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When a photo becomes an amulet

April 10, 2014 - 6:06:03 am

Democracy Now TV channel has broadcast a YouTube video as part of a news report about the signing of a contract between Abu Dhabi and the security services firm formerly known as Blackwater. The video contains an interview with Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, who raised the issue of Colombian mercenaries in Abu Dhabi two months before its disclosure in the media.

The nine-minute video can be found at the following link: 


Scahill says in the interview that Blackwater used to pay each Colombian mercenary in Iraq $34 every day — much less than what the company used to pay European mercenaries. This angered the Colombian mercenaries, who decided to return to their country, where they killed the man who had recruited them for Blackwater.

The video also dwells briefly on the contract between Reflex Responses Management Consultancy, a company allegedly formed by one of the founders of Blackwater, and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. A copy of the contract can be seen on the following link: 


The contract was signed with a fake company set up by Blackwater to hide its bad reputation. The value of the contract is half a billion dollars a year. The money is being paid to Blackwater to hire up to 800 Colombian mercenaries who receive training in Israel in guerrilla warfare and crowd control, as well as other things needed by Abu Dhabi. 

The most important thing in the report is that Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed asked the company not to recruit any Muslims because “Muslims may hesitate in shooting at Muslims”. Bin Zayed was literally quoted saying this. 

Another 20-minute report broadcast in Spanish by Colombian television talks about these mercenaries, who have found almost permanent residence in Abu Dhabi. The report talks about the training these mercenaries received in Israel. It can be found on the following link: 


Below are the key points of the report: 

• The United Arab Emirates hired some Colombian army personnel who received training in Israel to boost the UAE army in the tense region with the aim of silencing the opposition. 

• Around 800 elite Colombian army personnel were hired, but this number will increase to 3,000 soon. 

• Developments in the region, particularly on the Iranian front, as well as protests in the region have made the need for these personnel more urgent. 

• The Colombian army personnel were selected from elite fighters who took part in fighting against revolutionaries in Latin America. 

However, we need answers to the following questions: 

Why should all this happen?

Is the UAE incapable of training its youth to fight?

Is the Abu Dhabi crown prince serious about directing the guns of the mercenaries at his own people, when he said there was no need to recruit Muslims in this army?

Phobia means extreme fear that cannot be reasonably explained. This fear makes one angry, especially when one discovers the reality behind it. A patient always knows that the fear that haunts him/her is illogical, but still he/she cannot get rid of it without psychotherapy under the supervision of a specialist.

This disease might explain why such a contract has been signed with Colombian mercenaries with the aim of preventing demonstrations in a country that enjoy the highest income in the world and where native citizens make up less than 10 percent of the total population. 

It is important, however, to ponder on information leaked by WikiLeaks about the Abu Dhabi crown prince to make the issue more clear. 

• Mohammed bin Zayed informed US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch that the UAE wanted to prevent radicals from setting foot in the country to play a role in its political process. Although he has reservations about free elections in countries where there is an organised presence of the Muslim Brotherhood, he told the guest from the US government that the UAE would go ahead with elections. The UAE leadership had notified US that they would not allow Islamists to participate in the elections (reference document: ABUDHABI140106 – Date: 10 April 2006). 

• Mohammed bin Zayed believes that radical ideologies threaten the educational system in his country. He and his brothers spend huge amounts of money to upgrade curricula and improve the standards of teaching staff (reference document: ABUDHABI140106 – Date: 10 April 2006).

•    The ruling family in Abu Dhabi was frank on radical Muslims and the dangers they pose to the region. Sheikh Mohammed said that if elections were held in Dubai, the Muslim Brotherhood would win a sweeping majority. He said the challenge was finding a way to get rid of the extremists in ways that do not allow them to make a comeback. One of the ways he and his brothers think they can do this is by reforming the education system, which has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1960s (reference document: ABUDHABI172506 – Date: 29 April 2006). 

Photos of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on office walls or desks are the first thing that strike people who arrive at Dubai International Airport. Visitors do not know why such a photo should be present on all office walls. 

The fact is that this photo has become an amulet that protects its owner against the evil of being accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, a charge levelled by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and his son Khalid, the head of the state security agency, against certain people whenever they want. While doing this, both of them forget that mercenaries should not be taken at their word, as they are people who can easily turn against those who hire them, as they did in Colombia.