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- Cem Karaca
I was talking with my brother on the telephone the other day. I mentioned that I was campaigning to get Andrew Moonen prosecuted for the murder of Raheem Khalif Habaichi. My brother asked: what was different between that murder and the other Blackwater murders? I explained that in the case of the 17 people killed and 24 wounded at Nisour Square, the government and the mercenaries could plead that they were reacting to a security situation. They could at least plead to that. But that in the case of Moonen, the offense was naked. That it was that romantic moment, so ardently sought after in the sixties by the American new left, when a case comes up that clearly, indisputably conflicts with the claim of the governing class to be operating democratically and with respect for the law. It is an open grave of injustice, an exhumation of the dead body in the back yard of the killer. One corpse can, theoretically, show the entire disposition of forces that eventuated in the radical transformation of living to dead tissue, otherwise known as blowing someone away, putting someone down, wacking someone, etc., etc. And if the governing class is found to be governing illegally, if they break the most fundamental law by allowing random murder, and if they do it by guarding a praetorian guard, surely they give up the right to judge. How could they claim to indict and accuse the activist who is using the means at hand to right a wrong?
My brother wasn’t buying any of my bullshit. And he’s right. We live in a different age, one in which the indifference to our own political freedom has become a form of entertainment – which, like all entertainments in the good old U.S.A., consists of watching millionaires cavort around on a big or little screen. Often with pixel animates, since there is never, ever enough infantilization in this country. We can always use a little more. We live in an ice age of gelatin. We woke up one day and the U.S. was covered with a thick, transparent layer. We go about our deadened business in it, but it covers us every second. Every word spoken or written under it is a dud. The gelatin is made of affluence, fatigue, deadened imaginations, sadism, fear, and a mass drifting vacancy, a sort of shopper’s trance. It is so hard to raise your hand, to change your life, to strike out and in so doing commit yourself for life – that nobody does it. Don’t plan on it. There is a simulacrum of oppositional activity, but it never cracks the mile high gelatin. Way up there, the surface of the gelatin is uniform and unbroken.
Here’s today’s story from the NYT:
An Iraqi taxi driver was shot and killed on Saturday by a guard with DynCorp International, a private security company hired to protect American diplomats here, when a DynCorp convoy rolled past a knot of traffic on an exit ramp in Baghdad, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Sunday.
As in several previous shootings involving security companies affiliated with the State Department, witnesses to Saturday’s shooting said they saw no reason for the guards to open fire on the car, a white Hyundai with a taxi sign on the roof, driven by Mohamad Khalil Khudair, 40. It was unclear where the convoy was headed, or whether it carried any American officials.
“The poor cabdriver was stopped here,” said one witness, Raafat Jassim, 36, who said he was standing outside a barbershop near the exit ramp at the time. “He had his hazard lights flashing, and the convoy was a long way away from him,” Mr. Jassim said, pointing to a spot about 50 yards down the ramp, which comes off a bridge over the Tigris River in a neighborhood called Utafiya.
An official at the local police headquarters said that the victim’s brother had insisted on pressing charges against the company and that as a result, the case had been referred to an Iraqi judge. But legal loopholes and immunities in Iraqi and American law have raised questions about whether private security companies operating in this country can be called to account in any court.
Both the State Department and DynCorp confirmed that there had been a shooting involving one of the company’s convoys on Saturday. Possibly because the convoy sped away after the shooting, neither the company nor the State Department could immediately confirm that Mr. Khudair had been killed.