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Ask Jeremy Scahill...

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Since the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians on September 16 by Blackwater contractors, which is currently under investigation by the FBI and the State Department, newspapers, talk shows and blogs have been buzzing with debate over the implications of a growing private sector "army" fighting alongside US Military officials in Iraq. Many believe these hired soldiers have not been properly held accountable for their mistakes.

Founder and CEO of Blackwater, Erik Prince, recently made the rounds defending his company as a patriotic extension of the US Armed Forces, simply fulfilling the security demands of a military stretched thin.

After watching Bill Moyers' interview with investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill , who has been covering Blackwater for more than three years, do questions still linger about this complicated issue?

Who's funding these private security contractors? Who's giving them their day-to-day orders? Who supplies their equipment and transport vehicles? Under which rule of law are they held accountable? Here's your chance to ask the expert.

Submit your questions to Scahill by commenting below. We will post his responses to select questions early next week.


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So...with Blackwater acting as Cheney's personal SS,
The TERRORISTS have really WON, haven't they?

During your interview, you mentioned that one of the private sector armies that operates alongside Blackwater is publicly traded. I would like to recoup some of my tax dollars that has been spent on this war. I ask the following question in all seriousness. Is buying stock in a private sector army a good investment? It seems that that these companies are here to stay and each contract is more lucrative than the last.

I watched Bill Moyers last evening with guest Jeremy Scahill. I was captivated. I learned so much. And Mr. Scahill has a gift for explaining and speaking. I'm going to make a real effort to purchase his book. My question is, now that we have even more information about Blackwater, what do we do? What can we do? I write my congresspeople all the time. Nothings changes. This is what gets me so frustrated. You know, and they know that the American people are "not" going to band together and protest these incredible things.
Its frustrating for me, at the very least.

I can't imagine how busy you must be, but I'm going to ask anyway. I have a radio show in the Tampa Fla. area, and would greatly appreciate if you could spend some time with my listeners and me. I try to get topical people for my show, and God knows, you're topical. I won't go into too much, about my show, because I'm not sure you will even see this. I will research for other ways to contact you. But if you do see this, all my contact information is on my web-site.
I will, however, drop one name to give you something to go on. Former Senator Mike Gravel has been on my show twice. Once on the phone, and once in person for a fund-raiser we held for him. I'v got my fingers crossed.
Yours Truly;
Jonathan Sands

The parallel development of private sector security and intelligence resources was detailed in Jim Hougan's "Spooks." I highly recommend it. If "they" were wiretapping Manhattan in the 1960's and 1970's, what do you suppose is possible today?

My husband and I met Jeremy at a Brooklyn Book Fair the day before the Blackwater story broke in a huge way, but we had long been following his focused and tenacious reporting on this alarming story on Democracy Now! I am heartened that his expansive understanding of not only the essence of the Blackwater story, but all of the elements behind and around the story were given such a full and amazing forum with our cherished Mr. Moyers. We were transfixed by the interview, seeing two remarkable men, at very different ages and stages of their careers, as perfect equals in bringing us truth and hoping for justice. We hardly took a breath, watching Bill take in Jeremy's astonishing grasp of the phenomenon of the private profit motives of running a war, feeling at the same time that Jeremy knew he was sitting across from one of America's most beloved and respected journalists. It was a great moment, albeit covering one of the most tragic stories in our history. I am honored to share the planet with both of you. And, I hope Bill can rest a bit easier knowing that there are people like Jeremy keeping the tradition of honest and comprehensive journalism alive.

I cannot wait to read your book. In E. Prince's world, "christianity" has a new meaning; I find it amazing also, that while he pays handsomely to US mercenaries, he pays peanuts to those from other countries. Although I have many questions, I would like to ask only two: why does Mr. Scahill think that the true nature of businesses such as "Blackwater" have failed to produce a national outcry in the US population, enough to have this topic on the front page every day? What comments does he have regarding the media coverage of the Blackwater connections to the WH so far, and the impact that this and similar type business will have in future world hotspots? I find Erik Prince and companies like Blackwater disgusting.

It has been interesting to read the notes to you Jeremy and Mr. Moyers. I agree that fear isn't the answer but action! We need to take back our country. Get involved in local grass roots politics, write your congressmen and seek as much information as possible on what's going on. I also have heard many callers into the WASHINGTON JOURNAL telling horror stories about Blackwater in NC.

Thank you so much Jeremy for the time dedicated to this rapid decline of our freedoms. If we don't fight for our freedom then we don't deserve to have them.

Having caught some of the interview and not read the book yet, two questions:

1. Does the USG audit the contracts for firms such as Blackwater? If so, who performs the audit? If not, why not?

2. In terms of Blackwater's work in terms of intervening in post conflict reconstruction/stablization efforts (Darfur?/Katrina?), given that government organizations, both bilateral and multilateral, have such a dismal record in terms of providing effective services, one would think the private sector is the way to go. But certainly Blackwater is not the model. Do you see another private sector model working? Clearly the information about Blackwater is disturbing at best, but I wouldn't have much faith in the USG or the UN in terms of assisting in places such as Darfur. What do you see as an effective alternative?

Blackwater folk are probably like any other "population": Most good, a small percentage unethical. What price we pay and how we regulate privatization here and abroad are indeed national concerns. Wikipedia, under "Monopoly" states, "A government-granted monopoly, or legal monopoly is sanctioned by the state, often to provide a greater reward and incentive to invest in a risky venture." If the Associated Press article on Oct. 5th is correct: "According to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Blackwater has received federal contracts worth more than a $1 billion, with the bulk of its earnings coming from the State Department" and they are already training 55 police departments. Their training centers must be top-notch. If Harper's September 12, 2006 issue is correct, then a number of CIA and Pentagon senior officials believe so, too, switched over, and are now working directly for Blackwater. Who wouldn't want to join? America is in transition.

Hi. I appreciated your presentation on PBS. I also have shown your Alternate Focus productions on public access TV, and intend to do so again. I also have a couple of suggestions. First, I think it would be beneficial to explain the dangers of privatization of the military even more than you do. Mr. Moyers tried to draw you out on this in a couple of spots. Second, you give a tremendous volume of information in a very short space of time, and my wife and I have trouble following some of it. I wonder if this may not be the case with many viewers who are unfamiliar with your subject, and if it might not help to slow down a bit and perhaps be a bit more selective. Best wishes in your important work.

Gregory M. DeSylva

There are so many troubling questions.
Why don't we know the names of the Blackwater men who committed the carnage at Nisour Square? Along those lines, it is tragic that Iraqi victims almost never have names, at least as far as the American press is concerned.
What is the origin of these mercenary armies? A force of such magnitude cannot be raised overnight.
Did the idea begin with Cheney and Rumsfeld back in the days when they were learning how to take charge of the country in the event of a "crisis"?
And it is now clearer why our regular soldiers have been equipped so poorly. Our tax dollars have been liberally distributed to the mercenary elements, at the expense of our conventional ground troops.
There is a bullet-proof fabric manufactured locally, said to be very expensive. Wonder who its beneficiaries are?

The use of the words "complex confrontation" seem to give a false impression that excuses the murderous behavior of Blackwater. They weren't confronted by anyone or anything. They just started murdering people for no reason. Their actions raise the concept of "hair-trigger" to a level that cannot be tolerated by any society. Erik Prince gave perjured testimony. Why isn't he in prison?

My question is: how many of the 180,000 private contractors in Iraq are mercenaries toting guns, and how many are average working joe's driving trucks, doing costruction, serving food to troops, etc.?
Also, I remember reading an article a few years back in the Chicago Tribune about private contractors in which they said that the number of contractors dead was around 700. How come there were numbers then but not now?

But most importantly, what can we do to fight this rampant privatization of basic government services, even defense? It's sickening and frightening and I can't see how we can stop it now. Is there any hope?

Hi, I was watching the video interview and could not scape to think Blackwater is outsmarting us, the reason I write this is because the nature of their business does not allow them to advertise or recruit like a regular company (TV, radio, newspaper ads), instead they created a "big scandal" that would show their face to the public, this is an excuse and an opportunity for Blackwater to advertise the high-pay you could get if you join them. Look at how Britney Spears advertise, we even had her on the "TV, newsprint, and radio headlines" here in New Zealand!!! Ethics have been completely removed from the interest of the chaotic world we live in, Blackwater has let everybody know who they are and what they stand for, communicating through the low moral values channel that is misunderstood by the american community and intellectuals, low moral values have entrenched in the back of the audience's mind, low moral values have become the perfect channels to sell an idea. In the end Blackwater is already in Iraq, this has been allowed by the government and they will need more recruits to control Iraq in the future. We are helping them by covering/reading/talking about the scandal and since the same American government has allowed "the Blackwater case" to happen, we cannot do anything about it. A complete betray of public trust by the once most trusted entities in the world - The American Government. Very sad indeed:( And scary!

Mr. Scahill and Mr Moyers:

Thank you for including "us" in the discussion.

Jeremy when talking of the siege of Fallujah Please don't leave out the part where the US pulled out of there and turned it over to a Iraqi General so many marines would not die before the election of 2004 and this put to rest the Questions the news would ask as to how this debacle came about. From a deranged rt winh company looking to get billable hours to transport Kitchen supplies to service Haliburton in its contract for privatized Military KP

I am appalled by what I learned from listening to Jeremy Scahill. A mercenary army that's larger than the U.S. military presence acting on our behalf--and we're paying for it as taxpayers without having any oversight??

Yes, I'll write my Congressional representatives. But that seems like such a weak gesture given the enormity of the situation.

Apologize if brought up earlier, but from the SOTU 2007:

A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. It would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time.

This sounds very clearly like Bush is trying to set up a private "civilian" army outside US military control. Again, who controls it, to whom is it accountable isn't mentioned. Sounds like a job specifically set up for Blackwater.

I have been following what Jeremy Scahill has been reporting for months. I have heard some of his reports on "Democracy Now" with Amy Goodman, and find his reporting very informative.( he has done his homework) I am very curious as to why during his appearance on the Bill Moyer Journal there was a long black out during the show. I thought at least someone would acknowledge the black out, I am wondering what was so revealing that caused part of the program to be censored. Is Bill Moyer aware that part of his program was censored? If so, then that is very scary!

Jeremy Scahill certainly ranks with our best investigative journalists. In this interview, his rapid-fire delivery and substantive content do to words and data what nuclear fusion does to subatomic particles. Wish I had taped the show to listen again and share with friends. (With dial-up, watching online videos can be exasperating!)

I've read Mr. Scahill's columns online for months, although I haven't checked out his book yet. I know that Bill Moyers and guests can cover only so much material in one program, but this week, they left my main concern unaddressed: Blackwater's attempts to establish regional bases across the country. I believe they have the Southeast (NC) and the Midwest (Illinois?) covered, but they've met tremendous resistance from citizens and their Congressman in the San Diego area. My concerns for world peace and national sovereignty abroad pale next to the thought of Blackwater in a neighborhood near you and me.

Is it true that the Blackwater headquarters in NC is so advanced in equipment and training that Navy SEALS and police officers are training there, as I recently read? Their domestic agenda (what is it, I'm afraid to ask) needs to be exposed in the national media to a broad public with the right to know. Thank you Bill and Jeremy, for your outstanding work. You're both American heroes. And, Jeremy, watch your back! Have you received any threats as a result of your work? God, I hope not. Perhaps you need a security detail of your own. Just don't hire Blackwater! sound like someone who has a grasp on reality. The problem is NOT just Bush. The problem goes back a lot further than Bush. The problem is big government...too much government...too much government involvement where it should not be involved.

Steve and Jane:
Rita didn't mention the specific number, 180,000. And she certainly did not mean to leave the impression that she doubts Mr. Scahill's statistics. It would not be surprising to learn that there are 300,000 taxpayer-funded, corporate mercenaries in Iraq. My concern is that they are being portrayed as "diplomat" protectors in order to make their function more palatable to the American public.

I'll go away as this attempt at education is like herding cats.

The US Army has tanks, helicopters and loads of people to call on when things go bad. They go on raids, set up roadblocks and arrange major battles.

Contractors have a contract. That contract specifies what they can and can not do. where they can do it, how long and what for and who they do the work for.

I have seen on a few occaisions instances in which I should have been involved, but the insurgents were "outside my lane" January of this year, in Al Anbar Province, a group of insurgents slaughtered the children of a village close to Baghdadi on the Euphrates River. 25 little ones were shot and a few adults that interferred. We heard the shooting and could see some movement from our position 5km away BUT, we had no interpreter with us and we were too short handed to be able to be relieved and go investigate. Besides all that, my contract specifically said"NO OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS". I am not allowed to go looking for trouble. If I do, the company is in breach of contract and another company may step in and take over.
BW is one of about 50 doing this type of work. Amazing how you never hear of them. BW is the most proffesional out of the bunch. They are one of the few that make sure their employees know what they are doing before getting in the warzone. Only a few do that.

I know. You are asking how we found out about what happened that day. 3rd and 4th Force Recon worked in that area and passed on the information to us 2 weeks after the fact.

It is kind of sad that so few people here have much knowledge of real events. Blackshirts, Kristalnacht, SS, Christian Supremacist, wow. I don't like the current regime either, just like I did not like the one before them and so on back to Jimmy Carter. I never did feel this level of hatred expressed by individuals here. Must be something in their lattes.

I find it almost hilarious that the recurring concern is accountability. There always is accountability, even in a warzone. The US Military answers to...the US Military. The contractors are answerable to their client.
That anyone thinks that any agency or any nation would willingly let agents acting on their behalf be taken into custody by organizations riddled with possible insurgents is ridiculous.
Forget Iraq for a moment and lets look at the Darfur area of Sudan. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that the Sudanese govt is behind the violence. Let's say PAE, which is operating in Darfur interferes with a Sudanese govt rep in the form of the janjaweed when they try to kill or injure their client and they(janjaweed) are injured, maybe killed. Should that same group of PAE employees now be given to the Sudanese govt?

Another thought. Whatever happened to the 5 Americans kidnapped in November 2006 by Iraqi police along route Tampa. It made the news for a week then went away. Yes it really was Iraqi Police, in uniform that took the men and killed an Austrian citizen. They worked for Crescent Group an American/Iraqi/Kuwaiti company.

Will you be looking into the use of contractors in other agencies such as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which has approximately 8000 contractors vs approximately 800 federal employees. Who do you think is running this agency ?
OPM took over doing security background investigations from the Department of Defense (DOD)approximately two years ago.
A good place to start would be with the prior DOD federal field agents who are in every state, more especially the MANY recently retired agents
who would be freer to speak with you. I apologize for not giving my name but my job might be in jeapordy if it were known. Also,
please don't give out my email address as the person who contacted you as it might be traced to me. I wish I could provide more details but I dare not. Thank you.


Rita and Steve,

Mr Scahill did not say there were 180 thousand blackwater employees in Iraq. I believe the number was total private sector force working in Iraq. His point is that what we are seeing, is the unprecedented privatising of what had hitherto been the tasks of the military. This privatization serves the admin in several ways:
1. it allows them to avoid the necessity of a draft, and its concomittant public outcry.
2. it allows them to widen the envelope of wartime legality by thwarting accountability (BW answers only to those who hired it, not the host country, and not the international community or its conventions).
3. it provides a means for politicians to fill their campaign coffers. This allows money to flow from the treasury back to the politicians who make the policy and who support military privatization.

I think you are engaging the old poison-the-well trick: suggesting that, because there can't possibly be 180,000 body guards, then all of Scahill's arguments are therefor suspect. Sorry. Doesn't fly.

We got this way because it's cheaper to hire a guy already trained for a short term like 90-180 days than take a civilian and spend a year or years training them and then having to provide for them.

In addition, when that contractor is injured or killed, the company often provides one more payment and the individual is on their own.

There is no retirement with this work.

There are no benefits.

You get paid and that is it.

All contracts are at will. Meaning you can be fired at anytime without recourse.

it may seem outrageous to you, but when taken together, a contractor costs less then the average e-6 or e-7 in the US military. BTW, do you know what they make every month in Iraq?

I don't understand something that I was hoping to hear explained in your interview with Mr. Moyers. I'm not even sure this is a question. It is obscene that our government pays Blackwater and others like it so much money and doesn't properly fund our own agencies such as FEMA. It is hard for a longtime peacenik such as myself to say, but perhaps the money we've spent to pay these "contractors", might have been better spent in the military budget. It certainly could have been better spent!
How did it get this way?

That is the problem. If there are 180,000 armed bodyguards, I never saw them in Baghdad, Samara, Taji or Ramadi. The actual number is way, way, way below that.
Some guard diplomats and govt. reps.
Some guard convoys
some guard US bases
some guard small sites all by themselves without support from the military.
Always, if there are more than 10 people involved, third country nationals or host country nationals are part of the guard force.

Who told you 180,000?

BTW if you even mention KBR, be advised all their jobs are unarmed.

I think that Blackwater is basically a good company. I saw you on Bill Moyer's Journal and I thought that some of your concerns were ridiculous. I am MUCH more concerned about big government than I am about a private company hired by big government. Of course, we need to always look for law-breakers, but you seem to think that the very EXISTENCE of Blackwater is a bad thing.

Jeremy - I am definitely going to read your book...I've been avoiding the subject but glad you haven't. I wonder where all the other "journalists" are when covering this issue. Amazing interview...thank you.

The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

--Franklin D. Roosevelt

Who are these so-called "diplomats" being protected by "Blackwater" and their kindred groups in Iraq? Are you sure they aren't just war profiteers? I can't imagine that we have so many diplomats that we need more than 100,000 private body guards for them. Who wants to serve as a diplomat in Iraq? It can't pay that well.

As I watched Mr Scahill impresssively catalogue Blacwater's misdeeds, I couldn't help thinking of blackshirts of Italy. Has fully blown fascism come to America?

When I think of the possibility of men like these in my town or neighborhood, or standing on my streetcorner in their designer camouflage and wraparounds - issuing orders at the point of guns... well, it left me incensed.

Great work Jeremy! Additionally, thank you to whoever has to sift through this page of questions, comments, and inanity =)

I have not read the book, and unfortunately do not have the time. Apologies if this is covered there.

Lots of questions =) 1)Do we have any operational numbers on what Blackwater has actually succeeded at doing? Or is this classified?

How many missions do they run daily, and how often are they actually attacked? How many car bomb / suicide / or other attacks have they stopped, and proven that they have stopped an attack?
Numbers and percentages are a suitable answer if details are not expedient.

The discussion about their work and how effective they are has been very vague, and often to BW's favor.

2) What is Erick Prince's day to day role in the company? Does he actually meet every employee? Or is he working the legal and political operations of the company (i.e. contracts)? How much time has he spent in Bagdhad?

3) What is the next biggest private security team in Iraq? How easy is it for people to move around different private companies, or even start their own ten or twenty man teams?

4) Do they or other private security (ex-military) sell their training to other countries? I am sure there is a market for that. I doubt the people that protect the Saudis or Country X (insert any rich state that requires massive force to exist) were natively trained and armed.

Finally, for the moderator here. This webpage is a textbook example of the need for moderation in web postings. I understand the position that you want to keep the debate open and free, but these spaces are prone to manipulation and people hiding behind anonymity. I do not think that allowing people to post freely on the internet contributes to a better more civilized discourse, and to finish -- for the sake of brevity, please consider screening posts on topics like these in the future.

According to Article 3 of the International Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries of 1993, “A mercenary . . . who participates directly in hostilities or in a concerted act of violence, as the case may be, commits an offence for the purposes of the Convention.” In other words, mercenaries in combat, such those who were in command of American soldiers at Najaf on April 4, 2004, are war criminals.

According to the Article 5, “States Parties shall not recruit, use, finance or train mercenaries and shall prohibit such activities.” In other words, Washington is committing a war crime by hiring mercenaries according to the treaty, which Congress has not ratified.

My question is "When will the hiring of combat mercenaries be denounded for what it is--a war crime?

There is no reference to the relevant treaty and no index reference to the obvious war crimes in the book "Blackwater." Have you lost your courage at a time when courage is needed to stop the madness?

Just want to add my appreciation for the interview.

I enjoyed the interview with Mr. Scahill. Thank you for your insightful look into an underground army that place's our troops at risk and undermine their efforts.

I propose that the proper historical comparison for the defeat of the USA by 19 terrorists on 9/11 is Pancho Villa's declaration of war on the USA and his invasion of New Mexico with casualties. Pearl Harbor was used to support the PNAC language and the implementation of the PNAC doctrine which is a soviet fascist type government. Just as Ben Franklin stated when asked what he thought of the U.S. ideals "it will last a couple of hundred years and then end due to corruption and despotism" and here we are.

Eric Prince being a fast talker holds the Democrats in disdain, looking at his body language and the ignorance of the Democrats questioning him. His definition of mercenary is pure Orwellian doublespeak.It ignores the fact that Blackwater is a mercenary army, by his own definition, in Iraq just as the British had mercenaries operating in America. Prince with his American christian supremacist mind construes that the world revolves around the United States and the United States revolves around him. Most corruption in this country is private corruption and the obvious intent for privatization is for the corruption because it is not more efficient.

Jeremy and Bill, America is indebted to you both for exposing the truth. If the citizens don't speak up, could this lead to the collapse of democracy in the US? I think your agenda is to expose the facts and the truth and I applaud you for that. What is the role of AIPAC in promoting Blackwater behind the scenes, just as they ensure that the news is suppressed or distorted through brainwashing by Fox and other Neocon controlled media channels, noting that Bremmer was sent to Iraq as Viceroy soon after he served as CEO of Kissinger Associates? Why should Americans die for AIPAC's agenda which is Israel's agenda considering that all the leading proponents of the occupation of Iraq, such as Wolfowitz, Perle, Scooter Libby,Kristol, Krauthammer, etc., were all dual citizens of Israel and the US? Please continue doing the great job you are doing, especially Bill Moyers, for bringing in such distinguised guests on your weekly program. Bill, we need a program on the Straussian connection i.e Wolfowitz, etc., are all of the Straussian school and have a Straussian agenda. You need to expose how they damaged the US reputation globally and have bankrupted us by controllng the Bush Adminstration and promoting wars with a country-Iraq- that never attacked us.

Thank you Jeremy Schahill for your knowledgeable presentation and the depth of your research. Your discussion of this issue was outstanding.

Thank you Bill Moyers for being back on PBS, for the subjects you cover, and for how you draw out those you interview. I generally feel that you are asking my questions.

Sometimes I think that I live in a parallel universe. I am a bit of a political junkie and try to stay informed . . . and what I've learned is shocking to me, but, apparently, not to much of the country. The two things that most depress me are the way this country is being taken away from a democracy to corporatocracy and that the vast majority of citizens are uniformed and disinterested.

I have given friends several books laying out my concerns about the Bush administration, how this country is being yanked away from democracy toward corporatocracy, and 3 DVD's (Iraq for Sale and Buying the War,and Who killed the Electric Car?). The reaction usually is that they haven't found the time to read/watch and even if they find the time to read/watch they still don't seem to feel the outrage and despair that I feel.

I will echo the question of other commenters on this blog, i.e. do either of you have any recommendations for what else we can do to stop the selling of our democracy and the selling off of our country? We need for many, many more citizens to appreciate the need for watchfulness "that {this} government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." - Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address.

In "The Debate on the Constitution" there is a letter (the 2nd in vol.1) by ("Z"), published in the "Independent Chronicle" (Boston), Dec. 6, 1787 regarding the proposed new constitution in which he worried about the abuse of power. In part, he wrote: Does not every man know, that nothing is more liable to be abused than power. Power without check, in any hands, is tyranny; and such powers, in the hands of even good men, so infatuating is the nature of it, will probably be be wantonly, if not tyrannically exercised . . . . there ought to be at least an express reservation of certain inherent unalienable rights, which it would be equally sacrilegious for the people to give away, as for the government to invade."

We need an informed citizenry - NOW.

Where are the civics classes to teach our youth how our democracy works and how valuable it is?

Bill Moyers Journal is a light in the wilderness on television!

Thank you for this enlightening interview. I, like the others who have written, was impressed with Jeremy's unique clarity, recall, and presentation of facts, and until watching this interview, had no idea of the extent or true nature of Blackwater operations (even though I watched the 60 minutes interview) or those like them. I am so discouraged that this information seems to only reach the ears of those who seek it. There must be some avenue into the mainstream media for you to get this across to the greater American public. What do you suggest we, as individual American citizens, can do to take these issues back into our own hands, except for writing our politicians as obviously that is pointless, and bring our leaders back to accountability? I'm sure there are many like me who feel powerless as one person. I have been a member of, and contributed to the cause of, a large activist organizaion with millions of members, but they seem to have little effect on politicians and their policies as well, so what is realistic here for us as individuals to do?
Thank you again for your insight and astounding investigative reporting. Keep up this invaluable good work and be safe.


