The Middle East: “peacekeeping” by American mercenaries
New Eastern Outlook
According to German reporters, dozens of American special services staff are working with the authorities that illegally took power in Kiev in February of this year. Citing a source within a German law enforcement agency, the Bild magazine reports that the CIA and the FBI are “consulting” the illegitimate Ukrainian government on “fighting organised crime”. The ties between FBI and CIA agents and Kiev authorities are indirectly confirmed through CIA Director John Brennan’s recent visit to Ukraine, who came to “foster mutually beneficial security cooperation”. Soon after this and at the American’s request, a special operation was organised in the country’s eastern regions, prompting the CIA to release a public statement: the agency’s media representatives stated that the CIA had no ties to the events in Ukraine.
However, right then, Ukrainian Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov confirmed that in order to quell the national uprising in the east, in the Donetsk and Lugansk Oblast in particular, special police units have arrived in the area from other regions accompanied by three combat units, which include American mercenaries from the company Greystone Limited (the new name of the notorious Blackwater), who are clad in the uniforms of the Ukrainian swat team, Sokol (falcon). “These special units are ready to achieve operational objectives without getting caught up in local nuances”, Avakov stated cynically to the press.
It is hard to disagree with the man who has illegally appropriated the post of the head policeman in Ukraine if one is to recall the criminal activities of American mercenaries in many other countries. Istanbul newspaper Zaman reports: “Mercenaries from Blackwater, which is supervised by the CIA, are infiltrators and professional killers. Each one has killed hundreds of people. Back in their day, they annihilated the entire Republic of Serbian Krajina.” However, it was in Iraq where the company really made a name for itself and its fascist activities, for which it was exiled out of the country by its own American puppets in Baghdad. What exactly is this notorious company, whose mercenaries see killing as the everyday norm and who cannot be tried for it according to American laws?
The Zaman newspaper relates, “Today, like in the Middle Ages, sovereignty is not just a property of states, but political, civil and religious institutions can have it too”. The company was founded in 1996 by former U.S. Navy SEAL Erik Prince and is headquartered in North Carolina. In time, the security company evolved into a real private army, while Prince himself became one of the main sponsors of the Republican Party. The company’s arsenal includes a whole range of military firearms, armored vehicles and transport helicopters. Blackwater also owned a small contingent of armed boats and former coast guard patrol ships, with plans to construct their own patrol airships. The company has training bases in the U.S. and several other countries.
As soon as Saddam Hussein’s regime fell, these mercenaries appeared in Iraq. From 2003, they were protecting the head of the Iraqi civil administration Paul Bremer. Blackwater soldiers that took part in the active phase of the war in Iraq numbered over 10,000 people.
According to various media, Blackwater lost around 780 people in Iraq, however, these individuals were not counted in the official military casualties. Furthermore, the crimes committed by Blackwater soldiers in Iraq were not considered war crimes and were thus not subject to be tried by American courts. The Blackwater private army saw its first losses at the beginning of 2004 with the death of several of its members. Four of its soldiers were killed then in the city of Fallujah and the insurgents hung their mutilated bodies from a bridge. This was followed by the Americans “cleaning up” the town, killing several hundred civilians in Fallujah. Today, this city joins the likes of Lidice and Guernica who have been wiped off the face of the earth in time of fascist occupations.
On September 16, 2007, Blackwater mercenaries who were guarding the diplomatic convoy of the U.S. Department of State began a firefight on Baghdad’s central square, which ended in the death of 11 Iraqi civilians. Iraqi officials called the event “cold-blooded murder”, while the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior recalled Blackwater’s licence and demanded for its members to leave the country. Iraq’s Ministry of Interior representative Abdelkarim Khalaf told reporters then, “We have recalled the licence to work in Iraq held by Blackwater. Presently, the company is prohibited from working in the Republic of Iraq. Presently, investigation of the incident continues and those at fault will stand before Iraqi justice.”
However Washington, who was not at all interested in murdered civilians in Baghdad, stood up for the company and ordered its Iraqi puppets accordingly. As early as the week following the incident, under pressure from Washington, the marionette Iraqi authorities rescinded their decision and the private security guards continued their work killing innocent Iraqis as if nothing had happened. However, it soon became evident that this time, a large scandal was unavoidable. The American judicial authorities began a new investigation against Blackwater, whose activities were directly linked with American interests: the company was suspected of smuggling weapons to Iraq which then presumably fell into the hands of the militants from Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
In June of 2007, the Congressional Research Service prepared a report titled “Private Security Contractors in Iraq: Background, Legal Status, and Other Issues”. The report stated that this issue has gone beyond any sort of control or management by any governmental authorities in the U.S. The report’s authors claimed that the United States were using private companies in Iraq on a massive scale, much larger than in other locations, including Afghanistan. According to the Congressional Research Service, two U.S. departments sign government contracts with private military companies – the Department of State and the Defence Department. At the same time, these contracts are not the main form of business for private companies in Iraq, as according to the Association of Private Security Companies in Iraq, 187 such companies were operating in the country in 2007.
It was established that those serving Erik Prince’s company were involved in almost two hundred shootouts since 2005. They would bring out their weapons without any second thoughts and begin shooting first, killing or wounding several hundred Iraqi civilians. These “security guards” were not interested in the fate of their victims, however, if the relatives of those killed complained to the government, Blackwater attempted to smooth things over with money. As it turned out, the American Department of State did not only fail to supress these illegal acts of violence on the part of the mercenaries, but also genuinely approved the payment of this kind of “compensation”. The investigation was also able to uncover that Blackwater employees took part in military operations conducted by regular American military forces, whereas their contract with the Department of State only allowed them to use weapons as a means of defence.
The neo-fascist activities of these mercenaries in Iraq not only seriously damaged the company’s reputation but also caused a wave of disapproval in a number of countries. However, official Washington was not about to just let these mercenary armies go. In 2009, cosmetic touch ups were performed for the company and its founder Erik Prince was retired from his post as General Director. In February of that year, Blackwater officially changed its name to XE Services but it also goes by the names of U.S. Training Centre and Greystone Limited.
Over the past four years, a special UN taskforce has been researching the activities of private military and security companies in various parts around the world. As of today, the group has prepared reports about the United States of America: the general report A/HRC/15 on Iraq dated July 20, 2011, and a report on the actions of private American companies in Afghanistan dated April 9, 2010. Overall, the reports point to the negative consequences stemming from the activities undertaken by private companies in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, this information does not provide enough evidence to call a session and to issue a sentence because the UN does not have the power to issue resolutions and sanctions against private corporations. Due to this legal blunder, the UN is examining the activities of private military and security companies within the framework of international humanitarian laws as having the status of “mercenaries”.
And now these American criminals have appeared in Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry has already expressed its alarm at the use of American mercenaries from Greystone on Ukrainian soil. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued this press release: “We are calling for an immediate halt to any military preparations that could lead to a civil war”. Moscow believes that Kiev would need to strictly adhere to the Geneva Conventions that provide for concrete steps to de-escalate a conflict, and not use American mercenaries, to somehow ease the tensions in Ukraine.
Victor Mikhin, member and correspondent of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.