On a Mission from Doggy to Make People "Feel Safe."
Who do you work for?, the reporter asked the armed [white] man who was at Ciudadela.
“We work with the government,” he answered.
“It’s a humanitarian mission, we’re helping Puerto Rico,” he said in broken Spanish.
And why the covered face?
“Because we want to,” he said, pulling the facemask up to his nose to cover himself better. He had a rifle in his hand: a silver shotgun. [MORE]
Gun Ban = Precurser to Servitude. From [HERE] and [HERE] Though Puerto Rican law prohibits ownership and bearing of most long-guns and especially semiautomatic weapons, the streets of the stricken US colony now throng with mercenaries in tactical gear bearing such arms, their faces masked. They wear no insignia or nametags and won't say who they work for, apart from vague statements in broken Spanish: "We work with the government. It’s a humanitarian mission, we’re helping Puerto Rico." [They all appear to be white.]
Individual citiznes may purchase and possess up to only 2 firearms to keep at home - they are prohbited from carry a firearm in public. The open carry law was recently struck down by an appellant court. Carrying a firearm without a license is considered prima facie evidence of intent to commit a crime. [MORE]
Rosa Emilia Rodríguez, head of Puerto Rico's Federal Prosecutor’s Office, initially dismissed reports of the mercenaries, then, after reporters from the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo pressed her she said she'd "check it out."
They asked her:
Does the federal weapons law allow private security guards to carry long weapons?
She said, “We go by federal law violations and they include long weapons, carrying an automatic rifle and so on, if they do not have the proper license.”
But are there licenses to carry long weapons?
“It depends [on] whether they are military. That is, it is very restricted. I’m surprised that this is happening. I don’t know if they are off-duty police officers, I don’t know, I would have to see the circumstances. A police officer can work in a private security company in their spare time.”
In that case, could they have long weapons?
“I don’t know, it has roused my interest, so I’ll check it out. But I’m surprised that they only have access to long weapons,” Rodríguez replied.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Olga Castellón said Pesquera is processing an executive order that will detail the rules for private security companies. Perhaps that’s what the Secretary of Public Security referred to when he said, “We’re dealing with that.”
Both federal officials agreed that the order should not allow private security guards to carry long weapons. “They would be going very far,” said Rodríguez.
The Puerto Rico Weapons Act says that “you can not…own, use, transfer or import a Semi-Automatic Assault Weapon.” This prohibition does not apply to “people whose license contains the category of target shooting, hunting or who possess an armory license, or for those assault weapons legally existing in the United States.” Or to people “with a gunsmith license, or law enforcement agents who use arms in the call of duty, or the government of Puerto Rico or the United States, or for the use of by armed forces of the Government of the United States or Puerto Rico.” The law bans arms such as shotguns and semiautomatic rifles.
Two members of the United States Air Force consulted by the CPI said that both the shotgun and the machine gun carried by the men of Ciudadela are automatic or semi-automatic weapons, after seeing a photo.
“In terms of firearms, (private security companies) have to be governed by the Puerto Rico Weapons Act and must have a gun holding license. As far as I know, gun licenses granted here are for short guns. Long weapons are used solely and exclusively for the custody of securities transport, armored trucks, and is a special license provided by the government of Puerto Rico. All other armed services have to be with small arms. The only people who could use long weapons are those of the State. I don’t know of any legal authorization to carry long guns in private service in Puerto Rico,” said Adalberto Mercado, vice president of operations for private security company Ranger America.
“The State can provide provisional licenses, but they have to request them and the State has to grant them. If not, they would be carrying illegal weapons inside the territory of Puerto Rico,” Mercado said.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Erik Prince's Blackwater mercenaries flooded the city again, turning it into an "armed camp", after Brigadier Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force announced "This place is going to look like Little Somalia. We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control."
Erik Prince is now reportedly considering a senate run as a Trumpist candidate in Wyoming. His sister, Betsy Devos, has used millions from her husband's pyramid-scheme fortunes to fund efforts to destroy public education, and now serves as Trump's Secretary of Education.
Though the mercenaries in Puerto Rico won't identify their employers, there's good evidence that Blackwater (now called Academi) is or will soon be operating there, as well as other notorious mercenary gangs like Ranger America and the Whitestone Group.
Security firm Academi —known by its former name, Blackwater, which won $21 million contract with the U.S. government to provide security services during the Iraq war in 2003— said that they already have offers from the local and federal government and by the Red Cross to come to Puerto Rico.
“We’re ready to go,” said Paul Donahue, Chief Operating Officer of Constellis, Academi’s parent company, in a phone interview with the CPI. He explained that if the government of Puerto Rico accepts the proposal made by Academi to respond to the government’s offer, they would be providing security services for water transportation. The company already operates in the Caribbean islands of Dominica and St. Martin, where they arrived after Hurricanes Irma and Maria made landfall. This company, described as an army of mercenaries by investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, has changed its name three times since its founding in 1997 by a former Navy Seal Officer (United States Marine, Air and Land Teams.)
The Whitestone Group, another U.S. security company, posted an ad on the Monster job search site on Sept. 29 seeking “retired officers with gun licenses for immediate response in Puerto Rico.” The ad said salary would be about $2,400 a week plus a per-diem and housing. The ad that indicates the offer says “FEMA-Puerto Rico.”
“I really don’t know the answer,” said Alejandro De La Campa, director of FEMA in Puerto Rico, when the CPI asked if the agency had hired private security companies to work in Puerto Rico and, specifically, The Whitestone Group. [MORE]