I do enjoy being with my family. Do you really think that I want to be in Iraq rather than with my family? DUH! I have, however, decided to serve my country in the military.

What have you done for your country?

Anyway, nice job of manipulation yourself. You never once refute any of my arguments. Rather, you resort to the mindless argument of name calling.


Next time, please tell me where I was wrong and back it up.

Mr. Scahill asserted that he has traveled extensively as an investigative reporter and so obviously is backed by a considerable purse. He is obviously biased and has distorted fact to support his opinion and agenda (personal remuneration at any cost to principals and principles being investigated). There is nothing wrong with opinion when presented as opinion, but when offered for sale or collected for remuneration with a premeditated purpose “to sell or please a publisher” is then published as “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” the author could be considered a self-styled or for-hire mercenary. Mr. Scahill, how much were you paid to be in Iraq and the flooded “Big Easy” and other area of interest between 2002 to present, be honest and include the perks, royalty, per diem, travel, equipment and other incident allowance and revenue? You seemed to include every dollar related to Mr. Prince. Mr. Moyer, why did you not ask some questions relating to Mr. Scahill’s agenda, or was he merely supporting your own? A few questionable incidents doesn’t justly represent an operation in general, except in the case of “investigative reporting!”

Has it never occurred to you or any of the people you speak to in and out of government that it is a real and present danger to have a fully armed, trained, mercenary army (or armies) within the borders of the USA itself? Isn't this in fact an unlawful tool that the rich can use to subdue the workers of this nation? Is it not possible that a wealthy person wishing to be an American Dictator can break apart our armed forces and then use a standing mercenary army to take over our nation?

I feel ALL of these mercenary armies are a real and present danger to the survival of our nation. An IMMEDIATE danger, if you will.

Would you please comment on this?

I'm really having a hard time not laughing as I read these posts. Not one person spouting off against BW has serious knowledge of them or the situation in Iraq. The total number of ARMED US/Brit/Aussie/Kiwi/Fijian contractors is about 5-6,000. These are the guys doing the PSD work, convoy security and supervising site security. The number of armed Chilean/ Sri Lankan/ Filipino/Ugandan and Nepalese is about 10,000. These guys man gates, guard towers and stand outside the chowhall and PX to check your ID. They get paid about $1,000-$2,000 a month depending on their nationality. The number of armed Iraqis contracted to work is about 30-60,000. Almost all are soldiers or IP moonlighting taking a job for more pay with the US companies. They get about $300 a month.
So where are the 180,000 US contractors? Cleaning toilets, cooking driving trucks and other support services. The security contractors are a very, very small but important part of the picture. Did you ever wonder at the numbers that were touted by the people afraid of this secret private army? It's all just so much crap to push someone's agenda in DC. The contractors for the most part do their job. A few idiots have done wrong and been canned. For the morons suggesting Iraqi justice, do you mean we should turnover an American to Iraqi Police custody after an incident so the electric drill squad can have some fun? Is it possible the conflicting stories that acompany each incident come from the desire of the Iraqi factions to hurt us any way they can. They try and kill you with bullets and bombs and when you fight through that, they resort to press releases and accusations.

I'm starting to agree with some of you nutless wonders. Iraq is not worth it. I can't see risking my life when my neighbors want to appease those that torture with drills, cut off heads, gang rape, blah, blah,blah. Hey, bet you stopped reading when you realized I was not another cheerleader for scahill.

BTW, the book is okay. Colby Buzzell does a better job.

I fear there is no hope for America and the current move to privatization partly proves that. The country is owned and operated by corporations.

While I have no hope, thank the gods for Bill Moyers and Jeremy Scahill and what they've done to inform the American public.


The Congress has appropriated almost “one trillion dollars for the war”!
They have funds for private mercenary force to pay up to $1000.00 per
day per person, but did not have funds for health care for all. Even a “veto
power” was use to denied health care insurance for the kids.
They had funds to provide for private contractors for manufacturing
plant to build helicopters, armor vehicles and etc. for a protection of
private mercenaries force but no funds for health care insurance. Our man
and women are sent to the war “amphitheater”, to protect their heart and
soul with “plywood, cardboards and send bags”.
The alibi “ The mercenary are protecting the American's”! How were the
4000 American's death and over 27000 wounded protected?
“Bleeding Hearts” not protected of a bullet!
Bleeding hearts
Lost of lives
Mother cries
Over bleeding heart.
For lost of love
“$90 millions dollars approved for the levies ” to protect New Orleans from
catastrophe were diverted. It resulted in “billions of dollars, lost of
lives and destruction”! Was it a preemptive plan - the levies to let go?
It was an enrichment for the mercenaries at “$940.00 per person per day”!
To stop the war, the killing, the destruction, embezzlement,
corruption etc. is to amend the “CONSTITUTION ARTICLES” and place
ALL the ISSUES on the BALOT, for the “people to express their will
on each issues”, and not by the Congress, the Senate or any other
elected official. Amend the laws, that no elected official should
have privilege of “IMUNITY”! There is a “Constitutional Crises”!
Do not expect an AMENDMEND of the Constitution to be deliver on a
silver plate by some mercenaries.... or any new elected official! The Congress
and Senate failed to follow the “constitution - the article for
impeachment”! The breach of duty – responsibilities, not to abide by the
constitution, to not protects the Constitution and the Republic is no justification!

clear, decisive, and SCARY. Is it better for the US if blackwater works for international corporations, which they seem to plan to expand to , or for them to be kept by the State dept? Would you rather lose an arm or a leg (metaphorically)?

I earlier watched the segment featuring Mr. Scahill. I found it to be informative, but found some of Mr. Cahill's statements to be overly sensational. It's normal for a journalist to have a personal viewpoint on an issue he writes or speaks about - but when that viewpoint tends to overwhelm the issue being presented, it detracts from the matter at hand.

Clearly, there are questions that need to be asked about accountability of civilian contractors - this is neither unreasonable or obtrusive. Like it or not, there have been incidents involving BW, including the shooting of an Iraqi by a BW employee and said employee being removed from Iraq in 36 hours.

I do not believe the exception proves the rule, but there must be oversight of all contractors including BW. Contractors have a vital mission to perform abroad and they are a necessary component of the mission of the United States in Iraq and elsewhere, but the execution of that mission must not detract from the overall objectives of the United States in regards to the country or region in question.

I too experienced a black-out during Bill Moyers’ fascinating interview with Jeremy Scahill while watching on KAWE, Bemidji, Minnesota. It happened just as Bill Moyers was hypothesizing a scenario where a future president could declare martial law, a subject I have been thinking about for the past few months and I was eager to hear
what he had to say. (Is PBS being being monitored and/or censored?)
Here are my thoughts on what could happen in the next months before the election:
1. Continued expansion of the presidential powers.
2. Keeping the US military occupied in Iraq and possibly in Iran.
3. Bringing most of the Blackwater forces back to the US.
4. Staging a terrorist attack or allowing one to happen (as I believe was done on
5. Bush declares martial law.
6. Blackwater is in place to enforce Bush’s law in the US, with no interference from the US military.
7. Bush, as puppet president, (as I believe he has been for the past seven years),
carries out the agenda of whoever is behind him, to run the country in whatever manner they choose.
8. The constitution and democracy no longer exist.
9. Then what? Maybe there are some people with more knowledge than I have who possess some ideas on these issues.
10. If my thoughts are plausible, then maybe there is still time to impeach Bush and Cheney and stop them before it is too late.

This may seem to some people as very far out and possibly paranoid but the bizarre way that things have been going, I think my concerns have merit.


to the first comment on this page: obviously you do not understand the complications and sophistication of this. i think if the iraqi government doesn't want them there, that's reason enough. who are you decide for them? typical American arrogance policing the world.

btw for decades you have attacked and interfered in other countries, what were you doing THEN?!

Mr.Scahill, great info that we do not get from the "special interests" controlled media that helps keep the average citizen uninformed. Moyers did an outstanding job as he does every week to help us know the story behind the stories. On a recent radio show Jeremy Scahill said that many of the candidates for Blackwater who want to join up say that they are anxious to go over to Iraq to kill some HAAJIS. How is that related to reference of Crusader related management in Blackwater and the Crusades in your interview? Isn't this going to have devastating consequences for the American image and credibility globally? Why isn't the press out in Iraq with video cameras reporting on what is really going on behind the scenes that is being covered up?

I fully support the efforts of Blackwater to assist in any way, in the defeat of barbarians such as the terrorists who behead innocent peole, gas women and children, hide in places of a prayer such as Mosques,preach and teach hatred of anyone who disagrees with them and on and on.
People such as yourself, are an embarrassment to this country and those who have died protecting it. Our enemy can do and say anything...such as...advocate the complete destruction of the West by any means, purposely blow up children and innocents in the name of some religious fanatasism, and you say NOTHING about that,yet you scrutinize all of our actions expecting us to act as though we were fighting a 'normal and civilized foe. If a beserk neighbor was murdering your family one at a time, would you criticise the police for trying to rescue them because the Police didnt take the time to advise them of their rights before they moved in and saved your family? Grow up and consider moving to Iran
because I for one wouldnt waste a drop of US blood to defend you.

-"If Blackwater is our SS and our Gestapo, what is to prevent another Kristallnacht?"

Ingrid Stocking

Comparing a private securities firm to the SS or Gestapo is quite a stretch. As the program clearly shows, Blackwater intrests lie in profit, not control. Does every ethically questionable action have to equate in some way shape or form to the Nazi's? Or can it just be wrong for it's own reasons?

To the detractors of the fine work of JS, I would suggest that you examine your conscience and take an oath that you do not have mercenary instincts in you. TO the army officer who crucified JS, your discourse was a total turn-off for me. Looks like this war monger officer who is headed back for another round of duty in Iraq to tout his power and wield his guns, may be working on his resume to get a job with the Blackwater scoundrels. To you officer, work towards coming back home and enjoying family life istead of trying to destroy families in other countries. From a frustrated citizen!!

If Blackwater is our SS and our Gestapo, what is to prevent another Kristallnacht?

Ingrid Stocking

I think the time has come to remove companies like Blackwater from the political landscape. The best way to do that is to vote for those people we believe in, rather that turn up our collective noses and vote for the most "electable". As I always say, if enough people vote for a candidate he/she will be elected. We need someone to stand up to people like Price.

Heroic reporting, Mr. Scahill!! How do we protect ourselves and our nation from the "World's Elite"? Have you uncovered deaths attributed to citizens taking an active stand to preserve our nation?
Safety and a long life to you--We need you very much. God (and your own awareness)keep you safe, Dear Soul.

I've been saying that Mssrs. Bush and Cheney are acting like they plan never to leave Washington and all the powers they have stolen from the other branches of government and the states, not to mention our civil rights. They accomplish so much of this in secret and always explain "Trust us, we know what needs to be done." They have been wearing down our GI's and the generals. Is it AT ALL POSSIBLE that a huge terrorist attack in Jan 2009 could open the door to a forced extension of their administration "for our safety". Does Blackwater have the strength to help them accomplish anything like that?

"We San Diegans don't want no stinkin' private School Of The Americas in our back yard!"

As a contractor serving in Iraq for over a year on the Camps (with no contact with Blackwater), I can tell you that civilian companies aka "invisible force" or "formerly military positions" is dangerous both to our image as a nation and to "our own". The lack of jurisdiction there created a field of lawlessness. Also, when contractor abuse (fraud, rape, etc) was reported, injuries, "set-ups", career sabotages, and other atrocious retaliations added greatly to the "normal stress" of incoming mortars. Daily fear from our own, not from the intermittent mortars. No jurisdiction. With the great wealth the contracting companies earn, they have the power base to endanger an individual upon return to the USA. Contracting companies' purpose often is to maximize profits and protect its own interests. It was not that long ago that our Constitutional Rights were taken away during Katrina when U.S. citizens were forbidden to keep their own guns to protect themselves for FREE, while Blackwater was hired to protect them at tax payer expense at $350 per day for each guard and approximately 3 times that to Blackwater for each guard each day, while reportedly the N.O. Police, National Guard and U.S. troops were on a joint mission to break down doors to seize citizen guns. Only "We the People" can decide what is best for "We the People". You might view:

I am currently in the middle of watching "The War" by Ken Burns (viewing via Tivo ;o) My grandfather (now 90 years young!) was D+8 (dropped off in Normandy 8 days after D-Day), and has a silver star and will not talk about "The War," no matter what I do to try and engage this conversation.

After contemplating both this Moyers program and "The War," I must say that I am disheartened by the use of "extracurricular" forces to fight our "modern war." If there is a War worth fighting, then Americans should be ready to fight it after hearing (truthfully) what we are fighting for. And if the media won't provide this truth, what are we, on the home-front to do?

Again, I say what keeps ringing in my ears: is the war, any war, worth fighting for? If the answer is yes, then we must be for it as a whole, as a nation, as a fighting force of Americans as in WWII. It must effect everyone. We should not have this watered down truth. We should see/hear/experience the reality of war and decide as a nation whether it is worth fighting for.

If we are not "for it as a whole" then we should not be fighting any war.

Oh, and in full disclosure: I'm not a pacifist. I'm a "recovering Republican" who is now seeking the Truth. Feel free to blame me for voting for Bush TWICE. Yes, it *is* my fault. I repent and seek your forgiveness. But I believe I have received newly found wisdom due to my "cardboard/lemming-like" Christianity.

Shalom! (Look it up. It's the most amazing term from our Old Testament friends.) And may God (whether you believe in Him or not ;o) bless your day!

First of all, thank you Mr. Scahill for your time, persistence and the drive to find the intentions from these people. Americans, as people around the world, believe on the US as an idea to follow, to emulate, to look up to. Mr. Scahill what is the damage done to the US reputation? How weak is the US position to refute this on the world opinion?

Very Good Interview and Information...Thank you Sincerely!

I'd like to know where Blackwater is headquartered? (North Carolina?)

Are they a private or public company?

Have you seen or are you able to find out what their profits per year have been?

Like other Companies, such as Halliburton, will they be moving or have they moved their headquarters to avoid prosecution or Taxes?

When the Administration withdrew $11 Billion from the Federal Reserve (in $100 bills!), and somehow lost $9 Billion of the cash in Bagdad, is there any evidence that the money ended up with Blackwater or similar contractors?

Moyers you dropped the ball on this one. Scahill presented a completely biased description of the "mercenary" army in Iraq. I don’t know what’s scarier, his obvious spin on the situation, or his unlimited knowledge of Eric Price (did anyone get the impression Scahill was acting like a jilted lover?, kind of creepy). It’s as if this is the story that may get Scahill to the top (a better job maybe?), and he is sensationalizing it to the max.
I agree with Price, the media has rushed to judgment on the latest incident involving innocent Iraqi’s. Let the investigation run its course. If there needs to be oversight or a few heads need to roll, then it will be for the better. But that does not negate the fact that diplomats need protection while traveling through war zones. I think Blackwater’s record of no deaths-no injured is commendable. The contractors at Blackwater comprise the most professional people from the military and law enforcement. It’s not as if they become employees at Blackwater and then suddenly turn into fascists, or hired guns for the state (Scahill’s use of mercenary is also wrong, look it up, a few Chilean’s doesn’t count). Their job is simply to protect those they have been given the responsibility to protect, and it looks like they are doing a fine job. They do not conduct offensive operations, the U.S. army does that.
I got the impression Bill had a bit of contempt for Eric Prince and all those who have interviewed him in the last week. Come on, Charlie Rose gave him an hour to explain Blackwater’s take on the situation. You first complain about all the secrecy in America’s top echelon and then when one of them gives an effort to explain themselves you spin it as a PR ploy. We need investigative journalists, not people who think all Republicans are part of a Big Brother conspiracy. Such blanket labeling of a party hints of doublethink and prejudice.
If you want the army to do Blackwater’s job, then it’s the draft my boy. Would you support that Mr. Scahill?
Lastly, regardless of this story, I love ya Bill. You have told me so many stories I probably wouldn’t have heard otherwise, starting with good ole’ Mr. Campbell. Thanks for all you do and keep up the good work!

Jeremy, I remarked to a friend several years ago that I thought that world politics was inexorably moving towards a symbiotic marriage of religions and corporations. Instead of the 1984 secular politics of Big Brother, it seemed to me that it was more likely that the major religions would form intimate alliances with the corporate world and/or give rise to religious corporations. Are companies like Blackwater the precursors to the security force behind this future world politic or am I a completely bats delusional paranoid?

With the decline of the dollar, and general economic uncertainty, what happens when we, the people of these United States are not the highest bidder? Is it conceivable that Blackwater could be hired by say, China, and turned against us? Or, retained by the rich Republican party if they don't like the outcome of our next election, which might not benefit their business positions?

Prince is the most disgusting head of a mercenary army since Leopold II of Belgium profited from the depredations of the Force Publique in the Congo Free State.

Terrorists are supported by governments. They plan and execute black ops most times woman and children get hurt, or killed. Americans despise terrorists.
I support Black Water and I am thankful that our government is subsidizing our Military with this private force. My feelings are that we have created our own terrorists and if it takes an effort like this to end a war so our soldiers, the true protectors of our nation can come home then so be it!

If the American people were called upon to fill the various roles of private contractors in Iraq, there would have to be a military draft, which would have the effect of shutting down the regime changes Mr. Bush has in mind for the world of Free Enterprise.
By keeping us sonambulent and borrowing the funds needed for his adventures, Mr. Bush achieves his objectives while at the same time ensuring the paralysis of the next couple of presidents.
Pure genius. By definition, this must mean it came from someone other than Mr. Bush.

It might be good if Mr. Moyers allowed an industry perspective of this issue. Mr. Scahill is good at spinning his own yarn, but he is best when he implies information that is exaggerated or simply false.

There are rules, laws and regualtions that apply to the 2,000 Americans doing the high-end bodyguard work in Iraq, as well as the other (largely unarmed) contractors from Iraq and around the world.

Something else that Mr. Scahill too often leaves out: the overwhelming majority of contractors, including security contractors, are Iraqis, the people we would hope would be doing the security and reconstruction.

The International Peace Operations Association covers many of these issues in a much more balanced way than Mr. Scahill. Please visit our website for more information. And we'd be happy to provide a fair perspective on Moyer's show at his convenience.

-Doug Brooks
President, IPOA

"“radical religious right” drivel is really old."
um, sorry, that phrase is not drivel. it's just mildly stated truth. dobson et al are powermad dictatorial psychopaths. their only positive value is that they are easily driven as a form of "balance" against their siblings in al qaeda. as sane people, our challenge is to figure out how to separate the all crazies from the regular people. then drop the crazies into a metaphorical pit and let them kill each other, leaving us out of their war fantasies.

I just wanted to thank Jeremy Scahill for his work and commitment to educating the public about Blackwater USA.

After watching him on Democracy Now I started a petition which asks the Congress to demand that the State Department and the DoD cancel all Blackwater contracts. Sadly, to date, the petition has only garnished 202 signatures. This amazes me.

I would love to ask Jeremy why he thinks that the American public is so silent about this issue.

If anyone is interested in signing the petition they can find it at:

Excellent interview with Mr. Scahill, and thanks to Bill Moyers for the courage to air it.

I would be interested in knowing what Mr. Scahill thinks of R.J Hillhouse's (fictional) claim that the merc companies in Iraq and Afghanistan are (in part) stimulating the conflict because it is a "gravy train," and that they are being run by the CIA and Pentagon - sometimes for different ends.

Further, how you feel about the role of these companies as part of social control forces as put forward by Naomi Klein in "Shock Doctrine."

I think it would be an excellent discussion to see Scahill, Hillhouse, and Klein talk about the rise of globalized, corporatized, mercenary forces.

both the supply contractors and the "battle field" contractors are making more money than they could stateside or in the mil. so if the govt didn't hire them, many of them would be employed directly by the military for less taxpayer cost. however another commentator here made good point about flexible period of service. assuming that cost saving is why contractors are hired, is there data showing that? perhaps no contractors are hired during 'peacetime'?

These are for blane, who's reading needs to go beyond his morning e-mail full of Repubulican talking points and his Blackwater paycheck stub:

Cheney's Law

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

Yeah, there's yer librul agenda bub

Too the Army Officer who posted on this blog.

Sir, I commend you for the commitment and sacrifice you have and are making to the people of this country.

I commend the soldiers who faithfully respond to the call to serve their country. To do so without questions is the necessary duty a soldier. I respect your challenge and the personal experience that you bring to the discussion.

Please know that my opposition to the War is focused at the Commander and Chief not at you and your efforts.

It is the duty of citizens in a democracy to challenge our leaders. We do so in an effort to bring you home safely so you can continue your life.

God’s protection be with you.

You have my admiration and respect.

I would like to start off by saying that I have always admired and respected Mr. Moyers, despite the fact that I find myself at odds with him politically most of the time. I would like to ask, however, why when discussing the lack of "tough questions" posed to Eric Prince by "friends" in the media, did Mr Moyers not ask Mr Scahill "tough questions." I found Scahill’s diatribe against Blackwater not to be interesting investigative journalism, but once again journalism with an agenda. I certainly agree with his right (and applaud the effort) to probe this or any company and the way in which our government does business. However, when he began to throw out barbs against organizations (like Focus on the Family) and a religion (Christianity) which he does not agree with, why did a veteran like Bill Moyers not call him to the carpet? To label Focus on the Family or even the Family Research Council as "radical" organizations smacks of politics and is distasteful if not downright disingenuous. They are conservative, but the whole “radical religious right” drivel is really old. If these organizations are religious radicals, I guess we can start painting the Founding Fathers with the same brush.
As far as the need for companies like Blackwater, we can point to the massive downsizing of our military that occurred with the fall of the Soviet Union as the reason for a rise in the need for contractors. It was insinuated throughout the interview by Mr Scahill that the 180,000 contractors in Iraq were all Blackwater-types. This is completely untrue! Most of them are infrastructure and military support (food services, etc) positions. While I do not disagree with the need to look into the role of private contractors today - I feel our military has lost a lot of its capabilities with moving services to private companies and reserve/guard units - I found Mr Scahill to be a little over the top...a man with an ax to grind. If you were a high-value target would you want a professional rifleman or a professional bodyguard with extensive special-forces experience at your side. That is not a slight of riflemen, but their job, training and focus are not in that arena.
Lastly, on the subject of Fallujah…I supported Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in the fall of 2004 as a member of the US Navy. I was there, and the representation Mr Scahill gave last night regarding Fallujah was skewed and quite frankly untrue. I still respect and admire Mr Moyers, but as a journalist with integrity, he sure let Mr Scahill off the hook. I'd hate to think that was because Mr Scahill's views further Mr Moyer's political opinions.

Considering Blackwater has such a connection to the Clinton administration, I do agree it would be nice to have an indepth inquiry to know the real background of all the connection prior to 2008. With that having been said by several other, everybody should take note of this article pointing out the type of contributions Hillary has gotten from the military complex.


Bravo for writing your Senator! I have spent the morning posting questions to the Democratic Candidates and am now waiting for replies, if I get them. I will keep you posted.

To the Rest of Us: Fight the Good Fight. We have to be Strong and Take Back OUR Country.

That is really an amazing point Dale. Imagine the conflict of interest. These mercenary companies must be made illegal immediately!! They are a danger to our entire democracy!

Given the number of these mercenary groups funded by the US (ie Blackwater, et al.
Given also the number of other countries who make use of these company's services.
Consider the irony of two or more of these countries coming into conflict with the concomitant use of these same companies (ie Blackwater at al); possibly funded by the same group, fighting/killing each other.

Jeremy, Congratulations on a fantastic interview with the great Bill Moyers. You indicated on the Randy Rhodes show that you thought that Blackwater was the SS and the Gestapo of the Bush Administration. Please explain further how you can liken the Gestapo and the SS to Blackwater. Please compare some top Bush operatives to Hitler's killers like Himmler, Goering, etc. who killed the Jews just because they were born Jewish. Do you think that the American SS/Gestapo alias Blackwater will now target the Muslims in the USA just as they did in Nazi Germany? How could this be happening in this day and age in a great free and democratic country like the USA? What are your recommendations to stop this fascist government of ours?

Harry Ackerstein

OK, As promised earlier in this blog I wrote my congressman and senator about these mercenaries and I urge you do the same. Since I have written my senetor and congressman a couple of times already on the Iraq and Afganistan wars and nothing has been done but escalation my tone is very harsh. Here is what I wrote to my DEMOCRATIC senetor;

Dear Senator Reid,

I’m writing you about my outrage over the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and Blackwater and other mercenary companies being hired to fight these wars. I’m also outraged that you don’t even hold these mercenary companies accountable for their crimes. As an American and as a Christian I'm ashamed of this. The military has persecuted the solders responsible for their own crimes. Since there is no way to police these mercenary companies I want a law passed that would make hiring these security companies to be totally and absolutely illegal. I do not want to hear your views on this; I want YOU to HEAR ME, the person you represent. I’m getting really tired of writing you about these unjust wars. I WANT OUR MILITARY AND ALL MERCENARY COMPANIES OUT OF IRAQ AND OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW! THAT'S WHY I VOTED FOR YOU!!!

