Update: A Private War In Iraq ~ The Barbados Connection

Iraqi Government May Ban Blackwater Security Group

An incident that left eight Iraqi civilians dead has raised concerns about the private military contractor in Iraq.

By Dan Murphy from the September 18, 2007 edition

Cairo – The Iraqi government said it would suspend the license of Blackwater, probably the most famous among the armies of private security contractors working inside Iraq, after an incident in central Baghdad in which government officials alleged eight civilians were killed. The incident looks certain to rekindle the controversy of the wide role given to the contractors in the Iraq war, with critics saying that they operate outside the sorts of legal oversight and codes of conduct that restrict the behavior of soldiers in war zones.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Looks like Blackwater finally rubbed the Iraqis the wrong way. This is a classic case of how a group of people supported by a government can truly believe they can act outside the law. Good lessons which we can learn from this story.


Private security men from Blackwater in a helicopter over Baghdad. Photograph: Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty images

On Thursday, 02 August 2007, BU wrote a piece entitled “The Re-emergence Of Russia As A Global Player And Its Alliance With China ~ What Are The Implications For Barbados?”  There is no doubt that there is a need for our politicians to understand how the policy of super powers can impact small and insignificant countries like Barbados in the context of world foreign policy.  A regular BU contributor sent us an interesting article. (Thanks a lot!) For those of us who have a keen interest in world affairs, the war or invasion of Iraq depending on your view point would have been featured. We are sure some of you have had many discussions about the merits and demerits of the US led action.

What we know several years later is the script has not played-out the way President George Bush and his Cabinet had planned. Today, we have an Iraq which is engulfed in a civil war, there is a government which has been “elected” by the Iraqi people, but more ominous is the inability of Iraq to protect itself without the help of the USA. Pundits all believe that the pretense by Rumsfeld and Bush to go to war with Iraq was all about gaining control of one of the world’s major oil supplies and less about Saddam Hussien being a sponsor of world terrorism. Since the destruction of Iraq, the country has had to be rebuilt, and we now have the interesting development of a war torn country which continues to be very unstable, but at the same time many Western contractors have been encouraged to work at premium rate, to supply many services to the country. This opportunity to work for good pay in Iraq has seen many Westerners risking their lifes on a daily basis.

This is where the plot thickens!

Many of the contractors working in Iraq are American or British companies, which have relished the opportunity to boost their bank accounts because of relationships with Bush or the former Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair, to win contracts during this period of reconstruction. The current state of affairs has given rise to a demand for para-military services; for companies like Blackwater and others, who are being hired to provide services to important people and companies doing business in Iraq. The article sent to BU gives a chilling account of a private war which is being waged in parallel to the traditional news reports we receive daily from the warmed-over Barbados press.

When we were done, the idea that Blackwater, an elite para military company operating in Iraq is managed by an International Business Company set-up right here in Barbados, under the name Greystone Limited became very intriguing. It made BU wonder what other mysterious IBC’s are registered in Barbados. It feels surreal that services offered by Blackwater through its Greystone Barbados domicile are offered right on our door step!

Minister Eastmond after reading this article are you comfortable that Barbados is a “clean” jurisdiction?

‘The company (Blackwater) has been quietly marketing its services to foreign Governments and Corporations through an offshore affiliate, Greystone Ltd, registered in Barbados’.


19 thoughts on “Update: A Private War In Iraq ~ The Barbados Connection

  1. If you’ve got a high speed connection try watching the documentary Zeitgeist on google video. After you finish you’ll have a much
    better grasp of why things are the way they are in this apparently increasing dysfunctional and conflict striven world.

    Here’s the link:
    It’s quite long, 1hr 56min, and the introductory material takes about 4 or 5 minutes before it starts to get off the ground. If you click on the google video link above, you will see the link for the whole movie or you can watch each of the three parts individually.

    Part 3 is the part that documents how the financial elite manipulate economies and stock markets for financial gain and invoke wars for corporate profit through political and psychological manipulation and media propaganda.

