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Monday, October 29, 2007

Aftermath, Beware Blackwater Smokescreen, and Santa Anas

It is being reported that mild Santa Anas are heading our way this weekend. Normally, most of us would not be alarmed by such a forecast, but under the present circumstances with three fires still burning in San Diego County, we are uneasy, jumpy, and hypervigilant. Do I unpack it all or do I leave everything stacked up and in the way but ready to go? I think I will compromise by repacking some things which can then be staged about the house and putting others away.


The darkness before the dawn? No, it was the middle of a sunny afternoon that the first two of the following photos were taken. It was two days after the Cedar Fire of 03 ravaged Harbison Canyon. Picture #1 - an empty cold one rests on top of a destroyed restaurant table. Picture #2 - Canyon residents gathered for a meeting next to the smoldering ruins of The Canyon Inn. Picture # 3 - My husband across the street with our hose and a bucket putting out a spot fire three days after the burn. Air quality? There was none. These photos capture exactly the color of the ash-filled, still smoky air. A toxic, eerie environment.

BEWARE - Blackwater is scamming a scam behind a smokescreen in Potrero. While everyone is preoccupied with the loss of their homes or just trying to get back to normal after one hell of a stressful firestorm week, Blackwater USA is working a new angle to get at our tax dollars. Inspired by the inferno that roared through Potrero, Blackwater mercenaries want to be FIREMEN! They must be hoping that we all have smoke in our eyes to advance such an outlandish proposal. We don't. Please read the following articles:

1) "A Town Besieged: Potrero Residents Battling Blackwater Now Suffer Ravages of Wildfire" Here

2) "Blackwater's Base and the California Fires" - Here

3) "Blackwater to California: Hire Us to Put Out Your Fires" - Here



The Santa Ana winds, for anyone who has never experienced them, are unique and dangerous. These seasonal winds occur from October through February. The "Devil Winds" form over the cold deserts, link up with the high pressure system over the Great Basin, race down the slopes, and tunnel through the canyons all the while heating up and gaining speed. These winds that blow and gust, hot and dry, westward across Southern California are capable of rising to hurricane velocity.

The temperature rises to beyond summer extreme and everything dries out. Lip balm and moisturizing lotions are required to survive a Santa Ana assault and anything that can be blown over or become air borne has to be battened down. Those with allergies or sinusitis suffer heightened discomfort and nose bleeds are common. During a Santa Ana the color of the sky brightens and intensifies and the air is clear. People and animals tense with an odd sort of restlessness that lasts until the "Vientos de Satan" blow out over the sea.

Fallen trees and fires aside, the most interesting trait of these winds is that they constantly change directions, lift, touch down again, and swirl. Some refer to them as the "Dancing Winds". One cannot trust their behavior. Sometimes they howl. Sometimes they swoosh but it is no gentle waltz they dance.

Someone long ago told me that the ancients believed that there are voices trapped in the Santa Ana winds. I've heard the voices twice during heavy Santa Anas. The first time 30 years ago, I was awakened to the winds blowing and what sounded like several people having a quiet discussion in the next room. When I went to the next room the murmuring moved to the room beyond. I made a cup of tea and sat up for several hours until the Santa Anas died down, and the conversation that I never could quite make out, ended. I heard them a second time 2 years later. Ever since whenever the Santa Anas blow, besides battening down and being on alert, I wonder what those who are trapped in the winds talk about and if I will hear them again.


What if they gave a war and nobody came?
.............Kitchen Window Woman..............

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Blogger Aaron said...

The media doesn't often mention this, but relief work is a key part of Blackwater's mission, both as a business and as a service-oriented American company. (Yes, they continue to think of themselves as such, in spite of all the mud that's been thrown at them.) Because the company seldom issued press releases until recently, it hasn't told the public of its humanitarian work around the world and here at home.

The company's hometown newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot, reported this weekend that Blackwater has started to help deliver food and supplies to victims of the wild fires in southern California.

So far, according to the report, "Blackwater has made three deliveries of food, water, personal hygiene products and generator fuel to 300 area residents, many of whom have been trapped for days without supplies." No doubt the effort will grow in the coming days.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Those pictures are unbelievable. What a great description of the Santa Ana's. Stay safe.

6:29 AM  
Blogger Carol Gee said...

Glad things are safe for you, KWW. Thanks for the posts. It is an awesome and awful thing for you guys to have to contend with. And to have to contend with Blackwater in all this, is more awfulness. Stay safe!

