Siun of Firedoglake:
Siun then cites Jeremy Scahill's post:
I feel so much better now - I've just read on the wires that "Under continued pressure to exercise greater control over private security contractors in Iraq, Bush administration officials will outline stricter rules for these armed guards during a three-hour meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Pentagon."
"Senior representatives from Blackwater, DynCorp, Triple Canopy and Aegis Defence are scheduled to attend the meeting." but no one seems to know what the new "stricter rules" will entail nor how they will be enforced.
But we can rest assured - leading the meeting will be none other than Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte.While Blackwater mercenaries continue to operate free from oversight and legal limitations, seven demonstrators staged the first ever protest at the gates of the company's compound in North Carolina - and were sent to jail for five days after a secret trial.
Hmmm. Having no accountability is a very comfortable way of doing business, especially when your business is war and keeping the war going keeps your business going. I wonder if Blackwater and all those other defense contractor mercenary groups will enjoy having new constricting laws to deal with.
When their day in court arrived, on Dec. 5, the activists intended to put Blackwater on trial, something the Justice Department, the military and the courts have systematically failed to do. Their action at Blackwater, the activists said, was in response to war crimes, the killing of civilians and the fact that no legal system -- civilian or military -- was holding Blackwater responsible. The Nisour Square massacre, they said, "is the Iraq war in microcosm."
But District Court Judge Edgar Barnes would have none of it. So outraged was he at Baggarly, the first of the defendants to appear before him that day, that the judge cleared the court following his conviction. No spectators, no family members, no journalists, no defense witnesses remained. The other six activists were tried in total secrecy -- well, secret to everyone except the prosecutors, sheriffs, government witnesses and one Blackwater official. Judge Barnes swiftly tried the remaining six activists behind closed doors and convicted them all. It was as though Currituck, N.C., became Gitmo for a day.
It's not unusual for a judge to clear a courtroom when there is a disruption by the public. Nor is it rare for judges to try to prevent activists from turning the tables and attempting to put the government -- or in this case a mercenary company -- on trial. But witnesses that day report that there was no disruption -- and the defendants say they were immediately cut off when they strayed from the narrow scope of the trespass charge to discuss Blackwater's actions or the war. So why clear the courtroom? That may be a question for Judge Barnes in the end, but it's hard not to view his conduct through the same veil of secrecy that shrouds all of Blackwater's actions -- and the seemingly endless lengths to which the Bush administration will go to protect Blackwater.
We won't have to wonder very long. Just watch the news...