Blackwater may not be the only private military contractor operating in the Philippines. In his interview with Russia Today, Wayne Madsen made mention of another facility in the former Clark Airbase operated by an associate of Dick Cheney’s Kellog, Brown and Root – Halliburton.
Unlike Blackwater which Subic authorities have denied as having operations in the Philippines, this other private contractor has a website and pictures of its facilities. We did some web searching and found the following information.
The facility is called Clark Eagle Firing Range and Club. It has links to an American private military contractor called Corporate Training Unit (CTU).
According to its websites, “The CLARK EAGLE SHOOTING RANGE AND CLUB is a multi-million peso state of the art firearms training facility located 80 kilometers north of Manila via the newly refurbished North Luzon Expressway, within the massive Clark Freeport (formerly Clark Air Base) situated adjacent to Angeles City in the province of Pampanga.”
“The CLARK EAGLE SHOOTING RANGE AND CLUB is a Philippine National Police Recognized and accredited range and gun club,” it goes on to say.
Based on the CTU website, the Clark firing range is part of the firm’s “Philippine operations”. CTU also has operations in Iraq, headquarters in the US and an office in Hong Kong. Its main work seems to be in Iraq, providing security for US interests and VIP’s.
CTU has provided security for KBR-Halliburton in Iraq. It’s operations appear similar to Blackwater. Its founder was a former member of the elite US Delta Force.
When CTU’s owner was arrested in Iraq last June on suspicion of murder, his alibi was that he was in the Philippines when the alleged crime was committed.
It is not clear from the website if CTU uses the Philippine facility for trainings for mission or engagements in Iraq or if it recruits Filipinos for stints in Iraq (despite an official RP ban on Filipinos going to Iraq). This is a legitimate question since CTU conducts a lot of work in Iraq.
The Eagle Firing Range figured in the news recently when some alleged former Magdalo members were arrested while undergoing training with a former New Zealand special forces operative. The foreigner said that they were only providing training to the Filipinos for VIP security. The government of course saw it another way and accused them of training to rescue detained Senator Antonio Trillanes and company. (The government line is outrageous to say the least.)
It is also important to ask why the Philippines has become an attractive venue for private military contractors? Is it because the Philippine government does not scrutinize such activities? Or is it because of the ideal presence of former US bases which can be conveniently turned into private military facilities. (The US military mentions facilities known as “Cooperative Security Locations” which are facilities that can be operated by private contractors and used by the US forces when needed.)
Does the operation of a firing range violate the law? Maybe not, unless Filipinos are being used as dummies by the US firm. Still, the connections between the Philippine facility, the US and Iraq cannot simply be ignored.
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