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Private Military Contractors

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Private Military Contractors

Show Archive
Date: Saturday - November 24, 2007
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Robert Young Pelton, Galen Cook

Author and adventurer Robert Young Pelton discussed his latest book, Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, in which he explores the rise of military privatization in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in our own country.

According to Pelton, "to fight wars today we need a private capability." Private military contractors, such as Triple Canopy and Blackwater, provide the government with cheaper to use civilians who are licensed to kill, he said. Many of the people working for these companies are former soldiers, Pelton explained, who drift back into private security work after their official tours of duty are over.

Pelton provided a history of the rise of private military firms and the origin of Blackwater, including an analysis of the controversy surrounding Blackwater's operation in Fallujah, where four of their agents were killed. He estimated that more than 1,000 civilian contractors have died in Iraq. Pelton also spoke about Blackwater's role in domestic security.

D.B. Cooper Update

In the first hour and a half, attorney Galen Cook talked about his research into the unsolved case of D.B. Cooper, who on November 24, 1971 hijacked and threatened to blow up a Boeing 727. Cooper requested and was given $200,000 in ransom, a wrist altimeter and four parachutes, Cook explained, then he performed a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump from the back of the plane over southwest Washington state. Cook believes that Cooper survived the jump that night and is still alive. Cook also admitted that he has a current suspect but declined to name him.

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