BLACKWATER: HOW GREAT IS THAT DARKNESS

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:23

[Jeremy Scahill:] But let's be clear here, we're talking about what is alleged to be the single greatest massacre of Iraqi civilians by a private force in Iraq. The individuals alleged to have been responsible for that have faced no consequences right now. When the Iraqi government said, "We want to prosecute them as criminals for what they've done in our country," the Bush administration had to remind Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that he in fact is not the prime minister of Iraq, that George Bush is the prime minister of Iraq and that the United States has imposed on Iraq a law, going back to the Bremer era, Order 17, that says that no private contractors in Iraq can be prosecuted by any Iraqi legal system. And Bremer issued this order at the time he was allegedly handing over sovereignty to the Iraqi government. No armed private security contractors have ever been prosecuted for any crimes in Iraq, not to mention killing of Iraqi civilians. So while this grand jury is meeting, I think that the odds of actual justice being achieved here for the victims of the Nisour Square massacre is highly unlikely. Maybe one or two people will go down as a symbolic gesture. Blackwater, as a company, is not facing any consequences for this.
...
But what has gotten almost no attention is that a US military unit did respond right after the shooting, arrived on the scene. And Lieutenant Colonel Mike Tarsa and his men did an investigation, and what they found is that there was no evidence of enemy fire. They examined the shell casings on the scene and found no evidence that there were any shots fired at the Blackwater convoy. And they labeled it a criminal event and said that all of the Iraqis killed that day were killed as a result of unjustified and unprovoked gunfire. Now, this has gotten almost no attention whatsoever.

But when Bush actually got around to sending the FBI two weeks after the shooting, first of all, we learned that the FBI was going to be guarded by Blackwater when they went over there, and then Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont raised a ruckus about it, and the government said, "OK, fine, we'll provide our own protection." But when the FBI got there, they found that fourteen of the seventeen Iraqis killed were killed as a result of unjustified and unprovoked gunfire. And a military official told the Times that the FBI was being too generous to Blackwater in saying that three of them were not killed as a result of unjustified and unprovoked gunfire. And so, this US military investigation, the fact that federal agents speaking to the New York Times about the FBI investigation said fourteen of the seventeen were killed, this story has basically still gone nowhere.
...
There are legal experts, international law experts, constitutional law experts in this country, that say that the appropriate way for the United States government to respond is to prosecute these individuals under the War Crimes Act. Now, that would require us having probably hundreds of different individuals in the United States Congress and a totally different president, one with a will to actually enforce US law, when it even is the case that his cronies are being alleged to have committed crimes.
...
The US has sixteen intelligence agencies now under one umbrella. 70 percent of their combined budget is now in the hands of the private sector. You have private contractors working basically at every level of the US intelligence apparatus.

And so, what we see now, through Total Intelligence Solutions, is that Erik Prince is taking the decades and decades of CIA experience, the careers of people like Cofer Black, Robert Richer, Enrique "Ric" Prado, and putting all of their contacts, their knowledge, their networks, their intimate relationships with governments and heads of state around the world, on the open market for bidding. You know, services that were once the realm of sovereign governments are now on the open market for bidding. And Blackwater has some of the heaviest hitters in the history of US intelligence, whose services are now available for private hire.
...
What's interesting—and you [Amy Goodman] raised this with him [Barack Obama]—is that he won't take the step toward actually trying to ban these companies. Representative Jan Schakowsky and Senator Bernie Sanders have put forward legislation called the Stop Outsourcing Security Act in the Congress, and Barack Obama has said he's not going to come onboard and support that legislation.
Interestingly, when I reported in The Nation that Obama would not support that legislation, which seeks to ban the use of these companies in US war zones, Hillary Clinton, five days before the Texas and Ohio primaries, the day my piece comes out, she responds by putting a statement on her website saying that she's going to endorse Bernie Sanders' legislation, and she becomes the single most important US political figure to come out for a ban. Now, I'm glad that Hillary Clinton did that, and I look forward to her making this one of her top legislative priorities after the primary season is over.

Source: Blackwater: From the Nisour Square Massacre to the Future of the Mercenary Industry.

Donate


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

  • Subscribe


  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.