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It sounds like the plot of a straight-to-DVD espionage black comedy, but unfortunately the bizarre story of Hardin’s albatross of an empty jail just keeps getting more uncomfortably weird, and even Jim Carrey and a handful of mushrooms couldn’t make this shit funny. Now it has taken a chilling turn that requires immediate action. The American Police Force (I’m sorry, I can’t type that name without laughing, thinking about “Team America: World Police”) was incorporated in some Kinko’s in Southern California last spring, just after Hardin announced that its unused, 27-million-dollar prison would be accepting detainees from Gitmo. But what the hell is the American Police Force? So far, the APF has yet to show that it has anything to offer beyond a bush league website and three SUV’s.

Hardin, Are You Really That Hard Up?

It sounds like the plot of a straight-to-DVD espionage black comedy, but unfortunately the bizarre story of Hardin’s albatross of an empty jail just keeps getting more uncomfortably weird, and even Jim Carrey and a handful of mushrooms couldn’t make this shit funny. Now it has taken a chilling turn that requires immediate action.

The American Police Force (I’m sorry, I can’t type that name without laughing, thinking about “Team America: World Police”) was incorporated in some Kinko’s in Southern California last spring, just after Hardin announced that its unused, 27-million-dollar prison would be accepting detainees from Gitmo. But what the hell is the American Police Force? So far, the APF has yet to show that it has anything to offer beyond a bush league website and three SUV’s.

APF’s head miscreant Michael Hilton and his posse arrived in Hardin last week, driving three Mercedes SUV’s that were emblazoned with logos identifying them as the “City of Hardin Police Department.” A box of glazed donuts on the dashboard completed the image. Residents were understandably confused, as Hardin doesn’t, uh, have a police department. When someone gets stabbed with a screwdriver at the trailer park, or a shoplifter is nabbed with a ham in his pants, it’s the Big Horn County Sheriff who gets the call.

It occurred to me that the precedent has been set for some opportunistic action in Hardin. I mean, what’s to stop a guy from filling about 30 jerry cans with water, lining them up in the back of his Suburban, and spray-painting “City of Hardin Fire Killah” on the side? Nothing, apparently. There’s definitely a need. Seems like every time I pick up the newspaper, Hardin has a new fire to put out.

Here’s the latest one: Hilton has been exposed as a convicted felon who changes names more often than Roman Polanski changes his story. Hilton, whose real name may or may not be Midrag Ilia Dokovich, is originally from Montenegro, a tiny fragment of the former Republic of Yugoslavia. He spent a few years in Southern California, doing crimes ranging from grand theft to DUI. He apparently filed for bankruptcy twice in quick succession, mostly to avoided getting evicted from his apartment.

So we’ve got this guy who’s as hinky as a pork chop in a kosher deli, and suddenly he barrels into Hardin, offering a badass paramilitary outfit that’s going to police the prison and hire local thugs for training, thereby saving the town from going under? Well, guess what. If it sounds too weird to be true, it probably is. It looks like Hilton/Dokovich is just a shirt-tail stooge for Blackwater, the disgraced private military security outfit that won a billion dollar no-bid contract to conduct operations in Iraq a few years ago. You remember Blackwater—they were charged by the FBI with the murder of 17 innocent people in a Baghdad shooting spree. Their operators were accused in several other unprovoked shootings of Iraqi civilians as well, some of which are still under investigation. Understandably, the U.S. subsequently yanked their license to kill.

Since this Hardin/APF deal surfaced, resourceful reporters have been doing some digging and have discovered that the American Police Force is just a dopey front for Blackwater, which changed its name to Xe, in the hopes that people will forget their My Lai-like behavior in Iraq. They could give a rat’s ass about the Hardin jail; what’s really giving Blackwater a boner is the opportunity to set up a training facility in the area. These Steven Seagal-worshipping douchebags are nothing more than testosterone-addled mercenaries who don’t care what flag they’re fighting under, as long as they get to waste somebody. If you can imagine an entire army of dudes like Psycho from “Stripes,” you’ll have a pretty good idea of what we’re looking at here.

Seriously, is this what we want going on in the Last Best Place? A bunch of crack-brained killers and SEAL washouts being trained for worldwide mayhem? I would say these guys have read too many John le Carré novels, but I doubt they can read anything more complex than “Light Fuse And Run.” They should set up shop in Texas. They love this kind of shit.

Hardin city officials are refusing to acknowledge that this whole scenario is as treacherous and crazy as it’s starting to look. Three Hardin officials flew to California earlier this month to meet with APF’s brain trust, to negotiate a 10-year contract. Once they returned to Hardin, it was as if the trio had become the three wise monkeys, but they were all speak-no-evil. They’d seen documents, they said. They’d met people, they said. The money’s there, they said. But they would not divulge the name of the parent company (perhaps they can’t pronounce “Xe”), nor would they give any details that might help calm the mounting suspicions and concerns of the locals. “Just be patient,” they said. “It’s a good deal,” they said. “Now, where can I get a one-way ticket to Switzerland at this hour,” they said.

