Tag Archives: Mercenaries

How America Rescued Its Weapons Runners After Their Arrest in Haiti

“The fact that the U.S. took these people and did not charge them, it shows there was a conspiracy. They didn’t want them to go before Haitian justice.” — Pierre Esperance, National Human Rights Defense Network

By Alexander Rubinstein. Published 2-23-2019 by MintPress News

Americans who were arrested after being caught smuggling weapons in Haiti are shown in the Port au Prince Airport prior to being flown back to Miami on Feb. 20, 2019. Screenshot | YouTube

Earlier this week, MintPress News reported that a  number of suspected American mercenaries were arrested transporting a cache of assault rifles and other weapons in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince amid an uprising against government corruption.

As MintPress noted at the time, many Haitians believed that the men were part of a team of mercenaries hired by Haitian President Joven Moise. One of the men, Chris Osman, wrote on Instagram on Friday that they were operating “for people who are directly connected to the current President” Continue reading

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Trump, Blackwater, and private war

A military drawdown in Syria and Afghanistan is good for America’s enemies – and contractors.

By Paul Rogers. Published 12-24-2018 by openDemocracy

Blackwater military helicopter in Baghdad Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2004. Wikicommons/U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Michael E. Best. Some rights reserved.

 

At the end of 2003 the United States-led war in Iraq was going badly wrong. It had started so well from the Pentagon’s perspective, as American troops entered Baghdad within weeks of launching the invasion in late March. The regime crumbled and a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled. The sitting president George W Bush soon delivered a triumphal speech in front of a banner declaring “mission accomplished”. Even then it looked premature. At that point, the quick victory Washington expected was already running into quicksands.

By mid-summer, a rapidly evolving urban insurgency was inflicting serious casualties among the coalition of international (mainly US and British) forces. Many of the latter were killed. But improvements in trauma care meant that six or seven times their number were now surviving previously fatal wounds – albeit with appalling, life-changing injuries: loss of limbs and other body parts, severe abdominal injuries, PTSD at an almost unbearable level. Continue reading

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Blackwater Founder’s ‘Disturbing’ Plan to Privatize Afghan War Gains Ground

“There’s a bad record of contractors and human rights abuses.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. published 8-8-2017

Despite the fact that private contractors have a long record of abuse and deadly criminality, Prince believes that they should have a stronger presence in Afghanistan. (Photo: Melissa Golden/Redux)

As President Donald Trump vents his frustration with the United States’ “losing” strategy in Afghanistan, the “notorious mercenary” and Blackwater founder Erik Prince has seized the moment to offer his favored alternative: privatize the war.

According to a report by Katrina Manson of the Financial Times on Monday, Prince has drafted a proposal—dated August 2017—that would hand the longest war in American history over to a private “band of experienced sergeants,” who would fight alongside U.S.-trained Afghan forces.

Prince, Manson writes, “proposes a two-year plan for fewer than 5,000 global guns for hire and under 100 aircraft, bringing the total cost of the U.S. effort to turn round a failing war to less than $10 billion a year.” Continue reading

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Former Bush Official Just Confirmed That Our Wars Are for Corporate Interests

By Claire Bernish. Published 3-29-2016 by The Anti-Media

A Blackwater Security Company MD-530F helicopter in Baghdad, Iraq, 2004. Photo by Master Sgt. Michael E. Best (Public Domain)

A Blackwater Security Company MD-530F helicopter in Baghdad, Iraq, 2004. Photo by Master Sgt. Michael E. Best (Public Domain)

“I think Smedley Butler was onto something,” Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former George W. Bush administration heavyweight, told Salon in an exclusive interview.

Major General Smedley Butler earned the highest rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, accumulating numerous accolades as he helped lead the United States through decades of war. He later became an ardent critic of such militarism and imperialism.

“War is a racket,” Butler famously said, and Wilkerson — who has also turned critical of U.S. imperialist policy — agrees with and admires the esteemed Marine. Continue reading

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Blackwater’s Black Day

A Blackwater Security Company MD-530F helicopter in Baghdad, Iraq, 2004. Photo by Master Sgt. Michael E. Best (Public Domain)

A Blackwater Security Company MD-530F helicopter in Baghdad, Iraq, 2004. Photo by Master Sgt. Michael E. Best (Public Domain)

Here at Occupy World Writes, each of us have topics that fascinate us. One of the topics that fascinate me is the outsourcing of various military and police/security missions and/or duties to create a facade of deniability of responsibility.  Back in July, I wrote about the ongoing prosecution and trial of four contractors working for the company then known as Blackwater who were charged with murdering 14 iraqi citizens in Baghdad in 2007. Yesterday, the court ruled.

A jury in the D.C. Federal Court convicted Nicholas A. Slatten of murder, and Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty and Paul A. Slough of manslaughter and using a machine gun to carry out a violent crime. The machine gun charges carry a mandatory 30 year sentence (which is more than the manslaughter charges have as a minimum), and Slatten faces possible life in prison.

Professor James Stewart, a former UN war crimes prosecutor who followed the case, said; “This was a sensational event: even at the time it happened, people realised there were going to be big implications from the get-go. There was not much doubt whether the attack was legitimate or the firepower excessive, but the trial became a whodunnit: an attempt to convince the jury that each of the men were responsible for each of the killings.”

Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District, whose office prosecuted the case, said; “This verdict is a resounding affirmation of the commitment of the American people to the rule of law, even in times of war. Seven years ago, these Blackwater contractors unleashed powerful sniper fire, machine guns and grenade launchers on innocent men, women and children. Today, they were held accountable for that outrageous attack and its devastating consequences for so many Iraqi families.”

The jury took 28 days over two months to come to a verdict, though three of the manslaughter charges against Heard resulted in a hung jury. The defense is expected to appeal the ruling.

So what does this mean over the long haul? Frankly, it sends mixed messages to us. On the one hand, it does define a limit on what is considered acceptable force in future military operations carried out by subcontractors. Professor Stewart said; “I think this trial has reflected well on America. There are not that many countries in the world where a group of men working for the government like this would have been held accountable in a criminal trial back home.”

On the other hand, it’s only the people who carried out the orders who are being held responsible. Erik Prince (Blackwater’s CEO at the time) and other former Blackwater executives are still making profits from their armies for hire. And, what about the Obama administration? When Obama was running for President, he promised to rein in the subcontracted mercenary forces if he were elected. Well, guess what- it hasn’t happened. Jeremy Scahill wrote an excellent piece for The Intercept on this very subject; the lack of accountability for all besides the ones carrying out the order. This one paragraph says it all:

“None of the U.S. officials from the Bush and Obama administrations who unleashed Blackwater and other mercenary forces across the globe are being forced to answer for their role in creating the conditions for the Nisour Square shootings and other deadly incidents involving private contractors. Just as the main architect of the CIA interrogation program, Jose Rodriguez, is on a book tour for his propagandistic love letter to torture, Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, so too is Erik Prince pushing his own revisionist memoir,Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror.”

We’ve proven that we can hold the underlings responsible for their actions. When do we find the courage to hold our officials to the same standards?

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