Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blackwater Kills Infant Girl "Insurgent" to Protect US

So today we will explore the most recent disgrace the Bush Administration has set up country up to suffer in Iraq. Blackwater lashed out at rush-hour traffic in Baghdad with a deadly hail of bullets last Sunday, and the Iraqi government is leading a heroic, yet likely doomed, attempt to oust the mercenary firm from its (supposedly) sovereign soil. After seeing their State Department barrel up to a busy traffic circle, Iraqi police officers stepped out into traffic to attempt to clear a path. When they failed to do so quickly enough, Blackwater’s mercenaries open fired on a car with young parents and their infant daughter, killing all three. They then continued to straff construction workers, a bus full of school girls, other fleeing commuters, and shot to death one of the Iraqi police officers. At some point, Blackwater’s helicopters joined in the shooting spree that is reported to have lasted twenty minutes and initially killed eleven. Survivors continue to die of their wounds in local hospitals, and the death toll rises. Blackwater released claims that the young parents and their baby girl were insurgents and had opened fire first.

"We will not tolerate the killing of our citizens in cold blood," al-Maliki told reporters. "The work of this company has been stopped in order to know the reasons."

Al-Maliki said the shootings had generated such "widespread anger and hatred" that it would be "in everyone's interest if the embassy used another company while the company is suspended."

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne E. Tyrrell said in a statement late Monday that its employees acted "lawfully and appropriately" in response to an armed attack against a State Department convoy.

"The `civilians' reportedly fired upon by Blackwater professionals were in fact armed enemies and Blackwater personnel returned defensive fire," she said. "Blackwater regrets any loss of life but this convoy was violently attacked by armed insurgents, not civilians, and our people did their job to defend human life."

…The Interior Ministry had said Monday it had lifted Blackwater's license and ordered its 1,000 employees to leave the country. The next day, Iraqi officials said Blackwater's operations were merely suspended pending an investigation. ….

"It's going to turn the world upside down," said retired Marine Lt. Col. Bill Cowan, an independent military analyst and the co-chairman of WVC3 Group, a security consulting firm. "You can bet the U.S. embassy is doing backflips right now pressuring the Iraqis not to revoke their license."

CODEPINK held a protest in DC against Blackwater on Wednesday, in front of the International Peace Operations Association, the lobbying group which presses the interests of mercenary companies like Blackwater to Republican lawmakers. For a little back ground, view a self-made Blackwater pilot video to grasp how they define themselves.

The New York Times relays that the Iraqis refute Blackwater's claim that its personel were ambushed. The Iraqi government’s initial report, though unverified, says that Blackwater personnel "were not ambushed ... but instead fired at a car when it did not heed a policeman's call to stop, killing a couple and their infant." CNN interviewed several of the Iraqi survivors: "As we turned back they opened fire on all cars from behind. The bullets are in my back. Withing two minutes teh helicopters arrived. They started firing randomly at citizens. No one fired at Blackwater. They were not attacked by gunman. They were not targeted." Other Iraqis report hearing explosions and gun-fire, but no one except Blackwater actually saw any insurgents open fire on the State Department motorcade. That would include the surviving Iraqi police officer who had stepped out in traffic to clear their path.

None of the US employed mercenaries, Blackwater or not, have ever been prosecuted for any of the shootings clearly done by them, even when their targets clearly were not insurgents:

"[There] have been several fatal shootings involving Blackwater guards including one last Christmas Eve [reported by the Wall Street Journal] when a drunk Blackwater employee walking in the Green Zone reportedly fatally shot an Iraqi guard for Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi. Spend any time hanging out with private security contractors in Iraq and invariably everybody has a favorite Blackwater story. A few weeks ago, a British security contractor showed me a bullet hole on the windshield of his armored Chevy Suburban. He said it happened one evening when Blackwater guards shot at him while he was driving in the Green Zone. "While they were armed and shooting in the Green Zone remains the mystery to me," he says. "But frankly, nothing surprises me about them anymore. I'm just glad I had bulletproof glass"."

Blackwater totals of contracts with the Department of State run $678 million since 2003. Private contractors still enjoy total immunity to prosecution under Iraqi Law, and none have been prosecuted inside the United States for incidents that occurred in Iraq. Blackwater currently fights litigation by the families of several of it’s employees killed in Fallujah in 2004, contesting that any allowance to sue their company directly hinders the ability of the President as Commander-in-Chief to engage in combat operations in Iraq. The State Department exempts Blackwater from needing an Iraqi Ministry Liscense, although such requirements are included in Defense Department contracts. Blackwater remains exempt from being tracked and monitored by US military commanders, from the procedures for reporting shooting incidents that apply to US patrols, or from operating under offensive weaponry restrictions that apply to US soldiers.

