Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Pigs Must Be Flying! Hannity & Colmes Airs The Iraq Shooting Video Then Includes A Frank, Informative Discussion About Private Military Contractors. They Even Mention The "H" Word (Halliburton).

Reported by Ellen - December 4, 2005

I had to pinch myself to make sure I saw what I thought I saw on Friday night's Hannity & Colmes (12/2/05). But I did. The top story was the internet video that seemed to show private military contractors for Aegis Defence Services shooting at innocent Iraqi civilians - a story that has been largely ignored by most of the mainstream media. Alan Colmes turned his portion of the interview into a frank, informative discussion about problems with the private contractors in Iraq. Not only that, he got two FOX military analysts, the most hawkish brand of television pundits known to mankind, to admit that there are problems with oversight and corruption, and one of them cited Dick Cheney's old firm Halliburton as an example.

Predictably, Sean Hanniy was more interested in doing damage control for the Iraq war effort than he was in examining any of the troubling questions raised by the video. The two guests were FOX News regulars Colonels David Hunt and Bill Cowan who, as one of the advisors to The Lincoln Group, just happens to be involved in another scandal involving private contractors in Iraq (The Lincoln Group has the multi-million dollar contract to help the US in its operation paying Iraq newspapers to print US propapganda). Not exactly a balanced panel.

Hannity and the panelists were quick to point out the mitigating factors and very little else: That the video was a year old, that it happened on the most dangerous road in Iraq, that contractors, not troops, were involved, that "bad guys" may have been shooting first. Comment: Anyone who watches the video is likely to find that an improbable scenario. The video can be found at crooksandliars.com.

Before Hannity changed the subject to the Christian Peace hostages, Colonel Hunt said that military contractors have done "a very good job, particularly the company, Aegis... This would be unusual for a company that's making this kind of money, and the kind of contractors making the kind of mney they are to take this kind of risk. I think it's very doubtful." Comment: Hunt didn't mention that the head of Aegis, Lt. Col Tom Spicer, has a record that is not exactly spotless. According to the News.Telegraph, Spicer's private military company Sandlines International was accused of breaking United Nations sanctions by selling arms to Sierra Leone in 1998.

But when it was Colmes' turn, both Hunt and Cowan became much more forthcoming on the subject of Aegis and problems with private security firms. Colmes started out by saying that in April, a government audit reported Aegis "couldn't prove its armed employees got proper weapons training or that it had vetted its Iraqi employees to ensure that they didn't pose threats." According to Colmes, the audit also accused the Army's contracting office in Iraq of poor oversight. Colmes said, "We have a problem here in terms of who's doing this work."

Now Col. Hunt readily admitted there are issues with Aegis and other security companies and that there's corruption in Iraq. He added, "That doesn't mean that what we're seeing in this film is anything illegal. We don't even know if it is Aegis... But there are issues with private security, there's no question and the way some of the contracts have been let out and those should be investigated."

Colmes continued. "As I understand, Colonel Cowan, 41 people are doing oversight for 65,000 contracts... Don't they need better surveillance of whose doing the work there?"

Cowan said, "I don't think there's any question about that, Alan. You know, we go all the way back up to Halliburton and KBR. How much money was ripped off by those companies and how many investigations are still going on? And to bore down to this issue of the private security companies, one of the problems they face is, no standards were set out for all these various companies. As David mentioned, 75 companies. So the standards were a little bit loose. My own experience in Iraq a few times with some of these companies - some of them work to the very highest standards - they're self-inflicted standards about what they're gonna do, how they're gonna train their people and how they're going to deploy them. And others are kind of loosey-goosey over there. So this is the kind of result we see."

From there, Colmes segued to the payments to Iraqi newspapers by the US government to run favorable stories. As Colonel Cowan pursed his lips, Colmes asked, "George W. Bush gets on TV this week and he talks about freedom in Iraq and democracy. One of the major tenets is the First Amendment freedom of the press. Isn't this the opposite of the kind of freedom we talk about?"

Col Hunt said it was a great idea to do it, that he was only upset that they got caught. "This kind of stuff we need to do to fight terrorism.... We gotta be smarter about it and not get caught at these things." (Cowan was smiling and nodding now.)

Colmes, incredulous, asked,"You're talking about it's OK to do, just don't get caught at it? Is that an honest and open way to go about creating a democracy in Iraq? To pay people?"

"Sometimes good men, trying to do good things, Alan, have to know how to do bad. Just don't get caught sometimes."

Hannity interrupted to end the segment and proved that this was, indeed, FOX News. "Yeah... Bill Clinton was honest. We were alone but we never thought we were. See, follow Clinton's example."

Post a comment

Remember Me?

We welcome your opinions and viewpoints. Comments must remain civil, on-topic and must not violate any copyright or other laws. We reserve the right to delete any comments we deem inappropriate or non-constructive to the discussion for any reason, and to block any commenter for repeated violations.

Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.