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 Post subject: Blackwater security firm banned from Iraq
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:29 pm 
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Blackwater security firm banned from Iraq

Iraq's Interior Ministry has revoked the license of Blackwater USA, an American security firm whose contractors are blamed for a Sunday gunbattle in Baghdad that left eight civilians dead. The U.S. State Department said it plans to investigate what it calls a "terrible incident."


1 of 2 In addition to the fatalities, 14 people were wounded, most of them civilians, an Iraqi official said.

Sunday's firefight took place near Nusoor Square, an area that straddles the predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Mansour and Yarmouk.


Just another gift to Iraq from Dick Cheney.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:27 pm 
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Blackwater banned. Chalk one up for the Iraqis!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:33 am 
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Expulsion of American security firm could undermine withdrawal plans

Iraqi government restrictions on security contractor Blackwater USA could mean a range of complications for US involvement in the country--potentially even undermining current plans to remove some troops on the ground, reports the Wall Street Journal in a story by August Cole and Neil King, Jr.

After an incident on Sunday in which Blackwater security personnel killed Baghdad civilians during a fight with insurgents, the government of Iraq announced that it plans to deny the firm permission to continue operations.

"The incident may increase strains between the Bush administration and the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki," said the Journal. "The State Department relies heavily on Blackwater to guard its diplomatic compound within Iraq's Green Zone and also to provide security for U.S. diplomats as they travel around Iraq. The work often calls for Blackwater to draw on its fleet of armed helicopters, which give it an arsenal that other security contractors lack."

Coming at an "awkward time" for the White House, according to the Journal, the incident follows on the heels of an announcement last week that the US plans to withdraw as many as 30,000 troops by July.

"As the U.S. diminishes its military footprint," Cole and King write, "it is almost certain to rely more heavily on private-security companies to guard the tens of thousands of nonmilitary U.S. personnel working in Iraq."

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:55 am 
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The Iraqis need to get down right indignant at the US if they continue to keep Black Water there. That ought to disrupt things.

Maybe that's what the dems are doing -- sitting back and letting the Iraqi government for things with Bush.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 1:12 am 
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So, who got to the Iraqis?

Iraq says won't move to expel Blackwater

Quote:
By Dominic Evans and Paul Tait Sun Sep 23, 9:44 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq will not take immediate steps to expel U.S. security firm Blackwater, under investigation over a shooting which killed 11 Iraqis a week ago, a government security official said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had vowed to freeze the work of Blackwater, which employs about 1,000 people guarding the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, after the shooting in western Baghdad last Sunday but it was back at work five days later.
...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:06 am 
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There is an article by Michael Hirsh at the link below. Be careful, I shredded my web browser there. Have it scotch taped back together again and downloaded Firefox for a back up.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20712196/site/newsweek/

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:26 am 
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Democracy Now!

Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill, author of the New York Times bestseller, "Blackwater: the Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.", discuss the Iraq situation.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:32 pm 
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Sure would be nice if Al-Maliki would make up his mind. Does he like 'em or not?

Maliki Insists Blackwater Must Pay for Shootings

Quote:
The Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, showed an unexpected streak of stubbornness yesterday in his stand-off with the US over the Black water shootings, insisting that action had to be taken against the private security firm.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mr Maliki, who is in New York for the United Nations general assembly, said Black water posed "a serious challenge to the sovereignty of Iraq and cannot be accepted".

His comments were at odds with a briefing of journalists by an Iraqi official in Baghdad who said the expulsion of Black water, which has 1,000 staff in the country and provides protection for the US ambassador and other US diplomats, would leave a security vacuum.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:47 pm 
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Maliki was for Blackwater before he was against it before he was for it before he was against it.

Talk about a flip-flopper...he was probably threatened by Dick Cheney!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:34 pm 
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Iraq still waiting for security meeting after Blackwater deaths

BAGHDAD (AFP) — A US-Iraqi commission to provide oversight of private security contractors in Iraq was still to meet on Friday almost a fortnight after an American firm was accused of killing 10 Iraqis by mistake.

Blackwater USA, which says its men were legitimately responding to an ambush while protecting a US State Department convoy during the September 16 incident in Baghdad, is now facing further charges of wrongdoing from the US Congress.

A Congressional panel in Washington said Blackwater had sent personnel to Fallujah in 2004 without proper support on a mission that culminated in their deaths and sparked a brutal US military assault on the Iraqi city.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report on the embattled firm will put more pressure on Washington not to drag its feet over the issue of contractors, who are increasingly unpopular in Iraq.

But a joint statement from the commander of US forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and US ambassador Ryan Crocker, said the body -- conceived as a watchdog for the booming security industry in Iraq -- was still to meet.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:18 am 
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GlobalResearch.ca is a good site for stories on our military mischief.

Ol' Blackwater, keeps on rollin' -- Out of friggin control!

Blackwater kills civilians at will in Iraq

Quote:
Global Research, October 1, 2007 | AR News

Washington, DC - According to a congressional staff report out Monday, private military contractor Blackwater guards use deadly force on a weekly basis in Iraq and have inflicted "significant casualties and property damage."