  2. Saw this video before and I still confused because if it is true then why no one is taking it up?
    I think more and more people are” taking it up” as the corporately controlled mass media loose their traditional, hegemonic control over the distribution of information thanks to the growth of the internet.

    See for example: http://www.ae911truth.org http://www.wearechange.org http://www.truthaction.org http://www.911blogger.com for some examples of those who have decided that they have no choice but to “take it up.”

    That being said you don’t turn around a heavily laden oil tanker at cruising speed in its own length, as it takes time to overcome the momentum that tries to keep it heading in its original direction and any change in direction might be almost imperceptible at first. The “ships of state” and their corporate partners have their own momentum going for them as well and admittedly its going to take time for the actions and pressures of the “taker uppers” to start pushing the bow in a new direction. We can only hope there is still time.

    The problem is that there are many still not connected to the internet (especially the older generation) and who still believe that corporately owned and controlled media is an impartial and reliable source of information as to what exactly is going on in the world today.

    Dr. Norman D. Livergood a former department head at the US Army War College where he researched subjects such as propaganda, brainwashing and psychological warfare etc. has an interesting article on the Internet that perhaps explains why there are still so many that have not yet risen to the challenge and “taken it up.”

    Brianwashing America
    by Dr. Norman Livergood

    The puppet Bush regime is using new, aggressive forms of brainwashing to change the very way Americans think and feel.

    This is the psychological dimension of the demonic cabal’s general onslaught against American workers, just as the “war on terrorism” is the military dimension and corporate crime and tax cuts for the rich comprise the economic dimension.

    We are living under the beginning stages of a military dictatorship in precisely the same way that 1930s Germans suffered under the Nazi regime.

    As in the case of Nazi Germany, state-sponsored propaganda (brainwashing) is a vital part of the Bush regime’s strategy.


    In an earlier article, I reviewed the varied aspects of personality profiling and simulation. While serving as Head of the Artificial Intelligence Department at the U.S. Army War College, 1993-1995, I conducted studies on profiling, psychological programming, and brainwashing. I explored and developed personality simulation systems, an advanced technology used in military war games, FBI profiling, political campaigning, and advertising. Part of my discovery was that:

    * unenlightened human minds are combinations of infantile beliefs and emotional patterns

    * these patterns can be simulated in profiling systems

    * these profiling systems can be used to program and control people

    Personality simulation systems are being used to create political campaigns that apply voter profiles to control their voting behavior. TV commercials and programs use personality simulation to profile viewers to control their purchasing and viewing behaviors. And sophisticated propaganda and brainwashing techniques are being used by the Bush junta to keep American citizens under control.

    Complete article posted at:

    A final thought:

    Interesting to note that up until early 2000, military personnel from the Fourth Psychological Operations Group based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina were active at CNN’s Atlanta-based headquarters – and left only after public outcry when CNN admitted to employing them. Their presence was perhaps not surprising given former CIA director William Colby’s boast that “the Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any major significance in the major media.”

    So much for a democratic free flow of information.


  3. Interesting if inaccurate. Greystone are not in control of Blackwater, far from it, they are a marketing arm of the organisation. I am only too aware of Blackwater as I am in the same business and supply them with training and specialist personnel at times.

    The world of the PMC is now far removed from that of the dogs of war of old. It is a well (self) regulated business in the largest theatres.

    It is worthy of note that in many of the worlds trouble spots, the leading democratic parties and leaders choose to have PMC’s provide their security as they would rather trust us, than their own people.

    PMCs are businesses we make money is that a crime, we give employment to many in my case UK and commonwealth ex military, at good rates of pay, though I guess the US could just re institute the draft to make up the numbers!!!

  4. nothing new to Bim.

    Gerald Bull was here… remember South Africa /Angola War..
    we have been in the WAR business for years…

    independent dem

  5. goldenboy~wow we have a mercenary among us!
    Anyway back to the point which you have not addressed and that is the role of Blackwater in Iraq and the autonomous role they seem to have taken on with the blessing of the Bush admin.

