Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Lately there have been serious civil rights violations — reminiscent of Kent State in 1970 when four students were killed by our National Guard simply for protesting the Vietnam War. A college student was Tasered by police for simply asking too long a question, several people were arrested for wearing ‘Peace’ t-shirts, and a minister was tackled outside the Petraeus hearing ostensibly for wearing an “I love the Iraqi People” button while black. Our fragile democracy is at stake.

From Wikipedia: The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre, occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. Four students were killed and nine others wounded, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.

Some of the students who were shot were protesting the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. However, other students who were shot were merely walking nearby or observing the protest at a distance.

There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, high schools, and even middle schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of eight million students, and the event further divided the country along political lines.

Now Blackwater is trying to open a camp in San Diego at the Mexican border...


There are approximately 163,100 U.S troops in Iraq while at the same time there are more than 180,000 private security forces in Iraq, most of them employed by Blackwater USA.

The heavy reliance on contractors in a war zone is partly the result of a post-Cold War shrinking of the armed forces and the Bush administration's preference for contracting out government functions to the corporate world.

While having contractors on and around the battlefield is not new, the situation in Iraq raises questions about whether U.S. troops have become so dependent on contract help they could not function properly in their absence.

The presence of thousands of private sector security guards adds another component to the debate. Employees for Blackwater and other companies are engaging the enemy in combat.

As the military leans on the private sector, there's a push to hold contract employees to the same legal standards as military personnel. It appears Blackwater USA security forces have less strenuous rules and laws that apply to them, than do U.S troops.

A 2004 regulation issued by the U.S. occupation authority granted security contractors full immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law. Unlike American military personnel, the civilian contractors are also not subject to U.S. military law either

It is suspious that contractors are being used to mask the true extent of our involvement in Iraq,What other way can you interpret it when the number of contractors exceeds the number of troops?

A July report from the Congressional Research Service said the State Department has hired over 2,600 private guards to protect U.S. diplomatic personnel and to guard the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as well as other key sites inside the city's "Green Zone.

They are private security in the same make believe sense that our uniformed military is a “volunteer” force, since both are lured by the dollars offered by the same paymaster, the U.S. government. Contractors earn substantially more, despite $20,000 to $150,000 signing bonuses and an all-time-high average annual cost of $100,000 per person for the uniformed military.

The U.S. government purchases whatever army it needs, which has led to the dependence upon private contract firms like Blackwater USA, with its $300-million-plus contract to protect U.S. State Department personnel in Iraq.

The fact that Blackwater USA gets almost all of its revenue from the U.S. government—much of it in no-bid contracts aided, no doubt, by the lavish contributions to the Republican Party made by company founder Erik Prince and his billionaire parents—its operations remain largely beyond public scrutiny.

Blackwater and others in this international security business operate as independent states of their own, subject neither to the rules of Iraq nor the ones that the U.S. government applies to its own uniformed forces. “We are not simply a ‘private security company,’ ” Blackwater claims on its corporate website. “We are a professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations firm.

Blackwater USA is not licensed to operate in Iraq, but that didn't stop George W Bush from using them anyway. In fact the Iraqi government that Bush installed are demanding Blackwater leave Iraq after Blackwater troops fired on civilians killing 20.

The United States on Tuesday suspended all land travel by U.S. diplomats and other civilian officials in Iraq outside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, amid mounting public outrage over the alleged killing of civilians by the U.S. Embassy’s security provider Blackwater USA.

Blackwater and other private "security" outfits are known to be involved in "secret" government operations. Taxpayers pay their salaries but lack the ability to know what these "private security" forces are doing.

In that regard Americans and Iraqis find themselves in a similar situation. Blackwater has more than $500 million in U.S. government contracts, and that does not include the "black" budget operations.

Columnist Joseph Palermo said the recent incident also raises the question: What are the trained squads of right-wing mercenaries from Blackwater, Triple Canopy, and Dyncorp going to do when they come home from Iraq?

They will probably fulfill a role similar to the one played by the Pinkerton Detective Agency in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. The Pinkertons specialized in breaking strikes and repressing labor union organizing, as well as intimidating progressives in general with violence. Blackwater and its ilk can easily become the new Pinkertons, as they apparently already have in New Orleans.

It seems the wealthy have sealed themselves away in gaited neighborhoods while they espouse policies that strip the public of needed services and starve the faltering middle and lower income groups.

There is quickly coming a time when repressing public resistance to these economic changes will produce a booming market for companies specializing in the violent repression of dissent.

In their gated neighborhoods, the ruling elite will not have to worry about local law enforcement hedging on police repression, they can just hire their own Blackwater Security Force to do their aggression for them.

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