I have a feeling this story is going to blow up like a C4 booby trap in a Blackwater lunchbox. Right-wingers are already all over the blogosphere, trying to convince everyone that the whole thing is a training ground for “Obama’s private army.” Conspiracy theorists are shuddering with orgasmic glee over all the dark possibilities raised by the paramilitary Cone of Silence that’s lowered over Hardin.

Go ahead and see for yourself—check out the American Police Force website. Nice coat of arms, huh? Funny, it’s the same one used by Serbia. Come on, Hardin, snap out of it! We can’t just wait for the movie.

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Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    I was following you up until you mentioned Blackwater. Blackwater is a bunch of goons but they are professional goons and Michael Hilton is just a con man trying to play in their shadow. There is no evidence that the two organizations are linked in any way.

  2. jedediah redman says:

    Most credible yarn I’ve seen yet, robert…

  3. Rebecca says:

    I hate to join the nitpicking mob, Bob, but there’s one other detail you got wrong: Roman Polanski’s always admitted he raped the 13 year old.

  4. Bob Wire says:

    Rebecca, you can’t expect me to land every punch. How about this instead:
    “Hilton has been exposed as a convicted felon who changes names more often than Roland Martin changes fishing lures.”

  5. JAYoung says:

    Yeah, it’s just the old “Music Man” con, sorta like the “Destination Montana” one a couple years ago that was going to turn Butte into Vegas North. (Even Evan Barrett, Schweitzer’s economic development czar fell for that one, hook, line and sinker! Hardin’s lucky they caught on early — Butte was bamboozled for two years.)
    Apparently, the “American Police Force” cut-and-pasted text from other security firms including Blackwater/Xe and got clip art for their coat of arms for their English-is-a-second-language Web site.
    You put on a show, buy off the local news media, get some good headlines and then use them to fish for stupid investors. Then take the money and go bankrupt. Easy!
    (I’m still anxious to find out what APF’s advertised service of “covert pregnancy testing” is all about…)

  6. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker says:

    I’m not convinced it’s Blackwater/Xe. I also saw an article linking the outfit to Saudi concerns. Both are probably disinfo. Alex Jones is an opposition outfit, but he’s a controlled opposition outfit, which means his job is to tell mostly the truth but lead the opposition/revolution in the wrong direction, preferably off a cliff.

    This might actually be a Serb outfit for real. The former Soviet bloc countries are havens for mercenaries (and gun running, and drug running, and human trafficking, but who’s paying attention?). The Clinton Administration made many, uh, “business contacts” during the war in Kosovo, and you may notice they’re back in the White House, albeit behind the scenes. The Democrats and Republicans have their own pet mercenaries, and Blackwater/Xe belongs to the Republicans. You may have noticed they fell out of favor right around election time.

    Anyway, these Balkan mercs work for super-cheap!!! They underbid the mercs from Britain and the US (as was reported from Iraq in 2004), so they’re getting the government . . . uh, yes, US GOVERNMENT, contracts. I think the main reason APF is being so tight lipped about its parent company is:

    1) it’s foreign, which would piss us off if we knew it; and
    2) it’s here because the US government wants it here, and it’s our tax money that’s paying for it, and oh boy that would really piss us off if we let THAT sink in for a minute, eh?

  7. Carter young says:

    Bob:

    Good stuff once again. The saga of Hardin and the private prison is almost as fun as Shakespeare: gullible population, a work house in dire need of tenants, black Mercedes wagons displaying the Serbian eagle, and a strange looking grifter out of California.

    I don’t know how the con will play out, but my bet if I were writing the script would be that Hilton and his partners, if he has any, will sue the city of Hardin for breach of contract.

    As for Blackwater, I think that’s just part of the grift on Hilton’s part. I’m wondering how soon it will take Becky Shay, who quit her job at the Billings Gazette to take the $60,000 per year job as the APF flack, to realize that her paycheck is worth about as much as a Montenegrin three dollar bill.

  8. Clarence Worly says:

    I see Vin Diesel as Michael Hilton in “APF-Jihad in Hardin”.

  9. Nate Schweber says:

    This whole story rocks.

  10. horst says:

    Yeah, it’s just the old “Music Man” con, sorta like the “Destination Montana” one a couple years ago that was going to turn Butte into Vegas North. (Even Evan Barrett, Schweitzer’s economic development czar fell for that one, hook, line and sinker! Hardin’s lucky they caught on early — Butte was bamboozled for two years.)
    And does anybody else remember MHD?–or how about Touch America?