Blackwater's 'Drug War' Bonanza

$15 billion of your money up in smoke for under-fire mercenary company, other defense contractors.

Good year for Blackwater: The mercenary army, under fire in Iraq, just landed a huge drug-war contract and claims to be building this "remotely piloted airship vehicle (RPAV)."

While Blackwater's mercenaries beg for mercy for killing a baby and 19 other people in Baghdad on Sunday, they're already working on another lucrative government contract on yet another foreign adventure: the "war on drugs."

In a major new outsourcing deal reported by only a few outlets, including the Army Times, Blackwater will divvy up a $15 billion pot of government gold, along with four huge defense contractors: Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Arinc.

Blackwater claims to be building remote-control spy airships. Purty darn good for an army based in a little North Carolina town — no, it's Currituck, not Mayberry.

Arinc, a Maryland-based major supplier of airplane surveillance and passenger-counting equipment, is particularly stoked about the deal, which it announced on the sixth anniversary of 9/11:

ARINC already has a wealth of hands-on experience supporting just this type of program. We now expect to play a key role developing and fielding new solutions at the cutting edge of drug interdiction.

Hang on, Arinc, you're getting ahead of yourselves. Here's how GovExec.com's Katherine McIntire Peters describes this other privatized war, which apparently is necessary because, even with the privatized war in Iraq, we still don't have enough troops to conduct all these wars:

The contract, worth up to $15 billion over the next five years, illustrates the extent to which the Defense Department is relying on contractors to perform critical missions while combat forces are stretched thin by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In response to specific task orders issued under the indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract, companies will develop and deploy new surveillance technologies, train and equip foreign security forces and provide key administrative, logistical and operational support to Defense and other agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration.

According to the work statement provided to bidders, the vast majority of the drive will be conducted overseas.

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Blackwater clearly knows how to deal with foreigners. But how does a little ol' company get to share our wealth with such huge defense contractors? No doubt it's got low friends in high places.

It probably didn't hurt the mercenary army that, according to federal campaign records, its top execs gave $1,000 to Tom DeLay's campaign on December 14, 2004. Or that they contributed mostly to other openly God-fearing lawmakers, like Bono pal Rick Santorum, Kansas's Todd Tiahrt, and Indiana's Mike Pence — whose campaign-finance tool is the Principles Exalt a Nation PAC.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammo. Better make that a blunt.

 


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