Iraqi Government Moves To Ban Blackwater Private Security Firm

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. Get real. Who is supposed to provide protection? The Iraqi police? The mistake here was granting pretend sovereignty to Iraq too soon. Anyway, Blackwater has immunity, and there is nothing the Iraqis can do about it, no more than they can bring Saddam back.
    #11     Sep 18, 2007
  2. No! Not what so ever!!!

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    Now let us wonder AAA...If it wasn't for the fact that these fucking mercenaries were not stupid enough to video their crimes, would you have known about it???

    You are a typical neocon...I am not surprised that you feel insulted that people complain about you killing their children for fun.

    How dare the fucking less human Iraqis?!
    #12     Sep 18, 2007
  3. First I am not a neo-con.

    Second we are not talking about "killing their children for fun." That would be more along the lines of what your islamist terrorist heroes do. The original story concerned a group that had been attacked, and supposedly caused civilian casualties in defending themselves.

    Third, the Iraqi government has plenty of homegrown killers to keep itself busy. They have no legal right to arrest Blackwater personnel. Certainly no one would sign on to be a security contractor if they thought the corrupt Iraqi thugs could arrest and prosecute them. What's next, allowing them to arrest and prosecute our soldiers? No doubt you'd like that.

    This is just a made for the media crisis, designed to test our resolve and divert attention from the failure of the iraqi government. How typical is that? Everything is always someone else's thought.
    #13     Sep 18, 2007
    #14     Sep 18, 2007
  5. Again "You can't blame Iraq if they actually claim the national sovereignty that was promised to them."
    #15     Sep 18, 2007
  6. Unlicensed security
    By Sharon Behn
    September 19, 2007
    Washington Times

    Private security contractors in Iraq say most expatriate companies in the country operate without licenses because corrupt government officials who issue them demand bribes of up to $1 million.

    "A couple of companies tried to get licenses, but no one has licenses because the bribes they were asking were too big, up to $1 million," said a member of the elite Blackwater USA security company, which has been ordered by Iraqi authorities to halt its operations.

    As a result, contractors say a number of private security companies end up operating in Iraq without proper licenses.

    Iraq's government said in Baghdad yesterday that it would review the status of all foreign security companies, reacting to public anger over the purported killings of civilians by Blackwater, one of three companies that protect State Department personnel in Iraq.

    Exploiting that anger, anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded the government ban all 48,000 foreign security contractors, whom Iraqis have long viewed as mercenaries, the Associated Press reported.

    "Part of this is a chance to get back at the Americans," one U.S. special operations contractor told The Washington Times. "This was hand-delivered to them. [Blackwater] is one of the most powerful and well-equipped security forces."

    The United States yesterday suspended all land travel by U.S. diplomats and other civilian officials throughout Iraq, except in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

    In a notice sent to Americans in Iraq, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said it had taken the step to review the security of its personnel and possible increased threats to those leaving the Green Zone while accompanied by such security details.

    The incident, which left eight Iraqi civilians dead by most accounts, occurred Sunday when Blackwater was escorting a convoy through one of Baghdad's Sunni neighborhoods.

    According to the North Carolina-based company, the convoy was attacked by armed insurgents using small-arms fire. The U.S. contractors returned fire to get their clients out of the area safely.

    "By doctrine, you return fire — that's how you stay alive," said the Blackwater contractor, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified. "They killed who they needed to kill to get out of there. The teams that try to be all nicey-nicey, guess what? Their guys get kidnapped," he said.

    Several expatriate security contractors who did not open fire have been taken hostage while protecting their clients in western Iraq near Ramadi and in Baghdad.

    Yesterday, the Iraqi government appeared to back down from statements Monday that it had revoked Blackwater's license and would order its 1,000 personnel to leave the country, Associated Press said. It is not clear whether Blackwater was operating under an active license.

    The special operations contractor, who has been in Iraq for four years, said he had seen the Ministry of Interior (MOI) demand bribes of security companies in three different contracts.

    "You would apply for a license and it would stall, then someone from the MOI would show up and say that the license application was sitting in a box and that for a certain fee it could be pushed through," said the contractor, also asking that his name not be used.

    The size of the bribe depended on the size of the company, he said, starting in the area of $100,000 and up.

