Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blackwater West update

I just got this week's edition of The Californian, and there's a front page article about the tactics being used to pressure and cajole the residents of Potrero to accept a Blackwater West training camp in their community.

On the local level, Potrero Planning Board Chair Gordon Hammers had an attorney send a letter to the 10 Potrero residents who signed the notice of intent to recall telling them to cease their "libelous and defamatory" comments about him.

When directly asked what libelous and defamatory comments had been made he replied that it wasn't really libelous or slanderous, but "misinformation" regarding their accusations of insufficient community notice. He claims they had plenty of notice.

So why have an attorney send a letter to the citizens that want a recall? Personally, I find it kind of shocking that a publicly elected official would send a legal notice to people exercising their legal right to challenge him. It's a tad intimidating, don't you think?

Additionally Jan Hedlun, the sole PPG member opposed to the establishment of Blackwater West, has had a complaint filed against her with the county about a zoning issue regarding her home. Mr Hammers stated that he had nothing to do with that, but also told her that "little girls who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones or sooner or later it would catch up with her." Insulting and threatening, all in one. Nice.

Both Mr Hammers and Blackwater USA have issued their side of the story via the Potrero Hotline, a newsletter which is published by Mr Hammers.

Hammers has written that the citizens are being used as "pawns" by "far left radicals and extremists", and Brian Bonfiglio of Blackwater USA has submitted the first of a series of articles intended to sell the residents on their plan. Both are claiming their opponents "distort the truth".

Speaking of distorting the truth, he also disputes the use of the term mercenaries to describe Blackwater employees because they don't provide security services for countries other than the United States.

Main Entry: mer·ce·nary
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin mercenarius, irregular from merced-, merces wages-- more at MERCY
One that serves merely for wages; especially, a soldier hired into foreign service.

They do hire former soldiers from other than the USA to fight on our behalf. (aka: the coalition of the billing) They do have an affiliated company Greystone, that they refer to as an international supplier of turnkey security solutions.

aka: Mercenaries.

So, we have accusations all around, and no small measure of intimidation. I'm opposed to Blackwater West for the many reasons I've mentioned in the past, but it really frosts my cookies that they've pretty much destroyed the community already.

While I'm on the subject, Blackwater has been in the news plenty in recent weeks.

Blackwater Heavies Sue Families of Slain Employees for $10 Million in Brutal Attempt to Suppress Their Story

Judge Halts Award Of Iraq Contract

Btw, don't forget that Courage Campaign is still collecting signatures on their petition opposing the establishment of a Blackwater West para-military training facility in California.



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