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Last week in Currituck County, N.C., Superior Court Judge Russell Duke presided over the final step in securing the first criminal conviction stemming from the deadly actions of Blackwater Worldwide, the Bush administration's favorite mercenary company. Lest you think you missed some earth-shifting, breaking news, hold on a moment. The "criminals" in question were not the armed thugs who gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than 20 others in Baghdad's Nisour Square last September. They were seven nonviolent activists who had the audacity to stage a demonstration at the gates of Blackwater's 7,000-acre private military base in North Carolina to protest the actions of mercenaries acting with impunity -- and apparent immunity -- in their names and those of every American.
The protesters drove a small gray station wagon, covered with simulated bullet holes and smeared with red paint, onto Blackwater’s property. One lay back in the driver’s seat and five others got out and lay on the ground, as if they had been shot.
The scene was intended to mimic that in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, where an Iraqi doctor and her son died in a fusillade of gunfire as their car approached a Blackwater diplomatic convoy.
The protesters also smeared red handprints on two Blackwater signs.
Currituck County sheriff’s deputies, called to the scene by Blackwater guards, told the protesters they were on private property and asked them to leave. When they didn’t respond, they were handcuffed and placed in a sheriff’s van. Some went limp and had to be dragged.