Jeff Poss

I am writing my comments in order to thank Mr. Scahill for his courage to report the truth to the American people. Never, in the discussion of thee many illegal and sordid activities under the banner of secrecy; effecting our democracy, have I seen such an expansive and informative account of this mercenary approach of conducting war.
One of the most concerning revealations of your interview, is the fact that Blackwater Contracts, existed during the Clinton administration. Perhaps, that is one of the reasons why Congressional hearings by Democrats, seem to go no where in terms of correcting any of these alarming behaviors. However, nothing ever really seems to change with these highly connected political pals of the Bush administration. Futhermore, even if Blackwater is relieved of duties in Iraq. It appears as though they will still exist in many other areas of the world.
What bothers me most is that people around the world may see this behavior is something that American voters and taxpayers support.
My questions are, why are these mercenaries allowed to patrol and operate in the United States? Why is Congress not stopping this practice. Why are the officals at state/city or county levels not protesting or stopping this practice in their jurisdictions?
What can concerned voters do to end this practice?
Once again, thank
you for your candor and dedication to your country.
Marguerita Denise Flowers

Good Morning At Least on the West Coast,
To all the folks on the BMJ staff, "kudos & superb job as always.

Just a quickie:
1991 First Gulf War, 1 contractor for every 100 soldiers. Today More than 1 contractor for every soldier.

Jeremy, I would like to ask:
1- Is it not an iron clad “Conflict of interest” to take wars and disasters and turn them into profit centers for big business and Wall Street? Could we possibly dream up anything more inhumane and undemocratic than this?
2- Are we really riding this degeneration of basic values into the 21st century?
3- Is the formula: that humanity exists to feed capitalism or is it that capitalism is just one-way to feed humanity?
4- OK-if so, then how can we ever turn this BEAST off? Would it be possibe to turn it off? When will Iraq quench the hunger for the capitalists, (2-3 trillion) dollars? Is it in the pillage that we will really make the profits. Is "Green Zone" truly the best fit name for the "nerve" center? Obviously 650,000 dead Iraqi’s do not even deserve a headline leave alone factor into the equation. San Francisco was completely leveled in 1906. The insurance records like everything else were burned to the ground. These same companies took it upon themselves to make it “right.” The town had over 25,000 buildings constructed within 3 years. Many are the same glorious monuments to their efforts that we still see and use today. Were they stupid, naïve and simply acting with a direct conflict of interest to the short term profit motives of their shareholders? Was it from a corporate standpoint illegal to even do what they did? One hundred years later with New Orleans are we really teaching our grand parents some new lessons? Some new tricks?
5- Is capitalism running itself full speed straight for the cliff? I mean I know it scares the heck out of me but shouldn’t the ultra heavy capitalists be more afraid of themselves?
6- How does the rest of the world perceive of the fact that America has decided to let capitalism take the boots to basic humanitarian idealisms on such a local and global scale? Can these ideologies survive their own self-designated destructions? Or do they just truly believe that technology will discover life form on Mars to provide the next round of consumers and cheap labor?
Jeremy, great work I look upon you as a “beacon of light” in a time when the “fourth branch” has been rendered nothing less than extremely destructive to our democracy. By the way, speaking of it have you seen a camera in Iraq since the surge started in late June or early July? Other than of course the Bush Labor Day photo-op to concert with the Congressional-David Petraeus meetings in Washington. And of course let’s not forget that Polish Ambassador “apparent rescue” on September 17th-18th for Black Water that was all over the national media outlets. That one was overtly strange for a group that I would imagine has some pretty strict regulations for their own media controls.

Thanks Again,
Best Regards,
Mike Perry

I really appreciated the interview with Jerry Scahill and I think Bill Moyers is the most probing and expansive journalist on TV. Perhaps I'm naive but without watching this show I would not have had a clue of the scope of mercenaries employed by our government with our taxes. This information is simply not available anywhere unless one made a special effort to find it. It is one of the most frightening aspects of our times. An independent multinational corporate army! I'm sorry this goes far beyond the Pinkerton's of old or hired armed bank guards. How do you think the American people would react if it was widely known by everyone that along with 170,000 US troops, there's another 180,000 mercenaries funded at top dollar with our money. -- and we have absolutely nothing to say about it -- its all done in in the shadows of government and we the people don't know it is happening and pay for it. In the meantime, we have a crumbling infrastructure, a disintegrating health care system, destruction of the natural environment. What if all the money that is being put into the 'death' machine were put into promoting life, abundance and opportunities for all of our citizens, not to mention the basic necessities of food, rough over one's head, basic health care and gainful employment? Could it be done? Of course it could be done. However one problem, doing so does not add to corporate profits.

I watched the Progam. I read the blog, all of it. I am angry, frightened and ready to do something.

My two cents worth is provoked by the connections with the CIA. Does anyone recall what George H. W. Bush did before he was Vice President and President? If I am not mistaken he was the Director of the CIA.

Another disturbing fact to me is the apparent complicity of the Clinton Administration in all of this. Would we be asking for "more of the same" should we elect Mrs. Clinton? Should there be more investigation into her position and what that would mean if she (as currently held Democratic Party beliefs) were to elected as President?

Just some thoughts.


My book, Neither Liberal Nor Conservative Be, also notes the negative impact of using mercenaries and its divisive impact on our politics and on our ability to fight wars.

Al Qaeda believes that our center of gravity is our economy. If they can upset that economy, then they think they can win. It's time to connect the dots and see the picture that's revealed. We are over $9 Trillion in debt as a country. (A family with an income of $75,000 would owe $1 Million as its share.) A significant factor in that debt is fighting this war militarily (instead of diplomatically, politically and/or economically) and with mercenaries. Had the use of mercenaries been illegal, then we would have been forced to re-institute conscription (the draft) to meet our manpower requirements. That would have been the dead canary in the mine shaft that would have alerted America to the fact that something was wrong. And the alert would have come in time to influence the 2004 Presidential election. As it is, Al Qaeda is well on its way to achieving its goal.

All Presidential candidates need to be asked what their policy is on using mercenaries.

What terrifies me is that our government has used war as a petrie dish for their tactical experiments. I believe this is what is happening with Blackwater. Remember Panama in the 80's? Experimental weapons and tactics were tested there by HW Bush. Let me say that the recent funding for Blackwater's policing of "Terrorists with drug ties" is only being tested in Iraq just like concussion weapons were tested in Panama. I have already seen Blackwater in action at a gathering in North Carolina (near Fort Bragg). So, I can easily picture Blackwater "death squads" being contracted to police "terrorists with drug ties" in the US. Or should I say "drug dealers with terrorist ties."

I am an Army Officer who has been deployed to Iraq once and will leave again shortly.

I have never seen such biased, manipulative reporting in my entire life. It's good to see so many Americans can be easily duped by someone who has an obvious axe to grind with Mr. Prince. And it's Liberals who claim that Scare Tactics are being used by conservatives these days. Not in this case.

America, please do NOT believe Mr. Scahill. His portrayal of the situation in Iraq is simply not true. Do you really think that Fallujah was a great place before the Blackwater guys were killed? Do you really think that they are the reason for the Fallujah offensive? An offensive that large takes months to prepare for. The Blackwater killing was just another reason to do it, not the catalyst.

Would you all like some examples? First off, his history of Private Contractors is wrong. The Reagan Administration decided years ago that if we could contract out it. Only a strategy. It makes sense from a military standpoint. We are a volunteer army. Putting so many Soldiers in a PSD is a waste. Once a conventional war is over and an occupation starts, use contractors to do Blackwater type stuff. They can specialize in things that the US Military can't.

Mr. Scahill implied that the US Gov sends Blackwater all over the world, to include Colombia. WRONG. Colombia receives aid in order to fight the Narco-Terroristas. They then can use that money whatever way they want. What do they do? They buy the best Soldiers in the world. What's wrong with that?

We're not talking about normal run-of-the-mill Soldiers here, guys. We're talking about the best of the best. Do you really think that ex-Navy Seal/Delta Force guys are not going to know how to work? Laughable.

Scare Tactics/Buzz Words. You've been taken, PBS Boggers. According to Mr. Scahill, since Mr. Prince gives to Christian Organizations and gives to Republican campaigns, he is a "stooge" and a "Christian Supremacist". HOW DO YOU GUYS MISS THIS?! He is completely manipulating you sell books! I'm glad to know that private citizens that YOU ALL dislike are now not allowed to go to church or give to political organizations! Yet I read on this blog about Freedom, etc. Yeah, right.

Did anyone notice the music Mr. Moyers used when he would show clips of Blackwater guys? Manipulative. Check it out.

My favorite was when he was talking about Chile. According to Mr. Scahill, the US GOV subverted Chilean sovereignty by hiring former Chilean Soldiers. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!?!?! Do we live in the Soviet Union? NO! Anyone should be able to work where they want. It has nothing to do with government. If a Chilean wants to work for Blackwater, he should be able to do so.

Mr. Scahill then says that since those Soldiers lived in Chile when Pinochet was in power, that they shouldn't be able to be hired. What?! Just because they lived in Chile while Pinochet was there DOES NOT mean that they share his politics. You should be ashamed, Mr. Scahill.

Mr. Moyers, you make me sick. You are supposed to be a journalist? Maybe you should at least offer ONE tough question. You only "ran along" with Mr. Scahill. Maybe next time you'll challenge your guest.

I could go on and on. I was disappointed to read nearly everyone's this morning. This just goes to show that "you don't know what you don't know"!

I am woundring if there has been any backlash from the justis depart.and or the FBI I caught your program the other nite with Bill Moyer. It gave me more insight into why we voted Bush into office? we are slowly sliding down a very slipprey slope and are giving up many of our freedoms. I am picking up the book blackwater today. thank you for sharing.

You are an amazing journalist, Mr. Scahill. Thank you for your dedication to the truth.

It will be interesting to see how much of the major media is sufficiently interested in being "fair and balanced" to give Jeremy Scahill as much exposure as they gave Erik Prince to wave his flag drenched in the blood of innocents.
We are being "consumed by the fires we set to fight the fires we flee!"

Mr Moyers and Scahill: Your interview was fabulous. Thanks for noticing the emperor's parade. My question is whether the popular Iraqi sentiment goes against the paid US mercenary with any more vehemence than the paid Iraqi militia?

I was totally dis-heartened and terrified by what I heard on your program Friday night. Am even more concerned that these same self professed purveyors and protectors of people, will take over (or would have already infiltrated) the workings of the Homeland Security forces and make the US a living hell. Can JS shed some light on the role of these mercernaries in the ranks and efforts of the Homeland Security force? Will we ever have peace on earth with such unscrupulous individuals and their backers who are in power in Washington? JS, take care and I would hate for you to be hurt. Bill - Kudos to you and continue your journalistic excellence. From one Texan to another!!

Here’s a scary speculation. What if the US contracts Blackwater to patrol the southern US border?
The current rhetoric has so many worked up into a mob-mentality frenzy over Illegal border crossings.

I do not intend to minimize the problem, but what is the current solution, build a WALL and increase border “security.”

And, we all should know that historically this never works…the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall are just the most obvious. Walls never keep people in or out. Will the next step be Blackwater mercenaries shooting people on sight? What will that mean for peace and security when we create a militant terrorist faction on our border?

There are so many scenarios that come to mind it makes one shake in their boots.

Violence begets violence. Will human kind ever learn this lesson?

I cannot say enough about how impressed I was with Mr. Scahill. His depth of knowledge, his ability to respond to the questions asked and his insight made for a fascinating hour. But I must say that there was a sureal feeling about every thing that was was being discussed. One almost felt that there was "hollywood" movie being discussed--the bad guys intent on the total take over of a democratic country and here was this lone avenging journalist trying to make everyone realize the depth of power and influence being amassed. Also during the interview, I too got a sense of fear over Mr. Scahill's safety.

Thank you so much for continuing to bring "reality" into what is becoming an all too unreal world, Mr. Moyer.

Last night you drew some very good connections between the DeVoss and Prince families. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was a community organizer in Grand Rapids, MI, the home of Amway corporation. The principal co-owner was Richard DeVoss. During Jerry Ford's tenure in the White House, the Justice Dept. ruled that Amway was a marginally legal scheme. When Jerry Ford left the White House, he build his library in Ann Arbor. However, his muesuem is behind the Grand Hotel on the west bank of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. Amway owns the Grand Hotel or least did when Ford agreed to build his muesuem in Grand Rapids. Ford was the only President to have split his library and his muesuem from each other. Millions of community development dollars poured into the downtown development for Amway's Hotel, and basically robbed neighborhoods of some very needed housing.

Your conncection between Katrina and what occured with the community development diversion really struck me as being very similar. The money was needed in inner-city Grand Rapids to help stablize housing, but was divereted instead to a downtown mall and covention center that would help stablize Amway's downtown hotel development.

As you stated last night, the DeVoss family and Prince family connection is the uniting of two powerful factions. When I was a community organizer, I often wondered if the DeVoss family, which seemed more interested in the local political power scene, would attempt to launch one of its heirs into political life. This family is every bit as right wing as George Bush and his followers. When DeVoss ran for governor in Michigan, I speculated that this was probably an attempt to launch his career for the White House. It would have given him eight years in Lansing with two years off to campaign for the White House.

Do you think that he will attempt another run for governor? And then for President?

This question may sound trival but to those on the other side of the Amway power base struggle understand your analysis of Blackwater and Katrina.

Dear Mr. Moyers and Mr Scahill,

Thanks for the excellent program on the business of war. I believe that truth is the cure for all things including war. And in that light you have both done your share.

My question is: In this military capitalistic nation of The United States, can we as a nation, outlaw the business or businesses of war, when in truth, that is what or who we are?
Can we outlaw ourselves?

Thanks again,


Great investigation. Could you resolve this contradiction in your interview? (a) Early in the program you indicate that Blackwater has superb equipment and training, the envy of regular US military forces; (b) later you indicate that the Fallujah debacle resulted from bad equipment, undermanning, insufficient weaponry, bad planning, etc.

I share your viewing-with-alarm of Blackwater, but apart from its moral and political and strategic and criminal negatives, is Blackwater competent? (I.e., did they "learn" something from Fallujah, however much we deplore their mercenary modus operandi? And of course I don't mean "competence" here as a compliment, but as part of the danger.)

I respect your work, I admire your courage, I fear for your safety.
Blackwater's business is killing/murder; they will not scruple at killing a journalist who gets in the way of "their money". Take a whole plane down to make it look like an accident...
Please, please look to your safety. Keep up the good work, but please be careful.
Our Country needs you and your ilk, spelunking the depths of the Neo-Con agenda.

Need to correct spelling on Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on the transcript, so the people who can get rid of this guy can access the info on a search....

Thank you Jeremy for all your work, and thank you Bill for returning to PBS!! I have read most of the comments so far, and most of my questions have been asked. However, I would like to expand on one comment made about the protest at Potrero CA. I saw (I think on Democracy Now) several months ago a segment on Blackwater's plans for a new site in a valley east of San Diego, but have seen/heard nothing about this since. Jeremy, could you update us on this situation? Also, I hope you can provide some answers to Jennifer Lynch about her brother. Thank you again.

As always, a fascinating & informative BMJ, but this was the most stupefying & hair-raising indictment of our gov't yet. I have two questions: What is the connection between Senator Clinton & Blackwater? This info really needs to be out before 2008, and I'd like to know if there's ANYONE in our gov't to contact to make the hiring of mercenaries ILLEGAL? This is like the worst SciFi nightmare come true. Mr. Scahill,you are so knowledgable about your subject with names/dates, etc., all I could think, given the mentality of Prince et al, is watch your back! Scarier still are all the Washington insiders who want this group in the positions of power that they have. That's a lot of people with a whole lot of money to lose should Blackwater be made to go away. I don't how or when We, the People, lost our America, but it doesn't appear to be here anymore. If you do another book, or even an article for a magazine, it would be great if you would make an organizational chart showing the connections and money trail between Blackwater and the specific policiticans who put them where they are. Maybe then we'd know who to spotlight and raise some hell ourselves and remove them from our Gov't. Thank you.

This story is so difficult for my mind to take. I could hardly watch the entire segment. I literally started to feel physically ill from this story it hit me so hard. I was aghast with my mouth open throughout the entire story. It will take my mind a while to comprehend and process this devastating news. As a Christian I'm absolutely flabbergasted that this is being done under the guise of Christianity. Then to find out that it’s Blackwater’s and other mercenary companies killing of innocent Iraqis lives that has caused the rebellion in Iraq and has caused us to be in Iraq far longer than we should have been is inexcusable!!! Absolutely horrifying. I don’t know what to do about it other then write yet another letter to my congressman and be ignored and another letter to my senator and get his understanding and still have nothing done about it. No wonder why Americans are depressed these days. But I’ll write those letters to my congressman and senator, because it’s my duty as an American and a Christian to stop this insanity.

My questions to Jeremy Scahill are: Is there any estimate of how many US mercenary lives have been lost in Iraq? Why aren’t Blackwater employees and the others that have committed crimes being prosecuted for their crimes?

I read all the comments that posted last night and many this morning. I noticed that many people stated that this information "frightened" or "scared" them. "Frightened", rather than angered. I find this reaction disturbing because it reflects a citizenry that is cowed and feeling powerless which is exactly what the Rove/Cheney program has attempted to achieve. I have watched and listened to your presentations for a long time and they are excellent, but I hope you will also remind people that they are not helpless children. The framers of our govenment planned for this situation and provided remedies. THE PEOPLE simply have to get angry, stand up and demand change. "Big Daddy" is not the solution, he is the problem.....
Thanks for your valuable work, you are a real American Hero !

Dear Mr. Scahill--

As a resident of North Carolina, I am particularly interested in my state's oversight and regulation of Blackwater. Clearly investigations on the Federal are ongoing. I would also like to write NC state officials to urge them to conduct their own investigations, but I'm not sure which offices would be concerned(AG, Governer's, Treasury) or which particular aspects of Blackwater's operation would fall under state oversight. Any ideas or tips for issues to raise with state officials? Do you know of any email or letter-writing campaigns aimed at increasing oversight of Blackwater? Thank you for the fascinating interview.

It was like the movie Robocop where the police were outsourced to a private corporation. Helps protect the guys at the top.
The nation-state is so yesterday. Globalization will make the Corporation the entity to be loyal to, not something as arcane as a country. You must be a loyal citizen of the corporation, not the country. With the wealth garnered from their originating nation-states (through their paid-for politicians) and hired armies to defend them, they will be sovereignties unto themselves, and the executives shall be Royalty not merely in wealth but in name. Now comes the Reich of the Corporate Dynasty.

I tuned in halfway through. JS was superb. Will go find
the book at Amazon. Am reading Letter to a Young Patriot by Naomi Wolfe, have Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein waiting and just finished Jack Cafferty's It's Getting Ugly Out There--am distributing copies to others of this one. Not yet opened is Broken Government by John Dean found because Keith Olbermann is hosting segments about it. The more I read and the more I see, the more I sense how utterly awful our beloved country has treated by the greedy focused on arranging their Rapture. Would that they would elect to leave
with the other suicide bomber nuts and stop destroying our country inch by inch every day. Shades of Rome... Thanks Bill Moyers for being and doing what you do to show us where truth lies.

I saw a report that Blackwater was expelled from Namibia, where it was hiring mercenaries for far lower pay than your reports (and others) have indicated. How do these companies exploit the kind of pay differentials that drive much of globalization? Also, have you found ex-guerrillas from places like Namibia, Central America, East Timor, etc., on mercenary payrolls? Great work, Thanks.

I just want you to know that rumor is that some "federal people" shot civilians from the tops of buildings in New Orleans after Katrina. The people I have heard it from are reliable people.

Jeremy your report was hair-raising, alarming, and very troubling. Yet, your courage, clarity and grasp of what is going on is reassuring. Thank you Bill Moyers and PBS for being the voice that is so sadly lacking on network television. And thank you both for speaking truth to power. Sounds like you might need your own security details!

One thing is difficult to fathom though -- I am stupefied at the idea of Christian ideals and Blackwater’s mission as mutually reinforcing. I just can’t wrap my mind around this concept. It would seem anathema but maybe this is just another example of those that are so entrenched in their beliefs and actions (even when those actions are inhumane) that God must be on their side. I’ll just have to read your book.

Thank you, Messrs Moyer and Scahill. The success of the terrorist corporatocracy seems virtually complete. We grassroots folks failed to accept our responsibility for remaining informed and active, compassionate and humble as the prerequisites for maintaining our own freedoms. Thus those freedoms are lost to us. As overwhelming as I find the successful domination of the world by ruthless corporate power-mongers, perhaps the final thrust weighs most heavily : a woman presidential candidate who courts, praises, is lauded and supported with wild enthusiasm by the greatest corporate terrorists, among them Murdoch, WalMart, and Monsanto, and surely others we have yet to hear named. Still, as slight as his chance against this onslaught of terror, I hear few urging the Kucinich revolution --one in which he is urging the grassroots folk to demand an end to a world economy dependent on eternal war, and offering in its place peace, health, justice. We have little to lose by choosing peace. Why have those who hunger for it not moved en masse to support his campaign?

Bravo. Last night's interview, even with the interruption by an electric storm, was possibly the single most informative and terrifying discussion of a current issue I have ever been privileged to gape open-mouthed at in the privacy of my own home. Thank you.

I'm researching for a novel I'm planning to write for National Novel Writing Month NaNoWriMo in November - one of my plotlines is a subversive affiliation with tentacles to this kind of shadow militant organization. It was supposed to be fiction. Now I see that reality has already jetted right past my most frightening imaginings... Thanks for your curiousity and ability to present information. I'm heading out to the bookstore before all the copies are gone.

I think his points about the broader privitization model are important. Are we destroying the nation state? It seems that the Al-Qaida gangs and the corporate gangs are fighting global turf wars.

Great report Mr. Scayhill. Very insightful, especially recognizing the pernicious overtones of privatizing warfare.

THe broadcast was interrupted by the electrice storm, so forgive me if this was covered.

The State Department sent to private contractors to DARFUr in 2004. Dyncorp and Pacific Architects and Engineers even though their
past performance in Afghanistan was very poor.

More details available at

Thanks again for your outstanding work.


A serious journalist, who is able to discuss detailed facts and articulate complex ideas without dramatics...Jeremy, take back the press. However can we all stop using the word, "scary" and perhaps replace it with frightening, or alarming or something else...yes it is "scary" but we sound as if we are describing a horror flick when using that term.

Mr. Scahill, I read your book and have heard your comments. I have a few questions? 1)What is your agenda? Why are you going after Blackwater? 2) Your book is more about Erik Prince and his political leanings and associates than Blackwater as a company. What has Mr. Prince ever done to you to warrant your enmity towards him? 3)What do you propose be done to fill the security void that will be left if Blackwater and other security companies are pulled out of the war zone? 4)While the deaths of 17 Iraqi's is tragic and shocking, do you really believe that these contractors just slaughtered them in cold blood? It doesn't even smack of reality to think that. 5) Have you ever been in an armed conflict as a member of an armed force or are you just another priviledged liberal making a living by trashing conservatives?

Thank you Jeremy Scahill,
Funny how the only support for Blackwater comes from those who work for or have worked for this company (I just read 146 of the comments). This was one of the best interviews I have seen in a long time and a thought provoking scary interview. It makes me wonder who the REAL terrorists are (I've had a hunch all along that it's my own government allied with the corporations). Jeremy you are a brilliant, articulate, masterfull speaker (I envy your skill) I'll bet your writing is excellent as well. I will buy your book tomorrow. What can we do to take back controll of our nation and stop this government/ corporate plunder of our rights and constitution?
Aloha- Brian

It was an interesting presentation, but it was like what any author does when they are out trying to get people to buy what they've worked on. Sure, Prince has an agenda...he's making money. But then again so is Mr Schahill. And he has an agenda as well. This isn't necessarily any more fair and balanced than Faux News.

And I notice that lots of posters here take this as Gospel despite it being the first information outside of the recent media blurbs they seem to have on Blackwater period. Go get some other views from other sources and then use critical thinking to form your own opinions, folks. I have no doubt that a lot of what was talked about was correct, but I also picked up on lots of perjorative terms and body language that indicates to me that the book was written to support a view already established and not necessarily to 'investigate' Blackwater and present an unbiased view of the organization.

That said, I'm very interested in reading the book. The author is passionate and well spoken and I'm betting his writing is as well.

It seems that the biggest difference between the actions of a Blackwater pro and a U.S. soldier is accountability. All men with weapons have to potential to become "mercenaries gone wild" when in a loosely supervised setting. Our Japanese brothers and sisters still go mute when the subject of Nanking comes up; government soldiers who were allowed to behave like mercenaries.

