I witnessed the fear inspired by Blackwater and the military in Iraq | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

I witnessed the fear inspired by Blackwater and the military in Iraq

The first time I saw Blackwater contractors in action was one morning in 2005 on al-Mansour street in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. In the middle of the bridge, heavily armed contractors emerged from a vehicle driving north, blocked the traffic by pointing their machine guns in all directions, including mine, and moved what seemed to be a VIP they were presumably protecting.

They then jumped into another vehicle with tinted windows heading south, in the opposite direction. In the time between the contractors’ emergence from the first vehicle and their entry into the second, everybody on the street froze, anticipating that bullets could start flying at any moment given the gunmen’s aggressivity and menacing behavior — to the point where my driver ducked and forgot to push on the brakes, allowing his car to roll forward and hit the one ahead.

At the time, the Blackwater contractors’ presence was directly linked to the U.S. administration, the Coalition Provisional Authority, which had been running Mesopotamia since the 2003 invasion.

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