Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Blackwater, Blackwater Run Down Through The Land, Part 2

In the photo another American dignitary (in this case Paul Bremer) enjoys real freedom out in the world.

A cricket chirps and is silent.
The guttering lamp sinks and flairs up again.
Outside the window evening rain is heard.
It is the banana plant that speaks of it first.

---Po Chu-I

Only in solitude do we find ourselves.

---Miguel De Unamuno

It is our mind, and that alone, that chains us or sets us free.

---Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

I had thought the Blackwater story would just fade away like all the others. There didn't seem to be anything different about it than countless other news items about the degradation of the American soul in these years of Bush administration. The private security firm, with rightwing and evangelical roots and bucks, did just what the Rove textbook tells the Bushies to do when under scrutiny: loom bigger than they are! If Congress or the press wants to talk to you, blow them off fast with how important the work is you're doing for the American people...and you just don't have time for this nonsense. Out came the announcements that Blackwater not only provides a private army for your convenience...but a private CIA too. Total Intelligence Solutions---and we do mean TOTAL. What more can a good boy with an inherited fortune do? He's done it by the Book---both Rove's and Jesus'.

But type "Blackwater" in Google News Search right now, and see what comes up. Well over a month later the story lives on. Finally something has brought the press alive. This no-bid contract has captured it all. It's at the black heart of how things are done now. And Americans are ashamed and outraged...and the media knows it...and it's about time! Will anything actually get done? The status quo tumbles over itself to keep things humming along as if normal. Kucinich introduces impeachment of Cheney on the House floor yesterday, and it took the administrators an hour to quiet things down and shuffle the motion off to committee---where they hope it will disappear.,0,2784849.story?coll=la-home-headlines But it wasn't easy. People wanted to debate. People wanted to talk. No no, was the answer, Congress is too busy with really important business to become bogged down in this petty political maneuvering. But everyone knows now such remarks from the administrators are laughable and desperate. No one can keep the lid on the corruption forever.

I write and post stuff at 4 different sites on the Net...and sometimes more, and when I sent out and put up Part 1 about Blackwater, back in September, comments started to show up at 2 of the locations. And they haven't stopped. At Blogspot the people now are launched into discussion about "pure" democracy, and what a republic is, town meetings and whether the Internet can save or advance Freedom of Speech. When this happens at a blog it can be very difficult to join in. At really big ones you can find hundreds of comments, often involving give and take among a few participants that goes on for days. It's hard for a newcomer to sort out...and usually such threads just die because there's too much scrolling, you can't find that comment you wanted to reference, and nothing's ever going to get done about it anyway. But it's wonderful to me when people let loose and express themselves somewhere! So I decided this time to start a Part 2 about Blackwater...and all the topic involves. That includes torture and waterboarding, which Mukasey says he can't discuss because he hasn't been "briefed," and the President backs him up. That includes secrecy and looting the treasury. It includes everything.

If you're looking for the energy to get started on a comment or a reply, you can't do better than Keith Olbermann's talk Monday night about viewing the Presidency as Criminal Conspiracy. Not since Tom Paine, folks!

A gentle reminder jazzoLOG posts are at


Anonymous said...

Great pic!

And now for some lyrics:


You betta watch how ya talking
And where ya walking
Or you and your homies might be lined in chalk

I really hate to trip but I gotta lope
As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke, fool
I'm the kinda g that little homie's wanna be like
On my knees in the night
Saying prayers in the street light

Been spending most their lives
Living in Blackwater Libertarian's paradise (x2)

Keep spending most our lives
Living in Blackwater Libertarian's paradise (x2)

Too much television watching, got me chasing dreams
I'm an educated fool with money on my mind
Got my tin in my hand and a gleam in my eye
I'm a loced out gangsta, set trippin banger
And my homies is down so don't arouse my anger, fool
death ain't nothing but a heart beat away
I'm living life do or die, what can I say?

Power and the money, money and the power
Minute after minute, hour after hour
Everybody's running, but half of them ain't looking
What's going on in the kitchen?
But I don't know what's cooking.
They say I gotta learn
But nobody's here to teach me
If they can't understand it , how can they reach me?
I guess they can't
I guess they won't, I guess they front
That's why I know my life is out of luck, fool!

Anonymous said...

We're creating a free-market libertarian paradise in Iraq... That was Paul Bremer's mission, remember?

Welcome to Blackwater Libertarian Paradise, people. Private Military Companies like Blackwater, whether they are hired by governments or by private clients, like communications, petrochemical and insurance companies, and other corporate interests all the world over, are the way of the Libertarian New World Order not just in Iraq, but everywhere, including here at home. Remember, these guys were really the "first responders" when Katrina devastated New Orleans. Of course their mission was not to help the poor dark-skinned people left homeless by the floods, apparently the "Christian thing" to do was to protect the property of the rich whites living on the high ground. First things first.

jazzolog said...

Jeez, if another Anonymous shows up, equally brilliant, what will ol' jazzie do? Guess that's impossible.

OK, we've got a catchy lyric, so what's the tune? I tried Winter Wonderland but got slogged down.

And Pat Robertson has endorsed Giuliani, hooray, who sez more Brits die of prostate cancer because they have that socialized medicine over the bad guys want to do here. Blackwater needs to open some hospitals too!

Quinty said...

That's a great rap, great lines, up there. You just gotta let the beat flow.....

Ending up in a Blackwater hospital. Now there's a thought. I suppose Blackwater Insurance would pay for it all. And when you get out you could zoom home on the Blackwater Pike. And watch Fox/Blackwater on your Blackwater TV (made in China. Or will it be Afghanistan? Maybe Iraq, once they get their legs!) And as you watch you could munch your Blackwter Burger, and wash it down with a Blackwater Cocktail. And you know all will be right with the world because our pres weill be named Blackwater....

