Sunday, January 28, 2007


"The Turkish soldiers suppose that this an ordinary visit from their NATO allies. But this time it is different. . . The soldiers were led out of their headquarters at gunpoint, with hoods over their heads and subsequently detained for sixty hours before being released. . . . One of the Turkish officers, unable to bear the shame of the hooding, committed suicide."
Kurtlar Vadisi Irak: Wikipedia.

Are Turkish mercenaries hired by an American company operating in Iraq? Let's see, from Baltimore's The Daily Record, carried on FindArticles:

With offices in Turkey and Iraq, Black Hawk Security Inc. is not a typical Montgomery County company.

It's not a typical security company, either. The Potomac-based business provides armed security and other services to coalition forces helping to rebuild war-torn Iraq, said Cihan Atkin, Black Hawk's project coordinator.

"We're kind of like a private army," Cihan said.

Huseyin Atkin, Cihan's father, founded Black Hawk in October 2004 after five scouting trips to Iraq for his construction company, NET International Group Inc. Huseyin decided many of the existing private security companies were too inexperienced - some couldn't tell the difference between combatants and those unfortunates who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

[ . . . ]

Huseyin said the answer is a company such as Black Hawk. The security company employs only people with special forces backgrounds and pulls many of them from Turkey and other Muslim countries. They are more sensitive to cultural issues that can cause conflict, as well as more likely to be accepted peacefully by Iraqi citizens, he said. The company also makes a point of hiring ex-American and ex- British special forces personnel to lead its security teams, as they have an easier time making connections with the coalition forces in Iraq.

Huseyin said he has lived in America for 20 years and called on his own military background and his experience with training U.S. and Turkish special forces and Turkish police officers in forming the company.

Being involved with Turkish special forces and Turkish police (Ozel Timler and Ozel Hareket Timler) means that the people running this company are Turkish ultra-nationalists, no different than those that have made the news recently in connection with Hrant Dink's murder. From the Wilson Center:

The special teams were organized to take the combat directly to the PKK, as a form of unofficial ‘‘special forces.’’They operate in small groups and are specially trained in counterinsurgency tactics. They dress in civilian clothes and sometimes even in PKK-style uniforms, such as they are, and are nominally under the control of the Ministry of Interior. They have been heavily recruited from the members of the Nationalist Action Party, and they often wear the gray wolf insignias that are the symbol of the nationalists and of the MHP. They are very well paid (between $800 and $1,100 a month), and are often signed up for contracts of six years or so, rotating in and out of the region periodically. There are an estimated 22,000 to 23,000 of these team members.

There are two types of special teams: those that are part of the gendarmerie, and those that belong to police units. While the former go by the name Special Team, the police units are known as Special Action Teams (Ozel Hareket Timleri). The special teams have gained a reputation for brutality, killings, and vigilante-type violence. As such, they have earned the enmity of Kurds, and their removal from the area is one of the key demands of all Kurds in the region. Despite their nominal subservience to civilian authorities, they have often flouted those authorities if they have proven less than willing to cooperate with the special teams in brutalizing the population.

[ . . . ]

There is increasing concern among many Turks that the special teams are gaining a vested interest in violence, that they will be difficult to disband because of the MHP party affiliation of many of them, and that they will represent the kernel of future vigilante groups in the large cities who may operate against Kurds there in general. Already there have been reports of troubled special team members rotated to other parts of the country getting involved in acts of violence and retribution against Kurds.

They have clearly gained a degree of autonomy from the army and the civilian authorities. [ . . . ] In the long run, the adverse conditions under which they work and the training they have received make them prone not just to psychological difficulties but also to the kinds of problems faced by the ‘‘Afghans,’’ the trained Muslim anti-Soviet fighters who, with the end of the Afghan war, have sold or volunteered their services for other militant causes.

Ozel Timler were also caught while attempting to conduct black operations in Kerkuk in April and July of 2003. The July incident resulted in the "bagging" of the ever-courageous Ozel Timler and inspired the wildly popular Turkish fantasy film, Kurtlar Vadisi Irak. With a training facility just a few feet away from the Habur border crossing in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, what exactly are these former Turkish "special forces" doing in Iraq? Given that KDP sources in Kerkuk have reported MIT activity in the area, are these Turkish mercenaries operating there? Are they running reconnaissance operations in South Kurdistan for the Turkish and American governments?

