Ed Bedford 11:44 p.m., June 19
Blackwater to be Sold as Similar Firm Fights Opposition in Ocotillo
Blackwater, the mercenary firm (now named Xe Services) that residents of East County's tiny Potrero thwarted, may be sold today (Dec. 17) according to the New York Times. The company wanted to put a large training center in Potrero in 2008; residents revolted and the company backed out, although it did succeed in putting a shooting range near the border. The company's mercenaries stirred up criminal charges, civil suits, and congressional investigations over accusations of murder and bribery in the Iraq war. The State Department threatened to stop awarding mercenary contracts to the company as long as it was headed by Erik Prince, an independently wealthy resident of Michigan. The buyers are said to be a Los Angeles financial advisor and New York-based private equity firm.
The Los Angeles Times reported this week that some residents of the Imperial County town of Ocotillo are fighting a proposed $100 million military and law enforcement training center that would be built by Brandon Webb and his San Diego-based company, Wind Zero, Inc. The Imperial County Board of Supervisors is taking up the proposal, which has the backing of local law enforcement.