Black Water. White Wash.

As you may know, North Carolina is not only a military-friendly state, we are a mercenary-friendly state, too. Indeed, the world's largest mercenary army of war-profiteers his headquartered right here in Mayberry-land: Blackwater, USA.

And if you don't think Blackwater is a tail that's wagging the US dog, think again. Not only is Blackwater pulling in billions of taxpayer dollars to prop up America's occupation in Iraq, the mercenaries also have all the political pull in the world. Which is why I wasn't surprised to find the company had managed to squash a civil lawsuit that would have catapulted them into the public spotlight.

A potentially landmark lawsuit with a very public beginning — when television cameras captured images of U.S. security contractors burned, mutilated and strung from a bridge in Iraq — appears destined for a private conclusion. After years of appeals and legal maneuvering, Blackwater USA, a security contractor, has successfully steered a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the families of the four slain employees into private arbitration.

The move will keep Blackwater, a secretive North Carolina company, away from the light of a courtroom, where many expected to learn details about it and what critics call the private army it fields in Iraq and elsewhere.

This so-called "private conclusion" is otherwise know as a pay-off, which is exactly how Blackwater does things. In other words, a BIG chunk of the money we taxpayers are pouring to Blackwater's bottom line just went to secure the favor a friendly judge, and quite possibly, the silence of some of the folks who originally bought the suit. Who wants to be a millionaire? To my knowledge.

Blackwater, whose attorneys have included former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr and current White House Counsel Fred Fielding, argued from the start that the company should not face scrutiny in civilian courts because the contracting industry is an extension of the military.

But the company didn’t find a friendly legal venue until recently, when U.S. District Judge James Fox, citing a clause in the employees’ contracts, ruled that the case should leave the public courtroom for the private world of arbitration.

There's a small bit of hope that We the People may eventually get a glimpse behind the black curtain of corruption and greed that shields our home-grown mercenary army, but it's only small. According to the News and Observer, Congressman David Price has inserted language into the Intelligence Authorization Bill that will require a full account of the activities of contractors by April 2008. Which will give Blackwater a full year to cook the books, move money off-shore, buy more judges and politicians, and otherwise cover their tracks.

I have a better idea. Why not begin Congressional hearing NOW. Why not look into the mysterious "settlement" in this case to find out just how Blackwater operates and who's paying whom to get away with murder. I'm no lawyer, but I can think of a dozen easy questions that would warrant such hearings.

The wholesale outsourcing of Bush's War and Occupation to enrich a worldwide army of war profiteers has its roots right here in North Carolina. The Democratic Congressmen from our state should get to the bottom of it . . . and soon.

NOTE: The N&O has done some decent work on this issue over the years, but they let the story die. I hope some of the investigative reporters there - or perhaps at McClatchy - will find the time and resources for a full-scale expose of Blackwater. Because the truth is, every time a US soldier dies because of insufficient body armor or broken down equipment, the reason is Blackwater. They are literally a blood-sucking company that is diverting resources from troops into private profits. And every time a soldier says "fuck this" to the Army and gets out to sign up as a Blackwater mercenary earning five times as much money, the strength and integrity of our armed forces gets chipped away.

Comments

100% Spot On

Because the truth is, every time a US soldier dies because of insufficient body armor or broken down equipment, the reason is Blackwater. They are literally a blood-sucking company that is diverting resources from troops into private profits. And every time a soldier says "fuck this" to the Army and gets out to sign up as a Blackwater mercenary earning five times as much money, the strength and integrity of our armed forces gets chipped away.

BlackWater! America's Private SS Army!

And every time a soldier says "fuck this" to the Army and gets out to sign up as a Blackwater mercenary earning five times as much money, the strength and integrity of our armed forces gets chipped away.*U

Everybody is scare to death of Blackwater. The bastards will kill you if you get in their way. I have had chattting sessions with their spiritual leaders. They are either navie or simply evil......I chose the latter...A true Fascist secret Order!

