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View Full Version : New Blackwater Business Pitch, "Peacekeeping"



Psychoblues
12-18-2007, 08:37 PM
When does the spin stop spinning? How about some truth?

Facing Backlash, Blackwater Has a New Business Pitch: Peacekeeping
By Sharon Weinberger

Facing a growing backlash over its operations in Iraq, the private security firm Blackwater is formulating a new business pitch -- to expand into U.N.-style peacekeeping and humanitarian aid.

The company is buying a fleet of aircraft and ground vehicles, including its own airship, hoping to win contracts to secure failed states before the U.N. arrives.

"We can give what we call one-stop shopping, turnkey solutions," says John Wrenn, who heads Global Stability Initiatives at the newly re-branded Blackwater Worldwide.

Linked to several violent incidents in Iraq, including the Sept. 16 shootings in Baghdad that sparked an international media furor and congressional hearings, the company over the past few months has attempted a public relations overhaul, modifying its name, revamping its logo, and engaging in a massive PR counter-assault to defend against its "cowboy" image.

Blackwater is one of dozens of private companies providing security services in Iraq and other war zones. It is part of a growing military outsourcing industry that exploded during the Iraq conflict and is only likely to get bigger. Proponents believe private security companies, or PSCs, are the future of military operations -- and peacekeeping.

As Blackwater fights to keep its State Department security contracts in Iraq, the company is expanding into areas where its competitors have not. Blackwater recently purchased the McArthur, a naval vessel intended for disaster response and training, but that can also be used as a "mothership" for launching peacekeeping operations.

Blackwater now produces the Grizzly, a bomb-resistant vehicle that sports a unique diamond-shaped hull. In addition to a fleet of fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, Blackwater has also moved into unmanned airships, building the Polar 400, a dirigible that would fly between 5,000 and 15,000 feet, and is designed to monitor border areas or track terrorists. The airship could provide surveillance, or eventually, transport into war-ravaged areas.

All this new technology is part of a broader company expansion. Blackwater argues that it can provide a "transition force" to take over security for failed states after military operations are finished.

Blackwater believes it could, in addition to providing security, also deliver aid and oversee disaster relief. This is work now done primarily by non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, and humanitarian groups. Blackwater executives have suggested sending a private peacekeeping force into Darfur, for instance.

"They would be the guys that go in and provide security, taking the handover from the military, and create the safe zones and start to provide the services, until the U.N. takes over," Wrenn says.

Thatís where the technology comes in. The Grizzly vehicle can ferry peacekeepers, or in an ambulance version, could be used to transport NGO workers and patients. And the airship could provide surveillance, or be used to ferry supplies for disaster relief.

"The beauty of an airship is you donít need big runways and airports," Wrenn says. "You can use them to deliver supplies where airplanes canít go."

Doug Brooks, president of International Peace Operations Association, which represents private security contractors (though not Blackwater, which pulled out of the group in October), says in many parts of the world, "private companies are in fact holding peace operations together."

The industry, in Brooksí view, is in part a natural consequence of the Westís unwillingness to commit its military forces to troubled regions, leading to what he calls "Westernless peacekeeping." Globally, such contracting is a $20 billion industry, and growing, he contends.

Critics, however, note that the Blackwater name is a huge obstacle to its plans for expanded peacekeeping. Erik Prince, a billionaire and former Navy SEAL, founded Blackwater as a training company a decade ago, but its rapid growth, particularly into private security detail work in Iraq, has landed the company in the middle of a debate over "mercenaries," a term that Blackwater and similar companies detest. The Blackwater controversy now includes an alleged conflict of interest between the State Departmentís recently resigned inspector general and his brother, a one-time Blackwater board member; questions about the tax status of its contractors; and an ongoing fight over a West Coast training facility.

Peter W. Singer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a leading expert on private contractors, says Blackwaterís recent PR campaign may not be enough to fix the company's image. "You can change your logo, you can have a public relations blitz. Itís nice but itís not going to change this," Singer says. "These long-term attitudes are sinking in."

While Blackwaterís push to diversify is understandable -- given the potential liability of its personal security work -- its move into manufacturing is unusual for a services company.

Robert Young Pelton, the author of Licensed to Kill, a book on PSCs, calls many of Blackwaterís technologies "wacky," comparable to something cooked up in the Batcave.

"They tend to be strange versions of existing products," he says. "The blimp is not technology; itís just a hot-air balloon, the oldest technology in aviation. What (Prince) has done is come up with homemade, kludged ideas. The government may or may not buy them."

Though he is skeptical of Blackwaterís prospects as a global peacekeeping force, Pelton says that Princeís vision is noble, even if it lends itself to black comedy. He compares Erik Prince to the Dark Prince of comics. "Batman lives his life as a mild-mannered billionaire, and then at night goes out and saves the world," says Pelton. "Itís all right to have a big idea, but the big idea has never been tested, and if you play it forward and send Backwater to Darfur, imagine the various permutations of disaster if his current activities are employed over there."

If Pelton thinks Prince is Batman, Wrenn has his own version of how Blackwater should be viewed.

"Itís like Bonanza," says Wrenn. "The Cartwright family were cowboys, but wearing white hats. They were the good guys, the people you want your neighbors to be. Yeah, they carry guns, but itís the nature of the business."



More: http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2007/12/blackwater


Is the Merry Go Round fun yet?

typomaniac
12-18-2007, 08:39 PM
Does Karl Rove work for them now? :rolleyes:

Psychoblues
12-18-2007, 09:16 PM
I think he is now in consulting work.



