The president’s proposed Civilian Reserve Corps was not his idea alone. A privatized version of it was floated two years ago by Erik Prince, the Christian Zionist secretive, mega-millionaire, conservative owner of Blackwater USA and a man who for years has served as the Pied Piper of a campaign to repackage mercenaries as legitimate forces. In early 2005, Prince – a major bankroller of the president and his allies – pitched the idea at a military conference of a "contractor brigade" to supplement the official military. "There’s consternation in the [Pentagon] about increasing the permanent size of the Army," Prince declared. Officials "want to add 30,000 people, and they talked about costs of anywhere from $3.6 billion to $4 billion to do that. Well, by my math, that comes out to about $135,000 per soldier." He added: "We could do it certainly cheaper."
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Prince's Private Army
And Prince is not just a man with an idea; he is a man with his own army. Blackwater began in 1996 with a private military training camp "to fulfill the anticipated demand for government outsourcing." Today, its contacts run from deep inside the military and intelligence agencies to the upper echelons of the White House. It has secured a status as the elite Praetorian Guard for the global war on terror, with the largest private military base in the world, a fleet of 20 aircraft and 20,000 soldiers at the ready.
From Iraq and Afghanistan to the hurricane-ravaged streets of New Orleans to meetings with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about responding to disasters in California, Blackwater now envisions itself as the FedEx of defense and homeland security operations. Such power in the hands of one company, run by a neo-crusader bankroller of the president, embodies the "military-industrial complex" President Eisenhower warned against in 1961.
Further privatizing the country’s war machine – or inventing new back doors for military expansion with fancy names like the Civilian Reserve Corps – will represent a devastating blow to the future of American democracy.
Working in tandem with Mossad, Blackwater is behind suicide bombings, destruction of mosques, civil war and even killing American troops
GNN contributor Jeremy Scahill is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and the author of the forthcoming Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He can be reached at jeremy [at] democracynow.org.
U.S. investigates Blackwater arms smuggling report
Federal prosecutors are looking into whether private U.S. security contractor Blackwater USA has shipped unlicensed automatic weapons and military goods into Iraq, a newspaper reported on Saturday.
Two former Blackwater employees have pleaded guilty in Greenville, North Carolina, to weapons charges and are cooperating with the investigation, The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina reported.
Federal prosecutors in North Carolina are handling the case, the News & Observer reported.
Blackwater, based in Moyock, North Carolina, employs around 1,000 contractors to protect the U.S. mission in Iraq and its diplomats from attack.
The newspaper quoted two unnamed sources as saying prosecutors are probing whether Blackwater was shipping weapons, night-vision scopes, armor, gun kits and other military goods to Iraq without the required permits. Reuters
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