Friday, January 8, 2010

Time for Students to Teach Master?

I’m putting aside an almost ready blog called Reverse Whackamole, to react to something I’m hearing on Democracy Now right now.

Amy Goodman’s star investigative reporter,Jeremy Scahill, who is also a Puffin Nation Fellow, is discussing the role of the private security company Blackwater in undercover assassinations in foreign countries, on behalf of the American government.

Readers will remember that some months ago Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisor Square, bagdad, unprovoked and in full daylight. According to Scahill, the State Department not only got the Blackwater guards out of the country that night, but it granted them immunity.  That explains why, when they were charged with murder and brought to court, the judge had to dismiss the case, because he was barred from using any evidence from State in the trial.  Further, it turns out that the military was on the scene immediately, carrying out a complete investigation and concluding the Blackwater guards were guilty of unprovoked fire and should be turned over to the Iraqis, as per the Status of Forces Agreement.

Ultimately, Blackwater paid the victims $100,000 per death, and about 30,000 per injured person. But since these are paltry sums, one victim suing in North Carolina.

Scahill also wonders why two Blackwater guards were among the dead at the recent shooting of CIA operatives at a U.S. base.

Amy Goodman reported that the German government is questioning the presence of Blackwater guards in the shooting of a German citizen of Middle Eastern descent.   This is the first time I’ve heard of an ally publicly objecting to a questionable practice by the U.S. govern-ment on their territory. In my book “Une autre Europe, un autre Monde, published in 1989 in France, I suggested that in order to Europe to be reunified, the Western part needed to become more independent of the United States.  Now I’m hoping America’s ever-expanding war on terror will be the beginning of a coordinated European brake on American practices abroad, in particular those involving mercenary armies.

After World War II we helped Europe to its feet, and in the case of Germany and Italy, taught them the democratic ropes. Now it may be the turn of the pupils to teach the master.

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