Wednesday, January 20, 2010

U.S. mercenaries charged with long list of crimes

U.S. mercenaries charged with long list of crimes

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The murderous mercenary outfit formerly known as Blackwater and now called Xe has been making headlines all January, with most stories showing how deeply committed the CIA and Pentagon are to outsourcing a portion of the task of re-conquering the former colonial world.

A U.S. court threw out murder charges against four Blackwater employees for a massacre of 17 unarmed civilians in Nisoor Square in Baghdad in September 2007 and wounding 20 more — but only because of “prosecutorial misconduct,” not because any evidence indicated they weren’t guilty. Even the Iraqi puppet regime complained when they were set free.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who has sponsored legislation that would prevent the government from outsourcing security to private military contractors, expressed her displeasure at the court’s decision. “A question I’ve been asking for a long time is, ‘Can these private military contractors actually get away with murder?’ This indicates that the answer is yes.” (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 8)

In a civil case involving the same massacre, families of some of the Iraqis killed and some wounded Iraqis agreed to accept payments. They were not necessarily satisfied with the settlement, but accepted it after they were warned it might be the last chance to get anything from the courts.

Two subcontracted Xe hirelings in Afghanistan were arrested there Jan. 7 and now face murder charges for gunning down two Afghan civilians and wounding a third last May in Kabul. In this case Xe terminated the mercenaries and dissociated itself from the case as much as possible. The two had been training the Afghan National Army.

Two of the seven CIA agents killed at Forward Base Chapman in Khost province on Dec. 30 turned out to be mercenaries working for Xe, one a former Navy Seal and another a former Army Special Forces troop.

That’s in the countries that the U.S. is occupying. In addition, January’s Vanity Fair reports that in 2004 the CIA apparently hired Xe contractors as hit men to carry out an assassination or assassinations in Germany.

“Among the team’s targets, according to a source familiar with the program, was Mamoun Darkazanli, an al Qaeda financier living in Hamburg who had been on the agency’s radar for years because of his ties to three of the 9/11 hijackers and to operatives convicted of the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa,” writes Vanity Fair.

“The CIA team supposedly went in ‘dark,’ meaning they did not notify their own station — much less the German government — of their presence; they then followed Darkazanli for weeks and worked through the logistics of how and where they would take him down,” continues Vanity Fair. That report has been repeatedly cited in the German media. Sentiment is already strong in Germany against being dragged into the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan.

Perhaps the most blatant crime U.S. forces committed recently — it’s not known yet if these are U.S. troops or a special paramilitary unit consisting of soldiers of fortune — has not yet gotten the same publicity as the above cases within the U.S. It was reported in the Dec. 31 edition of the Times of London.

According to that report, U.S.-led troops were accused of dragging innocent children from their beds on Dec. 27 and shooting them during a night raid that left 10 people dead. Eight schoolchildren were killed, according to Afghan government investigators. People from the local area told Jerome Starkey, the Times reporter, that some of the children were wearing handcuffs when they were shot.

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