• $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • other
  • use Paypal

CALLING ALL COUNTERPUNCHERS! CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners to the “new” Cuba. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads or click bait. Unlike many other indy media sites, we don’t shake you down for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it. So over the next few weeks we are requesting your financial support. Keep CounterPunch free, fierce and independent by donating today by credit card through our secure online server, via PayPal or by calling 1(800) 840-3683. Note: This annoying box will disappear once we reach our fund drive goal. Thank you for your support!


Another Case of Blowback


Saleh Mohammed al Oufi, the new head of "Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula," the group that kidnapped and beheaded American Lockheed Martin helicopter technician Paul Johnson, may have received training from a U.S. military contractor while he was being trained as a Saudi public security non commissioned officer and prison guard. Al Oufi took over as the Al Qaeda Saudi branch leader after Saudi security forces reportedly gunned down his predecessor Abdulaziz al Muqrin. In 1983, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which now owns Dyncorp — another major U.S. private military contractor that is training members of the Iraqi army and police — was awarded a contract by Saudi Arabia to develop the multi-hundred million dollar Saudi Ministry of the Interior System (SAMIS), one of the largest information systems in the world and one that is used by one of the most secretive public security services in the world. SAMIS was also the largest contract CSC had ever received to that point.

During the time el Oufi was rising to the rank of sergeant in the Public Security Service, a part of the Saudi Interior Ministry, he may have received training on the sophisticated CSC computer system that, with its 1000 computer terminals throughout the country, was used to monitor convicts and ex-convicts, those under arrest and jailed for crimes, foreigners, religious pilgrims, and religious "miscreants" (a title used by the Saudis for Shia Muslims, Jews, Christians, and other "infidels.") The system contains the names and addresses of every foreigner in the country legally, something that would be the mother lode of information for any terrorist or would-be terrorist. Al Oufi’s possible knowledge of the system from his time as a Public Security official would give Al Qaeda an unprecedented advantage in its terrorist activities against Westerners, particularly Americans, in Saudi Arabia.

CSC has touted its work for the Saudi Royal Family in a number of its press releases over the years. Based largely on its work in Saudi Arabia, the company was awarded a similar contract in 1991 to rebuild the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior computer system after was destroyed by invading Iraqi troops in 1990.

SAMIS automated the functions of all the component divisions of the Interior Ministry, including the departments of civil status (identification cards), public security (including prisons), border guards, civil defense, passports, general investigations, special security, and the governates.

Al Oufi was eventually promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1989. During Al Oufi’s tenure within the Public Security Department, CSC began an upgrade of the SAMIS system — a project called SAMIS II. After being dismissed from the Saudi Public Security Department in 1995, Al Oufi went to fight with Islamic rebels in Chechnia. He was badly wounded in the breakaway Russian republic and returned to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment. Subsequently, Al Oufi met with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan prior to the 911 attacks on the United States. He fled Afghanistan and returned to Saudi Arabia after the Taliban regime was ousted by American forces.

El Oufi is thought by many Middle East observers to have continuing contacts within the Saudi security services who may have aided and abetted in terrorist assassinations, assassination attempts, and kidnappings and executions, including Johnson’s. An Islamist web site claimed that the terrorists who kidnapped Johnson were given Saudi security uniforms and vehicles by Saudi public security personnel.

And in a rather tragic irony, Lockheed Martin, the employer of the executed contractor Paul Johnson, is buying Titan, Inc., one of the contractor companies named by U.S. military investigators in the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. It was the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Iraq that the Saudi Al Qaeda group cited for its beheading of Johnson. Now Johnson’s employer will be taking over the very contract that U.S. Army investigators claim helped facilitate the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

WAYNE MADSEN is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He served in the National Security Agency (NSA) during the Reagan administration and wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth. He is the co-author, with John Stanton, of "America’s Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II." His forthcoming book is titled: "Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops, and Brass Plates."

Madsen can be reached at: WMadsen777@aol.com

October 13, 2015
Dave Lindorff
US Dispatched a Murderous AC-130 Airborne Gunship to Attack a Hospital
Steve Martinot
The Politics of Prisons and Prisoners
Heidi Morrison
A Portrait of an Immigrant Named Millie, Drawn From Her Funeral
Andre Vltchek
Horrid Carcass of Indonesia – 50 Years After the Coup
Jeremy Malcolm
All Rights Reserved: Now We Know the Final TTP is Everything We Feared
Omar Kassem
Do You Want to See Turkey Falling Apart as Well?
Paul Craig Roberts
Recognizing Neocon Failure: Has Obama Finally Come to His Senses?
Theodoros Papadopoulos
The EU Has Lost the Plot in Ukraine
Roger Annis
Ukraine Threatened by Government Negligence Over Polio
Matthew Stanton
The Vapid Vote
Mel Gurtov
Manipulating Reality: Facebook is Listening to You
Louisa Willcox
Tracking the Grizzly’s Number One Killer
Binoy Kampmark
Assange and the Village Gossipers
Robert Koehler
Why Bombing a Hospital Is a War Crime
Jon Flanders
Railroad Workers Fight Proposed Job Consolidation
Mark Hand
Passion and Pain: Photographer Trains Human Trafficking Survivors
October 12, 2015
Ralph Nader
Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq
Ishmael Reed
Want a Renewal? Rid Your City of Blacks
Thomas S. Harrington
US Caught Faking It in Syria
Victor Grossman
Scenes From a Wonderful Parade Against the TPP
Luciana Bohne
Where Are You When We Need You, Jean-Paul Sartre?
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The US Way of War: From Columbus to Kunduz
Paul Craig Roberts
A Decisive Shift in the Balance of Power
Justus Links
Turkey’s Tiananmen in Context
Ray McGovern
Faux Neutrality: How CNN Shapes Political Debate
William Manson
Things R Us: How Venture Capitalists Feed the Fetishism of Technology
Norman Pollack
The “Apologies”: A Note On Usage
Steve Horn
Cops Called on Reporter Who Asked About Climate at Oil & Gas Convention
Javan Briggs
The Browning of California: the Water is Ours!
Dave Randle
The BBC and the Licence Fee
Andrew Stewart
Elvis Has Left the Building: a Reply to Slavoj Žižek
Nicolás Cabrera
Resisting Columbus: the Movement to Change October 12th Holiday is Rooted in History
Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria