The motorcycle-riding GOP
#1 Jul 25, 2011
Blackwater: The Real 'Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy'?
By Ali Gharib, Right Web, Political Research Associates, August 3, 2008
Erik Prince of Blackwater Worldwide testifies on Oct. 2, 2007, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. D.C.(Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images)
Businessmen with ties to the G.O.P. and right-wing ideologies and pedigrees are not uncommon. What makes Erik Prince special is the confluence of his core beliefs—militarism, right-wing Christianity, and privatization—in his controversial mercenary business, Blackwater Worldwide. At the center of a heated scandal over abuses committed by private military contractors in Iraq and elsewhere, Blackwater has begun to expand its business into intelligence gathering and a host of other security-related services. Its success is helping fill the coffers of some of the country's most influential conservative political figures and prompting some observers to call it the "future of war."
When Hillary Clinton coined the phrase "vast right-wing conspiracy" during her husband's presidency, she was referring only to the attacks against her husband—not to a rapidly expanding business of mercenaries and private spies whose largesse is helping fill the coffers of some of the country's most influential right-wing politicians. But such a phrase comes to mind when one considers Blackwater Worldwide and its founder and C.E.O., Erik Prince. The company and its leader are tied together in a dizzying mix of right-wing ideologies ranging from privatization and enthusiasm for an unchecked free market, to aggressive nationalistic militarism, the Christian Right, and the broad executive power they rely on for patronage.
Although already at the center of a heated controversy over the use of private military forces in Iraq and elsewhere, Blackwater has begun to expand its business into the realm of intelligence, as ardent Blackwater-watcher and journalist Jeremy Scahill reported last month in the Nation. The zealous privatization agenda of military-tied programs and the creation of what Scahill called "a structure paralleling the U.S. national security apparatus" converge in the new "private spy" mission of Total Intelligence Solutions—Blackwater's espionage subsidiary (1). Total Intelligence promises to bring "CIA-style" intelligence work to the boardrooms of mega-corporations and executive offices of foreign governments—probably among the few entities that can afford the heavy price tags associated with Blackwater services. In exchange for its massive fees, Total Intelligence Solutions delivers, according to its website, "surveillance and countersurveillance, deployed intelligence collection, and rapid safeguarding of employees or other key assets" (
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