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January 31, 2011

Tell Me Again.... What's a Mercenary?

Apparently the men who head the State of Somalia don't know the meaning of the word "mercenary." Some six months ago they signed a contract with Saracen International, an offshore corporation registered in Lebanon, but when news of the potential involvement of Erik Prince behind the scenes in the company gave them pause.
History -- True Story of Black Hawk Down
Abdulkareem Jama, minister of information, stated that the contract would be suspended until later in the week, with these words: “At this point, our collective thinking is that this is not a good thing.” According to a story in the New York Times: "Several representatives have accused the government of striking secret deals that could open Somalia to private security companies and worsen the nation’s instability. Other Somali officials were said to be debating, on Sunday night, how to handle Saracen."

Somalia’s defense minister, Abdulhakim Mohamoud Haji Faqi, added to Jama's confused statement: “We don’t want to have anything to do with Blackwater,” mentioning accusations that Blackwater employees had killed civilians in Iraq. “We need help, but we don’t want mercenaries.”

January 18, 2011

Xe Services, LLC (Formerly Blackwater) Sold to USTC Holdings, LLC

At least when Blackwater was owned by Erik Prince, there was a face to go with the money. Now there are only unnamed partners in equity firms that are part of a consortium. One article announced: "The company going forward will be managed by a board appointed by the equity owners which will include independent, unaffiliated directors. The New York Times reported Friday the sale came after the State Department threatened to stop awarding contracts to the company as long as it was owned by Prince, a former Navy SEAL." The man who will be managing the company, however, is a long-time friend and business associate of Prince in the former Blackwater.

Companies mentioned in this article: USTC Holdings, LLC

Blackwater (Xe)
Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army [Revised and Updated]
Stock of Erik Prince

NEW YORK -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- USTC Holdings, LLC, an investor consortium led by private equity firms Forté Capital Advisors (“Forté”) and Manhattan Partners (“Manhattan”), announced today that it has acquired Xe Services, LLC (“Xe” or the “Company”) and its core operating subsidiaries. Xe is a leading provider of training and technical services focused on worldwide diplomatic security operations. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

January 17, 2011

What Ever Happened To Peter Videnieks and Joseph Cuellar?

The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro
The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaroby Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith                             
Copyright (C) 1996                             

    "In the middle of the journey of life, I found myself in a dark wood, having lost the straight path." 
-- Quote from Dante's Inferno -- written in Danny Casolaro's notebook.

   Rounded edges of the Octopus tentacles arose briefly from under the relatively calm waters of a new administration's first year in office. Danny Casolaro was two years gone and the key players in the investigation he began ostensibly had left power after the 1993 election. Casolaro's work was left unfinished, however, and his metaphorical sea monster still swam in the sea of current events.

     Columnist William Safire reported [column reprinted below] that Bill Clinton and George Bush struck a secret deal after Clinton's election that the former president would withhold criticism of the new administration for one year in exchange for Clinton's soft-pedaling of the Iran-contra investigations. A month before the end of that deal, a month before the former Arkansas governor's first anniversary as president, the Clinton administration re-opened the Inslaw investigation. In December 1993, the FBI began again to interview Casolaro's close associates and friends with an eye toward resolving the question of his death--was it a suicide or murder?