Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Highest-paid death squads in the world

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP)--Blackwater chairman Erik Prince vigorously rejected charges Tuesday that mercenaries from his private army acted like a gang of punks with no regard for human life while collecting absurd amounts of money for protecting State Department personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I believe we acted appropriately at all times," said Prince, a 38-year-old right-wing Christian nutcase and former Navy SEAL with long-standing financial ties to the GOP, testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

His testimony came as the FBI is investigating Blackwater thugs for their role in a September 16 orgy of gunplay that resulted in 11 dead Iraqis who will not be counted as "official" dead Iraqis. This incident and many others, including a shooting by a drunken Blackwater goon after a 2006 Christmas party, led to pointed questions by lawmakers about what the fuck the government is doing, hiring unaccountable private-sector hitmen for work that could be done cheaper and better by U.S. military personnel, like it used to be.

"We're not getting our money's worth when we have so many complaints about innocent people being shot," said Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), committee chairman, at the conclusion of a nearly six-hour hearing. "And it's unclear whether they're actually being investigated by the State Department, because the president's girlfriend runs that joint and the bitch won't tell us anything."

The committee agreed not to look into the September 16 incident during Tuesday's special hearing about the September 16 incident, after the Justice Department requested that Congress wait until a suitable cover-up can be arranged.

Prince cast his company--which has received billions of dollars in federal contracts as a result of his family's tireless financing of Bush Crime Family political operations--as a scapegoat. He said his staff was comprised of courageous individuals who face the same threats and high-stress environment as U.S. military personnel, but for a lot more money and with no accountability to military justice. He made it sound like a real bummer.

Often leaning back to hear his lawyer tell him his haircut didn't look gay, Prince repeatedly refused to say whether people he fired for random murders were guilty of murder, and said it should be up to the Justice Department to pursue charges against them.

In the case of the Christmas eve shooting, Prince said the company fired and fined the individual, as well as recommending that he seek treatment for his alcohol and anger-management issues.

"But we, as a private organization, can't do any more," he told the House panel. "We can't flog him. We can't incarcerate him. If he was some random Iraqi, we could shoot him in the back of the head and ditch him in the street, and he wouldn't even make the count. What do you want from me? Money?"

The Blackwater chairman said he would be willing to pay for legislation that would guarantee that his employees and other private goon squads working for the State Department are subject to prosecution in U.S. courts if the president would then commute their sentences. The House is expected to consider such a bill on Wednesday, if everyone isn't too busy condemning the free speech our brave soldiers and venal mercenaries are killing and dying to protect.

At the same time, Prince said the government's decision to include the FBI in the investigation of the September 16 incident is proof that oversight and accountability already exists. Everyone laughed.

State Department officials said Tuesday the criminal prosecution of such cases was out of their hands and should be handled by the Justice Department, which would not be allowed to because of national security.

"The president's girlfriend has made clear that she wishes to have a probing, comprehensive unvarnished examination of the overall issue of security contractors working for her in Iraq," said David Satterfield, the smirking Iraq point-man for the State Department. "Which will be much better for us than any kind of investigation of specific events."

Waxman also cited a November 2004 plane crash in Afghanistan--by jacked-up, joyriding Blackwater pilots who didn't know where the fuck they were and crashed into a canyon wall, killing everyone on board--as an example of what he said is the company's cavalier attitude toward its murderous disasters.

Prince acknowledged pilot error led to the crash, but said his company's aviators often fly missions in difficult conditions, such as ignorance or drunkenness. He said the military violated its own rules by loading people and explosives on a booze-cruise canyon run. But Blackwater flew the mission anyway because that's what its government customer wanted, he said, and go fuck yourself.

"There is no FAA in Afghanistan," he said. "What crashes in Afghanistan stays in Afghanistan."

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