Blackwater = Fire-Fighter?
Wired Blog Network (2007-10-26) Noah Shachtman
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More Info: Blackwater, Blackwater West
By Noah Shachtman October 26, 2007 | 3:34:02 PM
Blackwater guns-for-hire famously took over security on some New Orleans streets after Hurricane Katrina. Now, the company is saying that it wants to help fight California's forest fires.
Here's the background. Blackwater, as Salon notes, "is planning to build an 824-acre military-style training complex in Potrero, Calif., a rural hamlet 45 miles east of San Diego." If the private military contractor gets its way, it'll "turn a former chicken ranch into 'Blackwater West,' the company's second-largest facility in the country. It will include a multitude of weapons firing ranges, a tactical driving track, a helipad, a 33,000-square-foot urban simulation training area, an armory for storing guns and ammunition, and dorms and classrooms."
Local groups opposed to the complex said, before the latest conflagrations near San Diego, that Blackwater West's "regular detonation of firearms would be a risk both to the fire-prone landscape as well as to the wildlife that currently calls that area home, including the golden eagle and the California condor."
Au contraire, Blackwater execs answer. Brian Bonfiglio, vice president of Blackwater West, notes that the complex's proposal includes water tanks capable of holding 35,000 gallons. "I see a tactical operation center for East County fires," he says. "Can you imagine how much of a benefit it would be if we were operational now?"
Sounds to me like the company is going to need yet another logo.
On a semi-related note... The other day, we noted the many changes that Blackwater's web site has undergone, over the years. Reader PS reminds us that the Wayback Machine has archives of the company's online presence, all the way back to 2002.