Sunday, September 16, 2007

Black eye for Blackwater

Wikipedia -- Blackwater USA is a private military company and security firm. Founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark, it is based in North Carolina where it operates a facility which it claims is the world's largest tactical training facility in how to kill unarmed civilians. The company 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 its revenue comes from government contracts, two-thirds of which are no-bid contracts.

How does a 10 year old company become the world's largest play for pay outsourcing scheme for hired guns? At the rate the mercenaries at Blackwater claim to be able to train military personnel, we should have been able to swap out every single American soldier with an Iraqi GI or private pirate. I leave it for others to connect the dots between Blackwater and Dick Cheney, the black hearted.

Time/CNN -- Blackwater landed its first truly high-profile contract: guarding Ambassador L. Paul Bremer in Iraq, at the cost of $21 million in 11 months. Since June 2004, Blackwater has been paid more than $320 million out of a $1 billion, five-year State Department budget for the Worldwide Personal Protective Service, which protects U.S. officials and some foreign officials in conflict zones.

It may be difficult now for the fledgling friendly fire firm to deliver on its Iraq contract now that the Iraqi government has withdrawn its license to operate following the most recent civilian killings involving Blackwater's best and brightest.

Blackwater license being pulled in Iraq

BAGHDAD - The [Iraqi] Interior Ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday shooting [during an attack on a U.S. State Department motorcade]. It was the latest accusation against the U.S.-contracted firms that operate with little or no supervision

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