Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Machiavellian Prince

An example of some of the fine liberating done on behalf of the Iraqi people of Fallujah.

When it had come out some time ago that the Department of Defense had begun chasing wounded Iraq war veterans with bill collectors because they’d left equipment on the battlefield, that we’d been shortchanging guardsmen on their back pay and that doctors at Fort Carson were screwing other wounded veterans out of their hard-earned disability benefits by classifying their war injuries “pre-existing conditions”, large patches of the blogosphere were enraged.

But imagine losing a loved one in Iraq, asking the Department of Defense for answers that could explain these deaths and then being slapped with a $10,000,000 suit by the DoD. That would be even more outrageous, wouldn’t it, an outrage that should inflame the entire blogosphere on both sides and be picked up by the MSM?

Well, the DoD isn’t suing families seeking the truth (Yet, although, as with the case of LaVena Johnson’s family and so many others, they’re outright lying and stonewalling about the shady circumstances of their deaths) but Blackwater USA, the notorious “security contractor” that’d essentially sabotaged our efforts in Iraq by slaughtering civilians with complete impunity and rallying the insurgency against us, is suing families of loved ones lost in Iraq for ten million dollars.

So how come the corporate mainstream media isn’t covering this outrage? Well, because they’re the corporate mainstream media and are too busy chasing Paris Hilton.

Several iconic images have come out of our four plus year-long misadventure in Iraq. There was the carefully choreographed taking down of Saddam’s statue as if it was on a par with the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and then, less flatteringly, there came the image of four murdered and hideously mutilated Blackwater contractors hung from a bridge over the Euphrates river in April of 2004.

Our government was fostering the misperception that this was another Mogadishu. But far from being that, what happened as a result was more like My Lai than Mogadishu, which involved the slaughter and parading of the bodies of actual American servicemen. Blackwater, as we all now know, rushed into Fallujah, guns blazing, essentially mowing down men, women and children in a murderous frenzy of retribution while US Marines let them take point.

The wholesale slaughter that involved at the very least several hundred civilian fatalities, helped rally a still-unformed insurgency and an occupied nation’s people against its own liberators and, perhaps more than any single act by or on behalf of our government, is what had been the biggest reason why the terrorists flocked to Iraq like the swallows at Capistrano, turning terrorism into something of a cottage industry.

The families, when they began asking Blackwater for answers, were not only met with stony silence, Prince’s goons flatly and arrogantly refused to pay the grieving families a wooden nickel for the loss of their loved ones. When they hired lawyers and persisted in learning about the circumstances surrounding the death of these four men, Blackwater then, amazingly, slapped a $10,000,000 countersuit on them.

How and why could they get away with this?

Well, here’s one possible reason for the stonewalling and countersuit:
The original contract between Blackwater/Regency and ESS, obtained by The Nation, recognized that "the current threat in the Iraqi theater of operations" would remain "consistent and dangerous," and called for a minimum of three men in each vehicle on security missions "with a minimum of two armored vehicles to support ESS movements." [Emphasis added to the original Nation article by LiberalLucy at Daily Kos.]

But on March 12, 2004, Blackwater and Regency signed a subcontract, which specified security provisions identical to the original except for one word: "armored." Blackwater deleted it from the contract.

"When they took that word 'armored' out, Blackwater was able to save $1.5 million in not buying armored vehicles, which they could then put in their pocket," says attorney Miles. "These men were told that they'd be operating in armored vehicles. Had they been, I sincerely believe that they'd be alive today. They were killed by insurgents literally walking up and shooting them with small-arms fire. This was not a roadside bomb, it was not any other explosive device. It was merely small-arms fire, which could have been repelled by armored vehicles."

In other words, they were not only cutting corners, they were literally making a killing (four of them, in fact) using the sleaziest of tactics that are part and parcel to running a business or a government.

This probably is the biggest yet perhaps not the only reason why Blackwater is playing the tried-and-true blame the victim game that we saw all too often in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Ann Coulter’s despicable jihad against the Jersey Girls, the 9/11 widows also seeking answers.

As we all know, this band of thugs is run by a Republican scumbag named Erik Prince, who came into his fortune when his father, a wealthy Holland, Michigan industrialist, died of heart failure. Blackwater is run by a parent company run out of McLean, Virginia named the Prince Group, whose motto is dedicated to protecting the interests of "Christians who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ".

Take another gander at that statement and then tell me that a chill doesn’t crawl up your spine when you recall that George W. Bush told Pope Benedict XVI just today that Iraqi Christians would be protected in the months and years to come of our occupation, courtesy of their wonderful new constitution. “I assured him we were working hard to make sure that people lived up to the constitution -- that modern constitution voted on by the people from different walks of life and different attitudes.”

What Bush didn’t go on to tell the Pontiff, I’m sure, was how we’d go about doing that, which would be through a shadow mercenary military known as the Knights of Malta that had been the Praetorian Guard of Paul Bremer back when he was completely fucking up Iraq from the Emerald City.

According to back in April of 2004:
With a now public profile, and growing congressional scrutiny, Blackwater reportedly hired Alexander Strategy Group, one of the more influential lobbying firms, just days after the contractors' deaths. Alexander is run by Tom DeLay's former chief of staff, Ed Buckham, and also employed DeLay's wife, Christine.

The people on Prince’s payroll reads like a Who’s Who of Republican operatives most comfortable in the generous shadows provided by our lazy mainstream media: Like Cofer Black, for instance, former chief of CIA counterterrorism. And if anyone presents a danger to them, such as Joseph Schmitz—the former Pentagon Inspector General whose job it was to investigate outfits like Blackwater USA, they buy them off by giving them lucrative positions in the private sector.

Erik Prince is, simply put, one of the most dangerous men in this country and ought to be given at least half the media scrutiny that we’ve seen just in the past two days given to his fellow heir Paris Hilton, someone who only endangered people, not slaughtered hundreds. We have a stake in exposing this madman for what he is because, through George Bush’s no-bid largesse, is being enriched and empowered through your tax dollars.