Saturday, May 10, 2008

His name is Raheem Khalif

... fit for the kill

In the last month, more than 1,000 Iraqis have died in Sadr City, due to assaults mounted by the U.S. and Maliki’s forces. It is the largest assault by the U.S. since 2004 in Fallujah, with the difference that the criminally supine press has pretended it isn’t happening. In 2003, the press simply stenographed lies from the Bush administration. Now, it simply shuffles reality to page A-10, or doesn't report it at all. Although exception is made for the continuing spinning of White House lies – re the entirety of the journalism of Michael Gordon, who is still being printed in the New York Times, even though his latest “scoops” about Iranian supplied weaponry have been laughable, even by Soviet standards. This is from the LA Times:

“A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. A U.S. military spokesman attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin.

When U.S. explosives experts went to investigate, they discovered they were not Iranian after all.”

It amazes me that they didn’t just go ahead with the show. Gordon would have written the same story, the NYT would lose more readers as the trustworthiness of the paper continues to sink, and the governing class, the second audience for whom such articles are really written, among whom the desire for hostility with Iran (take us to the next pretty war/oh don’t ask why, oh don’t ask why) is palpable, would have been satisfied.

Well, today there was a summary of the American collusion in wholesale murder at retail prices in Iraq – yes, we are talking about Blackwater, the company that kills Iraqis for sport. So, naturally, the FBI investigation of the deaths of the “17” (per the American press) murdered Iraqis has resulted in zip prosecutions. And the State Department has renewed the Blackwater contract for another year.

“Guards for the security company were involved in a shooting in September that left at least 17 Iraqis dead at a Baghdad intersection. Outrage over the killings prompted the Iraqi government to demand Blackwater’s ouster from the country, and led to a criminal investigation by the F.B.I., a series of internal investigations by the State Department and the Pentagon, and high-profile Congressional hearings.
But after an intense public and private lobbying campaign, Blackwater appears to be back to business as usual.”

And then there is this, about Andrew Moonan, the murderer:

“The shooting death of the bodyguard for the Iraqi vice president in 2006 rankled the Iraqi government well before last September’s shooting. An off-duty Blackwater guard who American and Iraqi officials said had been drinking heavily was the sole suspect. The off-duty Blackwater guard, Andrew J. Moonen, who no longer works for the company and who is a former Army paratrooper, is now under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in Seattle. Although Mr. Moonen has not been charged, his lawyer, Stewart Riley of Seattle, said that he had recently been in contact about the case with prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office in Seattle.
People familiar with the case said they believed that the Justice Department had recently concluded that it had found a way to skirt some of the jurisdictional problems that in the past made it difficult to bring charges in American courts for crimes committed by contractors in Iraq.

“I think they may come to a decision on what to do with this case in the next three or four months,” said one person familiar with the matter. Mr. Riley says that Mr. Moonen maintains his innocence in the shooting.”

You will notice that the “bodyguard” is unnamed. Which, in essence, is the killer’s mindset that runs through the American attitude in Iraq.

His name is Raheem Khalif


roger said...

I do try to keep my anger at a low simmer when writing about Iraq nowadays. The intense fury I feel is only, I know, going to alienate people if I give it full scope, and I have no desire to lapse into the righteous narcissism to which I am all too prone. But let's face it: Blackwater is literally reminiscent of a Freikorps squad, an SS unit. The beginning of this collage from the Night Porter shows the beginning of the only shocking bit of the movie - when Dirk Bogarde films a commando unit as they pick off one by one children that they have put on an amusement ride in the park. Although melodramatic, it is the kind of thing that could have happened. One can easily imagine Blackwater doing the same thing to Iraqi kids. After all, we have testimonies that Blackwater employees have shot and killed Iraqis in cars for the express purpose of "killing an Iraqi" before they cycle out of the place. So if they did set Iraqi children on an amusement park ride and picked them off, for grins and a youtube moment? Nobody would give a damn. There would be no punishment, and the profits would keep rolling in. We watch them murder, and nothing happens.

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