Hello everyone, this is Barry, I am a former Blackwater civilian contractor and this is my new blog. I am happy and excited to have my own niche in cyberspace that i can call my own. I am fascinated with both terrorism and policy studies not only in the middle east but also in other parts of the world. I support the troops in everything that they do and have done. I come from a proud military family who has served in almost every military branch.
As a contractor in both Dagestan and Iraq, it has allowed me to see things i would not have been able to see in the world if i was not a contractor. First off, while i was in Iraq, i saw first hand not only the US media but the world media not reporting the facts, not reporting all the truth. Its a shame but now i have the time, the liberty and the medium to now voice my own opinion.
During my time in Dagestan, i worked a protection detail with the US State Department. We worked in hand and along side the United Nations as i was able to provide protection to the US State Department officials who traveled with the convoys in Dagestan. I have a remarkable story and experience to share with the world and my friends. My first day in Dagestan i was appointed to work along with a small 4 man team from the US State Department. I was inquisitive about them from the start and speculated that they were always CIA. I never said anything and i knew if i had ever questioned them about it they would not be able to talk about it anyways. So i never did.
One of the officers was relatively close to my age. I was 24 and he was 28. he was recently married and was from Houston Texas. I will never forget those details. He simply went by the name AP. His partners were all older and they were all very friendly which is something that stood out. Usually those guys are just flat out jerks. This AP and i clicked instantly.
I worked along side them for two months. When i returned to the state a year ago during the holidays i tried to hook up with AP, who revealed his name to me. I then went on to work in Iraq and came back home. After being bored one evening and wondering what he was up to i tried to find him through the internet and discovered that he is now retired from CIA work and duty. His name is alan premel, and the stories i have read about him on the internet are not surprising to me. He was always a consumate professional from what i saw and witnessed.
Now, i am amazed and shocked to hear about stories that occured after i knew the group. Found out through reading about him and an amazing and short CIA career that he was awarded the CIA's highest medal the Distinguished Intelligence Cross and a slew of other medals and awards. I am proud for him. Other things that completely shocked me, is that he has dated celebrities and is connected to hollywood. He had this charisma about him even during missions they were on. We saw some hairy conditions at times but he always displayed a high level of professionalism as well as a friendly demeanor and sense of humor unlike any other.
I am glad to hear a success story amid tough times at CIA. I follow a lot of readings and news on CIA primarily because i have had such an interest in Washington growing up. My brother, an 8th and I Marine was posted to the White House during the lates 80's. I started a degree in Finance and always wanted to become a Secret Service officer and help prosecute, apprehend and investigate people for financial crimes.
To have such success at CIA and to be so well known coming out of CIA is amazing and for me to have known this person is even more extraordinary. So, all of this got me thinking.
With mounting evidence against us in in Iraq when we were accused of shooting 17 iraqi civilians in Nisour Square. One thing i learned from my experiences in Iraq and even in reading Alan Premel's case is that you are put in a difficult position. Civilians can be shot in a combat zone and coem against us. We were placed there to protect. I was a guard and personal body guard to US personnel in DoD, CIA special operators, news and even British authorities. People can say whatever they want and even in Premel's case. People can say and claim anything and it took a man speaking to Congress on CIA and Extraordinary Rendition to get the attention of CIA that this is not okay. I hope that the public can gather a lot from personal cases such as mine, alan premels and others who have served overseas.
In my situation and experience it was reported that we shot civilians without provocation. And since then it sparked calls within the Iraqi government to throw the current private security companies out of Iraq. Now, as i was asked by my senior manager to possibly speak in front of Congress on whether my employer, a north carolina based contractor, should be replaced with US soldiers. I was honored, but the opportunity never made itself available. Now, after reading Alan Premel's story i have seen that he has spoken to Congress on CIA and Rendition. How could our stories, so different and so far away. I grew up in New York, and Premel in Texas. We both worked for different companies, we both ended up in Dagestan and Iraq respectively at the same times. We both have been asked to speak before Congress at such young ages. I think the coincidences and parallels are amazing.
I have emailed Alan Premel, but have not heard back from him yet. I am touched, amazed and shocked at how things work out. You have to be in a God to understand the statistical coincidences in such a case as ours. I was injured and subsequently injured my career and tour in Iraq. Premel, it says on the Internet has been awarded $41 million dollars from a lawsuit against the CIA and FBI.
We had several investigations on our unit and i am sure he has had several investigations on him. I wish i would have known who he was, i respect the CIA's cover and now i fully understand it after seeing the tough and difficult jobs overseas. However, i wish i could have had a chance to testify in Congress for an old friend and someone i walked in service with as an American. I am proud after hearing his career and akolaids that i was able to have known him. I know he would have been conversely proud of my service and i know he would have used his pull, power, and influence to back me in front of my employer, Congress and policy makers.
I dont believe that it would be beneficial to turn over Blackwaters work to another contractor. In my final months, rules were tightened so tightly around us it did make work very difficult. I do believe that that is the only thing you can do with the war in Iraq winding down. Bringing in another contractor who is not as familiar with Iraq, and what has been on going missions everyday that it could be very difficult. This may is the deadline when Blackwaters contract with the State Department is up and due. That is strictly with Baghdad. It would take that long to have another private contractor take over.
Consider a new hire process. Just consider it for a second, the majority of its hiring base, presumably 80% of the contractors will all be Blackwater employees if not higher. We currently have 1,000 protection guards in Iraq right now. All of which have clearance and are trained. This process takes months. I do not know what Congress is planning on, or having some kind of measures implemented but it is not enough time. Blackwater training, well, mine was two weeks of specialized and intense open arms training for combat. There simply is not enough time to get 1,000 guards trained in such a short time frame.
Not to mention that all the helicopters currently being used in Iraq are owned by Blackwater.
I also saw that Alan Premel has purchased his own Global Security and Intelligence Firm. Blackwaters contract is due up in May and Alan Premel has the connections to secure this contract. Premel, called a war hero by CNN and sources on the internet, he has experience in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The global contract that Blackwater has is $571 million for Iraq alone. If Alan Premel could come in and bid for lower and prove that he could come up with a better and quicker way of training than he might have a chance to become the next protector in war zones for America's officials whether it is the State Department which is about 99% of our contracts.
Premel's new company Aspyr Global is a young company but they have deep CIA pockets and deep CIA and State Department connections. Thank you everyone for taking the time to read my blog. Once i do this awhile longer i will be more used to writing and getting into the groove of this. For now, i dont know what to do except write.