Jan 18, 2010
A federal judge dismissed charges against five Blackwater Security workers, accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians. On September 16, 2007, these mercenaries, whose job was to protect a U.S. convoy, shot into a crowd in Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding at least 20 others.
Blackwater, now called Xe, is the largest private military company operating alongside the U.S. army in the Middle East. Supposedly, its operations are limited to protecting people and goods, and its agents are only allowed to carry out defensive operations. In reality, the Blackwater mercenaries act like any other occupation army, with the usual amount of “errors.” But, unlike official military forces, they have far more immunity under which to operate. They are immune from prosecution by the Iraqi justice system. They don’t have to answer for their actions before a military tribunal. So it was always going to be difficult to prosecute these mercenaries; they were let off the hook by the U.S. justice system, and the company paid a little compensation money to the Iraqi families of the dead.
From its origins, in 1997, Blackwater got very profitable U.S. army contracts to specialize in training troops. Its missions, as well as its profits, expanded with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Besides the September 2007 killings, Blackwater guards were supposedly involved in arms trafficking and various assassinations. So much so, that the Iraqi government demanded this private army be pulled back. By the end of 2009, Blackwater had only two contracts, one of which is for the protection of diplomats in southern Iraq.
By using its subsidiary companies, Blackwater got more contracts for its services in Afghanistan. Its agents there have also been accused of killing civilians.
The U.S. government continues to sub-contract its murderous wars, as a way to hide the true extent of the wars. And companies like Blackwater reap huge profits in this bloody business.