Thanks for publicizing this, Anglico

Democracy Now had an interview with Jeremy Scahill, author of a new book, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army." I advise listening to the podcast, which is truly terrifying.

Blackwater supplied the mercenaries with machine guns who invaded New Orleans shortly after Katrina. As if the people needed firepower instead of help. And we paid for it (or our children will).

I hope the N&O, which has had some very good article on Blackwater, continues to publicize the problem. Their wonderful stories on North Carolina's failure to stop speeding drivers seems to be having some effect.

-- ge

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
http://george.entenman.name

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
https://george.entenman.name

If newspapers really want to sell papers...

why don't they bring back that good old mukraking journalism?

If I were a reporter, I'd pitch a series to the editor that would lift the filthy lid on every one of the tentacles ( sorry for the mixed metaphors, I'm MAD) of the mercenary mess screwing up our military.

People with the SUPPORT THE TROOPS bumber stickers might be forced to face the fact that Bush et al don't support them but undermines them at every turn.

These Judicial Findings

never cease to amaze me. I got a bee in my butt recently about the civil case against Custer Battles, a contractor that bilked millions out of U.S. taxpayers and was brought to court by a few whistleblowers (thanks for nothing, Justice).

The same Federal judge found in favor of the jackasses (twice), stating that the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) was a multi-national entity, so Custer Battles did not actually defraud the United States.

Now these guys are saying that Blackwater is an extension of the U.S. military, and should be shielded from civil action? :(

Blackwater is not an extension of the military.

No way, that's what they claim themselves while they're over in Iraq doing G'd knows what without any witnesses. They can't have it both ways. This is so twisted that it can't stand.

Come Away -

Come away from the Dark Side.

The Truth will set you free!

Special Forces soldiers

train there too....Moyock/Blackwater. I think there is a marriage of sorts.

Lovex7

I was close to blackwater people on a regular basis.....

They are lawless and without control in Iraq. Accountable to almost noone.

I personally have seen them use what i would regard as lethal force againt regular Iraqi civilians who were just trying to get out of Blackwaters way!. They have alsolute backing of the Bush Administration and the State Department.

We will never know how many people Blackwater mercenaries have killed, injured or turned into anti American fighters. Their very presence in Iraq has done nothing to secure the peace, but has done plenty to keep the violence going. Afterall, if the violence stops, Blackwater's bottomline is effected and they are out of a job in Iraq.
Anybody listening?

I know of only one incident of pushback against Blackwater in Iraq, whe a Marine Commander, in early 2005 kicked the State Department Blackwater contingent off his Base in Anbar province.

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03

I'm listening, Marshall.

As long as the billions continue to flow into this war with little or no contractor accountability, there will be those whose best interests are served by promoting instability and discontent. The longer our vehicles and equipment remain in such a harsh environment, the more we will have to replace. From small companies to large, the defense industry is feeding off this like a hungry animal.

And we keep giving them the money.

Which makes me wonder

WTF we're waiting a whole damn year to get to the bottom of the contract morass????

Blackwater Boys

Most of the Blackwater Boys are former Special Forces/Delta Force soldiers. Everybody around here knows that. They also know they make big money, but I don't know what "big" means.

Lovex7

the last i saw

said special ops soldiers were getting 150,000 dollar bonuses to stay in. This was justified by the fact that letting them leave and training a replacement would cost 300,000.

Now add in the private sector bonus on top of that and I think you get an idea of what we could be talking about. Now, that was just bonus money, not salary.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

It's a self-perpetuating phenomenon,

because the loss of experienced soldiers to the private sector reduces force capability, making the use of companies like Blackwater even more "necessary", ensuring that more money is funneled into them, enticing more soldiers to leave active duty, etc.

Not only are these troops costing taxpayers four or five times more than they should, they are also operating outside the UCMJ and Congressional oversight (for now). I have a hunch they're not bound (or protected) by the Geneva Convention either, but I'm not sure about that.

Suffice it to say, the practice is outrageous and must be curtailed, before it becomes institutionalized and warps the way we handle threats in the future.

