Wednesday, October 03, 2007

$Billions for Murder$: the Axis of Bush and Blackwater

The real picture is one of murder, theft, and thuggery, a real "Axis of Evil" --George W. Bush, The Pentagon, and Blackwater. US taxpayer dollars trickle down to these hired killers to the tune of some some 1 Billion dollars since 2000. The amount of taxpayer money received by Blackwater is least six times that of our regular military.

Rarely has so much been written, so quickly, by so many about so few. Blackwater, recently called 'Bush's Private Army', is already remembered as having de-romanticized the "Bogart" image often associated with "mercenaries". As Sen. Lloyd Bentsen reminded Dan Quayle, "You, sir, are no John Kennedy". And Blackwater ain't Bogart.
"We saw the costs, in terms of accountability and dollars, for this practice in Iraq, and now we are seeing it in New Orleans," says Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, who has been one of Blackwater's few critics in Congress. "They have again given a sweetheart contract--without an open bidding process--to a company with close ties to the Administration."

-- In the Black(water), Jeremy Scahill, The Nation

It's but the tip of an iceburg, another scam by big government Republicans. See: Federal Contracts to Blackwater USA, Inc.


Because Blackwater is now under investigation, officials will only speak anonymously about its role in recent shootings, "sensitive" discussions among various US agencies and the Iraqi government, and other private security firms in Iraq.
A State Department official asked why the military is shifting the question to State "since the DOD has more Blackwater contractors than we do, including people doing PSD [personal security detail] for them. . . . They've [Blackwater] basically got contracts with DOD that are larger than the contracts with State."

According to federal spending data compiled by the independent Web site FedSpending.org, however, the State Department's Blackwater contracts vastly exceed those of the Pentagon. Since 2004, State has paid Blackwater $833,673,316, compared with Defense Department contracts of $101,219,261.

--Private Security Puts Diplomats, Military at Odds, Washington Post
The Post's Walter Pincus analyzes one of the contracts under investigation by Congressman Henry Waxman. Blackwater's mercenaries "earn" more than US generals, including Gen. Petraeus who recently read to Congress a report that had likely been prepared for him by GOP PR experts in the Bush administration. According to Pincus' analysis, Petraeus makes about $493 a day, not including benefits. Blackwater, on the other hand, charge higher rates for murder. Here's how Pincus says Blackwater hit men get paid:

Average day-to-day personnel, $600/day salary paid by Blackwater. Blackwater bills Regency, $850/day for operators Regency bills ESS an average of $1100/day for all types of employees ESS charges Halliburton which charges the US based on a per-meal basis (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Halliburton has some profit worked into this)

Bush, meanwhile, has said US taxpayers need to cough up another $200 billion, a process of outsourcing the US war against the people of Iraq. If the people of the US were willing to "wink and nod" at the utter immorality the Iraq quagmire, what, then, are the US taxpayers to say about the how billions of dollars --almost as much as the amount Ronald Reagan spent doubling the Federal Bureaucracy --that have "trickled down" into the coffers of what is, in practice, Murder, Inc?

It's time for a reality check --the amount received by Blackwater is an amount at least six times that of our regular military. Never, ever try to tell me that the GOP is "conservative" in any way. It is, rather, a profligate and corrupt organization whose leadership should be under criminal investigations right now.

Blackwater has deep, long ties to the Bush White House and prominent Republicans, including Ken Starr.
When Blackwater contractors guarding a US State Department convoy allegedly killed 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians on Sept. 16, it was only the latest in a series of controversial shooting incidents associated with the private security firm. Blackwater has a reputation for being quick on the draw. Since 2005, the North Carolina-based company, which has about 1,000 contractors in Iraq, has reported 195 "escalation of force incidents"; in 156 of those cases Blackwater guns fired first. According to the New York Times, Blackwater guards were twice as likely as employees of two other firms protecting State Department personnel in Iraq to be involved in shooting incidents.

On Tuesday morning, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will hold a hearing on the US military's use of private contractors. When Waxman announced plans for the hearing last week, the State Department directed Blackwater not to give any information or testimony without its signoff. After a public spat between Rep. Waxman and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the State Department relented. Blackwater CEO and founder Erik Prince is now scheduled to testify at 10 AM Tuesday.

