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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Blackwater to Guard FBI Team Investigating Blackwater

All over my monitorI usually decide what I'm going to write about the night before I write it. I bookmark a bunch of articles for reference, then wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and reread them quickly before I post -- just skim them, really, to see if the stories have been updated. I also run a quick google news search on the subject, to see if anything's developed overnight or if there was anything I might've missed. Once I'm pretty sure I'm up to speed, I get to work.

Anyhow, last night I dreamed I was drowning and woke up to find myself actually drowning. It was no big deal, I must've swallowed the wrong way in my sleep and choked. But I woke up doing that "Cough, cough, loud gasp for breath, cough, cough, loud gasp for breath" thing.

I had pretty much the same reaction this morning when I ran a search on my subject and came across this headline in the New York Daily News -- "Blackwater to guard FBI team probing it." I had to get a rag to mop up the coffee I'd spit all over my desk.

Yeah, there's a great plan. What could possibly go wrong? After all, Blackwater's so damned trustworthy and all... I read on.

When a team of FBI agents lands in Baghdad this week to probe Blackwater security contractors for murder, it will be protected by bodyguards from the very same firm, the Daily News has learned.

Half a dozen FBI criminal investigators based in Washington are scheduled to travel to Iraq to gather evidence and interview witnesses about a Sept. 16 shooting spree that left at least 11 Iraqi civilians dead.

The agents plan to interview witnesses within the relative safety of the fortified Green Zone, but they will be transported outside the compound by Blackwater armored convoys, a source briefed on the FBI mission said.

"What happens when the FBI team decides to go visit the crime scene? Blackwater is going to have to take them there," the senior U.S. official told The News.

If you can't get someone to slap you on the back, sit down with your head between your knees for a little while. That's what worked for me. Needless to say, this has totally changed the tone of what I'd planned to post.

The story's pretty much Bush's entire time in office in a nutshell -- unbelievable dumbassery after unbelievable dumbassery. I suppose part of this is the Bush policy of never admitting a mistake, but this is just rubbing our noses in it. This is far beyond just pretending nothing is wrong, this is being an asshole about it.

Consider that, according to Reuters, a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report finds that "Blackwater has been involved in 195 shooting incidents since 2005 and shot first 84 percent of the time despite a contract agreement to use force only in defense." Consider that the report sheds new light on a particularly egregious incident -- one I've written about before:

Christmas Eve 2006, a drunken Blackwater contractor killed a security guard for Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi. The State Department allowed the contractor to leave Iraq within 36 hours. The U.S. embassy's charge d'affaires recommended that Blackwater apologize to the dead man's family and pay them $250,000. But the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service said the sum was too high and could cause Iraqis to "try to get killed." In the end, Blackwater agreed on a $15,000 payment.

As I said, unbelievable dumbassery after unbelievable dumbassery. Getting killed by homicidal mercenaries might pay well, but I think just about everyone would realize there's no future in that career choice. After all this time, no one's been charged with any crime.

Blackwater has $1 billion in contracts in Iraq -- Billion, with a B. They wouldn't have any motivation to interfere with the FBI's investigation, would they?

Despite this absurd conflict of interest, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice promised that everything would be above board and transparent and thorough. On this fact-finding mission, where the FBI will be followed around by the armed suspects in the crime they're investigating, everything's going to go hunky-dory. "I have been very clear with people that I expect it to be probing, I expect it to be a 360-degree look," Rice said, "And I expect it to be unvarnished from these outside experts and I'm sure it will be."

I'm just as sure it won't.


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