"The Iraqis despised them, because they were untouchable," said Matthew Degn, who recently returned from Baghdad after serving as senior American adviser to the Interior Ministry. "They were above the law." Degn said Blackwater's armed Little Bird helicopters often buzzed the Interior Ministry's roof, "almost like they were saying, 'Look, we can fly anywhere we want.' "
…Blackwater's conduct at times inflamed tensions inside the Interior Ministry, Degn said. On May 24, Degn was evacuated from the building after an armed standoff between Interior Ministry commandos and Blackwater guards, who had shot and killed an Iraqi driver outside the gates. U.S. and Iraqi officials feared the incident might lead to retaliatory attacks against Americans.

After shooting the unarmed Iraqi driver, Blackwater’s mercenaries found itself surrounded by Interior Ministry commandos with AK-47 assault rifles, but refused to identify themselves. A passing US military convoy attempted to mediate, but eventually a State Department official was called upon to negotiate the return of Blackwater’s employees to the Green Zone.
Later, both Blackwater and the State Department initially denied that the shooting occurred. The company and agency officials then confirmed that the incident had taken place but defended the guards, saying they had followed the rules on the use of force. The State Department said it planned a thorough investigation. Four months later, no results have been announced.

Despite irregularities in Blackwater’s contracts which permit the company a pyramid scheme to make profit off of the State Department, by including profit in it’s contracts twice, and so that the second calculation of profit is calculated off the contract’s total including the first calculation of profit, the Republican lawmakers and Bush officals continue to shield and favor their company. Guess to whose election campaigns Blackwater renders donations, effectively allowing Republicans to fund their politics through tax-payer’s money?

If you don’t understand how the supposedly frugal Republican Party can swallow this, look here for a key insight. You will not find Blackwater’s culpability for the deaths of its mercenaries in Fallujah in 2004 given an accurate recounting, and there will be no mention of unarmored bright red SUV, inferior weaponry, too few men for such a patrol, a lack of experience training as a team, or the fact that they were escorting trucks to pick up pots and pans. All of the truth of how those men were sacrificed by a greedy corporation to increase it's profit margin must be buried to preserve the neo-con world view, where only liberals are capable of sin:

Despite popular belief, contractors are professionals that are held accountable for their actions. Our nation should not resort to criticizing their service, as they fulfill a portion of the war process to the best of their ability. Maybe instead we should reevaluate the circumstance of the media in war time. Just perhaps the veterans of war know better how to conduct operations than politicians, journalists, and peace activists. This is precisely why a high level of attention is given to the prior military service of presidential candidates, because if elected they will serve the role of Commander in Chief.

When the situation’s structure is scrutinized, what one will find at the base is the left and liberal media so opposed to the war in Iraq they will pursue any means necessary to discredit it. The cycle of anti-war activist attacks has proven itself over and over again, as attempts are made to vilify President Bush, his Republican backing, private military companies, the United States Military, and often the United States. They continue to make out America as the national bully, acting only to weaken our democracy from within.

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. According to this proposal, if Blackwater wants to wander through traffic in Baghdad shooting up school buses full of girls, we must clap and cheer to show we are good patriots and understand our place. We the people are too ignorant to render judgments on issues like war and peace, and should just shut up. When we scrutinize the public uproar over this situation, what we really find is the basic assumption on the part of the liberal media and the American Left that our soldiers should have been doing this duty instead of mercenaries, since they are the real and true professionals, and know what conduct is due their uniforms.

Immediately following Sunday’s incident, Blackwater revoked clearance for any travel out of the Green Zone, which despite four years of occupation and a “troop surge,” requires heavily-armed escort. Yet our politicians should not so easily give into calls that Blackwater must be forgiven in the name of the greater good and the “War on Terror.” Here we look at an astounding opportunity to cut away a major determent to our military’s ability to function in a time of war; reliance on silent partners motivated by profit. No blind eye should be turned to the fact that the operating procedures for private security contractors were written by Lawrence T. Peter, director of the 50- member Private Security Company Association of Iraq. In a blatant conflict of interest, the Pentagon's Defense Reconstruction Support Office employs Peters to consult on it’s issuance of contracts to the members of his organization.

We on the Left wait to see if the Iraq government passes the test to it's people of not actually being a puppet of the Bush Administration, and whether or not Pelosi can seize this opportunity to force a real policy change in Iraq. Blackwater remains silent on the incident via it's website press releases. To the press, Blackwater reportedly describes Sunday's shootings as "Blackwater professionals heroically defended Americans in a war zone.” A Blackwater contractor told the conservative Washington Times: "They will hem and haw, then money will exchange hands and it will go away."

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Blogger Brady Bonk said...

A few points strike me about this is something you hear more and more amongst we liberalismos these days...this is, unfortunately, what you get when the those elected to govern hate government. I imagine these young folks over there must feel like gods...they're making a fortune and they're beholden to no laws whatsoever...second, wow, how bad is this that it's even pissing off the Iraqi government, you know, the one we paid for and shoved into place? This is a stunning development and your analysis is just excellent.

12:02:00 PM  
Blogger omelas said...

: blush :

I think it is spot on to say that a lot of what has gone wrong in Iraq can be traced back to electing people who run on the platform of hating government and wanting to chop it into peices to make money off.

1:06:00 PM  

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