Friday, July 22, 2011

News of the Empire: U.S. Blocks Oversight of Its Mercenary Army in Iraq

Exclusive: U.S. Blocks Oversight of Its Mercenary Army in Iraq | Danger Room |
Remember Nisuor Square? Seventeen Iraqi civilians died at the hands of Blackwater security contractors under contract to the US State Department. You might think this kind of activity has stopped or at least decreased but in fact it has increased and the same companies(with different names) still serve there. In an effort to maintain our imperial presence in Iraq the US is is placing a record number of diplomats in our Fortresses around Iraq. To protect these bases including the worlds largest embassy in Baghdad the State Department has spent 10 billion dollars to deploy a heavy combat battalion sized force of 5,500 mercenaries to protect their bases and to guard the movement of State personnel as they move from place to place in the same kind of armed to the teeth convoys that were involved in the incident in Mansour Square. So State has gone to war and they are refusing to inform the Inspector General charged by Congress with ooversight of their plans for things like rules of engagement:

Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), is essentially in the dark about one of the most complex and dangerous endeavors the State Department has ever undertaken, one with huge implications for the future of the United States in Iraq. “Our audit of the program is making no progress,” Bowen tells Danger Room.

For months, Bowen’s team has tried to get basic information out of the State Department about how it will command its assembled army of about 5,500 private security contractors. How many State contracting officials will oversee how many hired guns? What are the rules of engagement for the guards? What’s the system for reporting a security danger, and for directing the guards’ response?

Anyone who says all our troops will be out in December is dead wrong. The mercenaries under whose watch many egregious abuses of human rights occurred will be there in combat brigade sized numbers and without Inspector General oversight.

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