Blackwater got its start in 1996 as a private military training facility in the wilderness of North Carolina. Visionary executives, all of them former Navy Seals or other Elite Special Forces people, envisioned it as a project that would take advantage of the anticipated government outsourcing (why the United States government would need to outsource is beyond me). It is now a decade later, Blackwater has become the most powerful mercenary firm in the world. It has 20,000 soldiers on the ready, the world’s largest private military base, and a fleet of twenty aircraft, including helicopter gunships. It’s become nothing short of the Praetorian Guard for the Bush administration’s so-called global war on terror. And it’s headed by a very rightwing Christian activist, ex-Navy Seal named Erik Prince, whose family was one of the major bankrollers of the Republican Revolution of the 1990s. Prince, himself, is a significant financial contributor of President Bush and his allies.
Currently Blackwater protects the top US officials in Iraq and yet we know almost nothing about the firm’s quasi-military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and inside the US.
I’m not even comfortable typing the word “protects” in the same sentence with Blackwater; It’s hard to see them as protectors when in 2006 they forced our very own U.S. soldiers out of a Humvee on a street in Baghdad's Green Zone, took their weapons and forced them down on the ground. If that seems distant to you, let me bring it closer to home. During the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Blackwater agents were sent to New Orleans to “assist” the homeland security effort. They were given the authority to make arrests and use force as the deemed necessary. Blackwater agents were seen taking over a local citizen’s apartment in the area of St. James and Bourbon Street; they tossed the individuals personal belongings to the street as they help up gold Louisiana law enforcement badges.
In a horrific incident last month, Blackwater agents killed 17 civilians in Baghdad. I can not fathom why we (United States) allow them to continue to operate after the blood of innocent people was shed in such a terrible manner. News sources have reported that the heads of some of the civilians were completely blown off, and some of the bodies were burned beyond recognition. We still continue to throw money at this group of killers. Back in 2001, Blackwater had less than $1 million worth of government business. Since then, the company has received more than $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds, including a huge no-bid contract with the State Department. Just recently they received a contract worth up to 92 million dollars from the Department of Defense amid hard questions about their involvement in two separate violent incidents in Iraq. The Iraqi government announced that it had revoked Blackwater's license to operate in their country, yet the U.S. continues to support them, looks to me like we have resorted to hiring killers to take care of those people we want removed.
If we turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to what Blackwater has done and is doing in Iraq, we are opening ourselves up to having those same acts committed against us at home, remember the aftermath of Katrina??
You owe it to yourself to get knowledgeable and keep a watchful eye on this group of killers.