Get all that? The Prince family, already heirs to a billion-dollar auto-parts buyout, are hooked up with the Amway money of the longtime conservatard DeVos family. Talk about your wingnut pedigrees.
And Prince complements his Christofascist upbringing with what appears to be an extremely efficient and competent operational model:
Ilic also holds black belts in four martial arts, according to the article. Seems like he'd be ideal training Special Forces teams in the U.S. Army, rather than for some shadowy private militia owned by a certifiable nut.
These guys are not screwing around. State-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and instructors, and a hands-off policy from the civil authorities -- indeed, the secrecy and authority of Prince's organization appears to be tacitly endorsed by the local civic leaders and the federal legislators Blackwater contracts with.
Cofer Black is a goddamned creep; I just felt it was important to mention that. But more critically, as shown above, not only have there been instances where the mercenaries' mission has conflicted with an operation being performed by the actual armed forces of the United States. Worse yet, Fallujah was besieged, pounded flat, and turned into a ghetto of retinal scans and forced labor, in no small part as a response to the Blackwater casualties. Thousands of innocent people have died so a select few could make some money and live the life of adventure and danger that they believe is their entitlement.
And Erik Prince and friends have capitalized on all this with a ruthless precision that makes them all the more dangerous.
Peter Singer (who also coined the phrase which titles this post) wrote a comprehensive overview of the overall situation for the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law several years ago. (And believe me, if you're not reading the CJTL, you are missing out on one hell of a swimsuit issue.) One excerpt stood out to me in particular:
There's a lot there that has been borne out in the results, at least what little that has actually leaked to the corporate media. Corroborated allegations of private security personnel (specifically from Blackwater, Titan, and CACI) having active involvement in what could euphemistically be described as "coercive interrogation" techniques, such as those we all saw from Abu Ghraib -- at least, the photos we children were actually permitted to see.
But the name Executive Outcomes also rang a bell, and here's why:
It should be pointed out that Obiang is a scumbag's scumbag, a vicious little thug whose brutality seems almost designed to make, say, Mobutu Sese Seko look like a pussy in comparison. The world be none the poorer if Obiang were toppled and summarily staked to an anthill, reputedly Obiang's preferred method of dealing with political opponents.
But obviously that's not the point; there is no indication that opposition leader Severo Moto would be any better than Obiang, nor can any comparative good be obtained from allowing a bunch of corporate Hessians to prop Moto into place, ostensibly for the good of Equatorial Guinea. It's a criminally negligent dodge, especially since that country, given Nigeria's increasing instability, is becoming more and more of a West African oil asset for us.
And if anything, it also increases the capacity for exploitation of these corrupt petrocracies -- American tankers merely show up at the offshore platforms, located dozens of miles out in the ocean, fill up, and return to Houston. Not even the pretense of helping with the ancillary economies that would ordinarily spring up in such locales -- restaurants, resorts, and the like. It's a sweet little racket, one that definitionally disenfranchises most Equatorial Guineans. So Executive Outcomes' little corporate protection racket, in conjunction with such operations, is one that is designed to protect the thug-of-the-week from his own people.
That sounds decidedly un-Christian to these heathen ears, but I lost that tune many years ago.
Here's more on the specific functions (and crimes) of these companies:
Where to begin? These companies operate with almost total impunity, extra-nationally, supra-nationally, with no accountability or even modest oversight. As the article points out, there's nothing to stop a few bastards from making some money and getting some strange on the side by selling Balkan teenagers, or maybe doing a midnight run of some of that Colombian dope they're supposed to be eradicating. How do you think it gets here in the first place, on the back of Juan Valdez' trusty mule, or a Miami Vice speedboat, or something along that line? Or is it more likely the connected creeps and motherfuckers who operate in the shadows, at high profit and minimal exposure?
This does not mean that Blackwater or DynCorp had any specific involvement with Wally Hilliard or Barry Seal, only to point out that, given the lack of transparency and accountability, it's very easy for such illicit activities to take place practically unnoticed.
And with someone like Erik Prince, a scion of what could charitably be characterized as the moneyed christian supremacist movement that flourishes in various corners of the vaunted heartland, the possibilities range from the merely unseemly to the downright scary.
This is where a guy like Prince comes in and establishes a presence. Prince himself has averred that Blackwater's true mission has been to provide the best facilities and training for specialized security ops, without all the pesky carrying costs (such as health care). But that is disingenuous, given the role of Prince's own family in endorsing and supporting some of the most radical Christianist culture-warrior organizations in the country.
This is the downside of all the cost-cutting in the military budget over the past decade or so -- private contractors become ever more plentiful, frequently performing jobs that armed forces personnel are no longer even trained to do. Meanwhile, the institutionalized neutrality insisted upon (in at least a pro forma manner) becomes circumvented by the growing power and influence of these private organizations with their own explicit agenda.
What happens if a heathen American populace decides on an electoral course not to Erik Prince's liking? This is not some ramshackle compound of racist yahoos in Buttfuck, Idaho, this is a military-grade establishment a short drive from the nation's capital.
Maybe the individual rent-a-thugs who work for Erik Prince share his ideology, maybe they don't. Is there even a remote question that that is not a chance worth taking? Maybe we should ask the folks in New Orleans about that one. I'm sure Geraldo Rivera's looking into it.