--Bush administration's ties to Blackwater

My conclusions are confirmed again. The GOP is not a political party, it's a crime syndicate, a criminal conspiracy. The leadership of the GOP should be investigated by a Federal Grand Jury under RICO (Racketeering) statutes. Freedom of speech does not protect payments to hired killers even if the money is laundered through the White House and the Pentagon. This is organized crime on a scale never dreamed of by Al Capone. In this century, only the gangster Adolph Hitler has come close to organized crime of this magnitude. It seems like only yesterday that the US was called "the World's only superpower". Now the many openly call it the "world's biggest terrorist organization".

How quickly the Bush v Gore has made of the United States of America a gang of thugs, murderers, thieves, torturers, sadists, and run o' the mill bathroom stall blowjob artists! I repeat what should be obvious to all but the terminally stupid: the Bush administration, indeed, Bush himself an arch-criminal, liar and thief, is a threat to the world, world peace and humanity. This Bush administration, having long ago violated every provision of the social contract, having flouted its only source of legitimacy, no longer represents the sovereign people of the United States. This illegal and illegitimate regime must be ended now. Given this regime's utter depravity, the unconstitutional manner in which it seized power and subsequently ruled, any means are now legally justified. I suggest an interested reader review the words of Thomas Jefferson and, likewise, the US Constitution. Bush out now!


Blackwater Hearing: Waxman's Opening

An update:
AGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The State Department's initial report of last month's incident in which Blackwater guards were accused of killing Iraqi civilians was written by a Blackwater contractor working in the embassy security detail, according to government and industry sources.

In this September 24 photo, an Iraqi looks at a car that was destroyed during the September 16 incident.

A source involved in diplomatic security at the US Embassy in Baghadad said a Blackwater contractor, Darren Hanner, drafted the two-page "spot report" on the letterhead of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the embassy's Tactical Operations Center.

That office -- which tracks and monitors all incidents and movements involving diplomatic security missions -- has outsourced positions to Blackwater and another private firm, the embassy source said.

A highly placed industry source said that Hanner, who was listed on the report as the TOC watch officer, was working for Blackwater at the time the report was written, just after the September 16 incident occurred. He was to rotate out of Iraq this past week, the source said.

The man who approved the report was Ricardo Colon, whom the embassy source identified as the embassy's deputy regional security officer. A State Department source confirmed a Ricardo Colon Cifredo works for the State Department in Iraq.

--Blackwater contractor wrote government report on incident

An Iraqi police officer, directing traffic at Baghdad's Nusoor Square, witnessed the whole thing and, later, called it "hell". He said that Blackwater had "became the terrorists" when they opened fire on civilians, an incident the Iraqi government now says was unprovoked.

A 37-year-old Baghadad businessman and a father of four, whose youngest son was killed by a Blackwater bullet, said he wanted no monetary compensation but only for the guards to "admit to the truth."

The police officer and businessman on Monday gave CNN vivid descriptions of the incident in which a senior Iraqi investigator said 17 people were killed and 24 wounded.

Blackwater USA, the private security contractor hired to guard US diplomats in Baghadad, has said its employees responded properly to an insurgent attack, but the State Department has opened an investigation.

The convoy of four Blackwater vehicles drove into the square about half an hour after a bombing prompted another Blackwater team that was guarding a US diplomat to rush from the area and back to the Green Zone, the enclave in Baghadad where US and Iraqi government agencies have headquarters.

-- Blackwater incident witness: 'It was hell'

More:
Participants in a contentious Baghadad security operation this month have told American investigators that during the operation at least one guard continued firing on civilians while colleagues urgently called for a cease-fire. At least one guard apparently also drew a weapon on a fellow guard who did not stop shooting, an American official said.

The operation, by the private firm Blackwater USA, began as a mission to evacuate senior American officials after an explosion near where they were meeting, several officials said. Some officials have questioned the wisdom of evacuating the Americans from a secure compound, saying the area should instead have been locked down.

These new details of the episode on Sept. 16, in which at least eight Iraqis were killed, including a woman and an infant, were provided by an American official who was briefed on the American investigation by someone who helped conduct it, and by Americans who had spoken directly with two guards involved in the episode. Their accounts were broadly consistent. ...

--Blackwater Shooting Scene Was Chaotic, NYT Chaotic

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