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Old 05-03-2006   #21
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Default Let Blackwater Loose in Darfur

From Josh at The Adventures of Chester blog - Let Blackwater Loose in Darfur.

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The executives of one of the most well-known private security firms, Blackwater, have offered to provide a brigade of peacekeepers in Darfur, if only someone will pay for it...
A few weeks ago, at an international special forces conference in Jordan, Black announced that his company could deploy a small rapid-response force to conflicts like the one in Sudan. ''We're low cost and fast," Black said, ''the question is, who's going to let us play on their team?"
In other words, the private security firms need something other than cash to pay for their peacekeeping; they need some sort of legitimacy. But legitimacy for what? Invasions? The establishment of private empires of sorts?...

Blackwater though, seeks to insert itself due to one particular detail of the particular externality of Darfur. Namely, no powerful state in the world has any inherent national interest in preventing the killing there, except solely out of a sense of altruism. Blackwater offers to solve the problem for them, if only someone will pay for it all.

Here's several ways that Blackwater can raise the capital necessary to fund the Darfur peacekeeping mission, and really score a PR coup at the same time...
Follow the link for discussion on the various options...
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Old 05-03-2006   #22
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Default Peace Corp.

23 April Boston Globe - Peace Corp.

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Three years of fighting in the Darfur region of Sudan have left an estimated 180,000 dead and nearly 2 million refugees. In recent weeks, both the UN and the US have turned up the volume of their demands to end the violence (which the Bush administration has publicly called genocide), but they've been hard pressed to turn their exhortations into action. The government in Khartoum has scuttled the UN's plans to take control of the troubled peacekeeping operations currently being led by the African Union, and NATO recently stated publicly that a force of its own in Darfur is ''out of the question." Meanwhile, refugee camps and humanitarian aid workers continue to be attacked, and the 7,000 African Union troops remain overstretched and ineffective.

But according to J. Cofer Black, vice chairman of the private security firm Blackwater, there is another option that ought to be on the table: an organization that could commit significant resources and expertise to bolster the African Union peacekeepers and provide emergency support to their flagging mission.

A few weeks ago, at an international special forces conference in Jordan, Black announced that his company could deploy a small rapid-response force to conflicts like the one in Sudan. ''We're low cost and fast," Black said, ''the question is, who's going to let us play on their team?"

Private security companies like Blackwater have thrived in Iraq, where the US military has relied on them for everything from guarding convoys to securing the Green Zone. But these companies recognize that the demand for their services in Iraq will eventually diminish, and Blackwater, for one, is looking for new markets. It's not alone in seeing peacekeeping as a growth area. Competitors such as Aegis and Dyncorp have also realized that while conflicts like the one in Darfur may not bring them profits on the order of Iraq, there's no shortage of them. And if such companies are able to help the international community succeed in peacekeeping, it could improve the image of an industry that hasn't enjoyed much support from the press or the public.

Private military companies have had a hard time convincing the international community that privatizing peacekeeping would be as good for Darfur, and for the rest of the world, as for their industry. In part that's because of the mixed reputation their work in Iraq has earned them and because the explosive growth of the industry has raised fears that security contractors working for the US government in Baghdad (and post-Katrina New Orleans) could become bona fide armies for hire. But the discomfort also has deeper roots, in the complicated history of private intervention in these kinds of conflicts. When Kofi Annan was UN undersecretary general for peacekeeping, he explored the option of hiring the South African private military company Executive Outcomes to aid in the Rwandan refugee crisis. He ultimately decided against the option, declaring that ''the world is not yet ready to privatize peace."...
Much more at the link...
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Old 05-03-2006   #23
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Default Send in the Mercenaries

3 May Tech Central Station - Send in the Mercenaries by J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss.

Quote:
The crisis has taken another turn for the worse in the Darfur region of western Sudan. On April 26, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned that the security situation has so deteriorated that international aid agencies are no longer able to gain access to some 700,000 internally displaced people who thought they were "safe" because they had managed to get inside UN-managed camps. The latest attacks by government forces, Human Rights Watch reports, occurred on April 24 on a village in South Darfur state called Joghana, which is about 6 miles from the town of Gereida, where about 80,000 refugees live...

Meanwhile, the most the international community has been able to agree to do is to reluctantly pass a Security Council resolution sponsored by the United States barring four Sudanese nationals accused of war crimes from international travel and freezing any assets the four may have abroad. Were it not for the seriousness of the crimes of which the four men are accused, the whole exercise would make great comedy...

