Monday, November 28, 2005

Trophy Videos

If you, Gentle Reader, are filled with warm thoughts towards your fellow-man, enjoying the joyous mood of the holiday season this Monday morning, then I have just the story to bring you down, from Sean Rayment at the Telegraph. Here's a quote:

A "trophy" video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.

Again, emphasis and link to the video added. Corporate paramilitaries, beholden to none, randomly gunning down civilians. Joy. No humourous falling Santa or store-mobbing stories here, when we at Electronic Darwinism go to kill your hoiday spirit we don't mess around.

Commentary from Hunter at Daily Kos:

According to the Telegraph reporter, the video is even set to music: "Mystery Train", by Elvis Presley.

And so the circle -- or spiral -- continues. For those with short memories, it was the alleged misconduct of armed contractors in Iraq that led to the killing and public display of four of them, hanging from a bridge... which led to two separate massive retaliatory assaults against Fallujah... which led to a widespread backlash in Iraq... which led to, among other things, a widened insurgency... which contributed to a situation in Iraq in which armed contractors are necessary for protection of private clients... which led to the alleged misconduct of several of them...

More here at the LA Times:

So it was only natural that Westhusing acted when he learned of possible corruption by U.S. contractors in Iraq. A few weeks before he died, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that a private security company he oversaw had cheated the U.S. government and committed human rights violations. Westhusing confronted the contractor and reported the concerns to superiors, who launched an investigation.

In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.

Once again, emphasis mine. And in case you think this is an isolated incident, let me be the first to disabuse you.

1 comment:

Glyn (Zaphod) Evans said...

If this is authentic it really makes me wonder how much these guys can get away with. They call them "contractors" but they are really just Mercs. Hired muscle...

It is disgusting to watch no matter who is pulling the trigger. The hole just gets deeper and deeper every day :(