Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Custer Battles: security personel shooting unarmed civilians? 

Custer Battles of McLean Virginia: Founders Scott Custer (former Army Ranger, defense consultant) and Michael Battles (former CIA and Republican congressional candidate, Rhode Island, 2002).

U.S. contractors in Iraq allege abuses - Four men say they witnessed shooting of unarmed civilians: MSNBC

There are new allegations that heavily armed private security contractors in Iraq are brutalizing Iraqi civilians. In an exclusive interview, four former security contractors told NBC News that they watched as innocent Iraqi civilians were fired upon, and one crushed by a truck. The contractors worked for an American company paid by U.S. taxpayers.


They worked for an American company named Custer Battles, hired by the Pentagon to conduct dangerous missions guarding supply convoys. They were so upset by what they saw, three quit after only one or two missions.

"What we saw, I know the American population wouldn't stand for," says Craun.

They claim heavily armed security operators on Custer Battles' missions — among them poorly trained young Kurds, who have historical resentments against other Iraqis — terrorized civilians, shooting indiscriminately as they ran for cover, smashing into and shooting up cars.

On a mission on Nov. 8, escorting ammunition and equipment for the Iraqi army, they claim a Kurd guarding the convoy allegedly shot into a passenger car to clear a traffic jam.

"[He] sighted down his AK-47 and started firing," says Colling. "It went through the window. As far as I could see, it hit a passenger. And they didn't even know we were there."

Later, the convoy came upon two teenagers by the road. One allegedly was gunned down.

"The rear gunner in my vehicle shot him," says Colling. "Unarmed, walking kids."


Custer Battles claims all these men are "disgruntled" former employees, who believe the company still owes them money. It says Hough was fired and that Craun once confided to a colleague that he knew the company didn't really kill any children.

So why are these men going public with these allegations now? They say because they care about American soldiers and about winning the war.

"If we continue to let this happen, those people will hate us even more than they already do," says Craun.

And they say that only makes Iraq more dangerous for American soldiers.

And, speaking of fake journalism, Battles is also a Fox News commentator. See Contractor accused of fraud in Iraq (LA Times article via Seattle Times)


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