It was recently revealed that Academi (the private paramilitary militia formerly known as “Blackwater” and “Xe Services”) has been providing security training for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The notorious company, responsible for the 2011 Nisour Square massacre in Iraq, has been training Brazilian security forces at its headquarters in North Carolina.
The upcoming World Cup in Brazil will be the most expensive ever, with an estimated price tag of $15 BILLION. The organizers plan to deploy more security forces than ever. More than 170,000 security personnel from the military, police and secret service will be on hand, 22% more than the previous World Cup in South Africa.
Academi’s involvement training Brazilian security forces may come as no great surprise. In a 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Brazil, WikiLeaks revealed that the U.S. government views the crises that are brought on by hosting sports mega-events as prime occasions to cash in.
After power outages rippled across Brazil in 2009, the U.S. Mission wrote: “The newly-heightened concerns about Brazil’s infrastructure as a result of this blackout, combined with the need to address infrastructure challenges in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, present the United States opportunities for engagement on infrastructure development, as well critical infrastructure protection and possibly cyber security.” In short, Brazil’s misery created room for opportunism and profit.
The leaked cable encouraged U.S. government agencies like the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security to explore these opportunities. With Academi’s involvement in Brazil, this type of “opportunity” is quickly taking shape.
~ MERIT FREEMAN