From the July 2008 Idaho Observer:

The sublime rise of a standing army in America

Spirit Lake, Idaho, has about 1,600 residents and one flashing yellow traffic light. It has three cops. One is an older, slightly overweight man under six feet tall who has been around for a long time; he looks and acts how you would expect a police officer from a small, relatively quiet north Idaho town to look and act. The other two, recent arrivals (one with the last name "Lawless"), are large, muscular men dressed in black paramilitary garb complete with kevlar vests and combat boots. Their demeanor is noteably more menacing and intimidating. There is no doubt that, while the older cop’s job has been keeping the peace, the two "Darth Vaders" are here to enforce the lie (I mean, enforce the law). The following article outlines the process whereby Blackwater is training up a standing army. Though Wayne Madsen has provided a list of agencies and departments that, as of October, 2007, had been trained by Blackwater at its Moyock facility in North Carolina, we should not underestimate the growth of this advancing army of militarized cops. Afterall, we have two of them in tiny and remote Spirit Lake, Idaho.

By Don Harkins

Blackwater USA was founded in 1997 by former navy seal Erik Prince and Al Clark and currently operates the world’s largest private police and military tactical training facility on 600 acres of North Carolina’s Great Dismal Swamp.

Blackwater USA became Blackwater Worldwide in 2007 and currently trains more than 40,000 people a year on offensive and defensive military tactics and domestic policing strategies.

Expansion. Blackwater is currently expanding its domestic operations. Aside from its Blackwater Lodge and Training Center in Moyock (Blackwater East), Blackwater is also planning to establish regional training centers in Potrero, California (Blackwater West), Mount Carroll, Illinois (Blackwater North) and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (Blackwater Northwest).

Revenues. An estimated 90 percent of Blackwater’s revenues come from primarily no-bid government contracts, including providing "security services" in Iraq and Afghanistan. The tactics used by Blackwater personnel, many of which are in violation of international law and the laws of the jurisdictions within which they are operating, have caused international outrage.

Authority. It is not clear where Blackwater gets the authority to violate national and international law. However, neither the governments of Afghanistan or Iraq have the political muscle to prosecute Blackwater personnel for violations of national law and the U.S. Department of State has granted Blackwater personnel immunity from prosecution for such transgressions as murder of unarmed civilians, including children, without cause.

Domestic immunity. Incidents of abuse by Blackwater personnel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (New Orleans, 2005) indicate that the company also enjoys prosecutorial immunity when laws are violated while responding to declared states of domestic emergency.

It should be noted that several Blackwater "guards" arrived in post-Katrina New Orleans and began policing the region in its customarily abusive manner without a contract—or the authority—to do so. Blackwater contracted with New Orleans and the state if Louisiana to provide "security services" several days after its personnel had commenced operations.

The Backup. In 2007, Blackwater bought The Backup Training Corporation (Backup). As a division of Blackwater Worldwide, Backup is now actively extending its tactical military training services to city, county and state police.

North Idaho operations. Blackwater, through Backup manuals provided under contract to the Idaho Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST) Academy at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, has been training police since 2003. Blackwater is currently petitioning Kootenai County to permit the siting and construction of a tactical police and military training facility where the Idaho Post Academy will be a "tenant."

Standing army in training. "On October 14, The Washington Post ran a story, which included photographs from Blackwater’s Moyock training center. However, what was most intriguing was a photograph of a police and military patch board at Blackwater’s headquarters indicating police agencies that have sent their officers to Moyock for training," journalist Wayne Madsen of the Wayne Madsen Report reported in October, 2007.

Madsen noted that "Blackwater is secretive about its non-federal, as well as its foreign clients, which the Post pointed out includes Jordan, Azerbaijan and Burkina Faso," but an analysis of the photograph revealed the following list of agencies that have used Blackwater for training:

1. Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources

2. Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff’s Dept.

3. Matthews, NC Police

4. Atlanta Police

5. Chillicothe, OH Police

6. Charleston, SC Police

7. Port Chester, NY Police

8. Highland, IN Police

9. Unalaska, AK Police

10. Metropolitan Washington, DC Police

11. Charlottesville, VA Police

12. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (Dulles and Reagan National Airports)