4:54 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Someone clarify this for me: Blackwater wants to help put out the fires, but because you oppose the Bush administration's policy on Iraq (of which Blackwater is a part), you'd rather see California burn?

5:33 AM  
Blogger Spadoman said...

KWW... I was going to say something to the effect that I was glad that you survived the onslaught of the inferno. I guess I did just say that.

Blackwater and their company are nothing less than any other company that makes their money engaging in an activity that someone will pay for. Others that may come to mind that do a dirty despicable job are the porn industry and late night TV weight loss companies.

To blame here is a corporate mentality, (read: fascist), adopted and implemented by our own administration. Their thirst for war made it possible for a company like blackwater to be in business. (lack of capitalization done on purpose)

That is not to say they are all right because they have the right to exist, and I wouldn't want them in my back yard either, let alone wanting them to exist at all.

If they do good deeds away from the office of killing, I can see how they could be seen as untrustworthy. After all, why kill and save lives in the same lifetime? It's like the pro life people who think we should be at war and kill all the Muslims. A dichotomy for sure.

In the case being made by aaron, I feel that the issue isn't so simple as the opposition to Iraq policy and blackwater's part in it, but rather the fact they are engaged as killers and held above the uniform code of military justice and rules of engagement, not just working for the administration.

By the way, in my RV, one of the tanks for wastewater holds shit. They call it blackwater.

So glad you are okay.

Would rather be at Santa Anita on a nice balmy afternoon than experience the Santa Ana winds, that's for sure!

Peace to all

4:08 AM  
Blogger bluegrrrrl said...

KWW, it is good to see you in one piece after that hellish week!

My BP (which was already off the charts) skyrocketed when I first heard that bit about Blackwater wanting to "help" us. Over my dead body. No, "aaron", it is not because I despise the Bush administration and all the death and destruction it represents. It is because Blackwater is nothing but a band of armed thugs profiting from the destruction of human lives.

I truly expected to see Blackwater drones patrolling the streets of our city, enforcing martial law during the week of evacuations and firestorms here...no doubt they were out there, I'm just grateful I did not see them.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

How is Blackwater putting out fires any different than anyone else who gets paid to do it? (And volunteer fire departments are all but dead these days, so virtually everyone in the business could be said to "profit from the destruction of human lives," in a sense.) If they want to help put out fires, why not let them? This is nonsensical. Just like assuming that drones are patrolling our streets, even though they weren't seen. There's such a thing as legitimate criticism, but this is drifting away from reality and into conspiracy theory (in the worst sense of the term).

9:23 AM  
Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

My Inlaws are out there (orange county).
I've only been out there for one "small" (ten thousand acres) fire, and that was considerable distance away. I came back East and told everybody I now know what hell looks like.

I've been thru two Santa Ana's.....that is the most awful experience! But everybody says they live there for the weather. WTF?:)

1:08 PM  
Blogger redpill8 said...

Aaron, it is called "disaster capitalism" and companies like Blackwater, Dyncorp and Halliburton look for (or create) disasters in order to profit from them.

It was more than just a coincidence that Blackwater West's VP Brian Bonfiglio says after the fires, "Can you imagine how much of a benefit it would be if we were operational now?", and that the state has been so slow to provide the equipment and personal needed to combat these regular fires. See http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5202

There is an attempt to privatize domestic firefighting and policing and Blackwater has said that they will come to the rescue if only those pesky Potrero residents weren't so damn irrational.

Getting rid of community policing and firefighting is part of the Milton Friedman "Chicago-school" economics program which demands that all services of the state get sold off to private industry. Virtually all countries in the world have been going through this process, whether by economic blackmail or force (like in the case of Iraq and Yugoslavia). The IMF and the World Bank are the key instruments of promoting this economic program on the world as most of their leading economist are these Friedman devotees.

Check out Naomi Klein's latest book "The Shock Doctrine" which explains this.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If getting paid to do business in a war zone is evil, then is the all-volunteer military evil? Is anyone who is a private, captain or general evil, since they fight "for money" and "profit from destruction of life andproperty"?

What about people that make the airplanes, guns, ammo, trucks, tanks and other equipment used in warfare. Are all employees of these companies evil?

What about those that make the uniforms soldiers wear, supply the food, water and medical equipment, etc.. Are all of these people evil?

If your answer to all these questions is "yes" then you have included in your condemnation thousands and thousands of employees in hundreds of companies.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

Relief work has only recently become a part of Blackwater's so called mission. It is part of a public relations blitz aimed at changing the public's perception of Blackwater mercenaries from that of a band of violence addicted, greedy, unaccountable murderers to one of a corps of gentle, concerned humanitarians. Not So.

