Blackwater USA

A friend strongly recommended that I read Blackwater USA by Jeremy Scahill. I had never heard of Blackwater USA.

Blackwater USA is a a private military company and security firm founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and based in North Carolina. The company describes itself as a “military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations company.” Their services are for-hire. And there is some concern that fundamentalist Christians are bankrolling mercenaries. Blackwater specializes in training and deploying contract mercenaries, however it is simultanously reframing its mission, calling its work “humanitarian” and “peacekeeping.” I do find it a bit odd that Christians are in the business of selling contract soldiers to government and other agencies. But, digging deeper into the company, there are reasons why I am not surprised.

This article reports that the company does about $500 million in revenues and employs about 2,300 people with another 20,000 or so on call.

Erik Prince inherited a small fortune when his father died. His father had a very successful auto parts business and the family business was sold for over $1 billion. He used the capital to build the largest privately owned military training base in the world. 7,000 acres in North Carolina. And another 80 acres near Chicago.

His sister married into the DeVos family. The Richard DeVos family. Richard is the co-founder of Amway. Poor guy. Richard’s net worth is only about $3.4 billion. I guess someone makes money at Amway and Quixtar. And the DeVos and Prince families are strongly connected.

Amway. Blackwater USA. Isn’t it great that Christians are bringing these types of businesses into the world? Multi-level marketing and war profiteering. Wonderful.

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