View Full Version : Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

08-21-2007, 10:39 AM
Has anybody read this book? I have only just made it through the preface, and it has blown me away. I definitely have a better grasp on why Iraq is costing us some damned much - because of these guys ad their competitors. The average Blacwater troop makes anywhere from 600-950 bucks a day over there. Nearly everything Eisenhour warned us of nearly 50 years ago regarding the military industrial complex has come (or is coming) true.

I've alwys kind of wondered why there wasn't more of a stink from the government on lack of troop support from our "allies". There's a reason - Blackwater has 100,000+ troops in Iraq alone. That is greater than the total troop commitment of Britain. Now, I'm all for mercs to go in and flush out terrorists and potential terrorists, but here's the catch - these guys are not bound by any form of military justice. Not the MCoC, not the Geneva Convention - nothing. Effectively, they have been granted carte blanche to do as they see fit, when they see fit. Say they get caught murdreing an innocent civilian - oh well. Sucks for that guy. They answer to NO ONE. And even more scary, there are plans in place for if there is ever a major catastrophe within our borders for these guys to come in and act as "police". The problem is, the same lack of boundaries applies to them here, within the states, as it does anywhere else on the planet. This is a dangerous precedent to set, imo.

Like I said, it might not be a bad idea on the face to have soldiers with this kind of freedom, but a dig a little deeper, and it gets real scary real fast.


Taco John
08-21-2007, 10:43 AM
I think you'd better brace yourself for an onslaught of "tin foil hat" comments.

08-21-2007, 10:43 AM
Oh, and it doesn't help my opinion that Blackwater is run by a fundamentalist whackjob. He has likened himself and his company to the "Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a Christian militia formed in the eleventh century, before the first Crusades, with the mission of defending 'terroritories that the Crusaders had conquered from the Moslems."

08-21-2007, 10:44 AM
I think you'd better brace yourself for an onslaught of "tin foil hat" comments.


Radar Chief
08-21-2007, 10:59 AM
I think you'd better brace yourself for an onslaught of "tin foil hat" comments.

Why? Is he somewhere claiming “9/11 was an inside job”? ROFL

08-21-2007, 11:01 AM
Whatever works to take out terrorists.

08-21-2007, 11:26 AM
PR is expensive. They allow us to fight the war with 1/2 the number of reported troops.

08-21-2007, 11:43 AM
I'm with Bowser!

My first thoughts is that such mercs could be used to turn on the American people. I don't believe our soldiers would do that as easily...'er not absolutely impossible if they are given a bunch of propaganda that demonizes any group falsely or in an exaggerated manner. But seems to have a safer line of defense.

Then again this is one reason why some of our Founders feared a standing army. They had citizen militias...just like Switzerland, a country I think we were supposed to be more like. They're also armed to the teeth.

08-21-2007, 11:54 AM
A video circulating on the Internet leaves little doubt that contractors do get caught up in combat.

Running just under seven minutes, it has appeared on several Web sites under such titles as “Mercenary Sniper in Iraq” and “Sniper and Firefight Video.”

The video shows a team of Blackwater USA contractors firing from a rooftop in Najaf, Iraq, on April 4, 2004 – four days after four other Blackwater men were killed and their bodies mutilated in an ambush in Fallujah.

Chris Taylor, a vice president at Blackwater, said the video was not authorized by the company, but he confirmed that it is authentic and involved Blackwater personnel.

Taylor said the men, under contract to protect the headquarters of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, repelled an attack by 300 to 400 insurgents during a period of about 18 hours. Blackwater sent in helicopters to resupply the team with ammunition and ferry out a wounded U.S. Marine.

The video opens with footage shot from a helicopter circling as another helicopter drops in ammo to the Blackwater team on a rooftop. The remaining footage is shot from the rooftop, focusing mostly on a single gunman crouched behind a ledge, wearing a backward ball cap, sunglasses and orange earplugs, coolly firing an M-4 assault rifle with a telescopic sight.

The gunman reloads twice during the video. Toward the end he exclaims, “It’s like a (expletive) turkey shoot.”

The wounded Marine evacuated by Blackwater was Norfolk-based Lonnie Young. Out of the service now and living in Kentucky, Young says he has seen the video and recognizes the faces in it.

Young says the Americans took up positions on two adjoining rooftops. He was on the building across from where the video was shot, but said the scene was much the same on his rooftop, where he was shot in the shoulder.

“I was up there within 30 seconds of the first incoming,” Young said, “and Blackwater was already there – binoculars out, weapons locked on, picking out targets.”

As the only uniform on his rooftop, Young said, his first reaction was to start barking orders.

“But I realized real quick that these guys knew what they were doing. So, instead of telling them what to do, I started working with them.”

