This month's Harper's Magazine includes a feature by Charles Glass about the growth of private security firms since 9/11, "The Warrior Class: A golden age for the freelance soldier."
The conclusion to the piece describes a series of videos shown to Glass by a source who had worked for the private-security company Blackwater (now Academi, formerly also Xe Services) in Iraq.
Above, one of the five Blackwater clips published online by Harper's. This one is dated April 1, 2006, and was shot from the front seat of the fourth car in an armored convoy. Glass describes its contents:
Driving along a wide boulevard in Baghdad, the lead vehicle swerved close to the curb of a traffic island. A woman in a black full-length burka began to cross the street. The vehicle struck the woman and knocked her unconscious body into the gutter. The cars slowed for a moment, but did not stop, nor did they even determine whether the victim was dead or alive. A voice in the car taking the video said, "Oh, my God!" Yet no one was heard on the radio requesting help for her. Most sickeningly, the sequence had been set to an AC/DC song, whose pounding, metallic chorus declared: "You've been… thunderstruck!"
As Glass notes, the tape ends with a still frame which reads: "IN SUPPORT OF SECURITY, PEACE, FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY EVERYWHERE."
(via Jeremy Scahill)