Blackwater, A Private Army

In today’s world, warriors have a place to go. Blackwater. One person owns it. His name is Erik Prince and he is a “radical right-wing Christian mega-millionaire.

When L. Paul Bremer, who was Bush’s brainchild in Iraq until some time in 2004, was traveling around Baghdad he was protected by warriors from Blackwater.

These warriors are unhindered by laws. A decree called Order 17 protects them from prosecution for war crimes. Heck, it protects them from prosecution, period. They can literally do anything.

The American press calls them “civilian contractors” which makes them seem like benign workers, but that is far from the case. Erik Prince himself, when asked about his private army defined it like this — “When you ship overnight, do you use the postal service or do you use Fedex? Our corporate goal is to do for the national security apparatus what Fedex did to the postal service.”

When Blackwater searches for mercenaries, they do not discriminate. If you’re a warrior, someone who can kill excellently, efficiently and without a qualm, it doesn’t matter whether you’re black, white, oriental or Martian. It doesn’t matter what country you come from. The only thing that matters is your loyalty to your command.

Blackwater may be the most powerful army in the world; they don’t wear uniforms that make them stand out and they get the job done here in the U.S. and overseas, wherever they are needed.

The owner of Blackwater donates only to the Republican Party and knows what he wants. The question is — does he want what is best for our country — or the world for that matter.

What would it take to have a military coup in the United States? In any case, we might not need one; it could already be happening. Who does George W. Bush work for?

Prince says his forces are “accountable to our country.” Just what does that mean?

United States Representative Dennis Kucinich said, and I quote, “These private contractors can get away with murder . . . they do not appear to be subject to any laws at all and so therefore they have more of a license to be able to take the law into their own hands.”

Blackwater says they can do anything. They claim to be part of the U.S. Total Force and also claim immunity from civilian litigation in the United States.

The only thing I like about them is their name. Blackwater. It doesn’t sound like anything I’d want to drink.

In May of 2004, Blackwater opened a new division, called Greystone Limited and registered it as a “tax-exempt” corporate entity. Some of the countries recruits have come from are: the Philippines, Chile, Nepal, Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, and Peru, all countries which have questionable human rights records.

Forget Iraq for a moment. When Katrina hit New Orleans, Blackwater picked up some contracts to work there — about $243,000 a day’s worth.

“Unlike police officers, they are not trained in protecting constitutional rights,” says CCR’s Michael Ratner. He also says, “These kind of paramilitary groups bring to mind Nazi Party brownshirts, functioning as an extrajudicial enforcement mechanism that can and does operate outside the law. The use of these paramilitary groups is an extremely dangerous threat to our rights.”

I want to close this column with the fact that over 1,000 journalists have died covering local stories in their home countries over the past ten years.

Since 2000 the toll has increased. 147 killed in 2005. In 2006, a record 168 journalists have been assassinated.

“The figures show that killing a journalist is virtually risk-free. Nine out of ten murderers in the past decade have never been prosecuted,” according to Richard Sambrook, the chairman of the special inquiry and global news director for the BBC world.

Two years ago the institute decided to create a central authority for keeping track of assassinations of journalists.

Just recently, a Russian reporter covering a political hotball story was warned off. In the beginning of this month Ivan Safronov, the journalist covering a story about Russia’s plans to sell top-shelf missiles to Syria and Iran, “fell” to his death from his apartment building from a stairwell window between the fourth and fifth floors.

I find it constantly amazing what humans are capable of. When I was a little boy playing hide and seek in the woods with some friends. Suddenly, three teenagers appeared and grabbed me. They were much bigger than us; I imagine we were about 8 and they were about 14 years old, and the two boys I was with became frightened and ran away.

I don’t know where this would have gone but they beat and tortured me for over an hour and suddenly I broke away and ran out of the woods. I was running down the street, literally afraid for my life with them hot on my trail when my father came up. My friends had gone to my house and told my parents.

He grabbed two of them and knocked their heads together. Nothing like this had ever happened to me and I remember asking, “Why did they do this? This is as crazy as war.”

I am still asking “Why do we do this? Are we a crazed species? Shouldn’t we know better by now? We are so intelligent. How can we be so stupid??”

War will be the end of us. While we fight and ignore global warming and the spread of different types of pollution in our world, the Earth is becoming diseased.

Soon, all there will be left is Blackwater, Blackwater, Blackwater, but none to drink.