As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ol' Black Water

Saw a dude over the weekend sporting a Blackwater T-shirt, with no sense of irony. After this incident, you wonder if awareness of the crimes of this company will make it toxic to wear that in public.

In the Interior Ministry account — made available to The New York Times on Thursday — Iraqi investigators interviewed many witnesses but relied on the testimony of the people they considered to be the four most credible.

The account says that as soon as the guards took positions in four locations in the square, they began shooting south, killing a driver who had failed to heed a traffic policeman’s call to stop.

“The Blackwater company is considered 100 percent guilty through this investigation,” the report concludes.

Apparently the military is learning from such shoot-first, ask-questions-later by placing "bait" in a target area, such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and shooting anyone who picks it up. Even the family members who don't want live ammo around their kids, one would assume, or those who want to use it to protect themselves.

Not only that, it turns out there's one large organization smuggling weapons to terrorists, and it ain't Iran:

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press. Blackwater is based in Moyock, N.C.

Two former Blackwater employees have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with investigators, so there's not a lot of mystery here. These are weapons going to the PKK, or Kurdistan Worker's Party, which is committing acts of terrorism inside Turkey. What's hilarious is how it went public:

The North Carolina investigation was first brought to light by State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard, who mentioned it, perhaps inadvertently, this week while denying he had improperly blocked fraud and corruption probes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Krongard was accused in a letter by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, of politically motivated malfeasance, including refusing to cooperate with an investigation into alleged weapons smuggling by a large, unidentified State Department contractor.

In response, Krongard said in a written statement that he "made one of my best investigators available to help Assistant U.S. Attorneys in North Carolina in their investigation into alleged smuggling of weapons into Iraq by a contractor."


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