Mercenary "military for hire" corporation building training camp in Jo Daviess County
One of the most under-reported stories of the Iraq disaster is the fact that the Bush administration and the neo-con ideologues who designed it determined before the war that it should be the first "privatized" war. Plans were made to contract out a huge portion of what the military had always done itself to outside, and of course, closely connected corporations, many of which sprang into sudden existence simply to reap the billions of dollars available in no-bid, no-accountibility contracts.
Among the largest members of the "coalition of the billing" in addition to Halliburton/Kellog Brown & Root, is Blackwater USA, literally an army for hire being paid untold millions of your tax dollars with no accountibility whatsoever.
Blackwater USA is a private military contractor offering "tactical training," firing range and target systems, and security consulting under the company's subdivisions: Blackwater Training Center, Blackwater Target Systems, Blackwater Security Consulting and Blackwater Canine. According to its website, Blackwater provides "a spectrum of support to military, government agencies, law enforcement and civilian entities in training, targets and range operations as a solution provider." Their slogan is: "Providing a new generation of capability, skills, and people to solve the spectrum of needs in the world of security."
Blackwater USA was co-founded by former Navy Seal Erik Prince, a "billionaire right-wing fundamentalist Christian from a powerful Michigan Republican family. A major Republican campaign contributor, he interned in the White House of President George H.W. Bush and campaigned for Pat Buchanan in 1992. He founded the mercenary firm Blackwater USA in 1997 with Gary Jackson, another former Navy SEAL."
Prince's father, Edgar Prince, and Gary Bauer started the Family Research Council, where Prince interned. Prince's sister, Betsy DeVos, is a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party.
Blackwater USA received no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and "post-Katrina New Orleans" from the current Bush administration.
5 blackwater mercenaries were killed when their helicopter crashed in central Bagdhad, 7 more were killed two years ago in another helicopter crash, bringing the number of Blackwater guns for hire killed to 21 at that time.
It was Blackwater employees that ended up being torched and hung from a bridge in southern Iraq a few years ago,
Blackwater—and private military contractors in general—came under increased public scrutiny following the public killing and mutilation of four employees in Fallujah, Iraq on March 31, 2004. This increased scrutiny lead the firm to hire the Alexander Strategy Group for crisis management, public and media relations.
According to Russel Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, a few days after the Fallujah killings, "Blackwater Security Consulting engaged in full-scale battle in Najaf, with the company flying its own helicopters amidst an intense firefight to resupply its own commandos."
Blackwater has virtually no accountibility to the congress or anyone else, yet are reaping enormous profits and providing essentially a rogue, completely independent military force in Iraq and elsewhere.
Business has been so good, they're now building a multi-million dollar para-military training facility right in our back yard.
The "City Barbs" blogger "Treefieldsky" recently posted an excellent and rather shocking account of the goings on 50 miles to the north of the Quad Cities.
Of course, the local press completely missed this, but will hopefully give it it's deserved attention sometime soon.
The stillness of tree lined Skunk Hollow Road in Jo Daviess County Illinois, twenty miles from the beautiful Palisades along the Mississippi River, will soon be shattered by gunfire. Not the gun fire of wild turkey hunters but the gunfire from a new training facility for the most powerful mercenary army in the world, Blackwater USA.
I had a view of Blackwater’s new Illinois facility that is usually reserved for the hawks circling overhead. I stood on-top their climbing/rappelling/shooting tower looking down at the bulldozers busy moving tons of earth to create more shooting ranges.
On eighty acres in this isolated corner of Illinois, one hundred miles from Chicago, Blackwater is creating another large training site. This site will eventually, according to Blackwater North’s vice deputy Eric Davis, compare to their headquarters in North Carolina. They have a full schedule of classes ready to roll beginning April 9th with a pistol shooting course that is already three over capacity. The first three weeks of courses are filled and the others are filling fast.
Many thanks to "yinn" for bringing this matter to my attention.