Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blackwater North

When you are building a mercenary army, it helps to make friends with the local police: (my bold)

On the ground in nine nations around the world, Blackwater is what one company executive calls the most "notorious" in the fast-growing business of private security. For 10 years the firm has been headquartered on almost 7,000 acres in North Carolina. More than 100,000 people have been trained there, the majority of them active duty US Marines, sailors and soldiers. That makes it the largest private military training base in the world.

The firm has received hundreds of millions of dollars in State Department security contracts the past few years. But Blackwater also has a law enforcement training division. And the company says the facility it just opened in northern Illinois is for police training.

"We saw a need for it. You would have to go five states away to find a training facility to find anything like this," said Anne Tyrrell, Blackwater spokeswoman.

Surrounded by pristine farmland, down a series of bumpy rural roads, "Blackwater North" took over an existing 80-acre shooting range. On the day ABC7 visited, officers from several departments including Chicago and Rockford were in a tactical hostage exercise.

"There are new techniques that the criminals are using so we have to be updated with our techniques. Coming out to Blackwater, these guys have seen it all," said Det. Steve Stoball, Freeport Police Department.

In the nearest "big city" of Mount Carroll, some people say they just woke up one morning and Blackwater was in business.

Would this explain why incidents of Tasering innocent victims has gone up around the continent? Are the police being taught Blackwater's brutal techniques and indifference to consequences?

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