Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Army of God, plus overhead and expenses

The first time any of us probably ever heard of Blackwater, the U.S. mercenary firm, was two years ago, when 4 of their employees were ambushed and torn apart on the streets of Falluja, and their burned bodies were hung from a bridge.

That was a rare public moment for a very private firm that is rapidly expanding its operations not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but inside the United States as well. Blackwater has been awarded government contracts worth billions of dollars, all paid for by our taxes.

Did you know that Blackwater was hired by the Department of Homeland Security to patrol the streets of New Orleans after Katrina, and that they did so heavily armed, and in unmarked cars, and they were authorized to use lethal force to prevent property damage?

Did you know that the founder of Blackwater, Erik Prince, is a right-wing fundamentalist Christian with close ties to BushCo? Erik Prince worked for Bush Sr.’s administration, but found 41 too liberal on social issues. 43, Rumsfeld & Cheney are, shall we say, a little more friendly not only to his ideas about the rights of gays and women, but also to the idea of creating a private military force that is involved in the highest levels of government military operations. More than one journalist has compared Blackwater to the Praetorian Guard of ancient Rome.

Did you know that the families of those four dead men are suing the company, and that Blackwater is currently being represented by our old buddy Ken Starr? Before Starr, they were represented by Fred Fielding, who recently replaced Harriet Myers as White House Counsel. Remember when Myers resigned, and everyone wondered why, because no one resigns from BushCo without a very good reason? Maybe Fielding was the reason.

Did you know that Blackwater is currently maneuvering in order to establish that itself and its employees are not subject to the laws of the United States, because they are in the employ of the U.S. Government and are in many cases commanding U.S. troops? They are also claiming that as a private firm, they are not subject to the military code of justice, either. What laws, then, should they be subject to? Blackwater doesn’t say.

Did you know that Henry Waxman, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was denied access to Blackwater contracts for services in Iraq, because they are classified? Classified from Congress.

And as a special bonus for my California friends, did you know that Blackwater has taken meetings with our very own governator, to discuss providing post-earthquake security services?

No good can come of this, my friends. Once outfits like this are created, they don’t go away overnight once the name plates on the desks in Washington are changed. Ask your favorite presidential candidate what he/she thinks of Blackwater, and pay careful attention to the answer.

12 comments:

Chris said...

Thanks, Vikki. This is extremely troubling and something I have heard about, but don't know enough about. I'll look into it.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

You gotta hand it to the Bushies; Just when you think they can't get any more fucked up, they outdo themselves.

They're even wearing down Some Guy.

Larry Jones said...

I knew a little of this stuff, and given the current administration, the rest makes perfect sense. Blackwater is a private army. Once all the money has been transferred to the right people, and water and fuel shortages set in for real, Blackwater will be needed to guard the gates of the privileged. Call me crazy...

MonstrousJoe said...

Did you know that if you drink Blackwater you make Blackwater?

Yes, I know, I'm sorry. I am alarmed by this information, but when I'm stressed, I resort to humor. Its a flaw.

Grant Miller said...

Good Lord. I've read some about these guys. Scary. Very scary.

But a great investment!

Spooney said...

Didn't the Doobie Brothers sing about them?

Seriously, that's some scary shit. We don't want it in Cali!

Megan said...

Actually, I HAD heard of all that shit: Blackwater headquarters is about 20 minutes away from me. I occasionally even see Blackwater dudes in local bars. They scare me.

For a very long time I've been meaning to post about them, but you've done a much better job than I could have. Keep up the good work, this year's most insignificant political blog (or whatever that award was you won)!

Megan said...

Oh, also (because it makes me feel a teensy bit better to laugh at them) Blackwater headquarters is located at the end of Puddin' Ridge Rd. I'm not making this up.

Bro said...

awww... I was also held accountable to the Uniform Code of Military Justice when I did Civil Unrest (riot) patrol.

CiscoKid said...

Indeed, a scary prospect....

Soon they will be going public and we will get apiece of the action.

Another joke.. Nonetheless. Scary

Johnny Yen said...

Working in a "privatized" school, I see what an abysmal failure that whole scheme of things is. Like a privatized military, it's aimed at scooting around rules, and in the case of schools, unions.

Frank Sirmarco said...

These guys have totally ruined a perfectly good Doobie Brothers song for me!