Monday, February 01, 2010

More Blackwater Crimes and Misdemeanors

First, let it be said that yesterday Frank Rich wrote in his Sunday Op/Ed piece that it is ridiculous for President Obama to adhere to, and I quote, “the Beltway’s unquestioned cliché that one year after a new president takes office he is required to stop blaming his predecessor for the calamities left behind...who dreamed up that canard?” Amen! Who did dream that up? And for sure...I will NEVER stop blaming the George W. Bush administration for the mess the whole world is in and will be in for years and years to come. One of those messes is the unnecessary BushWar in Iraq and all of its fallout, one example of which is the disaster caused by the US Department of Defense’s use of Blackwater mercenaries. The New York Times reported this morning: “The Justice Department is investigating whether officials of Blackwater Worldwide tried to bribe Iraqi government officials in hopes of retaining the firm’s security work in Iraq after a deadly shooting episode in 2007, according to current and former government officials.” The NYT’s “so-what” paragraph (which is the retelling of what we already know for the benefit of morons who don’t read the news) reported that, “A federal judge in December dismissed criminal charges against five former Blackwater guards implicated in the episode, but Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. recently announced that the Obama administration would appeal that decision.” Regarding the latest inquiry into Blackwater shenanigans, the Justice Department has obtained two documents from the State Department regarding alleged Blackwater bribes. Document One is a handwritten note in which a Blackwater representative tells a senior official at the American Embassy that Blackwater had hired an Iraqi lawyer to make “compensation payments” to the 2007 shooting victims. The other document is an email response from a senior Embassy official warning Blackwater not to bribe the Iraqi government. The Iraqi lawyer in question is Jaafar al-Mousawi, who was the chief prosecutor in the trial of Saddam Hussein. According to the NYT, Mousawi said that in February 2008 he had worked with top Blackwater officials to spend up to $1 million to compensate the Nisour Square victim’s families and that he had consulted with Iraq Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki about the payments. The NYT also said: “According to the document, as described by the two government officials, the Blackwater official said the firm had hired the lawyer hoping that the lawyer’s close ties to top Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, would help Blackwater obtain a license to continue operating in Iraq." Oh yes, indeedy! Yummy stuff! And may Blackwater (now known as Xe Services) and its religious zealot founder Erik Prince and his far-right religious nut pal, James Dobson, who was a spiritual mentor to George W. Bush, all rot in hell!

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