Quinty said...

And as for Giuliani's view on reality.... Norman Podhoritz is his foreign policy advisor. David Frum is an advisor too.....

The top cop wants to be the top cop and appears to be taking all that Neocon tent meeting stuff seriously: Islamofascism, Evil, the unending universal war on terror, if we don't fight them there we'll have to fight them here......

The "dark side" indeed!

jazzolog said...

Ahh, the Blackwater beat flows down through the land. Feel it? Got the shades like that tough guy up there? Got the body armor? Git it on, git it on.

Nice to see Quinty in here. Here's a guy I actually know from realtime. In fact we went to college together once upon a time. At some point in the vast intervening years he began the enormous task of organizing and caring for his father's paintings. One of the beautiful results is here~~~

jazzolog said...

The New York Times
November 16, 2007
Prosecuting Blackwater

A report in The Times this week says that the F.B.I. is reaching the same horrifying conclusion as the Iraqi authorities: that the deadly September shooting spree by Blackwater security guards in Baghdad was unjustified and violated the American government’s rules for the use of deadly force. The question is, what is the Bush administration going to do about it?

David Johnston and John M. Broder reported on Wednesday that federal investigators found no evidence to support claims by Blackwater officials that Iraqi civilians had fired on the guards. Investigators concluded that 3 of the 17 deaths may have been justified because the guards might have perceived an imminent threat. The other 14 amounted to sheer recklessness, they said.

This is hardly surprising, considering the “spray and pray” tactics favored by many of these contractors. But the incident has fed Iraqis’ fury at the American occupation and made it even harder for American officials to insist that Iraq’s leaders respect their own citizens and the rule of law.

The mess provides yet another argument for the swift and orderly exit of American troops from Iraq and the even swifter withdrawal of all the private armies Washington employs there. Any contractors who committed crimes must also be quickly brought to justice.

The legal path will not be easy, but there are options. The government could seek to prosecute the guards under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, or MEJA, which extends American criminal law to contractors overseas. Or it could try to court-martial the guards under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which was amended last year to cover contractors accompanying the armed forces in the field.

It could also offer a plea deal — including some prison time — to any guards found to have recklessly violated deadly force rules. The guards may be a lot more interested if Washington makes it clear that it is ready to waive the immunity from Iraqi prosecution, granted to contractors by the American occupation government three years ago.

None of these options is foolproof. MEJA applies to contractors that accompany American armed forces, while the Blackwater guards were working for the State Department. Using the military code would face the same problem and would have to contend with Supreme Court opinions from the 1950s and 1960s barring the courts-martial of civilians.

A judge must decide on the applicability of these laws. For that to happen, either the Justice Department or the Pentagon would have to decide to prosecute — so far neither has shown any interest.

Contractors have been involved in some of the most shameful incidents in this war, including the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. But not one contractor has been prosecuted for crimes against an Iraqi. That shameful record cannot be allowed to stand.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Tom Bombadil said...

Pretty interesting article here, on Contrary Brin.

I am mentioning it here, just in case any of you guys (gals?) happen to drop back this way. The post has generated quite an interesting thread too. And, well, I couldn't help but mention jazzoLOG's very pertinent entries about Blackwater.

I hope you'll find the time and take a look.

The Road goes ever on and on...
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet
And whither then? I cannot say


jazzolog said...

Thanks for the link over here from
Brin's place, Tom. I don't think I'll join the discussion at that thread though...not now. I think Libertarians are going to be a huge differential in The Election. (I guess that's how I'm going to refer to the Presidential, given how important I believe it will be.) I think the Greens will be too, and neither of us is fooling around anymore. Surely no one believes in the major parties anymore, except those who have opted for the worship of money---from wherever and however it comes---or can be gotten. If I wanted to live my life like that, I would have gotten on board when Reagan was the conductor. I don't want to theorize anymore. I want action and I want truth. Ultimately the Libertarians and Greens are going to have to have it out---unless we just cancel each other out, and settle back to meditate on the oblivion toward which we are plunging life on Earth.

Tom Bombadil said...

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk along the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think they sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaweed on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with sea-weed of red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Though he knew better, Ulysses would have flung himself on the rocks at the feet of the Sirens. What goes through men's mind who heed the Sirens' call? Do they think themselves equal to the task - Are they? - or is it just the Sirens influencing their reasoning power. Does it matter?

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find at the sea
---e.e. cummings, Maggie and Milly and Molly and May

One must remember that according to Homer what we know of the Odyssey's travels was nothing more than Ulysses's report to the Phaeacian king. (And since, reportedly, he was the only survivor of his journey, there was no one to contradict him, was there?) I like to imagine that he may have learned more from the Siren's song than he let on...

Go and catch a falling starre
Get with child a mandrake's roote
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foote.
Teach me to hear the mermaid's singing;
Or to keep off envy's stinging.
And finde
What winde
Serves to advance an honest mind.
---John Donne

jazzolog said...

I've been trying for days to figure out how to respond to Tom's post just above. This must be the only Blackwater entry on the Internet with new lyrics and great poetry!

I can see a vague connection between Sirens and murderous contractors but I'm really stretching. I'd much prefer to discuss Sirens anyway. Like the Peter O'Toole character in Venus, I never met a Siren with whom I didn't become entangled. Why do I do it and what happens to my mind? I'm not into bondage and so don't lash myself to my mast. (I so await some new sexual advancement or technique that does NOT employ handcuffs.) Instead I advance and retreat in the engagement strictly by my wits. I sometimes, maybe often (depending on whose version you hear and believe), have been annihilated. Nevertheless I go the death. It's one of those melodies I just can't get out of my head.