Pentagon Outsources Latin American Drug War

By McCarton Ackerman 01/20/12

The US will employ a controversial private military contractor in South and Central America.

US-hired Blackwater mercenaries Photo via

The US government will soon stop fighting the War on Drugs directly in South and Central America. The US Department of Defense has transferred its efforts in those regions to Academi, a private military contractor formerly known as Blackwater. The BBC reports that the multi-million dollar deal will go towards “providing advice, training and conducting operations in drug producing countries and those with links to so-called ‘narco-terrorism,’ including Latin America.” With the Pentagon's hands bound by the US constitution, this deal will put enforcement in the hands of less regulated outfit. “They surreptitiously want to reduce anti-drug budget by transferring it to private agencies. The drug war is unpopular and has no political weight except in an election year like this, so the Department of Defense wants to remove that spending from their accounts,” says Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Blackwater was also directly involved in the most recent war on Iraq, receiving bitter criticism for the executions of innocent civilians by contract employees throughout the Middle East. A report last June showed that the US government spent over $3 billion to pay US contractors battling the drug trade in Latin America in the last five years.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.