Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Perfect Environment for Multiple Mai Lais

Other Killings By Blackwater Staff Detailed State Dept. Papers Tell of Coverup
By Karen DeYoung Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, October 2, 2007; A01
Blackwater security contractors in Iraq have been involved in at least 195 "escalation of force" incidents since early 2005, including several previously unreported killings of Iraqi civilians, according to a new congressional account of State Department and company documents.
In one of the killings, according to a State Department document, Blackwater personnel tried to cover up what had occurred and provided a false report. In another case, involving a Blackwater convoy's collision with 18 civilian vehicles, the firm accused its own personnel of lying about the event.
The State Department made little effort to hold Blackwater personnel accountable beyond pressing the company to pay financial compensation to the families of the dead, the documents indicate. In a case involving a drunken Blackwater employee who killed a security guard to one of Iraq's vice presidents last Christmas Eve, U.S. government personnel helped negotiate a financial settlement and allowed the employee to depart Iraq.
Details of these and other incidents were released yesterday by the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), after the committee's staff examined hundreds of internal Blackwater and State Department documents. Erik Prince, Blackwater's chairman, and David M. Satterfield, the State Department's Iraq coordinator, are scheduled to testify today at a hearing before the committee.
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There is a reason this country has a military as well as a long history of how it uses (or used to use) its forces. The backbone, the very nucleus of our military system is accountability and observance of command structure.
Why would it surprise anyone, when we allow and encourage a secondary 'janjaweed mercenary' force--under the command of no one, accountable to no one--that it would all go awry?
Erik Prince (former Navy Seal and big-time Republican fund-raiser), along with Cofer Black (CIA counter-terror big shot under Tenet) run the show, which advertises itself as a 'professional military organization.'
When did that become legal in America?

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Washington at Work, check out Opinion-Columns.com