U.S. forces are stretched thin by ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are rightly distracted by the need to keep military options open against soon-to-be-nuclear, apocalyptically minded, Iran. Meanwhile, as we noted in our earlier essay, other nations are reluctant to commit enough forces to shore up the undermanned "peacekeeping" operations of the African Union. So it's hard to imagine how sufficient resources will be found to take care of one task that could literally mean the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands in Darfur: the protection of the camps where they have gathered and where they receive humanitarian relief. It's not asking much, but for now protection of these camps from Janjaweed killers seems beyond the capabilities of the international community -- unless, that is, we are willing to look outside the box and turn to private military companies (PMCs).

Generally, modern states have been reluctant to recognize the existence -- much less advocate the use -- of PMCs, viewing the enterprises as "mercenaries" who threaten the monopoly of states on the use of force. There is certainly a historical basis for this hostility towards private armed forces, especially in Africa...

On the other hand, there is an increasing amount of state practice -- the basis of a ius cogens legal argument of general acceptance -- in favor of the activities of PMCs...

...the role that PMCs play in international security has become even more significant, not only in providing armed support and peacekeeping services for weak states, but also an array of military services that major powers have outsourced. Analysts estimate that the PMC business is a $100 billion industry with several hundred companies operating in more than one hundred countries. In Iraq, for example, PMCs are a vital component in the U.S.-led coalition's efforts, with some 20,000 workers from Blackwater Corporation and other firms engaged in "security" tasks. Taken as an aggregate, PMCs in Iraq constitute the second largest contingent in the "Coalition of the Willing," handling everything from feeding soldiers to maintaining weapons systems for the U.S. military to guarding convoys and training a new police force for the nascent Iraqi government.

If no one else has the courage and will to act in Darfur, why doesn't the UN, or NATO for that matter, contract out the problem and let the free market save countless lives? If the African Union, whose troops are notoriously ineffective, finds the PMC option unpalatable, perhaps the credible threat of its use might compel the regional organization to come up with an alternative that will actually save the lives of innocent Darfurians, rather than merely observe their extermination.
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Old 05-04-2006   #24
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Default PMCs in Wikipedia

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Private military contractors, private military corporations or private military companies (PMCs) are companies that provide armed staff trained in combat, i.e. private military, for other corporations, organizations, individuals and state military forces. The term is also used for the staff of such companies.

When providing services to a State's military they may be described more generally as defense contractors. When working for a State's military the difference in nomenclature seems to be arbitrary, the chief distinction that may be made is that defense contractors supply specialized hardware and the personnel to support and service that hardware, while PMCs supply personnel with specialized skills, which often include combat experience. The 1949, Third Geneva Convention (GCIII) does not recognize the difference between defense contractors and PMCs, it defines a category called supply contractors. If the supply contractor has been issued with a valid identity card from the armed forces which they accompany, they are entitled to be treated as prisoners of war upon capture (GCIII Article 4.1.4). If however the contractor engages in combat, on capture they can be classified as a mercenary under the 1997 Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions (Protocol I) Article 47.c, unless they fall under an exemption to this clause as listed in Article 47. If on capture contractors are found to be mercenaries, they are an unlawful combatant and lose the right to prisoner of war status.

There has been a recent exodus from many special forces across the globe towards these private military corporations. The United Kingdom Special Air Service, the United States Army Special Forces and the Canadian Army's Joint Task Force 2 have been hit particularly hard. Operators are lured by the fact that entry level positions with the various companies can pay up to $100,000 a year, which is 2-3 times more than what an average special forces operator is paid. However, this conventional wisdom has been disputed especially in the United States where GAO research has detected no noticeable exodus.
The site provides links to many of the PMCs' web pages to include Blackwater USA.
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Old 05-05-2006   #25
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Default Cofer Black is CIA

Are we suggesting to deploy a 4GW force to occupy one of China's major oil importers?

I want a T-Shirt

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Old 05-16-2006   #26
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Default Cofer Black

Was a CIA station chief for Sudan. Most of his career was in Africa.
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Old 05-17-2006   #27
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Default

If you had this capability, would you make it public knowledge?
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Old 05-17-2006   #28
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Default Geneva Protocols

Are not binding international law on non-signatories BTW.