Private Guards Repel Attack on U.S. Headquarters

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 6, 2004; Page A01

An attack by hundreds of Iraqi militia members on the U.S. government's headquarters in Najaf on Sunday was repulsed not by the U.S. military, but by eight commandos from a private security firm, according to sources familiar with the incident.

Before U.S. reinforcements could arrive, the firm, Blackwater Security Consulting, sent in its own helicopters amid an intense firefight to resupply its commandos with ammunition and to ferry out a wounded Marine, the sources said.

The role of Blackwater's commandos in Sunday's fighting in Najaf illuminates the gray zone between their formal role as bodyguards and the realities of operating in an active war zone. Thousands of armed private security contractors are operating in Iraq in a wide variety of missions and exchanging fire with Iraqis every day, according to informal after-action reports from several companies.

In Sunday's fighting, Shiite militia forces barraged the Blackwater commandos, four MPs and a Marine gunner with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 fire for hours before U.S. Special Forces troops arrived. A sniper on a nearby roof apparently wounded three men. U.S. troops faced heavy fighting in several Iraqi cities that day.

The Blackwater commandos, most of whom are former Special Forces troops, are on contract to provide security for the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Najaf.

With their ammunition nearly gone, a wounded and badly bleeding Marine on the rooftop, and no reinforcement by the U.S. military in the immediate offing, the company sent in helicopters to drop ammunition and pick up the Marine.

The identity of the Marine and two other wounded men could not be established, but their blood was still fresh hours later, when the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, and spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt arrived to survey the battle zone.

Without commenting at a news conference yesterday on the role of the Blackwater guards, Kimmitt described what he saw after the fighting ended. "I know on a rooftop yesterday in An Najaf, with a small group of American soldiers and coalition soldiers . . . who had just been through about 3 1/2 hours of combat, I looked in their eyes, there was no crisis.

"They knew what they were here for," he continued. "They'd lost three wounded. We were sitting there among the bullet shells -- the bullet casings -- and, frankly, the blood of their comrades, and they were absolutely confident."

During the defense of the authority headquarters, thousands of rounds were fired and hundreds of 40mm grenades shot. Sources who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of Blackwater's work in Iraq reported an unspecified number of casualties among Iraqis.

A spokesman for Blackwater confirmed that the company has a contract to provide security to the CPA but would not describe the incident that unfolded Sunday.

A Defense Department spokesman said that there were no military reports about the opening hours of the siege on CPA headquarters in Najaf because there were no military personnel on the scene. The Defense Department often does not have a clear handle on the daily actions of security contractors because the contractors work directly for the coalition authority, which coordinates and communicates on a limited basis through the normal military chain of command.

The four men brutally slain Wednesday in Fallujah were also Blackwater employees and were operating in the Sunni triangle area under more hazardous conditions -- unarmored cars with no apparent backup -- than the U.S. military or the CIA permit.

One senior Blackwater manager has described those killings to U.S. government officials as the result of a "high-quality" attack as skilled as one that can be mounted by U.S. Special Forces, according to a copy of a report on the incident obtained by The Washington Post.

The four victims of that attack, according to Blackwater spokesman Chris Bertelli, were escorting trucks carrying either food or kitchen equipment for Regency Hotel and Hospitality. Regency is a subcontractor to Eurest Support Services (ESS), a division of the Compass Group, the world's largest food service company.

ESS provides food services to more than a dozen U.S. military dining facilities in Iraq, according to news accounts.

Blackwater, a security and training company based in Moyock, N.C., prides itself on the high caliber of its personnel, many of whom are former U.S. Navy SEALs. It has 450 employees in Iraq, many of them providing security to CPA employees, including the U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, and to VIPs visiting Iraq.

Blackwater has applied to occupy a former MIG air base near Baghdad as a counterterrorism training facility for Iraqi forces. The training range will mirror the 6,000-acre Moyock site, which is frequented by U.S. law enforcement and military personnel.

Those guys sound like some bad MFers.

And if they are really this effective, we can use all of them that we can hire.

Mr Luzcious
08-21-2007, 12:50 PM
And even more scary, there are plans in place for if there is ever a major catastrophe within our borders for these guys to come in and act as "police". The problem is, the same lack of boundaries applies to them here, within the states, as it does anywhere else on the planet. This is a dangerous precedent to set, imo.

Jericho, anyone?

08-21-2007, 01:50 PM
Jericho, anyone?

They were hired by some government entity in Louisiana following Katrina. I think the governor's officer or something, to keep peace?

Adept Havelock
08-21-2007, 03:30 PM
What a waste. All that money that could be going to expand the US Military.

Instead, we undercut our own moral authority by sending mercs into a war zone. :shake:

The owner is comparing them to the Knights Hospitaller? :Lin:

A comparison to the British South Africa Company, "Executive Outcomes", or the Fourth Commando (Biafran war) would be considerably closer to the truth.