    How say you goldenboy?

  6. The war in Iraq was/is needed it rid the world of a very wicked man only prob the allies should have hit them a little harder ,, the real mistake here was that George Bush sr did not hit them properly in 1991 thats when saddam should have been disposed and hung .. i fully support the war in iraq

  7. So anonymous what made Saddam more wicked when compared to the other tin pots ruling countries around the globe? Ooops we just remembered:he was ruling a country which sit on some of the largest deposits of oil in the world!

    Bush decides that they should desecrate a country older than Jesus to make a point.

  8. Well said David

    Anonymous is unfortunately just regurgitating the Bushist propoganda. I can’t believe sensible people fall for that crap!
    Iraq is a mess. Another Veitnam.
    A recent survey in Baghdad, carried out by a UK magazine found out that a vast majority of city dwellers preferred life under Saddam. That is not to say that he wasn’t a despot, but the US did it all wrong!
    The USA picks its fights and usually it involves something in it for them!
    Where were they during the slaughter in Rwanda? How about the Sudan? What are they doing about Zimbabwe?…….
    Oh I forgot, no oil!

  9. Anonymous, on August 12th, 2007 at 8:21 pm Said:
    The war in Iraq was/is needed it rid the world of a very wicked man only prob the allies should have hit them a little harder ,, the real mistake here was that George Bush sr did not hit them properly in 1991 thats when saddam should have been disposed and hung .. i fully support the war in iraq

    i agree one hundred percent

  10. BU said:

    we now have the interesting development of a war torn country which continues to be very unstable but at the same time many Western contractors have been encouraged to work at premium rate, to supply many services to the country. This opportunity to work for good pay in Iraq has seen many Westerners risking their lifes on a daily basis.

    You could also add to the statement above, “And well connected corporations like Kellogg Brown and Root, Blackwater, Haliburton etc. have made, and continue to make, immense profits also on a daily basis.

    See, for example:

    Halliburton announces 284 percent increase in war profits

    25 July 2005

    WASHINGTON, July 25 (HalliburtonWatch.org) — Halliburton announced on Friday that its KBR division, responsible for carrying out Pentagon contracts, experienced a 284 percent increase in operating profits during the second quarter of this year.

    The increase in profits was primarily due to the Pentagon’s payment of “award fees” for what military officials call “good” or “very good” work done by KBR in the Middle East for America’s taxpayers and the troops.

    Despite the scandals that plague KBR’s military contracts, the Pentagon awarded $70 million in “award” fees to the company, along with four ratings of “excellent” and two ratings of “very good” for the troop logistics work under the Army’s LOGCAP contract.

    The Pentagon has provided preferential treatment to Halliburton on a number of occasions, including the concealment from the public of critical reports by military auditors.

    Audits conducted by the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Audit Agency determined that KBR had $1 billion in “questioned” expenses (i.e. expenses which military auditors consider “unreasonable”) and $442 million in “unsupported” expenses (i.e. expenses which military auditors have determined contain no receipt or any explanation on how the expenses were disbursed).

    But the top Pentagon brass ignored these audits and rewarded KBR’s work anyway.

    Continued at:

    Maybe the Bush administration’s alleged incompetence in preparing for the post-invasion occupation of Iraq wasn’t really incompetence after all, but part of the plan. After all, the longer the US public can be sold on the necessity of US troops and their mercenary allies remaining in Iraq to maintain “stability” the more billions in profits Dick Cheney’s buddies in Halliburton and mercenary contractors like Blackwater (and even Cheney himself through his stock options) will be raking in.

    The author Naomi Klein has a new book out called “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”. In it she describes how modern day capitalism uses the shock to populations brought on by natural and man made disasters (e.g. New Orleans, Iraq) to implement sweeping economic changes and privatization schemes which are extremely profitable (to corporate interests) but which would, under normal conditions, never be allowed by the subject populations to be imposed on them were their wits still about them and their ability to resist the changes not diminished by the adverse conditions with which they have to contend.