The Euros adopted the Protocol along with the old East Bloc that privileged Marxist guerillas whose methods normally violate the Geneva Convention but the U.S. did not. Claims advanced in this regard to PMC employees are simply that, mere assertions. The U.S. is legally free and clear to try irregulars who fight out of uniform or assert lawful combatant status for any PMC employees contracted by the Pentagon.
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Old 05-18-2006   #29
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Default Blackwater USA to Open Facilities in California, Philippines

16 May Virginian-Pilot - Blackwater USA to Open facilities in California, Philippines.

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Fast-growing private military company Blackwater USA is expanding westward.

Blackwater executives say they plan to soon open a branch facility in southern California and a jungle survival skills training center on the site of the former Subic Bay naval base in the Philippines.

Both projects will be smaller versions of Blackwater's 7,000-acre compound in Camden and Currituck counties, where thousands of military and law enforcement personnel come each year for training. The company says it is the largest tactical training facility in the United States, if not the world.

The eight-year-old company has enjoyed phenomenal growth, winning hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of federal contracts to provide security and training services in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.

Chris Taylor, Blackwater's vice president for strategic initiatives, referred to the planned facility in southern California as "Blackwater West." He did not specify where it will be or when it will open.

In the Philippines, Blackwater President Gary Jackson said, the company has acquired about 25 acres at Subic Bay and will have access to thousands of acres of adjacent jungle for conducting jungle environment survival training, known by the acronym JEST...

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Old 05-24-2006   #30
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Default PMCs in Iraq

23 May Associated Press - Amnesty Urges U.S. on Iraq Contractors.
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Old 05-29-2006   #31
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Default When Should the Government Use Contractors to Support Military Operations?

19 May Heritage Foundation paper - When Should the Government Use Contractors to Support Military Operations?.

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Military contractors are currently assisting militaries around the world with missions that range from training and supply chain management to fighting in battles. Military contractors are seen as having inherent advantages over militaries in resource constraints, manpower, and flexibility. Yet relying on military contractors has its share of risks, including potential shortfalls in mission success, concerns over the safety of contractors, loss of resources because a capability is outsourced, loss of total force management, and problems of compliance with administrative law.

With the increased use of military contractors and the advent of privatized military firms, the question is how to determine the right force mix to complete a task or mission in the most effective and efficient manner. Sometimes, military contractors may be the best choice; however, they are not a perfect fit for every mission or the right solution for all skill and manpower shortages.

When considering the use of military contractors, U.S. military leaders should assess the risks of employing the various options and then choose the best one. The Department of Defense (DOD) should adopt comprehensive guidelines for making these decisions, using a risk-based approach...
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Old 05-31-2006   #32
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Default Send in the Mercenaries

31 May Los Angeles Times commentary - Send in the Mercenaries by Max Boot.

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...Pieces of paper, no matter how promising, require power in order to be enforced. The question is: Who will provide that power in Darfur? The African Union force deployed in 2004 has proven woefully inadequate. Its 7,000 soldiers lack the numbers, training and equipment to patrol an undeveloped region the size of France. They don't even have a mandate to stop ethnic cleansing; they are only supposed to monitor the situation.

If you listen to the bloviators at Turtle Bay, salvation will come from the deployment of a larger corps of blue helmets. If only. What is there in the history of United Nations peacekeepers that gives anyone any confidence that they can stop a determined adversary?...

But perhaps there is a way to stop the killing even without sending an American or European army. Send a private army. A number of commercial security firms such as Blackwater USA are willing, for the right price, to send their own forces, made up in large part of veterans of Western militaries, to stop the genocide.

We know from experience that such private units would be far more effective than any U.N. peacekeepers. In the 1990s, the South African firm Executive Outcomes and the British firm Sandline made quick work of rebel movements in Angola and Sierra Leone. Critics complain that these mercenaries offered only a temporary respite from the violence, but that was all they were hired to do. Presumably longer-term contracts could create longer-term security, and at a fraction of the cost of a U.N. mission.

Yet this solution is deemed unacceptable by the moral giants who run the United Nations. They claim that it is objectionable to employ — sniff — mercenaries. More objectionable, it seems, than passing empty resolutions, sending ineffectual peacekeeping forces and letting genocide continue.
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Old 08-03-2006   #33
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Default $100 million to the State Department for an effort to hire private contractors

Inside The Pentagon
August 3, 2006

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DOD, State To Launch New Counterterrorism Work In Asia And Africa

The Pentagon is poised to shift as much as $100 million to the State Department for an effort to hire private contractors charged with enhancing the counterterrorism capabilities of foreign militaries in 14 nations across Africa, Asia and Latin America, according to a senior Defense Department official.