13. St. Louis County Police (Missouri)

14. Queen Anne’s County, MD Police

15. Prince George’s County, MD Police

16. FBI SWAT Team

17. Gloucester Twp, NJ Police

18. Tempe, AZ Police

19. New York Police Department

20. Yonkers, NY Police

21. Fairfax County, VA Police

22. Maplewood, NJ Police

23. Gastonia, NC Police

24. Tampa Police

25. U.S. Drug Enforcement Admin.

26. DeKalb County, GA Police

27. Arlington County, VA Police

28. Baltimore Police

29. U.S. Coast Guard

30. Suffolk, VA Police

31. Franklin City, VA Police

32. Milford, DE Police

33. University of Texas Police

34. Norfolk, VA Police

35. Ottawa-Carleton, Canada Police

36. San Bernardino County, CA Sheriff

37. Plattsburgh, NY Police

38. Chicago Police Department

39. Oregon State Police

40. Los Angeles Police Department

41. Tonawanda, NY Police

42. Special Forces of Colombia

43. Jacksonville, NC Police

44. Harvey Cedars, NJ Police

45. Elmira, NY Police

46. NJ Dept. of Corrections

47. Lexington, KY Police

48. Willimantic, CT Police

49. Georgia Dept. of Law Enforcement

50. City of Fairfax, VA Police

51. Alexandria, VA Police Special Ops.

52. Illinois State Police

53. Dallas, TX Police

54. Hamilton, OH Police

55. Morganton, NC Police

Circumventing posse comitatus. There is little doubt that raising up this standing, notoriously ruthless and well-paid mercenary army is authorized by the White House. With hard times already upon us and economic collapse and the dominoe-effect of calamities sure to follow on the horizon, the federal government feels the need to prepare for the pending national emergency. Stationing, training and provisioning soldiers in advance of a declared state of national emergency would be a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. So, the federal government is circumventing posse comitatus by allowing a private company to contract with federally-subsidized police departments to train existing police in tactics and weaponry suitable for occupational forces.

Once trained, it is up to individual officers and agencies to refrain from using those tactics and weapons until an emergency is declared. It appears both Blackwater and Backup incur zero liability if police use their tactics in violation of traditional policing standards.

Lawless. Police and professional military personnel trained by Blackwater and Backup are being trained in tactics that are in violation of international law, federal law, state law and the laws of counties and cities all over the nation. These tactics have also been demonstrated to be in violation of a well-settled set of principles commonly referred to as "civil rights"—emergency or no emergency.

It is, therefore, justifiable for communities to be concerned when Blackwater/Backup is training police officers and announces its desire to expand its operations. Other communities have already, at least temporarily, blocked Blackwater/Backup from building facilities in their counties.

People power. The people of Potrero, CA (near San Diego) have effectively, but probably temporarily, blocked the expansion of Blackwater training operations in their community. It took a lot of work and a coordinated effort among community members and community leaders to accomplish that feat.

Coming to a town near you. At this time, every town, city, county, state and federal police agency in America is a candidate for contracting with Blackwater to train its police. The inducements are pathetically disingenuous: The training manuals are "free," the instruction is federally-subsidized, the trainees are taught state-of-the art paramilitary tactics and how to use state-of-the-art weaponry; they are told that by being well-trained and heavily-armed cops they are larger-than-life protectors of the homeland on a noble mission to defend America against terrorists.

Alert your community. Following is a model questionnaire that can be sent to public officials and leaders of political organizations to inquire about their thoughts on Blackwater/Backup training of local police. The questionnaire can also be mailed/emailed to local media and circulated electronically among concerned citizens in the region. Considering the urgent nature of the issue, you can request that a response to the questionnaire be completed and postmarked to the return address within 14 days. Non responses should be considered as "affirmative" in favor of Blackwater/Backup.

The purpose of the questionnaire is threefold: 1. To quickly raise public awareness about the rise of a standing army in America—THE most tyrannical development ongoing at this time; 2. To find out which public officials are truly representing the interests of the public and which ones are bootlickers for the fascist police state and; 3. To use the responses of public officials to sanction our real and justifiable concerns about Blackwater in the minds of our neighbors.

Blackwater/Backup questionnaire for public officials

Section 1.

1. Are you aware that Blackwater personnel have been repeatedly charged with innumerable crimes including murder and destruction/theft of private property in Afghanistan, Iraq and New Orleans? Y___ N___

2. Do you condone Blackwater’s notorious violations of law and abuses of civil rights? Y___ N___

3. Are you aware that Blackwater personnel have been granted prosecutorial immunity internationally, nationally and locally? Y___ N___

4. Do you approve the use of Blackwater tactics by state and local police?

Y___ N___

5. Do you understand that The Backup Training Corporation is owned by Blackwater? Y___ N___

6. Do you approve the use of Backup manuals and Blackwater personnel for training state and local police? Y___ N___

7. Do you support Blackwater/Backup in its efforts to build and operate a police and military training facility in ___________county? Y___ N___

(Feel free to elaborate on your answers to any one or more of the questions above on a separate sheet)

Section 2.

1. Do you believe that a local court of competent jurisdiction would prosecute and convict Blackwater/Backup-trained police for criminal law and/or civil rights violations while performing in an official capacity? Y___ N___

2. Can you identify such court? Y___ N___

3. Has a precedent been set anywhere in the U.S. where Blackwater personnel or Blackwater/Backup-trained police have been tried and convicted of criminal law or civil rights violations while performing in an official capacity? Y___ N___

4. Is there an office or an individual that has the final say in whether or not Backup’s contract with ___________ at ____________ will be renewed or terminated prematurely with cause? Y___ N___ (If "Y" please identify the office or individual ________________________________________________

5. Is there an office or individual that has the final say in whether or not Blackwater is granted the permits and variances necessary to establish a military and police tactics training facility in __________county? Y___ N___ (If "Y" please identify the office or individual _______________________________________________

This questionnaire sponsored by the Committee for Peace Officer Excellence [or whatever] which represents the interests and concerns of hundreds of _______ county locals who prefer to remain anonymous at this time so as to not place their lives, businesses and property in jeopardy by openly opposing Blackwater. Please forward the completed questionnaire and any attachments to: