The mainstream media are yet to start focusing on Mark Mitchell’s role in dirty politics, but the middle class SpinOff, (the millennial version of the NZ Herald), has rolled out an academic to ask some pertinent questions about Mark Mitchell’s role in private paramilitary death squads.
This matters because when the middle class aspirational millennials at the SpinOff start asking questions, the middle class millennial news producers at The Project and Seven Sharp start noticing it trending on Twitter and slowly but surely the Boomer accountants who run NZ media start noticing and then maybe, just maybe, we might start getting some focus on Mark Mitchell’s role in Iraq and in dirty politics.
I know, it’s heartbreaking this is the process necessary to have a functioning fourth estate, but it’s better than nothing. It’s like being trapped at a dinner party between Toby Manhire and Lizzie Marvelly arguing over who hates men the most. Sure, on some level you appreciate the debate, but on another level you just wish for death.
In my opinion Mark Mitchell was a mercenary in a brutal occupation of Iraq based on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. This is ethically questionable and morally repugnant because Bush passed Order 17 in Iraq which allowed private military contractors to be legally exempt from Iraqi law. That meant you had tens of thousands of mercenaries just like Mark Mitchell, who were free from any legal responsibility, which is problematic because there is overwhelming evidence showing these contrators shot innocent civilians all the time.
Hardly the freedom and democracy we promised Iraq and hardly the human rights carnival Mark has attempted to paint it as…
“I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done. I’m… quietly proud, I’m not someone that shouts it from the rooftops — I’m a Kiwi after all. But I’m proud of the difference we made in people’s lives in terms of their security and ability to get on with their lives.”
He points to work he did such as opening mass graves with scientists from the Hague gathering evidence for the war crimes trial of Saddam Hussein. “When you’re opening mass graves and you’re finding the remains of babies clinging to mums, it’s a pretty clear reminder of the atrocities which were taking place. That was a very, very tough job for everyone involved. Instead of questioning why we were there, all it does is provide more resolve in terms of knowing there had to be changes made.”
…yes the up to million who died because of the impacts of the war must be very happy Mark was there digging up graves of a dictator who ironically was empowered to kill those dead by America.
The worst of these corporate mercenaries was Blackwater. They built an empire out of butchering civilians and enemy combatants alike, and were the must vulgar expansion of American military power.
The fact these pieces of shit got away with murder was not a surprise, but that it was so blatant was a shock…
US Contractors In Afghanistan Violated Gun Policy, Says US Military
KABUL — Four U.S. contractors for the company formerly known as Blackwater were not authorized to carry weapons when they were involved in a deadly shooting in Afghanistan this month, the U.S. military said Tuesday.
…and they continued their dirty tricks that give them the political power to fend off criminal prosecution…
Blackwater in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD — The notorious US security firm Blackwater has reportedly established a presence in the restive tribal belt on the Afghan borders to help the FBI and CIA track down Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants allegedly hiding there and protect USAID projects.
…and dirty tricks in Afghanistan to cripple rivals…
Blackwater Assumes Police Powers in Afghanistan – To Eliminate Rivals?
sarabeth at 1115 has dug out a rather astounding bit of news from an Associated Press story about yet another crooked Texas security contractor, this one doing business primarily in Afghanistan on a contract with USAID to provide security for construction sites and mine-clearing. The lede involves the usual folderol – accusations of over-billing in the $$Millions$$ and dubious hiring practices involving ex-militia – but deep into the story sarabeth caught this:
The American security official said agents from the private security firm Blackwater USA raided USPI’s Kabul office last month and seized computers and office files.
…and let’s not overlook Blackwater’s friendship with President Obama…
Blackwater Got Gig Protecting Obama In Afghanistan
Sen. Barack Obama has not been a fan of private police like Blackwater in war zones, and some news outlets even reported that they were spurned for his trip last week to Afghanistan and Iraq. But Whispers confirms that Blackwater did handle the Democratic presidential candidate’s security in Afghanistan and helped out in Iraq. What’s more, Obama was overheard saying: “Blackwater is getting a bad rap.” Since everything appeared to go swimmingly, maybe he will take firms like Blackwater out of his sights, the company’s supporters hope.
The danger of allowing corporate mercenaries to have this level of power within conflicts is obvious. The US Military is responsible to the US Government, Blackwater and other private military contractors however were immune to prosecution and didn’t follow any rules when in battle. Their corporate and political muscle makes sure that they and their multitude of subsidiary corporations are never in any real danger of accountability…
Blackwater Operating in Afghanistan on Subcontract with Raytheon
For those of you who have been following the intricacies of the various ongoing Blackwater/Xe scandals (hard to keep up with indeed), the situation unfolding in Kabul is certainly on your radar. In short, four Blackwater/Xe operatives working for Paravant LLC, a subsidiary of Blackwater/Xe are alleged to have fired on a civilian car they say they saw as a threat, killing at least one Afghan civilian. According to The Wall Street Journal’s August Cole, “At least some of the men, who were former military personnel, had been allegedly drinking alcohol that evening, according to a person familiar with the incident. Off-duty contractors aren’t supposed to carry weapons or drink alcohol.”
The US military said the incident took place in Kabul on May 5. “While stopped for the vehicle accident, the contractors were approached by a vehicle in a manner the contractors felt threatening,” according to the military. At last one Afghan was killed and three others were wounded.
Now, there are many layers to this story, not the least of which is yet another allegation of Blackwater-affiliated personnel drinking and killing in a foreign war zone. (A drunken Blackwater operative was alleged to have killed a bodyguard to an Iraqi vice president on Christmas Eve 2006 inside Baghdad’s Green Zone).
What’s more, this represents the first public mention of the Blackwater/Xe subsidiary Paravant, but also the fact that its work was apparently buried in a subcontract with Raytheon, which in turn has a large US Army training contract in Afghanistan. “Raytheon’s use of Paravant is for a program called Warfighter Focus, a sweeping U.S. Army training effort valued at more than $11 billion over a 10-year period,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
The power and influence Private War Inc has created within American foreign policy is not new, but the level of unaccountable protection being offered them suggests America’s outsourcing of violence to feed a multi-billion dollar industry on the blood of civilians is becoming the arnacho-capitalist neo liberal Ayn Rand wet dream of choice.
This was the world that Mark Mitchell excelled in and championed.
As Daniel Couch points out in the SpinOff blog…
Mitchell’s engagement with war has been through the private sector, and it has made him a wealthy man. When he sold Threat Management Group in 2010 it was turning over $130 million per year.
…because military contractors were immune from prosecution when they killed civilians, it makes Mark’s refusal to answer questions about him killing anyone far more questionable.
I ask again, are we honestly considering a blood drenched mercenary to lead the largest political party in NZ?