Thanks, Jeremy, for your most excellent work. I hope it spreads the word beyond the choir and inspires the choir as well. Be careful out there. Peace.

I just wrote an abolutely scintilating, nihilist diatribe directed at the overwhelming tsunami of horror that envelopes me (and all of us) in every nook and cranny of my mind and body. (but I lost it while looking for a quote) On every front....political cowardice, corporate greed, avarice, and covetuosness (so called the 'bottom line'), national desperation to corner the last few drips of ancient energy... at the cost of trillions and the death of millions. Blackwater, black oil, black pit of hell on earth. Oh save our light bulbs, our TV's, our oil heated homes, our swimming pools, so that we needn't be concerned about those undeserving wretches who have no food or water. I watch FSTV, Democracy Now, Bill Moyers. I read the NY Times, the Washington Post, I listen to Air America Radio, I read what books I am allowed to afford. I am become aware of the massive assault on the human spirit. When I am not in the depths of despair, I am screaming in anger and tears for all who would hear; at the debacle that engulfs me and thee. Their are Christians who cheer at my tears for this immenent demise of the earth, for it heralds the second coming. And a few,,,a very few.... will be lifted aloft to their individual version of heaven. We have a president who when queried about the deplorable state of our planet, made some inane reply followed by the statement..."but we won't be around then"... How convenient for him and his 'base'! I don't recall a single reporter, TV news pundet or editor picking up on that incredible line. We should all have taken warning. I am sucked under, suffocated, drowning in a sea of cowardly politicians bought and sold by corporate power. Corporate media that is ordered to hide the truth from us, (like 250,000 soldiers in the first gulf war, permanently dissabled from our own weapons of mass destruction...made from depleted uranium) by hideous evil, perpetrated on the helpless peoples of the world called 'free trade' but clothed in beautiful twist words singing the praise of corporate 'love and caring'. But why do I anguish over these inconsequential struggles. Do they not pale into insignificance next to seas 23 feet higher than our gasping mouths? Does even Shakespeare leap into our clammoring minds when he writes...To-morow and to-morrow and tomorow creeps in this petty pace from day to day
to the last syllable of recorded time
and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to (watery) death
Out out brief (world) Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot...full of sound and fury...signifying nothing......

I just wrote an abolutely scintilating, nihilist diatribe directed at the overwhelming tsunami of horror that envelopes me (and all of us) in every nook and cranny of my mind and body. On every front....political cowardice, corporate greed, avarice, and covetuosness (so called the 'bottom line'), national desperation to corner the last few drips of ancient energy... at the cost of trillions and the death of millions. Blackwater, black oil, black pit of hell on earth. Oh save our light bulbs, our TV's, our oil heated homes, our swimming pools, so that we needn't be concerned about those undeserving wretches who have no food or water. I watch FSTV, Democracy Now, I read the NY Times, the Washington Post, I listen to Air America Radio, I read what books I am allowed to afford. I am become aware of the massive assault on the human spirit. When I am not in the depths of despair, I am screaming in anger and tears for all who would hear; at the debacle that engulfs me and thee. Their are Christians who cheer at my tears for this immenent demise of all I love and care for, for it heralds the second coming. And a few,,,a very few.... will be lifted aloft to their individual version of heaven. We have a president who when queried about the deplorable state of our planet, made some inane reply followed by the statement..."but we won't be around then"... How convenient for him and his 'base'! I am sucked under, suffocated, drowning in a sea of cowardly politicians bought and sold by corporate power. Corporate media that is ordered to hide the truth from us, (like 250,000 soldiers in the first gulf war, permanently dissabled from our own weapons of mass destruction...made from depleted uranium) by hideous evil, perpetrated on the helpless peoples of the world but clothed in beautiful twist words singing the praise of corporate 'love and caring'. But why do I anguish over these inconsequential struggles. Do they not pale into insignificance next to seas 23 feet higher than our gasping mouths? Does even Shakespeare leap into our clammoring minds when he writes...To-morow and to-morrow and tomorow creeps in this petty pace from day to day
to the last syllable of recorded time
and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to (watery) death
Out out brief (world) Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot...full of sound and fury...signifying nothing......

Why is the press (or presidential candidates for that matter) not addressing the governmental crisis issues in strong enough terms? among the crises is Blackwater of which you speak and write eloquently - Blackwater, the illegimate son of illegitmate Haliburton, and what it foreshadows. Coverage of The Pentagon Papers, it seems to me, made even children aware of the extreme danger involved with "privileged" government policy. Several years ago, the NY Times and Washington Post made apologies for putting anti Iraq invasion sentiment on page 16. They were caught up in the pro-war excitement they said. Is the answer conglomerate control over the media? You aptly speak of privitization replacing the people's government. I think we are right now only waiting for the period at the end of The United States of America, Inc. On second thought, maybe the bigger question is why too many Americans don't see it or are unwilling to take responsibility for the health and future of ourcountry? The Bill of Rights addresses the people's right to have a decent government because it belongs to us,not them.
If government doesn't serve us, we have the right and responsibility to oust it by any means. My generation rose up during Vietnam and Watergate and we stopped the war, and pressed for Presidential impeachmet. And did it. Is the difference between then and now that now American citizens cannot or will not lift themselves out of the shock based hypnotherapy, perhaps Stokholm Syndrom applications which have been perpetrated since 2000?

The controversy surrounding private security contractors appears to be put to rest by 48 CFR FEDERAL ACQUISITION REGULATIONS SYSTEM Part 2 (48 CFR 2) Definitions:
Inherently governmental function means, as a matter of policy, a function that is so intimately related to the public interest as to mandate performance by Government employees. This definition is a policy determination, not a legal determination. An inherently governmental function includes activities that require either the exercise of discretion in applying Government authority, or the making of value judgments in making decisions for the Government. Governmental functions normally fall into two categories: the act of governing, i.e., the discretionary exercise of Government authority, and monetary transactions and entitlements. (1) An inherently governmental function involves, among other things, the interpretation and execution of the laws of the United States so as to-- (i) Bind the United States to take or not to take some action by contract, policy, regulation, authorization, order, or otherwise; (ii) Determine, protect, and advance United States economic, political, territorial, property, or other interests by military or diplomatic action, civil or criminal judicial proceedings, contract management, or otherwise ; (iii) Significantly affect the life, liberty, or property of private persons; etc, etc.

Armed Contractors outside the Iraq Green Zone appear to be illegal.

Mr Scahill and Mr. Moyers,

You did a great service to the American Public on reporting about possible Government Corruption in regards to the war in Iraq and private contractors and the connections within the DC Beltway to private contractors ---and I thank you for that.

I was just reading about the allegations of the steering of federal public contract money to a favorite contractor by the US Dept of Transportation.

The contractor in question, collects through its' sensors '511' traffic statistics in about 24 States and then publishes them for research into national and local traffic trends.

I am wondering if there is a connection to this US Department of Transportation issue, the sorry state of mass transit in the US and covertly to the current wars for oil in SW Asia and indirectly even globe warming?

I was thinking that if the US traffic and transit research statistics of the US were being cooked, incorrectly reported or suppressed at the US Department of Transportation level, and government contracts were being steered to certain 'selected' contractors, just as what you have exposed with Blackwater USA and the DOD and DoS, then
it certainly would be impacting plenty of local and State government budget planning and policy decisions and adversely skewing the choices the American Public makes when it comes to spending of their transport dollars and selecting transport options.

Maybe this rather wonkie traffic sensor collection and data issue merits your and other journalists investigation?

Here are a 'sample' of articles and info on this issue...
The Executive

"Weiner calls for hearings, IG probe on traffic program"
By Kevin Bogardus
October 19, 2007

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) wants an inspector general investigation and congressional hearings into whether one company has a monopoly on providing traffic data to state and local agencies with the help of federal funds.

In letters sent roughly two weeks ago, Weiner wrote to the Department of Transportation’s (DoT) inspector general and to Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, to ask them to review the Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration (TTID) program. The program provides federal funds to states and municipalities to help them pay for sensors and other equipment to collect real-time traffic data.

“As you may be aware, TTID program has long been controversial because it has supported a monopoly for a single company,,” Weiner wrote to DoT’s inspector general, Calvin Scovel III. has often been a target of Weiner’s. In 2005, Weiner and other lawmakers supported an effort by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to attach an amendment to the transportation authorization legislation, known by its common acronym, SAFETEA-LU.

The provision was designed to open up competition for the traffic data program after several competing companies complained that the Wayne, Pa., firm was enjoying market dominance thanks to targeted earmarks placed in prior bills, such as a $50 million earmark that then-Rep. Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) added to the defense authorization bill in 2001.

Hatch’s amendment created a second phase to the traffic data program, known as Part II, which would allow other companies to compete for the state and local traffic contracts. Funds slotted for Part I would remain committed to

But two years later, more than $56 million has been slated for’s contract, leaving only $5.5 million left over for Part II contracts that cover only two cities, according to a March letter by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. In addition, 11 new cities are negotiating or have signed up under Part I, while none have committed to Part II.

In the face of that evidence, Weiner wrote in his letter that Hatch’s provision has been ignored by DoT and that continues to hold a monopoly on traffic data. Further, Weiner alleges that DoT responded to several strongly worded letters Hatch had written earlier this year with “falsehoods.”

Specifically, DoT’s general counsel, Rosalind Knapp, said the majority of the TTID program’s funding went to Part I because Hatch’s amendment required DoT to complete the original contract. But Weiner said that assertion was incorrect.

The Hill shared Weiner’s letters with representatives of In response, the company offered a statement touting its achievements, such as providing 500 jobs across the country.

“We would be pleased to discuss these successes with Rep. Weiner or any other person who has questions about the program,” said
"We welcome any review of the statue in the 2005 surface transportation law that expressly requires the Department to complete its original contract for the Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration project," said Brian Turmail, DoT spokesman.

No decision has been made as of yet to hold hearings on the TTID program, said an aide to DeFazio.

“We received the letter and are currently reviewing the request” and “always try to be responsive to congressional requests,” said Madeline Chulumovic, director of congressional and public affairs for DoT’s Inspector General’s office.

Weiner wants to examine, for example, whether the TTID program’s contract solicitation put out by DoT for one city was “blatantly wired for” Consequently, many companies refused to submit bids.

Competing companies have also complained to DoT’s inspector general about the solicitation. In his letter to DeFazio, Weiner said at least two companies have written to the inspector general and asked for an investigation.

At least one of those companies did not mince its words. Doug Finlay, chief executive officer for San Jose, Calif.-based SpeedInfo Inc., wrote that DoT’s misapplication of the program has “created major competitive barriers in our industry.”

Along with Weiner, Finlay alleges that DoT has ignored Congress’s intent in regard to Hatch’s amendment and asks for a “thorough and comprehensive investigation” by the inspector general.

A prominent government watchdog group has also weighed in. This week, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) also wrote to Peters requesting an inspector general investigation. Several members of Congress were copied on the letter, including DeFazio, Hatch and Weiner.

“It is just worth an inquiry,” said Scott Amey, POGO’s general counsel.

Amey has been following the issue for years and has filed several Freedom of Information Act requests with DoT. He said the company raises “red flags” since it has several former senior government officials working for it.

“Is this program really benefiting the public, or is the contractor making out like a bandit?” asked Amey.
[This article was updated from the print version to include DoT's comment, which was provided after deadline.]

October 15, 2007

POGO {Project on Govt Oversight} urges Department of Transportation investigation into Traffic Information Contract

Competition in contracting is essential to getting fair and reasonable costs and prices for goods and services. The Department of Transportation’s “Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration” (TTID) program, to provide real-time traffic information to travelers, highlights a contract that deserves more federal oversight.

October 15, 2007

The Honorable Mary Peters
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Via Facsimile: (202) 366-3388
Hardcopy to follow

Dear Secretary Peters:

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more accountable federal government. POGO has a keen interest in government contracting matters, especially those relating to full and open competition in government spending. In recent months, POGO has become aware of the potential negative impact of the Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration (TTID) program, which the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) manages, on the widespread availability of real-time traffic information to travelers in many of our nation's most traffic congested cities. We believe that this program, as managed by the USDOT, is working against the public interest and possibly only in the interest of a single company.

As you are no doubt aware, the TTID program is a two-part plan to advance the deployment of transportation infrastructure that will ease traffic congestion in U.S. cities. The program was intended to provide additional traffic data from new sensors and to merge commercial and government traffic data to assist in local system planning and to provide information to the public and travelers.

The current management of the program, however, essentially provides a federally subsidized monopoly to The TTID contract is problematic considering the recent rise in sole source contracts and earmarks. Even more troubling is the fact that, despite the language contained in Public Law 109-59 and a bipartisan effort led by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to open up this program to competition, the USDOT has chosen to continue to sustain's stronghold on this program. For example, eleven TTID agreements signed since the passage of that bill have been for, and none of those eleven were the beneficiary of open competition. Additionally, the recent solicitation for the TTID program for Dallas/Ft. Worth appeared to be written for, which discourages genuine competition – competitors generally will not spend the time or money to submit a proposal if the work appears to be steered to one company.

The USDOT's continued actions in recent years to steer contracts to is very troubling. Of particular concern is the fact that the normal 20 percent cash local agency match was waived from the local agency's perspective in all but three of the 27 TTID agreements, in direct contradiction to the department's own practices for earmarked ITS projects as expressed in its "ITS Lessons-Learned Knowledge Resource." By choosing to waive the normal local agency match, the USDOT has allowed 24 cities to work with when there is a likelihood that they would not have participated in the program absent the fee waiver.

Additionally, the local agency partner cannot share with the public the most valuable real-time information about traffic conditions that is subsidized from federal and taxpayer funds. We know, for example, that the Department actively promotes the 511 "national traveler information number," 1 which we agree has great potential to help travelers find the quickest and safest routes to their destinations. However, key real-time data from the TTID program in most cases cannot be used by local agencies to provide travel times on their own 511 system without paying a fee. Therefore, restrictions exist that essentially benefit at the expense of the local agency partner, the taxpayer and, ultimately, the traveling public.

The bottom line is that a program that was and is intended to increase the availability of real-time traffic information to travelers in many of our nation's most congested cities and to spur the commercial traveler information market in those cities is doing exactly the opposite. Yet, is in a great position to corner the real-time information market.

Because of the Department's continued support for non-competitive contracts, POGO encourages the USDOT to request that the Inspector General conduct an investigation into the TTID program and the Department's efforts to abide by Section 5508(D) which requires that all Part II contracts be awarded "on a competitive basis." This investigation will be a necessary first-step toward providing widespread real-time traffic information to the public.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.


Scott H. Amey
General Counsel

CC: USDOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III

Senator Orrin Hatch

Representative Anthony Weiner

Representative James L. Oberstar, Chairman, U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Representative John L. Mica, Ranking Member, U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Representative Peter DeFazio, Chairman, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Representative John J. Duncan, Jr., Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Senator Ted Stevens, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Senator Frank L. Lautenberg, Chairman, Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Subcommittee, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Senator Gordon Smith, Ranking Member, Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Subcommittee, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Representative Henry Waxman, Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Representative Thomas M. Davis II, Ranking Member, U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

1 Simply stated, 511 is a telephone number, available nationwide, that provides current information about travel conditions, allowing travelers to make better choices of time, mode of transportation, and route.

© The Project On Government Oversight 2007

Public-Private Puzzle
Mar 30, 2006,
By Merrill Douglas

As departments of transportation deploy technologies to better manage traffic and reduce congestion, they continue defining the roles that the public and private sectors should play.

The federal Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program -- which improves transportation safety and mobility, and enhances productivity through use of advanced communications technologies, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation -- has long encouraged public-private partnerships.

Under one of its recent initiatives, the Intelligent Transportation Infrastructure Program (ITIP), 16 cities formed partnerships with -- the firm selected by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as the private-sector entity in the new ITS initiative.

But as state and local governments create their own traffic information systems or work with other vendors to build such systems, participating in the federal ITS programs could cause trouble -- some cities fear that by participating in this program, local agencies will have to share their equipment, data and revenues with a private entity.

Other Options

A firm called has installed traffic detectors at various roadsides in those 16 cities. The company will process data from those and other sources; provide the processed data to state and local departments of transportation; and deliver traffic information to the public via the Web, radio, television and other media.

Over the next 10 years, ITIP will provide $2 million to each of those cities to fund work with But DOTs in some metropolitan areas said they would rather not partner with, or have tried and failed to reach an agreement with the company.

"[ITIP] was a good program for an area that was fairly young in its development, or had very little ITS and didn't have an incumbent information service provider," said Jesus Martinez, ITS administrator for District 6 of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), where officials decided not to do business with "But for one that already had a vibrant program and was well on its way, the terms were too onerous."

Another disagreement is cities participating in ITIP must, under federal rules, sign on with

Soon, another 11 cities may receive the same federal support under a new initiative, the two-part Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration (TTID) Program. Part II of the TTID offers funding for similar projects, but with one major difference: Instead of requiring DOTs to work with, the FHWA will choose one or more private partners through a competitive process with appropriate input and consent from the selected metropolitan areas, according to an Oct. 19, 2005 notice in the Federal Register. will compete to participate in Part II, said John Collins, vice president of ITS and telematics at But this new initiative also leaves the field open to other vendors.

According to the FHWA, its two programs have the same primary goal -- to enhance deployment of ITS infrastructure to aid in transportation planning and analysis. Many cities and states already have networks of traffic sensors, but some don't, or their deployments may be incomplete, said Nancy Singer, an FHWA spokeswoman.

Benefits of the program, Singer said, include improved data management and accessibility, real-time and archived performance data, additional surveillance in areas with gaps in coverage, and free public access to basic traveler information.

DOTs in eligible metropolitan areas had until Feb. 6, 2006, to tell the FHWA they wanted to enter into negotiations to take part in TTID.

More Flexible
The new rules for Part II came as good news to FDOT officials in District 6, which includes Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

"We may put in an application for Phase II," said Martinez. "Our understanding of Phase II is that it's a lot more flexible."

FDOT spent several years negotiating with about a possible relationship under ITIP. In the meantime, the department installed its own network of radar-based traffic detectors and closed-circuit TV cameras on major expressways. With much of that deployment complete, South Florida no longer needs sensors from, Martinez said.

District 6 also shied away from the relationship because it already supplies its data to another commercial provider of traffic information, SmartRoute Systems, based in Cambridge, Mass., and Houston. The FDOT pays SmartRoute to run a traveler information Web site, which the public uses free of charge. would have provided some traffic information to the public for free and then charged for premium services, Martinez said. If both vendors competed in South Florida, residents could still get traffic information -- gained through the FDOT-owned sensors -- from SmartRoute at no cost.

But residents would have to pay for data taken from the company's sensors, Martinez said.

"You can imagine how well liked or perceived we're going to be in the press," he said of that scenario.

"We made a large investment in our partnership with SmartRoute," he continued, adding that if the FDOT also did business with, as a condition of accepting the federal funds, "we would be essentially introducing competition or cannibalizing potential revenue opportunities.", however, recently announced it would stop charging individual users for premium services provided through its Web site, such as the ability to register for traffic alerts delivered via e-mail or phone. Instead, these would be "subsidized by advertising," Collins said.

Along with running ads, also earns revenues by repackaging its information for media outlets such as local TV and radio stations, the Weather Channel, and XM Satellite Radio.

Besides giving more choices about a private-sector partner, Part II of TTID might also allow the FDOT to implement traffic detectors on its arterial highways, where microwave-based sensors like's aren't effective, Martinez said. One potential technology, he said, derives traffic speed by collecting signals from cell phones.

But might provide exactly that kind of detection technology to another DOT.

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has signed an agreement to accept FHWA funding to work with in Salt Lake City. Like South Florida, UDOT has all the traffic sensors it needs on freeways.

"We don't have the type of detection we would like on our arterials," says Richard Manser, ITD deployment engineer with the UDOT's Traffic Operations Center in Salt Lake City. So officials there are talking with about alternative technologies for those secondary roads.

"We've entered into a contract with a company called AirSage [of Marietta, Ga.]," said Collins. "We're using them as a subcontractor to anonymously use cell phone data to get travel times, and derivatively, travel speeds on the arterial road network."

Quality Control and Reports
Using software developed by the California Department of Transportation, will analyze data from UDOT's freeway sensors to check their performance and spot possible problems. The software will also help the company create an archive of traffic data, which UDOT can use to obtain reports.

"We could go in and pull up reports on what the traffic congestion looks like on a particular day, time of day or a particular event historically -- say the Fourth of July," Manser said.

This kind of information helps DOTs figure out what roads they can close for construction on particular days, based on the expected demand for those roads, Collins said. The system also helps policymakers understand how well roads are performing and helps planners discern future performance, he said. is subsidizing the $500,000 in non-federal matching funds that DOTs must provide to receive the FHWA's $2 million grant, Manser said.

"We're not putting in anything out of pocket other than staff time," Manser said of the 10-year contract.

At the same time it's providing these services to UDOT, will use data from traffic sensors in the area to provide commercial traffic information services. And that's fine with UDOT.

"We have an open policy with our data, and we share it pretty much with anyone who's willing to sign an agreement," said Manser. "We want our information out to as many customers as we can get it to."

The department already provides data to other information service providers, and maintains its own traffic information site, he said.

Finding the Balance
It's no surprise that different DOTs have different ideas about working the private sector into their plans to provide traffic information, said Jim Wright, an executive from the Minnesota DOT on loan to the American Association of State Transportation and Highway Executives (AASHTO).

Working closely with other national transportation organizations, AASHTO leads a coalition to develop and deploy 511 services, which provide traffic information via phone and the Web.

"There are varying levels of sophistication across the states right now, and there are varying levels of interest," said Wright, who manages the 511 program for AASHTO. Right now, 511 services are available in about 24 states across the country, and members of the coalition hope these programs will appear statewide over the next couple of years, he said.

If that's accomplished, he explained, it might be easier to find private-sector partners to provide high-quality services that would require a lesser financial investment for some of the states.

"I'd hope the private sector can play a bigger, more significant role in premium services and [provide] a revenue source that would sustain these traveler information services," Wright said.
Federal Highway Administration
Participation in the Transportation
Technology Innovation and
Demonstration Program
: Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA), United States
Department of Transportation (U.S.
: Notice; request for expression of
consent to participate.
: As authorized by section 5508
of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible,
Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A
Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU), the
U.S. DOT/FHWA is interested in
working with eligible State and local
governments and one or more private
sector partners to build upon the
Intelligent Transportation Infrastructure
Program (ITIP) that began under the
provisions of section 5117(b)(3) of the
Transportation Equity Act for the 21st
Century (TEA–21). The SAFETEA–LU
provides for the extension and further
expansion of the ITIP program under the
Transportation Technology Innovation
and Demonstration Program (TTID), a
new 2-part program that would advance
the deployment of an operational
intelligent transportation infrastructure
system, through measurement of various
transportation system parameters, to
simultaneously aid in local
transportation planning and analysis
activities, while also supporting
national monitoring of traffic congestion
levels. The purpose of this program is
threefold: Addressing national, local,
and commercial data needs through
enhancement of surveillance and data
management capabilities in major
metropolitan areas. This involves
integration of data from existing
surveillance infrastructure, and strategic
deployment of supplemental
surveillance infrastructure to support
the provision of both real-time and
archived roadway system performance
data. At the national level, the goal is to
develop an ability to measure the
operating performance of the roadway
system across the nation. Made
available locally, such roadway system
performance data can be used to assist
in local system planning, evaluation,
and management activities. The same
data that is useful to the public
transportation agencies also has value
for commercial traveler information
purposes. To achieve these objectives,
the U.S. DOT/FHWA is seeking
expressions of consent from eligible
State and/or local transportation
agencies/organizations interested in
forming a public-private partnership,
with a private partner that has either
been pre-selected, or that will be
selected, by the U.S. DOT/FHWA, to
participate in the TTID program.
: Expressions of consent to
participate must be received by 4 p.m.,
e.t., February 6, 2006.
: Expressions of consent to
participate should be submitted directly
to the Federal Highway Administration,
Office of Transportation Management,
HOTM–1, Attention: Chung Eng, 400
Seventh St., SW., Room 3404,
Washington, DC 20590. Material may be
submitted electronically to:
: Mr.
Chung Eng, Office of Transportation
Management (HOTM–1), (202) 366–
8043, or Mr. Wilbert Baccus, Office of
the Chief Counsel (HCC–40), (202) 366–
0780, U.S. Department of
Transportation, Federal Highway
Administration, 400 Seventh St., SW.,
Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are
from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
The ITIP program has its origin in
section 5117(b)(3) of the TEA–21 (Pub.
L. 105–178, as amended by title IX of
Pub. L. 105–206), which required
private technology commercialization
initiatives as part of a program to
‘‘advance the deployment of an
operational intelligent transportation
infrastructure system for the
measurement of various transportation
system activities to aid in the
transportation planning and analysis
while making a significant contribution
to the ITS program.’’ To that end, the
U.S. DOT/FHWA retained a private
sector Consortium consisting of Signal
Corporation (now a part of General
Dynamics);; Michael Baker
Jr., Inc.; L.R Kimball & Associates, Inc.;
and PB Farradyne, Inc. to experiment
with the collection and archiving of
performance monitoring data that would
ultimately be used to measure national
system performance while also using
this data for commercial traveler
information purposes. The successful
testing of this public-private partnership
in the two pilot cities of Pittsburgh and
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania led to a $50
million expansion of the ITIP program to accommodate up to 25
additional deployments in pre-selected deployment areas with a pared
down Consortium consisting of as lead partner, and General
Dynamics. Progress to date on the ITIP program expansion is as follows:
$28 million committed to 14 expansion deployment areas:
(a) 4--Fully Operational: Chicago, Providence, Tampa, Boston.
(b) 8--Partially Deployed: Detroit, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City,
Phoenix, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington DC Region.
(c) 2--Design In Progress: Baltimore, Seattle.
5 deployment areas are in negotiations with the
Consortium, including Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Orlando, and Salt
Lake City.
8 deployment areas opted out of the original program,
including Birmingham, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Dallas/
Ft. Worth, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, and Portland (OR).
$22 million remains available under the current contract
with the Consortium, enough to accommodate 11 additional eligible
The completed and planned deployments in each metropolitan area
feature the following:
Public-private partnership for the provision of data
services to the public agency partners;
Up to 100 sensors deployed in each metropolitan area,
primarily along freeways and other major arterials, capable of
providing data on volume, speed, lane occupation, and limited vehicle
Archived database function;
Commercialization component to enable self sufficiency;
Free Web-based access to real-time as well as archived
data for public agency stakeholders;
Free Web-based basic traffic condition information to the
general public (;

Additional value-added commercial services available on a
fee basis;
Private funding contribution toward infrastructure;
Firm, fixed price contract where the private partner owns,
operates, and maintains the system;
Integration of at least one legacy system (e.g. the
Pennsylvania DOT's Traffic Operations Center in Pittsburgh);
Sharing of gross revenues to support system enhancements;
Reliability performance measure calculations and reports
provided on a monthly basis.
In section 5508 of the SAFETEA-LU (Pub. L. 109-59; 119 Stat. 1144;
Aug. 10, 2005), Congress extended the existing relationship with the
TEA-21 Consortium in Part I, and further expanded the existing program
by providing the opportunity to participate in Part II, of the new 2-
part TTID program.

