Africa's first native son President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, may be its worst nightmare.
WMR's Africa sources report that a company that contracts to Pentagon and U.S. intelligence and homeland security agencies, Astrata Group Inc. (ATTG) of Los Angeles, has deployed private military contractors to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to track down and kill Rwandan Hutu refugees, claimed to be members of the Rwandan "Interhamwe" opposition to U.S.-backed Rwandan Tutsi dictator Paul Kagame, and kill them. ATTG, which it prefers to be called by its on-ground employees rather than Astrata, has reportedly ferried by helicopter into the eastern DRC U.S. private military contractors, many veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and directed them to take out Hutus and their allies in the region. Eastern DRC is rich is highly-prized col-tan, used in micro-electronic consumer products, as well as diamonds and gold. ATTG's motto is reportedly "Doing bad things to bad people."
In addition to U.S. military veterans, ATTG has reportedly hired British and French military veterans. The firm reportedly pays the military contractors in Africa in cash. ATTG is said to have agents serving in regular military forces who scout out for those whose enlistments are expiring for hiring. The key factor for hiring into ATTG is personality type. The new hires are introduced to their corporate handlers who introduce them to their paymaster who, in turn, provides them with cash for them to buy their own equipment from a list provided to them.
ATTG new recruits are given plane tickets by their handlers and then fly to their mission location where they meet their fellow team members.
Astrata's public relations tear sheet states the company provides "position-centric solutions for mining, surveying, and construction professionals worldwide. It operates in two segments, Geomatics and Telematics. The Geomatics segment offers high precision surveying/positioning instruments for surveying and construction professionals, the mining industry, government agencies, utility companies, and municipalities . . . the Telematics segment offers products, accessories, and services related to the business of remote monitoring of assets, including track-and-trace. This segment addresses the market for fleet management, workforce management, remote asset management and tracking, meter reading, and emergency services by providing hardware for global positioning system information and data collection, as well as the software needed to access and analyze the data through the Internet. In addition, the company offers a range of rugged mobile computing, wireless and location-based solutions, which combine GPS and global system for mobile telecommunications technologies. Astrata Group serves industrial, commercial, governmental entities, academic/research institutions, and professional customers in various markets, including surveying, utility, construction, homeland security, military, intelligence, mining, agriculture, public safety, marine, and transportation. The company was founded in 1986 and is based in Los Angeles, California."
Astrata markets vehicle tracking and immobilization systems, which permits law enforcement or other agents to slow down, stop, or speed up vehicles thought to pose a security threat.
Astrata, which is known as Astrata-Sirius outside the United States, went public in 2004. The firm is very active in Brunei and Southeast Asian waters, particularly the Straits of Malacca, where its private military contractors reportedly pose as tourists in boats to lure the attention of pirates who are then killed. The "tourists" have satellite phones in order to call in other boat squadrons in the event they require additional firepower.
On February 22, 2006, WMR reported: "The CIA's maritime interdiction program was designed to stop suspect cargo vessels on the high seas, mostly in the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea, and search them for nuclear material and missiles and their respective components. The unique and most sensitive aspect of the CIA program was the use of Southeast Asian sea pirates to gain access to the interdicted vessels. The CIA's interdiction program began in the early 1990s . . . Special armed CIA units, masquerading as pirates themselves, accompanied the actual pirates on their fast boats when they attacked merchant vessels identified by other intelligence as likely trafficking in nuclear and missile cargo. The CIA teams, wearing personal dosimeters and using Geiger counters and other radiation detection equipment, would inspect cargo holds and containers as the 'official pirates' off-loaded commercial cargo such as electronic equipment, small vehicles, and other merchandise. The quid pro quo was that the CIA would not interfere with the pirates' looting of commercial cargo and the pirates would give the CIA teams first access to the cargo holds and containers. The two teams also provided each other mutual security. In most cases, the CIA had arranged to pay off local police, maritime police, and coast guards not to interfere with the joint CIA-pirate gang operations. The U.S. Navy was also instructed not to interfere in the pre-arranged piracy actions."
Astrata provides monitoring equipment for clients in Singapore, Senegal, Denmark, Italy, Jordan, Dubai, and United Kingdom, as well as for the Ministry of Transport of Iraq.
In 2008, Astrata announced that it had been awarded a $100 million contract to provide equipment to a "classified" client with an option of additional "product options."
In 2005, Astrata changed its NASDAQ market trading symbol to ATTG from "ATTA." Astrata CEO Anthony Harrison stated: "We are grateful for the thoughtfulness and prompt action by NASDAQ in changing our prior symbol, ATTA, which had been computer generated and inadvertently assigned and which may have had a disturbing association with the name of the lead hijacker in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center."