From The Los Angeles Times via Karen Pomer:
From the Los Angeles Times
Blackwater's bright future
No matter who wins the White House, the security firm is shooting for lucrative work.
By Jeremy Scahill
June 16, 2008
From California to Iraq, business has never been better for the controversial private security firm Blackwater Worldwide. Company President Gary Jackson recently boasted that Blackwater has "had two successive quarters of unprecedented growth."
Owner Erik Prince recently spun his company as the "FedEx" of the U.S. national security apparatus, describing Blackwater as a "robust temp agency." Such rhetoric may seem brazen, given Blackwater's deadly record in Iraq and troubled reputation at home, but here is the cold, hard fact: Blackwater knows its future is bright no matter who next takes up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The company's most infamous moment came last September, when Blackwater operatives were alleged to have gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square. A U.S. military investigation labeled the shootings a "criminal event," and a federal grand jury in Washington is hearing evidence in the case.The father of one of the dead, a 9-year-old boy shot in the head, testified before the grand jury in late May. He has rejected offers of monetary compensation from the U.S. government and Blackwater; he demands a public admission of guilt by the company. "This is important for me, morally, for my family and my tribe," said Mohammed Hafidh Abdul-Razzaq. Other survivors have been offering testimony to the United Nations, and some have filed a lawsuit in federal court in this country.
At the end of the day, perhaps criminal charges will be brought against a handful of Blackwater operatives as a token gesture. But this will not bring substantive change to the unaccountable private war industry. Indeed, the killing of Iraqi civilians and other scandals do not seem to hurt Blackwater's business at all. Quite the opposite.
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