But I see I am getting ahead of myself...
Okay... let's start with NPR's craptacular piece this morning "Blackwater Eyes Domestic Contracts in U.S."
In particular I would like to draw your attention to this bit:
"The first Blackwater employees arrived in New Orleans just 36 hours after the levies broke.That's the lede of the story. And then nowhere is the question ever hinted at: If things were such a shambles, and we couldn't get the National Guard or FEMA in there, then how did Blackwater put the equivalent of a short infantry regiment, rapid reaction team into town within a day and half, while the flood waters were still rising?
As Dr. S9 has previously noted, in spite of the NPR happy talk about the humanitarian mission of Blackwater, they were there at first primarily at the behest of insurance companies to protect property, and then only later did FEMA and DHS decide it would be easier to hire mercenaries than to use legitimate law enforcement and government resources for certain functions in New Orleans.
So, yeah, I'm ticked that again, a major media outlet, and frankly one of the last ones I trust to give so much as the time of day, lets something like that slip. So then there's the nut of the story:
"Providing security after national emergencies is usually a function of the National Guard and local police. And during the Katrina aftermath, the Blackwater employees were paid $950 a day, or about eight times the salary of a New Orleans police officer."Now to be fair (because after all, the Mojowire is nothing, if not all about the fair) they do extensively quote an ex-Air Force Attorney and fellow at G-Town Law, who says this talk of Blackwater getting contracts to work American streets is very unnerving.
Although he still skirts the main issue I have with all of this, he hints at it in this quote:
"The only difference between Blackwater in Iraq and Blackwater in New Orleans is that they are mercenaries in Iraq and they are vigilantes in New Orleans..."Vigilantes... absolutely right. Albeit vigilantes with letters of marque and reprisal, apparently. Yeah, they're animals, but they're our animals...
The reason I bring this up is the fact that the übergrøppénfumbler of this delightful little enterprise is a guy named Erik Prince. NPR has a little bio of him along with their main story, and they note that the guy is associated with some far right wing Christian Dominionist and Republican groups.
Yeah, our nation's leading gun pimp is a right wing dommie... I'm sure you're shocked beyond all comprehension to learn this [/snark].
Okay... here's the other shoe: "Tiny Potrero Battles County and Blackwater USA." That's right lads...our Potrero! Ya got that?! Check it:
"The hamlet of Potrero in southeast San Diego County, 45 miles from the city and just 8 minutes from Tecate, is being ambushed. The attackers are county bureaucrats marching alongside Blackwater USA, the private military contractor that is getting so much bad press while being labeled one of the biggest mercenary firms in the Iraq War.At this point there is a recall election spurred by this and threatened law suits, but it seems to me after covering other such development issues, that it's a done deal and they are only delaying the inevitable.
Blackwater wants to build an 824-acre training facility three miles north of Potrero. It will have 15 shooting ranges, an armory for storing ammunition, a course on which moving vehicles will be strafed with paintballs, a helicopter pad, several buildings, and other military accoutrements. But Potrero's oft-stated community goal is to "maintain the existing rural lifestyle by continuing the existing pattern of residential and agricultural uses on large 40-acre lots" alongside "generally undeveloped meadows, open spaces, and hillsides."[...]
[...]Last July, Blackwater hired as a lobbyist Nikki Clay, a longtime cheerleader for corporate welfare (Chargers, Padres) and former president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Blackwater brought on the developer-friendly environmental firm of Mooney, Jones & Stokes, along with other companies to make up their project team. The team quickly snuggled up to the County, which was not playing hard to get."
So aside from the obvious emotional ties the editors of this blog have for the small high desert border hamlet in San Diego County, there is another issue at work here.
For the last couple of years, there has been a semi-permanent presence in the hills of eastern San Diego County of the cream of the gene pool that Redneckistan could muster and put on our border to stop the hordes of the Brown Menance from coming north to take our lucrative dishwashing and crop picking jobs... of course, I am talking about The Minutemen.
Now given that DHS has not only the authority, but the will to use hired guns to do thing that a normal law enforcement officer apparently won't or can't, then I can only wonder how long it will be before there are semi-official Blackwater "observers" on the border with the Minutemen. And given their current proclivity for gun violence and their corporation's leading light being a radical dominionist, then I am wondering how long it will be before they start putting up barracks and training the Minutemen down there...
And how much of this will be done with the knowledge, funding and approval of DHS? Yeah, there are all sorts of ways this can end, most of them dark and unpleasant...