Monday, February 26, 2007



Anyway for another disturbing video from Iraq involving US Troops & IRAQI Goverment forces check out Baghdad Brutality:

Channel 4 News has obtained footage of brutality by mainly Shi'a troops in Iraq,
egged on by US soldiers.
We see a joint patrol of US and Iraqi troops in
Baghdad, where our camera captures the pretty brutal treatment meted out by the
newly trained Iraqi soldiers to three suspected insurgents caught in a car, all
to the accompaniment of laughter, whoops and egging on from the US soldiers who
watch from their Humvee.
Two journalists - embedded with the First Cavalry
division - witnessed suspected insurgents being viciously beaten and
The journalists were then threatened and held under armed guard by
the Americans - as troops attempted to seize their footage.
US Army commander
Lieutenant Colonel Dale C Kuehl told Channel 4 News he had taken administrative
action to include suspending the platoon sergeant.
Broadcast 01/24/07 Channel
4 - UK

VIDEO available at YouTube & at Channel4 news special reports.
The video is extremely disturbing & disheartening when we overhear soldiers cheering for the Iraqi soldiers & saying ' they are doing a Rodney king job on him 'you might think anyone would be repulsed by the brutality but no it appears many Americans think this is all ok ,if we take as representative of Americans those who left comments on the YouTube site of this video.

HERE is the video but it may be removed by YOUTUBE for copywrite reasons or its explicit violence or for being considered seditious or traitorous:


Anyway I mentioned in my last post the presence & activities of Mercenaries & private security firms working in Iraq so here are some articles pertinent to this issue:

First going back to 2004:

Deaths of scores of mercenaries hidden from view
April 13, 2004 Edition -1
Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn

Baghdad - At least 80 foreign mercenaries - security guards recruited from the United States, Europe and South Africa and working for American companies - have been killed in the past eight days in Iraq.

from THE
US hires mercenaries for Iraq role
By Jonathan Franklin
March 6, 2004

The US is hiring mercenaries in Chile to replace its soldiers on security duty in Iraq.
A Pentagon contractor has begun recruiting former commandos, other soldiers and seamen, paying them up to $US4000 ($A5300) a month to guard oil wells against attack by insurgents.

Mercenaries 'R' Us
By Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet. Posted March 24, 2004.

There are currently thousands of mercenaries serving in Iraq. Their high
salaries and shorter terms of employment will inevitably make a serious dent on
the military's budget -- and soldiers' morale.

With the casualty toll ticking ever upward and troops stretched thin on the ground, the Bush administration is looking to mercenaries to help control Iraq. These
soldiers-for-hire are veterans of some of the most repressive military forces in
the world, including that of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and
South Africa's apartheid regime.

In February, Blackwater USA, a NorthCarolina-based Pentagon contractor, began hiring former combat personnel in Chile, offering them up to $4,000 a month to guard oil wells in Iraq. The company flew the first batch of 60 former commandos to a training camp in North Carolina. These recruits will eventually wind up in Iraq where they will spend
six months to a year.
"We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals -- the Chilean commandos are very, very professional and they fit within the Blackwater system," Gary Jackson, the president of Blackwater USA...

While Blackwater USA is not nearly as well known as Halliburton
or Bechtel -- two mega-corporations making a killing off the reconstruction of
Iraq -- it nevertheless is doing quite well financially thanks to the White
House's war on terror. The company specializes in firearm, tactics and security
training and in October 2003, according to Mother Jones magazine, the company
won a $35.7 million contract to train more than 10,000 sailors from Virginia,
Texas, and California each year in 'force protection.'

Business has been
booming for Blackwater, which now owns, as its press release boasts, "the
largest privately-owned firearms training facility in the nation." Jackson told
the Guardian, "We have grown 300 percent over each of the past three years and
we are small compared to the big ones. We have a very small niche market, we
work towards putting out the cream of the crop, the best."
From to 2004 to the present the numbers of Mercenaries in Iraq has soared & the business is booming as the contract for Black Water has gone from 37 million to 300 million . War is after all supposed to be profitable for someone. For others of course it is just down right deadly . As the British of the Ninteenth century would argue Empire Building doesn't come cheap .

This is made apparent in the next article:

Our Mercenaries in Iraq
The president relies on thousands of private soldiers with little oversight, a disturbing example of the military-industrial complex.
by Jeremy Scahill
January 28, 2007
Los Angeles Times
& at ZNET

As President Bush took the podium to deliver his State of the Union address
Tuesday, there were five American families receiving news that has become all
too common: Their loved ones had been killed in Iraq. But in this case, the
slain were neither "civilians," as the news reports proclaimed, nor were they
U.S. soldiers. They were highly trained mercenaries deployed to Iraq by a
secretive private military company based in North Carolina — Blackwater USA. The
company made headlines in early 2004 when four of its troops were ambushed and
burned in the Sunni hotbed of Fallouja — two charred, lifeless bodies left to
dangle for hours from a bridge. That incident marked a turning point in the war,
sparked multiple U.S. sieges of Fallouja and helped fuel the Iraqi resistance
that haunts the occupation to this day.

