Limited Inc. suggests that bloggers spread the word, helping move us towards the outside chance that Andrew Moonen, and the U.S officials protecting him, will face criminal prosecution. Andrew Moonen’s the Blackwater contractor who, on Christmas Eve 2006, got drunk at a party and killed one of Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi’s bodyguards, Raheem Khalif Hulaichi. Moonen was discharged from Blackwater for “violating alcohol and firearms policy”. A cover-up was unsuccessfully attempted, Hulaichi‘s family were given $20,000 [Correction: as of October 7th no compensation had been paid], and Moonen quickly got a job with a Defence Department contractor in Kuwait. No charges have been brought.
On the other hand, I’m not a U.S. citizen. So in the interests of balance, I also want to mention Aegis Defence Services, based right here in London. In October 2005 a video was posted on a website run by a disaffected company employee. It showed Aegis contractors shooting, apparently at random, into civilian vehicles. At first Aegis denied that the video, or the website, were anything to do with them; then both Aegis and the U.S. Army conducted investigations. They concluded that the contractors in question were operating within the rules for the legitimate use of force. Aegis got a high court injunction to shut down the website, and no charges were brought.
Last month, Aegis’s contract with the U.S. State Department was renewed. They now have a two year contract in Iraq for $475 million.
In 1917 A.E.Housman published a poem about the battle of Ypres. He called it ‘Epitaph On An Army Of Mercenaries.’ He wrote that the British Expeditionary Force “held the sky suspended”; they “saved the sum of things for pay.” In 1935 Hugh MacDiarmid published a slightly belated response.
Another Epitaph On An Army Of Mercenaries
It is a God-damned lie to say that these
Saved, or knew, anything worth any man’s pride.
They were professional murderers and they took
Their blood money and impious risks and died.
In spite of all their kind some elements of worth
With difficulty persist here and there on earth.
The corporate armies currently operating in Iraq are not regulated, and they are not subject to the law. Nobody knows how many private military contractors are in Iraq; nobody knows how many have died; nobody knows how many they’ve killed. In the absence of a victim connected to a high-profile figure, an incriminating video, or an especially brutal massacre with multiple credible witnesses, their crimes go unreported. And since Paul Bremer’s Order 17, no coalition forces or contractors in Iraq can be prosecuted by anyone other than their “sending states” – who refuse to do so.
Why isn’t Andrew Moonen being charged with murder?