Friday, October 26, 2007

California Resists Blackwater - Goes Up in Flames


Blackwater's run for the border
The notorious security contractor has plans for a military-style complex near the U.S.-Mexico border. Critics worry the firm's "mercenary soldiers" could join the U.S. Border Patrol.
By Eilene Zimmerman



Oct. 23, 2007 SAN DIEGO -- There are signs that Blackwater USA, the private security firm that came under intense scrutiny after its employees killed 17 civilians in Iraq in September, is positioning itself for direct involvement in U.S. border security. The company is poised to construct a major new training facility in California, just eight miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. While contracts for U.S. war efforts overseas may no longer be a growth industry for the company, Blackwater executives have lobbied the U.S. government since at least 2005 to help train and even deploy manpower for patrolling America's borders.


(Blackwater's compound outside of San Diego, in the shape of the Nazi Swastika).

Blackwater is planning to build an 824-acre military-style training complex in Potrero, Calif., a rural hamlet 45 miles east of San Diego. The company's proposal, which was approved last December by the Potrero Community Planning Group and has drawn protest from within the Potrero community, will turn a former chicken ranch into "Blackwater West," the company's second-largest facility in the country. It will include a multitude of weapons firing ranges, a tactical driving track, a helipad, a 33,000-square-foot urban simulation training area, an armory for storing guns and ammunition, and dorms and classrooms. And it will be located in the heart one of the most active regions in the United States for illegal border crossings.

While some residents of Potrero have welcomed the plan, others have raised fears about encroachment on protected lands and what they see as an intimidating force of mercenaries coming into their backyard. The specter of Blackwater West and the rising interest in privatizing border security have also alarmed Democratic Rep. Bob Filner, whose congressional district includes Potrero. Filner says he believes it's a good possibility that Blackwater is positioning itself for border security contracts and is opposed to the new complex. "You have to be very wary of mercenary soldiers in a democracy, which is more fragile than people think," Rep. Filner told Salon. "You don't want armies around who will sell out to the highest bidder. We already have vigilantes on the border, the Minutemen, and this would just add to [the problem]," Filner said, referring to the Minuteman Project, a conservative group that has organized civilian posses to assist the U.S. Border Patrol in the past. Filner is backing legislation to block establishment of what he calls "mercenary training centers" anywhere in the U.S. outside of military bases. "The border is a sensitive area," he said, "and if Blackwater operates the way they do in Iraq -- shoot first and ask questions later -- my constituents are at risk."

Saddam had a lot to tell us.



















http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/10/23/blackwater_border/

I guess one of these days it will sink in that if a group would deliberately stand down for 9/11, they would do anything. Anything.

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