Saturday, May 17, 2008

MERCENARY UPDATE

The private mercenary firm Blackwater is facing new scrutiny over its announced plans to build a training facility in Southern California. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has demanded a probe into whether Blackwater misrepresented itself when it sought permits for the facility's construction. According to local media reports, Blackwater apparently didn't file under its own name, instead using the names of two subsidiaries. Earlier this year, local residents successfully blocked Blackwater from opening an 824-acre military complex known as Blackwater West in the rural town of Potrero, California. . . Prensa Latina reports that the director of the Border Project of the American Friends Service Committee, Pedro RĂ­os, notes that there are signs that the mercenary group is determined to build on the border with Mexico, only half a kilometer from the Mexican city of Tijuana and some 300 meters from a U.S. Border Patrol station. Periodico

Blackwater has started to look at ways to expand its business outside Iraq and is seeking financing to do so. . . Blackwater has advertised in security industry journals repositioning itself as a peacekeeping force. The adverts show mothers feeding babies and Blackwater guards smiling as children play in a street. It has also set up a division called Greystone, which is seeking to win protection work from the UN, aid organizations and foreign companies. A defence industry source said: "Theirs is nearly all US government work and if that goes they are in trouble." Times, UK

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