~ Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater USA.
Interesting addenda to the recent Blackwater atrocity:
MediaMatters rightly points out that several major US media have not made so much as a squeak about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's ties to Blackwater:
The CNN.com article, as well as reports by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Associated Press, and an additional segment during a later hour of CNN Newsroom, all failed to note the reported connection between Romney and Blackwater USA. On September 13, The Boston Globe reported that Romney "tapped" Black, "a former CIA official, who is now a top officer in a private security firm with widespread operations in Iraq, to head his counterterrorism policy advisory group."
From the Boston Globe article linked at MediaMatters:
Mitt Romney today tapped a former CIA official, who is now a top officer in a private security firm with widespread operations in Iraq, to head his counterterrorism policy advisory group.
Cofer Black, who also served as a top State Department counter-terrorism official, is now chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions and vice-chairman of Blackwater USA. That firm came to public attention in 2004, when four employees were ambushed, killed, and mutilated in Fallujah.
MediaMatters further notes that TIME only mentions the Romney-Blackwater connection on a blog on its website. The MoJoBlog included the information early yesterday.
Remember, a vote for Romney is a vote for Blackwater!
Wired's national security blog had a very enlightening post on Blackwater by a guy who's really dug into the question of the use of mercenary forces, P.W. Singer, and Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, was interviewed on CNN International for his take on the recent Blackwater atrocities. The interview can be viewed at Crooks and Liars.
The award for the biggest outright lie about the freaks at Blackwater comes from NROnline. Check this:
[T]he American military bureaucracy could learn a lot from Blackwater. Unlike the Pentagon, Blackwater has thought carefully since 2003 about how best to equip and protect its employees in the specific environment of Iraq, and has acted swiftly to buy appropriate vehicles, aircraft and weapons.
Now this makes one want to ask whether or not the author of that propaganda, Jonathan Foreman, is simply a very bad propagandist or if he's just an outright liar because Blackwater, as everyone ought to remember, sent its employees into Fallujah on 31 March, 2004 short the needed number of personnel with the needed amount of equipment. Hell, they didn't even have the proper maps.
After the families of the Blackwater victims brought a lawsuit against the company, Blackwater turned right around and sued the families. Maybe someone can explain to me exactly how those facts square with Foreman's trash talk about Blackwater thinking "carefully since 2003 about how best to equip and protect its employees in the specific environment of Iraq, and has acted swiftly to buy appropriate vehicles, aircraft and weapons."
I wonder if Cofer Black's previous relationship with the State Department had anything to do with Blackwater? I wonder if that might be another dirty little conflict of interest deal of which the State Department is so fond of? Kind of like State's cosy little appointment of Lockheed Martin director, ATC advisory board member, and The Cohen Group lobbyist, Joseph Ralston? From The Nation:
Government records recently obtained by The Nation reveal that the Bush Administration has paid Blackwater more than $320 million since June 2004 to provide "diplomatic security" services globally. The massive contract is the largest known to have been awarded to Blackwater to date and reveals how the Administration has elevated a once-fledgling security firm into a major profiteer in the "war on terror."
Blackwater's highly lucrative "diplomatic security" contract was officially awarded under the State Department's little-known Worldwide Personal Protective Service (WPPS) program, described in State Department documents as a government initiative to protect US officials as well as "certain foreign government high level officials whenever the need arises."
Oh, yeah. Smells like conflict of interest to me.
You gotta know Blackwater and the US Department of State aren't going to do squat for the Iraqis they've murdered. In the meantime, the Iraqi government now says it may back down on the ban of Blackwater, so I guess if you're ordinary folks and not a member of the ruling elites, or their SS-style protectors, you're just plain screwed.