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Blackwater's Private CIA in Mexico
Monday, 30 June 2008 06:14


By Jeremy Scahill, The Nation. Posted June 9, 2008.

This past September, the secretive mercenary company Blackwater USA found its name splashed across front pages throughout the world after the company's shooters gunned down seventeen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square. But by early 2008, Blackwater had largely receded from the headlines save for the occasional blip on the media radar sparked by Congressman Henry Waxman's ongoing investigations into its activities. Its forces remained deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and business continued to pour in. In the two weeks directly following Nisour Square, Blackwater signed more than $144 million in contracts with the State Department for "protective services" in Iraq and Afghanistan alone and, over the following weeks and months, won millions more in contracts with other federal entities like the Coast Guard, the Navy and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Blackwater's Iraq contract was extended in April, but the company is by no means betting the house on its long-term presence there. While the firm is quietly maintaining its Iraq work, it is aggressively pursuing other business opportunities. In September it was revealed that Blackwater had been "tapped" by the Pentagon's Counter Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office to compete for a share of a five-year, $15 billion budget "to fight terrorists with drug-trade ties." According to the Army Times, the contract "could include antidrug technologies and equipment, special vehicles and aircraft, communications, security training, pilot training, geographic information systems and in-field support." A spokesperson for another company bidding for the work said that "80 percent of the work will be overseas." As Richard Douglas, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, explained, "The fact is, we use Blackwater to do a lot of our training of counternarcotics police in Afghanistan. I have to say that Blackwater has done a very good job."

Complete article, HERE.

Reproduction of material from any AlterNet pages without written permission is strictly prohibited.

© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A New Blackwater Controversy on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Frontera NorteSur

A proposed project run by the private military contractor Blackwater Worldwide is once again kicking up political hay on the US-Mexico border. Earlier rebuffed in its attempt to open a large training camp in the rural San Diego County community of Potrero, Blackwater now finds itself in a battle over the company's bid to open a training facility for the US Navy. Like Potrero, the latest controversy has pried open a Pandora's Box of thorny issues ranging from border relations to the Iraq war. The current dispute centers on Blackwater's plans to manage a 48-student school in San Diego County's Otay Mesa on the US-Mexico border and just down the road from US Border Patrol offices. According to Blackwater's plans, the site will offer indoor shooting instruction and simulated ship training to improve the anti-terrorist skills of naval personnel.

US Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA), a leading Blackwater critic, said in a radio interview late last week that the presence of a "private mercenary army" on the border, where it is hard to tell who is a citizen and who is not, was a "recipe for disaster." Rep. Filner and other Blackwater opponents often cite the company's record in Iraq as grounds for opposing the North Carolina-based firm's further expansion into the public sphere. Blackwater has been mired in controversies arising from the 2004 killing of four company personnel in Fallujah, Iraq, and from the shootings of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater employees last year. "They shoot first and ask later," Rep. Filner charged.

On April 25, Rep. Filner and San Diego City Councilman Ben Hueso joined about 30 community activists for a rally against an Otay Mesa Blackwater school.

Brian Bonfiglio, Blackwater vice-president, dismissed the opposition as ideologically-driven. Bonfiglio said that Blackwater has been conducting military training for five years at other locations in San Diego County, including the privately-owned American Shooting Center. The Otay Mesa school would not train private security contractors, he said.

The San Diego Development Services Department issued a permit March 19 for the Otay Mesa site without a public hearing. Kelly Broughton, department director, said Blackwater's permit complied with an earlier designation of the Otay Mesa building as a vocational school. Broughton said the training of "future police or security" guards would be a proper activity meeting a vocational trade definition.

But Rep. Filner and members of the San Diego City Council contend that Blackwater could have used deceptive practices to obtain the permit, which was obtained by Raven Development Group, a Blackwater affiliate. The design plans for the school were submitted under the name of Southwest Law Enforcement, another Blackwater affiliate. According to the California congressman, he is working with the city council and county attorney to investigate the permit and determine if there are reasons to revoke it. He urged community activists to "take a look" to see how many places along the border Blackwater was operating under different names.

In earlier comments to the local press, Blackwater's Bonfiglio insisted that the company had nothing to hide and that the legality of the permit was above-board. Bonfiglio added that the Otay Mesa row could have repercussions for others. "If they go after our range, they are getting ready to take on every other firearms business in the county," he said.