Solicitation of Interest

This notice solicits expressions of consent to participate in the
2-part TTID program, which is described in greater detail below. For
the purpose of this notice, an ``expression of consent to participate''
is defined to mean a commitment to enter into negotiations for possible
participation in the program. The legislation identifies specific
``deployment'' and ``congested'' areas that will have the opportunity
to participate in the enhanced program and requires that these eligible
areas express consent to participate, or establish a date by which they
will consent to participate within the first 180 days after enactment
of the SAFETEA-LU (by February 6, 2006). This notice does not affect
those deployment areas that have already received prior funding through
the ITIP program. The process and method for submitting expressions of
consent is set forth in the Instructions to Respondents section below.
Part I of the TTID program provides for the selection, under the
current task order contract \1\ with the Consortium, of up to 11
metropolitan areas to receive Federal grants of no more than $2 million
each. Part II will expand the program by the U.S. DOT/FHWA awarding
contracts on a competitive basis for the deployment of systems in
selected congested areas, with consent from the affected State DOT's.
Part II currently has funding to support the selection of no more than
3 metropolitan areas to receive Federal grants of no more than $2
million each, but may receive additional funding through future
appropriations. The focus in both Part I and Part II of the TTID
program is to enhance existing surveillance infrastructure in
participating areas through integration, along with strategic
deployment of supplemental surveillance infrastructure. The enhanced
surveillance infrastructure and performance data generated will be used
to: (1) Aid the public sector partner in carrying out system management
activities including operations, planning, analysis, and maintenance;
(2) support provision of basic traveler information to the public at no
cost to the public; (3) provide opportunities for commercialization of
other Advanced Traveler Information Services (ATIS); and (4) support
submittal of data and system performance measure reports to the U.S.
DOT/FHWA on a monthly basis.

\1\ A copy of the current task order contract may be obtained by
contacting Chung Eng at (202) 366-8043 or

U.S. DOT/FHWA Objectives

The U.S. DOT/FHWA will provide funding under the 2-part TTID
program to:
Build, enhance, and/or integrate intelligent
transportation infrastructure in major metropolitan areas to enable and
help manage the continuous monitoring of the roadway system for
purposes of providing real-time as well as archived data to aid in the
operation, planning, analysis, and maintenance activities of the U.S.
DOT/FHWA and State and local agencies;
Enhance the quality, availability, and accessibility of
transportation system performance data to enable the calculation of
mobility performance and system reliability measures while satisfying
system operational needs at the same time;
Provide to the U.S. DOT/FHWA specified performance data
and reports;
Provide a traveler information service that includes free
public access to basic traveler information, and supports provision of
a 511 based telephone service;
Realize and publicize the benefits of regionally
integrated and interoperable intelligent transportation infrastructure
capable of supporting regional as well as national needs;
Provide private technology commercialization initiatives
to generate revenues that will be reinvested in the intelligent
transportation infrastructure system;
Aggregate data into reports for multipoint data
distribution techniques; and
With respect to Part I of the TTID program, use an
advanced information system designed and monitored by an entity with
experience with the Department of Transportation in the design and
monitoring of high reliability, mission critical voice and data


The U.S. DOT/FHWA will select up to 11 metropolitan areas to
participate in Part I, and up to 3 metropolitan areas to participate in
Part II. A total of up to $2 million in Federal funds per metropolitan
area will be made available to the consenting metropolitan areas
selected. For Part I, the Federal funding will be made available to the

[[Page 60872]]

selected partnerships through an existing contract involving the
Consortium. For Part II, the Federal funding will be made available to
the selected partnerships through competitive awards to one or more
private partners to be selected by the U.S. DOT/FHWA, with appropriate
input and consent from the selected metropolitan areas.
Federal funding for the TTID program shall be used to support:
1. Creation of a process and mechanism to collect, integrate,
archive, manage, and report new and existing transportation data for
mobility and performance monitoring, planning, evaluation, and other
similar purposes;
2. Creation of a data repository of new and existing real-time
traveler information for dissemination to the traveling public through
a variety of delivery mechanisms, including support for a 511 based
telephone service, and free public access to basic traveler
information, and commercial traveler information services;
3. Creation of a regional transportation information system that
integrates and supplements existing surveillance infrastructure to
support public sector transportation management needs and private
sector commercialization; and
4. Accommodation/integration of existing transportation data
collection, archival, and dissemination mechanisms.
There will be a twenty percent matching share ($500,000 match
required if full $2 million in federal funds is provided) that must be
from non-federally derived funding sources, as required in sections
5508 of SAFETEA-LU and 5117(b)(3) of TEA-21. For the purposes of this
program, this matching share must consist of a cash contribution to the
project. The non-federally derived funding may come from State, local
government, or private sector partners.

Note: Funding identified to support continued operations,
maintenance, and management of the system will not be considered as
part of the partnership's cost-share contribution.

The U.S.DOT/FHWA and the Comptroller General of the United States
will have the right to access all documents pertaining to the use of
Federal funds and non-Federal contributions. Non-Federal partners must
maintain sufficient documentation to substantiate these costs. Such
items as direct labor, fringe benefits, material costs, consultant
costs, public involvement costs, subcontractor costs, and travel costs
should be included in that documentation.


Eligible Areas Defined

Group A: Deployment areas in active negotiations under
current contract.
Group B: Deployment areas that had previously opted out of
the ITIP program.
Group C: Newly eligible congested areas.

Table I.--Eligible Areas
Group A * Group B Group C
1 Las Vegas........................... 1 Birmingham............ 1 Albany.
2 Miami............................... 2 Cincinnati............ 2 Atlanta.
3 New York/Northern New Jersey **..... 3 Cleveland............. 3 Austin.
4 Orlando............................. 4 Dallas/Fort Worth..... 4 Burlington.
5 Salt Lake City...................... 5 Denver................ 5 Charlotte.
6 Houston............... 6 Columbus, OH.
7 Indianapolis.......... 7 Greensboro.
8 Portland, OR.......... 8 Hartford.
9 Jacksonville.
10 Kansas City.
11 Louisville.
12 Milwaukee.
13 Minneapolis/St. Paul.
14 Nashville.
15 New Orleans.
16 Norfolk (Virginia Beach).
17 Raleigh/Durham.
18 Richmond.
19 Sacramento.
20 San Jose.
21 Tucson.
22 Tulsa.
* Group A areas will be given first priority for participation in Part I.
** New Jersey had previously opted not to participate, but will have an opportunity to express consent as part
of the New York/Northern New Jersey metropolitan area if New York does not execute a local agreement with the
Consortium under the current contract by February 6, 2006.

Eligibility Summary

Current Contract--Continuity of the current contract will
be maintained during the 180 day period. Accordingly, Group A areas may
proceed as normal during this period to negotiate and execute a local
agreement with the Consortium any time through February 6, 2006, and
begin deployment under the terms of the current contract.
Part I--Group A areas unable to execute a local agreement
with the Consortium by February 6, 2006, may maintain eligibility by
expressing consent to participate or establishing a date by which they
will consent to participate by February 6, 2006. Group B and Group C
areas may also express consent to participate or establish a date by
which they will consent to participate in Part I by February 6, 2006.
In selecting consenting areas to participate in Part I, first priority
will be given to Group A areas. Groups B and C will receive equal
priority. Priority within individual groups will be based on congestion
rankings contained in ``The 2005 Urban Mobility Report'' \2\ developed
by the Texas Transportation Institute. Rankings for the eligible areas
are shown in Table II below. All Groups proceed with the understanding

[[Page 60873]]

distribution of available funding to the selected consenting areas from
all Groups will begin immediately after February 6, 2006. Those areas
that choose to establish a date beyond February 6, 2006, by which they
will consent to participate will be accommodated only as remaining
funding permits when consent to participate is actually provided.

\2\ A copy of ``The 2005 Urban Mobility Report'' is available
from the Texas Transportation Institute at the following URL:


Once selected for participation in Part I, the selected
metropolitan areas must establish a partnership and execute a
partnership agreement with the Consortium within 180 days of being
notified by the FHWA of selection, or forfeit the right to participate
in Part I. Selected metropolitan areas must be willing to work within
the current contractual mechanism for the initial deployments. This
will involve the following:
1. The FHWA has a contractual arrangement with the Consortium in
the form of a task order under the DOT's Information Technology Omnibus
Procurement (ITOP) program to develop and deploy systems in up to 25
metropolitan areas. Since this program extension is basically a
continuation of the current ITOP task order, the Federal funds provided
will continue to be made available to the selected partnerships through
this arrangement.

Note: This involves direct payment to the Consortium of the
Federal funds to be provided; and

2. The selected metropolitan areas are expected to negotiate their
own partnership agreements with the Consortium to address any specific
needs beyond those included in the ITOP task order, including the
facilitation of their financial contribution and accommodation of the
work to be performed. This will include a commitment to share existing
surveillance data with the Consortium and to provide access to rights-
of-way for the installation of additional surveillance infrastructure
by the Consortium. The ITOP task order(s), including payment schedule,
will be adjusted as necessary to reflect the agreements that have been
individually negotiated between the selected metropolitan areas/States
and the private partner. Information on ITOP can be found at the
following URL: Portal/gsa/ep/channelView.

do?pageTypeId=8199& channelPage=/ep/channel/ gsaOverview.jsp&
Part II--Group A areas unable to execute a local agreement
with by February 6, 2006, may also express consent to
participate or establish a date by which they will consent to
participate in Part II by February 6, 2006. Group B and Group C areas
may also express consent to participate or establish a date by which
they will consent to participate in Part II by February 6, 2006. No
preference will be given to any Groups in the selection of Part II
participants. Rather, selection will be prioritized based on congestion
rankings contained in ``The 2005 Urban Mobility Report'' developed by
the Texas Transportation Institute. Rankings for the eligible areas are
shown in Table II. Once selected for participation in Part II, the
selected metropolitan areas will be asked to provide appropriate input
to a Federal competitive process for the selection of a private
partner. The selected metropolitan areas will also need to negotiate a
separate partnership agreement with the chosen private partner to
address any specific needs beyond those included in the Federal
contract, including the facilitation of their financial contribution
and accommodation of the work to be performed. Federal funding will be
made available to the selected partnerships through the Federal
contract with the chosen private partner.
Eligible areas may express consent to participate as follows: only
for Part I; only for Part II; or for both Part I and Part II of the
program. Eligible areas expressing consent to participate only for Part
I or only for Part II will receive consideration only for the part
indicated. Those eligible areas that express consent to participate for
both Part I and Part II proceed with the understanding that a single
area will ultimately be eligible to participate in only one part of the
program. Once selected to participate in one part of ITIP, an eligible
area will receive no further consideration for participation in the
other part. Any eligible area that expresses consent to participate for
both parts, and whose ranking makes them candidates for selection for
both parts at the same time, will be given the choice of participating
in one or the other.

Table II.--Congestion Rankings (Based on Data From ``The 2005 Urban
Mobility Report'' Developed by the Texas Transportation Institute)
Rank/Metro area Rank/Metro area
1 Atlanta................................. 19 Salt Lake City (Group A).
2 Houston................................. 20 Las Vegas (Group A).
3 Dallas / Fort Worth..................... 21 Cincinnati.
4 Orlando (Group A)....................... 22 Columbus, OH.
5 San Jose................................ 23 Raleigh / Durham.
6 Miami (Group A)......................... 24 Birmingham.
7 Denver.................................. 25 Greensboro *.
8 Austin.................................. 26 Norfolk (Virginia Beach).
9 New York (Group A)...................... 27 Milwaukee.
10 Minneapolis / St. Paul................. 28 New Orleans.
11 Charlotte.............................. 29 Kansas City.
12 Louisville............................. 30 Richmond.
13 Sacramento............................. 31 Hartford.
14 Portland, OR........................... 32 Albany.
15 Indianapolis........................... 33 Tulsa.
16 Nashville.............................. 34 Cleveland.
17 Tucson................................. 35 Burlington*.
18 Jacksonville........................... ............................
* Data for Greensboro and Burlington were appended to the report.

Instructions to Respondents

Expressions of consent to participate should be in the form of a
written letter and must be submitted by the State DOT for the
respective eligible areas. Local transportation agencies/organizations
that are interested in participating in the program should coordinate
with their respective State DOT's to submit a joint expression of
consent. Only one expression of consent will be accepted from each
eligible area. It is understood that an expression of consent to
participate is merely a commitment to enter into negotiations for
possible participation in the program. Expressions of consent should
include the following:
Identify the eligible area represented and the agency/
organization or agencies/organizations involved. Joint expressions of
consent should identify the lead agency/organization;
Provide an expression of consent to participate, or a date
by which consent to participate will be provided, in one of the
following: only in Part I; only in Part II; or in both Part I and Part
Provide a statement to the effect that the purpose of the
program is understood;
Acknowledge understanding that the following commitments
are necessary in order to participate:
1. Satisfy the non-Federal match requirement (80/20 Federal/non-
2. Work with private partner toward achievement of program
3. Share existing surveillance data with private partner;

[[Page 60874]]

4. Provide access to rights-of-way for installation of additional
surveillance infrastructure by the private partner.
Identify a point of contact along with appropriate contact
For those areas that do not have any interest in participating in
either part of the program, we ask that the appropriate State DOT
submit a simple letter response identifying the area, and including a
statement similar to the following: ``We understand the purpose of the
U.S. DOT's Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration
Program, and do not wish to participate in either part of this
Information Sessions: Two information sessions will be available to
interested transportation agencies/organizations from the eligible
areas to address any questions or concerns relating to participation in
the program. The information sessions will be conducted via video
conferencing with linkages to appropriate local FHWA Division Offices.
Times and locations for the sessions are as follows:

Session 1: 11/8/05 (2 p.m. ET) Session 2: 11/10/05 (1 p.m. ET)
FHWA division offices Address FHWA division offices Address
Arizona........................... One Arizona Center, Suite Alabama.............. 500 Eastern Blvd., Suite
410, 400 East Van Buren 200, Montgomery, AL
St., Phoenix, AZ 85004- 36117-2018.
California........................ 650 Capitol Mall, Suite 4- Connecticut.......... 628-2 Hebron Ave., Suite
100, Sacramento, CA 95814. 303, Glastonbury, CT
Colorado.......................... 12300 West Dakota Ave., Florida.............. 545 John Knox Rd., Suite
Suite 180, Lakewood, CO 200, Tallahassee, FL
80228. 32303.
Kansas............................ 6111 SW 29th Street, Suite Georgia.............. 61 Forsyth St., SW.,
100, Topeka, KS 66614- Suite 17T100, Atlanta,
4271. GA 30303-3104.
Louisiana......................... 5304 Flanders Dr., Suite Indiana.............. 575 N. Pennsylvania St.,
A, Baton Rouge, LA 70808- Rm 254, Indianapolis, IN
4348. 46204-1576.
Minnesota......................... Galtier Plaza, 380 Jackson Kentucky............. 330 W. Broadway,
St., Suite 500, St. Paul, Frankfort, KY 40601-
MN 55101-2904. 1922.
Missouri.......................... 209 Adams St., Jefferson New Jersey........... 840 Bear Tavern Rd.,
City, MO 65101-3203. Suite 310, West Trenton,
NJ 08628-1019.
Nevada............................ 705 North Plaza St., Suite New York............. Leo W. O'Brien Fed.
220, Carson City, NV Bldg., Rm 719, Clinton
89701-0602. Ave. and North Pearl
St., Albany, NY 12207.
Oklahoma.......................... 300 N. Meridian, Suite 105 North Carolina....... 310 New Bern Ave., Suite
S, Oklahoma City, OK 410, Raleigh, NC 27601-
73107-6560. 1441.
Oregon............................ The Equitable Center, Ohio................. 200 North High St., Room
Suite 100, 530 Center 328, Columbus, OH 43215.
Street, NE., Salem, OR
Texas............................. Federal Office Building, Tennessee............ 640 Grassmere Park Ro.,
300 East Eighth St., Room Suite 112, Nashville, TN
826, Austin, TX 78701- 37211-3568.
Utah.............................. 2520 West 4700 South, Vermont.............. Federal Building, 87
Suite 9A, Salt Lake City, State St., Montpelier,
UT 84118-1847. VT 05602-2954.
Washington........................ Suite 501, Evergreen Virginia............. 400 North 8th St., Room
Plaza, 711 South Capitol 750, Richmond, VA 23240.
Way, Olympia, WA 98501-
Wisconsin......................... Highpoint Office Park, 567 .........................
D'Onofrio Dr., Madison,
WI 53719-2814.

Authority: Sec. 5117(b)(3) of Public Law 105-178, as amended by
title IX of Public Law 105-206; and Sec. 5508 of Public Law 109-59
(119 Stat. 1144).

Issued on: October 13, 2005.
J. Richard Capka,
Acting Federal Highway Administrator.
[FR Doc. 05-20870 Filed 10-18-05; 8:45 am]


View PDF Version View PDF Version:

Justia Lawyer, Legal Aid & Services Directory:

Dear Jeremy,

I had never heard you speak before, nor heard your name. I was riveted by your knowledge, speaking ability, and convictions.

I am supporting Barack Obama from President. Who are you supporting? Who do you believe can end the corruption of privatized war and collusion?

Mr Scahill & Mr Moyers,

Your work is so excellent and important. It's also depressing. Am I naive to believe that with a clean campaign, a system that doesn't allow the kind of contributions and influence buying that exists today? We might be able to elect a government that would not so easily be motivated by profit which results from the trend to privatization and militarism we see now.

Thank you for keeping me informed.

Mr. Scahill and Mr. Moyer,
Perhaps we shouldn't be in Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, Korea, Germany or any other place to engage despots. If people want freedom, let them fight for it themselves. Hmmmmm! Interesting thoughts. As far as the comments about Blackwater protecting all those dignitaries and comments about all those private "mercenaries", for every Blackwater employee protecting a dignitary or a general, there are 20 or 30 other private security professionals protecting regular employees, like engineers, going out to power plants, water treatment plants and other reconstruction jobs. Check the definition of mercenary. There may be some there, but most Americans, British, Australian and others from "coalition" countries would not be classified as mercenaries. Further, check the Geneva Convention definition, Art. 47, Part 2,(d) "is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;" which means if they are American citizens in the employ of the U.S. government, a "party of the conflict" then they are not technically a mercenary. Personally, I did not care for Blackwater's methods, but there's a lot more to this than what was discussed on PBS. Here are some questions for Mr. Scahill: Mr. Scahill,
Who provides your security when you go to Iraq? What are the alternatives to Blackwater type companies? Would you propose U.S. soldiers fill all the security positions in Iraq? Would you move around Iraq with an all-Iraqi security team? Would you ride with a security team that allows cars to pull up next to it and ask, "Hey, sir, excuse me, but do you have any terrorists aboard, any bombs aboard?" Do you believe, under the current conditions that are chaotic, crazy, kaleidoscope, Sunni-against-Shia, Shia-against-Shia, tribal group against tribal group and seemingly everybody but the Moldovans against the U.S., that the job can be done with no one being hurt, maimed, killed and displaced? What is the difference between private security guards protecting U.S. reconstruction engineers (and media stars) in Iraq and a private guard protecting the entrance to PBS headquarters in Washington, D.C. or the local bank in your home town? Do you recall the photo of the little girl covered in blood with an American soldier standing over her after having killed her parents? Is there much difference who kills the parents -- an American soldier or an American paid private security professional? If we pay Blackwater $900 a day for a security professional, and the security professional gets $350, how much goes to insurance, admin and logistics, transport, food, etc for the security professional? How much does it cost to pay, train, deploy, feed, house and provide all the support for a soldier? Do you believe it best to use soldiers at $40,000 a year to hold the costs down? Do you believe former soldiers should have a cap on their pay when they work in private industry? Do you work for $40,000 a year? I don't believe we should have gone to Iraq in the first place, do you? Why is it that Sean Penn, Bono, the Baldwin brothers, Mia Farrow, et al can get $10 or $20 million for a year's work on a movie, go to Africa and trumpet their work, or some basketball player gets a $50 million deal, and yet people bemoan some poor chump coming out of the cotton fields and is getting $150 to $200 grand a year for getting shot at? Do you believe that if the Iraqis had wanted freedom they should have fought for it themselves, without our intervention? Since those in your camp would not have private security professionals; and another large segment of the population would not have us deploy U.S. troops to war zones to come home in body bags, and the U.N. have proven incapable, who will do the job? Or, do we just do nothing? Do you propose isolationism? Do you see any utility in using such an agency as the CIA to operate as has been described in "Ghost Wars" and other publications? What should our role be in international affairs -- philanthropic only? Should we just pass out beans to prevent starvation and condoms to thwart AIDS? Do you believe if we do nothing but good and caring things, people like Idi Amin, or the current junta in Myanmar will suddenly become benevolent and loving, caring democratic leaders? How would you propose we deal with despotic crazed killers murdering tens of thousands of villagers in Darfur? Should we just send them a letter asking them, politely, to not do bad things? How do you think the American public would react if we deployed troops to Darfur and the first body bag comes back to the U.S.? How would the press play the issue, when the first body bag comes back from Darfur, or another place our troops might be deployed to prevent tens of thousands of people from being slaughtered? Do you believe in the international "court of public opinion" we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't -- we go and when innocents are killed and our soldiers are killed we are damned, and if we don't go we are damned for doing nothing -- do you believe that is the case? In March of 2004 were any of the private security companies, or the military, prepared to provide the full scale of support needed today? Do you believe you could run such an operation letter-perfect, without error? Do you believe the U.S. military, as a whole, moves through areas without intimidating locals? I'll buy your book and see if you present a balanced case -- do you believe in your heart-of-hearts you are giving a balanced view? Thanks for your time and consideration. Tim Pasquarelli, 24-year Army vet, former enlisted soldier, officer, infantryman and helicopter pilot, Vietnam Vet, 15-year veteran of private security in 10 or 12 foreign countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan; independent consultant to mining and petroleum companies, currently a graduate student at 61 years of age at Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO.

instead of being forced into zones of free speech, we must remeber and reinstate the idea that every inch of this country is the zone of free speech?

How much of a threat can bodygaurds be in a big country like Iraq? Bodygaurds can't possibly matter when it comes to U.S. military operations etc. Can they?

If you were on the Oversight Committee what are 10 questions you would have asked Eric Prince?

True Americans thanks you.

Thank you for speaking at Sacramento City College when our campus club "SCC Peace & Justice Coalition" sponsored your lecture.

