Iraqi Blackwater Coverup

CNN, as other liberal media will surely follow suit, is presenting evidence of Blackwater’s guilt, a report from FBI investigators that indicates all shell casings found at the scene were those used by US forces and security services. In addition to this they present eyewitness testimony, from the civilians that were fired upon, that Blackwater forces fired upon civilians.

The testimony of Blackwater forces firing upon civilians is not in dispute. What is in dispute, is did they act according to protocol or did they just shoot Iraqi citizens for the sake of it.

As the testimony of one individual states, warnings were given to move out of the way and he did not, thus security forces fired upon the vehicle as it posed an imminent danger considering the situation, something the Fourth Estate keeps leaving out of the story, a powerful bomb had just been detonated. See my prior post on Blackwater to see damage from the explosion.

As for the shell casings, there may be two very plausible reasons for only finding shells used by US military and security services. The first is that the terrorists at the scene were using US weaponary. Unlikely the liberals will scream, well remember who is arming the Iraqi police. Blackwater forces already implicated Iraqi police in the attack ambush.  If that is not enough for the liberals, remember the caches of US weapons that are unaccounted for and in terrorist hands, well those are going to use shells used in US military and security forces weapons.

The other explaination is also just as plausible, that the Iraqi’s and possibly Iraqi police cleaned the area prior to US troop arrival.

Again see my prior post on Blackwater and you can clearly see that the Blackwater vehicle was fired upon. One of the vehicles was disabled due to bullets penetrating the radiator. This vehicle was retrieved later after Blackwater left the scene. These guys are good shots and surely did not miss the enemy and fire on their comrads.

CNN’s spin on this and emotional filler material seems like a bunch of crap to me. It seems to me Blackwater is being used as the latest shock stories before the 2008 elections. Just another liberal fallacy designed to swing voters.

Survivors of a September 16 incident in which the Iraqi government accuses Blackwater USA security guards of fatally shooting 17 Iraqi civilians without provocation have told FBI investigators harrowing stories of their ordeals.

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Hassan Jabbar, who was injured in the Blackwater shooting, is comforted by his wife at a Baghdad hospital.

Iraqis have said 27 Iraqis were wounded in the shooting, which has sparked an international controversy over the conduct of private U.S. contractors in Iraq. The guards were protecting a State Department convoy.

An FBI team arrived in Baghdad on October 4 to investigate.

CNN has spoken by telephone with three of the survivors who were interviewed by the agents.

Abdul Wahab Abdul Razzaq, who works at a bank, said he was driving toward Nusoor Square when he saw a traffic jam. He turned his car around to avoid it.

In his rearview mirror, he saw a private security convoy coming up behind him. One of the convoy vehicles hit his car, and someone inside threw water bottles and flares toward him. They started shooting when cars could not move, he said. Abdul Razzaq said he was shot at three times, and two of the bullets hit him.

One bullet hit Abdul Razzaq in the hand, which he said broke a bone, and a second bullet ricocheted, wounding him in the leg. Worried about getting shot in the head, he opened the door and jumped from his car, diving on the ground.

“I wanted to save what was left of me,” he said.

His car, which was left in “drive,” kept moving and slammed into a wall, Abdul Razzaq said. He said he was screaming for help when two policemen showed up after the Blackwater convoy left. The police took him to Yarmouk Hospital.

Meanwhile, he saw a man get shot in the abdomen, he said. “It was awful.”

He said he met Saturday with two FBI agents, an Iraqi National Police team and a Lebanese interpreter for about 45 minutes. They asked him detailed questions, some of them twice, to test him, he said. He provided them with pictures of his car.

Abdul Razzaq described the investigators as very understanding, and said they expressed their regrets over what had happened.

The first U.S. soldiers to arrive on the scene of the shootings have told investigators they found no evidence the Blackwater contractors were fired upon, a source familiar with a preliminary U.S. military report told CNN on Friday. Video Watch a witness describe the shooting »

The soldiers also found evidence suggesting the guards fired on cars that were trying to leave the scene, the military source said.

Blackwater has no comment on the report, spokeswoman Anne Tyrell said.

The company has said its contractors “acted lawfully and appropriately in response to a hostile attack,” and “the ‘civilians’ reportedly fired upon by Blackwater professionals were in fact armed enemies, and Blackwater personnel returned defensive fire.” See facts about private security companies that work for the U.S. government »

The U.S. State Department has said that “innocent life was lost.”

Another survivor, Haider Ahmed Rabe’e, a taxi driver who normally operates in the Nusoor Square area, said Saturday that when he drove in from Yarmouk that day, he heard shooting and a woman screaming for help.

