Showdown in Blackwater’s Backyard

Marshall Adame is a Democrat running for Congress in North Carolina’s 3rd District, a jurisdiction along the Tar Heel state’s low-lying eastern coast that is home to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, Air Station Cherry Point, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, as well as Blackwater Worldwide’s 7,000-acre corporate headquarters and training facility. Adame is an underdog in the congressional race, where he will likely face seven-term Republican incumbent Walter B. Jones—who brought the term “freedom fries” to Congress—in the general election. Jones has since become an opponent of the Iraq war, atoning for his vote to authorize the war by writing letters of condolence to the families of dead soldiers—a “mea culpa to my Lord,” he says. But the incumbent and his Republican party are not the only obstacles Adame will have to overcome if he hopes to take over the 3rd District’s congressional seat. He also faces tough opposition from Blackwater.

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The Homeland Security Campus: Repress U

by Michael Gould-Wartofsky

Global Research, January 25, 2008
The NationFree-speech zones. Taser guns. Hidden cameras. Data mining. A new security curriculum. Private security contractors. Welcome to the homeland security campus.
From Harvard to UCLA, the ivory tower is fast becoming the latest watchtower in Fortress America. The terror warriors, having turned their attention to “violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism prevention”–as it was recently dubbed in a House of Representatives bill of the same name–have set out to reconquer that traditional hotbed of radicalization, the university.

Building a homeland security campus and bringing the university to heel is a seven-step mission:

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US quietly demands Iraq give defense contractors, US military immunity from prosecution

US officials are dragooning Iraq into accepting immunity for US civilian contractors in new negotiations with the Iraqi government just months after a feud over a private defense contractor exploded into an international outcry.

The Bush administration insists that Baghdad give the US “broad authority to conduct combat operations and guarantee civilian contractors specific legal protections from Iraqi law, according to administration and military officials,” a front page story in Friday’s New York Times reports.

The Administration’s proposed security agreement would replace the current United Nations mandate authorizing the US presence in Iraq, which is set to expire Dec. 31, 2008.

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All private security firms must close: Afghanistan

KABUL (AFP) – Authorities in Afghanistan want to close down all private security firms operating in the country, many of them illegally, President Hamid Karzai’s office said.

About nine unlicensed companies have already been shut down in a crackdown that has been under way in Kabul for weeks, according to city police.Under the constitution “only the Afghan government has the right of having and handling weapons, so private companies are against the constitution,” the president’s spokesman Siamak Hirawi told AFP late Wednesday.

A cabinet meeting Monday argued that the dozens of private security firms were illegal and a source of criminality.
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Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater

I thought about boycotting Bill Maher but then I could not put this on the site so I caved, sorry.

Private US military contractors move into Helmand

By Kim Sengupta in Kabul

Published: 14 October 2007

 

Large numbers of US private military personnel are expected to arrive in Helmand, the focal point of British involvement in Afghanistan, as part of a new effort to promote reconstruction and development in the war-torn province.

The US has contributed the largest sum to the new aid effort, over $200m. But British officials striving to win “hearts and minds” in the conflict against the Taliban have expressed concern over the potential influx of military contractors, amid a continuing furore over the shooting of civilians in Iraq by Blackwater.

As Nato troops reclaim territory from the Taliban, the movement has increasingly resorted to suicide attacks and roadside bombings. “The worry is that there will be a blast, and some contractors will panic and open fire, as happened with Blackwater in Baghdad. That is the very last thing that Helmand needs at the moment,” said a Western diplomat.

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Good neighbor?

Apart from the fact that no reasonable human being would want Blackwater anywhere near were they live, why does a private mercenary firm need three bases spread all over the country? Why is a private mercenary firm accused of war crimes, who has withdrawn from their lobbying organisation for fear of an investigation into their professional conduct allowed to train American police officers? There are only a thousand Blackwater mercenaries in Iran, so what else do they do on those bases? And let’s not forget that they also have a fourth base in the Philippines.(Travellerev)

Blackwater keeps its eye on a tiny East County enclave.

By Pat Sherman 10/09/2007

Blackwater USA Vice President Brian Bonfiglio flashed a self-satisfied smile, gazing east across Round Potrero Road where, on Sunday, more than 200 Potrero residents and antiwar activists streamed onto an adjacent parcel of land. They had come-some from as far as Ventura-to protest the 824-acre paramilitary training facility the company hopes to open a mile down the snaky dirt road.”I don’t think the war profiteering signs are appropriate, quite frankly,” Bonfiglio said. “At the end of the day, this will be determined as a land-use project by the [San Diego County] Board of Supervisors.”

As the public face of the project-dubbed Blackwater West-it’s Bonfiglio’s job to sell the facility as a non-invasive windfall to the residents of Potrero, a rural hamlet 45 miles east of San Diego. Given his employer’s image as a supplier of trigger-happy mercenary armies, unaccountable to neither the Iraqi nor American governments, wooing Potrero’s 850 residents has been a dicey game. Five members of the Potrero Planning Board who voted in December to support the project are facing a recall election. Some 320 residents signed a petition opposing the project that was sent to the county Board of Supervisors and Congressman Bob Filner, the Democrat whose district includes Potrero.

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