Saturday, October 28, 2006

Blackwater Hires Ken Starr to Defend Against Charges made in "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers."

Huffington Post
Rick Jacobs
Blackwater Hires Ken Starr to Defend Against Charges made in "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers."

As stated in the terrific blog post and Nation article by Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater Security Consulting, a company hardly on the lips of the American public, hired Ken Starr to try to use the Supreme Court as a blunt instrument to dismiss murder charges against it. As evocatively depicted in the film Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, Blackwater sent four men to their deaths in Fallujah in March, 2004.

While few know Blackwater, we all remember the horrific picture of the charred hulks that were once people left dangling from a bridge. Blackwater sent these men into the most dangerous city on the planet (quite literally, although thanks to the Bush Administration's excellent work, several other cities in Iraq now compete for that title), without proper protection, support or even maps. The result was predictable, but no less horrifying. Not only were these fine men killed by a mob outraged at the US Government, but Marines had to enter the city to retrieve the bodies, thus beginning the spiral toward outright war against American troops that has become Iraq since then.

The families of some of those men sued Blackwater for as close a charge to murder as they could get, demanding recompense for the deaths at something greater than the standard $4,200 a month or so that the military pays out as survivor benefits. Since Blackwater is a private company, and since it acted recklessly at best, the families reason that they should be entitled to some reasonable monetary damages for the outrage. Blackwater's Eric Prince, one of the largest donors to the Republican Party and to right wing causes generally, has fought the families' rights to sue. As told clearly by the Nation, his lawyers have argued consistently that Blackwater is covered by the Military Base Act and is therefore in essence a part of the US Government, so it should not stand trial for the negligent and outrageous deaths.

Knowing that the last resort before having to stand trial is the Supreme Court, Mr. Prince used his millions and clout to hire Ken Starr, who so willingly squandered tens of millions of dollars to attack President Clinton, only to discover that no wrong had been done by him. The Nation quotes an expert who speculates that Mr. Starr's Republican credentials and close personal relationships to justices of the Supreme Court will not help him with this case, but rather his one intellect will. Who knows? My guess is that Mr. Prince hired Mr. Starr for another reason: to fend off the Congressional investigations and inevitable charges by a US Government not completely bought and sold by Mr. Prince. (Iraq for Sale and the web site show how his easy money bought insider lobbyists to keep his contracts after Fallujah.) Those charges eventually will likely be against Blackwater for conspiracy to defraud the taxpayers of the United States of America. Since Mr. Starr has considerable experience with wasting taxpayers' money, he'll know just what to do when defending Mr. Prince against the most serious charge of all: war profiteering, in his case literally over the dead bodies of his employees.