    Here is a brief YouTube video on “The Shock Doctrine” released in conjunction with the publication of Klein’s book:

    Here’s a snip from an excerpt of the book published on the Toronto Globe and Mail’s web site:

    Exclusive excerpt from The Shock Doctrine

    September 8, 2007 at 12:02 AM EDT


    Meanwhile, in the midst of the wave of neo-Keynesian epiphanies, Iraq was hit with the boldest attempt at crisis exploitation yet. In December, 2006, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group fronted by James Baker issued its long-awaited report. It called for the U.S. to “assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise” and to “encourage investment in Iraq’s oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies.”

    Most of the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations were ignored by the White House, but not this one: The Bush administration immediately pushed ahead by helping to draft a radical new oil law for Iraq, which would allow companies like Shell and BP to sign 30-year contracts in which they could keep a large share of Iraq’s oil profits, amounting to tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars – unheard of in countries with as much easily accessible oil as Iraq, and a sentence to perpetual poverty in a country where 95 per cent of government revenues come from oil.

    This was a proposal so wildly unpopular that even Paul Bremer had not dared make it in the first year of occupation. Yet it was coming up now, thanks to deepening chaos. Explaining why it was justified for such a large percentage of the profits to leave Iraq, the oil companies cited the security risks. In other words, it was the disaster that made the radical proposed law possible.

    Washington’s timing was extremely revealing. At the point when the law was pushed forward, Iraq was facing its most profound crisis to date: The country was being torn apart by sectarian conflict with an average of one thousand Iraqis killed every week. Saddam Hussein had just been put to death in a depraved and provocative episode.

    Simultaneously, Bush was unleashing his “surge” of troops in Iraq, operating with “less restricted” rules of engagement. Iraq in this period was far too volatile for the oil giants to make major investments, so there was no pressing need for a new law – except to use the chaos to bypass a public debate on the most contentious issue facing the country. Many elected Iraqi legislators said they had no idea that a new law was even being drafted, and had certainly not been included in shaping its outcome.


  11. Sadly when somone as limited as George Bush became the President of the USA with that brought the wild west mentality and shooting from the hip style of goverance.
    I am not sure that Saddam was such a bad thing for Iraq at least under Saddam he kept order of the various religious sects, he may have killed a few but does it compare in the slightest as to the extent of the daily death toll taking place in Iraq each and every day now?
    Bush will go down in history as the most evil, stupid president the USA has ever elected, one who has started another war that the Americans are unable to finish.
    I am sure if a survey were done in Iraq today it will be more than likely the majority of those polled you will find that the majority will say that life much better under Saddam than under George Bush the clown.

  12. It is interesting to note that Alan Greenspan an American insider has just gone public with the news that the US invasion of Iraq was all about oil. To Anonymous we would have welcomed USA invading South Africa at the hight of the apartheid system instead Mandela spend 20+ years in prison. Let us not forget Afghanistan which was suppose to be rescued from the Taliban and today reports suggest that there is a resurgence of this dissident group and the growing of Opium continue to flourish.

    The world is a funny place!

  13. Let us not forget Afghanistan which was suppose to be rescued from the Taliban and today reports suggest that there is a resurgence of this dissident group and the growing of Opium continue to flourish.

    Below is a snip from a recent article published in The Daily Mail and written by the UK”s former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, in which he explains how the US and NATO troops in Afghanistan are actually protecting the drug lords and their profits.

    It is interesting that often the mainstream media links the resurgence in the Afghanistan drug trade to drug dealing undertaken by the Taliban to obtain revenue for their operations (although the Taliban were the ones who for religious reasons had recently stamped out the opium trade in Afghanistan). Well whether or not the Taliban have overcome their religious scruples to start dealing in drugs, Mr. Murray explains that what he witnessed in the region was that it was the US/NATO Afghanistan allies who were profiting dramatically from the increases in opium and heroin production in the region.

