A decade or so ago at Brooklyn College we were mystified by the frequent disappearances from our locked offices of computers and other valuables. Then we discovered that that employees of a private security firm were routinely moving things out late at night. We switched over to a professionally trained and supervised peace officers run by us. No more computers disappeared.

I mention this local experience because one of the distinctive moves of the Bush administration has been to privatize whatever it can of governmental functions — and this has included such basic institutions as our prisons and even our military — with some 100,000 mercenaries paid out of our tax dollars now ranging around Iraq and even handling the personal security of our officials there — Paul Bremer earlier and now our ambassador.

Blackwater, founded by Erik Prince, a wealthy ex-Navy Seal and right wing evangelical with close ties to the Family Research Council:


is a growing force of ex-military special forces troops — some American and others spin-offs from some of the world’s most repressive regimes, e.g. Chile’s killers under General Pinochet who murdered many thousands of Chileans, presumably including Salvador Allende, Chile’s democratically elected president prior to the Pinochet military coup:


There is much more to be said about Blackwater. I have now heard two interviews with Jeremy Scahill based on the researches reported in his book, Blackwater:


One was on npr last night and the other the first of a two part series currently in process with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. The first run today can still be picked up on later broadcasts, (e.g. CUNY’s Channel 75 at 6:60 p.m.) and tomorrow (Wednesday). The second will detail Blackwater’s expansion here in the U.S.

I recommend that any of us concerned with the rule of law and the proper regulation of basic political instrumentalities — our prisons and covert military operations using torture and extraordinary rendition — follow closely the Congressional investigation of Blackwater which now has a 7,000 acre command center in North Carolina as well as training bases elsewhere in the U.S.:


At the very least these privatized operations have been making out like bandits with governmental funding.

And check these sites:



The major threat here is that such operations are not subject to government regulation and controls. They say it can’t happen here? I wonder?

Here is Blackwater in its own words:


“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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