How well would a "stateless proxy" of Turkish mercenaries serve Turkish interests? Last month, TCS Daily published a two-part article discussing the virtues of mercenaries (or stateless proxies) in the service of the undefined global War on Terror, Inc. Among the reasons why nation-states would find such stateless proxies attractive are the following, from Part 1:

1. A lack of other means: Many states lack the means to perform their own security effectively. . .

2. Plausible deniability: . . . Some states may wish to pursue policies covertly that would bring harsh and swift retaliation from their enemies if they were overt.Many states wish to pursue policies covertly that if pursued overtly would bring massive opprobrium upon them, from the press, their own electorate, their allies, or the "international community." The use of proxies in pursuing such policies might be one way to avoid such retaliationStateless actors might allow a bit of discretion or separation that would otherwise be impossible.

3. Circumvention of Laws: States may wish to circumvent their own laws or international regulations in the pursuit of certain policies. One solution is to make a deal with a stateless organization that can operate with much more extralegal freedom than can a state organization. . .

4. A Lack of Political Will: There may be times when states are compelled to pursue policies that their populations cannot stomach. . .

Consider reasons 2, 3, and 4 in light of Turkey's role in the region and its desire to extinguish the existence of the Kurdish people. Seen in this light, a Turkish mercenary company with a training facility in Silopî would be just the thing to meddle in South Kurdistan, thereby bestowing a degree of plausible deniability for both the Turkish and American governments; it would circumvent international laws, especially those designed to protect "territorial integrity," which Turkey is so fond of claiming for itself; and it would bypass any discomfort caused by a lack of political will in light of EU accession or the Turkish public's desire to avoid international military adventures . . . such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Lebanon, as examples.

Part 2 of the TCS Daily article on the developing ideology surrounding the use of mercenaries outlines some of the desirable characteristics of "stateless proxies" (referred to as "Anti-Qaeda"), including the following:

One of the prerequisites would be freedom of movement: The forces of Anti-Qaeda would possess the ability, whether legal or not, to cross international borders at will.

Anti-Qaeda would be free to develop its own network of contacts throughout the world. Many of these would be within the intelligence agencies and militaries of established states. These contacts might actively feed information to Anti-Qaeda as a result of the policies of their states. Alternatively, they might do so merely out of sympathy with the goals of Anti-Qaeda, and might be approached and recruited in the same manner that foreign intelligence agencies attempt.

One way or another, money would not be an issue for Anti-Qaeda. Through some system of donations, it might raise funds directly from sympathetic people all over the world. It might receive contributions from states, though it will be hesitant to do so if strings are attached. For example, a state might fund the organization with one large endowment-like contribution, allowing it to operate as a trust in perpetuity, though without any oversight from the state.

This comes to a final characteristic about Anti-Qaeda: it would operate best in an environment of state forbearance. States might gain information about Anti-Qaeda activities that would make for evidence in prosecutions, but they might decide not to enforce the law in the case of Anti-Qaeda.

The Black Hawk Security, Inc. training facility in Silopî indicates something else. How does a company like this get permission to operate in "The Southeast?" Not just anyone can arrive in Silopî, buy some land, and build a military training facility a few short yards from the Habur border crossing into South Kurdistan. You have to have connections--the right connections--connections that lie in the Deep State, connections with the Turkish general staff. Similarly, how does one run such an operation from the United States? Again, by having American Deep State connections. In both cases, Black Hawk Security, Inc. is operating "in an environment of state forbearance."

It was, in fact, the "bagging" incident in July, 2003, which made plausible deniability and circumvention of law absolute necessities. Why else would the now retired Turkish General Koksal Karabay be involved with Black Hawk Security? He has a NATO pedigree and was the representative for the Turkish side in the inquiry following the "bagging" incident.

Then there is the former Turkish governor of Diyarbakir province, Cemil Serhadli. He was even interviewed by PBS before the war began.

Also, there's former MIT undersecretary, Senkal Atasagun. Here's something more on him, courtesy of MIT's English-language site:

He was born in Kars in 1941. He graduated from Galatasaray High School and Grenoble University (in France) Faculty of Political Sciences. He speaks French and English. Following his military service, in 1967 he started to work in the National Intelligence Organization and served at various levels within the directorates of Intelligence and Operations. He is an expert in the field of Counter/ Intelligence. Following his duty as the Deputy Head of Istanbul Field Directorate, he served for two terms in Brussels/Belgium, then was appointed as the Head of Ankara Field Directorate. In 1995, he was appointed as the Head of Operations Directorate, and he was sent to London on an abroad mission. On February 02, 1998, he was appointed as the Undersecretary of the MIT and on June 11, 2005, he retired from his office.

Of course, one can never forget Atasagun's role in coordinating Ocalan's capture with his American counterparts. Atasagun also became a target of one of his MIT cronies, Mehmet Eymur.

It would appear that now Atasagun and his CIA friends are continuing their work through Black Hawk Security.

What about funding? Well, they don't like to talk about that but it would certainly be interesting to track a financial paper trail on them.

See? I told you; not just anyone can build a private military training facility in Silopî.