The program, which involves an unorthodox sharing of resources, won the approval of Congress last year only after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a big push for it. It is designed to fulfill a key objective of the U.S. strategy for the global war on terrorism -- bolstering the capabilities of partner nations to fight terrorists within and around their borders.

Eight aid packages, each worth $10 million to $30 million, have been constructed to boost the maritime and land-based counterterrorism operations of military forces in Pakistan, Indonesia, Yemen, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Chad, Senegal, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Some of the aid packages fund efforts in more than one nation; additional aid packages for other nations may be approved soon.

“This program is designed to give them the training and equipment so that they can take on common enemies and prevent terrorist sanctuaries in their territories that are a problem for them and for us,” Jeb Nadaner, deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations, said in an interview. “This is [a Bush] administration program to get ahead of problems before they get full-blown.”

The security assistance packages are the product of programs nominated and coordinated by geographic combatant commanders and top diplomats at U.S. embassies. In general, the packages consist of relatively low-tech equipment -- no major weapon systems are in the offing -- designed to provide each nation with a better picture of activities within its borders and on the seas near its shores...

The long-term goal, he said, is to create a layered series of capabilities around the world among U.S. allies and partner nations so that they can undertake their own defense against terrorists...

The equipment sets include radar, surveillance tools and sensors, Global Positioning System navigation devices, communications equipment, computer systems and programs, small boats, small trucks and trailers, and spare parts for vehicles, said Nadaner.

Mark Garlasco, senior military analyst with Human Rights Watch and a former Pentagon intelligence analyst, said this aid might be useful in the war on terror. “But we have to understand that they might use the equipment in ways that the United States might not want it to be used,” in violation of international law, he said...

Peter Singer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of “Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry,” said that to the extent the U.S. government hires private firms to conduct training of foreign militaries it misses an opportunity to develop an important, if informal, tool -- military-to-military relationships that might be called upon in a future crisis...

Of the eight military aid packages, three involve groups of nations. Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe are grouped in the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Security Program, designed to provide more effective control of certain West African waters through improved coastal surveillance and operational capabilities. Morocco, Algeria, Chad, Senegal, Tunisia and Nigeria are grouped together into an effort called the Multinational Information Sharing Initiative, which aims to build the capacity of these nations to share data about activities in the region.

Individual programs for Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka are focused on improving each nation’s maritime operations, particularly the strategic sea lanes in Southeast Asia.

With U.S. forces stretched thin by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rumsfeld and Rice last year sought and secured permission from Congress to use Pentagon operation and maintenance funds for State Department foreign military training programs run by private firms...
-- Jason Sherman

Last edited by SWJED; 08-03-2006 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 08-04-2006   #34
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Default Is this the Future?

Information on a Radio Talk Show conducted as well as a Newspaper reporters 6 part series on Blackwater.

The radio interview I thought was very informative on laws governing use of PMCs.

Quote:
Their business is supplying security in an unsecure world. Training modern day mercenaries means big profit for private military companies and also helps ease the strain of an over-taxed military. But not everyone thinks this new approach is the best way to wage war. We'll talk about it on today's HearSay with Virginian-Pilot Reporter Bill Sizemore. [and IPOA's Doug Brooks . . .]
Radio Talk Show on PMCs
http://wmstreaming.whro.org/hearsay/08032006.wma

Another great investigative 6 Part Series on Blackwater

NOTE: You may need to REFRESH BROWSER AFTER LINKING TO GET THE ARTICLES.

Quote:
Blackwater: Inside America's Private Army
The Virginian-Pilot
© July 23, 2006

Enter a world where the military has become a business – where citizen soldiers work for a private company whose currency comes from conflict. It’s a place some salute and others fear. And it’s right in our backyard.

PART 1
A New Breed of Warriors
These men are not soldiers, at least not anymore. All have military experience, but in order to become private security contractors, they must pass an eight-week, $20,000 course.

PART 2
Profitable Patriotism
After the terrorist attack on the destroyer Cole, Blackwater USA found its future: providing security in an insecure world. Since, the Moyock, N.C., company has rocketed to the big time.


PART 3
On the Front Lines
The growing presence of private security contractors on the battlefield in Iraq is uncharted territory, spawning questions about conflicting objectives, poor coordination and lack of accountability.


