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  • Pamela Hernandez
    April 9, 2007 Baja California-San Diego News Private Military Company Plans Border Camp A proposal to establish a private security force training camp on the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10 12:16 PM
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      April 9, 2007

      Baja California-San Diego News

      Private Military Company Plans Border Camp

      A proposal to establish a private security force training
      camp on the US-Mexico border is stirring controversy. The
      camp in question would be set up in San Diego County,
      California, by the North Carolina-based military contractor
      Blackwater USA. Now undergoing official review is a plan
      for an 824-acre training camp envisioned for a site near
      the small town of Potrero, California, which is located
      several miles north of the Baja California municipality of

      The proposed camp site is close to an area called
      the "Mushroom Zone," where undocumented workers are known
      to cross the border, and near a wilderness area.

      According to reports, Blackwater seeks approval for a camp
      operated by 60-100 former military personnel who will train
      up to 300 students at a time in firearms, urban assault
      techniques and other skills. If opened, the facility is
      expected to include dormitories, 15 shooting ranges and a
      helicopter landing pad.

      Residents of Potrero, a town of about 900 people, are
      voicing their opposition to the camp. Reportedly, about
      half the registered voters in Potrero have signed a
      petition against the proposed facility. Resident Carl Meyer
      told a San Diego television station that the camp could
      disturb animals in the zone, while another unidentified
      resident expressed concern about noise.

      Owned by millionaire Erik Prince, Blackwater defines itself
      as the "most comprehensive professional military, law
      enforcement, security, peacekeeping and stability
      operations company in the world." Author and journalist
      Jeremy Scahill, who has written a new book about the
      company, regards Blackwater as the world's largest
      mercenary army.

      According to Scahill, Blackwater USA holds a $300-million
      State Department contract to provide security for Iraq.
      Military contractors in the country receive up to $1,000
      per day, according to a General Accounting Office report
      cited by Scahill in a recent article. Killed or wounded
      personnel from Blackwater and other military contractors
      are not included in the official US military casualty list.

      In addition to its work in Iraq and Afghanistan, Blackwater
      was contracted to provide security in New Orleans after
      Hurricane Katrina. On the West Coast, California Governor
      Arnold Schwarzenegger has held discussions with the company
      about providing emergency disaster relief operations.

      "Blackwater now envisions itself as the FedEx of defense
      and homeland security operations," writes Scahill.

      There was no immediate word about the possible missions of
      graduates from a future Blackwater US-Mexico border camp.
      The San Diego County government will have the final word
      over whether or not the proposed Blackwater camp opens.

      Sources: El Universal/Frontera/La Jornada /Notimex, April
      6, 2007. Blackwaterusa.com. San DiegoReader.com, February
      22, 2007. Article by Don Bauder. Counterpunch.org, January
      25, 2007. Article by Jeremy Scahill. Calitics.com.

      Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
      Center for Latin American and Border Studies
      New Mexico State University
      Las Cruces, New Mexico

      For a free electronic subscription email fnsnews@...

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