Community Forum: Meet your neighbor, TigerSwan, Headquartered in Apex, and Founded by a Former Blackwater Vice President

Sponsored by Blackwater Watch
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 – 7pm
Halle Cultural Center, 237 North Salem Street, Apex, North Carolina

The critically acclaimed movie “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers” will be shown followed by a community discussion

APEX – The citizens of Apex are unaware that a mercenary company founded by a former Blackwater Vice President is headquartered inside their city limits.

According to its Web site, TigerSwan provides US and foreign governments, law enforcement agencies, and private sector corporations a variety of services including weapons use, assault planning and urban warfare, as well as surveillance, motorcade protection and sniper training.

TigerSwan currently has operations in Iraq. There are also known contracts for their services with the University of North Carolina and with the military at Fort Polk, LA and Norfolk, VA.

TigerSwan President and CEO Jim Reese came to notoriety in September 2007 when his company worked with Blackwater to purchase 1,800 acres of farmland near Fort Bragg to establish a training center for soldiers and corporate executives. After the Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad by Blackwater personnel that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead and more than 24 wounded, the $5.5 million deal was canceled.

Mercenary companies such as TigerSwan and Blackwater operate in a legal gray area. There is uncertainty whether they're subject to civilian law, military law or neither.

Recently in Iraq, four personnel from DynCorp International (another mercenary provider) ignored Iraqi military officer orders resulting in a fight. Their arrest and detention ended when the four DynCorp personnel were flown out of the country, evading the Iraqi legal system. Neither the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) nor the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) appear to be of any help in restoring Iraq’s sovereignty and the rule of law.

"The fact is that mercenaries like TigerSwan and Blackwater are hated by people in the middle-east because of their legendary brutality, racism, arrogance and their ability to get away with murder…literally" says Christian Stalberg, a spokesperson for Blackwater Watch, a group based in North Carolina that is concerned about human rights abuses, indiscriminate use of deadly force and the lack of accountability by private armies, mercenaries, and private security contractors. "Studies show that civilians in these occupied countries are unable to distinguish the difference between these contractors and our men and women in uniform. Mercenaries put our men and women in uniform at grave risk."

TigerSwan, like Blackwater, also trains civilian law enforcement--a grave danger to U.S. democracy given these companies history of indiscriminate and excessive use of deadly force.

The movie “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers” explores war profiteering by companies in Iraq including Blackwater and exposes the trail of damage and destruction these companies leave behind. The privatization of war is a dangerous trend which has given birth to perpetual war and perpetual profits for companies like TigerSwan and Blackwater. Ultimately it is the American people who will pay the bill, both in terms of staggering debt with no end in sight and lost national security due to the United States being perceived as an imperialist, hostile aggressor.

About BlackwaterWatch

BlackwaterWatch exists to shine a light on Blackwater/Xe specifically, and private armies/mercenaries generally. We represent a growing contingent of concerned individuals and groups including, but not limited to, human rights and peace activists, people of faith, civil libertarians, and veterans. BlackwaterWatch is concerned about human rights abuses, indiscriminate use of deadly force and the lack of accountability by private armies, mercenaries, and private security contractors. BlackwaterWatch supports the passing of legislation to phase out the use of military security contractors in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan altogether. For more information visit http://blackwaterwatch.net

Comments

Thank you, Christian

for keeping up the drum beat on this mercenary madness.