Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Iraqis round on Blackwater ’dogs’ after shooting

Hated by Iraqis who refer to them as "Mossad," Blackwater contractors are also mistrusted by fellow private security guards operating in Iraq who say they are arrogant, rude and dangerous.

"They kill innocent people in the street," Hameed Hussein, a pensioner in west Baghdad's Al-Maamoun neighbourhood said on Tuesday, two days after guards from the US security firm opened fire on civilians, killing 10 people and wounding 13.

"Where else in the world does this happen?" asked 60-year-old Hussein. "These are not security forces but rather forces to kill Iraqis. They are frenzied dogs."

Iraq's interior ministry ordered the cancellation of Blackwater's operating licence after its guards who were escorting US embassy officials were involved in Sunday's shooting in Baghdad's Al-Yarmukh neighbourhood.

Repeated calls to Blackwater in the United States for comment on the shooting and the reaction in Iraq have gone unanswered.

US and Iraqi sources in Baghdad said the shooting erupted after a bomb exploded near a US diplomatic convoy, but a US government incident report said armed insurgents fired on the convoy and Blackwater guards responded.

Blackwater contractors, who are hired to protect US officials in Iraq including Ambassador Ryan Crocker, are well known on the streets of Baghdad.

Toting M-16 rifles and grenade launchers, they drive armoured vehicles or SUVs mounted with machine guns through the streets accompanied by their own helicopters, bringing traffic to a halt.

The message is clear, stay back or risk being shot.

"They behave just like the US soldiers," said Mohammed Abdullah, 32, an engineer who lives in western Mansour district. "They are part of the occupation forces, which is why they behave this way."

Housewife Um Omar, who also lives in Mansour, had nothing good to say about Blackwater.

"They seal off the roads and drive on the wrong side. They simply kill," she said.

A traffic policeman at Al-Wathba square in central Baghdad was equally scathing.

"They are impolite and do not respect people, they bump other people's cars to frighten them and shout at anyone who approaches them," said the 42-year-old policemen, who asked not to be named.

"Two weeks ago, guards of a convoy opened fire randomly that led to the killing of two policemen... I swear they are Mossad," he added, referring to the Israeli secret service which is despised across the Arab world.

Shopkeeper Ali al-Saadi, 59, said a week ago a Blackwater security convoy sealed off both sides of the main street in the inner district of Al-Sikek.

"This convoy of Mossad opened fire in all directions without a reason," he said.

One of those shot in the incident was another shopkeeper, Adil Lafta, according to his son Salim who is now running the shop.

"My father was hit in the leg. He was in hospital for six days. He is now in bed at home. He cannot move," said Lafta.

An Iraqi soldier, standing guard with his AK rifle at Al-Khillani square in central Baghdad, added his voice to the chorus of condemnation.

"We cannot do anything because they occupy our country and they represent US and Israeli forces," he said, asking not to be named because he is not permitted to speak to the media.

"Even the Iraqi government cannot stop their barbarous acts."

Other foreign security contractors based in Iraq -- who all declined to be named -- said the behaviour of Blackwater guards was giving them all a bad name.

"Unfortunately, it appears there is an institutionalised arrogance (and) they feel they can't be held accountable," said an American security officer who has been working in Iraq for a US construction company for the past three years.

"I and others have had Blackwater aggressively try to run us off the road and point guns at us at checkpoints," said the contractor, who gave his name only as Mike.

"They are crazy, aggressive and arrogant," said another contractor working for a European company, who was reluctant to speak to the media and unwilling to be named.

"They are more aggressive than American soldiers. They ride around in their vehicles pointing their weapons at people in the street or in cars," he said, speaking from personal experience.

"They give us all a bad name. We are all known as 'Mossad' because Iraqis can't distinguish between us and them."


More on Blackwater in Iraq

Iraqi Leader Disputes Blackwater Account

US, Iraq agree on joint commission on Blackwater shooting

Iraq wants Blackwater replaced after shootout

Guess where these corporate terrorists will be headed once they leave Iraq? The United States! They were operating in New Orleans during Katrina and they will be used again, against our constitution, on the people of the United States, in a similar fashion to how they've acted in Iraq.

Blackwater is threat to the people of the United States. All militia men and women of the U.S. should have Blackwater in their sites before it's too late.

Know your enemy!

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