From the September 2007 Idaho Observer:

Blackwater Air Force

In the July edition of The Idaho Observer, we ran an extensive story by Jeremy Scahill exposing the underlying purpose of armed and perpetual military conflict: It’s immensely profitable for those who have corporate interests in war. The private security company Blackwater U.S.A., run by former Navy Seals and other highly-trained special forces types, is growing exponentially at this time, reaping the rewards to be gleaned from war and "reconstruction." As its influence grows during this time of deepening and expanding conflict, so do the number of specialized services Blackwater is able to offer.

Blackwater U.S.A. is reportedly buying Super Tucano light combat aircraft from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. "These five ton, single engine, single seat aircraft are built for pilot training, but also perform quite well for counter-insurgency work.... The bubble canopy provides excellent visibility. This, coupled with its slow speed (versus jets), makes it an excellent ground attack aircraft," Jeremy Scahill, author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army" (2006).

The Super Tucano "can carry up to 1.5 tons of weapons, including 12.7mm machine-guns, bombs and missiles."

Since the U.S. military has enjoyed complete air dominance over Iraq since 1990, and Iraq is currently Blackwater’s main area of operations, one has to wonder why Blackwater is beginning to assemble an air force.

According to Scahill, "Blackwater’s been in negotiations with several state governments in the United States. Blackwater met recently with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger about doing disaster response in California. They’re opening up a new private military base in San Diego and another one in Mount Carroll, Illinois. Blackwater has applied for operating licenses in every coastal U.S. state."

What Scahill has uncovered is that Blackwater is establishing, in cooperation with state governments with the apparent approval of the Bush administration, what is tantamount to private military bases inside the U.S.

Per National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD)-51, the plans by which the executive branch would run the entire government in the event of a "catastrophic emergency," which could be anything from a terrorist attack, a disease outbreak or a natural disaster. "Catastrophic Emergency" means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."

It would appear that Blackwater is working with the executive branch to lay the groundwork for an eventual catastrophic emergency. For years now public servants and emergency medical personnel have been planning and preparing to do their parts in a declared state of emergency and even the clergy is being enlisted by the Department of Homeland Security to keep citizens in line in the event of a declaration of martial law. It is disconcerting that a private company with close ties to the GOP is arming itself with attack planes just at the moment when the President is laying the groundwork to exercise extraordinary martial authority during a state of emergency.

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