Page 196

assassinate al-Qaeda members. The private company enlisted was identified as Blackwater,11 which started out protecting our brass in Iraq. Today, even though the Iraqi government has kicked them out, they’re still under contract to our own government for “black ops.” I read a chilling book about Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill that I highly recommend. They’re in the vanguard of privatization of our armed forces. It’s astounding to consider that we have more private soldiers (74,000) than uniformed troops (57,000) in Afghanistan, as of summer 2009.12 Blackwater—which recently changed its name to the more innocuoussounding Xe Services—is run by Erik Prince, who one former employee says “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.”13 After getting some bad press for mowing down 17 Iraqi civilians on a crowded street in 2007,14 the company set about to clean up its image. They don’t call themselves mercenaries anymore, but “global stabilization professionals.” Their Web site claims a corporate vision “guided by integrity, innovation, and a desire for a safer world.” They sponsor NASCAR events and have performed dramatic parachute landings at college football games. Blackwater, as Erik Prince puts it, “is going to be more of a full spectrum” operation.15 Hmmmm, wonder what “full spectrum” means. One arm of Blackwater is called Total Intelligence Solutions, run by J. Cofer Black, who used to head up the CIA’s counter-terrorism branch. The company has bid for a $15 billion Pentagon contract to “fight terrorists with drugtrade ties.” They’ve got an offshore affiliate, Greystone Ltd., in Barbados. And, while Iraqi civilians are suing Blackwater for murders and other war crimes, the Obama Administration has replaced them with a new outfit called Triple Canopy, giving the company a billion-dollar contract to provide private security services in Iraq. Not only did they hire some of Blackwater’s finest, but some company employees have claimed Triple Canopy has used stolen cars and weapons taken from Iraqis to lift their profits on certain contracts to more than 40 percent.16 Meantime, Blackwater also remains on our government payroll to arm drone aircraft in Afghanistan, among other lucrative missions.17 After Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Blackwater got itself a mission there, too. About 150 of its mercs fanned out around the city in full battle gear, carrying automatic assault weapons and with guns strapped to their legs. When Jeremy Scahill talked to four of the men, they described their work as “securing neighborhoods” and “confronting criminals,” on behalf of Homeland Security.18

Profile for HAROLD ARROYO, JR.

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

Advertisement