Blackwater Offers Training to 'Faith Based Organizations'

This is not a story from <i>The Onion</i>.

In its ever-evolving re-branding campaign, Blackwater has created a new alter-ego for part of the company’s business. Meet the "Personal Security Awareness" program, which appears to be an off-shoot of Erik Prince's Greystone, Ltd., a classic mercenary operation registered offshore in Barbados. On its website, which was registered on February 20, 2009 and went live recently, the "program" is described as "a multi-phase course which is designed to assist Non-Government Organizations, Faith Based Organizations and Commercial Businesses by providing individual personal awareness and driver training for their personnel when deployed to unfamiliar environments." It adds: "Greystone recognizes the importance of 'preparation by doing' and looks forward to you joining us for this exciting training!"

Blackwater, of course, works for such organizations as the International Republican Institute, but “Faith Based Organizations?” Are they serious? I’m sure there are just scores of Islamic aid groups just lining up to take courses from Blackwater, XeU.S. Training Center, Greystone,  Personal Security Awareness. Moreover, any legitimate “faith based organization” that wants harmony with other faiths would be insane to work with this company. One of the courses offered is described as teaching “persons traveling to foreign environments how to remain safe during their travels in a vehicle.” This truly is surreal. What would seem more appropriate would be a company offering courses on how to  “remain safe” in a vehicle when going anywhere near Blackwater forces. Remember how those unarmed Iraqi civilians were blown up in their car by Blackwater operatives at Nisour Square? Or the Afghan civilians allegedly killed in their car by Blackwater operatives in Afghanistan in May?

Jeremy Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.
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