And now (as was discussed on another site) the same formula is being used on the Border Patrol, to fill another need stemming from this misguided and mishandled "liberation":

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070519/ap_on_re_us/iraq_border_training

The President doesn't pay for this, folks. Congress does. It's time to stop playing the good ole boy, you scratch my back crap and act responsibly.

Anglico,

I don't have the details in front of me, but I believe one of the first bills introduced this year in the Senate dealt with contractor accountability, and I think it's decaying in committee. Although I believe it was (is) worded more towards punishing those who haven't fulfilled their contracted responsibilities (Katrina and Iraq), it should have a vehicle for obtaining hard data that would shine a light on some of this crapola.

regulating private military companies

North Carolina needs to regulate private miltary companies. South Africa and New Zealand have either enacted or are working on such legislation. The bill in South Africa is entitled "Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and Prohibition and Regulation of Certain Activities in Areas of Armed Conflict Bill (B42 - 2005)". In New Zealand its entitled "Mercenary Activities (Prohibition) Act Commencement Order 2004".

We got House Bill 1682 "NC No Place for Torture Act" drafted and moving. Would it be possible for us to get legislation to regulate private miltary companies?

Visit Academi Watch (aka Blackwater Watch) at http://academiwatch.com

I like this idea

Let's see if we can get some advice from Gerry Cohen, the bill drafter in the Legislature, to explore options. Great resources . . . thanks.

J

Blackwater killed several more Iraqi civilians last night...

This is crazy...it is insane...The insurgency is strengthened today.....

I am sure, in Iraq there there may be a couple of hundred foreign fighters, but for the most part, the Iraqi insurgency is simply Iraqi fighting American occupation. Nothing more....

We need to get combat troops out of Iraq. During the two months the Iraqi congress will be on vacation is a good time.

God help the poor Iraqis. They are being terrorized by Blackwater and the President.

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03

Marshall Check Your PM

#2 on the way.

Excerpt from Jeremy Scahill article

"The increasing use of contractors, private forces or as some would say 'mercenaries' makes wars easier to begin and to fight--it just takes money and not the citizenry," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has sued contractors for alleged abuses in Iraq. "To the extent a population is called upon to go to war, there is resistance, a necessary resistance to prevent wars of self-aggrandizement, foolish wars and in the case of the United States, hegemonic imperialist wars. Private forces are almost a necessity for a United States bent on retaining its declining empire."

if you're interested in more
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070402/scahill

I Don't Believe This

Private forces are almost a necessity for a United States bent on retaining its declining empire."

If you have something of value to offer people , they will beat a path to your door.

The US used to be in the business of breaking up "empires" - or at least that was the bill of goods I was sold in public school. Did I miss another memo?

You did miss a memo

Memorandum

From: King George II
To: The World

This "signing statement" is to notify you, the World, that I am the fucking king and I get to say exactly how things are going to be. You don't like it? Tough. I'm the Decider and I've decided that me and my chickenshit coward buddies are gonna get richer'n hell Don' even think about crossing me, commie faggot. I'll sic Blackwater on you so fast you won't know what hit you.

Come and Get Me, Coward

Memo to the Codpiece Commander Guy:

I ain't afraid of you and I BITE.

Even Harvard has something to say about Blackwater

Read it here.

At best, Blackwater operates in a murky legal grey area. The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000 (MEJA) made military contractors operating abroad subject to American law when they were working for the armed forces. However, the State Department contracts Blackwater, not Defense, so it may not be exempt from the MEJA.

That's It.

I'm going into law. I'm too old to bus tables. What else can I do?

Buy a bunch of cows

and go MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
If you can afford to be a lawyer, you can afford moooocows.

They give milk and are very tasty on the grill. And if you get smart cows, they will even write billboard signs that say eat mo chkn! comeon, a straw hat and wheat straw tween the teeth! Bibed overalls. Now thats the life!

Just remember that cow with only one utter is a bull, u might not want to hook him up to a milking machine.

City girl......

OOOOO i know im gonna catch it with that statement!