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Friday, October 3, 2014

Scahill talks wars, backfires, beneficiaries and Team Blackwater-Clinton-Obama

US in Iraq
Editing by Carolyn Bennett 
Journalist and author Jeremy Scahill is founding editor of the online news publication The Intercept and author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army and  book and documentary Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield
Scahill appeared today on the New York-based Democracy Now program. These thoughts were particularly on point.  

Pakistanis protest
Deniability and Impunity

Currently at trial on charges of murder and manslaughter are four former Blackwater operatives who were “allegedly involved in a 2007 massacre” in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead when a Blackwater unit indiscriminately opened fire. The four mercenaries have been charged with killing 14 of the 17 Iraqis.

In answering Amy Goodman’s question on this matter, Jeremy Scahill said the incident at Nisour Square in Baghdad “was the worst massacre of Iraqi civilians at the hands of mercenaries (private contractors) that we know of in Iraq.” But, he said, “It is always the people down the chain that face the consequences.”

Pakistanis protest

While the four accused “should be prosecuted, should be convicted, for what they did and should be in prison, the leadership of Blackwater should also be there.”  Blackwater founder and chief operating officer Erik Prince held these positions when Blackwater was “essentially ‘Murder Incorporated’ in Iraq and when there was a company environment” in which mercenaries “were encouraged to view every Iraqi as the enemy” and when Blackwater operatives “committed many massacres” beyond the massacre at Nisour Square. Scahill takes the view that Prince should also stand trial.

Wikipedia note: The American private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince was originally named “Blackwater.” In 2007 the company gained notoriety “when a group of its employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians and injured 20 in Nisour Square, Baghdad [Iraq].” In 2009 Blackwater was renamed “Xe Services.” In late 2010, a group of private investors purchased the company and installed a board of directors and new senior management. In 2011 the former Blackwater assumed the name “Academi.” The company founder, Erik Prince, reportedly “retained the rights to the name Blackwater and has no affiliation with Academi.” In 2014, the company became a division of Constellis Holdings along with Triple Canopy and other security companies that were part of the Constellis Group as the result of an acquisition.

Despite the notoriety of this ever name-changing private military company, the United States federal government continues to employ and partner with it. “The Obama administration contracted the group to provide services for the CIA for $250 million.” Academi subsidiary International Development Solutions in 2013 “received an approximately $92 million contract for State Department security guards.”

Scahill summed up, “Until we as a society stop cutting off who’s held accountable at the lowest ranks, nothing is ever going to fundamentally change.” In other words, no one should be above the law.

Dark Shadows
Libyans protest

As if current President Barack Obama’s ruthless performance were not enough, shadowing in the wings toward the next U.S. presidency is a character “more hawkish” than the current second-term president who, Scahill says, “has emerged as a pretty significant hawk … [in] a totally militarized presidency.”

But the Clintons, Hillary Clinton and her husband, the former president, “are two of the most fierce projectors of the politics of the American empire and they [enjoy] very close relationships with some of the most nefarious characters from the [George W., Jeb and George H.W.] Bush family.”  The families together constitute something like a monarchy, Scahill said. (Ah, the perks of cronyism, nepotism, corruption, Yale, Harvard, and legacy hires.)

When she was head of the State Department of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton “acted as though she was also sort of Secretary of Defense.” During her tenure as Secretary, the “State Department,” he reports, “was deeply involved with plotting covert action around the world, using the State Department as cover for CIA operations.”

Hillary Clinton, Scahill said, “is a fierce neoliberal who believes in backing up the so-called ‘hidden hand of the free market’ with merciless, iron-fisted military policies.”

Libyans protest

“For many, many decades … U.S. policy has been its own worst enemy in one sense – We have created the very threats we claim to be fighting.”

Every time we kill civilians in drone strikes, Scahill said, “al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula becomes stronger in the sense that they have a greater propaganda movement that they can roll out.” But beyond this obvious creation and perpetuation of enemies and violence, the big beneficiary of war is “the war industry.…

Middle East
“Under Mr. Transformative Presidency Barack Obama,” Scahill said, “the administration has been an incredibly great friend to the war industry,” which is the greatest beneficiary of the Obama policy. 

Middle East
Every Tomahawk cruise missile launched – and coming soon a next-generation- longer-airborne-sustaining jet-propelled drones – ensure that major beneficiary (and major political campaign financing) military industrialist Lockheed Martin and like brands never stop making “a killing off killing.”

Sources and notes

“Jeremy Scahill on Obama’s Orwellian War in Iraq: We Created the Very Threat We Claim to be Fighting,” October 3, 2014,  http://www.democracynow.org/2014/10/3/jeremy_scahill_on_obamas_orwellian_war

Journalist and author Jeremy Scahill is founding editor of the online news publication The Intercept; author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army and Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield and the documentary of the same title, both released in 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Scahill

Blackwater brief at Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academi

Blackwater Baghdad shootings at Wikipedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “On September 16, 2007, Blackwater Security Consulting (since renamed Academi) military contractors shot at Iraqi civilians killing 17 and injuring 20 in Nisour Square, Baghdad. The killings outraged Iraqis and strained relations between Iraq and Washington. Blackwater guards claimed that the convoy was ambushed and that they fired at the attackers in defense of the convoy. The Iraqi government and Iraqi police investigator Faris Saadi Abdul alleged that the killings were unprovoked. The next day, Blackwater Worldwide’s license to operate in Iraq was temporarily revoked.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Baghdad_shootings

The Clintons

William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton (originally named William Jefferson Blythe III) was the 42nd president of the United States (1993–2001) who in his second term (1998) became the second U.S. president to be impeached.

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was a lawyer by training who became a member of the U.S. Senate (2001–09) and a U.S. Secretary of State (2009-2013). As wife of the 42nd president of the United States, she was “First Lady” (1993-2001).

Britannica and Wikipedia biographical briefs on the Clintons


A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent books in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora


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