Blackwater links

A couple of articles on Blackwater, the US mercenary force that is allegedly shooting innocent civilians in Iraq and was recently hired [update: dead link] by the Pentagon "to conduct global counter-narcotics operations":

Jim McDonald, A Blackwater Bouquet

Naomi Wolf , Blackwater: Are You Scared Yet?

From McClatchy news service:


Founded in 1996 by Erik Prince, a former Navy Seal, multimillionaire and conservative Republican donor, Blackwater began as a training facility for police and the military but began offering security services after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Prince, whose father helped bankroll conservative Christian organizations such as Focus On Family and Family Research Council, has given at least $225,000 to the Republican Party and its candidates.

The Congressional Research Service said that as of May there were 987 Blackwater security contractors in Iraq. The director of the Private Security Company Association of Iraq told Congress in 2006 that there were 48,000 contractors from 181 companies providing security in Iraq.