Tag Archives: Blackwater

Blackwater Opens new Facility at US-Mexico Border

Within view of the Us-Mexico Border Fence in San Diego, Blackwater just opened its latest “training facility,” as per its $400 million government contract.

It’s been a long slog for Blackwater to open shop near the border, having been forced to abandon plans in Potrero, Ca..  As in Potrero, Blackwater is once again fighting local ordinances, activists (Raymond Lutz), congressional opposition (Rep. Bob Filner) and litigation.  Why such perseverance? According to its own PR, even the Navy is no match for its counter terrorism training.  A more rational answer, however, would suggest the federal government remains bent on hollowing out national and homeland security while it still can.

The surreal nature of this spectacle is revealed by seeing that such advanced and ostensibly essential counter terrorism training must rely on existing amusement park ride permits in order to open Its “mock warship area” within the boundaries of existing local ordinances.   Beat that Pentagon!  Hey Border Patrol, your next!

See Truthout for more details

 

for more info. on Blackwater, see

 

Blackwaterization of the Border continues under Radar

On March 8, I wrote a post that said that although Blackwater was being pushed out of Potrero, California, by concerned residents, that the Blackwaterization of the border would continue. I didn’t know at the time that Blackwater was already in the process of securing a permit for a training site in Otay Mesa, San Diego County.  The Otay Mesa facility is to be an indoor training center, housed in an industrial park right near the border. It will train about 48 students at a time, as opposed to the 300 in Potrero, which suggests to me that several other secretive sites are probably en route. I say secretive because the process in Otay Mesa was just that.  Blackwater was granted the permit in lieu of public hearings, and the name on the permit application was for a Blackwater subcontractor, Raven Development Group.  San Diego City Council President Scott Peters opposes the permit, saying, “Residents deserve to know when a facility like this is approved.” 

The problems with having Blackwater at the border are legion. Blackwater is the symbol for the privatized component of the war in iraq. Blackwater symbolizes lawlessness and utter contempt for anyone who questions its mission.

 

For more on Blackwater, see this excellent video w/ Jeremy Scahill interview :

Blackwater in Potrero

The last thing immigration control policy needs at the moment is more lawlessness.

 


Blackwater leaves Potrero Plans in Dust, but Blackwaterization to Continue

The San Diego Union Tribune reports today that Blackwater has decided to pull its plans to set up a base camp in Potrero, near San Diego. News that Blackwater may not set up shop on this former chicken camp, does not mean Blackwater is not coming to the border. All it means is that Blackwater didn’t expect all the negative publicity and local resistance that awaited it in Potrero. Next time beware a much more clandestine operation.

Nothing has changed about Blackwater’s plan to expand its private security forces in the US. And nothing has changed about its plans to bring its private “war on terror” home to the U.S., and intertwine it with immigration control, five years after Paul Wolfowitz first positioned the “home-front” as the first defense against terrorism.

It still makes sense that the private war that followed the troops to Iraq is now establishing a paramilitary infrastructure on domestic turf. Author Jeremy Scahill notes that Blackwater is “looking for a lucrative domestic opportunity,” and San Diego Congressman Bob Filner’s recent comment to the Salon article that Blackwater is positioning itself to move into the border security business, remains on point. Keep in mind Jeremy Scahill found that Blackwater made an application in early 2005 “to serve as a force to deal with immigration and border security.”

Blackwater remains symbolic of a much larger immigration industrial complex, privatizing decades of border militarization and low intensity conflict that as author Tim Dunn has documented, has been waged against border crossers and residents since the 1970s. I would also contend that Blackwater remains part of a post-9/11 neo-liberal regime that is designed to re-territorialize and privatize the war on terror on the domestic front. The immigration industrial complex, with Blackwater quickly taking the lead, figures prominently in what Naomi Klein refers to as neo-liberal shock therapy, which is undemocratic to its core.

Avi Lewis and me

a crazy good week so far. I just learned that two law review articles I wrote last fall will be published this spring, one on Bono, cause-marketing and the First Amendment to be published by Pepperdine Law School; and the second on Blackwater and immigration privatization will be published by the St. Thomas Law Review (spring ’08), as part of the LatCrit XII symposium.

Funny thing is five minutes before the email binged with the news from St. Thomas Law Review, i got off the phone with Jeremy Young who told me he and Avi Lewis (Canadian documentarian and political reporter) saw the article on the internet (thanks expressO), liked it, and wanted to talk to me for a segment they are putting together for the new news magazine show, “Frontline-USA” for the Al-Jazeera network (yep). Freaked steph and me out, must say.

Even though I have seen and read about the independent and high level political reporting of Al-Jazeera over the years (I taught about al-jazeera for an international communications class), tough to deny the emotional response coming from America’s post-911 corporate media culture. Sure had a funny feeling hearing that al-jazeera wants to talk to me.

At first i thought th initial email from jeremy young could have been spam; i emailed it to steph at her office and she wrote back “what da *;^*”

but we decided I should do it because their story idea about Blackwater and privatization of the border is important and coincides with my own research on the privatization of immigration control. So we figured that millions of people around the planet might see it (yikes, but at least our friends in Hungary and London could see it), except everyone in the US, of course, where it al-jazeera is nowhere to be found on cable.

come on first amendment people, time to get on this!

To see the segment, you’ll have to go to the al-jazeera-english web site. the show airs, beginning this Friday at 8pm (i think).

Next, we did some digging on Avi Lewis, who anchors the show. Avi is a celebrated left-documentarian, reporter and producer from Canada, having done some fantastic work, including a documentary “The Take” on the recovered factory movement in Argentina, with his wife, Naomi Klein (a book hero of mine since No Logo).

Quickly, trepidation turned to excitement. “Avi gonna be in da house.” what a kick.

Avi’s grandfather, Moshe Lewis (Losz), was a leading member of the Jewish Bund, who left Poland for Montreal in the early 1920s. So hey, my granfather fled the pogroms in Russia, went to Paris to paint and then NYC. close enough. If Avi could do Al-Jazeera, so could I.

(more later…)
PS although i ended up on the cutting room floor for this piece it was still a grand experience. More important, the frontline usa segment on the border (3/16) turned out to be a strong piece on privatization of border control. check it out on You-Tube.