18 September 2007

Blackwater: The Rise of Our Governments Favourite Most Powerful Mercenary Army of Rogue Cowboys

From the crazy coincidence department... I woke up today poised to blog about Blackwater and now this from The AP: Iraq Expels American Security Firm... Blackwater Critics Jump on Iraq Shootout

"When a former Navy SEAL launched Blackwater USA in North Carolina's swamplands a decade ago, he envisioned a world-class training facility for those in the business of providing security.

But since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the notoriously secretive company has found its niche in selling security directly. Blackwater has earned hundreds of millions of dollars fielding what critics contend is essentially a private army in Iraq and other hot spots, where it has often employed aggressive tactics that some call reckless and possibly criminal.

Those critics now include the Iraqi Interior Ministry, which said Monday it had revoked Blackwater's license to operate following a chaotic weekend shootout that Iraqi authorities say left eight civilians dead and 13 injured.

"The 'civilians' reportedly fired upon by Blackwater professionals were in fact armed enemies and Blackwater personnel returned defensive fire," company spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said late Monday. "Blackwater regrets any loss of life, but this convoy was violently attacked by armed insurgents, not civilians, and our people did their job to defend human life."

READ MORE from the Washington Post

Original blog entry follows...

click to enlarge dudes taking paintball to the next level

If William Cooper were alive, he'd be freaking the fuck out. Are we funding a private, rogue military?!?!?!!

Blackwater USA is a private military company and security firm founded in 1997 by ex-Navy SEALS Erik Prince and Al Clark. Its based in North Carolina where it operates a tactical training facility which it claims is the world's largest, and is generally believed to be the world's largest mercenary army.

Blackwater trains more than 40,000 people a year, from all the military services and a variety of other agencies. The company markets itself as being "The most comprehensive professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations company in the world".

At least 90% of Blackwater's revenue comes from government contracts, two-thirds of which are no-bid contracts à la the Bush Administration and Halliburton.

After the 2003 war in Iraq, the Halliburton Company was issued a $2 billion no-bid contract for fuel distribution. Just days after Hurricane Katrina, in September, 2005, the Bush administration awarded similar no-bid reconstruction contracts to companies such as Fluor Corp., Bechtel, The Shaw Group, CH2M Hill Cos, and Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown and Root.

A "no-bid contract" is a popular term for what is officially known as a "sole source contract." A sole source contract is one awarded usually a government after soliciting and negotiating with only one firm.

These contracts can be negotiated much more quickly than a typical Competitive contract but they are often fraught with suspicion that the company used illegal or immoral means to exclude competitors ( usually cronyism or bribery ). Nevertheless, U.S. law permits the government to award sole source contracts under specified circumstances.

Urgency is often the rationale for sole source contracts, and cost uncertainty the rationale for cost-plus contracts. They permit the government to get contractors working as quickly as possible. Competitive contracts have been awarded in very short times. However, such speedy procurements are not easily done and are thus relatively unusual.


Blackwater USA consists of ten companies under one umbrella: (you are welcome to order à la carte)

1. Blackwater Training Center offers tactics and weapons training to military, government, and law enforcement agencies. They also offer several open-enrollment courses periodically throughout the year, from hand to hand combat (executive course) to precision rifle marksmanship.

2. Blackwater Target Systems provides and maintains target range steel targets and a "shoothouse" system.

3. Blackwater Security Consulting (BSC) formed in 2001. BSC is one of 180 private security firms employed during the Iraq War to guard officials and installations, train Iraq's new Army and Police, and provide other support for Coalition Forces.

4. Blackwater K-9 trains dogs to work in patrol capacities as war dogs, explosives and drug detection, and various other roles for military and law enforcement duties.

5. Blackwater Airships, LLC was established in January 2006 to build a remotely piloted airship vehicle (RPAV).

6. Blackwater Armored Vehicle Blackwater recently introduced its own armored personnel carrier, the Grizzly APC.

7. Blackwater Maritime Security Services offers tactical training for maritime force protection units. In the past it has trained Greek security forces for the 2004 Olympics, Azerbaijan Naval Sea Commandos, and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior.