    Britains is protecting the biggest heroin crop of all time

    by Craig Murray.


    The Taliban had reduced the opium crop to precisely nil. I would not advocate their methods for doing this, which involved lopping bits, often vital bits, off people. The Taliban were a bunch of mad and deeply unpleasant religious fanatics. But one of the things they were vehemently against was opium.

    That is an inconvenient truth that our spin has managed to obscure. Nobody has denied the sincerity of the Taliban’s crazy religious zeal, and they were as unlikely to sell you heroin as a bottle of Johnnie Walker.

    They stamped out the opium trade, and impoverished and drove out the drug warlords whose warring and rapacity had ruined what was left of the country after the Soviet war.

    That is about the only good thing you can say about the Taliban; there are plenty of very bad things to say about them. But their suppression of the opium trade and the drug barons is undeniable fact.

    Now we are occupying the country, that has changed. According to the United Nations, 2006 was the biggest opium harvest in history, smashing the previous record by 60 per cent. This year will be even bigger.

    Our economic achievement in Afghanistan goes well beyond the simple production of raw opium. In fact Afghanistan no longer exports much raw opium at all. It has succeeded in what our international aid efforts urge every developing country to do. Afghanistan has gone into manufacturing and ‘value-added’ operations.

    It now exports not opium, but heroin. Opium is converted into heroin on an industrial scale, not in kitchens but in factories. Millions of gallons of the chemicals needed for this process are shipped into Afghanistan by tanker. The tankers and bulk opium lorries on the way to the factories share the roads, improved by American aid, with Nato troops.

    How can this have happened, and on this scale? The answer is simple. The four largest players in the heroin business are all senior members of the Afghan government – the government that our soldiers are fighting and dying to protect.

    When we attacked Afghanistan, America bombed from the air while the CIA paid, armed and equipped the dispirited warlord drug barons – especially those grouped in the Northern Alliance – to do the ground occupation. We bombed the Taliban and their allies into submission, while the warlords moved in to claim the spoils. Then we made them ministers.

    President Karzai is a good man. He has never had an opponent killed, which may not sound like much but is highly unusual in this region and possibly unique in an Afghan leader. But nobody really believes he is running the country. He asked America to stop its recent bombing campaign in the south because it was leading to an increase in support for the Taliban. The United States simply ignored him. Above all, he has no control at all over the warlords among his ministers and governors, each of whom runs his own kingdom and whose primary concern is self-enrichment through heroin.

    My knowledge of all this comes from my time as British Ambassador in neighbouring Uzbekistan from 2002 until 2004. I stood at the Friendship Bridge at Termez in 2003 and watched the Jeeps with blacked-out windows bringing the heroin through from Afghanistan, en route to Europe.


    So there you have it. Under the Taliban the illegal drug trade in Afghanstan had been almost completely shut down. The US invades, and now the Afghanistan drug trade is back with a vengeance, raking in enormous profits for the war/drug lords who happen to be the US/NATO allies in the region and act as their local enforcers. However, these drug lords will not be the only ones profiting from the revenues flowing out of the drug trade. To see how the money from illegal drugs flows into and helps stabilize the “above ground” economy while enhancing corporate profits, read the article “How the Money Works” in the Illicit Drug Trade” by Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of Housing in the first Bush Administration.

    If you are interested, Craig Murray, retired British ambassador and the author of the Dail Mail article linked above, maintains a website at: http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/

  14. SNIP from a recent post at Democratic Underground on Blackwater:

    Jeremy Scahill, author of a terrific book on the Blackwater mercenary army, spoke in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Tuesday to a packed hall. He took questions at the end, and one man asked something to the effect of “Why does the government want to privatize the military? We taxpayers have been paying for the Army.” I wished Scahill had pointed out that it’s the tax payers who are now paying the private corporations, but the answer Scahill gave was critical.