In the almost five years the war in Iraq has raged on, the peace movement has been unable to make even the slightest dent in convincing the Senate and Congress to quit voting to fund the war. Ret. Colonel Ann Wright recently spoke in Sacramento and she said she met with Rep. John Conyers who personally told her "getting
re-elected is much more important than continuing any effort to impeach Bush and end the war in Iraq". John Conyers was one of the handful of politicans I had any faith in. Now that a politician of his calibur has crapped out on impeachment and ending the war - what would you advise the peace movement to do? I am sick and tired of being sick and tired and immigration to Canada is not an option.
I don't trust any of the Democrat candidates running for President. Forget Hillary - she is a pro-war hawk receiving huge PAC donations from military contractors for her campaign. Between Edwards and Obama, who do you think has ANY genuine interest in ending the war in Iraq?

Jermey, thanks so much for your work - I quit watching corporate news/network TV when the war in Iraq began. Democracy Now, your articles blogs and books are the light in the tunnel combating triangulation, obsfucation, dissembling and censorship so prevalent in mainstream media. Sept. 15th 150,000 thousand demonstrated in Wash. DC and there was no mainstream media coverage. OJ Simpson's tawrdry burglary bust in Las Vegas and Emmy Fashion coverage dominated the media that weekend. With huge peace demonstrations not being covered in the media, it marginalized the peace movement by being expunged, censored and ignored. If it wasn't for non-embedded independent alternative journalists and the internet, we would be in a full blown crypto
fascist military police state (oooh, I see it right around the corner)

P.S. When I first met you about 2 years ago during a visit to Sacramento I was STUNNED to learn you never went to college and didn't have a journalism degree! You make corporate network journalists look like amateurs! God Bless you Jeremy!

Keep Hope Alive!

Colleen Whalen
Sacramento, California

Salutations Mr. Scahill,

As a jounalist, do find it hard to believe that your profession seemingly tells the story to us dumb ol' Americans(remember us, "In God we trust.etc.) over and over,yet somehow we don't get it. What this guy educated in Mr.Moyers hometown of "Marshall.TX Marshall, TX" did get is that you should probably do a hard hitting expose on the beloved poor, or maybe you'll do something really groundbreaking...actually be fervent/passionate concise enough to open Americas eyes to the Islamic madman in control of Iran...he is physically changing the city of Tehran to welcome their messiah. Please dont insult the dumb ol' Americans when you do it and you might have a chance to really elighten us, 'cause I can tell you're a man who can do his homework. I respect your thoroughness, and would like it if you could rub off on more of your fellow journalists. thank you

P.S.tell Bill we'll look for him at the fire ant festival back in East Texas.

Dear Mr.Scahill your tenacity and ease to which you speak astounds me. You are very knowledgeable and articulate. I am a long time fan of KPFA, of Amy Goodman, and of your work as well. I come from a progressive, working class, educated family and seeing a young face 'talk truth to power' so passionately as you do - is inspiring. I have never posted a personal response to public figure as yourself. My activism has resided in the realms of local peace and justice organizations, peace marches, green festivals, and three tours to the Soviet Union between 1987-1989, as a youth participating in a anti-nuclear war musical production called Peace Child. If you are looking to make friends in the S.F. Bay Area give me an email and feel free to check out my blog.

Salutations Mr. Scahill,

As a jounalist, do find it hard to believe that your profession seemingly tells the story to us dumb ol' Americans(remember us, "In God we trust.etc.) over and over,yet somehow we don't get it. What this guy educated in Mr.Moyers hometown of "Marshall.TX Marshall, TX" did get is that you should probably do a hard hitting expose on the beloved poor, or maybe you'll do something really groundbreaking...actually be fervent/passionate concise enough to open Americas eyes to the Islamic madman in control of Iran...he is physically changing the city of Tehran to welcome their messiah. Please dont insult the dumb ol' Americans when you do it and you might have a chance to really elighten us, 'cause I can tell you're a man who can do his homework. I respect your thoroughness, and would like it if you could rub off on more of your fellow journalists. thank you

P.S.tell Bill we'll look for him at the fire ant festival back in East Texas.

Jeremy: I have never in my 62 liberal-progressive years heard such an encyclopedic recitation of facts, figures, bios, and issues as you put forth to Bill Moyers in your interview with him aired 10/19/07. I am stunned! Solely by-example you make ABC's Stefanopolis and some other liberal reporters, commentators and talk-show hosts look like the intellectual sell-outs we used to ridicule in the 60s.

(1) What is your IQ? (Mine's 160 but no-where near your expert recall and articulation skill levels.) (2) What memory aids, or tricks, do you use? (3) Have you thought of studying a bit of television, soon to become digital video, journalism such that you can follow in Moyer's footsteps as producer, editor, and lead reporter of high-quality in-depth revalatory investigative reports? You'd help ensure the better values of the 4th estate for several decades to come, if you did! We (in the US) need that SO MUCH!

I heard, once only, on an NPR story re the Sept 16th shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians, that one Blackwater guard on the scene pointed his weapon at another Blackwater guard to make him stop shooting.
1. Is this true?
This leads me to ask -
2. What is the incidence of PTSD or other psychological problems among Blackwater guards in Iraq, or anywhere else? There must be some.
3. Does Blackwater have similar, or better, psychological screening of those returning from war zones than the US military? This is a concern since you mentioned that there were Blackwater guards who had just returned from Iraq used in New Orleans among the civilian population.
4. Can we be confident that these Blackwater guards are trained as our National Guard personnel are trained to deal with American civilians?
5. Are the US taxpayers paying for the treatment of injuries - physical, mental, emotional - of Blackwater employees fighting in Iraq?
6. If so, what is it costing us?
7. Do they (Blackwater employees) get better or quicker medical service for mental and emotional injuries than do those in the US military?
8. If long-term, or life-long, treatment of injuries to Blackwater employees is required, what are the financial arrangements between Blackwater and the US government?
9. With the now long-term use of private contractors in Iraq, is it really true that using them is cheaper than if they were military personnel?
Thank you for all your work in this area. Please do continue.

Salutations Mr. Scahill,

As a jounalist, do find it hard to believe that your profession seemingly tells the story to us dumb ol' Americans(remember us, "In God we trust.etc.) over and over,yet somehow we don't get it. What this guy educated in Mr.Moyers hometown of "Marshall.TX Marshall, TX" did get is that you should probably do a hard hitting expose on the beloved poor, or maybe you'll do something really groundbreaking...actually be fervent/passionate concise enough to open Americas eyes to the Islamic madman in control of Iran...he is physically changing the city of Tehran to welcome their messiah. Please dont insult the dumb ol' Americans when you do it and you might have a chance to really elighten us, 'cause I can tell you're a man who can do his homework. I respect your thoroughness, and would like it if you could rub off on more of your fellow journalists. thank you

P.S.tell Bill we'll look for him at the fire ant festival back in East Texas.

In addition to Cheney-Bush-Rumsfeld, you've pointed out that there has had to be complicity of important stakeholders to facilitate the drastic shift to corporations of intelligence and mercenary armed forces.

Suppose we wanted to hold accountable:
a) the State Department, which opted for Blackwater instead of their own security personnel
b) all those congressional committees, supposedly tasked with an oversight function.(So many more people on their staffs and heftier budgets from our tax dollars than what was available to one intrepid Nation reporter)
c) political parties and politicians bankrolled by campaign contributions from the corporations benefiting from obscenely lucrative contracts.

It's great that you, as one individual, has been able to focus as much sunlight on the private army trend. By contrast, your effort shows the vacuum of oversight by all those in government, all those congressional fiefdoms, supposedly charged with this monitoring responsibility.

As a step toward knowing how we can put more pressure on those who are supposed to be guarding the hen house, an informed citizenry may benefit from knowing what is really needed for effective oversight.

1. If those in government wanted oversight to be more effective, what changes in the system would citizens see operating?
2. How would we know, for example, that congressional committees and their staff were doing their job in a more optimal way?
3. What would we want to insist begin to change in the way specific committees do business?

Thank you as well for beginning to think through future consequences of this mercenary extension of the military-corporate contractor-congressional complex. Any thoughts about how we can expand awareness of potential consequences of “making war easy” by hiding the costs through privatizing war-fighter roles, as well as prospects of creating a Republican Guard solely loyal to a unitary Executive Branch with fewer checks and balances?

A few other thoughts: Have you heard how State Department folks have thought about their experience of being protected “Blackwater-style” by such hazardous tactics to civilians? I would hope that State Department professionals would have the sense to realize how detrimental it is to the perception of U. S. government efforts, when their efficient transport is traded for Iraqi lives. I’ve read one description by a young, former State Department employee who was repelled by BW tactics. I wonder if there are others, past and current State Dept. personnel, whose opinions would be important for us and congress to hear about.

Police cars in our city, as in many others, are required to have their video recording equipment on continuously during the police officer’s shift. FOIA requests can be made for portions of video recordings and this is a useful means for protecting the rights of community members—as well as for documentation by the police dept. When our local community utilizes such a check on the potential abuse of power, why hasn’t monitoring means, such as this method or other 21st Century technology, been implemented with private military contractors? Who in the State Department is accountable for permitting
unmonitored forces of Blackwater, with insufficient supervision?


I want to thank you for writing your excellent book and for making appearances on "Democracy Now," "Bill Moyers Journal," and before Congress. You are an outstanding citizen.

As a college professor, I am currently putting together a documentary film program about US policy in the Middle East. I plan to include FRONTLINE'S "Private Warriors" which does expose Blackwater and some of the other contractors you mention. I will also encourage my students to read your book.

I believe that the public needs to know as much as possible about Blackwater and the other contractors, and about privitzation of the war and of security forces in general.

Thank you again for your excellent reporting and keep up the good fight! There are many people who are listening to you and who are taking your message to heart.

Mr. Scahill, what can be done to stop Blackwater and other private armies? How can the average citizen feel anything but helpless in the face of such overwhelming odds? Please, don't just talk about their crimes, tell me how to fix it.

The New York Times has published an article that says there are between 20,000 and 30,000 mercenaries in IRAQ.

The main group is Blackwater USA. Others from America are DynCorp International and Triple Canopy. The Brits have Aegis Security and Erinys International.

I see DynCorp is looking for PSD's (Personal Security Details) for Iraq and Afghanistan.

I see that these private mercenaries carry full combat body armor and M4's but apparently wear NO combat Helmets like our GI's. Why is that? Just wondering!

Mr. Scahill, congratulations for your book on Blackwater. I missed the connection that Gary Bauer had with Blackwater. Can you provide it to me, please? Thanks and best wishes. Bill Frinsko, octogenarian retired professor

Could we be in for a military coup? We have lost many civil liberties,
Habeas Corpus, FISA, Torture, a stretched and broken military....

Jeremy, I am a former Special Forces soldier who has been out for 23 years. One of my best friends from those days has worked for Triple C, but seems to despise Blackwater. I want to thank you for your patriotism and courage in reporting on this extremely important story. Like you, I am troubled by the far reaching implications of these private armies, and the harm they could do to our nation. They are doing more harm than good, and the fact that they are led by people with a far right, religous agenda is very troubling. Couple that with the fact that they have worked inside our borders, something the military can't do, and we have a recipe for disaster. Keep up the good work, and watch your back.

A simple clarification question. Several times you mentioned that there were 180,000 contractors in Iraq. Are those 180,000 all security personnel, or does that include the food suppliers, laundry folks, etc.?

I think the folks in here get it: Blackwater is a fine example of a corrupt, fascist (Mussolini’s definition would be “the blending of Government and Coporations,”) and tax pilfering bunch. However, someone asked the right question already… How does it get stoppes? Yes, shows like this and other interview work, but shit man we’re fightin the machine and guess what, they got Mercenaries!

Federal Reserve – Post Clinton
Federal Reserve – Current
Money spent on war – Total (estimate of High and Low cost)
Money spent on our Troop deployment – All cost (estimate)
Money spent on private security corps? – All costs (estimate)
Estimated cost of state run insurance for the country?
Estimated cost to rebuild dilapidated bridges and roads? (money going to local businesses and unions)
Estimated cost of having a quality education system?
Estimated cost of universal Wi-fi throughout the country?
Estimated cost of taking proper care of our Vets?
Estimated cost of (put in whatever you think would make this country cool to live in) here. Parks, clean rivers, wind turbines and clean energy, updated power transmission lines, proper dykes around New Oreleans, shelters and food for the poor…
How do we get this shit to be reality

Mr. Scahill: A caller into Washington Journal last week alleged that Blackwater trained white supremacist militias in their NC facilities to "prepare for the race war". The caller identified herself as being from North Carolina.

Is this, to your knowledge, true?


AWESOME JOB!!! I believe we met once at the Hegewisch Fest. You were in town for some "Pasty" jello and Mancini's pizza. Best wishes until we meet again!

The whole concept of the US using Blackwater, or any "private contractors" is appalling, but then so is the idea of a new American Ceasar. Ironic that the neo-cons are so hell-bent on creating a new "roman empire" vis a vis the christian right...

I am so exhausted by the CUFI's, and all their ilk, screaming rapturously that "the sky is falling" - didn't their mothers' ever tell them, "just because 'everyone' says it's so, doesn't MAKE it true? If 'everyone' jumped off a bridge telling you you can fly, would you do it?"

Could this country, our government, with the 3 branches, and even the the 4th branch (literally speaking)the PRESS being so cowtowed and corporate owned, BE vulnerable to a MILITARY COUP?
An executive branch declaring itself a monarchy, the judicial branch legislating from the bench, and the legislative branch forgetting to legislate or knowing how to legislate and we the people so stressed from propaganda and trying to feed our families and pay our bills be vulnerable to a military coup?

Clear, lucid and insightful.
Thank you.

What three (or more) specific things can I do to make a difference in ending the "war" in Iraq and specifically in ending the growing nightmare that is Blackwater?

Jeremy -- thank you for elucidating this subject. You've done a great service to the American people.

Blackwater, with all its outrageous activities, is enraging. But my question is about how the extensive use of mercenaries today fits into the new American 'policy' of expansive privatization of many industries.

--from 'security companies' instead of U.S. military personnel
healthcare savings accounts instead of the government making basic healthcare available to every citizen (as is the caes in most other 1st world countries)
school vouchers instead of investing in every school system to produce students who can succeed as adults--

How does this, in Jeremy's words, "most radical privatization agenda" fit in with other cultural and socioeconomic phenomena in America today? (i.e., growing gaps between rich and poor, 'free' trade, globalization, military adventures, etc)

Will a new Democratic president change this culture / 'policy' of privatization?

If we oppose the push toward privatization, what can individual citizens do?

Will Congress do anything to oppose more pushes toward privatization?

God bless PBS and Bill Moyers Journal, because with programs like this the American people can be aware of what's going on behind "the curtain". We need more programmig like these.

Those who take up the sword, shall perish by the sword. Blessed be the PEACEMAKERS for they shall inherit the earth.
I am an ATHEIST.....please people do something to prevent these evangacrazies (Blackwater and etc.) from raping mankind for their own power hungry, menglomaniac thought process so THEY who think they maybe rewarded in heaven for wiping out mankind in the name of THEIR GOD. Infact isn't it JESUS who SAID those who take up the sword shall die by the sword......beware of those who pray in public for your religion should be a private thought process.

PS Bush quit hiding behind the Dhali Lama, you hypocrite..........

This was one of the most frightening reports I've ever heard. It seems that the world can now be taken over by a private army run by a billionaire who is essentially a religious zealot. Coupe anyone? Crusades? Conversion by the Sword? This wouldn't even be difficult for the private army of Blackwater to accomplish. Who can stop them? Not the military!! Certainly not the corporate whores in the millionaires club of Congress, who will walk out of their government job into one of these private companies that they've enriched while in office. Jefferson is rolling in his grave. It sounds like a nightmare that Orwell didn't have time to write!

Why hasn't the media, other than our local San Diego newspapers, mentioned Blackwater's attempt to put a base near Potrero, a small San Diego County community which is somewhat close to the Mexican border? Is Blackwater slated to be part of our "border security"? The community council members who voted "yea" on the base have been recalled, but this needs media coverage!!

If you watch THE PINKY SHOW it either on you tube or you can also see with only the Constitution of the United States is used to show us that private armies are illegal. This is an excellent show.

Dear Jeremy,
You were Outstanding!!!!!
Crystal clear and amazingly well informed.

We love your courage, intelligence and dedication. We support you all the way!

Blackwater troops exerting their influence on American soil is the nightmare I never want to wake up to.

Thank you for an excellent report Jeremy. I have watched you from the beginning on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. Your passion was misconstrued by others as bias. I assure those who haven't watched Jeremy over the years he is anything but bias. He questions. Thank you Bill Moyers

I can only add to the chorus of appreciation exhibited by Moyer's viewers here by saying hats off to you for your tenacious research and tireless effort in sharing the knowledge.

My question is simple. You noted Blackwater has hired within countries whose Nation's policy was not to support the War in Iraq. Have Canadians been hired and do they have a presence in Iraq? How many? How and where are they recruited? Is the same scrutiny applied to them as say a labourer who wants to build cars in Detroit instead of Windsor?

Thank you and keep up the good work. Godspeed.

Thank you for your clear, well researched reporting. I have used information from your stories to write a local editorial regarding the use of Blackwater in LA. The use of mercenaries is frightening to our Democracy, how do we begin, or where should we begin with grassroots efforts to quell this trend?

Dear Jeremy,

My God, you were fabulous tonight! Sure would love to see you on Larry King, CNN EVERY NIGHT. Along with my hero Bill Moyers who has been doing such important work for years and years.

Blessings on you for the work you are doing. How painful it is to see our country becoming so criminal at every level, especially at the top.

Thank you.

During Eric Prince's October 3rd testimony, he made a reference to Blackwater equipment being "fragged." He seemed to immediately regret saying it. Has there been incidents of U.S. military attacking Blackwater, or its equipment?

Mr. Scahill and Moyer

Mr. Scahill asserted that he has traveled extensively and so obviously is backed by a considerable purse. He is obviously biased and most likely has exaggerated or misrepresented fact and quite probably has even filled in to a large extent with opinion. There is nothing wrong with opinion when presented as opinion, but when prose offered for sale or collected for remuneration with a premeditated purpose “to sell or please a publisher” is then published as “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” the author could be considered a self-styled or for-hire mercenary. Mr. Scahill, how much were you paid to be in Iraq and the flooded “Big Easy” and other area of interest between 2002 to present, be honest and include the perks, royalty, per diem, travel, equipment and other incident allowance and revenue?

It is a shame that PBS via Mr. Moyer was so indulgent to Mr. Scahill that he was given an essentially open mike to conduct a network PR session for more than half an hour. I’m sure that it will have a significant impact on the sales of his book and the royalties he receives. The publisher in fact is probably the greatest winner. What the media represents as “investigative reporting” is frequently unadulterated opinion or prose intended to sell advertising, because unadulterated truth will seldom have an eager audience for very long. Investigative reporters are frequently paid a great deal (could I say mercenary) to write what the publisher want, regardless of the damage it may do and usually is only related to a few isolated incidents. They may even be encouraged to write free-lance in order to give additional credence to the media tripe.

The public was again most likely duded by the mass media and the enemy was aided and abetted, while the defense of freedom and war against terror will suffer. I was a defense contractor (non-combatant and wore a triangular bullet-proof shoulder patch for several months during the Vietnam campaign) for most of my 40 year career. I admit that the military has a tough row to hoe, and at times walks a thin line between defense and offence, and sometimes the situation becomes offensive.

When we send contractors and military personnel into a situation with a blindfold and one arm tied behind their back, the enemy wears no uniform and has no obvious allegiance except to kill, it is extremely hard to resist the urge to make sure no opponent is able to use the arms he may have available. Women and even children are rigged with booby traps that are sometimes even remotely controlled and used as armor for the insurgent position.

I was not impressed by the parade of innuendo, supposition, and media hype.


I watched tonight's interview with Mr. Scahill with interest.

Mr. Scahill, while I believe that much of what you are reporting may very well be true, your bias on the story is so clear and strident in the negative that your credibility as a journalist becomes very questionable to me.

Emotional separation from the story is important and you clearly lack that separation when discussing your subject.

This is all too much of a trend throughout the media now where tone and position seems to trump the story.

If your reporting is as powerful as it appears to be, it will speak for itself.

Mr. Scahil:

Since the beginning of our involvement in Iraqi, I have heard and read many stories that put into question the true reason(s) for our involvement in this country's pre and post military removal of Shadem Hussein. I have heard of all types of answers from our President to the local "Joe" down the street but I am amaze with your reporting of the back-story of our involvement there and the mayhem that reads more like a hi-octane version of “Catch-22”. What amaze me about this madness is the reluctance from local and national news organizations to cover this type of reporting (in-depth story of Blackwater and Erick Prince involvement in the administration of the “Bush agenda"). What insight can you reveal why there’s a lack from major news organizations – 20/20, Primetime, Dateline etc. - in reporting and pressing these issues before the American public? Do you feel that your type of reporting might be too politically sensitive or damaging for the general public to hear from these organizations?


another landmark program. This coupled with the fundamentalist christian/israel program are wake up calls to what Scahill properly calls the fundamentalist privatization of america. Please keep up the work.

p.s. ... the entry in wikipedia, is obviously slanted for domestic political purposes, because it adopts one special, limited, meaning, dealing with how captives are treated, as its wider meaning

the wider, and more natural, current, meaning of a mercenary is simply based on its etymology .... independent of the national origins of the 'soldiers'
"Etymology: Middle English, from Latin mercenarius, irregular from merced-, merces wages — "

it's convenient for president bush, and the imperial forces, to use this special, limited, meaning, because to do otherwise, would mean that the mercenary corporation, blackwater, for instance, would be seen as overwhelmingly peopled with mercenaries

blackwater, and other proponents of this verbal sleight of hand, you'll note, always are at pains to use the restricted meaning ...

that's why the wikipedia entry has been slanted to force this one narrow meaning into become the primary meaning

thus, front and center, the wikipedia propaganda entry commences thus .... "A mercenary is a person who takes part in an armed conflict WHO IS NOT A NATIONAL OF A PARTY TO THE CONFLICT ..."

When Limbaugh refered to our Soldiers as phony Soldiers maybe it was Blackwater that he was describing.

The issue is the soul of america, they will become the enforcer, the SS, the kgb, this issue is more important than the war because it will be tied to the unrestrait spying on US citizen. These true believers will be are overseers, our keepers. We must stop this NOW. What is the basis or rational for keeping this army except to be able to enforce the right wing agenda (whether dem or rep) on us all without the cultural and historic military experience and leadership. Where is Colin Powell, who will stand up and why are they standing down
Thanks, for your reporting. It is greatly appreciated.
John Nelson

Mr.Jeremy Scahill
You spoke of Blackwater bodyguards as a kind of new age Praetorian guard with employees coming from places like Chile. It is important that we look beyond the particularities of current events and grasp the wider implications of what Blackwater signifies. I started to work on a Sociology paper on concentration camps being symbols of order without location, borrowing from Carl Schmitt's definition of nihilism. That lead into the plight of refugees and their reality which constitutes a location without order. The national, sovereign state with all its civil rights and liberties seems to be vanishing under the haze of a constant state of emergency. Is the appearance of private armies in the scale that you have presented, with their chain of command going all the way up to wall street, indicative of who really runs things?
Is this something that will go away by the next elections, or is this the start of something really big and rotten?

Thank you so much Jeremy!

I have been following your Blackwater reporting on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman from the beginning.

I was wondering what you might have to say regarding how Blackwater, Eric Prince, and the Christian Fundamentalists in general relate to the possibility of marshal law. Particularly, to the passage of The Warner Act, the Military Commissions Act, NSPD-51, and HSPD-20.

Thanks for your amazingly courageous reporting!

I grew up with Erik Prince and went to school with him. We were raised in a Calvinist, Fundamentalist Christian mindset that sets out God's "elect" and believes in the total depravity of mankind save for the saving grace of God through Jesus alone. It is twisted, and not to be taken lightly. And if I recall, the Beast had feet like a bears. Please, stop these people. Erik pushed people around in high school, and now he's doing it with weapons and my country's flag on his jacket. In high school we were always reminded in chapel about Christian being on our backs (on the letter jackets) and how we needed to be role models of how Christians should act. Remember, Erik?

I don't know if things have gotten so far out of the common citizens hands yet. I am a pessimist, however after 12 years of dictatorship and a catastrophic war, the German Republic emerged stronger than before. America will just have some trials to endure.
I also believe in peace, but am not a pacifist. If Blackwater thinks that they can take our country, they will have another thing coming.

I have one question - after listening to Mr. Scahill:
What can an ordinary, senior citizen on fixed income do to help change this situation.
It seems truly hopeless to me if all of the politicans are in on it.
We need more illuminating speakers (who have such a broad knowledge of their topic) on the airwaves, both radio and television.
Did you know our cable company (Comcast) is removing all of the public access stations throughout our state? It's criminal, what little forum we had is now gone.
Thanks for listening.

