April 7, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) New data released by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) shows that Academi, formerly Blackwater, has received $309 million from the Department of Defense to provide training, equipment, and supplies to fight opium production in Afghanistan. Northrop Grumman was the lead recipient at $325 million.
Academi Training Center provided training, equipment, and logistical support to Afghan counternarcotics entities, including the Afghan National Interdiction Unit, the Ministry of Interior, and the Afghan Border Police.
Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars and the work of corporations like Academi and Northrop, Afghanistan still leads the world in opium production. Since the United States’ military occupation began in 2001, production has steadily risen, with profits growing by $1 billion between 2012 and 2013. In a report released last December, SIGAR said that “Afghan farmers are growing more opium than ever before.” Is it any wonder that more Americans see the efforts by the Defense Department and Academi as a massive failure?
Academi claims to have 20,000 soldiers worldwide, with at least 100,000 private military contractors doing business with the US government’s Defense Department. Before the company underwent a branding change they were known as Blackwater, and were plagued with a number of controversies.
On October 22, 2014, four former Blackwater military contractors were found guilty in the deaths of fourteen Iraqi citizens. The ruling is related to a 2007 incident where Blackwater contractors fired automatic weapons, sniper rifles, and grenade launchers at a public square. In addition to the fourteen deaths, seventeen other individuals were injured.
According to internal State Department memos released by investigative journalists James Risen, government officials said at the time of the shootings that, “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law” and had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”
The fact that the US government continues to find it appropriate to do business with a company that employs murderers and criminals should make it clear to any free-thinking individual that this country cares not about the principles of liberty. If any member of the government, or military leadership, believed in actual freedom (not just for the United States but for people all around the world), we would see a huge scaling back of this false War on Terror, a return of sovereignty to those suffering occupations from the American empire, and a restoration of rights to the sovereign people of the North American landmass.
How do we stop the march of private military forces? Is privatization of military a step forward or backward? With the increase in corporate and state power, we need to ask ourselves these questions and pursue solutions that will create a more free world today and for future generations.
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