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My apologies for the short diary, but I have work to do. This interview with Jeremy Scahill on Fresh Air, hosted by Terry Gross, is worth the listen:

Blackwater USA is a secret army based in North Carolina with a sole owner: Erik Prince, a radical right-wing Christian multimillionaire. Jeremy Scahill talks about his book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

What troubles me most about this interview is what they don't talk about, although the context is evident: that Blackwater's mercenaries could become the force behind a future coup and police state here in the U.S. I had not heard that Blackwater had armed personnel in New Orleans after Katrina (hd you?), but then why would I have when the MSM is too busy with other, more important things.

And if you think I am crazy, don't forget that the money is huge, and there always seems to be dickheads that are willing to fuck with other people because they can. Police states have always relied on the Universal Soldier, and this future one will be no different.

Originally posted to Dirigo Blue on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 06:14 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've often wondered what will happen... (7+ / 0-)

    ...when the inevitable showdown comes between Congress and the executive. Blackwater has, I admit, figured into my wondering.

  •  Blackwater = US "Republican Guard" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, Bulldawg, benthos, keechi, extradish

    - Israel has the right to exist, and responsibility to coexist.

    by Opinionated Ed on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 06:25:33 PM PDT

  •  I heard the piece as well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, madame defarge

    and it was chilling.  Thank heaven the Democrats are on the march.

  •  Yeah But Maybe (0+ / 0-)

    Erik Prince is a good radical right-wing Christian multimillionaire. Well maybe. I dunno; he certainly seems like he'd be a pretty swell guy if he were in a 1980s TV series. Facetious? Surprisingly, not.

    •  This is the other aspect that wasn't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FireCrow, ibonewits

      really openly addressed. That belief in Christ has been conflated with America as the chosen nation is well known, but it has not been combined with a powerful private armed force. And to be led by someone that thinks Rummy or Bush is the Godhead?

      I am always amazed by those that still maintain that "it" can never happen here, not realizing that others that have seen their countries taken over said the same thing.

      17. Ne5

      In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

      by Spud1 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 06:47:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Spud1

        It, ah yes, "it."
        What if "it" had already actually happened here but more successfully than anywhere else? What if "it" just happens to allow for gays, blacks, women, and Latinos-with-money to do okay? What if "it" when done to the hilt does not involve the trains running on time, whitewashed music, or single-party rule? What if "it" requires not total regimentation to function but instead a simmering, somewhat contained Wiemar Republic so that the mobilization against it never stops?

        What if "it" has cost plenty of lives and only figgers on biggering that process? What if "it" is the third most populous, and leading nation, of the world? What if...
        Well then, I say more power to eccentrics with power, even if I don't agree with them. Because the "it" that people can be made to agree on generally, is the only "it" that is of serious long-term concern.

        When I was a teenager I floated the idea of becoming a mercenary over the dinner table to my father, who popped a gasket. I've given up "Soldier of Fortune" reading... Well for the most part... But I do understand where these guys are coming from. I may hate what they do, and much of what they think, but I can't hate them, they are me. Albeit me as a disaffected and confused teenager... But also a more idealistic and innocent person than I am today.

        Long exposure to the real world, especially in an open society, has a way of changing people. Inner turmoil is introduced, but so is respect for others. Here's to hoping that, given the opportunity, Mr. Prince Smedley Butlers the job.

        •  Am I correct to think that what you (0+ / 0-)

          are saying is that the military-industrial comlex ha allowed our nation a standard of living to be envied, and that the trades offs - the killing of foreigners and the destruction of their lands - are worth it?

          Perhaps not "worth it," but the true cost of our standard of living that no one wants to acknowledge?

          17. Ne5

          In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

          by Spud1 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 07:18:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not At All (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not saying anything of the kind.
            I can see how you might assume that from what I've written but I'm probably more of a peacenik than you are.

            However, as it happens... I think that the idea that our standard of living is connected to our foreign policy is a fallacy (not necessarily false but logically unsound as proof in itself). I think this fallacy has the effect, and sometimes the intent, of quieting dissent against that foreign policy.

            I think (conveniently enough you might say) that we need to have a good standard of living on average because somebody has got to or what's the point? I mean, what's there for anyone else to shoot for?

            We should just do it sustainably.
            And we can.
            And so can other nations.
            And we can get there from here.
            But not by eschewing our handholds on the precipice of world poverty in the belief that sliding down onto the masses will help them somehow... Sometimes it might but most often, not. It is very fallacious to assume that what is wrong with the world, and also present in America, is uniquely American or headquartered in America.

            The real troubles? Manifold but here is one applicable to how we ought to live...
            The highest profit for the fewest is made when more of our goods move through bottlenecks due to long-distance shipping, so sustainability and fair trade are engineered out (although not with that explicit intent, I trust).

      •  Here's an Example (0+ / 0-)

        How many Americans think "it" is fine that the fate for a young black man who uses cocaine would include being raped and infected with AIDS by a big racist biker in prison? (Obama admits cocaine use, and he did inhale, in Dreams From My Father.) Now I'm no fan of drugs, much less hard drugs, and when I found a close relative using it many years ago I blew my top and made sure that was the end of that. But I wouldn't consign that relative to hard time for it; much less a possible death sentence and in any case a greatly lessened life as ex-con. But such is the collateral of a "War" that few take open exception to. A war that could have claimed our current President, I'll hazard a guess, and a very possible successor to him as well.

