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Monday, Apr 7, 2008, 10:23 am

Blackwater’s new contract

By Adam Doster
While the military is busy prosecuting a Canadian-Iraqi dual citizen for stabbing a fellow translator during his stint with the private security contractor Titan, Jeremy Scahill reminds us of the Administration's inconsistent PSC indictments.
By contrast, more than six months after the incident, no charges have been brought--under any legal system--against Blackwater's personnel for the Nisour Square shootings, despite a US military investigation that found all seventeen of the Iraqi victims died as a result of unjustified and unprovoked shooting in an incident the military labeled a "criminal event." Nor have charges been brought against the Blackwater operative alleged to have killed the Iraqi vice president's bodyguard. Baghdad called that killing a "murder." Weeks after the alleged killing, the Blackwater contractor was back in the Middle East working for another war contractor.
Smells like a token prosecution to me, especially considering that while Bush posits that we're getting tough on civilian fighters in Iraq, he can still rely on them to fight his war.
In the two weeks after Nisour Square, Blackwater and the Administration signed more than $140 million in "protective services" contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan and millions more since. On April 4, just as the news of Ali's prosecution was breaking, the State Department announced that it was extending Blackwater's Iraq contract. "We can terminate contracts with the convenience of the government if we have to," said Assistant Secretary of State Gregory Starr. "And if that was the decision, that we had to terminate the contract, we could terminate the contract." But, of course, they didn't. This could well mean that, like most of US policy in Iraq, the Blackwater "problem" will be left for the next president.

Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.

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