Blackwater starting it's own mercenary air force

Blackwater buys Brazilian-made fighter plane
USA Today

A subsidiary of U.S. military security contractor Blackwater Worldwide has purchased a fighter plane from the Brazilian aviation company Embraer, a Brazilian newspaper reported Sunday.

The 314-B1 Super Tucano propeller-driven fighter — the same used by the Brazilian military — was bought for $4.5 million and delivered to EP Aviation at the end of February, according to the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.

The report included the plane's registration number with the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency, and the FAA website confirmed it is registered by EP Aviation.

It was not clear if it was Embraer's first sale of a military-style aircraft to a private company. EP Aviation has 33 planes and helicopters registered with the FAA, according to the agency's website, only one of which is from Embraer.

Officials with Brazil's government and Embraer declined to comment on the Estado report. Phone calls to Blackwater were not returned.

The plane sold to EP Aviation did not include the two .50-caliber machine guns normally attached to the wings.

This was to skirt some rule that would have made the purchase illegal. You can can bet your ass that the machine guns, or something worse, will be attached after the sale.

Blackwater, the largest private security company in the world, has been under scrutiny as a U.S. federal grand jury investigates its involvement in the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians. Blackwater also is under investigation for possible weapons smuggling allegations — violations the company denies.

Specs for the fighter:

• 2x 12.7 mm FN Herstal M3P machine guns
• 1x 20 mm cannon pod below the fuselage
• 4x 70 mm rocket launcher pods
• Conventional and intelligent bombs
• 2x AIM-9 Sidewinder or MAA-1 Piranha or Python 3/4 air-to-air missiles
• External stores on 5 hardpoints

Yes, a prop fighter in an jet fighter age may seem cute, but a mercenary corporation with a history of murder buying their own fighter planes should have the FBI raiding their offices, and arresting their CEO TODAY!

It is interesting to note that BushCo killed a sale of this plane to Venezuela, but apparently thinks it is OK for a private corporation run by the religiously insane to start their own air force.

This company needs to be shut down, NOW!


Another issue to ask Hagan if she will investigate

After all, this is an NC-based company. Where will these planes be deployed. I wonder if there are any laws on the books in NC that allows private companies to deploy such things?

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Air Combat over Colombia

A Brazilian Super Tucano shoots down some drug smuggler in a Cessna somewhere over the jungle. With a little help from Americans, of course

CIA Shoots down Drug...oops.....Christian Missionaries

Roni Bowers and the shot heard 'round the world

Editor: On April 20, as five American missionaries (including two children) were flying home through the jungles of northern Peru, their small single-engine Cessna was mistaken for a drug-smuggling plane by the crew of a CIA-operated surveillance aircraft. A Peruvian fighter plane which was called in to investigate opened fire, killing two of the missionaries, wounding another, and forcing the pilot to land in the Amazon River.

Veronica "Roni" Bowers, 35, and her 7-month-old daughter Charity were killed. Pilot Kevin Donaldson was badly wounded, and Mrs. Bower's husband, Jim Bowers, and their 6-year-old son Cory, survived unhurt. The Bowerses worked for the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and they and the Donaldsons had dedicated their lives to missionary work. Following are excerpts of news articles we've compiled about these devoted men and women who were working hard to win the lost for the Lord.

* * *

At age 12, Roni Bowers committed her life to Jesus. A year later, she began planning a career on the mission field. She pursued this calling, never imagining that her devotion to Jesus would echo around the globe. The 35-year-old missionary, killed along with her 7-month-old daughter, Charity, when their small plane was shot down in Peru, has spread God's word through her service and ultimate sacrifice.

The tragedy has generated headlines everywhere. The world is asking why the Peruvian Air Force mistakenly blasted a Cessna carrying the Bowers family, believing it was a drug-smuggling airplane.

Roni's mother, Gloria Luttig of Pace, Florida, refuses to play the blame game.

"I don't harbor any bitterness in my heart," Luttig said. "What good would it do me? It would eat me up. It would make me very ugly and mean. I don't want to be that way."

Although the tragedy is a shock, Luttig said God has given her a peace about it.

"I just lost my baby, but I know where she is, beyond a shadow of a doubt. All she wanted to do was to bring people to Jesus. She died doing what she wanted to do."

The dream of missionary work guided young Roni's every move. Her parents allowed her to graduate from high school a year early so she could attend a Bible college. While attending Piedmont Bible College in North Carolina, she made a vow not to date anyone unless he, too, wanted to be a missionary.

Roni's prayers were answered. She met and married Jim Bowers, who had been raised in Brazil by missionary parents and who also planned to be a missionary. Roni and Jim finished their education and made their way to Iquitos, Peru, where they ministered from a houseboat on the Amazon.

The couple was unable to have children so they adopted a son, Cory, in 1994, and a daughter, Charity, shortly after her birth last Sept. 14. The Bowers took the journey on the plane to obtain a permanent visa for their infant daughter.

Now Jim and Cory must carry on without their loved ones. For a day or two, Bowers couldn't make sense of the bullet, and the hole it ripped in his family. Then he began to understand--and to forgive.

Skeptics might not understand how the missionary can so quickly say he forgives the Peruvians. "How could I not," Bowers replies, "when God has forgiven me so much?" Roni forgives them, too, he says.