Rabe’e said he tried to flee the area, but was stuck in traffic. The scene was chaotic, with bullets flying everywhere, he said. Rabe’e said he is used to private security convoys in the area and never imagined anything like the incident that unfolded because “people understand procedure around these convoys now and usually stop their cars.”

Rabe’e said he panicked, and jumped from the passenger side of his vehicle. As he hit the ground, he was hit four times in the legs.

He said all he was thinking was “I wish I could dig into the ground and hide. I made my last prayer. I looked up to the sky to ask God to protect us. I saw two small helicopters.”

Rabe’e said he saw other people getting shot — some wounded, others killed. He also met Saturday with FBI investigators. They took his statement, asked him questions and showed him a diagram, so he could pinpoint his location, he said.

He described the investigators as “nice and understanding; they offered me water and Pepsi and did not pressure me in any way.”

Rabe’e said he has disturbing flashbacks of the incident. He said no one has talked to him about compensation; he is still recovering at home and can’t yet work.

Businessman Mohammed Hafez, a third survivor, also met with two FBI investigators and a translator Saturday. His 9-year-old son, Ali, was killed.

Hafez said there were a number of FBI teams split up into different rooms so they could meet with as many people as possible.

According to Hafez, many of the witnesses and the wounded were present. They went to the National Police headquarters around 9 a.m. local time and were finished by 5 p.m.

He said they took his details and said they will be in touch with him again because they want to see his car. Their questioning was very detailed, he said. He described them as “professionals seeking the truth.”

Hafez said they used diagrams, asked questions about bullets and where they hit, sought a description of those who shot at them and asked if he would recognize the shooters if he saw them again. He said he sat with them for about 90 minutes.

Investigators also met with his sister, who was in Hafez’s vehicle with her children. They were uninjured

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Israel Destroyed Syrian Nuclear Reactor Under Construction

In update to the Israeli strike of a suspected stockpile of nuclear material in Syria, analysts determined that the Syrian military installation, the one Syria says was an abandoned facility, was infact a nuclear reactor under development. The reactor was based on North Korea’s nuclear facility, surprise surprise, and was about six years from completion.

I know, the liberals are jumping up and down already crying foul, six years away, blah blah blah… Well it is better to get rid of it now than wait until they have their first nuke ready to deliver.

As I said before, now Syria and Iran know that they are open season for Israel.

Israel’s air attack on Syria last month was directed against a site that Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, according to American and foreign officials with access to the intelligence reports.

The description of the target addresses one of the central mysteries surrounding the Sept. 6 attack, and suggests that Israel carried out the raid to demonstrate its determination to snuff out even a nascent nuclear project in a neighboring state. The Bush administration was divided at the time about the wisdom of Israel’s strike, American officials said, and some senior policy makers still regard the attack as premature.

The attack on the reactor project has echoes of an Israeli raid more than a quarter century ago, in 1981, when Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq shortly before it was to have begun operating. That attack was officially condemned by the Reagan administration, though Israelis consider it among their military’s finest moments. In the weeks before the Iraq war, Bush administration officials said they believed that the attack set back Iraq’s nuclear ambitions by many years.

By contrast, the facility that the Israelis struck in Syria appears to have been much further from completion, the American and foreign officials said. They said it would have been years before the Syrians could have used the reactor to produce the spent nuclear fuel that could, through a series of additional steps, be reprocessed into bomb-grade plutonium.

Many details remain unclear, most notably how much progress the Syrians had made in construction before the Israelis struck, the role of any assistance provided by North Korea, and whether the Syrians could make a plausible case that the reactor was intended to produce electricity. In Washington and Israel, information about the raid has been wrapped in extraordinary secrecy and restricted to just a handful of officials, while the Israeli press has been prohibited from publishing information about the attack.

The New York Times reported this week that a debate had begun within the Bush administration about whether the information secretly cited by Israel to justify its attack should be interpreted by the United States as reason to toughen its approach to Syria and North Korea. In later interviews, officials made clear that the disagreements within the administration began this summer, as a debate about whether an Israeli attack on the incomplete reactor was warranted then.

The officials did not say that the administration had ultimately opposed the Israeli strike, but that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates were particularly concerned about the ramifications of a pre-emptive strike in the absence of an urgent threat.

“There wasn’t a lot of debate about the evidence,” said one American official familiar with the intense discussions over the summer between Washington and the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel. “There was a lot of debate about how to respond to it.”

Even though it has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Syria would not have been obligated to declare the existence of a reactor during the early phases of construction. It would have also had the legal right to complete construction of the reactor, as long as its purpose was to generate electricity.

In his only public comment on the raid, Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, acknowledged this month that Israeli jets dropped bombs on a building that he said was “related to the military” but which he insisted was “not used.”