Last March Blackwater withdrew its application for an 824-acre training camp in Potrero after gunfire tests showed potential noise from the facility would exceed county standards. The proposed Potrero camp generated stiff citizen opposition, resulting in the voter recall of all five members of the planning board who approved the project. Initially surfacing in Potrero, anti-Blackwater sentiments are now focused on Otay Mesa.

"We need more training for peace," said Jeanette Hartman, chairwoman of a local Sierra Club committee. "I'll be happy when they open a peace center."
Sources: Pacifica Radio/Democracy Now, May 2, 2008. San Diego Union-Tribune, April 23, 26 and 29, 2008. Articles by Anne Krueger and Tanya Mannes. NBC-San Diego, April 22, 2008. Stopblackwater.net
Frontera NorteSur (FNS)
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico

(Reprinted with authorization from Frontera NorteSur, a free, on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news source.  FNS can be found at http://frontera.nmsu.edu/)


FAIR USE NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving such material(s) for informational, research and educational purposes. As such, we believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law.

Posted: 2008-06-06 14:39:42
San Diego, 6 Jun (Notimex).- El ejército privado Blackwater comenzó hoy a entrenar a una veintena de efectivos de la armada estadunidense en un centro de prácticas paramilitares en la frontera con México, confirmó Brian Bonfiglio, vicepresidente de la empresa.

Bonfiglio dijo a medios de prensa locales que el centro de entrenamientos está disponible para cualquier corporación policiaca que desee capacitar a sus elementos en técnicas como las del equipo de tácticas y armas especiales (Swat).

El centro de prácticas clasificado como "escuela vocacional" con el nombre de "policía fronteriza" se ubica a unos 500 metros de la primera de dos mallas metálicas que dividen a California de la ciudad mexicana de Tijuana.

Blackwater abrió su centro de prácticas con autorización de la magistrada federal en San Diego, Marilyn Huff, pese a que el gobierno local analiza el procedimiento que siguió para registrarse a través de dos compañías del condado sin que apareciera su nombre.

Los argumentos de la alcaldía y la procuraduría de distrito de San Diego serán escuchados por Huff en una audiencia que tendrá verificativo este mismo mes.

Sin embargo, Lucas O?Connor, un activista de la organización Coraje de California contraria a la instalación del centro de entrenamiento de Blackwater, informó que la batalla legal continúa.

O"Connor dijo que Blackwater requiere todavía de varios permisos y aseguró que sus trámites serán revisados con mayor escrutinio, pero agregó que este mes la ciudad de San Diego demandaría respeto a sus decisiones de usos de terrenos ante la corte federal.

Como parte de la campaña de Coraje de California contra Blackwater en la región, la próxima semana podría presentarse en San Diego el autor del libro "El nacimiento del ejército mercenario más poderoso del mundo", Jeremy Scahill, dijo O"Connor.
© 2008 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved

The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America

La administración del presidente George W. Bush ha colocado su propuesta para militarizar México en la Ley de Gastos Suplementarios de Irak y que fue aprobada parcialmente a fines de mayo.

Por Laura Carlsen
Especial para The Narco News Bulletin

1 de junio de 2008

El 22 de octubre de 2007 el Presidente Bush anunció la “Iniciativa Mérida”, un paquete de asistencia para la seguridad con un costo de 1,400 millones de dólares. La iniciativa contiene fallas fatales en su estrategia; en vez de estimular una relación bilateral estable así como comunidades fronterizas pacíficas, su enfoque militar provocará un aumento en la violencia relacionada con el narcotráfico y abusos contra los derechos humanos.

México y los Estados Unidos enfrentan un reto conjunto para reducir el crimen organizado transnacional y deben colaborar para fortalecer el estado de derecho y detener el tráfico ilegal de armas y drogas en ambos lados de la frontera. Esta política equivocada no cumplirá las metas planteadas y será un gran derroche de recursos de los contribuyentes. Asimismo perjudicará las relaciones Estados Unidos con México y pondrá en riesgo la estabilidad de este último país.

Artículo completo, AQUI

Empresas de mercenarios que hacen el trabajo sucio de la CIA y han cometidos centenares de homicidios de civiles inocentes en Irak y Afganistán, serán enviadas a México para, presuntamente, enfrentarse a los cárteles de la droga, en un plan que podría aplicarse en otros países con cualquier pretexto.