PART 4
When Things Go Wrong
The lynching of four Blackwater USA contractors in Iraq in 2004 has had profound consequences on two fronts: in the course of the war, and with families back home.


PART 5
On American Soil
Hurricane Katrina opened the door to a flood of domestic work for Blackwater USA. In New Orleans, the company protects FEMA's staff - at a cost of about $243,000 a day.


PART 6
New Horizons
Security contractor Blackwater USA, after long preferring the shadows, has taken a high-visibility U-turn - including its own skydiving team - to get out its story and drum up business.
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Old 08-04-2006   #35
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Default Private Military Companies and the Legitimate Use of Force

From the Centro Militare di Studi Strategici (CeMiSS), Rome, Italy:

Eroding State Authority? Private Military Companies and the Legitimate Use of Force
Quote:
This study probes the question of how the rise and development of private military companies (PMCs) is affecting the authority of Western states to define and regulate the use of force. It is an inquiry into the extent to which private military companies are merely “tools” in the hands of the state, as often assumed. It is an inquiry into the extent to which the delegation of tasks to private actors also entails a privatisation of authority. It is an attempt to think about a link whose existence is often denied. In a typical vein one observer writes:

...most would argue that the power to authorise and delegate the use of military force should remain with states, preferably at the level of the UN Security Council. But once agreed, exactly what or who is deployed is less important – the issue then is to find the most effective and least costly alternative... (Shearer 2001: 30).

This report asks whether cost effectiveness is really the issue at stake and whether who is deployed is of limited importance. The political intuition it departs from is that who “is deployed” matters a great deal. It is absolutely essential for governments, for armed forces and for citizens not only to ask “what is most effective and least costly” alternative. They also need to ask what consequences different alternatives have for the authority over the use of force (and more specifically the state monopoly on the legitimate use of force). The aim of this study is first and foremost to spell out the lines along which such questions have to be asked and discussed...
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Old 09-14-2006   #36
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Default Global Guerrillas and Popular Mechanics...

35,000 Private Military Shooters in Iraq?

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PSCAI (Private Security Company Association of Iraq) estimates that there are 35,000 private military contractors (those who are using lethal force and employed by global corporations) in Iraq. Note that the vast bulk of these contractors are operating outside the realm of any counter-insurgency strategy (and by their actions, defined by their missions, typically undermine it).
... and from Popular Mechanics - PODCAST: Licensed to Kill

Quote:
Welcome to the shadowy world of the hired gun. We talk with Robert Young Pelton, who's new book, License to Kill, details the three years he spent with private security contractors in the high risk, highly paid world of military outsourcing. Former Marine infantryman Bing West -- also a former assistant secretary of defense -- shares a grunt's view of the killings in Haditha, and explain why we shouldn't be so quick to judge...
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Old 09-14-2006   #37
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If looking at 'private security forces' and not 'private military', the number is double (or possibly even quadruple) the 35k 'licensed' individuals. This from from PSCAI interviews.
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Old 10-02-2006   #38
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Default Private Military Companies Eye Darfur

2 October Washington Times - Private Firms Eye Darfur by Willis Witter.

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Private military companies protecting American diplomats, aid workers and local officials in Iraq and Afghanistan are making a pitch to take over U.N. peacekeeping missions in Darfur and other global hot spots where the United Nations is unable to stop the killing.

Companies such as Blackwater, Triple Canopy, DynCorp and Halliburton have mushroomed in size and number since the 2003 Iraq invasion, serving an increasing need to protect people and projects from terrorist attacks.

With a limited number of U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq, private companies fill a void with up to 100,000 employees, far more than all non-U.S. coalition troops combined. They do everything from serving meals on U.S. bases to protecting diplomats and visiting generals who venture outside the protected Green Zone in downtown Baghdad.

Some companies are looking beyond Iraq and seeking a greater role in peacekeeping, and the largely ineffective deployment of a 7,000-member African Union (AU) force in the Darfur region of western Sudan provides an opportunity.

Blackwater says it could get its people and equipment in Darfur in three weeks, provided U.N. members could agree on a plan. In comparison, it takes an average of six months for a U.N. peacekeeping team to deploy...
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Old 10-10-2006   #39
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Default Contractor Deaths Near 650, Legal Fog Thickens

10 October Reuters - Contractor Deaths Near 650, Legal Fog Thickens by Bernd Debusmann.

Quote:
The war in Iraq has killed at least 647 civilian contractors to date, according to official figures that provide a stark reminder of the huge role of civilians in supporting the U.S. military...

