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October 21, 2007

Blackwater's Washington ties

Blackwater's ties to the religious right and Republican party politics are already well known.

Comparatively little has been said about the private security firm's lucrative connections in the world of military procurement. Today, Frank Rich has a must-read column on the subject.

Earlier this month, high-ranking Air Force procurement official Charles Riechers took his own life after it was revealed that he had taken money for nothing from defense contractors. Ironically, Riechers had been hired to clean up the corruption left in the wake of his predecessor, Darlene Dryuan, who went to jail for massive favoritism towards the Boeing Corp. and her own family.

Rich explains:

Yet the full story of the corruption during Ms. Druyun’s tenure is even now still unknown. The Bush-appointed Pentagon inspector general delivered a report to Congress full of holes in 2005. Specifically, black holes: dozens of the report’s passages were redacted, as were the names of many White House officials in the report’s e-mail evidence on the Boeing machinations.

The inspector general also assured Congress that neither Donald Rumsfeld nor Paul Wolfowitz knew anything about the crimes. Senators on the Armed Services Committee were incredulous. John Warner, the Virginia Republican, could not believe that the Pentagon’s top two officials had no information about “the most significant defense procurement mismanagement in contemporary history.”

But the inspector general who vouched for their ignorance, Joseph Schmitz, was already heading for the exit when he delivered his redacted report. His new job would be as the chief operating officer of the Prince Group, Blackwater’s parent company. [NYT]

Joseph E. Schmitz was the top Pentagon's top investigator. He left for the Prince Group as he was about to become the focus of a congressional inquiry into whether Schmitz had improperly quashed two criminal investigations. 


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And lets not forget Ciara Durkin, the National Guardsman from the Finance Unit who was killed shortly after she told her family that she thought she'd stumbled on something big and if anything happened to her they should investigate it.

Boutique Weapons

From the New York Times article you linked to:

"Responding to questions about Mr. Riechers’s death, an Air Force spokesman, Lt. Col. Edward W. Thomas Jr., said Monday that the arrangements the Pentagon made with C.R.I. helped to provide short-term contractual work as consultants for people awaiting final clearance for senior civilian government positions.

Colonel Thomas said that under an existing contract with Commonwealth Research, Mr. Riechers had provided technical advice to the Air Force on several programs, including the use of bursts of microwaves as a crowd-control technique,"

Lends credibility to articles like this one:

"The second form of directed energy weaponry fires out microwaves, a form of energy well known for its use in modern kitchen appliances. I have nicknamed this weapon the "death ray" -- and with good reason. Exposing mammals to microwaves is known to make them explode.

The documentary news video in question, which was released online recently (16 May 2006) by a major Italian news service, examines evidence that the U.S. military has deployed – dating back to the 2003 battle for Baghdad Airport – a new generation of weaponry likely based on firing microwaves."

Watch the video.

Fun facts about Schmitz:

His dad, a "family values" right-wing politician, was bounced from the John Birch Society for being too extreme (granted, not until after social services was called to investigate what doctors believed to be an attempt by the mother of the unacknowledged child he had outside his marriage to cut off the blood to the child's penis)

His sister is Mary Kay LeTourneau

His wife's sister is Colomba Bush

julia - do you have links? Curious

I have always wanted to visit Russia and now I feel like I live in Russia, only with a higher per capita income and milder winters (and less borshcht.)

Oh, most of that is in the linked sources to his Wikipedia entry, although you can get pretty much all of it with a Google news search too.

I spent a while researching him last week. Interesting guy.

Enslaved - microwaves are a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and they have a variety of wavelengths with a variety of effects. At 2.45 GHz they couple particularly well to water, which is why that's the frequency used in microwave ovens. You can make things explode by heating them with microwaves, but the energies required are very large and absolutely impractical for use as a weapon (due to the need for large dedicated generators, for one thing, and the ease of sheilding for another). There are real issues with the use of microwaves in crowd control, where a much higher frequency than the domestic oven can be used to cause acute pain with minimal permanent damage. That's a whole 'nother thin than blowing up critters by sticking them in the microwave oven at home, though.

I'm so goddamn tired of Christian Supremicists.

Amen, Mudkitty !

Don't worry all. Condi is calling for oversight of iraq contractors, everything will be fine.

I have some links to this on my site but I think I mostly got 'the dirt' from wiki.

I'm disappointed in myself because I think I had this information prior but then forgot it with everything going on. We should have a blogger on each one of these freaks just to track them as they do us and keep up with their lateral moves.


"Support the troops!" regales the crowd,
Waving the flag of which so proud,
(If seldom with decorum): they
Love war and like to have their say.

Yet of the US forces in
Iraq--contrary to their spin--
A large majority of these
Are independent mercen´ries.

Indeed, it totals more than half
The mercenary force--a laugh
When one considers all these dupes
Waving flags, spouting "S´port our troops!"

These mercenary forces, or
"Private contractors" as they are
Described in the official jargon
Yet come at not too much a bargain.

To whom are they beholden? None,
Nor with a check upon their gun
Let´s hope that politicks don´t turn
Away--these forces for to spurn--

Or we may see, as such are known
To do--their opposition blown
Away by lethal force. Ha, ha!
For then ´twill be no fol-de-rah,

As joyous citizens that day
Dance to the tune their pipers play,
And they--as bullets ricochet--
Pas de bouree, pas de bouree.

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