A major controversy has been erupted in the United States following revelations that the private military and security contractor Blackwater (now Academi LLC) had trained Canadians without the permission from the State department.The revelation was just one of the several violations blamed on the Blackwater, which has been embroiled in several controversies ever since it’s founding in 1997. The firm is also accused of illegal weapons sales to Sudan, and other illicit activities involving several other nations.
The training program for the Canadian Armed Forces and the national police occurred somewhere between 2006 and 2008. The approval of the United States State Department, which is necessary for the training exercises involving foreign troops, was not obtained prior to the program. This is the second of the controversial deal involving Blackwater, which has affected the Canadian Armed Forces. Two years ago, Blackwater was accused of selling classified defence technology to the Canadians.
Victor Toews, the Canadian Minister of Public Safety confirmed that units from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Armed Forces had participated in the training programs run by Blackwater. Although the minister refused to reveal exactly when and where the training took place, he informed the media that Blackwater had provided training to the Emergency Response Teams of the RCMP. He added that the firm was selected because its training regimen was unique and unavailable elsewhere.
Peter Gordon MacKay, the Minister of National Defence also defended the decision to involve Blackwater in the training, by saying that the government had to provide its servicemen the best possible training, to avoid hardships during the mission with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. He also refused to reveal how many of the servicemen were involved in the training program.
The Blackwater Worldwide, which was established in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark, is one of the most controversial private security contractors in the US. Blackwater was heavily involved in the Iraq War, deploying thousands of its employees for providing security for both American and Iraqi government officials. At the peak of its operations, the company had as many as 30,000 of its employees deployed in Iraq.