These guys are little more than "The Wild Geese", with 1/1000000th the star power.

go bo
08-21-2007, 03:55 PM
Why? Is he somewhere claiming “9/11 was an inside job”? ROFLLMAO LMAO LMAO

laughing this hard is gonna give me hemorrhoids, i swear...

08-21-2007, 06:00 PM
NSFW language/racism
<object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/yJUEULWEP9c"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/yJUEULWEP9c" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>

this has some footage of the rooftop shootout. I think its odd, some of the guys on film are not taking cover. (no incoming fire?) some of them have smiles on their faces, and display brutal braggadocio. some of these guys go completely manic in a firefight.

08-21-2007, 06:08 PM
Just to get it all out there:

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007
Leading GOP Candidate Romney Taps Blackwater's Cofer Black as Campaign Adviser

Leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has tapped Blackwater executive Cofer Black as a senior campaign advisor. Romney has called for a doubling of the US prison camp at Guantanamo. Black - who has been vice chairman at Blackwater for two years - was director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center during 9/11 and led the agency's hunt for Osama bin Laden. [includes rush transcript]

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
Donate - $25, $50, $100, more...

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk more about the former director of the CIA and FBI under Reagan, William Webster, and his links to Blackwater, since he wasn’t disqualified?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. I mean, first of all, he serves on a corporate board, as Bill said, this company called Single Point with Joseph Schmitz, who’s one of the key people now at Blackwater’s parent company, the Prince Group.

The other thing that I find curious is that he didn’t disclose that when he was director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Cofer Black was a major figure at the CIA. Cofer Black has been the vice chairman of Blackwater. He was the man who led the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a major CIA heavy-hitter. And, to my knowledge, that didn’t come out on William Webster's disclosure form. This is a very small world of people that operate in that Central Intelligence Agency circle, particularly when you’re talking about people who rise to the ranks of director of Central Intelligence or director of the Counterterrorism Center. And I find it curious that that relationship with Cofer Black apparently wasn’t relevant to the panel.

AMY GOODMAN: Cofer Black, a top official in Blackwater, also one of the heads of a spin-off, and he has a new position, as well.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. I mean, Cofer Black, just to remind people, was the man who stood before Congress and said there’s a before-9/11 and an after-9/11, and after 9/11 the gloves come off. He was a key figure in the extraordinary rendition program, the government-sanctioned kidnap-and-torture program, where prisoners like Maher Arar are sent to third-country hellholes to be tortured. He’s now a major figure at Blackwater USA. He’s been the vice chairman of the company. He’s now one of the key people behind a new privatized intelligence company called Total Intelligence Solutions that’s being bankrolled by Erik Prince, the head of Blackwater.

Another figure from Blackwater involved with that is Robert Richer, the former deputy director of operations at the Central Intelligence Agency, Enrique Rick Prado. And Cofer Black, more recently, Amy, has been tapped by Mitt Romney, who now is leading the GOP field in the Iowa polls. Mitt Romney has tapped him as a senior advisor on counterterrorism. So, o, what a tangled web we weave. But I find it’s very interesting that William Webster didn’t find it relevant to disclose that he was head of the CIA when Cofer Black was a major figure at the agency.

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Jeremy Scahill, author of the book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.


Mr. Laz
08-21-2007, 06:10 PM
everybody who wants to own guns because they are afraid of their own government should be doubly afraid of mercs.

it's far likelier to have a hostile marshall law type situation with mercs than our current governmental setup.

08-21-2007, 06:19 PM
It's interesting that the administration's private Army is growing while the people's army is being undermined.

Hmmmm.....didn't that fascist Hitler have his own private army?

I don't think a private army is such a good idea for America.

08-21-2007, 06:20 PM
But just think how great all that cash flow is, flooding into the private sector and trick, trick, trickling down to all the common folks. Damn, I love Right Wing Economics!

08-21-2007, 07:27 PM
Cofer Black, just to remind people, was the man who stood before Congress and said there’s a before-9/11 and an after-9/11, and after 9/11 the gloves come off.

Follow-through is important now.

08-21-2007, 07:28 PM
It's interesting that the administration's private Army is growing while the people's army is being undermined by the democrats.

My first ever, FYP in honor of NewPhin's presence.

08-21-2007, 11:12 PM
And even more scary, there are plans in place for if there is ever a major catastrophe within our borders for these guys to come in and act as "police". The problem is, the same lack of boundaries applies to them here, within the states, as it does anywhere else on the planet. This is a dangerous precedent to set, imo.

I disagree here unless the President swears them all in before declaring marshal law then they would still be answerable to some higher authority Lt. Cpt. Major, Colonel etc etc

No private security officer can have police powers without being certified by the state and employed by a government agency ....these guys are nothing more than private citizens and have no legal authority