This company seldom advanced press releases because it has been operating in secret below the public radar. Such secrecy is necessary when preying on political connections and making no-bid contract deals for obscene amounts of taxpayer dollars while our legitimate troops languish.

No big deal - everyone has been donating food, money, supplies and helping the fire victims. That's what people in a community do - but without press releases.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

It was like the photos for several days after the '03 fire. Dark and smoky! We're fine now - no Santa Anas this last weekend.

Carol Gee...
It has indeed been a strange time to live through. Thanks for your concern. We are OK now - finally winding down.

California survived and it will again with the fires being fought by legitimate professional firefighters and the dedicated, trained volunteer firefighters who man many of our rural fire stations. Firefighters don't waste their time on weapons - they don't NEED guns to do their jobs and they don't rip off the taxpayers.

We do need more equipment and trained professionals and have been trying to direct our tax dollars to fill that need for years now. I can't see wasting one penny for Eric Prince's privatized, pretend army to masquerade as firemen. Halloween is over.

Perhaps if Blackwater "contractors" would get the psychological help that they need they could PUT DOWN THEIR WEAPONS and then apply to become legitimate, professional firefighters who work in the community and answer to the taxpayers.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

Life is finally getting back to normal here and boy are we glad.

You have painted a very realistic portrait of Blackwater. I feel as you do about this parasitic organization.

Balckwater is a more direct threat to American democracy than Osama Bin Laden ever could be. Militias, according to the Constitution, are supposed to answer to "THE PEOPLE" not to an Imperial president or the Kings of corporations. Eric Prince liked playing war as a Navy Seal and wants to continue the adventure by playing army without rules to the tune of billions of our dollars.

Blackwater should be investigated down to how much they spend on paper clips, where the money came from, and their political connections. They have killed many in Iraq and we don't know the death count in the nine other countries where they are representing the American people.

I have no respect for people who choose to kill for $$$$$$$$$. They are SCUM.

Blackwater has BIG plans - They MUST BE STOPPED.

It sure was a hellish week!

We've all got to stay on our toes to Stop Blackwater - they are armed traitors. Our legitimate troops and veterans need the money that is being wasted on Blackwater contractors. They are not welcome on the streets of America!

Aaron...Volunteer fire departments are not dead - we have one where I live. Blackwater cannot fight fires because it will only bleed away the money that is desperately needed by our existing fire departments.

Let Blackwater's so called contractors put down their weapons, apply to be accepted in the fire training programs, and become REAL firefighters who work for the people. Remember, firefighters are not enforcers - they are not addicted to weapons. If they want to volunteer they would have to apply with local volunteer departments and train along with other members of the community. Volunteers work for FREE to help the community.

The Future Was Yesterday...
I am here because this is where my family moved and my husband is from here. As for the weather it is hard to say anything concrete about it because it has changed so drastically (global warming) these last several years.

Santa Anas can definitely be a strange experience.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

Bravo - for the well put educational argument! It is so important for the public to be educated about the rise of fascism in America.

Does the "Chicago-School" economics program have anything to do with Leo Strauss. Paul Wolfowitz went to school there, too.

Naomi Klein's book is on my reading list along with several others that I am trying to get to. It is hard to find time to read and to write as the holiday season is approaching.

Unfortunately, our country has been taken over by the greedy "Military Industrial Security (intelligence) complex that Eisenhower warned about. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the main export of the United States is WAR with all its accessories.

Yes, the production and use of white phosphorus, land mines, and cluster bombs is EVIL! The production and use of weapons grade Depleted Uranium is EVIL. The 4,000 year radioactive pollution of the land that results from the use DU is EVIL!

A preemptive attack on a sovereign nation justified by manufactured accusations is EVIL. The maiming and deaths of millions of that nation's people at the hands of an UNQUESTIONING MILITARY egged on by a CHEERLEADING PUBLIC is EVIL.

As for all of those employees perhaps we need to stop exporting jobs so they aren't forced to work as manufacturers of such destructive products. Perhaps we can create industries that would help people in third world countries. We would spend way less money and make less enemies.

America, today is the primary pusher of weapons created for the sole purpose of destroying the masses and yes, that is EVIL!

Please refer to the "STOP DU" link in my side bar for further info on Depleted Uranium. Our soldiers are already suffering from DU cancers and dying from a nasty fast moving one. Iraqi cancer rates are sky high and Iraqi and American children are being born with extremely severe birth defects.

