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Professional Overseas Contractors

Professional Overseas Contractors
Absent on Wednesday in a Washington courtroom, where a federal jury entered guilty verdicts of murder and manslaughter against four Blackwater Worldwide guards in the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians, was a man synonymous with the United States’s infatuation with contractors. He is Erik Prince — billionaire, former Navy Seal, ex-CIA spy — the founder of Blackwater.

Prince is a man accustomed to drama. Numerous agencies have interrogated him. Members of Congress and reporters have hurled accusations against his company: murder, wrongful death, prostitution, negligence, weapons smuggling and racial discrimination. He has been called a “war profiteer,” a “mercenary” and a “right-wing crusader.” He sold the company and started a new one under a different name.

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Blackwater Worldwide guards were found guilty Wednesday of killing 14 Iraqis and wounding 17 others after they fired machine guns and threw hand grenades into Baghdad’s Nisour Square seven years ago. Jurors ultimately rejected the guards’ claims that they were acting in self-defense, as none of the victims were insurgents. The conclusion of the 11-week trial brings a close to one of the darkest chapters of the Iraq War.

Despite the new spotlight on Blackwater’s botched operation, Erik Prince, the founder of the private security group is just as eager as ever to send hired hands into Iraq.

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Professional Overseas Contractors


A federal jury in Washington convicted four Blackwater Worldwide guards Wednesday in the fatal shooting of 14 unarmed Iraqis, seven years after the American security contractors fired machine guns and grenades into a Baghdad traffic circle in one of the most ignominious chapters of the Iraq war.

The guilty verdicts on murder, manslaughter and gun charges marked a sweeping victory for prosecutors, who argued in an 11-week trial that the defendants fired recklessly and out of control in a botched security operation after one of them falsely claimed to believe the driver of an approaching vehicle was a car bomber. Jurors rejected the guards’ claims that they were acting in self-defense and were the target of incoming AK-47 gunfire.

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Professional Overseas Contractors

Professional Overseas Contractors
As someone who spent many years operating in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other underdeveloped countries facing existential security threats, I was recently asked about my reaction to President Obama’s plan for fighting ISIS.

My immediate response is that the President’s current plan seems half-hearted at best. American air power has significant reach and accuracy, but ultimately will be unable to finish the job of digging ISIS out of any urban centers where they may seek shelter amongst the populace. Clearing operations ultimately fall to the foot soldier. The Iraqi army is demonstrably inept after billions spent on training and equipping them. Providing them more gear is a high risk endeavor.

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Professional Overseas Contractors

Professional Overseas Contractors
As the U.S. military returned to combat in Iraq this summer, a group of jurors in Washington DC were hearing arguments over a dark chapter of the last war. Though some elements of the 2007 killing of 17 Iraqi civilians at a Baghdad road junction by Blackwater private security guards remain shrouded in mystery even after a trial that lasted 10 weeks, prosecutors provided overwhelming evidence that the tragedy was one of the most one-sided encounters of the US occupation.

The civilian vehicles caught up in the incident were so riddled with bullets and explosives that their contents could barely be identified, yet the convoy of four armoured vehicles in which the guards were riding was marked only by a handful of tiny dents and scratches of indeterminate origin.

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Professional Overseas Contractors

Professional Overseas Contractors
A Blackwater security contractor threatened to kill a State Department investigator in Iraq who was looking into allegations of the company's cost over-runs, boozy parties, mistreatment of migrant workers and violence against civilians, according to a newly-released report.

Daniel Carroll, Blackwater’s project manager in Iraq, allegedly told Jean C. Richter that 'he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,' in August 31, 2007, Richter claimed in an official report he filed after the fact.

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Professional Overseas Contractors

Professional Overseas Contractors
A press release from Constellis Holdings signals major news in the High Threat Security Industry. Academi, the company formerly known as Blackwater and Xe, will join Triple Canopy along with a handful of other high threat security companies under a new management structure named Constellis Holdings.

“This move allows us to create a suite of services to better provide critical support capabilities for government and commercial clients and will utilize ACADEMI’s world-class training facility, the largest and most comprehensive private training center in the U.S.” said Jason DeYonker, Managing Director of Constellis Holdings, Inc.

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Professional Overseas Contractors

Professional Overseas Contractors
WASHINGTON — After years of delays, four former guards from the security firm Blackwater Worldwide are facing trial in the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in bloodshed that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe.

Whether the shootings were self-defense or an unprovoked attack, the carnage of Sept. 16, 2007 was seen by critics of the George W. Bush administration as an illustration of a war gone horribly wrong.

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Professional Overseas Contractors - www.Your-POC.com

Professional Overseas Contractors - www.Your-POC.com
The U.S. private security contractor Academi has trained Brazilian police forces for the World Cup, according to an article published by journalist Patricia Campos Melo, of newspaper Folha de S Paulo. A group of 22 federal policemen as well as military policemen from different states were sent to the Academi training center in Moyock, in North Carolina, where they were taught anti-terrorism techniques in the largest private training center in the United States, that includes scenario facilities, four ship-boarding simulators, two airfields and three drop-zones. According to Lieutenant Ricardo Nogueira, of the Sao Paulo Police, the course -- named "Maritime Interdiction of terrorism" -- focused on the US experience in fighting terrorism.

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Professional Overseas Contractors - www.Your-POC.com
Raven 23 was a team of Blackwater employees who provided security in Iraq for U.S. government personnel. On September 16, 2007, a car bomb went off, and Raven 23 was called on to secure an evacuation of a diplomat. As a federal court described it later, “a shooting incident erupted, during which [some of the members of Raven 23] allegedly shot and killed fourteen [Iraqi civilians] and wounded twenty others.”

