Update: Blackwater, Alexander Group, and Abramoff

Like I mentioned in my Blackwater lawsuit post, I do not mean to single out Blackwater in my discussions of the impact of private military companies. Perhaps they figure more prominetely because they are front-runners in legitimizing themselves and the industry. Through requiring an oath to emulate the "professional soldier class", creating their own memorial to fallen camrades, and the natural growth into complimentary services, Blackwater is perhaps the poster child of the private security industry. Their activities is becoming more public with the recent (one week old now because I though I published this, didn't, so now I'm rev'ing and posting) connection of Blackwater to Alexander Strategy Group and Abramoff. Blackwater engaged ASG apparently after the Fallujah incident in March 2004.

Blackwater USA, a private security company contracted by the Coalitional Provisional Authority (CPA) to protect its personnel in Iraq, has tapped the Alexander Strategy Group to help shape the company's response after four employees were murdered by a mob in Fallujah last month. Blackwater encountered more problems when eight of its contractors, along with U.S. Marines and Salvadoran troops, fought hundreds of Iraqi insurgents in Najaf.

See video of PSC sniper likely in Najaf during this operation against Sadr's militia

From Bloomberg linking ASG with Group W with Cunningham 9 (a link I feared when the Cunningham story broke... buried in a TopCat Marine Security / Horn of Africa posting last year... you'll have to scroll down near the end and the suspicion that the TopCat contract may be linked to a payola scheme):

Alexander Strategy's links to lawmakers are an outgrowth of a decade-long effort by DeLay, 58, to force lobbying firms to hire more Republicans, who can direct corporate money to the party. The system, known as "DeLay Inc.'' or "the K Street Project,'' has fueled a surge of money in politics, and critics say it has also created the potential for greater corruption.

"Alexander Strategy Group is really part of DeLay Inc. and Abramoff Inc.,'' said Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who now heads Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an ethics watchdog group. ``There have been some aggressive prosecutors trying to unravel those ties. I am sure that Alexander Strategy is going to have more than Tony Rudy as a problem when this is over.''

One of the biggest clients Alexander landed was Group W Advisors, a San Diego-based defense consultant. The company is owned by Brent Wilkes, a businessman who is one of the four un- indicted co-conspirators in a Nov. 28 criminal complaint for allegedly bribing Cunningham, his lawyer, Michael Lipman, told USA Today. Cunningham pleaded guilty and resigned his House seat on Nov. 28.

Alexander took in at least $525,000 in fees from 2002 to 2004 from Group W to lobby on defense appropriations. Those appropriations are among the legislative favors Cunningham gave to receive his gifts, according to the former lawmaker's plea agreement. It isn't clear what role, if any, Alexander strategists had. Lipman didn't return a call seeking comment.

Other background on Blackwater and support for the Bush Administration (besides reading the informative Blackwater Tactical Weekly... which I recommend and hopefully they don't unsubscribe me from).

Also the WashingtonPost article on ASG looking to expand beyong PMCs and to rep the trade association, International Peace Operations Association.

Technorati Tags: PMC, Blackwater, Alexander Strategy Group, Abramoff, Iraq