        How many millions? How many millions before that is some kind of "it" worth note? How many millions more.

        •  What the fuck does this mean? Perhaps (0+ / 0-)

          you ought to wait until tomorrow to post more.

          17. Ne5

          In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

          by Spud1 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 07:31:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  WTF Does That Mean? (0+ / 0-)

            WTF does WTF mean? Judging by your past posts on marijuana law I take it you are not an extremist on the topic... But silence is the voice of consent...

            My message to anyone who really couldn't understand the above post?

            Don't go around complaining about how your countrymen are going to put "it," of "it can't happen here," over... Not without being willing to take a critical look at what one does, by silent consent at minimum.

            The content of my post above, restated, is that our past two presidents (to my knowledge) have admitted doing something that they, and most of us, are content to let other unlucky people rot for very long sentences, and if as unlucky as noted, permanent ones.

            So we have a long-declared War, on an act, with it's targets being people exactly like our last two and probably future Presidents.

            You don't find "that" the least bit "it"-ish?

  •  Are they really that secret? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cecrops Tangaroa, Spud1

    I thought everyone knew about Blackwater.

    Blackwater also developes their own weapons.

    Including a fully automatic shotgun capable of shooting 150 rounds in a minute. Yes, a freaking shot gun that has special rounds the reach up to 150 meters.

    They also have developed their own robot warriors and seriously cool armored personal carriers.

    But I wasn't aware they were secret, more of an open secret I guess. Like Wackenhut.

    •  a not so secret secret (4+ / 0-)

      One of the problems with Blackwater is that nobody can get a handle on exactly how many of there are and what specific govt. contracts they hold. They regularly refuse congress any access to their documents citing them as classified. They also hire mercs from some pretty nasty regions of the world, many of them who are now deployed in Iraq.
      No oversight, nobody to answer too and no records. They are the most powerful private army in the world. Scary people.

      Investigate, Impeach, Imprison! -9.13/-7.59

      by FireCrow on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 06:46:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps we should start demanding that (0+ / 0-)

        our Congressmen do investigate, and enough of this shit. One ray of light from Scahill was that the SCOTUS has voted against Blackwater.

        17. Ne5

        In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

        by Spud1 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 06:50:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't they are that scary. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Spud1, Tirge Caps

        Most of their ranks are ex-military, SEALs and Rangers and such. I know it's a moral problem in Iraq when Blackwater dudes are getting paid 5 times what our regular soldiers are getting paid to do the same job.

        No oversight is bad, especially if they are getting government contracts. It's a cake and eating it too problem. It's Lockheed supplying the planes and the pilots, the Air Force would freak out.

        Since they do weapons development I can see the need for classified material in respect to their projects, but that is what closed door hearings are for.

        At the end of day, I don't see them as much as threat, more of a curiosity of the capitalist system. They saw a market and exploited it. But most of us don't see being a death merchant as a career path, but some people do.

  •  When the black helicopters come, we now know... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cecrops Tangaroa, Spud1, FireCrow

    who will be manning them. The most incredible part of the piece was the soldier in Najaf getting his clearance to shoot (and kill) Iraqis from a Blackwater op, and the right wingers worry about US taking orders from the UN.

    •  Follow the money - those that have it will (0+ / 0-)

      want to keep it, and so they will be 'persuaded' to go along with any takeover.

      17. Ne5

      In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

      by Spud1 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 06:49:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  you can read (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1

     an article by Skahill here

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 07:02:41 PM PDT

  •  Excellent radio. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1

    I was wishing that every radio in the country (world) would instinctively turn itself to tune this in.  This needs to hit some kind of big audience.

    jotter's Lists of High Impact Diaries: daily and weekly archives (bring your own bendy straws)

    by sele on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 07:17:19 PM PDT

  •  My radio went haywire for the last few minutes (0+ / 0-)

    of the interview, but did they ever mention that Eric Prince is the brother of Betsy DeVos, former Chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and wife of recently defeated Mich. Gov Candidate Dick DeVos?  People tend to think of Michigan as a blue state, but we have some serious, and seriously wealthy Christian wingnuts with ambition here in West Michigan.
      I got the impression from the interview that when Eric Prince had to leave the Navy Seals because of family problems, he thought it would be cool to have his own private militia/strike force, and created Blackwater.
      I think it is a dangerous trend.

    Lookin' for a leader

    by extradish on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 07:30:44 PM PDT

    •  I don't think so, but I did find this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      extradish

      statement from her on wiki (for what its worth):

      Betsy DeVos issued a press release on Tuesday, April 27, 2004, which in part stated that, "Many, if not most, of the economic problems in Michigan are a result of high wages and a tax and regulatory structure that makes this state uncompetitive."

      It' the high wages! Now, don't get me wrong - that Blackwater pays its mercenaries $300 a day shouldn't be compared to UAW workers, because those union guys actually make a product, not kill and blow things up.

      17. Ne5

      In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

      by Spud1 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 07:35:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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