After September 16, the firefight moved to federal district court in the District of Columbia when the U.S. Attorneys Office for the District of Columbia brought charges against some of the members of Raven 23.

And, as legal battles go, what a firefight it is.

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The name Blackwater became famous after the 2007 event in which guards from the security firm’s Raven 23 unit opened fire in Baghdad’s Nisour Square on September 16. The shootings, which the Iraqi government said were unprovoked, killed 14 people and wounded 20 others.

The guards claimed they came under attack from insurgents while carrying out their duties for the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), which had hired the firm that has since undergone multiple name changes (Blackwater Worldwide, then Xe Services, now Academi).

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Civilian Warriors


At the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. military included 1.4 million active personnel and nearly 1 million more in the reserves — plus hundreds of thousands of civilians at the Pentagon and civilian agencies across the national security complex. It was a smaller force than the one that had fought the Persian Gulf War a decade earlier, but still enough, in pre-9/11 Pentagon war plans, to fight two simultaneous regional battles.

However, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this force was not enough. And so our government faced choices: raise a larger army, call up more reservists, hire more civilians or rely on contractors. At some point, the government exercised all these options. But for the first time in U.S. history, it chose to rely so heavily on contractors that, at the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, contractor personnel outnumbered troops in each theater of war.

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Ex-Blackwater Guards Plead Not Guilty

Post Date: December 4, 2013 | Category: Justice Abroad

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Professional Overseas Contractors - www.Your-POC.com
WASHINGTON — Four ex-Blackwater guards are pleading not guilty to multiple manslaughter charges stemming from a deadly 2007 shooting on the streets of Baghdad.

Prosecutors say the heavily armed Blackwater convoy launched an unprovoked attack. Defense lawyers argue their clients, who entered their pleas Wednesday, are innocent men who were ambushed by Iraqi insurgents.

The guards were first indicted in 2008, but one of them, Nicholas Slatten, was dropped from the case the following year. A judge then dismissed the indictment against all defendants, but an appeals court reinstated the case. The men were charged in October in a new indictment.

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Professional Overseas Contractors - www.Your-POC.com
Erik Prince is done working for the U.S. government, he said. He has invested millions in setting up a Frontier Resource Group, a private-equity firm that operates in more than a dozen African countries. The company raised $100 million to invest in infrastructure Africa in conjunction with Chinese companies. The firm is building an oil refinery in South Sudan, owns a cement factory in the Democratic Republic of Congo, conducts aerial gas and oil surveys across the continent, and is looking at taking over idle oil wells damaged by insurgents in Nigeria, he said.

“Africa is so far the most unexplored part of the world, and I think China has seen a lot of promise in Africa,” Prince, who served with SEAL Team 8 in Haiti and the Balkans, said during a visit to Hong Kong, later telling the South China Morning Post: “The problem is if you go alone, you bear the country risk on your own. You have to get support and maintenance there.”

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Retired Brigadier General Craig NixonThe company known for providing pre-eminent risk assessment, training and security solutions around the world is welcoming Brigadier General (Ret) Craig Nixon as CEO.

Nixon comes to ACADEMI (formally known as Black Water) from the McChrystal Group where as a partner, he worked closely with the executive and business teams of Fortune 500 technology companies including HP and SeaGate, and served as the McChrystal Group's senior advisor on strategy.

Nixon will replace current CEO Ted Wright who is stepping down from the position after overseeing the successful restructuring of the company, which is a leading provider of private training and security.

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Professional Overseas Contractors
The criminal investigation into the military contractor formerly known as Blackwater concluded Thursday when two executives pleaded guilty to misdemeanor firearms charges. Former Blackwater president Gary Jackson and former vice-president Bill Matthews each pleaded guilty to one count of failure to make and maintain records related to firearms. U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan sentenced each to four months house arrest and fined them $5,000 each.

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The Rise of a New Private Security Firm

Post Date: January 24, 2013 | Category: Around the World

The Rise of a New Private Security Firm

The private company Typhon is preparing to operate alongside the world’s navies, offering protection to cargo vessels sailing around the Horn of Africa.

Anthony Sharp of Typhon, wants to escort your commercial ship through pirate-infested waters.  A 50-year-old veteran of tech startups, grew up with a love for ships. On February 7, he’ll turn that boyhood affection into what might be the first private navy since the 19th century. Sharp’s newest company, Typhon, will offer a fleet of armed ex-Royal Marines and sailors to escort commercial ships through pirate-infested waters. In essence, Typhon wants to be the Blackwater of the sea, minus the stuff about accidentally killing civilians.

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The re-birth of Security Giant Blackwater

Post Date: August 8, 2012 | Category: The Danger Zone

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Despite new ownership, a new board and new management, security contractor Xe Services LLC could never shake a troublesome nickname: the company formerly known as Blackwater. Now, it's the company formerly known as Xe.

Virginia-based Xe plans to unveil a new name—Academi—and new logo. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ted Wright, president and chief executive, said the name change aims to signal a strategy shift by one of the U.S. government's biggest providers of training and security services. Mr. Wright said Academi will try to be more "boring."

Founded by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince, the original Blackwater cultivated a special-operations mystique. But it was tarnished by a string of high-profile incidents, including a deadly 2007 shootout in Iraq that ultimately led to its reorganization and rebranding as Xe Services. Mr. Prince left the business in 2010, selling his stake to investor group USTC Holdings LLC.

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