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April 2018, Week 1

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 		 [TigerSwan has also been preying on relief needs in hurricane-hit
areas like Houston and Puerto Rico since 2017. So far, the mercenary
firm keeps its media presence at a minimum level, attracting little
attention from the press.] [https://portside.org/] 

 PRIVATE MERCENARY FIRM IS MAKING MILLIONS OFF TRAGEDY IN HOUSTON,
PUERTO RICO AND STANDING ROCK  
[https://portside.org/2018-04-05/private-mercenary-firm-making-millions-tragedy-houston-puerto-rico-and-standing-rock]


 

 Mehreen Kasana 
 March 20, 2018
Alternet
[https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/tigerswan-makes-millions-government-funds-houston-puerto-rico-standing-rocks?akid=16847.2685013.Fc9Evi&rd=1&src=newsletter1090037&t=24]


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 _ TigerSwan has also been preying on relief needs in hurricane-hit
areas like Houston and Puerto Rico since 2017. So far, the mercenary
firm keeps its media presence at a minimum level, attracting little
attention from the press. _ 

 , Diego G Diaz/Shutterstock 

 

The practice of governments and security firms conducting wide-scale
exploitation of major disasters, natural and otherwise, is nothing
new. Last week, the Intercept reported on TigerSwan, a mercenary
security firm
[https://theintercept.com/2018/03/12/tigerswan-dapl-private-security-climate-disaster-response/] that
follows a similar disaster-capitalist model and has attacked the No
Dakota Access Pipeline
[https://theintercept.com/2017/05/27/leaked-documents-reveal-security-firms-counterterrorism-tactics-at-standing-rock-to-defeat-pipeline-insurgencies/]
(NoDAPL) movement since 2016, at least. But that’s not all:
TigerSwan has also been preying on relief needs in hurricane-hit areas
like Houston and Puerto Rico since 2017.

So far, the mercenary firm keeps its media presence at a minimum
level, attracting little attention from the press. This makes sense
considering the depth and scale of its massive military-style
operations, including suppressing anti-pipeline activists by
infiltrating activist groups with informants
[https://theintercept.com/2017/06/21/as-standing-rock-camps-cleared-out-tigerswan-expanded-surveillance-to-array-of-progressive-causes/],
surveilling the movement and calling on law enforcement agencies to
suppress activist organizing.

In spite of how shadowy the firm may sound, TigerSwan has the approval
of the United States government
[https://theintercept.com/2017/06/03/standing-rock-documents-expose-inner-workings-of-surveillance-industrial-complex/].
TigerSwan contracts with the U.S. military and the state department
to offer its services to Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind
the Dakota Access pipeline. In May 2017, the Intercept published
leaked internal documents from the firm in which TigerSwan officials
likened NoDAPL activists
[https://theintercept.com/document/2017/06/03/internal-tigerswan-situation-report-2016-10-03/]
to "jihadists" and called the movement an "ideologically driven
insurgency with a strong religious component." Calling for a combined
strategy of increased surveillance and security, the TigerSwan
documents concluded that in order to suppress NoDAPL, the firm would
need “aggressive intelligence preparation of the battlefield and
active coordination between intelligence and security elements.”

Tara Houska, who directs campaigns for Honor the Earth, told Democracy
Now! in May 2017 that TigerSwan's deliberate mischaracterization of
the NoDAPL
[https://www.democracynow.org/2017/5/31/private_mercenary_firm_tigerswan_compares_anti]
movement carries dangerous implications for activists. "The movement
was 'Water is life,'" Houska said. By drawing false parallels with
extremist religious movements, Housak said TigerSwan emboldened a
state-sanctioned response that was "incredibly violent, incredibly
brutal
[https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-north-dakota-pipeline-20161028-story.html]."

As of February, TigerSwan has added savior to its role by creating
maps
[https://www.tigerswan.com/from-gsoc/2017-tigerswan-emergency-response-to-hurricanes/] calling
Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Harvey
[https://www.cnn.com/2017/10/10/weather/hurricane-nate-maria-irma-harvey-impact-look-back-trnd/index.html]
“billion dollar weather and climate disasters.” Center for
Constitutional Rights attorney Pamela Spees told the Intercept that
there's reason to be concerned about TigerSwan's interest in these
ravaged regions, as “you have this growing patchwork of private and
state interests that are basically executing law enforcement and
security functions in these settings."

This isn't the first time a mercenary firm has expressed interest in a
hurricane-devastated region. After Hurricane Katrina, the firm
Blackwater swooped into New Orleans and deployed heavily armed
security guards to patrol the streets. Jeremy Scahill reported on the
scene for the Nation
[https://www.thenation.com/article/blackwater-down/] and was told such
operations are anything but over. A Blackwater member told Scahill,
“This is a trend. You’re going to see a lot more guys like us in
these situations.”

_Mehreen Kasana is a news writer for AlterNet. Previously, she worked
as the front-page editor for the Huffington Post. Follow her on
Twitter at @mehreenkasana.  _

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