8. Raven Development Group In 1997, the Raven Development Group was established to design and build Blackwater USA's training facility in North Carolina.

9. Aviation Worldwide Services (Presidential Airways and STI Aviation) Aircraft maintenance and tactical transportation. Presidential Airways claims to hold a Secret Facility Clearance from the U.S. Department of Defense.

10. Greystone Limited is a private security service, Greystone is registered in Barbados, and employs third country nationals for offshore security work.

In March 2006, Cofer Black, vice chairman of Blackwater USA, allegedly suggested at an international conference in Jordan, that the company is ready to move towards providing security professionals up to brigade size for humanitarian efforts and low intensity conflicts.

Cofer Black denies the allegation. Critics have suggested this may be going too far in putting political decisions in the hands of privately owned corporations. Naturally, the company denies this was ever said.

If Blackwater had any sort of fanatic religious tie-in (that we deemed no good) the ATF and FBI would've burned it to the ground by now, don't ya think?

Critics claim that Blackwater's private military company self-description is a euphemism for mercenary activities.

The facility, located in North Carolina, is composed of several ranges, indoor, outdoor, urban reproductions and has over 7,000 acres of land spanning Camden and Currituck counties.

It is one of the largest firearms training facilities in the world. Company literature claims that the company runs "the largest privately owned firearms training facility in the world."

In November 2006 Blackwater USA announced it recently acquired an 80-acre facility 150 miles west of Chicago, in Mount Carroll, Illinois to be called Blackwater North. That facility is now operational.

Blackwater is also trying to open a facility in California for military training in Potrero, San Diego County.

Perhaps the most thorough book about Blackwater was published in 2006 by investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, titled Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Read it!

Author Chris Hedges wrote about the establishment of mercenary armies as a threat to democracy in his June 3, 2007 article for the Philadelphia Inquirer, "What if our mercenaries turn on us?" Reprinted in the New York Times, particularly of note in the article is the question being raised of the wisdom of allowing private enterprises to become involved in combat operations, and its potential advantages and disadvantages.


Anonymous said...

"If Blackwater had any sort of fanatic religious tie-in (that we deemed no good) the ATF and FBI would've burned it to the ground by now, don't ya think?"

And wouldn't that be just as bad?

Unknown said...

I wana know if any man can join in blackwater army , and what i need to do for i can join in

Rodney said...

What if Blackwater and Kroll have already turned? Prosecuted 9/11 hijacker Mousaui had Blackwater Training Center phone number prominently listed in his personal notebook submitted as evidence in the Alexandria, VA district court. Kroll provided security for the World Trade Center as well as aviation security. Ever heard of a project code-named "Home Run"? The project was designed to take control of aircraft while in flight by a ground station using a covert signal tied into the transponder.

Former C.I.A. contacts present in Blackwater could recruit Jihadists utilizing present Station Chiefs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or other areas. Once a mission is completed against American targets, Blackwater and Kroll move in as security consultants grabbing Billions of Dollars in Government Security Contracts. Is this scenario plausible along with being the perfect cover?

Anonymous said...

For a less biased view about what PMCs are about; pick up Licensed to Kill by Robert Pelton. Guy tells it like it is... both good and bad. Scahill's book is absolutely ridiculous...

And Lonut: Yes you can... tough but yes. It gives an example of such a contractor in the Pelton book.

Blackwater isn't an army though... Armies engage is offensive operations, PMC's only protect the principals or work as force multipliers... huge difference; this is why they shouldn't be considered mercenaries either. The STATE DEPT decides what gets paid and who is allowed to work overseas, not Blackwater. Blackwater only has as much power as the STATE DEPT allows. They can NOT work independently. So all that crazy conspiracy "private Christian army" shit should only make sense to people who know nothing about this.