Help Stop Blackwater Now

Action Alert! Support Needed For
Limitations on Private Military Contractors Act

Rep. Julie Hamos has introduced a bill into the Illinois legislation that establishes as public policy that private military contractors should not receive state funding or support in Illinois. The bill sets 3 important limitations on their function and use:

1. No state funds may be used to contract with or purchase services from private military contractors for training of law enforcement or security Guards.

2. No military weapons or explosives may be used by private military contractors in Illinois except on secured U.S. military bases or regulated facilities.

3. No personnel trained by private military contractors may be used to patrol, guard, control, contain or arrest any Illinois resident.

We need your help to move this bill forward in the Illinois House. This legislation is key to getting Blackwater out of Illinois and to protecting Illinois citizens from the impact of other private military firms like Blackwater.

1. Please contact your local state representative and urge him or her to co-sponsor HB5700.

2. Contact Rep. Hamos’s office and let her know that you support this bill and that you will be contacting your local representative to do so as well.

3. Write letters to your local newspapers about this bill and do what you can to generate public discussion about this needed legislation.

Visit http://www.noprivatearmies.org to view information and a fact sheet that will provide facts for your letters. In order to move this legislation forward we need to create enthusiasm for it and show that it has support state wide. If you care about the threat to democracy that private military/security companies like Blackwater pose this is your opportunity to act.

If you have question or comments feel free to contact: Dan Kenney at dan@noprivatearmies.org.

5 thoughts on “Help Stop Blackwater Now”

  1. This bill sounds interesting but what negative impact does BW have on the citizens of Illinois? Also, you website mentions many negative things about BW but does not mention the Department of State, who actually controls BW. BW does not do anything with out being contractually obligated or directed by DoS. Maybe we should start a site called: http://www.noDepartmentofState.org

  2. The composition and (I hope) the policies of the DoS will drastically change with the next presidential administration. So on that we wait.

    Some enterprises should not be privatized. Our military and police are two of them. A free society can’t afford to be worrying about their true allegiances. Also this has been a sneaky, insidious process; such firms were introduced anti-democratically in that there was no true debate of their merits and liabilities before they were contracted. It took their sorry, scary records in Iraq and NOLA to bring their real nature to light.

    BW should be free to contract security functions with private firms. I do not want them to be policing me or fighting my wars for me.

  3. I’m leaning towards supporting this bill but I have a couple of reservations.

    First, the slogan of “Help stop Blackwater now” conjurs up one of my personal pet peeves. Lazy politics punishes the system instead of addressing the culprit. I, too, am opposed to privatization of our military and I believe it is the heighth of hypocracy to pay private sources more than we do our armed forces for security in Iraq, green zone or not. Based on recent developments I could concur that BW’s a culprit but if it is not the system that needs changed I want no part of using legislation to punish a culprit.

    I need more information on the pros and cons of privatizing some or all training for police.

    I have no problem with 2 and 3 desribed as part of the bill.

  4. I agree that what is needed is structural change. However while we’re waiting for the revolution to begin the private military firms are spreading like wild fire.
    I was a presenter at an international conference recently in Madison at the UofW. The panel included activists from Latin America, a member and the chair of the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries around the world. I learned that there are over 1 million private military and private security contractors in Latin America alone. Private military and private security companies are some of the largest employers in Africa.

    Tha chair of the working group said that as they travel around the world they see a growing dependency on the use of mercenary firms. He also described what he is witnessing is the creation of “green zones” all around the world. That security is becoming a product and it is available only to those who can afford it. Force is now available on the open market it is no longer the monopoly of states.

    “Pros and cons of privatizing some or all training for police.” Good question. What I know so far when I talked with the licensing and registration office in Springfield is the training at Blackwater’s facility is not recognized by their office as eligible for certification. Which is why it was important to Blackwater and Triple Canopy to have contract agreements with the UofI Police Training accademy. Those contracts are now void do to the ethical violations of the former Directo of the accademy, Dempsey, who was collecting over $100,000 a year of Illinois tax payer money and working for Blackwater as an instructor at the same time.

    Also when I spoke with the Illinois state Police headquarters they said there was no reason to go to the Blackwater facility for training because they train their own and work with the U of I Police Training accademy. It is more cost effective, it is certified and registered with the state.

    One of the discoveries I have made in my year of research is that there are many human rights violations by many private military and security companies around the world. We have enough problems already with maintaining high professional standards with police officers without turing training over to companies who have a long history of human rights violations.

    I would hope local readers of this information will consider calling Rep. Pritchard and ask him to support this bill.

  5. I question this one:

    “1. No state funds may be used to contract with or purchase services from private military contractors for training of law enforcement or security Guards.”

    It appears there is some private security guard company being used to patrol NIU to beef up the feeling of safety. I say “appears” because I do not know anything about them. This is basically an emergency service–what if the only available security people happened to be affiliated some way with a military contractor? In a what if scenario, if Blackwater happened to be be the only available contractor on the planet able to provide extra emergency support for foot patrols at NIU, I’d take that over nothing. (Maybe Gary Coleman would be available for foot patrols.) There are not enough regular NIU police officers to have one on every floor of every building, which is what is going on now at NIU with security guards. (That won’t last; there’s no way there would be enough money for that). That leads to:

    “3. No personnel trained by private military contractors may be used to patrol, guard, control, contain or arrest any Illinois resident.”

    Well, in an emergency . . . ? I think the word “arrest” should be removed. If additional emergency help is needed to patrol, those guards should be able to detain someone until the real cops can show up and arrest an individual, just like a store security guard can contain a shoplifter until police officers arrive. I also doubt that the right to a “citizen’s arrest” could be denied through the proposed legislation. (A citizen’s arrest is not recommended by police officers, by the way, call the real cops).

    This one is common sense:

    “2. No military weapons or explosives may be used by private military contractors in Illinois except on secured U.S. military bases or regulated facilities.”

    We need a law to prevent outright stupidity by big boys and girls playing with big deadly toys?

    OK, the proposed bill has good intentions. But it is a knee-jerk reaction to Blackwater and the anger is misdirected. The anger should be directed at the State Department at the federal level. Someone at U of I already got caught with his hands in the cookie jar so if there are no future dealings between Blackwater and the State of Illinois anyway, even if the law passed, it would be a paper tiger.

    It is really the State Department who should be the target of complaints and new legislation. I am offended as an American that our soldiers get very little pay for serving compared to the hired mercenaries.

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