    “There’s a cynical answer and an honest answer,” he said, “and I think they’re the same answer.” He said that the Pentagon is useless to politicians because it doesn’t make campaign “contributions”. But when you take a big chunk of that enormous military budget and give it to private companies, you free it up to come back (some portion of it) to politicians every campaign season.

    Scahill has the ability to tell the story of one little corner of corruption and through it provide an understanding of the overall military industrial media congressional complex. The corner of corruption he focuses on is Blackwater.

    Scahill described the recent “Bloody Sunday” incident in Baghdad in which Blackwater mercenaries shot and killed approximately 28 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, in a square. The Iraqi government claims to have video proving the shooting was unprovoked. Witnesses corroborate that story.

    Within hours of the incident, Condoleezza Rice phoned Iraqi President and Bush puppet Nouri al Maliki. Within 5 days Blackwater was back on the streets.


    Scahill also discussed Blackwater’s connections with the Bushes and the radical right. With Blackwater guards now bigger targets in Iraq than the people they are guarding, why would the US keep them on? The answer, Scahill suggests, is the role the Prince family has played in funding the religious right and rightwing political movements in the United States. All of this, including the story of Blackwater’s creation and rise to power, is well told in Scahill’s book.

    And it’s not just the Princes. The number two man at Blackwater, Cofer Black, formerly of the CIA, is part of the power that Blackwater has over the State Department as well, Scahill surmises. He has been in charge of capturing Osama Bin Laden and in charge of the extraordinary rendition program. It’s unclear whether Blackwater’s planes have been used in that program. The number three man at Blackwater is Joseph Schmitz, former Pentagon Inspector General under Rumsfeld. Blackwater’s lawyers include Fred Fielding, former White House Counsel, and Kenneth Star, former investigator of Bill Clinton’s oral sex.

    The main problem, as Scahill says, is that companies have a profit motive in launching and escalating wars. And nobody in Washington, other than Dennis Kucinich, will talk about it, Scahill says.

    Someone in the audience Tuesday night asked whether Scahill was concerned about what role American mercenaries in Iraq will play when / if they’re brought home. Scahill agreed that it should be a major concern, and said that he’s seen a glimpse of it in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He talked to Israeli private security guards for a company called Instinctive Shooting International who were operating an armed checkpoint on behalf of a wealthy individual. Mercenaries are for hire by billionaires as well as by the government.


  15. Following up on that last paragraph in the snip above from Democratic Underground concerning the implications of possible future deployment of Blackwater’s mercenary goon squads on US soil, I came across this news from author Naomi Wolff on the internet today.

    In little noticed news, Blackwater, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Arinc were recently awarded a collective $15 billion — yes, billion — from the Pentagon to conduct global counter-narcotics operations. This means that Blackwater can be deployed to engage with citizens on a whole new level of intimacy anywhere around the world — including here at home. What is scarier than scary is that Blackwater’s overall plans are to do more and more of its armed and dangerous ‘security’ operations on U.S. soil.

    In my recently released book, The End of America — Letters of Warning to a Young Patriot, I describe the 10 steps that would-be tyrants use to close down a democracy and produce a “fascist shift.” The third of the ten steps is to ‘Develop a Paramilitary Force.’ Without a paramilitary force that is not answerable to the people’s representatives, democracy cannot be closed down; however, with such a force available to would-be despots, democracy can be drastically and quickly weakened.

    Every effective despot — from Mussolini to Hitler, Stalin, the members of the Chinese Politburo, General Augusto Pinochet and the many Latin American dictators who learned from these models of controlling citizens — has used this essential means to pressure civilians and intimidate dissent. Mussolini was the innovator in the use of thugs to intimidate what was a democracy, if a fragile one, before he actually marched on Rome; he developed the strategic deployment of blackshirts to beat up communists and opposition leaders, trash newspapers and turn on civilians, forcing ordinary Italians, for instance, to ingest emetics. Hitler studied Mussolini; he deployed thugs — in the form of brownshirts — in similar ways before he came formally to power.