Great job Jeremy!!!

From one homo-sapien to another, I truely admire your steadfast dedication to Democratic principles such as but not limited to; FREE PRESS, REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT, EGALITARIAN Values , TRUTH and JUSTICE!!!!!!!

Keep up the Good work and "POR FAVOR" (PLEASE) don't ever give in to Extreme Individualism, Unchecked Greed, and the rest of those family values that seem to ooze out of the right.


Mr. Scahill could you just clarify something. Repeatedly you referred to "private contractors" outnumbering U.S. soldiers in Iraq in your interview. Are all of these "private contractors mercenary soldiers?

The nation owes Jeremy Scahill a great debt for connecting the dots on Blackwater and the far-right, and particularly the Republican hierarchy. Wondering if Mr. Scahill ever read some of the early writings of the late Herman Kahn, a founder of the Hudson Institute, a hard-right activist think thank that focuses on foreign policy, economic growth and defense, and advocates the abolition of government-backed Social Security and end of corporate income taxes. In his early works, before founding Hudson in 1961, Kahn wrote, essentially, that the wars of the future would be waged by private armies. Kahn worked many years as a researcher at the RAND Corp., a military strategy-focused think tank established post-World War II. Part of his job at Rand was to project the conflicts of the future so defense industries could develop product to profit from them. President Eisenhower was a true hero for warning Americans about the military-industrial complex, which has flexed its muscles through think tanks, and private sector enterprises like Blackwater.
I was not surprised to learn tonight that Blackwater's CEO is a graduate of Hilldale College, which preaches privatization of everything, and which received huge funding from the Coors (beer) family of right-wingers, a family also insturmental in the funding and founding of the Heritage Foundation.
Hudson Institute, like Heritage, has been an advocate of privatizing everything, including public education.
What's truly frightening is we now have a charter (another word for private) school in Chicago that is run by the U.S. Marine Corp. And out of Chicago we also have a chain of private high schools (Catholic) in which the tuition is paid by the students working at jobs that are part of their school week. These schools of the future are funded by none other than Bill Gates and another Silicon Valley tycoon, a model adopted for U.S. kids from a third world country. Amazing! Incrementally, the corporatists of the world are taking over and converting our great nation into a banana republic.

Your presentation on Blackwater was excellent. But I have two questions: I have yet to hear Blackwater called by the name it deserves, a private Gestapo. I suppose libel laws prevent that. And why haven't we seen some commentator brave enough to call the pro-torture gov't people what they are: sadists. Do such people really expect to gain information, or it is not more likely that they are pathologically enjoying make people suffer

I, too, would like to know the likelihood of a Blackwater employee firing on an American on orders from some corporation. I remember seeing some news footage in New Orleans re: Blackwater soldiers threatening cameramen to turn off their cameras and leave, in no uncertain terms. Also, there was the incident of Blackwater soldiers firing on some kids on an overpass and joking about it. This is a horrible precedent and a portent of what awaits the average American citizen. I guess they will become the next 'brownshirts' to harrass, control and subdue our citizenry at whatever costs affect the bottom line of whoever employs them.

Your presentation on Blackwater was excellent. But I have two questions: I have yet to hear Blackwater called by the name it deserves, a private Gestapo. I suppose libel laws prevent that. And why haven't we seen some commentator brave enough to call the pro-torture gov't people what they are: sadists. Do such people really expect to gain information, or it is not more likely that they are pathologically enjoying make people suffer

I was simply glued to my television set during this interview. This information on Blackwater ties in with your recent program on Christian Zionism - another powerful expose'.

It makes me wonder if the Bush administration believes it will control this country through its pretense of Christian ideology or through the creation of martial law militias like Blackwater.

The possibilities are frightening! What can the average American do in the face of such evil like Blackwater?

When I hear a reporter of the caliber of Scahill, it saddens me that we don't have others like him. I've always thought out news reporters and newspapers were conservative. This evening just confirms it.

Reporters take notice - you're not doing your job!!

Blackwater reminds me of the "College of the Americas", where soldiers are trained in counter insurgency and go home to their own countries and torture and kill the peace activists and do not have to answer for it.

I have no problem imagining that this is what Blackwater will be used for in the future.

Please continue to keep us informed.

P.S. Is there any truth in the report that Blackwater countersued the four families of the men killed in Tikrit for $100m?

Thank you to Mr. Moyers and Mr. Scahill for this fascinating, frightening and enlightening show. It's sad that shows like this are so rare in our corporate media which give us Britney Spears instead of this kind of relevant information.

Mr. Scahill,

Does the private sector currently have the ability to overpower our government's military? Is this the goal? When and how can it be accomplished?

Thanks again Mr. Moyers for exceptional reporting. Jeremy, your book is incredible. Thank you for all the amazing work you are doing. Can you share with us any information you have about private contractors currently constructing mysterious questionable detention centers across America? I beleive one will be constructed by KBR in Brady, Texas. What will they be used for and how has the funding for these centers been approved by Congress?

Thanks again Mr. Moyers for exceptional reporting. Jeremy, your book is incredible. Thank you for all the amazing work you are doing. Can you share with us any information you have about private contractors currently constructing mysterious questionable detention centers across America? I beleive one will be constructed by KBR in Brady, Texas. What will they be used for and how has the funding for these centers been approved by Congress?

very scary stuff! what's to keep blackwater from turning its guns on us?

Thank you very much for the show. One quick question: If injured soldiers are treated at VA hospitals, what about the Blackwater contractors who are injured in Iraq or in other missions? We often see headlines like, “Wounded Soldier's Care Tangled in Military System”. So, what’s it like for the contractors? Does it depend on where the contractors are recruited?
Thanks again, please keep up the good work!

mercenary ... as used nowadays doesn't require the mercenary to be from a foreign nation ... i tried on a recent sunday to change the wikipedia entry to reflect this ... but within minutes it was switched back ... which just goes
to show the cia were also busy on that sunday

i added a new entry ...but i see it's now removed ...

Wow - a blockbuster of a program tonight.Many thanks to Bill Moyers and Jeremy Scagill. I'll certainly buy the book and the video to show people in my town what they need to know. A scary business!!!

Thanks to Jeremy Scahill for his courage, penetrating examination, and clearheaded analysis of what may very well prove to be the unbridled instrument used to finally extinguish the remnants of our civil liberties and political freedoms.

With a co-opted Congress, corporate sponsored Presidential wannabe's, Judges that can't even personally define torture nor it's Constitutional or moral prohibitions, and the tragic loss of independent media, what hope does this Nation have of averting an overt seizure of our Government?

Then again, it would seem that indeed a coup is insidiously occurring, barely with our notice or our acknowledgment despite it's apparent, brazen disregard for what we ostensibly hold so dear and would supposedly die to preserve.

What harm then can discussion of that reality inflict on those who already rule the mindlessly disenfranchised?

Dear Mr. Scahill,
I was truly impressed and scared to hear more about Blackwater. I was nervous about it before, but now I want to buy your book for everyone I know. Please keep speaking out and hopefully more Americans will hear your message; I didn't like our president's actions before but now I find this "new world order" horrifying. What do you suggest we Americans do to fight this?
Thank you for your research!

Dear Mr. Scahill,
I was truly impressed and scared to hear more about Blackwater. I was nervous about it before, but now I want to buy your book for everyone I know. Please keep speaking out and hopefully more Americans will hear your message; I didn't like our president before but now I find this "new world order" horrifying. What do you suggest we Americans do to fight this?
Thank you for your research!

I read down the blog and noticed two entries asking for clarification on the roles that Blackwater and other contractors/mercenaries perform. If there are 170,000 contractors/mercenaries in Iraq, how many work for Blackwater, what percentage are performing combat duties, are any performing support roles? Does Scahill's book break any of this down? I certainly intend to read his book. Thank you for the absolutely riveting interview. It raised a lot of questions and concerns.

Thank you Bill for having Jeremy Scahill on, and Thank you Jeremy for your time and effort in putting your book "Blackwater" together. I will be purching it tomorrow. keep up the good work.

Thank you Bill and PBS for providing a forum for this wonderful guest. I heard him interviewed on public radio several months ago and am delighted to see him in person. I predict that his courageous expose' of Blackwater will enjoy a long run on the best seller list and will be most influential in the developing public outrage over this private army and their fascist, rock-star CEO: Eric Prince. By the way, is there any truth to his family being somehow related to the Bush family?

Thanks for more great journalism, Bill. For 30 years you have been the most critical ray of light in my own personal view of the contemporary American political scene. As an able citizen remote from the active political scene I feel disenfanchised and have precious few resources that tell the story straight.

Mr.Scahill,I was amazed by your findings and was struck by a seemingly personal connection between your story and an event in my own career. As a young mid-level federal employee I was offered an opportunity by an HEW regional commissioner to move into a revolving internship of sorts that involved both private sector companies (as I recall, including a mention of Raytheon) and various unnamed federal agencies (mostly in DOD) pointing toward a possible destination post such as a deputy undersecretary. I was to be broadly educated on all aspects of the military industrial complex through this process so I would be best equipped for the end job. This happened in 1971 and was offered across agency lines; I was employed by IRS at the time. I turned it down for personal reasons, but was always mystified by the federal/private sector aspect, with its interconnections and implications.

I wonder if this little factoid is indicative of yet more unearthed investigative potential aligned with your other results? I left the offer on the table with the feeling that such opportunities were not totally unknown, even if unusual.


Nice Interview. Questions: How should one view Blackwater If one regards the Florida "election" of the Bush Administration as a coup d' etat on America?
What happens if the criminals who populate that administration try to stay in power through force under some emergency excuse, rather than go to jail after leaving office?
What can the state Governors do to oppose such an armed takeover here when their national guard equipment is in Iraq?

Thank you for a most informative show. I wonder if you came across the case of Col. Ted Westhusing—a leading military ethicist and West Point professor-- in the research for your book. As I recall, during his tour in Iraq and following extended contact with contractors Col. Westhusing became convinced that: “that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military....” He complained to his superiors with little effect. Following these events the story becomes somewhat unclear but the claim is that he became so despondent that he committed suicide in his quarters near the Baghdad airport. During the inquest a military psychologist wrote:

"Despite his intelligence, his ability to grasp the idea that profit is an important goal for people working in the private sector was surprisingly limited," wrote Lt. Col. Lisa Breitenbach. "He could not shift his mind-set from the military notion of completing a mission irrespective of cost, nor could he change his belief that doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do should be the sole motivator for businesses."

I ask because after seeing the program I now see Col. Westhusing’s concerns and despair in a new light.

I look forward to reading the book. I also encourage every one interested to have a look at Blackwater's website at "". In fact Blackwater will hold a forum, "Public/Private Partnership in Peacekeeping "in Washington DC in December 2007.

There is a need for such a para-military force and it's an area that companies in France, Britain and other European Allies have done for years.

Working overseas is one area but I am skeptical of having such an organisation perform domestic duties duties within the borders of the USA.

"de oppresso libre"
"oppressors beware"
"nous defions"
"Who Dares Wins"

So if, uninvited by the United States Government, Eric Prince can deploy his private army in New Orleans after Katrina. And if he sees himself as a champion/warrior of his American values, what will prevent him or anybody else like him from deciding they need to break up a gathering of people that don't share his religious or political cause? Are companies like Blackwater something we have to fear on a personal level? Example: if he supported Pat Buchanan, Mr. Prince probably isn't pro-choice or a supporter of anything gay.

I remember the sick Senator from WI
hunting for communists in America in the
1950's. It took one courageous Senator
to stand up and stop him along with a
brave reporter like you.
Thank you for your work, it is time to
take a stand with you and keep it in the
public information daily, TV, radio, news
papers, blogs, word of mouth.

Thank you very much for the show. One quick question: If injured soldiers are treated at VA hospitals, what about the Blackwater contractors who are injured in Iraq or in other missions? We often see headlines like, “Wounded Soldier's Care Tangled in Military System”. So, what’s it like for the contractors? Does it depend on where the contractors are recruited?
Thanks again, please keep up with the good work!

Since these contractors are answerable to nobody, do they feel obligated to follow orders by military personnel (eg. to clear out of an area or permit access to a contractor guarded area)? If so, how long before they are so powerful that they can dismiss the orders of the military abroad (Iraq) or domestic law enforcement (New Orleans)? Have there been any documented friendly fire or unfriendly fire casualties to our military involving these guys? Can we know?

Many Republicans complain that government has moved into areas beyond its charter in the Constitution. But isn't one of the enumerated responsibilities of the government to provide for the common defense?

Seems the Clintons have no aversion to Blackwater or to oil company tax breaks for that matter. Should Obama get the vote would he survive to even attempt a reversal of the corporate take-over of our country? In JFK's day there was only the small CIA (and big oil of course); now we have 200,000 or more ready to guard the corporate interests.

Mr. Moyers and Mr. Scahill, and Mr. and Ms. posters:

I don't know or recognize this country anymore. Do you?


On May 10th, 2005, my Brother, Thomas Jaichner, was shoot and killed by a sniper in Ramadi while working for Blackwater. Like many of the Blackwater men he also served in the U.S. Military in Afghanistan where he met Blackwater. After being home for just three months from Afghanastan he was off to Iraq with Blackwater. It was during his 3rd time in Iraq with Blackwater when he was killed. I have been told three versions of what happened that day, one from the men with whom he served with, one from the newspapers and one from the autopsy report given to me by the FBI. The stories vary significantly. I would just like to know the truth, without a lawsuit. Being you wrote a book about Blackwater, I wonder if you have researched the circumstances of the men who have been killed while working for Blackwater?

Mr. Scahill,

I knew Blackwater was bad news, but until I watched your interview tonight with Mr. Moyers, I had never known that the Israelis were in N.O. looking for Blackwater.

The interview was excellent. Enlightening. Perhaps you will be carrying on Bill Moyers' integrity in the next generation. There aren't many of you left. Even though I could tell that serious questions on Mr. Moyers part were edited out. That's the price one has to pay to play the game, isn't it? Bravo to you my dear. I will be buying your book presently. Love....

With the RNC coming to the Twin Cities in September 2008, do you think Blackwater will be present ("keeping the peace")? How do we stop this from happening? Go home Blackwater! Thank you, Jeremy, for your courage to speak truth to power. I am a concerned citizen from Keith Ellison's (first Muslum in congress) district in Minneapolis. Many thanks!

Mr. Scahill -
thank you for your report. I would like to know your thoughts on how Mr. Prince's ideological beliefs and his "parallel national security state" apparatus affect the national sovereignty of central/south American nations in regards to the issues discussed in John Perkins' "Secret History of The American Empire". Are we witnessing the end of the nation state that is accountable in any way to the citizens (a continuous ongoing erosion long in the making, in my opinion)? More importantly, what can be done to bring real accountability to these organizations, above and beyond the "oversight" that Mr. Prince has repeatedly said he "welcomes". Thank you for your time.

I watched and listened with growing horror, esp. since I myself had thought many of the things you brought out ! Here's my question: concerning the use of contractors, now more than half the American force in Irak -- do you think this was intentional from the outset and used purposely to defuse dissent, along with obviating the necessity of a draft? Do you think it was an intentional plan by Cheney, Rove and the rest of the junta from the outset? Thanks, Matt Proser

Thank you Mr. Scahill and Mr. Moyers for your trenchant report aired this evening on the privitization of the American military.

As you stated, it would be fallacious to center blame on one President and one political party. Personalizing the problem would obscure the solution.

What can each of us (in my case, a private American citizen) do to stop this erosion of our democracy?

You have very important information. Have you or will you talk with our congress about what you know about Blackwater? They really needed to hear what I just heard on Bill Moyers Journal. Thank you for what you have done and please continue.

Yet again PBS and Bill Moyers hit a home run. Jeremy Scahill was the personification of excellence. I have heard none better. He is the penultimate articulate narrator of foreign affairs and with great particularity the phenomenon of the mercenary army. The scandals of this administration are so huge that it becomes impossible to understand all of it. Thankfully, I have taped Mr. Scahill's interview. Thank you, PBS, for keeping me sane and for continuing to be a voice for the people when the people seemingly have none.

I found the Blackwater interview very informative. And, I am furious about the implications.

A small point of fact: Scahill referred to 170000 contractors in Iraq. A number equal to the number of troops. From another source I have read that the mercenaries numbered in the vicinity of 8000. Scahill should have made this distinction. He should have diffrentiated in the interest of veracity. The larger number was repeated at least 3 times and a more accurate number was never said. Truth was hedged by using the word contractors after the number. There are many thousands of contractors other than security people. A break down would be in order in a report such as this.

Salaam Jermy
Iam an Iraqi citizen who is living now in US, I was very impressed by your interview. I just want to add that more than 10000 Iraqis killed in the battle of Faluja. Iam writing a book about the situation in Iraq after the invasion. Iam sure if the American people know the true reality in Iraq they will make a big chang. I will be glad to let you see the book before pushing it to publishing. There alot of horrible,catastraphic stories in my book. Iam looking forward to hearing from you
Buthain neveln

what resources are available to decrease the dominance of "corporate america" over the rest of us?

Eric Prince is 38. You can hear Jeremy on youtube also.

You have become almost a hero to me. I am thrilled at the timeliness of your work and the guts and integrity it took to write and research. Congratulations and thank you for trying to educate the American Public.

I have run amuck of another sinister operation run by members of the Council for National Policy and what is called The Father's Rights Movement. It falls in line with their Patriarchial thinking, what some are calling Dominionist Christianity. They have actually changed Welfare to support their ideological Marriage Promotion, Abstinence, Fatherhood programs. The Government is paying for men to use the court system to abuse, control and punish women and children. They train, encourage and pay legal fees. The condoning of abuse is part of their moral agenda.

I'm in the process of writing and researching the book. Any tips? I would love to know how you did it and got a publisher to print. Amazing and tenacious work!

How you did it was one question. A second is: Do you know how Eric Prince views his role is the Apocolypse or Armageddon? Do you know if Eric Prince is a Theocrat believing they are bringing on the end of the world and Jesus's reign?

Thank you Mr. Shahill for reassuring me that some journalists are still paying attention, and taking the time to investigate complex issues like Blackwater. And thank you Bill Moyers and PBS giving Mr. Shahill a platform to cover more than sound bites. No questions, I'm still too overwhelmed processing this interview!

THE primary goal of any good government err company should be to increase shareholder value. Great report. I am surprised at my ignorance. I must go back and re-read 1984.

Mr. Scahill & Mr. Moyer,

Thank you for your work. Journalism is not dead after all. This is the scariest news I have heard about our federal government. My question is: how do we (citizens) stop the out-sourcing of our military? Do we need to re-instate the draft - mandatory for everybody? Do we need a constitutional amendment that establishes "Non-Profit" wars - no corporation can make a profit while we are at war and all citizens must serve???
Please keep up the great work and if you know how?? - tell us how to help.

I was very interested in the link you drew with Blackwater's leaders and radical Christian groups. Do you think that it would be effective to attack such Christian supremacists through interfaith dialogue. The goal being to motivate moderate religious individuals around the world to speak out against the militarization of Christianity with the same intensity as the militarization of Islam. Or would this create a backlash in this country and provide organizations such as Blackwater more support.

I remember the Iran Contra Hearings when we discovered that Ronald Reagan had planned WWIII against the Soviet Union and that in those plans he would send all available military personnel to Europe to fight the war. But if every member of our military was overseas, who was going to guard the homeland? It was then that we learned that Reagan was the father of the far right militias and that he planned on
using them to "protect" Americans.
Well, Reagan didn't get his war but George Bush did and now the far right has the private army to "protect" the rest of us as they protected the people of New Orleans.
We need to admit that this is the American version of Saddam Hussein' Republican Army, only here in the U.S. it can be taken literally.

I found your interview very informative. I had a question for you. You made the point numerous times that due to continual contracts given to Blackwater, the company will be around for a long time. If a democrat wins in 2008, with a democratically controlled congress, there will obviously be a lot of de-privatization and a probably end to the war in Iraq. How will Blackwater continue?

This absolutely terrified me. What has happen to this country?

I have sent some questions about why we have mercenary militias in the first place to WaPo LOL sessions all of which were ignored. After listening to Mr. Scahill I have a better idea why they were ignored. Our media is more lame or intimidated than I had imagined. Whoever said the revolution will not be televised hit the nail on the head. Our democracy has been taken away from us and the people who stole it and the last two elections have militias we pay for to help them do it

Jeremy, I believe that you and all progressives need to reframe and replace the word privatization with the more foreboding word corporatization. What do you think?

Your investigative reporting is like real food - nourishing.

Why not throw some history into your reporting insights re. corporate mercenaries? For example, you might compare Blackwater to the East India Company - one of the earliest corporations with a standing army that rivaled the 18th century British military machine. It was this corporate mercenary monolith that put such a fright into the Founding Fathers that they sought to strictly limit corporate activities - and disempower them by giving them no constitutional protections.

All of these shennanigans by the Bush Administration point to the need to have stronger checks and balances in our governmennt with stronger oversight and accountability. I understand Americans are tired of the war, but when we turn mercenaries lose in a sovereign country like a bunch Texas lawman in Dodge City - with the absence of decency and proper rules of engagment - what good does that serve U.S. interests? Why haven't we impeached this admininstration and held them to account?

Great report on Blackwater. You have a unique ability to quickly explain in simple detail.
Keep up the good work.

pardon is scahill.

jeremy schahill, you rock, man! i was GLUED to the set! and i am still reeling from the info imparted.

my big fear is that when i actually process it all, i will go into a major funk.

the issue of "privatization" is a very real one. and it's not just military work; corporations are bargaining for leases (and in some cases ownership) on sections of public highways, school systems, just about anything and everything. the sad part is that to the taxpayer, the sales pitch of "cost effectiveness" seems to work until the road tolls double after the papers are signed.

you did a fine job on this story. kudos to you. i'm gonna get the book when i can afford it.:)

btw, how old is erik prince?

What would happen to Blackwater if the U.S. left Iraq tomorrow? How would it affect their size and income as a corporation? If these behemoth security companies depend on large conflicts to maintain their stature, won't they become an unacceptable lobby for a permanent state of war?

Is it possible to find out if Trust Funds are being set up and are seats to be provided on the Boards of Haliburton, Blackwater, and other defense contractors, etc., for Bush/Cheney and the others in this administration, so that once they are out of office they will truly control things in this country and the world no matter who is elected President?

Coming from a different angle on the question of why a US government dignitary, such as a Congress person, would use a mercenary over a member of the US military, is the question of why would a Senator or Representative TRUST a multinational mercenary person more than a US military person to keep them safe?

Also, thank you so much for your great work. Thank you for being such an admirable US citizen and putting yourself out there in the danger zone to protect our Constitutional.

It looks as if we need to reinstitute the draft to protect the country against a standing army, indeed, another Cromwell, in Erik Prince and Blackwater. The Republicans have not only privatized everything in sight, they are using the budget (or rather the budget deficit) to hire ppl and do things that would never be paid for by Congress due to the public outcry. This continues a trend since Vietnam and is similar to the way the King attempted to subvert Parliament in the late 17th c. using merchant wealth and customs duties, arguing for free trade to provide them. Indeed as the second part of tonight's show made clear, that is also part of the Republican party program. Free trade has always been part of the Tory position and was originally designed to restore help Catholicism to England, and later to restore the King to America. That so many evangelicals are for it today brings into question their Protestant credentials, no matter what they call themselves, in the same way that their republican credentials should be questioned. Nations should indeed become more equal in living standards, but free trade will only ensure that they are all equally poor.

The interview was cut on WETA at apx 9:40, the WETA logo stayed on in the lower left hand corner, then a big logo was put on, then they announced they were having tech difficulties. It was back on alittle before 9:50.

That report was really, really scary.

An excellent thought proking interview. Perhaps a significant conclusion is unstated but parmount nonetheless. This congomerlation of private armies is being used to disguise the true size of American commitment to this war. If the voters came to realize that in fact we have over 360,000 personnel in Iraq , and this number is still not sufficient, ones suspects there would be outrage and increased demand to get out. Thanks for your work.

Do you think that the power of Blackwater could lead to a situation in this country similar to what Rome experienced under Sulla? If our soldiers chose to fight for Prince instead of directly for the government AND those soldiers start seeing that government as evil and unneeded it could lead to the death of our Republic. To me it seems that serious.

Mr. Scahill,

Are you ever afraid to be so honest about Blackwater? I'd be looking over my shoulder after hearing you talk about how creepy this group is.

Claire Gawinowicz
Oreland, PA

Four of our guys hanging from a bridge caused us to go in. We screwed it up, made it a rallying city against the occupation, and had to destroy it. Go back to the beginning. Four Blackwater guys, who should not have been sent in by Blackwater under their own rules of engagement, brougt about the destructiom of the city and a great fueling of the insurgency.