    Iraq's Ministry of Interior, which has been found to run secret detention centers, has a reputation for being corrupt. It is also closely linked to Sheik al-Sadr, who is known for his opposition toward U.S. forces.

    "Let's be honest, do you think anyone in the MOI cares about the rank and file Iraqis, or their human rights? I think the answer would be 'no.' The onus is how fast they can feather their nest," said the special operations contractor.

    The Blackwater contractor said he felt that the scandal would blow over, given the key role that his company and other security companies play in Iraq. The United States spends tens of millions of dollars a year in private security in Iraq, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

    "They will hem and haw, then money will exchange hands and it will go away," the contractor predicted.

    Private contractors, who are used in many areas of security in Iraq, from protecting convoys to State Department personnel, also cautioned that the furor over the Blackwater case had to be looked at carefully in a war situation where kill-or-be-killed rules apply.

    "Anyone working in a high-risk capacity, as [private security companies] do, would not hesitate to pull the trigger, if necessary and justified. Hesitation will get them killed, and hesitation will endanger those whom they protect," said Jeffrey Denning, a commissioned officer in the Army Reserve currently in western Iraq.

    Mr. McCormack at the State Department said both U.S. and Iraqi authorities would investigate the incident, but the laws governing security company operations in Iraq were not very clear.

    "The lawyers will take a look at all of those things in making a determination about whether or not there were any laws or regulations that were broken," he told reporters yesterday.

    "To boil it down very simply, there are a lot of cross-cutting, jurisdictional as well as legal authorities here, and you would have to have a precise set of facts in order to be able to determine the various applicable legal authorities and whether or not there was any — if there were any laws that were broken," he said.

    Mr. Denning, who is also the co-owner of Liberty Protective Solutions, a consulting and training company specializing in security policy and procedure, said the outcry over the shooting could lead to greater accountability and more training.

    Meanwhile,13 persons were killed in bomb attacks in Baghdad, including seven who died when a car bomb and a mortar targeted a morgue filled with people searching for missing relatives, security officials said.

    The US military said insurgents killed three American soldiers and wounded another three when they triggered an explosion in Iraq's Diyala province northeast of Baghdad yesterday.

    Insurgents also sabotaged a crude oil pipeline near the northern refinery town of Baiji, spilling huge quantities of oil into the Tigris River, a security official said.
    #16     Sep 19, 2007
  7. That's a statement that they'll likely regret having in print, IMO. Having a U.S. contractor using U.S. funds to pay bribes to make things blow over. Not at all new or shocking, just rather foolish to put in print.

    #17     Sep 19, 2007
  8. The "most powerful nation on earth" has to hire non governmental private contractors to keep their people safe in the countries they occupy?

    And the right wing klannish see nothing ridiculously wrong with this concept?
    #18     Sep 19, 2007

  9. right on. but national policy is that iraq's are sub human. They don't get any democracy. Bush LIES if you have not figures that out already.

    Send a bunch of racist rednecks in to go and waste some r_gheads.
    That passes for a liberation, these days.
    #19     Sep 19, 2007
  10. CIA Shut Down in Iraq
    September 19, 2007 11:58 AM

    A perfect storm set to roil Blackwater?
    According to exclusive information obtained by Pajamas Media’s Washington editor Richard Miniter, the movement of key CIA station personnel in Baghdad has been all but shut down. Are we witnessing Iran’s counter-strike to the surge?

    By Richard Miniter, PJM Washington Editor

    Movements of key CIA station personnel in Baghdad—along with most State department diplomats and teams building police stations and schools—have been frozen for the second day in a row, according to a State department source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Essentially, the CIA, State department and government contractors are stuck inside the International Zone, also known as “the Green Zone,” in Central Baghdad. Even travel inside that walled enclave is somewhat restricted.

    Pajamas Media is the first to report that the CIA station is all but motionless—as meetings with informants and Iraqi government officials have been hastily cancelled.

    What caused the shut down? Following a firefight between Iraqi insurgents and a Blackwater USA protection detail on Sunday (12:08 PM Baghdad time), Iraqi officials suspended the operating license of the North Carolina-based government contractor. While the Iraqi government is yet to hold a formal hearing on the matter, Blackwater and all it protects remain frozen.

    “By jamming up Blackwater, they shut down the movements of the embassy and the [CIA] station,” a State department source told Pajamas Media. He is not cleared to talk to the press.

