Friday, November 9, 2007

Dogs of War, Indeed

Blackwater Worldwide is a criminal organization that murders indiscriminately and bilks the American taxpayer out of our hard-earned cash.

Sue me.

On February 7th of this year, three guards, Nabras Mohammed Hadi, Azhar Abdullah al-Maliki, and Sabah Salman. working at the Iraqi Media Network, were shot by sniper fire from a Blackwater specialist on the rooftop of the Justice Ministry, across the square from the Network. Someone was insisting they be allowed to park in the traffic circle in the square below (which isn't allowed as everyone is worried about car bombs), and Hadi (on the balcony above) engaged the folks below him, raising his AK-47 to a ready position in case things got ugly. The Blackwater sniper shot him dead. The Iraqi guard's buddies saw him drop, ran up, trying to stay behind the low wall of the balcony. Al-Maliki stuck his head up a little, and took a bullet in the neck from the Blackwater sniper. He didn't die right away. His friends managed to get both of them off the balcony. Salman (unarmed) went up later to collect the AK-47, and was apparently shot in the side and died. He never made it to the rifle.

Capt. Ahmed Thamir Abood, the head of the security detail of the IMN, approached the Blackwater guards in the square below the balcony where the guards were shot, he asked to speak to someone in charge. At which point, the Blackwater personnel decided it would be the right moment to act like the Marx brothers: "He's in charge." "No, he's in charge." etc. The fellow they were guarding (a thirty-something white guy in a blue suit), came out of the Justice Ministry flanked by more Blackwater personnel, jumped into an SUV, and sped off, all the while ignoring the entreaties from Abood. The remaining Blackwater fellas dropped smoke grenades, jumped into their vehicle, and sped off towards the Green Zone.

Thanks to CPA Order 17, security contractors in Iraq are immune from prosecution in Iraq for any crime they commit against Iraqi military or civilians. That's the Coalition Provisional Authority, by the way.

The Iraqi guards were paid the equivalent of $231 US per month. Each of the Blackwater guys are making (on average) $850 per day. The TV station was able to help pay for the burials of these three men, and hired one member of each of their families in order to help out with the lost income.

The State Department, after talking to no one at the TV Station (by their own admission), and pretty much getting all their information from the Blackwater personnel, determined that the shooting was justified, and no money would be forthcoming to the families of the slain guards. Blackwater claimed they were defending themselves against precision small-arms fire, but no evidence has been shown to prove that. Even if it was an unprovoked killing, as far as anyone can determine, at worst these Blackwater personnel face being fired and shipped home.

But that's all.

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