Protest/Comment at the Board of Governors' Meeting -- May 13
The Board of Trustees voted to renegotiate the contract with Blackwater, removing most of the ridiculous provisions of the prior agreement on March 11. This topic came back before the Governing Board on May 13 at the Southwestern College Board Room. Thank you to everyone who attended and spoke their mind on this issue.
Here is the video of the meeting:
Claims by AIG by contractors in Iraq: 214,000 contractors in Iraq right now, more than uniformed personnel. 1,400 killed and 31,000 have reported injuries. This is not private insurance but insurance paid for by taxpayers. 44% of the claims are disputed. 60% of psychological claims are disputed. See this story on DemocracyNow!
Procinctu Group is attempting to add 193-acre Blackwater-style training camp in Riverside
Rally/Protest scheduled at Riverside Board of Supervisors meeting on March 17. More Info: See Procinctu Group
Wind Zero is attempting to install a 600+ acre training facility in Imperial County between I-8 and SR-98 in the Ocotillo/Nomirage area. There is significant resistance to the project by the local community mainly regarding water availability. Interacting with Imperial Valley College to get their endorsement of the project removed from Wind Zero's website.
In the early 1990s, Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, orchestrated a significant downsizing of our military in a program called "BRAC" -- Base Realignment and Closure. Ostensibly, this action was appropriate because of the "peace dividend" of the implosion of the Soviet Union. No one argues that all the bases were necessary, but it is also expected that some mistakes would be made. One of those mistakes is the fact that we were left with too few training facilities such as shooting ranges, driving tracks, and other infrastructure that is necessary both for local law enforcement and military training. (It was also the fact that the logistical needs of the military would be later filled by Cheney's former company, Halliburton, in the war on Iraq.)
Seeing a need for such training facilities, a large number of start-up firms rose to the occasion, such as Blackwater Worldwide. Started in 1997, the firm first provided training and then progressed to providing their own deployable private military troops, otherwise known as mercenaries. We use the term "mercenary" here not as a derogatory term but as a means to differentiate from other private military contractors that provide strictly logistics support, such as Halliburton, and firms that provide reconstruction expertise.
The introduction of the large number of mercenary forces seems to be linked to a spat between Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. Finding Rumsfeld unwilling to provide protection to State Department officials, Rice hired mercenary firms, most notably Blackwater Worldwide, to fill that role.
Remember the bill passed just before the November, 2006, elections to fund the military? ("John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007" (H.R. 5122)) Well, hidden in that bill are provisions that seriously weaken two bulwarks of liberty--the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act of 1807--by expanding the power of the president to declare martial law and use troops as a domestic police force in response to a "public emergency" or any "other condition". Blackwater troops (which were deployed domestically in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) or other private mercenary and paramilitary forces pose a severe threat to the civil liberties of the American people and now could be deployed to quell public dissent, put down popular uprisings, or even to stop opposing points of view through intimidation or outright force.
These are bases of an invading force that is bent on stealing our country from us, right under our noses! CONNECT THE DOTS!
We’ve been witnessing an unprecedented abuse of federal muscle at the Cal-Mex border where Blackwater has opened their so-called “vocational training” facility – a toehold of a new invasion of our country, shrouded in the flag and hidden in national security dogma. (Details...)
Simply speaking, private profiteering and public security are a dangerous mix. First explained by President Eisenhower in 1961, (view video) he noted the rise of the armament industry of vast proportions and the danger of unwarranted influence by the military industrial complex. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals.”
The military-industrial complex has taken another step in a extreme privatization agenda which has enabled private contractors, such as Halliburton, KBR, CACI, Titan, and many others to step beyond the fabrication of armaments and engage in military operations. With the advent of Blackwater and other mercenary firms, contractors engage in battlefield deployment. With higher profits ensured for a battle that continues without end, the Iraq occupation is proof that Eisenhower was right. This must stop. We must wake up.
Blackwater used the federal courts with a disgusting series of steps shielding their activities from public scrutiny to gain a foothold in California, a new base at the border that will grow without bound like a cancer. All patriotic citizens must throw down the gauntlet and say stop to this madness.
Blackwater Potrero - Blackwater's attempt to set up an 824-acre warfare training facility in East San Diego County.
Blackwater Otay - Blackwater's successful circumvention of local public oversight to allow them to set up an indoor training facility on the US-Mexico border.
Nisour Square Massacre - Event of Sept. 16, 2007 where 17 civilians were cut down by Blackwater gunfire and grenades.
Covert Canyon - discovered in May 2007 and the County stopped operation. Was Blackwater behind exposing this (competitor) facility? Perhaps. There is certainly less need for shooting ranges, etc. if Covert Canyon was already in operation.
Wind Zero - New proposal in the Imperial valley, just after the split of I-8 and 98.
Paramilitary Law - Laws that restrict the formation of private armies withing the US.
Suitable Locations For Training - Existing or closed military bases may be more suitable for training. (This whole topic assumes you think private training camps is a smart idea. Most people I talk with don't, for many reasons.)
(M1160) 2011-01-26 Blackwater deaths suit tossed after six years -- Mike Baker, Washington Post, An unfortunate likely consequence when you pick a fight with a corporation with deep pockets and who was likely just following black-ops contract provisions designed to sacrifice the BW contractors in an orchestrated ambush so that the Bush admin had an excuse for the siege of Fallujah. You need money to use our court system if you want to be treated with any measure of fairness. No money, and you will not be able to withstand the tactics of a deep-pocket adversary. Very sad. --Ray