Check out the "Global Research" and "Foreign Policy in Focus" links to inform yourself about what is happening in other countries. They feature some excellent writers who are experts in their fields. Next visit "CIVIC" for some positive actions that can be taken against the prevailing EVIL.

We must all work toward change and can begin by respecting the lives of others.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Check out the AP video at http://video.ap.org/v/Legacy.aspx?partner=en-ap&g=51b4d810-7422-4a44-96f2-2b60f003b42b&t=s60&p=ENAPus_ENAPus&&f=INWAY

Blackwater makes no money. The local government gets to inspect everything. The locals benefit.

6:23 AM  
Blogger redpill8 said...

I think you are missing the point Anon. You should be asking why have PMC at all? They are more expensive that your all-volunteer army and could be used for illicit means because there is no effective government oversight of these companies as that would be interference from Friedman's "free market" philosophy.

The more important issue is to examine is the reason why we are privatizing our economy anyway and who benefits by doing so. If you look at recent history this economic program has been a disaster for democracy and the citizens of those countries.

For instance, Now we have Diebold and Electronic Systems and Software rigging our elections through their machines; California saw the state's treasury surplus get stolen through the machinations of greedy energy companies; public hospitals have suffered from lack of Federal State funding and have closed down in record numbers, New Orleans residences see their lives and livelihoods destroyed because money and troops have left their state for a privatized war.

So, how does privatization benefit the common person? And, why wasn't this put to the vote by the people?

Hey KWW...As far as Strauss and the Chicago Boys I do believe there is a tangent connection between them as many Straussians and are big supporters of Friedman's economics program. As far as Strauss being on record about this I have not found it yet.


2:43 PM  
Blogger redpill8 said...

Oh, by the way KWW, I do believe Aaron is a troll. Probably works for Burson-Marsteller, Blackwater's PR firm.


2:52 PM  
Blogger Spadoman said...

aaron... you need to get the last word. Can't you read? We don't agree with you. blackwater sucks because they profit as death squads. I don't care what you think, and as a Veteran, I shed blood so you can think it and blacwater can continue to kill for money. Have your opinion, but quit beating your drum when both sides have spoken.

Anon.... My answer is less eloquent than KWW's. (very good response by the way) My answer is YES to your question. All those people that choose to make weapons of war are evil. Obviously, you think that it is okay to make depleted uranium weapons and cluster bombs. If you do, I think you are evil. I don't ceny your right to that opinion and certainly wish you no harm, just would like the manufacture of materials for war to cease.

By the way, You shouldn't care what I think of you and I hope you have the sense not to care. It is none of my business what you think of me.

Kitchen Window Woman... You are very gracious for letting us argue these points here in your blog. If I have overstepped my boundaries, I apologize. But I have an opinion and I posted it here.

The bottom line in America should be that we can disagree, but not sling stones, (weapons), at others that don't agree with us. The attack of the word is no different than an attack of the sword.

Peace to All.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

I watched the video - it's more of the same - Blackwater tooting its' own horn about its' charity work. I'm afraid that Mr. Prince has wasted his money on BKSH & Associates ( a subsidiary of the Burson- Marsteller public relations firm.

Once again, Blackwater is proving itself to be insensitive and showing its' bad manners. It is in very bad taste to brag about what you have given and how much. It is also suspect - "What kind of price tag do these actions come with? What do these people want?"

As I've said already people all over San Diego County are helping and giving and you don't see major AP press releases about their contributions and daily efforts. Charity should be silent and anonymous as it generates from the human heart and is given out of human concern for others.

I think you may be right that he's a troll - a public relations troll or a Blackwater employee or a relative or a wannabe.

Thanks for you well put informative reply and the Strauss info. Leo Strauss - a certifiable sociopathic Nazi refugee American. Just look at the people who started this war.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

I agree that Aaron seems to need the final word.

You feel as I do about Anons' comment. The comment was a set-up that suggested we couldn't be against killing and the manufacture of weapons because it would invalidate those who willing do that type of work (if you can consider it work). I think the people who are doing such need to wake up and become responsible for the destruction they are causing.

You have not overstepped your boundaries at all, brother. You are free to speak what you want here as what you say is seasoned with the wisdom of experience and simmered in human kindness. I appreciate you input.

We need all of these issues to be discussed and even argued in the open - it is only by doing so that we can restore our badly wounded democracy.

8:57 AM  

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