Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said at a briefing in Baghdad that it was not known what the coalition contractors were doing in Fallujah — apparently without a military escort — when the attack occurred.
U.S. officials, who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity, said that all four contractors were Americans who worked for Blackwater USA of Moyock, N.C. The officials did not confirm reports from the scene that a woman was among the dead.
Blackwater USA supplies security guards to the Coalition Provisional Authority and has provided protection for Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer, among other coalition officials.
That would explain why some Iraqis reported that dog tags were removed from some of the corpses. These people were not “civilians” or “contractors.” They were private troops hired by the CPA – mercenaries.
The US is hiring mercenaries in Chile to replace
its soldiers on security duty in Iraq. A Pentagon contractor has
begun recruiting former commandos, other soldiers and seamen,
paying them up to US$4000 a month to guard oil wells. Last month
Blackwater USA flew about 60 former commandos from Santiago to a
training camp in North Carolina. Many of them had trained under
the military government of Augusto Pinochet.