I completed a Masters thesis earlier this summer, and the topic was on private security firms and the geographical concept of 'landscape'. I used Blackwater and Olive Group Security as firm examples. Much of what Mr. Scahill has written I also have come across, and I agree that these issues are of imminent concern to just about everyone. I concluded from my research into the actions and corporate culture of these and other private secuirty firms that the construction of American-style wild-west, semi-sovereign pockets of private militarized zones on foreign and domestic soil is more of a threat than terrorism to global security. We are way past oversight and accountability here. This many-headed hydra is connected across economic and political zones and has only just begun to influence global power. Many more people need to realize that Blackwater guards standing over housing officials and private citizens applying for aid with automatic weapons in a New Orleans public library is NEVER ok.


Thanks for your work.

What I find so hypocritical is that Republicans are anti-government, but as you've exemplified, they're taking tax payer money from the public sector to the private sector. It's just a transfer of funds, not limiting government’s role.

I have no doubt that many on the Blackwater payroll will write in to smear Mr. Scahill and his efforts at lending some measure of transparency to this cauldron of kickbacks and conflicts of interest. His remark that Blackwater and other mercenary armies subvert the democratic process at home and undermine the chain of command abroad seem well substantiated by documentary evidence, despite the best efforts of Blackwater to stanch the flow of such information. The carefully woven web of mythology that Blackwater spins around its actions only creates more questions in my mind regarding its legitimacy.

My question for Mr. Scahill: to what organizations might concerned citizens contribute in order to fight the spread of mercenary armies working semi-autonomously and spending public monies so profligately? For my part, I intend to give 'till it hurts and to raise as much from others as I possibly can.

This is the biggest single threat to American style democrary that I have seen or heard of in my lifetime. It has got to be addressed, and quickly.

Thanks to Bill Moyer for using his magnifying glass to shine an intense beam of light into the mass media's dark corner.

This may seem irrelevant. But I suspect Prince is not the family's original surname. If my suspicions are correct, I would like to learn what the name was before it was changed.... I understand that it was the name his less militant but equally crusading father passed on, but Erik Smith, Jones, or Lipshitz certainly wouldn't have the same resonance as "Prince says this and Prince says that."

Isn't there a concern that a well armed militia and private mercenary army capable of being summoned at will could be used to serve Mr. Prince's religious agenda, presuming he believes that he is doing Gods work? This is scary stuff. The right with their own army, better armed than the national militia. It is time to wake up!

We think Dorothy Day lives through you. God bless you in your humanitarian works. Please keep us informed. (Thanks too, to you Bill Moyers.) Blessings on the journey, Jen & Bob

Funny thing, I'm scanning down the page and find that I wasn't the only one to experience a blackout - when Bill Moyers was asking what would happen in case of a national emergency here in the US. I live in drought-stricken North Carolina, where it's dry as a bone this evening. What could possibly have caused this "coincidence", I wonder.

It feels like maybe 1000 people watch (wonderful) programs like yours tonight, living amongst millions who haven't a clue. But thanks for the shot of hope that maybe Im wrong....Im so depressed I barely care to pull a tick off...more and more the police state has trickled down into neighbors tying up police time on person vendettas (read about mine on

Can Blackwater intern people without Red Cross oversight?

Would like a little historical clarification: how many mercenaries, or extra military personnel, were used or available during the Vietnam War? Current troop levels in Iraq are 180000 mercenaries plus 170000 military. What about Vietnam? Thanks for you program with Bill Moyers; the discussion made me 1000% more aware of the real nature of Blackwater and companies like them. Thanks for the heads up.

Very scary to see mercenary forces that are so powerful... isn't there a law about using military force inside the country-- I was suprised to hear about New Orleans? What's to stop these mercenary forces from becoming dictators and toppling small goverments-- do you think this to be a likely scenario in the near future?

We need to bring back the draft. That way everyone would be affected by this war instead of the poor and disadvantaged.
Thanks Mr. Scahill for all your work and your voice.

what was blackwaters role in the distrubution of the Iraqi money from the U S treasury?

Are there standards that Blackwater has to meet in order to win U.S. Goverment contracts, such as, a certain level of training for security guards; a level of education and cultural experience required of recruits (language skills, knowledge of local traditons); a guarantee or certification from U.S. inspectors for equipment, supplies etc. If so, does Blackwater have an arm that applies for contracts and do they have in-house counsel that handles that or do they hire outside lawyers? Thank you.

Rhetoric! I worked for blackwater in Baghdad and I know what I am talking about from being there.

Jeremy Schahill is a fraud. The information he is spewing, as well as the Democractic line, regarding BW, is not accurate.

Lets start with the numbers. There are roughly 60 teams of 10-12 BW men working for the State Department, under State Department rules of engagement in Baghdad. Those teams average 3-5 "runs" a day where they take diplomats from the relative safety of the green zone into the "beast" or Baghdad. That averages to over 65k "runs" a year or 130K for two years. Congress said that they there were 185 shootings involving BW from 2005-2007. This works out to engagements 1% of the time. To illustrate my point, I was in Baghdad for 6 months, with my team (10-12 guys) making 3-5 runs day, AND I NEVER PULLED THE TRIGGER. In fact, NO MEMBER OF MY TEAM EVER PULLED THE TRIGGER.

I am listening to Jeremy Scahill as I type this and he is and his book is fully rooted in the liberal agenda. He said many things in this interview that simply are not true. Too many things to itemize. I would love to debate him in person. His facts are not facts at all.

BW guys were killed in Fallujah and there bodies mutilated, dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge.

Knuckle head says, in his book and in this interview, that the Bush administration used this event as cover to "lay siege" to poor Fallujah and "kill countless" civilians and he said that it "caused" the insurgency to begin.

This is historically
inaccurate. In fact, the USMC did surround the city of Fallujah immediately following the killing of the BW guys. The military did in fact give in to Iraqi public opinion and withdrew without an assault of Fallujah. This was a major strategic error in that the withdrawl marked an increase in the insurgency.

How do I know, I was there and got to experience the mortar, rocket and small arms attacks that increased markedly after the USMC withdrew from their siege of Fallujah.

Ultimately, Fallujah became the base of operation for the insurgency/terrorist (which essentially are the same people). The attacks on Americans and Iraqi civilians got so frequent that the USMC went back to Fallujah in Dec 2004 and neutralized it as an attack staging point.


BW guys are not mercenaries at all. They are capitalist, as are all AMERICANS.

Don't forget that BW operates under the State Department rules of engagement.

I never hear anyone on any report on Blackwater, discuss the amount of money that Erik Prince and Blackwater has contributed to the Republican party and those particular individuals who can make sure he had a leg up on Pentagon and Homeland security contracts. Have you or anyone else investigated this issue?

I am reading the book Scahill wrote about Blackwater. Many of the questions posted here are answered in his book.
Read the book, become informed, stop the mercenaries, end the fundamentalist crusade, support investigative journalism like Scahill's.

The morality of someone like Prince, a self-proclaimed devout Christian, is truly frightening and truly UNAMERICAN.
Privatization and capitalism are not infallible systems, they need to be limited, legislated and enforced.

Re: the blackout. The same thing happened to me too. I was watching WETA, the DC-area PBS station located in Arlington VA. My blackout happened during the part when the family of one of the men killed at Fallujah was asking to see a document. The family were told it was classified. Then - the broadcast failed.

I chalk it up not to a conspiracy, but to atmospherics. Immediately after the blackout, a huge downpour, the first in 34 days, began.

You can see the entire segment online anyway.

I'd just like to say that my station, WNET, blacked out for about 20 seconds when Bill asked about what might happen if martial law was declared. I am in NJ and have Comcast. Surely just a coincidence?

I'd just like to say that my station, WNET, blacked out for about 20 seconds when Bill asked about what might happen if martial law was declared. I am in NJ and have Comcast. Surely just a coincidence?

More feedback on 9-11 The Explosive Evidence vid… The one with the Serbo Croatian mercenary…

This video was released May 2007, in conjunction with five blockbuster videos titled, Evidence of Revision 1-5… They were compiled from thousands of television news tapes, and detail neglected or ignored evidence on matters including the deaths of John and Robert Kennedy, respectively President of The United States, and United States Senator. Including evidence from the Los Angeles coroner, that the shots that killed Robert Kennedy were fired from a distance of between one and three inches into his head from below his right ear, Sirhan Sirhan who was convicted for the killing was several feet to his front. The film has footage of the LA DA simply brushing that aside.

Take another look at the video… there is a Tomahawk Class Cruise Missile plummeting toward the WTC at 5 m 50 sec.

The damage to WTC’s 4, 5 and 6 visible on high resolution photographs @, said to be caused by the missile’s multiple thermonuclear warheads, reveal multiple cratering… One concrete panel inside the devastated WTC 6 appears to be partially vaporized, a shallow concave surface defining the event horizon of the thermonuclear fireball…

As the second jet rammed its target …that was an explosion, says Stephen McArdle a tax consultant from inside the Marriot Hotel, he was taping as part of an FBI sting operation… Then comes a longer and much louder explosion… the second explosion was thought to be the detonation of the missile’s warhead… Greg Smith 2002.

By Christopher Bollyn @ American Free Press… A massive explosion devastated World Trade Center 6 the eight-story U.S. Customs building, immediately after United Airlines Flight 175 smashed into the South Tower at about 9:03 am… Photo caption: The flame in the photos of the mysterious burning object passing through the South Tower is almost pure white, and leaves a dark trail… Is this the burning remnant of a DU penetrator.

The flaming wreckage Bollyn says might be a DU penetrator is not, he posted shots of wreckage thought to be an engine and part of the landing gear of the plane that struck the South tower, which had a different trajectory than the alleged missile.

Jack White’s 911 Studies… Photo: a pyroclastic cloud in an inner city environment, caption… while onlookers were distracted by the events at skyscraper level, moments after the second plane hit the South Tower, WTC 6 was torn apart by a massive explosion. The crater in the building was eight stories deep, an immense hole blasted into the sub basements… all eight stories missing… no wreckage… blown away… vaporized by the thermonuclear warhead on the missile…

American Free Press contacted CNN to determine exactly when the footage was filmed… CNN’s Public Affairs Department confirmed that the explosion shown in the footage occurred immediately after the second plane had crashed into the South Tower… When asked if the footage was taken at 9:04 am, the CNN archivist said …that’s correct. When asked if CNN could offer any explanation about what might have caused the blast that soared higher than the 47-story WTC 7 in the foreground, the archivist said, …We can’t figure it out. AFP.

BS Revealed…Torrent File 911-0856-1256 WABC-CNN footage, reveals the pyroclastic cloud event occurred at 10:00 am simultaneous with the collapse of the South Tower… not at 9:03 am immediately after the impact on the South Tower

Some 800 workers from WTC 6 were safely evacuated within 12 minutes of the first plane hitting the North Tower at about 8:46 am, according to a Sept. 18 Washington Post article by Stephen Barr. The Barr piece is the only known article published about WTC 6. However Barr failed to mention the explosion that apparently devastated the building, just minutes after the workers had escaped with their lives… A spokesman for FEMA told AFP that because the building was considered to be very dangerous, there was no data collection from WTC 6…

The tremendous damage to WTC’s 4,5 & 6 does appear consistent with a missile strike… a multiple warhead Tomahawk cruiser would do it easy… Though as we have ascertained, the pyroclastic event did not occur till the start of the collapse of the South Tower. So where did the 9:03 am missile hit… and what precipitated the tremendous explosion that caused the upward pyroclastic event, filmed at 10:00 am coming from the vicinity of WTC’s 4, 5 & 6 …or was that fallout from the collapse of the South Tower.

Or the missile strike was at 10:00 and the 9:03 missile tape was falsified… NY1 an internet news service from NY had excellent long shots of the entire drama… certainly no missile was visible simultaneous with the South Tower air strike, however the flaming wreckage identified as part of the landing gear, and one engine was… When the South Tower began to disintegrate at 10:00 am the station was showing close up chromatically aberrated images, it was not till the collapse was well under way, that the long shots went back onto the screen. Thus we are unable to see if a missile struck at that time, or to time the emergence of the explosive cloud emanating from the vicinity of WTC’s 4, 5 & 6, which could have been a different color and texture than the collapse material.

Any presidential campaign built around 911 truth would probably get about ninety percent of the vote… Abortion is genocide.

Hi Jeremy,
great work on your research. I have watched all your interviews on the web and the TV and bought the book.
2 Questions.
In light of your discoveries, and Naomi Kleins thesis of the Shock Doctrine, is it possible that the impending attack on Iran is being planned to plummet the US and world markets into a depression based on instant 200 dollar a barrel oil and all of the spin off costs and problems with that, and use that depression as the "shock" to create support for more war, more spending and the justification to Privatize more of the US infrastructure and public services?
2. During the Civil unrest following the depression and attack on Iran, Martial Law could be declared to be the "October surprise" next year resulting in suspended elections etc, and Blackwater and their comrades would be used to enforce the Martial Law?

From your research - is there any evidence that the private security contractors provides a cost savings or increased efficiency to the DoD; also, is this a phenomenon supported by DoD organizations or DoD leadership unwilling to provide military forces for these requirements due to their primary missions; finally, do you think the President and/or Congress has facilitated the increased use of private security contractors due to their ideological beliefs? how ? Thanks

That is an outstanding point. As an infantry veteran, I can get out of the service and apply my Army training to a number of civilian roles. But what a deal for the contractors - and especially Mr. Prince - to separate from the military, slide right into a job with Blackwater (who spends little to no money training their field personnel) and soak the government (read:taxpayers) for big bucks doing what regular active duty infantry or even MPs - no Special Forces or Rangers necessary - could do.

What light can you throw on how many employees have been militarily trained by our tax dollars that go to the DOD?

Seems to me the taxpayer is paying a large part of the bill if 90% say are ex-military.

Maybe when one leaves the legit military there should be a non-compete clause in effect that for ten years you cannot join contractors that are going to monopolize on the training that Uncle Sam provided. Like maybe all those copter pilots?

Hope you can tell more facts about this aspect, I will be hopefully watching, haven't read your book, do intend to, but have caught a number of your TV appearances and used one of your features in The Nation as a post on a forum where I participate, attributed of course.

Hello Jeremy,

I had heard a while ago that the 4 contractors blown up and then hung from the bridge had been terrorizing the citizens of that the spectacle shown round the world might have been revenge for their behavior. What do you know of this?

Just a comment: I live not too far from the new black(heart)water training camp in eastern Ill. A truely scary place. your interviews and books.
Keep up the good work.


all the ranking military were tipped off years ago that this private contractere deal was going to happen, so they retired or opted out, got on the bandwagon and are now making many times more MONEY.

looks to me like there's NO real difference between CIA and's a case of "hide in plain sight," with cia conducting operations under guise of blackwater (or whatever other contractor you could name.

What does congress have to do to ensure that our streets will never be patrolled again as in New Orleans, by for hire mercenary corporations?

The good news about Blackwater is that those guys are getting to play cowboy and Indian somewhere else rather than run around here campaigning for a "well armed militia" and gathering weapons.

Okay, it is not really good news that we have exported our nutcases to slaughter innocent Iraquis.

Talk about terrorists.

It seems mercenaries mask the real number of troops needed in a war. The Vietnam war ended in part because there was a draft and all kinds of Americans were touched by the war and knew the cost to some extent. That impact on citizens created a reaction to the war felt throughout society and by the governmnet. Do you think blunting the impact of war is one reason mercenaries are being used by Bush and tolerated by others in government?

My question is.

What will it take to effectively change directions?

The respond to
"Bleeding hearts don't stop bullets."

If you want to live in a hartless militaty state, then maybe you should move to the Middle East.

Aye, there's the rub. Nothing like a thousand bucks a day to make you forget those pesky Constitutional rights and become a yes-man to orders from a commander who might be stepping over some line. This kind of scenario could cause some Dean-esque changes of heart in liberals who argue against the right to bear arms. As the bumper sticker says, if guns are outlawed, then only criminals will have guns.

Always thought you could interpret that little gem from either side of the argument.

Anyway, an interesting, if sobering, possible role for these private security companies...nothing like saving the citizenry from itself, no?

I gather that Cheney and Addington have overriden the prohibition against using US troops against Americans on American soil. If a provocation, real or cooked up, should arise for the President to declare martial law; and if the military refused to obey orders to move against Americans; might mercenaries like Blackwater take up the slack?

How do "companies" like Blackwater get license to be created to begin with? My assumption is that law enforcement and military branches have historically been created, controlled and financed at local, state and federal levels and are responsible to the citizens whose taxes pay and support their mission and responsibility. Am I wrong on this? Why and how, then, do these paramilitary entities exist outside our local, state and federal political jurisdictions?

Isn't what the Us Army is conducting in Iraq acting in the same role as a MERCENARY ARMY? Is not our government delegating authority to BLACKWATER? In short do we hide our dirty work under the cloak of BLACKWATER and the like and take the higher ground when things go bad? This administration has always worked very hard at having a way out of looking bad with lame excuses and playing the blame game. Blame the worker celebrate the bosses is their mantra. Isn't it a shame that we as the greatist nation in world have settled on a level so low as to employ hired guns to fight our dirty wars, kill innocent people and fill the coffers of the super rich with the pillage?

To answer Robert Wright, there is a growing movement in the US - see Senator Chris Dodd - to implement far-reaching programs of expanded national service roles, such as the Peace Corps and Americorps. Inserting medical and engineering projects staffed with American civilian volunteers into war-torn countries like Iraq would take a lot of pressure off our soldiers and Marines without instituting a draft. Remember, the Infantry is only one small portion of the huge mass of forces we deploy.

Blackwater seems to me just another well-connected episode in the wholesale buyout of American government by corporate interests.

The Real Reason We're In Iraq:
An influential group of conservatives convinced President George W. Bush that it was in America's best interests to conquer Iraq as a first step toward dominating the oil-producing nations in the Middle East. There was no "exit plan" because we never intended to exit. The plan was, and is, to build military bases in Iraq and stay there forever. Our leaders see Iraq as a place to make money. So Bush & Co. have set up their friends to cash in on the rebuilding of Iraq. Is Iran next on the hit-list? I certainly hope not!

With many raising serious questions about the legitimacy of using a private paramilitary security force in combat zones where American troops are already operating, what then would be the role of a company like Blackwater in the private sector here at home? What kind of financial hit would Blackwater take were they pushed out of official combat theaters altogether? And other than special training offered to state and local police, federal agencies, etc., is there an appropriate place in modern American society for a company some call a simple band of thuggish mercenaries?

As most of us know, a military draft would be political suicide in the U.S. Blackwater fills in the gap of forces needed. If they weren't in Iraq, more lunatics would be firing on and bombing our people, and our regular military would be spread even thinner. Bleeding hearts don't stop bullets. Let Blackwater do its job!

I have two questions:

1. Is the CEO of Blackwater a devout right wing Christian and does this tie in to last weeks episode about the armageddon mentality and Israel?

2. Isn't the Iraq War just a huge money transfer directly to the bank accounts of Bush & company (Blackwater, Haliburton, etc)?

Mr. Scahill:

Thank you for the work you do. Keep talking about this. When my spouse was in Iraq, these "security" men were guarding generals in the Green Zone. Sometimes, it was reported to me, a bunch of men were used to guard these generals who were moving literally three miles down the road. They were, "guys that couldn't make it in the real Army," and were (are) being paid as much as $1,000 per day to stand around like big shots. It really, really brought down the moral of the troops, who were pulled away from their families and paid a quarter of what these guys are paid (as an officer, forget the little guy). This administration's abuse of power is disgusting.I am picking up your book today.

My question would be, who benefits financially from the contracts with Blackwater and the other private security companies? This administration has consistently used cronyism and no-bid contracts to bestow favors.

9-11 The Explosive Reality... This video has reports of bodies strewn about in Bldg 7… and a man with a strong Serbo-Croatian accent, helmeted in a green military uniform blocked a news television camera with his hand, told the reporter that the tower was coming down and said, "...nothing informations." at 1 hr 09 min. …A foreign mercenary soldier on the street in New York the day the WTC came down.

Maybe he was a Blackwater thug.

19 Sept 07 Mr Scahill, please offer an answer to the most obvious of questions: since the basic facts will soon hit the media, how could the Administation possibly expect most citizens to quietly shrug them off with a "That officer needs very special security that even our elite troopers can't provide"? As things stand, the public's growing more and more baffled and irate over the past and current contradictions and ironies. Good luck with your urgent book! Geo

Does anyone remember the Roman Praetorian Guards whose job it was to protect the emperor? What did they do when there was an attempt to reinstitute the Republic? They realized they'd be out of a job and put Claudius on the throne. Since these mercenaries, Blackwater, only answer to their corporate bosses and not the American people, what happens to them when the war is over? Do you think they'll just meekly fade into the setting sun? Do we really want a restless mercenary army returning to our shores?

Thank you for the program. Do you believe that Blackwater or another one of our private military, companies or the U.S. military will guard the Iranian and Chinese companies when they build Iraq's power plants? Thank you for all you do to keep America informed.

Mr Scahill & Mr. Moyers,

"The Nazis had the Gestapo. The United States of America has Blackwater."

I was very concerned to learn that at least 55 US local law enforcement agencies -- from metropolitan areas to small rural towns -- are using Blackwater for training police officers, including Dallas police and Univ. of Texas campus police. With Blackwater's dismal record on human rights and brutality, this means trouble for civilian control of police. According to a report by Wayne Madsen*, a number of the police departments that have been trained by Blackwater have abysmal civil rights and police brutality records, most notably the Chicago Police and Illinois State Police. What guarantee do we have that our cities won't end up like the bloody streets of Baghdad and Fallujah when our police forces have been trained by this extreme right-wing and proto-fascist mercenary "business"?

* Wayne Madsen Report: Blackwater Training U.S. Police

Mr. Scahill,

I heard a radio broadcast where you said that Blackwater had roots with the Knights of Malta. It fits the facts that Laurence Gardner outlines in his books that the Knights Templar and Knights of Malta had played significant roles for hundreds of years up to the present insidiously shaping world politics. Thank you for exposing these cabals.

Have you found any evidence to suggest that the Iraq war was simply a cover for the raids on the museums to steal whatever they were looking for? They obviously have not found it because the US is still there.

It is truly sick that the Congress had to come to you for answers, however, sir, you are a true patriot.

What was the Blackwater mission during and after Katrina, domestically? This is a major area of concern, that "overwhelmed"local police forces and an overstretched National Guard will cause public officials to "outsource" to Blackwater or its equivalent. Or that martial law will be implemented with privatized security. Is it paranoid to evoke the rise of 20 century fascist power?

I wonder about the relationship between the need to employ a company like Blackwater and U.S. military draft policy. How might current debate about Iraq be changed should talk emerge about reinstating the draft?

What kind of oversight does the government provide of Blackwater's military operations?

What is the relationship in Iraq like between the U.S. military and Blackwater employees?

Very simply, Mr. Scahill, why do we need so many dignataries in Iraq, who are they and why are they there needing protection? I understood that State Department officials at any embassy are guarded by the Marine Corp.

I would ask Mr. Prince why he needs to use terms like "bad guys".
does believe in good guys / bad guys?
Is his god different than their god?
Are his morals so simple?
what makes you good? what makes you bad? does he believe the objectives for this war are noble?
Jesus was for non violence - forgiveness - not killing. how can he define himself a Christian if his life is based on opposite ideals?

PLease explain to me why we are not/cannot use our military forces to protect "dignitaries" rather than paying millions of dollars to some private corporations who supplies soldiers. Is it legal to create a private army that comes with the capacity to build helicopters, uparmored vehicles, etc? What if these were militia types out west? This sounds like a bunch of cowboys who are getting paid huge salaries to do what our military is paid peanuts to do. And they answer to whom??? There is something terribly wrong here.

Please ask Mr. Prince what Bible and what Book of the Bible does he use to justify the killing of humans - or is his justification coming from his bank statements. Does his Bible suggest he may go to Hell when his time comes?

There was a 400-person protest the weekend of October 6-7, 2007 near the site in Potrero, California where Blackwater wants to put its new "Blackwater West". Residents of this small rural community in San Diego county and countless others are opposed to the establishment of a large permanent training camp for paramilitary mercenaries. They will bring destruction of the environment, weapons, noise and brutality to a peaceful area. Never before in our history have we used a private corporation's hired killers at home and abroad so brazenly. It is a frightening turn of events borne of fear and greed, two formidable opponents of human justice and goodness.

I am in the midst of Reading "Blackwater" having seen Scahill on Book Tv and other venues and congratulate his persistence. The difference in Prince from his appearance before Congress and during his recent PR performances is stunning. It seems people are missing the fact that he is a CIA wannabe as stated in the book. This says volumes to me which I wish would be emphasized so as not to be ignored.

I am one of many people who just don't understand why we need the "independent military" instead of using our own troops. If we don't have enough legitimate troops, then maybe we need to rethink our mission. Thank you.

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