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March 21, 2012

ACADEMI tied to Bain Capital?

ACADEMI rising
There is a certain culture that Blackwater has and you can change a couple of the guys at the top of the heap, but they are hiring the same kinds of people, they are doing it in the very same way, they are doing much of the same work – and the leadership comes from the same places with the same connections,” he said, adding that “the failures of the past, which have been dramatic, will continue into the future.”      --Jack Rice, a lawyer and former CIA officer

The above quote came from an RT's (Russia Today) article that appeared December 15, 2011 as the last of the American soldiers were being withdrawn from Iraq. Here's the rest of the article:

The recent name change by the company once known as Blackwater, one of the biggest private security contractors in the US, has led to speculation as to whether the company is returning to Iraq, from where it was expelled after a shooting in 2007.­The company adopted the name Xe Services soon after the shooting incident in Baghdad, which left 17 civilians dead. On Monday it announced another new name, Academi, claiming that the changes represent more than just a change of name.

RT talked to Jack Rice, a lawyer and former CIA officer, who thinks that the company now will certainly try to re-establish itself in Iraq and that it has every chance of succeeding.
They have very deep pockets and they also have very very good connections. You can call this company anything that you like, whether it is Blackwater, whether it is Xe, whether it is Academi, whether it is John Smith, it does not make any difference if there is a lot of money and there are connections, there are opportunities,” Rice said. Commenting on the name change, Rice said that Blackwater/ Academi was unlikely to bring any other changes....
Rice believes, however, that the problem with contractor companies extends further than Blackwater, saying that the main flaw of the system is the lack of a controlling mechanism. According to him the contractor companies have become
independent companies that you hire to do things you don’t want to do” and the real problem “is controlling them and Americans did not do it very well.
Peace activist Puneet Dhaliwal of the group “War on Want” also believes that with American troops withdrawing from Iraq it is quite likely the notorious company will be able to return to the country despite its bloody record and government ban.
“Private military security companies are likely to play an increasingly important role in an unstable Iraq,” says Dhaliwal. “But the problem is not with Academi – formerly known as Blackwater – alone, it is the issue of the whole industry.”
“It is one thing to say there needs to be stability in some sort of area. These companies face a situation when there is no accountability for the way they act,” Dhaliwal told RT. “It is systemic: the whole industry faces no serious restrictions.”
“We have seen a lot of outsourcing in conflicts. That allows moral responsibility to be shifted away onto private companies, where there is simply no such scrutiny as there would be for conventional armies,” added Dhaliwal.

You may recall we reported here that the assets of Blackwater/Xe had been sold in January 2011 to a holding company--USTC Holdings, LLC the major investors in which were private equity firms Forté Capital Advisors (“Forté”) and Manhattan Partners (“Manhattan”). Time will tell whose money these firms were investing in the purchase from Prince and his associates. But, now that all the money has been put together and Academi's team is now in place, the company is ready to take on all those contracts in Iraq (and soon Afghanistan?) that drain the budget of the military and add future budget dollars to medical and pension expenses for veterans.

Instead, the U.S. Government will remain behind the scenes, using contractors and their mercenaries, with almost no accountability or oversight for their actions. Many journalists have attempted to speculate who the buyers really were, but so far not successfully.

Who are they now? 

From reading their website, we note, rather tongue-in-cheek, the new owner obviously hired some expert public relations professionals, if not propaganda specialists, to create their public interface, with an excellent store of positively descriptive adjectives:

ACADEMI’s Board of Directors is responsible for establishing ethical corporate governance and oversight for the company. The board comprises a talented collection of seasoned professionals with vast experience in both the public and private sector. All of the board’s initiatives are guided by ACADEMI’s six core principles of 
  • integrity, 
  • governance, 
  • excellence, 
  • dignity, 
  • growth and 
  • innovation.
You can stop laughing now. Those who are banking on making a profit from handling these mercenary contracts in the future are hoping that Mitt Romney will be occupying the White House this time next year. This writer is betting that most of the millions being funneled into Mitt Romney's superpacs come from these same investors, chomping at the bit to control those mercenary contracts as the wars supposedly end. Here is the evidence:

  • Billy Joe “Red” McCombs, Chairman--founder of the Red McCombs Automotive Group, a co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, a former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Vikings, and the namesake of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a long-standing member of Forbes Magazine’s top 400 richest Americans and has owned nearly 400 businesses during his career. ...He is also the co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. Clear Channel is the largest radio station operator and outdoor advertising business in the world, with operations in more than 30 countries. The company was sold to private investors for an excess of $20 billion in 2008. 
The history of Clear Channel Communications began in 1972 in San Antonio, Texas, with its communications empire supporting Bush family campaigns and ending at the end of those presidential election campaigns by a transfer of stock to Bain Capital, the media empire Mitt Romney claims to have created: 
Clear Channel connection--Hicks, who became vice chairman of the radio behemoth Clear Channel in 2000, helped Bush in whatever way he could. According to Salon, "Hicks announced on a conference call among Clear Channel's senior radio executives that the company was supporting Bush's presidential run, that everyone was encouraged to make donations, and that the legal department would be in contact with donors in order to maintain a proper roster." After 9/11 Clear Channel banned "potentially offensive" songs from its stations, and in the run-up to the war in Iraq, bankrolled supposedly grassroots pro-war "Rallies for America" across the country. The company gave nearly $470,000 to Republican candidates in 2006, roughly the same as in '04. Ironically, Hicks's investment fund sold its stake in Clear Channel in 2006 to the private equity firm Bain Capital Partners--the longtime employer of Mitt Romney. "
Clear Channel's history therefore links ACADEMI's McCombs with the Hicks, Muse friends of George W. Bush and with Mitt Romney's firm, Bain Capital:
    In November 2006, the Company announced that it had entered into a merger agreement with a private equity group co-led By Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P., pursuant to which the group would acquire Clear Channel....On July 30, 2008, the Company announced the completion of a merger with an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of CC Media Holdings, Inc., a corporation formed by a private equity group co-led by Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.
    Mitt's Money
    • John Ashcroft--"As Attorney General, Mr. Ashcroft led the U.S. Department of Justice through the transformational period after the September 11, 2001 attacks, reorganizing the Department to focus on its number one priority: preventing terrorism. The tough antiterrorism campaign he directed helped keep America safe throughout his tenure and resulted in the dismantling of terrorist cells across America and the disruption of over 150 terrorist plots worldwide."
    Only one question here--what did Ashcroft know about 9/11, and when did he know it? And one additional note: There are some very interesting articles linked to Ashcroft's name at his new Texas law firm, Ashcroft Group, including one about his support for Mitt Romney and one about the travails of shedding Blackwater's bad-boy image.
    Charlie Wilson, Joanne Herring
    • Retired Admiral Bobby R. Inman (USN) -- Through all the jobs he's had throughout his career, Inman represents those disenchanted souls who stood with LBJ against President Kennedy in November 1963 and beyond, who were rewarded with positions in the LBJ School in Austin and, like the attorneys who serve on the Board of UTIMCO, managing the university's huge endowments and pension funds. These, mostly, men are also connected to the intelligence staffs that were intriguingly connected to Congressman Charlie Wilson of Lufkin's timber district (Arthur Temple) and to his allegedly romantic links to Houston's social darling Joanne Herring.
    It should also be noted that little has changed between the name changes from Xe to ACADEMI, as shown in the management personnel.

    Oh, and just in case you're looking for a job, there are lots of open positions. And I can assure you, if Mitt is elected, there will be millions more. Money talks.

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