Monday, April 30, 2007
The private security firm Blackwater USA is planning to build a new military training center on an 800-acre ranch near Potrero, a tiny rural town east of San Diego. The project, known as Blackwater West, is being opposed by a growing coalition of local residents, environmentalists and peace activists. We speak with Rep Bob Filner who is exploring legislation to block the project
Chris Taylor, Blackwater's vice president for strategic initiatives, referred to the planned facility in southern California as "Blackwater West." Blackwater Vice Chairman Cofer Black said the company is interested in creating a small army for hire - a brigade-size force that could be contracted for peacekeeping and stability operations in troubled regions of the world.
I will not allow this immoral mercenary training facility to exist in my state. In joining the East County Democratic Resolution against Blackwater West, I hope to raise awareness about the potential evil that could come to our backyard.
WHEREAS, Blackwater USA, a North Carolina-based private security firm under contract to the Pentagon to supply armed personnel for duties in the Iraq War, proposes to build a large mercenary and paramilitary training compound called Blackwater West near Potrero, in San Diego County, on an 824-acre parcel that includes Cleveland National Forest acreage, borders a proposed wilderness area adjacent to the Hauser Wilderness, and is both an important watershed and an environmentally sensitive habitat for wildlife; said mercenary and paramilitary activities are inherently dangerous and pose serious risks--including severe fire danger--to surrounding communities and wilderness areas, will deplete groundwater, substantially increase traffic, increase noise from shooting ranges, driving track, and helicopter activities, among many other environmental concerns.
WHEREAS, Blackwater USA and other private contractors are not subject to an effective system of oversight and accountability with respect to their operations and government contracting activities, and are the subject of ongoing hearings before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse; Blackwater USA has resisted attempts to subject its private soldiers to the Pentagon's Uniform Code of Military Justice, claiming they are civilians, and has simultaneously claimed immunity from litigation under civil law in the United States, asserting its forces are part of the Pentagon's "Total Force."
AND WHEREAS, the "John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007" (H.R. 5122), which was signed into law by President Bush in October 2006, seriously weakens two bulwarks of liberty--the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act of 1807--by expanding the power of the president to declare martial law and use troops as a domestic police force in response to a "public emergency" or any "other condition"; and Blackwater troops (which were deployed domestically in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) or other private mercenary and paramilitary forces pose a severe threat to the civil liberties of the American people and now could be deployed to quell public dissent, put down popular uprisings, or even to stop opposing points of view through intimidation or outright force.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party opposes mercenary training by private concerns anywhere in the State of California, including the Blackwater West project.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all military, paramilitary, or related security/law enforcement training operations in California, whether private, governmental, or some combination of the two, will be conducted on, and only on, secured U.S. military bases or other established government-regulated facilities designed for that purpose.
77th AD Delegate
President, East County Democratic Club
Alternate, San Diego County Democratic Central Committee
1. "H.R. 5122 [109th]: John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007" http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-5122
2. "Making Martial Law Easier," The New York Times, 02/19/2007 editorial http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/19/opinion/19mon3.html?ei=5088&en=b6389062c9533ffe&ex=1329541200
3. "Bush Moves Toward Martial Law," Frank Morales; , GlobalResearch ?.ca, October 29, 2006, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=MOR20061029&articleId=3618
• Section 1076 of HR 5122 - This is the house resolution that made the changes http://www.eastcountydemocraticclub.org/twiki/bin/view/Ecdc/HR5122-109-1076
• Section 333 of Title 10 - This is the resulting law. http://www.eastcountydemocraticclub.org/twiki/bin/view/Ecdc/Title10Section333