Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mercenaries training in Subic?

Blackwater, the dreaded security contractors who have wreaked havoc in Iraq, has presence in Pakistan, Afganistan and training facilities in undisclosed locations (including Clark and Subic in the Philippines?)... an online report said

Simple news search revealed latest articles about the company such as the links below:

Blackwater training mercenaries in Subic

By Alcuin Papa

An investigative report circulating online said the American military contractor Blackwater was training “mercenaries” of various nationalities, including Filipinos, at the Subic free port in Olongapo City.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza, however, quickly denied the story.

In a video story posted August 28 on the Russia Today website, American investigative journalist Wayne Madsen claimed Satelles Solutions, a Blackwater subsidiary, was using a five-acre facility in the former United States naval base to train operatives for secret US-backed military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots.

Blackwater, founded by a former US Navy Seal in North Carolina, has been denounced in some US media as being America’s “private army.” It does jobs for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Interviewed on Russia Today, Madsen asked: “Who gave them permission? Apparently it’s against the Philippine Constitution to station foreign troops in the country ... someone is running around the Constitution of the Philippines. Obviously this is done with the permission of the president of the Philippines,” Madsen said.

He claimed the country was now a “major operating base” for the Blackwater subsidiary.

Madsen alleged the Subic facility could train up to 1,000 operatives. He also claimed that other US companies linked to former US Vice President Dick Cheney had also opened a shooting range at the former Clark Air Base.

In 2007, Blackwater denied it was opening a facility in the Philippines. “We are no longer pursuing a facility in the Philippines,” Anne Tyrrell, a company spokesperson, had said.

Madsen’s report indicates the company went ahead using a subsidiary company.

In a phone interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Arreza denied Blackwater was maintaining any kind of facility in the SBMA.

“There is no facility for any military training by Blackwater or any such company,” Arreza said.

The only facility for any kind of military-style training here is the Philippine National Police Leadership School, he said.

He admitted that Blackwater submitted a proposal to set up a training facility in Subic three years ago.

“But this request never materialized. We want to develop the SBMA for commercial and industrial uses. We felt that the request (of Blackwater) went against our charter.”

He also said he was willing to open the facility to inspection or investigation. “There are no restrictions here. Anyone can enter the SBMA.”

4 Comments on the issue:

i'm an active military personnel, viewing from the way we soldiers and policemen live, i don't see why most of us would opt to be a mercenary. same hardship, same risks but higher pay and better future for our families.

when lowly soldiers and policemen die in the field or streets, their families are left to starve. so with retirement, we've not enough sum of money to put up even a modest house at the age of 56, kung sabagay, kaya ako nagsundalo dahil sa hirap ng buhay, bakit kaya di ako mag-mercenary?

By Anonymous

because of competitive employment and lack of it,i chose to become a soldier, yet it seems that even with the salary the government gives, it's not enough to raise a family.what we are receiving as enlisted personnels is what we call us "bachelor's fee".

i think it better if our country will allow us to choose our means of employment, since we are fully aware of the dangers that will confront us,and it will be a much easier job because it's not our own race that we will pursue. it would be better for us to die in our line of work that provides us and our families financial securities, than here in our country that if something happened to you the families you left will be neglected by the government and just starve..

where can you see a government negotatiating with the terrorists?..and for the record you may not hear it blatantly but if there is another uprise movement a lot of us will support it..so sen. biazon stop being a hypocrite, your only saying those because your already in the middle-class living..enough of the traditions and customs,only a few benefits from it, they are also the one's who are destroying it..

By Anonymous

i'm an active military personnel, viewing from the way we soldiery live, i don't see why most of us would opt to be a mercenary. same hardship, same risks but higher pay and better future for our families. when lowly soldiers and die in the field or streets, their families are left to starve.

Bakit kasi ang mga politiko da pilipinas mas yadong matalino kaya sila hindi mag ka sundo, pati itong magandang trabaho na dumarating ayaw nilang payagan ang mga pilipino na umasinso gusto nila sila ang yayaman, takot kasi sila na maubos na ang mga pilipino sa pinas wala ng mag ttrabaho at papakain sa kanila, kala kung sinong silang matalino,, hindi naman nila kayang ayusin ang gulo sa pilipinas...kung sa bagay kahit nag gulo nila hindi nila kayang ayusin mga bobo ang politiko sa pilipinas......bopol kayo mga tarantado pa kayo..umaasa lang kayo sa taong bayan mga bweset kayo... kayo dapat ang tawaging mga patay gutom..umasa sa taong bayan.. kaya ako nagsundalo dahil sa hirap ng buhay, bakit kaya di ako mag-mercenary? takot silang maubos ang pilipino sa pinas....politiko boboooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo........... .................kayong lahat......... .......

By Rey

In a nation that has not been able to fully utilize the former U.S. Navy facility in Subic Bay in over seventeen years now; why in the hell would they turn down such an investment from a billion dollar company which could bring life to that region of Bataan again, and make it a world class training facility for S.E. Asia's Security profession.

Why do hungry people turn away opportunity that feeds their extended families ?

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  • The Reds are predictably incensed about Blackwater’s presence in the country, but note that even the NPA impliedly acknowledges the undeniable attraction of working for Blackwater. The annual compensation of the lowest paid Blackwater grunt (allegedly) at U.S. $60,000 is approximately a hundred times the annual compensation of a mid-level officer in the Philippine armed forces, with at least 10 years of field experience under his belt. It’s no wonder that the Philippines is particularly fertile recruiting ground for Blackwater and other private security contractors. Filipino soldiers have a reputation for being loyal, cool under fire and used to operating under difficult, even destitute, conditions. They make do with what they have and will literally take a bullet for you, for so long as they’re assured their families will be taken care of. Added to this is their facility with English and familiarity with the American military traditions and culture, as the modern Philippine armed forces are patterned after that of the U.S. The talent drain is especially acute in specialized units like the Marines, the Navy Special Warfare Action Group (SWAG) and Army Rangers, according to an AFP officer of my acquaintance.

    Certain groups, with ties to Filipino-Americans who are Blackwater sub-contractors and/or recruiters, look at this as just another business opportunity for exporting trained manpower. We send out medical personnel, engineers, I.T. professionals and domestics to every conceivable corner of the globe. Why not soldiers ?

    They reason that this is nothing new, and that our soldiers are routinely involved in U.N. police efforts as part of U.N. Peacekeeping Forces, which is basically soldiering for international interests. Resigned or retired soldiers still have marketable skills which they sometimes use for less than honorable ends, like bank robbery. The strongest argument is, of course, always financial, in relation to the family. Why deprive them of the opportunity to provide a better life for their families, just like any OFW ?

    It might even be feasible to open a Blackwater regional office here, for recruitment as well as training purposes. We certainly have a readily available manpower pool. We have more than enough land, in varied physical environments, to match or even surpass the vast Blackwater complex in Moyock, North Carolina.

    Such an arrangement will not only earn much-needed dollars for the country in these inflationary times, it might also solve the problem of criminality to some degree, as ex-soldiers or cops who might otherwise be robbing banks and killing people will be in Iraq or some other hot-spot providing a valuable service.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/08/2009 7:36 PM  

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