Por John E. Ariscano*

WASHINGTON (ClariNet)– Casi 30 años después que los ejércitos de mercenarios estuvieron a punto de desaparecer tras su derrota en África, el gobierno de George W. Bush los ha revivido y los transforma en una suerte de policía sin fronteras, que tanto sirve para custodiar a un embajador de Washington en Irak, como para lanzarlos contra los cárteles de la droga en México.

Parte de la cacareada guerra contra el terrorismo ha sido el fomento y la conformación de estos grupos armados cubiertos por un manto de impunidad, al servicio de Washington, que actúan ya en América del Sur en países como Colombia y que muy bien podrían ser usados, por ejemplo, para invadir a la Venezuela de Hugo Chávez o a cualquier otro país, incluidos Chile, Bolivia y Ecuador, como ya se hizo un lejano 1954 en la Guatemala de Jacobo Arbenz. Por el momento, el dudoso privilegio de recibir a tan ingratos huéspedes, se dice que en plan experimental, le toca a México.

Artículo completo, AQUI.

© 2008 ApiaVirtual

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¿Latino América .. Amenazada?

Shadowy Army

Blackwater: Entrevista en España

Blackwater divides California community

Image:Dallas Morning News logo.png

$1.4 billion program with U.S. faces an uphill battle

10:50 PM CDT on Friday, October 19, 2007

By ALFREDO CORCHADO / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – The U.S. and Mexican governments are expected Monday to announce an anti-drug package that will probably involve hiring private U.S. military contractors to train Mexican troops on the use of new technologies and equipment, senior U.S. officials said.

The government's use of private contractors has been highly controversial, especially since a deadly incident involving contractors last month in Iraq.  Complete article. HERE.

© 2008, The Dallas Morning News, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

April 16, 2007 

Private Military Firm Planning Camp Near Border

Frontera NorteSur

A proposal to establish a private security force training camp on the US-Mexico border is stirring controversy. The North Carolina-based military contractor Blackwater USA would set up the camp in question in San Diego County, California. Now undergoing official review is a plan for an 824-acre training camp envisioned for a site near the small town of Potrero, California, which is located several miles north of the Baja California, Mexico municipality of Tecate. 

The proposed campsite is close to an area called the "Mushroom Zone," where undocumented workers are known to cross the border, and near a wilderness area. 

According to reports, Blackwater seeks approval for a camp operated by 60-100 former military personnel who will train up to 300 students at a time in firearms, urban assault techniques and other skills. If opened, the facility is expected to include dormitories, 15 shooting ranges and a helicopter-landing pad.  

Residents of Potrero, a town of about 900 people, are voicing their opposition to the camp. Reportedly, about half the registered voters in Potrero have signed a petition against the proposed facility. Resident Carl Meyer told a San Diego television station that the camp could disturb animals in the zone, while another unidentified resident expressed concern about noise.

Owned by millionaire Erik Prince, Blackwater defines itself as the "most comprehensive professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping and stability operations company in the world." Author and journalist Jeremy Scahill, who has written a new book about the company, regards Blackwater as the world's largest mercenary army. 

According to Scahill, Blackwater USA holds a US$300 million State Department contract to provide security for Iraq. Military contractors in the country receive up to US$1,000 per day, according to a General Accounting Office report cited by Scahill in a recent article. Killed or wounded personnel from Blackwater and other military contractors are not included in the official US military casualty lists.

In addition to its work in Iraq and Afghanistan, Blackwater was contracted to provide security in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. On the West Coast, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has held discussions with the company about providing emergency disaster relief operations.

"Blackwater now envisions itself as the FedEx of defense and homeland security operations," writes Scahill.

There was no immediate word about the possible missions of graduates from a future Blackwater US-Mexico border camp. The San Diego County government will have the final word over whether or not the proposed Blackwater camp opens. 

Sources: El Universal/Frontera/La Jornada /Notimex, April 6, 2007. Blackwaterusa.com. San DiegoReader.com, February 22, 2007. Article by Don Bauder. Counterpunch.org, January 25, 2007. Article by Jeremy Scahill. Calitics.com.

Frontera NorteSur (FNS)
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico

(Reprinted with authorization from Frontera NorteSur, a free, on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news source.  FNS can be found at http://frontera.nmsu.edu/)

FAIR USE NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving such material(s) for informational, research and educational purposes. As such, we believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law.
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