    Blackwater is available to anyone who can write the checks. If there is a need to ‘restore public order’ in the next Presidential election — a power that the President now can define as he sees fit — Blackwater can be deployed. If the President declares an emergency, Blackwater can be deployed. And history shows us how very quickly citizen dissent and democratic processes close down when physically intimidating men — who are armed and not answerable to the people — are abroad in the land.

    Those who read history should understand what we are more and more likely to see — now that a paramilitary force answerable to Bush and corporations like Halliburton but not to the people’s representatives is in place. Mussolini and Hitler began to deploy their paramilitary to patrol key public spaces early — when Italy and Germany were still parliamentary democracies and neither leader had yet seized power. These leaders deployed their paramilitary groups in the halls of Parliament and the Reichstag when these were still functioning representative democracies, thus intimidating the people’s political leaders. Then the paramilitary groups were deployed to violently contain opposition protests — again, in what were still open, if fragile, democratic societies at the time.


    If you would have no problem with unaccountable ( to all intents and purposes) and armed mercenaries patrolling your own neighborhood and providing “law and order”, I suggest reading the following article for even more insights into the day to day procedures and practices of the Bush White House’s favoured band of mercenaries.

    BAGHDAD — On Sept. 9, the day before Army Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker told Congress that things were getting better, Batoul Mohammed Ali Hussein came to Baghdad for the day.

    A clerk in the Iraqi customs office in Diyala province, she was in the capital to drop off and pick up paperwork at the central office near busy al Khilani Square, not far from the fortified Green Zone, where top U.S. and Iraqi officials live and work. U.S. officials often pass through the square in heavily guarded convoys on their way to other parts of Baghdad.

    As Hussein walked out of the customs building, an embassy convoy of sport-utility vehicles drove through the intersection. Blackwater security guards, charged with protecting the diplomats, yelled at construction workers at an unfinished building to move back. Instead, the workers threw rocks. The guards, witnesses said, responded with gunfire, spraying the intersection with bullets.

    Hussein, who was on the opposite side of the street from the construction site, fell to the ground, shot in the leg. As she struggled to her feet and took a step, eyewitnesses said, a Blackwater security guard trained his weapon on her and shot her multiple times. She died on the spot, and the customs documents she’d held in her arms fluttered down the street.

    Before the shooting stopped, four other people were killed in what would be the beginning of eight days of violence that Iraqi officials say bolster their argument that Blackwater should be banned from working in Iraq.


    (Just a note in passing – isn’t it ironic that, in the days of the American revolution, Britain’s King George employed large numbers of Hessian mercenary troops in his attempt to control and defeat the unruly American colonists objecting to the harshness of his rule and the injustice of his tax laws, and now it looks like the current “King George” of “they hate us for our freedoms” fame is intent on reviving the dictatorial methods and practices of the reviled British monarch.)

  16. When push finally comes to shove, just how much is an innocent life worth to Blackwater and the US State Department?

    $15,000 apparently.

    From TheHill.com:

    Waxman questions State Dept. actions after drunken Blackwater contractor killed Iraqi VP’s guard

    By Klaus Marre
    October 01, 2007

    The staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has unearthed new information that raises questions about State Department actions with regard to contractor Blackwater USA, highlighting an incident in which a drunken contractor killed an Iraqi guard.

    According to a document released Monday, the intoxicated Blackwater contractor shot and killed the guard of Iraqi Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi. Within two days of the incident, the department had allowed the contractor to leave the country and “recommended that Blackwater make a ‘sizeable payment’ and an ‘apology’ to ‘avoid this thing becoming even worse.’”

    While at first a department official suggested payment of $250,000, it was later deemed that the sum was too high and a payment of $15,000 was agreed upon.

    “There is no evidence in the documents that the Committee has reviewed that the State Department sought to restrain Blackwater’s actions, raised concerns about the number of shooting incidents involving Blackwater or the company’s high rate of shooting first, or detained Blackwater contractors for investigation,” according to the committee document.


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