Blackwater USA, the billion-dollar mercenary corporation operating in Iraq, is finally and belatedly starting to come under the harsh spotlight of accountability. Hopefully, this new spotlight on Blackwater will help Californians stop dreaming and start demanding that Blackwater not build a mammoth new private military base in San Diego County.
A shocking new House Oversight Committee report (PDF) contains terrifying new details on the lethal incompetence of Blackwater’s “employees” (which act as replacements for US soldiers). Among other stunning findings in the new report, Blackwater, the mercenary corporation that wants to open a mammoth new private army base near San Diego, was found to have paid $15,000 to family members of a man in Iraq shot and killed by a “drunken Blackwater contractor.”
Revelations about this despicable hush money, paid to the murdered man’s family in order to keep the incident quiet, comes after yet another damning report (this one prepared by the Iraqi government) showing that Blackwater mercenaries opened fire “crazily and randomly” at innocent civilians in a terrible Baghdad massacre last month.
Read on to learn more about Blackwater’s history — and what you can do to stop Blackwater’s plans to invade California.
Blackwater was started by Eric Prince — an heir to the DeVos Amway fortune. Michiganders like me know all too well that the DeVos family has long been heavily involved in Republican party fundraising, so it’s no coincidence that the meteoric rise of Blackwater came very quickly after the George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were sworn in. The corrupt Pentagon under the Bush Administration has ignored all the violent excesses of Blackwater, and has rewarded Prince’s company with a brand-new, $92,000,000 contract for continued mercenary work in Iraq.
The 160,000 US soldiers in Iraq are outnumbered by mercenary soldiers — or “employees” of corporations like Blackwater and DynCorp. The engagement level of US soldiers and “employees” is at Vietnam War-levels — nearly 400,000 troops and mercenaries. The reasons the Pentagon is attracted to the “services” offered by Blackwater are clear: the Pentagon gets additional front-line labor without having to institute a draft; they get “soldiers” which can operate with near-impunity outside the law; and the Pentagon generally doesn’t suffer the same responsibility when an “employee” is killed as they do when an American solider is killed. The only downside is the fact that Blackwater “employees” get paid many times over what most American soldiers get paid. But money has been no object for the Pentagon so far — and they’re willing to pay handsomely to hire Blackwater’s private army.
So, with fresh, lucrative Pentagon checks in the mail, Blackwater’s private army is looking to expand. They figure that California’s got plenty of land, and Blackwater wants to take several thousand acres of land outside San Diego to build a behemoth new “training center.” The people in the community want no part of this Blackwater base, but the dollars offered by Blackwater are tempting local government officials. Go check out the Courage Campaign’s petition drive against Blackwater’s push into California.