Blackwater's Mercenary Humanism

Today Ed Brayton (fellow Scibling at Dispatches From the Culture Wars) is reporting in the Michigan Messenger that the mercenary company Blackwater may face federal weapons charges for "illegally stockpiling automatic weapons" at one of their US facilities. Given the slate of bad news piling on for Blackwater, I was amused to find this 2007 advertisement discovered by Zero Anthropology.

Click for larger image.

The ad campaign appeared in the May/June, 2007 edition of the Journal for International Peace Operations, a publication of the International Peace Operations Association and sponsored by some of the top private military contractors and suppliers in the world.

The hypocrisy is astounding considering that the company is now synonymous with reckless mercenary behavior. Just a few months after running this ad Blackwater, which changed its name to Xe Services, was involved in the Nisour Square Massacre that left at least 17 innocent Iraqis dead and 24 wounded. The New York Times also reported that a drunken Blackwater employee murdered one of Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi's bodyguards and that on multiple occasions Blackwater sought to cover up wrongful death cases committed by their employees.

Jeremy Scahill recently won an Izzy Award for independent journalism on his coverage of Blackwater's crimes (see his extensive coverage at The Nation magazine).

Another of the private mercenary companies, and one that was rejected by the International Peace Operations Association, was the British firm Aegis Defense Services. In 2005 a "trophy" video was posted by a disaffected employee on an Aegis website. The video shows mercenaries randomly shooting vehicles in Iraq while Elvis Presley's "Midnight Train" plays in the background. The Pentagon reportedly investigated the case and took no action since private contractors are exempt from both US military rules of engagement and Iraqi law.

Both Blackwater and Aegis continue to operate in Iraq.

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Ed Brayton did not "report" this story in any journalistic sense, he merely copy and pasted the second through fourth paragraphs of an AP story.

The Associated Press reported this; please give credit where credit is due.