under the individual’s name? And, once again, we Iran-Contra obsessives are justified in believing that there is always another rock under which to look.

Sources say Maguire and others who run Amyntor previously worked with the late Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, a CIA officer known for his colorful personality. Indicted and then pardoned for his role in the so-called Iran–Contra affair during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, Clarridge also tried in 2008, while in his seventies, to set up his own private intelligence agency to collect information about terrorists in Afghanistan. Clarridge ran the business under the name “The Eclipse Group.” Reportedly, his operation was, for a time, funded by the Department of Defense. Clarridge died in 2016. Among Amyntor’s unusual cast of characters is a cosmetic surgeon, Keith Rose, who lists himself on his Linkedin page as the “medical director” of Amyntor. He was involved in Clarridge’s Eclipse Group, according to two people who are familiar with both Clarridge and Rose.

The odds are that this never will be carried off. Cooler—and less insane—heads are expected to prevail. But, then again, it’s possible that Tom Cotton will be our next head spook. I try very hard these days to avoid saying something can’t happen. Anything can. your social media marketing partner


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+28 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-12-05 13:31
"what could be a better idea than giving this national security apparatus a system of private mercenary armies"

It is already happening. It started big time under Bush and grew under Obama. This was actually Rumsfeld's idea -- soldiers in the formal army were too expensive and too risky of a PR gamble for the Pentagon when they got killed or injured. Mercenaries are throw aways. If they die or are injured, you stop paying them and forget them. Rumsfeld that that perhaps all of the US military could be replaced by mercenaries. Many would come from the nations against which the US was fighting so they would know the language, customs, and terrain.

The Bush gang also began the practice of hiding the cost of mercenaries in the State Dept. budget so that the Pentagon's budget could be transferred to the weapons contractors. Obama continued this and ramped it up.

Let's not forget that mercenaries are illegal under the Geneva Conventions. Trump and anyone in his administration could be brought up on war crimes charges for the use of mercenaries. Now that would be an excellent basis for an impeachment. This is where Mueller should direct his attention. All killing in illegal combat is murder under the Geneva conventions. If a mercenary kills someone, Trump is guilty of murder.
+22 # futhark 2017-12-05 19:20
"What the hell goes on in Whitefish?"

Well, for one thing, white supremacist Richard B. Spencer has a home there. He has been a contributor to the racist publication "The Daily Stormer" and was involved in rallying the alt-right forces at Charlottesville .
+10 # BetaTheta 2017-12-05 22:11
Spencer's mother lives there. It's also ex-Seal Ryan Zinke's hometown, to mention another military, potentially mercenary connection. A lot of Zinke's colleagues wound up going private for the big bucks.
+28 # librarian1984 2017-12-05 21:25
I'm surprised this article doesn't mention that Maguire is a close associate of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and brother of Betsy DeVos, who is working with OIlver North, of Iran-Contra infamy.

The Intercept has a more comprehensive article:

So .. a secret private army to fight a secretive organized crime cartel embedded within the government, both presumably having unlimited dark funds? What could possibly go wrong?

How long are we going to put up with this insanity?

And I have actually heard Republicans AND Democrats say this week that we need to INCREASE THE MILITARY BUDGET!! The forces are absolutely decimated by sixteen years of constant wars -- but that is exactly why we need to do the opposite. We need to DOWNSIZE.

It is IMPERATIVE that we don't allow further buildup. Where's the money coming from? Our homes? Our schools? Our bones? We have nothing left to give!

And FOR what? To increase our enemies? Enrich weapons dealers? Supply more weapons to anti-US forces?

We MUST close bases, bring our soldiers home, try peace, support the citizens for a change, rebuild our country.

rsn had an excellent TomDispatch article back in September: The American Military Uncontained.

We have got to end this madness.
+12 # krazykwiltkatt 2017-12-06 16:52
At least we know where we are on the 'parallel of the Nazi Rise time-line. It's 1933, the year Goering started the Gestapo.

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