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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Shocking Truth: Blackwater Not Telling Truth

As new allegations of Blackwater shootings have cropped up, the FBI has completed its investigation of the incident that raised public awareness about the private military contractor - and they're basically calling bullshit on Blackwater's cover story.

Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq, according to civilian and military officials briefed on the case.

The F.B.I. investigation into the shootings in Baghdad is still under way, but the findings, which indicate that the company’s employees recklessly used lethal force, are already under review by the Justice Department.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek indictments, and some officials have expressed pessimism that adequate criminal laws exist to enable them to charge any Blackwater employee with criminal wrongdoing. Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the F.B.I. declined to discuss the matter.

This is of course the problem, since the complex web of laws serve to immunize Blackwater employees from accountability. Not to mention that the internal investigative arms of the State Department, who hired Blackwater, are irretrievably flawed. One of the reasons that State is so lenient and forgiving with Blackwater, believing their stories of "acting in self-defense," is tied up in a conflict of interest.

At the beginning of today's House oversight committee hearing on State Department Inspector General Howard "Cookie" Krongard, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) dropped a bombshell: Krongard's brother, former CIA Executive Director A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, sits on Blackwater's advisory board. Blackwater, of course, is a State Department contractor.

Calling Krongard's case one of seemingly "reckless incompetence," Waxman reminded the hearing that one of the charges against Krongard is that he squelched an investigation into a State contractor -- since named as Blackwater -- smuggling weapons into Iraq. According to Waxman, Howard Krongard concealed his brother's association with Blackwater from "his own deputy."

Krongard has now recused himself from Blackwater investigations after confirming that his brother sits on the board. Clearly, Blackwater's modus operandi is to cultivate relationships with those who may be in a position to impact their bottom line. It's standard stuff.

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