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Hardin, Are You Really That Hard Up?

Maybe paramilitary makes sense, since we’re fighting a pair o’ wars.

Bob Wire
New West [1]
Friday, October 2, 2009

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 [2] 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. [4] 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.