Blackwater, under investigation for the shooting deaths of 11 Iraqis on September 16, will answer questions about that incident and others at what is expected to be a testy congressional hearing on Tuesday.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:31 am 
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Wonder if that hearing will be available on the computer on C-Span 3?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:59 pm 
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Man Bush chose to lead Pentagon contracting probes left under fire to become Blackwater COO

The private security firm Blackwater USA, which has faced mounting criticism following an incident earlier this month in which armed guards from the group purportedly killed 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians, has numerous links to the White House as well as many current and former Republicans.

The connections include the firm's chief operating officer Joseph Schmitz, who was tapped by President Bush in 2002 to "oversee and police the Pentagon's military contracts as the Defense Department's Inspector General."

The relevation was first reported by Ben Van Heuvelen in Salon.

Serving until 2005, Schmitz went on to preside over "the largest increase of military-contracting spending in history" and joined Blackwater just a month after his departure from the Pentagon, according to Van Heuvelen.

"The resignation comes after Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) sent Schmitz several letters this summer informing him that he was the focus of a congressional inquiry into whether he had blocked two criminal investigations last year," according to a 2005 article in the LA Times.

Then-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley "accused Schmitz of fabricating an official Pentagon news release, planning an expensive junket to Germany and hiding information from Congress. Schmitz is the senior Pentagon official charged with investigating waste, fraud and abuse."


Von Heuvelen goes on to detail additional links between the firm's "luminaries" and the Bush administration and Republican party, including:

Erik Prince, Blackwater's founder, who has donated "roughly $300,000 to Republican candidates and political action committees. Through his Freiheit Foundation, he also gave $500,000 to Prison Fellowship Ministries, run by former Nixon official Charles Colson, in 2000."

J. Cofer Black, Blackwater Vice Chairman, a 28-year veteran of the CIA Van Heuvelen describes as "one of the more prominent faces associated with the Bush administration's interrogation and extraordinary rendition policies." Black is also a senior adviser to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Rob Richer, Vice President for Intelligence, who is the former head of the CIA Near East Division. "In 2003," according to Salon "he briefed President Bush on the nascent Iraqi insurgency. In late 2004, he became the associate deputy director in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, making him the second-ranking official for clandestine operations."

Fred Fielding, a former outside counsel for the firm, who "has had a long career as a lawyer to prominent Republicans. From 1970 to 1972, he was an associate White House counsel in the Nixon administration; from 1972 to 1974, he was present for the denouement of that administration as deputy White House counsel." Fielding is a former counsel to President Reagan and current White House counsel to President Bush.

Ken Starr, another counsel to Blackwater, who was hired by the firm in 2006, is best known "as the Independent Counsel who investigated Bill Clinton. He revealed the intimate details of Clinton's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky in the infamous Starr Report and set in motion Clinton's impeachment by Congress."



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:15 am 
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Blackwater issue won't go away in Iraq. People seem t o be hopping mad. And with good reason.

If Bush wants an exit from the occupation of Iraq (which we know he doesn't, but if he did), Blackwater would be the perfect out. Bush could blame Blackwater for the failures in Iraq and allow the Iraqis to have them.

Iraqi authorities seek Blackwater ouster

Quote:
By STEVEN R. HURST and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writers Mon Oct 8, 7:38 PM ET

BAGHDAD - Iraqi authorities want the U.S. government to sever all contracts in Iraq with Blackwater USA within six months. They also want the firm to pay $8 million in compensation to families of each of the 17 people killed when its guards sprayed a traffic circle with heavy machine gun fire last month.

The demands — part of an Iraqi government report examined by The Associated Press — also called on U.S. authorities to hand over the Blackwater security agents involved in the Sept. 16 shootings to face possible trial in Iraqi courts.

The tone of the Iraqi report appears to signal further strains between the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the White House over the deaths in Nisoor Square — which have prompted a series of U.S. and Iraqi probes and raised questions over the use of private security contractors to guard U.S. diplomats and other officials.

Al-Maliki ordered the investigation by his defense minister and other top security and police officials on Sept. 22. The findings — which were translated from Arabic by AP — mark the most definitive Iraqi positions and contentions about the shootings last month.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:24 am 
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Webb: Blackwater contracts 'awarded for political reasons'

Quote:
security contracts awarded to Blackwater USA in Iraq were done so for primarily political reasons, Senator Jim Webb of Virginia told Joe Scarborogh today on MSNBC's Morning Joe. In an extensive discussion about US foreign policy, Webb brought up the controversy over Blackwater's actions in Iraq and the attempt by congress to bring them under US law. "With respect to Blackwater, we've allowed mercenaries to actually conduct combat operations, and we've never done this before," Webb said. "And they're doing this with no legal structiure over them."
There are also no international agreements that govern the handling of mercanries, Webb said, and it now up to the Congress to decide how best to deal with them, Webb said.

"But the other piece of it, let's be honest about it, a lot of the contracts, under this quasi military functions have been awarded for political reasons, and Blackwater is a really good example of that," Webb added. "That's something like half a billion out of their nearly billion dollar contracts were awarded without proper competition, according to the house committee report last year
."


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