Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blackwater Pursues Plans for Darfur's Civilians

So today, Blackwater may not have been involved in killing innocent Iraqi civilians, but we find out that US taxpayers were still buying the bullets. While Blackwater kept itself busy scrapping off all of it's prominent company logos from it's convoy escort SUVs, Australian mercenaries gunned down two Christian women who were driving home from work. The mercenaries worked for Unity Resources Group, "a Dubai-based company founded by an Australian and registered in Singapore. The firm was employed by RTI International, a nonprofit organization that does governance work in Iraq on a contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development." Mercenaries in the last vehicle of the convoy opened fire on the white Oldsmobile and it's four passengers when the car pulled up in traffic behind them. Unity Resources claims that the shooters threw a signal flare at the Oldsmobile, and opened fire after the woman driver failed to increase distance with the convoy. The shootings was immediately reported to the Interior Ministry and Unity has expressed regret in public.

"A vehicle got close to them, and they opened fire on it randomly as if they were in the middle of a confrontation," said Ahmed Kadhim Hussein, a policeman at the scene. "You won't find a head. The brain is scattered on the ground."

He added: "I am shaking as I am trying to describe to you what happened. We are not able to eat. These were innocent people. Is it so natural for them to shoot innocent people?"

The Oldsmobile was shot first in the radiator as it passed a plumbing supply shop, employees said. The shooting continued and the car came to rest about 50 yards away, next to a yellow and white median curb marked by broken glass and blood.

"Probably they were not paying attention and they weren't able to stop right away," said one employee, who would not give his name.

The Oldsmobile, towed to a police station in Karrada, left little doubt how the women died. There were holes from at least 35 bullets that scarred the hood, punctured the windshield, popped tires and shattered three windows. Rivulets of blood ran down the driver's door.

The driver of the vehicle, 49-year-old Marony Ohanis, drove friends to and from work in order to make ends meet for her family after the death of her husband two years ago. Also killed: 30-year-old Geneva Jalal Entranic. A young boy in the back seat with another woman was shot in the arm, but is expected to recover. Unity Resources was involved in another fatal shooting in March 2006, where one of it's mercenaries killed an Australian resident of Baghdad at a security checkpoint. That incident was later settled with the Iraqi government. Unity Resources also operates in Pakistan, Sudan, Asia and Australia. For yesterday, 45 other people died in shootings and bombings in outbreaks of sectarian violence across Iraq. Among the dead of two car bombings in the oil-refinery town of Baiji were five Iraqi police officers. One of the car bombs went off in front of the house of the police chief, the other in front of the house of Samir Ibrahim, the area leader of the Awakening Council.

The Iraqi government had issued demands that the US severe all contracts with Blackwater in Iraq within six months and that the company pay $8 million in compensation to each of the families of those killed at Nisour Square. The Iraqi government also demands that US authorities hand over those Blackwater mercenaries involved in the shooting spree for prosecution in Iraqi courts. The Iraqi government intends to try them under criminal codes from 1969. The official Iraqi report also found that "Blackwater guards also had killed 21 Iraqi civilians and wounded 27 in previous shootings since it took over security for U.S. diplomats in Baghdad after the U.S. invasion." The US State Department has admitted that Blackwater has been involved in 56 shooting incidents this year alone.

Blackwater CEO Erik Prince worked the crowd at the Association of the US Army trade show today, pushing a warm and fuzzy version of Blackwater. In proposed service involved Blackwater's "Peace and Stability Operations Institute, which would provide armed forces to put down domestic insurgencies and rebellions as a way to prevent genocide. For instance, the civilians being massacred in Sudan are targeted because they support a rebellion against a cruel regime, fought by Sudanese rebel forces.

Blackwater would go in on the behalf of the brutal dictatorship, wipe out the rebels, and leave the local civilians completely undefended and under the same government-paid forces that are killing them. Who will, Blackwater reasons, suddenly feel restraint. And why shouldn't they want a piece of the pie. Naval Facilities Engineering Command currently has a $450 million dollar contract with Dyncorp to provide "global disaster response services." Read: point guns at civilians.

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