A senior Israeli official, while declining to speak about the specific nature of the target, said the strike was intended to “re-establish the credibility of our deterrent power,” signaling that Israel meant to send a message to the Syrians that even the potential for a nuclear weapons program would not be permitted. But several American officials said the strike may also have been intended by Israel as a signal to Iran and its nuclear aspirations. Neither Iran nor any Arab government except for Syria has criticized the Israeli raid, suggesting that Israel is not the only country that would be disturbed by a nuclear Syria. North Korea did issue a protest.

The target of the Israeli raid and the American debate about the Syrian project were described by government officials and nongovernment experts interviewed in recent weeks in the United States and the Middle East. All insisted on anonymity because of rules that prohibit discussing classified information. The officials who described the target of the attack included some on each side of the debate about whether a partly constructed Syrian nuclear reactor should be seen as an urgent concern, as well as some who described themselves as neutral on the question.

The White House press secretary, Dana Perino, said Saturday that the administration would have no comment on the intelligence issues surrounding the Israeli strike. Israel has also refused to comment.

Nuclear reactors can be used for both peaceful and non-peaceful purposes. A reactor’s spent fuel can be reprocessed to extract plutonium, one of two paths to building a nuclear weapon. The other path — enriching uranium in centrifuges — is the method that Iran is accused of pursuing with an intent to build a weapon of its own.

Syria is known to have only one nuclear reactor, a small one built for research purposes. But in the past decade, Syria has several times sought unsuccessfully to buy one, first from Argentina, then from Russia. On those occasions, Israel reacted strongly but did not threaten military action. Earlier this year, Mr. Assad spoke publicly in general terms about Syria’s desire to develop nuclear power, but his government did not announce a plan to build a new reactor.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of Persian Gulf states, has also called for an expansion of nuclear power in the Middle East for energy purposes, but many experts have interpreted that statement as a response to Iran’s nuclear program. They have warned that the region may be poised for a wave of proliferation. Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed nation in the region.

The partly constructed Syrian reactor was detected earlier this year by satellite photographs, according to American officials. They suggested that the facility had been brought to American attention by the Israelis, but would not discuss why American spy agencies seemed to have missed the early phases of construction.

North Korea has long provided assistance to Syria on a ballistic missile program, but any assistance toward the construction of the reactor would have been the first clear evidence of ties between the two countries on a nuclear program. North Korea has successfully used its five-megawatt reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex to reprocess nuclear fuel into bomb-grade material, a model that some American and Israeli officials believe Syria may have been trying to replicate.

The North conducted a partly successful test of a nuclear device a year ago, prompting renewed fears that the desperately poor country might seek to sell its nuclear technology. President Bush issued a specific warning to the North on Oct. 9, 2006, just hours after the test, noting that it was “leading proliferator of missile technology, including transfers to Iran and Syria.” He went on to warn that “the transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, and we would hold North Korea fully accountable.”

While Bush administration officials have made clear in recent weeks that the target of the Israeli raid was linked to North Korea in some way, Mr. Bush has not repeated his warning since the attack. In fact, the administration has said very little about the country’s suspected role in the Syria case, apparently for fear of upending negotiations now under way in which North Korea has pledged to begin disabling its nuclear facilities.

While the partly constructed Syrian reactor appears to be based on North Korea’s design, the American and foreign officials would not say whether they believed the North Koreans sold or gave the plans to the Syrians, or whether the North’s own experts were there at the time of the attack. It is possible, some officials said, that the transfer of the technology occurred several years ago.

According to two senior administration officials, the subject was raised when the United States, North Korea and four other nations met in Beijing earlier this month.

Behind closed doors, however, Vice President Dick Cheney and other hawkish members of the administration have made the case that the same intelligence that prompted Israel to attack should lead the United States to reconsider delicate negotiations with North Korea over ending its nuclear program, as well as America’s diplomatic strategy toward Syria, which has been invited to join Middle East peace talks in Annapolis, Md., next month.

Mr. Cheney in particular, officials say, has also cited the indications that North Korea aided Syria to question the Bush administration’s agreement to supply the North with large amounts of fuel oil. During Mr. Bush’s first term, Mr. Cheney was among the advocates of a strategy to squeeze the North Korean government in hopes that it would collapse, and the administration cut off oil shipments set up under an agreement between North Korea and the Clinton administration, saying the North had cheated on that accord.

The new shipments, agreed to last February, are linked to North Korea’s carrying through on its pledge to disable its nuclear facilities by the end of the year. Nonetheless, Mr. Bush has approved going ahead with that agreement, even after he was aware of the Syrian program.

Nuclear experts say that North Korea’s main reactor, while small by international standards, is big enough to produce roughly one bomb’s worth of plutonium a year.

In an interview, Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker of Stanford University, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said building a reactor based on North Korea’s design might take from three to six years.