Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jeremy Scahill Reports - A Very Private War - There are 48,000 'security contractors' in Iraq.


Investigative Blogger Jeremy Scahill Reports:

"It was described as a "powder keg" moment. In late May, just across the Tigris river from Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, a heavily armed convoy of American forces was driving down a street near the Iraqi Interior Ministry.
They were transporting US officials in what is known widely among the occupation forces as the "red zone" - essentially, any area of Iraq that does not fall inside the US-built "emerald city" in the capital. The American guards were on the look-out for any threat lurking on the roads. Not far from their convoy, an Iraqi driver was pulling out of a petrol station. When the Americans encountered the Iraqi driver, they determined him to be a potential suicide car bomber. In Iraq it has become common for such convoys to fire off rounds from a machine gun at approaching Iraqi vehicles, much to the outrage of Iraqi civilians and officials.
The Americans say this particular Iraqi vehicle was getting too close to their convoy and that they tried to warn it to back off. They say they fired a warning shot at the car's radiator before firing directly into the windshield of the car, killing the driver. Some Iraqi witnesses said the shooting was unprovoked.

In the ensuing chaos, the Americans reportedly refused to give their names or details of the incident to Iraqi officials, sparking a tense standoff between the Americans and Iraqi forces, both of which were armed with assault rifles. It could have become even more bloody before a US military convoy arrived on the scene.

A senior US adviser to the Iraqi Interior Ministry's intelligence division told the Washington Post that the incident threatened to "undermine a lot of the cordial relationships that have been built up over the past four years. There's a lot of angry people up here right now."

While there is ongoing outrage between Iraqis and the military over such deadly incidents, this one came with a different, but increasingly common, twist: The Americans involved in the shooting were neither US military nor civilians. They were operatives working for a secretive mercenary firm based in the wilderness of North Carolina. Its name is Blackwater USA.

It was hardly the company's first taste of action in Iraq, where it has operated almost since the first days of the occupation. Its convoys have been ambushed, its helicopters brought down, its men burned and dragged through the streets of Falluja, giving the Bush administration a justification for laying siege to the city.

In all, the company has lost about 30 men in Iraq. It has also engaged in firefights with the Shia Mahdi Army, and succeeded by all means necessary in keeping alive every US ambassador to serve in post-invasion Iraq, along with more than 90 visiting US congressional delegations. "

Link to Source of Post and Full Article Click Below
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/aug/01/military.usa
Crystal L. Cox

Industry Whistleblower