Wayne Madsen Report
September 29, 2005 -- Blackwater USA represents a return to "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition." According to a knowledgeable political insider in Washington, the private military contractor Blackwater USA has close ties to the Christian Right. The Prince Group, the McLean, Virginia-based parent company of Blackwater, recently hired Joseph E. Schmitz as its Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel. Previously, Schmitz was the Inspector General of the Department of Defense. Schmitz was a Special Assistant to-Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who is an official of the dominionist Christian Fellowship Foundation and a Heritage Foundation Fellow who recently authored a blueprint for rebuilding New Orleans and Louisiana. Perhaps not coincidentally, Blackwater USA and its sister company Presidential Airways, have been providing security for petrochemical industry and other installations damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Blackwater's Raven Development Group (RDG) advertises the following services, which should alarm current landowners in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mississippi: General Contracting, Construction Management, Design Build Services, Site Selection Assistance, and Municipal Interfaces for Site Plan Approvals -- Economic Incentives and Permitting.
Blackwater USA: "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition"
Joseph Schmitz is active in the Washington Lawyers' Chapter of the right-wing Federalist Society, the same group with which the new Chief Justice John G. Roberts was affiliated. Schmitz is also a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Schmitz was accused of covering up several investigations into fraud, waste and abuse within the Rumsfeld Pentagon. Schmitz is the son of the late GOP far right congressman and segregationist American Independent Party presidential candidate John G. Schmitz. Schmitz's sister is former Washington State school teacher Mary Kay Letorneau who was jailed for child rape after having sex with her 12-year old sixth grade student. After Letorneau was released from prison in 2004 and after she had two children with the student, she and the boy, Vili Fualaau, married. Their sexual relationship began in 1996 when Letorneau was 34.
John G. Schmitz was discovered to have had an affair out of wedlock with one of his Santa Ana College political science students. In 1982, a 13-month old infant boy, who was the product of Schmitz's relationship with German national Carla Stuckle, was rushed to an Orange County, California hospital with a hair so tightly tied in a square knot around the boy's penis, it was almost severed. Child abuse charges were later dropped against the German college student and the infant was restored to her custody.
Joseph Schmitz is not the only connection between Blackwater and right-wing GOP politicians. Blackwater's CEO and co-founder is Michigan-based Erik D. Prince, an ex-US Navy SEAL, an heir to an automobile parts corporate fortune, a former intern for President George H. W. Bush, and a contributor to such right wing Republicans as recently indicted Tom DeLay. Prince also has strong political links to Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, one-time GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer, a political action committee called "Restoring the American Dream," (whose board of directors included Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Robert Bork, former Rep. Steve Largent, Domino's Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, North Carolina Rep. Sue Myrick [appointed to the Joint Congressional "Review" panel for Hurricane Katrina relief], and former Rep. J. C. Watts) and, more interestingly, current House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) chairman Peter Hoekstra, who has been pressuring the CIA to accept more intelligence from HPSCI sources. The close connection between Hoekstra and Blackwater, a company that advertises its own intelligence gathering services: "Our mission is to provide the client with veteran military, intelligence and law enforcement professionals with demonstrated field operations performance tempered with mature experience in both foreign and domestic requirements," should be of concern to non-politicized and career U.S. intelligence professionals.
Erik Prince's sister Betsy, who is chairman of the Michigan GOP, is married to Dick DeVos, the son of Amway founder Richard DeVos, a member of the board of the conservative and Christian Dominionist Council for National Policy (CNP), an umbrella organization where he rubs shoulders with such leading right wingers as Jack Abramoff, Howard Ahmanson, the Leadership Institute's Morton Blackwell, Focus on the Family's James Dobson, Coral Ridge's Dr. D. James Kennedy, Edwin Meese III, Pat Robertson, Richard Viguerie, and Paul Weyrich. The DeVos family has used a corporate entities such as the Windquest Group, DP Fox Ventures, and Alticor, Inc. to funnel thousands of dollars to conservative GOP politicians and their PACs, including Restoring the American Dream board member Sue Myrick, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, and Louisiana Rep. Bobby Jindal. Erik Prince, through a Virginia entity called Prince Household LLC, as well as the Prince Group, has contributed to Tom DeLay, Peter Hoekstra, George W. Bush, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.
Blackwater maintains the largest private military training facility in the United States. Located on an abandoned U.S. military base at Moyock, North Carolina on the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp near the North Carolina-Virginia border, Blackwater's Security Consulting subsidiary attracts military and paramilitary trainees from around the country and the world. Former Chilean and Honduran military personnel have been trained at Moyock prior to deployment to Iraq. What is even more attractive for the Bush administration and Blackwater is the fact that, as a private company, Blackwater is far removed from oversight by government inspectors general, Freedom of Information Act requests, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and snooping reporters.
Iraqi insurgents killed and mutilated the bodies of four Blackwater mercenaries near Fallujah, Iraq in April 2004, an act that triggered a massive U.S. military response that laid waste to the "city of mosques." Recently, Blackwater mercenaries have been patrolling the streets of New Orleans along with other mercenaries from the United States and Israel.