Now, Blackwater is back in the
news, providing a reminder of just how privatized the war has become. On
Tuesday, one of the company's helicopters was brought down in one of Baghdad's
most violent areas. The men who were killed were providing diplomatic security
under Blackwater's $300-million State Department contract, which dates to 2003
and the company's initial no-bid contract to guard administrator L. Paul Bremer
III in Iraq. Current U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who is also protected by
Blackwater, said he had gone to the morgue to view the men's bodies, asserting
the circumstances of their deaths were unclear because of "the fog of

Bush made no mention of the downing of the helicopter during his
State of the Union speech. But he did address the very issue that has made the
war's privatization a linchpin of his Iraq policy — the need for more troops.
The president called on Congress to authorize an increase of about 92,000
active-duty troops over the next five years. He then slipped in a mention of a
major initiative that would represent a significant development in the U.S.
disaster response/reconstruction/war machine: a Civilian Reserve

"Such a corps would function much like our military Reserve. It
would ease the burden on the armed forces by allowing us to hire civilians with
critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them," Bush
declared. This is precisely what the administration has already done, largely
behind the backs of the American people and with little congressional input,
with its revolution in military affairs. Bush and his political allies are using
taxpayer dollars to run an outsourcing laboratory. Iraq is its Frankenstein
Already, private contractors constitute the second-largest "force"
in Iraq. At last count, there were about 100,000 contractors in Iraq, of which
48,000 work as private soldiers, according to a Government Accountability Office
report. These soldiers have operated with almost no oversight or effective legal
constraints and are an undeclared expansion of the scope of the occupation. Many
of these contractors make up to $1,000 a day, far more than active-duty
soldiers. What's more, these forces are politically expedient, as contractor
deaths go uncounted in the official toll.
January 26th, 2007
Our Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge
Jeremy Scahill interviewed by Amy Goodman for DEMOCRACY NOW !

JEREMY SCAHILL: Blackwater is a company that began in 1996 as a private military
training facility in -- it was built near the Great Dismal Swamp of North
Carolina. And visionary executives, all of them former Navy Seals or other Elite
Special Forces people, envisioned it as a project that would take advantage of
the anticipated government outsourcing.
Well, here we are a decade later, and
it’s the most powerful mercenary firm in the world. It has 20,000 soldiers on
the ready, the world’s largest private military base, a fleet of twenty
aircraft, including helicopter gunships. It’s become nothing short of the
Praetorian Guard for the Bush administration's so-called global war on terror.
And it’s headed by a very rightwing Christian activist, ex-Navy Seal named Erik
Prince, whose family was one of the major bankrollers of the Republican
Revolution of the 1990s. He, himself, is a significant funder of President Bush
and his allies.

And what they’ve done is they have built a very frightening empire near the Great Dismal Swamp in North Carolina. They’ve got about 2,300 men actively deployed around the world. They provide the security for the US diplomats in Iraq. They’ve guarded everyone, from Paul Bremer and John Negroponte to the current US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad. They’re training troops in Afghanistan. They have been active in the Caspian Sea, where they set up a Special Forces base miles from the Iranian border. They really are the frontline in what the Bush administration viewed as a necessary revolution in military affairs. In fact, they represent the life's work of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

And for those who think mercenaries are a good thing if only they were a little cheaper well there are also the ' bargain basement' low rent barely trained mercenaries from third world countries who will work for a pittance bringing even greater profits to some security firms contracted out in Iraq :

Prensa Latina
Latin America News Agency
3,000 LatAm Mercenaries in Iraq
Geneva, Feb 23 (Prensa Latina) The UN Work Group on the Use of Mercenaries revealed on Friday that at least 3,000 Latin Americans are working as soldiers or in security for US and British companies in Iraq.

Spaniard Jose Luis Gomez del Prado listed Honduras, Ecuador, Chile, El Salvador
and Colombia as major contributors, but Peru ranks atop with 1,000.
The official said one in every ten soldiers working for the US in Iraq are
contracted by private companies that regularly violate their human
The vulnerability of Latin Americans spans from the lack of legal
protection, earning monthly salaries of 1,000 dollars compared to 10,000 to
British and US soldiers, through discrimination and humiliation.

Washington Post recently quoted the US Central Command as estimating 100,000
such contracted workers, four-fold the 2003 numbers, with such contracts
annually yielding a total 100 billion dollars, a figure expected to double by

And for those worried about UK troops leaving Iraq Mercenaries R US has the solution of course ; as we see in the following article.

The New Standard
Feb. 25, 2007

Mercenaries taking over for ‘successful’ UK troops in Iraq
UK officials are
negotiating multi-million-dollar contracts with mercenary companies to cover
some of the "gaps" to be created by British troop withdrawals from Iraq. Days
after PM Tony Blair revealed he will remove 1,600 soldiers from southern Iraq
within months – a move the White House hailed as a sign of success in the mostly
Shia region – it has emerged that UK ministers and cabinet officials want
private firms can make up some of the difference.
It has also been revealed
that nearly 800 civilian personnel working under contract with the Pentagon have
died and more than 3,300 wounded in Iraq since the invasion while doing jobs
normally handled by the US military. Though the Pentagon and media count each
official death of a US soldier, the deaths of mercenaries and other contractors
doing soldiers’ jobs are rarely noted and never added to the toll. That toll is
still dwarfed by estimates of Iraqi deaths in the same period, which range above

And From Edmond Journal
Feb. 26, 2007
Poorly trained mercenaries not up to war zones
UN: 35,000 to 40,000 soldiers of fortune active in Iraq

GENEVA -- Methods used by private western security companies to recruit
mercenaries in poor countries and send them into dangerous areas like Iraq are
deeply worrying, according to a UN report to be presented next month
It's nice to know that the War on Terror is profiting other companies besides Haliburton.

bye for now,
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