The National Post reported last week that the Department of National Defence has paid the notorious Blackwater security company, now called Xe Services, more than $6 million to train Canadian troops (Tom Blackwell, “Blackwater trained our troops,” National Post, 27 April 2010):
The department sent a succession of personnel to Blackwater’s Moyock, N.C., training compound from 2005 to as recently as April 2009, some of them learning tactics for working in dangerous settings, records obtained through access-to-information legislation indicate.
The work continued even after the U.S. State Department cancelled its pricey security contract with the company in Iraq amid mounting criticism of Blackwater’s actions.
The training courses included defensive driving and “close protection” in hostile environments, as well as specialized weapons use, a DND spokesman said….
One critic, however, called the contracts “appalling” and said the government should be prohibited from doing business with the company, or any others accused of serious human-rights abuses.”
This group is akin to a bunch of gangsters or mercenaries,” charged Steven Staples, president for the liberal-minded Rideau Institute. “I would have to really question what the military thinks it can learn from an organization like Blackwater: How to kill civilians? How to operate outside the law? How to bilk taxpayers?”