Bush's Brown-Shirts: BLACKWATER
Private contractors have now become one of the biggest threats to American liberty and the rule of law. Private contractors, who are accountable to no one, are essentially Bush's own Brown Shirts. Their shear number makes them of great concern.
Blackwater is the biggest "private contractor" provider of mercenaries in Iraq. According to one source, the Washington Post estimates there are 100,000 private contractors in Iraq. Estimates of how much they are paid vary, from $700/day to $100,000 per year. These numbers would mean a cost to American taxpayers of $10-25 billion/year (or more). Numerous articles have been written on the subject.
Blackwater boasts that it provides "elite" forces for hire. As most have heard, these private soldiers are not subject to normal military laws and regulations, nor to any sovereign nation's laws. Unlike normal U.S. citizens, it is apparently legal for Blackwater to purchase and own automatic weapons. There are now several accounts of these private soldiers being deployed within the United States, the most notable case being in New Orleans following Katrina. Below is a link to an archived post on Democratic Underground by poster Carbondate titled America's Private Army.
Other links to information on Blackwater (and other contractors) can be found at:
Inside America's Private Army
Warriors for Hire
Economic Populist Forum