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Blackwater’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

The world has yet to catch-up with Blackwater’s business model. A disconcerting yet surprisingly entertaining Mother Jones piece takes a look at one part of that model: Greystone Limited, Blackwater’s international affiliate, created in 2004. Bruce Falconer and Dan Schulman write:

“Yet the most important vehicle for Prince’s global aspirations isn’t Blackwater proper, but Greystone Ltd., a company he quietly founded in 2004 as his firm’s “international affiliate.” According to Chris Taylor, a former Marine Recon soldier who until May was Blackwater’s vice president for strategic initiatives, Prince sought to build a new brand. “Blackwater has a sexy name and people pay attention to it,” Taylor says, and sometimes that high profile “may not fit the proposed mission.” In particular, he says, “international opportunities” were to be “looked at through Greystone.”

Those international opportunities include posting ads in Third World countries like Colombia, seeking out guerrilla fighters. Blackwater then trains those fighters and, for now, brings them to Iraq. But Greystone Ltd.’s ambitions go beyond Iraq:

“In today’s grey world,” reads one of the company’s pamphlets, “the solutions to your security concerns are no longer as simple as black and white.” Greystone offers clients full protective details staffed by special operations, law enforcement, and intelligence personnel “for any threat scenario around the world.” It is prepared to train indigenous forces “in developing a capability to conduct defensive and offensive small group operations.”

Some war contracting experts and Blackwater critics that Falconer and Schulman interviewed had no idea there was a Greystone-Blackwater connection. Not surprising, given that Greystone as listed as separate from Blackwater in government contracts. It’s easy to stay one step ahead of the watchdogs when you’re already one step ahead of your clients.

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