Military contractor Blackwater files suit to push through new California facility

wsws (reposted)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 :Blackwater Worldwide, a private contractor for the US military, filed suit last week to ask a federal judge to order San Diego, California officials to issue final permission for the construction of a new training facility along the US-Mexico border.
Local officials have delayed granting final permits for the new center in Otay Mesa. Blackwater insists that it has received permits from all relevant authorities, and that its Navy contract requires that the center open on June 2.
The indoor facility, which is two doors down from the Border Patrol office of Otay Mesa, will operate out of a 61,600 square foot building which will include an indoor-shooting range, a mock Navy ship, as well as multiple classrooms.

So far the appeals process in San Diego has not been favorable to Blackwater. On May 16, San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre found faults with the permits, prompting Mayor Jerry Sanders to issue a stop-work order. Sanders said the company would have to wait until the public review process was completed.

The company had abandoned its previous attempts to establish a west-coast foothold 45 miles east of San Diego in Potrero, also along the border with Mexico. Those plans were withdrawn after a coalition of community residents and anti-war activists organized a special recall election to oust 4 of the 5 planning commissioners who approved so-called Blackwater West.

Blackwater is best known for the crucial assistance it has provided in the brutal US-led occupation of Iraq. Private contracts such as Blackwater have operated with virtually no constraints in repressing opposition to the occupation.

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