    Blackwater provides Personnel Security Details—or PSDs—for most CIA, State department, and U.S. Agency of International Development officers. In addition, Blackwater’s special-forces veterans guard many of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams—or PRTs—that build schools, clinics, police and fire stations and other structures that house essential Iraqi government services. Work on these vital “hearts and minds” projects has all but stopped across Iraq.

    The State department has long insisted on using Blackwater and other private security firms so that its convoys and legations would not be controlled by the Defense department.

    There are now more private contractors working in Iraq than U.S. soldiers serving there. Many are not U.S. citizens. Triple Canopy, another private firm, usually hires Peruvians to man the checkpoints inside the International Zone and Ugandans to guard distant airbases. The Peruvians, known as “incas” among Americans there, usually do not speak English or Arabic—a persistent source of complaint by Iraqi politicians who speak one or both languages.

    At least eight Iraqis are reported dead after the Sunday shoot out and some press reports refer to the local casualties as “civilians.”

    “Initial press accounts were inaccurate,” said Blackwater USA spokeswoman Anne Tyrell. “The ‘civilians’ reportedly fired upon by Blackwater professionals were in fact armed enemies and Blackwater personnel returned defensive fire. Blackwater regrets any loss of life but this convoy was violently attacked by armed insurgents, not civilians, and our people did their job to defend human life.”

    “Blackwater professionals heroically defended American lives in a war zone on Sunday and Blackwater will cooperate with any inquiry into this matter.”

    It well known in Iraq that dead insurgents become “civilians” as soon as their comrades carry away their AK-47s and spare magazines. Captured al Qaeda manuals detail how militants should use deaths as a propaganda tool.

    TIME magazine received a partial copy of the official incident report.

    According to the incident report, the skirmish occurred at 12:08 p.m. on Sunday when, “the motorcade was engaged with small arms fire from several locations” as it moved through a neighborhood of west Baghdad. “The team returned fire to several identified targets” before leaving the area. One vehicle engine was hit and disabled by bullets and had to be towed away. A separate convoy arriving to help was “blocked/surrounded by several Iraqi police and Iraqi national guard vehicles and armed personnel,” the report says. Then an American helicopter hovered over the traffic circle, as the U.S. convoy departed without casualties. Some reports have said the helicopter also opened fire on Iraqis, but a Blackwater official told TIME that no shots were fired from the air.

    By apparently lifting Blackwater’s license, the democratically elected Iraq government may stall the forward progress created by the Gen. Petraeus’ surge and change in counterinsurgency tactics.

    Indeed, some contend that the actions of the Iraq’s Ministry of Interior, which supervises police and some intelligence functions, may be influenced by insurgents or even by Iran.

    The staffing and internal rules of the Interior ministry were set up by Biyat Jabr, an affable and charming Shia Muslim who once worked for Saddam Hussein. (He was never a member of the Ba’ath party and thus survived de-Ba’athification with ease.)

    Jabr is widely believed to be in the pay of Iranian intelligence services, although U.S. officials caution that there is no firm evidence of this charge. Jabr left the ministry in August 2006 and is now Finance Minister, but before he exited he salted the ranks with people loyal to Iran and hostile to the U.S. “Innocents dying [in the Sunday gun battle with Blackwater] is just a pretext,” the same State department source said.

    Enemies of the U.S. inside the Interior ministry have been looking to shut down Blackwater for some time.

    Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has adopted the same hard line against the American company. “This company should be punished. We are not going to allow it to kill Iraqis in cold blood. We have frozen all its activities and a joint panel has been formed to investigate the incident,” the prime minister told wire-service reporters.

    “For their own interests, the Americans should hire a new company to protect their people so they can move freely.”

    Both the State department and the Congress have signaled that investigations in to Blackwater will begin soon.

    The State department hopes to shift blame onto Blackwater’s low-level “trigger pullers,” says the State department source, while Rep. Henry Waxman’s committee is expected to target senior executives at Blackwater and top Bush Administration officials. A perfect storm is set to roil Blackwater.

    If Blackwater and other private contractors are shut out of Iraq, Democrats in Congress and Iranian intelligence operatives may have stumbled on a way to end the Iraq War—less than a week after Gen. Petraeus testified that the
    #20     Sep 19, 2007