Videos posted by Harper’s Magazine show the private contractor formerly known as Blackwater in Iraq running over a woman with a car, smashing into Iraqis’ cars to move them out of the way and firing a rifle into traffic.
The behavior by Blackwater seen in the videos adds even more fuel to evidence that the company “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”
The videos are included in a piece by Charles Glass entitled “The Warrior Class” that looks at the rise of private security contractors. Glass had been shown the videos by a former Blackwater employee.
Describing the video dated April 2006 that shows a woman being hit by a Blackwater vehicle, Glass writes: “A woman in a black full-length burka began to cross the street. The vehicle struck the woman and knocked her unconscious body into the gutter. The cars slowed for a moment, but did not stop, nor did they even determine whether the victim was dead or alive. A voice in the car taking the video said, ‘Oh, my God!’ Yet no one was heard on the radio requesting help for her. Most sickeningly, the sequence had been set to an AC/DC song, whose pounding, metallic chorus declared: ‘You’ve been… thunderstruck!’ “
Glass writes that the tape he was shown ended with the inscription, “In support of security, peace, freedom and democracy everywhere.” Common Dreams
*The five separate videos are joined into one here.*
FACTS & FIGURES
Blackwater is the mercenary firm founded as Blackwater USA in 1996 by former Navy SEAL and fundamentalist Christian Erik Prince. It received no-bid contracts from the Bush administration in Iraq, Afghanistan, and post-Katrina New Orleans. In 2009, Prince resigned as CEO. Amid scandals over misbehavior by Blackwater employees in Iraq, the company renamed itself Blackwater Worldwide in 2007, Xe Services in 2009, and Academi in 2011. Subsidiaries include Paravant LLC. nndb.com
The Blackwater family of businesses includes Blackwater Training Center (the largest private firearms and tactical training center in the U. S., according to Blackwater’s Web site), Blackwater Target Systems, Blackwater Security Consulting, Blackwater Canine, and Raven Development Group. contractormisconduct.org
Xe Services LLC (formerly known as Blackwater) entered into a civil settlement with the U.S. State Department in which it agreed to pay a $42 million penalty ($12 million of which was suspended on the condition that it be applied toward remedial measures) for 288 alleged violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) between 2003 and 2009. The alleged violations included illegal weapon exports to Afghanistan, making unauthorized business proposals to the government of Southern Sudan, and providing unauthorized services to various foreign countries. contractormisconduct.org
The Obama administration awarded Academi a $250 million contract to work for the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan. thenation.com