In life, Roni Bowers was an obscure example of the estimated 420,000 Christian missionaries worldwide. In death, she may achieve her greatest accomplishment. Her story has gone around the world.

Like other missionaries who've laid down their lives, Roni Bowers died in a faraway land spreading the good news. The Gospels explain such sacrifice.

In John 12:24–25, Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."

Jesus then adds, "If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor."

Roni served Him with all her heart and soul. In the closing sentences of a small autobiography, she wrote, "Now I choose to trust God fully. He is in control. He knows what is best. He doesn't owe me anything; rather I owe Him everything. When we as believers get to Heaven, we won't have to ask, 'Why?' It will be worth it all."

It was worth it all, Roni. For although you fell like a kernel of wheat to the ground, this tragedy is producing many seeds. Your death has touched the world and given God another opportunity to spread His wonderful message.

Now you and Charity are together forever in the loving and protective arms of your Savior. I'm sure His first words to you were, "Well done, good and faithful servants."

* * *

While two governments struggled over blame in the gunning down of a plane flying American evangelists over the jungles of Peru, the friends and relatives of a slain missionary already had their answer. It was God's will, they said.

Even the wounded pilot, whose foot was nearly severed by a machine gun blast but who managed to land the crippled plane in a river, insisted that the incident was guided by divine hands.

"It certainly is no credit to me," Kevin Donaldson said in a brief statement from the hospital where his shattered foot was being treated. "It was obviously the Lord that landed the aircraft."

Doctors expressed amazement that he had managed to bring the damaged plane down to a river landing. "The only thing holding his foot on was his skin and some muscles," said Dr. James A. Coffey. "Any controls that required the use of his right leg, he was unable to do."

"It was heart-wrenching what happened to Roni and her baby. But it's like one of those woven latch rugs," said Steve Aholt, a missionary pilot who trained at Piedmont Baptist College in Winston-Salem, N.C., with the couple. "On the bottom, it's a mess. But when you look at it from the top, from God's perspective, we have to believe there is a beautiful design."

* * *

Roni and Jim launched their houseboat on the Amazon in the summer of 1997. Inside the houseboat, if you didn't look out the windows, you might have thought you were in a neat little home in Michigan. Outside was the river and the jungle. The air was thick and wet. There were piranhas in the water and poisonous snakes on the land. To supply the shower and the washing machine, they would motor up a tributary, where the water was less brown. A pump sucked it up to a tank on the roof. They drank rainwater.

Visitors would ask Roni if she felt safe, and she replied: "It is safer to be in the Lord's will rather than somewhere else not in His will."

The houseboat would chug 200 miles downstream from the city of Iquitos, Peru, and back. Jim and Roni had a huge file on board, with one index card for every villager they knew along that section of the river.

They would pull up to a village of huts with thatched roofs. The villagers were farmers and fishermen. Children would cluster around the boat. Jim might play soccer in the afternoon with the men and boys, while Roni taught the children games and listened to confidences from the women.

In several villages, Jim and Roni helped with the construction of churches and a Bible institute. In the evenings, Jim would go door-to-door, inviting everyone to church.

Services would be held in a large common building. He would bring a generator to power a light bulb, and sometimes he'd bring the television set ashore to show an inspirational video.

Roni would point to the villages along the river and tell her visitors, "This is why we're here." But there were also tests of faith.

Two hundred miles of river, with 56 villages to keep in touch with, was a huge territory. The needs of some of the poorest villages seemed so great.

But Roni saw God's hand at work, and she duly noted it in her Bible. The worn volume is a chronicle of answered prayers and daily challenges. She scribbled notes in blue ink in the margins, or on the blank pages in the front.

Next to a verse in Psalm 113—“He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children"--Roni wrote, "A promise He kept to me."

On a blank page she wrote bits of her own proverbs. "The 'why's' and the trials happen so God can be glorified. Then people turn to Him."

She made a list of things to do this year. First on the list is: "Continue to have regular quality personal devotional time, despite the distractions of the new baby and people from the village constantly coming to the boat." And: "Work on applying the fruits of the spirit more consistently in my life."

* * *

[After Roni's funeral] Jim Bowers addressed students graduating from Piedmont Baptist College, where both he and his late wife went to school.

"In Roni's death, her whole purpose for living is being multiplied," Bowers said. "No matter how long she lived, she couldn't touch as many as she did in her death."

Since Mrs. Bowers' death, 140 students at the college have said they are willing to become missionaries, college president Howard Wilburn told the Winston-Salem Journal.

* * *

It's in the back of just about all missionaries' minds: Spreading the gospel may someday cost them their lives--and maybe those of their families.

"I think missionaries always think about that," said Kenneth D. MacHarg of Miami-based Latin America Mission. "They can't let it stop them from doing their job. But they recognize that they're serving the Lord. And if you die, you prepare to die for the Lord."

It's a tenet of Christianity, ever since the first apostles were martyred for obeying Jesus' command to "make disciples of all nations."

Still, missionaries prefer to downplay the risks, pointing out that people die violently here [in the U.S.], too. When missionary Bill Ogden went to Colombia, a church group in South Florida prayed for his safety--then one of the group members was beaten to death in his home.