Their number in Iraq is estimated at up to 100,000, from highly-trained former special forces soldiers to drivers, cooks, mechanics, plumbers, translators, electricians and laundry workers and other support personnel.

A trend toward "privatizing war" has been accelerating steadily since the end of the Cold War, when the United States and its former adversaries began cutting back professional armies. U.S. armed forces shrank from 2.1 million when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 to 1.4 million today.

"At its present size, the U.S. military could not function without civilian contractors," said Jeffrey Addicott, an expert at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. "The problem is that the civilians operate in a legal gray zone. There has been little effort at regulation, oversight, standardized training and a uniform code of conduct. It's the Wild West out there."...
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Old 12-11-2006   #40
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Default Warriors for Hire

18 December issue of the Weekly Standard - Warriors for Hire by Mark Hemingway.

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For obvious reasons, the location of the headquarters of Blackwater USA isn't well-publicized. Officially, the only public trace of the world's largest private military training facility is a post office box in Moyock, North Carolina, an unremarkable rib-shack pit-stop on the way to the Outer Banks.

But the place isn't hard to find. From Washington, D.C., head south. As soon as you cross the state line, follow the sound of gunfire until you find an armed compound half the size of Manhattan. Which is not to say the place sticks out--it's just very, very big. Blackwater is a company most Americans first heard of when four of its contractors were murdered in Falluja, Iraq, in March 2004, and their bodies desecrated on camera. It is the most prominent of the private security contractors in Iraq. You might think of the North Carolina facility as Blackwater's Fort Benning or Quantico...

Though the company is less than ten years old, it's already become the alpha and omega of military outsourcing. The target systems remain a multimillion-dollar business, but now the corporate flagship is just one part of a very large fleet. Indeed, it would be hard to understate Blackwater's capabilities:
  • A burgeoning logistics operation that can deliver 100- or 200-ton self-contained humanitarian relief response packages faster than the Red Cross.
  • A Florida aviation division with 26 different platforms, from helicopter gunships to a massive Boeing 767. The company even has a Zeppelin.
  • The country's largest tactical driving track, with multi-surface, multi-elevation positive and negative cambered turns, a skid pad, and a ram pad for drivers learning how to escape ambushes.
  • A 20-acre manmade lake with shipping containers that have been mocked up with ship rails and portholes, floating on pontoons, used to teach how to board a hostile ship.
  • A K-9 training facility that currently has 80 dog teams deployed around the world. Ever wondered how to rappel down the side of nine stacked shipping containers with a bomb-sniffing German shepherd dog strapped to your chest? Blackwater can teach you.
  • A 1,200-yard-long firing range for sniper training.
  • A sizable private armory. The one gun locker I saw contained close to 100 9mm handguns--mostly military issue Beretta M9s, law enforcement favorite Austrian Glocks, and Sig Sauers.
  • An armored vehicle still in development called the Grizzly; the prototype's angular steel plates are ferocious-looking. The suspension is being built by one of Black water's North Carolina neighbors--Dennis Anderson, monster truck champion and the man responsible for the "Grave Digger" (the ne plus ultra of monster trucks).
... It may seem callous that Blackwater is making a buck preparing police to deal with such horrific events. But somebody has to be in the business of worst case scenarios. It's not their fault that everywhere--from Colorado to Iraq--business is so good.

While Blackwater's training and logistics operations might be the heart of their operation, that's not the reason the company is on the verge of becoming a household name. Among its initial government contracts was one for antiterrorist training in the wake of the USS Cole bombing. A single marksman could have taken out the approaching bomb-laden boat, but most soldiers on deck weren't even carrying loaded weapons at the time. Recognizing a major weakness, the Navy awarded an "urgent and compelling need" contract to Blackwater to train 20,000 sailors in force protection. The company still executes that contract to this day. And from that start, it gradually expanded its roster of services available to the military. Enter the war on terror, and the military began looking for something beyond training and support services--actual manpower.

Blackwater is now one of the largest and most respected suppliers of "private military contractors" in Iraq. The company has carried out high-profile assignments--such as their exclusive contract to guard Ambassador L. Paul Bremer when he was the top U.S. civilian in Iraq--whose performance by a private company would once have been unthinkable...
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