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U.S. | Drug War

Private Paramilitary Training Complex Slated for Border Hits a Hitch
by Bill Conroy
Sunday Oct 23rd, 2011 7:36 AM
However, Opponents of Planned Facility Remain Wary of Shell Game Shenanigans
A paramilitary service company’s plan to develop a nearly 1,000-acre military and law-enforcement training facility near the California border with Mexico is now in the process of being scuttled by a foreclosure action on the property.

At least $1 million is still owed on the property by the company, called Wind Zero, according to the current notice of default obtained by Narco News — and some sources familiar with the foreclosure process indicate the amount owed, including interest and penalties, exceeds $1.5 million.

The paramilitary training center is slated to include numerous shooting ranges allowing for some 57,000 rounds of ammunition to be fired off daily; a mock-up of an urban neighborhood for practices assaults; a 6-mile dual-use race track for teaching defensive and offensive driving (and for private-pay recreational use); an airstrip and multiple heliports; and enough housing and RV camper space (along with a 100-room hotel) to accommodate a small battalion of warriors.

Despite the money problems apparently afflicting the Wind Zero project, opponents of the development indicate that there is still some concern that a paramilitary front company, such as an affiliate of Xe (formerly Blackwater), could still purchase the property out of foreclosure and proceed with the project.

In fact, the planned Wind Zero training center is not unlike a similar project proposed several years ago in southern California by Xe, then called Blackwater (which, like Wind Zero, was founded by former Navy SEALs). Blackwater pulled the plug on that controversial project in early 2008 due to community opposition.

“There have been rumors floating around that Wind Zero (led by former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb) has some type of affiliation with Xe, and that it is possible Wind Zero could sell it’s interest in the project,” says Larry Silver of the California Environmental Law Project. Silver is representing the Sierra Club and the Desert Protective Council in a lawsuit against Wind Zero and Imperial County, Calif. — which has sanctioned the development of Wind Zero’s paramilitary training center.

The environmental groups represented by Silver and the Quechan Indian Tribe (the land slated for the Wind Zero project is the site of a tribal burial ground) filed their separate lawsuits earlier this year in California Superior Court seeking a judicial order that will undue Imperial County’s approval for the planned Wind Zero project.

Silver says the Sierra Club and Desert Protective Council have no plans to drop their lawsuit, even if the Wind Zero property is sold — given the concern that a third party affiliated with either Wind Zero or Xe may still seek to purchase the property out of foreclosure (at a significantly reduced price) and move forward with the project under the existing development agreement with Imperial County.

“There is a hearing in the case set for Nov. 10, and we are prepared to ask the court to set aside the approval for the project,” Silver says. “If the judge says no, then we plan to appeal.”

To read the entire story, go to Narco News.