In 2009, on this day Mr Gordon R. England, the Under Secretary of Defence for Military Outsourcing signed a multi-billion dollar "No Bid" contract with the American security company Xe Services (formerly Blackwater International).
CIA confirms Blackwater helpSince contracted guards had participated in CIA raids on suspected militants in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the contract award was considered a logical next step in the "small military footprint" objective laid down by former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. This strategem had been validated by a review of military strategy conducted after President John S. McCain's inauguration, because Pentagon benchmarking exercises had determined that the raids revealed a need for a greater level of involvement between the agency and Xe Services than previously considered necessary.
Founder and sole owner of the company, Mr Erik D. Prince confirmed that Xe were "delighted to receive a new contract to participate in covert raids with CIA and Special Operations".
In 2009, on this day US President John S. McCain awarded a $1bn no-bid contract to the private military company Blackwater Worldwide.Dropping in to Darfur
Doubts had been raised by members of the US Congress that Blackwater employees actually were "loyal Americans" and not mercenaries in the employ of a foreign government; in fact, hard evidence had emerged of Chilean soldiers fighting in Iraq, formerly trained by Augustus Pinochet's murderous regime. Nevertheless, the President had received sufficient confidence from assurances provided by founder and sole owner, Mr Erik. D Prince following Controversy and criticism of the 100,000 privately managed, armed security contractors working in Iraq.
Speaking at Lafayette Park, across from the White House McCain put a positive spin on the announcement. America, said McCain, had a long tradition of hiring private military contractors to achieve national security. Pointing to the inscription under the statue of Wilhelm von Steuben, the President recounted how the Prussian General trained George Washington's troops at Valley Forge, Pa.:
"He gave military training and discipline to the citizen soldiers who achieved the independence of the United States".
Vice Chairman and former CIA Counterterroism Chief J. (Joseph) Cofer Black had acted in a key brokerage role to secure the no-bid contract - using his rolodex of government contacts to convince the Administration that only Blackwater had the necessary resources for the operation they had in mind. In March 2006 Black allegedly suggested at an international conference in Amman, Jordan, that Blackwater USA was ready to move towards providing security professionals up to brigade size for humanitarian efforts and low intensity conflicts. It would appear that Mr Prince would now need to deliver on some of his earlier rhetoric about creating a private battalion that could be dropped into a trouble spot anywhere around the world (Darfur was expressly mentioned by Mr Prince).
In reality, American involvement in Darfur had been likely ever since the group "Human Rights First" claimed that over 90% of the light weapons currently being imported by Sudan and used in the conflict were from China. Likely became inevitable with the emergence of further evidence of the Sudanese government's murder of civilians to actually facilitate the extraction of oil. The U.S.-funded Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, which investigated attacks in southern Sudan during 2008 concluded that "as the Government of Sudan sought to clear the way for oil exploration and to create a cordon sanitaire around the oil fields, vast tracts of the Western Upper Nile Region in southern Sudan became the focus of extensive military operations".
Ironically, the announcement concluded a six year period of demonstration against Western Governments who stood accused of blind-folding (pictured) themselves to the human tragedies resulting from the War in Darfur.