The Most Privatized War in US History.
Blackwater USA: The US State Department pumps $700 million worth of security contracts into the soldier-for-hire company of a major Republican funder. Meanwhile, Paul Bremer signs Order 17 granting immunity to private contractors in Iraq, “effectively barring the Iraqi government from prosecuting contractor crimes in domestic courts.” Havoc ensues.
Jeremy Scahill’s “Making a Killing” in the Oct. 15th, 2007 issue of The Nation investigates the unprovoked massacre that erupted on Sept. 16th, 2007, where Blackwater agents fired indiscriminately into a crowd of unarmed Iraqis, killing as many as 28, including several children. Among those that survived the attack is Iraqi lawyer, Hassan Jabar Salman, who describes how he was shot four times – in the back – as he was running away in terror.
Scahill reports that Iraqi officials claim that there have been at least 6 other deadly incidents involving the company in the last year before the story broke alone. And while Iraq’s Interior Ministry announced that it was treating these as criminal offenses and expelling Blackwater from the country, Order 17 has them hogtied.
In a similar piece by Scahill called “Blackwatergate,” which appears in the Oct. 22nd, 2007 issue, he writes that the State Department has lately pushed for the company to pay restitution to the families of its victims. However, this, he writes, amounts to “hush money” and should not free the company or its employees from criminal prosecution. Often, he writes, employees involved in these incidents are merely whisked out of the country and no further action is taken.
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