Does Karl Rove work for them now? :rolleyes:

But, really, I don't know.

actsnoblemartin
12-18-2007, 09:27 PM
I dont think blackwater will be welcome.

do we have any conclusive data to prove they were mis behaving lol

:lol:

all im saying is, what evidence says, blackwater, u suck.

Psychoblues
12-26-2007, 11:42 PM
The evidence is forthcoming and you WILL be ashamed.

Gadget (fmr Marine)
12-27-2007, 12:35 AM
Not coming to the defense of a horrible incident, I will abstain from any direct comments about Blackwater....only to say that the US and amny other nations have relied heavily upon privatized security and support reinforcements in armed conflict for years (dare I say hundreds?)

Whether you like the service done by the private firms or not, will not change the fact that there will always be a price paid by warring nations for mercenary forces that operate outside of the purvue of the nations at war......it ain't gonna change.

Now, if these folks are captures (as was the case in the early stages of the war...there was some carnage...) I think that Iraq would have been within thier right to hold them as enemy combatants, just as we have done in Gitmo....but to drag the bodies through the streets and burn their corpses hung from a bridge is FUCKING MEDIEVAL......

Psychoblues
12-27-2007, 02:02 AM
And along with that diatribe you expect me to respect the actions of Blackwater?



Not coming to the defense of a horrible incident, I will abstain from any direct comments about Blackwater....only to say that the US and amny other nations have relied heavily upon privatized security and support reinforcements in armed conflict for years (dare I say hundreds?)

Whether you like the service done by the private firms or not, will not change the fact that there will always be a price paid by warring nations for mercenary forces that operate outside of the purvue of the nations at war......it ain't gonna change.

Now, if these folks are captures (as was the case in the early stages of the war...there was some carnage...) I think that Iraq would have been within thier right to hold them as enemy combatants, just as we have done in Gitmo....but to drag the bodies through the streets and burn their corpses hung from a bridge is FUCKING MEDIEVAL......

I agree. FUCKING MEDIEVAL

Gadget (fmr Marine)
12-27-2007, 02:08 AM
And along with that diatribe you expect me to respect the actions of Blackwater?




I agree. FUCKING MEDIEVAL

I expect nothing of you....just offering my perspective on Blackwater....errr.. non military combatants in a war zone.

Regardless of how they are categorized, I still think we must be resolute and finish the job of seeing Iraq become a stable democratic nation, even though it will require direct presence for at least 3 decades.

Psychoblues
12-27-2007, 02:30 AM
You can excuse Blackwater all you like and accuse me of being somehow antimilitary although most of my life has been spent achieving military goals but you still can't explain your propensities towards war as any kind of comprehensive solution to anything.



I expect nothing of you....just offering my perspective on Blackwater....errr.. non military combatants in a war zone.

Regardless of how they are categorized, I still think we must be resolute and finish the job of seeing Iraq become a stable democratic nation, even though it will require direct presence for at least 3 decades.

3 decades? Does the word "Crusades" mean anything to you?

Gadget (fmr Marine)
12-27-2007, 10:02 AM
I guess I did not read between my own lines as close as you did....where did I excuse Blackwater, exactly......and I have in no way accused you of being anything.....(I understand you may be a little sensitive)

As a former Marine enlisted man, I only did as I was told, and was not in a position to make our nation's policy, either. (still do not have that authority, yet)

If you are asking me to delve in to the psyche of the "American Doctine" that somehow leads us to war with other nations, then that is a much deeper conversation that would not have me focused on the lead topic of the post for long.....am I rambling, yet?

Yeah, I think we will be engaged in Irag for at least 3 decades with a large enough military force to have a quick response team anywhere within a few hours. Quite honestly, I don't recall the US being involved with the Crusades, but I could be wrong, I don't profess to be the sharpest crayon in the box.... if you know what I mean.




You can excuse Blackwater all you like and accuse me of being somehow antimilitary although most of my life has been spent achieving military goals but you still can't explain your propensities towards war as any kind of comprehensive solution to anything.




3 decades? Does the word "Crusades" mean anything to you?

Hagbard Celine
12-27-2007, 10:53 AM
Peacekeeping aka "policing," could go either way for private firms. First-off, usually the best of the best military men and women are the ones who leave the service for the private sector so basically what you'd have is a bunch of high-strung trained killers suddenly transplanted into a policing role taking care of day-to-day incidents and patrolling intersections and that type of thing. My prediction is that there would be a lot more civilian casualties or "regrettable incidents."
Then again, you'd have a bunch of high-strung trained killers suddenly transplanted into a policing role taking care of day-to-day incidents and patrolling intersections and that type of thing. They might be really good at "keeping the peace." :dunno:

Psychoblues
12-28-2007, 10:47 PM
Yes, you are rambling.



I guess I did not read between my own lines as close as you did....where did I excuse Blackwater, exactly......and I have in no way accused you of being anything.....(I understand you may be a little sensitive)

As a former Marine enlisted man, I only did as I was told, and was not in a position to make our nation's policy, either. (still do not have that authority, yet)

If you are asking me to delve in to the psyche of the "American Doctine" that somehow leads us to war with other nations, then that is a much deeper conversation that would not have me focused on the lead topic of the post for long.....am I rambling, yet?

Yeah, I think we will be engaged in Irag for at least 3 decades with a large enough military force to have a quick response team anywhere within a few hours. Quite honestly, I don't recall the US being involved with the Crusades, but I could be wrong, I don't profess to be the sharpest crayon in the box.... if you know what I mean.

And no, I really don't know what you mean.