By Dan Kenney
Co-Coordinator of No Private Armies
In addition to training law enforcement, Blackwater, now operating under the name Xe Services, is offering a course designed for any gun-toting citizen. The world’s most powerful and best-known mercenary company with the reputation of operating outside of the law in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan is now offering a new class in “Home Defense” at their 6,000 acre North Carolina and their 80-acre northwest Illinois training locations.
Blackwater’s training division is now known as U.S. Training Center. According to the U.S. Training Center Web site, the new course has this aim: “The course is designed to make the armed citizen more aware of personal security whether at home or away; considerations in protecting self and family members.”
But closer examination of what the class entails raises questions about who may be included in the target demographic group for this new training. The training involves the following: “Introduction: This course will inform the concerned citizen on methods of protecting the home front. The students will receive classroom instruction and will engage in shoot/no-shoot, force on force realistic scenarios based on actual events that have occurred where their decision making process will be explored and tested. This is not a basic firearms course but provides training for the time when use of your weapon becomes your only option.”
The “students” will pay $595 for two days of training. The training involves the following: “Topics:
→ Use of Force
→ Security of weapons at home and away.
→ Away from home considerations
→ Gear & weapons
→ Mindset/Indications of Mental State
→ Basic room clearing techniques for the homeowner
→ Force-on-force scenarios
→ Ballistic protection at home and away
→ Dealing with the Police”
One must ask in which “scenarios” would a homeowner need to conduct a “room clearing”? Also, who better to train a citizen on how to “deal with the police” than a company that is involved with training hundreds of police officers every year? It would appear that Blackwater is willing to not only train the police but to train the citizen cops as well.
The only prerequisite for the class is that the “student” knows how to fire a gun. “Prerequisite: Basic pistol marksmanship/familiarization course. This is not a marksmanship course. Handling skills are required prior to attending class.”
The equipment supplied includes: “Included Equipment: Simunition Pistol (customer preference of Glock, Sig Sauer, Beretta), Simunition safety gear, 100 rounds of Simunition, holster & magazine carrier.”
Simunition is a General Dynamics-Ordnance and Tactical Systems-Canada Inc company that developed in the 1980s. Their mission, according to their web site is, “to provide the most realistic training systems possible so that officers and military forces around the world can engage in experience building and ultimately lifesaving exercises.”
They also have a philosophy that includes, “helping law enforcement officers, emergency response teams and military personnel to improve their tactical skill and condition their fear response, our family of training products ultimately saves lives.” Interesting that there is no mention of citizens who take the law into their own hands; and also interesting that simulator weapons can be referred to as a “family of training products.” This brings a whole new light onto the term “family.”
The “Home Defense” course, however, does come with a disclaimer, “Disclaimer: This is NOT a pistol/shotgun course. Students should come prepared to operate their weapon system and be familiar with weapon handling, safety and marksmanship. Local authorities should be consulted on use of Lethal Force and the use of Lethal Force to defend lives and property.”
Good to know. Always good to consult with “local authorities” before you use your Glock to kill someone. However, they do not include a cell phone in their required gear.
Required gear according to the course description on their web site:” Gear: belt, flashlight, ear protection, clothing appropriate for climate and conditions, rain gear, and a water bottle or other hydration system. Cover garment for concealed draw is highly recommended.”
Now this kind of training for any gun-carrying citizen taught by any company would be unsettling, but to have it provided by a company that is owned by Erik Prince, who has been accused of murder by two former employees under sworn statements filed in a federal court in Virginia last August is especially disturbing. According to sworn testimony by two former Blackwater employees, who were referred to as John Doe No. 1 and John Doe No. 2 for fear they may be murdered by Prince or one of his current gunmen, Erik Prince may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities who were investigating the company. The former employees also alleged that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.” One must ask what other crusades may he see as his mission.
Here is an excerpt from the two five-page sworn statements by the former employees:
To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.
Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to “lay Hajiis out on cardboard.” Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as “ragheads” or “hajiis.”
One does not have to stretch too far to see a troubling possible connection between a company headed by someone who, according to Jeremy Scahill in his book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, was “dedicated to a Christian-supremacist agenda” and the creation of the class to train any armed citizen on how to basically be their own law enforcers, just as Prince’s mercenaries operated in Iraq. Also, one can also make the parallel between the rise of armed citizen militias, some of whom have a similar “Christian-supremacist agenda,” and the need for a class that teaches citizens the same skills that are being taught to the military and to law enforcement.
In addition, this also could be an attempt to bring in more money since last month Blackwater was stopped by GOA from winning a multi-billion-dollar contract from the U.S. Army to train Afghan police. Now, the contract has to be re-bid, and DynCorp is in the running as well. Prince is also selling off his own private air force, Aviation World Services, with its subsidiary, Presidential Airways, for $200 million to AAR Corp. This will mean a cut of another 240 employees after last year’s layoffs that resulted with the cancellation of the contract to build the Grizzly, an armored vehicle.
The former employees also testified that Erik Prince lives in fear of being prosecuted by the federal government for the many illegal activities he is suspected of being involved with, such as smuggling illegal arms into Iraq, some of which were sold on the black market, tax evasion, wrongful death lawsuits, which number in the double digits at last count, etc.
One thing all of this points to is that if you poke a desperate polecat with a stick, he is bound to fight back. I wish this meant the downfall of Blackwater and the Prince’s Dark Kingdom were near, but I fear that it only means that a reshaping is taking place, and who knows what dark hole it will raise from next.
From the April 21-27, 2010 issue