Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blackwater bubbling under the border skin...

[Image: Blackwater Otay, via Raymond Lutz / Citizens Oversight.]

Well, just when you thought Blackwater USA had pulled up stakes in SoCal, news breaks that the private military contracting firm is allegedly setting up a very private little shop just three blocks away from the US-Mexican border, this time in Otay Mesa. Yes, sir. Real sneaky-like, too.
Amy Goodman ran an enlightening interview with Raymond Lutz (responsible for stopblackwater.net and Citizens Oversight, and an important voice in heading off the Potrero shooting range), and California’s Rep. Bob Filner.

[Image: Blackwater Otay, via Raymond Lutz / Citizens Oversight.]

Apparently, she says “Blackwater received approval for the 61,000 square-foot indoor facility in Otay Mesa, California, by filing for permits using the names of two subsidiaries. It was only last week when San Diego officials learned Blackwater was behind the project.”
Lutz tells us that while the bands were out rallying months ago loudly against Blackwater West in Potrero the firm was quietly “in the process of filing these permits under the names Raven Development and Southwest Law Enforcement”, understood to be “under a shell company out in Puerto Rico.”

[Image: Blackwater Otay, via Raymond Lutz / Citizens Oversight.]

He brings us some pics of the site and says he “drove down to check it out,” and indeed “could see the ventilation equipment out the back of the building, which is apparently necessary for the indoor shooting range that they’re intending to put in.”
I will leave you to read the rest – and do it. While Blackwater is listing this as a vocational school, it seems to be more and more obvious that not only is it a shooting range with possible pollution consequences of its own, but perhaps there are other just as secret political and profiteering consequences to uncover, not to mention the foul symbolic messaging of this project as well.

[Image: Blackwater Otay, via Raymond Lutz / Citizens Oversight.]

As if the border fencing, the surveillance, the drones, the national guard, P-28, and all the other informal militarizations of the border already isn’t enough to be staging it as some sort of future warzone, throw in the presence of a Blackwater and now what are we all supposed to believe? Can you spell border-industrial-complex? How will Blackwater engage the border? What role will they cement for themselves down there? Will they work with the Border Patrol? Will they take over certain responsibilities of the Border Patrol? Will Blackwater take it upon themselves to start “securing the border”? Shouldn’t we be wary of companies like this even adding themselves to the complex archeology of border politics down there at all? And what kind of message does it send to the communities there, on both sides of the fence – that their neighborhood is an ideal spot for secret warfare training? It is so obvious Blackwater wants their own little piece of the border pie, a presence there, but why? Why does it seem they are so aggressive about camping out along the fence? What government contracts for border security are they fishing for, or do they already have? What are the spatial politics to unravel here? Whose real estate is this, really? What other companies are also behind this? Is the site a strategic location for something other than just Blackwater? How involved is the hand of American politics, who specifically? I wonder what if anything we would find if we were to peel the roof off this place?

(Thanks Jav for the tip!)


Blogger Geof Gibson said...

Welcome to SoCal, Blackwater! More jobs, better training for law enforcement. Hey, if I hand the land, I'd be happy to lease it to you. We could certainly use some more commercial shooting ranges in SD county as well. More power to them.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

geof smells

1:52 AM  
Blogger jannx said...

jeez, I hope there are no tunnels under the border from their premises.... only Mexicans do that so I guess there's no reason to worry about tunnels from Mexico ending up inside their buildings. Is there?

6:47 PM  
Blogger Subtopia said...

that's a good question. i will keep my eyes open.

3:53 PM  

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