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For Sale: Blackwater

by Magnifico Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 02:53:05 PM EST

Reuters and other news outlets are reporting that the company formerly known as Blackwater is pursing a sale of the company.

Xe Services announced its decision in a brief statement that gave few details, the agency said.

Owner and founder Erik Prince said in a statement that selling the company is a difficult decision, but constant criticism of Xe helped him make up his mind, according to the agency.

I think it isn't so much that Prince couldn't stand the constant criticism, but rather after Blackwater mercenaries massacred 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisoor Square in Baghdad on the September 16, 2007, he couldn't shake public attention to his once-fly-below-the-radar operation.


Blackwater failed to pull off a successful corporate name change.  Prince tried to change Blackwater's name to Xe, but nearly every media report linked Xe to its former name of Blackwater. That problem was twofold: first Xe was still linked to Blackwater, but second and worse for Prince, Xe was still constantly in the news.

Add to that reports of Prince's performance anxiety.

Owner and founder Erik Prince said selling the company is a difficult decision, but constant criticism of Xe helped him make up his mind.

"Performance doesn't matter in Washington, just politics," Prince said in a further statement.

So, either Prince is readying himself for politics or maybe a buyer has made an offer he cannot refuse. Who could be this buyer? Why not BP? This could be BP's solution to their Gulf of Mexico "problem". Plus the mercenaries' old name would still work, after all BP knows a thing or two about oily black water.

The Guardian is reporting that Barack Obama finding out 'whose ass to kick' over oil spill:

"I was down there a month ago before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf," Obama said, adding he has talked to a variety of "experts" on the oil spill, as well as the fishermen.

"I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick," the president said.

On the other hand, Jeremy Scahill at The Nation writes:

I have heard from Congressional sources that the Obama administration is not enthusiastic about its ongoing relationship with Blackwater, but that the company provides services and personnel the White House has determined it cannot live without--particularly in Afghanistan. In that way, the sale of Blackwater would benefit the Obama administration.

Probably not though if BP was the buyer. If the Obama administration truly cannot live without Blackwater's "services and personnel", then the U.S. federal government should purchase Xe. This is an opportunity to reverse the privatization of America's national security infrastructure.

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This is an opportunity to reverse the privatization of America's national security infrastructure.

I've heard of privatising profits and socialising losses, but isn't socialising private terrorism going a bit far?

Frank's Home Page and Diary Index

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 04:12:37 PM EST
No man.

Creating the opportunity for private companies to conduct military operations was a huge mistake.  Only states should have the right to engage in military operations, allowing for the creation of a market for military services always had the potential to bring down tumbling one of the walls that kept corporate power at bay.

Think about it this way. The UK and France spend about $70 billion each annually on military expenditures. Royal Dutch Shell brought in almost $460 billion last year.  If Royal Dutch Shell were allowed to purchase military services on an open market, spending only 15% of its annual revenues would match that, and rocket it past everyone but the United States ($663 billion) and China (~$100 billion).

Do we really want to live in a world where money can buy power like that?

Potentially even more disturbing than the international implications of private military markets, are what happens in the home market.  

At what point do the praetorians auction the empire?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 04:44:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Killing for profit is and always should be a crime.  No private entity has the right to conduct war.  That is a form of terrorism and should be treated as such.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 05:46:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No private entity has the right to conduct war.
 

Yes, but under international law that nice thick line starts to show some wear and tear.

Mercenaries are not accorded the rights of lawful combatants in the Geneva convention, however so long as private military personnel are:

  1. Nominally acting under the authority of a state authority.

  2. Nationals of a state that is party to the conflict.

They are lawful combatants.

Thus, Blackwater in Iraq was legally an agent of the US government, so that where it employed Ukranians as employees they were lawful combatants (because Ukraine was a party to the conflict), but when they brought in former South African special forces they employed unlawful combatants, because South Africa wasn't party to the conflict.

Murky, eh?

And what happens when the size of the these PMCs armed contingents is larger than the local army?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 06:07:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyberpunk dystopia, here we come...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 06:32:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely.

The answer isn't a world without power, it's one in which power has a social purpose.

Which means combating neoliberal ideology, recapturing governments from the moneyed interests, and using them to create a better world.

If the US and European governments are on the same page about the world that they want than then that is the world that we will have.

It seems to me that the rage for civil society solutions has at least something to do with economic elites control over the machinery of state when the franchise was extended.  Because they've lost at the game of political democracy, they think that they can slip the leash by undermining national systems that regulate economies........

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 07:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The answer isn't a world without power, it's one in which power has a social purpose.

In the case of military contractors, including Blackwater, this would better be served by euthanizing private military organizations than having taxpayers buy them. This would be accomplished by legislation making private military operations illegal. That way the US government would not be "taking" Prince's property.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 11:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the meantime, they are opening retail stores.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 8th, 2010 at 04:20:49 PM EST
speaking of cyberpunk dystopias!  Blackwater/Xe running theme parks (yes, no joke) and selling branded merchandise...

as I commented on fb, it's right out of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Jun 9th, 2010 at 01:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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