Author Topic: Blackwater gets Contract Extension to kill and rape more innocents-Hooray!  (Read 5527 times)

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Offline Dig

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U.S. extends Blackwater's Baghdad work for one year
http://www.rawstory.com/news/mochila/U_S_extends_Blackwater_s_Baghdad_wo_04042008.html

REUTERS
Reuters US Online Report Top News

Apr 04, 2008 17:29 EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. private security firm Blackwater's deal to protect American diplomats in Baghdad will be extended for a year while the FBI investigates a 2007 incident in which the company's guards are accused of killing 17 Iraqis, the State Department said on Friday.
 

"I have requested and received approval to have task order six -- which Blackwater has to provide personal protective services in Baghdad -- renewed ... for one year," the head of diplomatic security, Gregory Starr, told reporters.

The September 2005 shooting incident in Baghdad enraged the Iraqi government and triggered an investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation into what happened and whether any crimes might have been committed.

A measure issued by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in 2004 prevents foreign security contractors from being prosecuted in local courts. It is unclear whether they could be prosecuted under U.S. law.

After the incident, the State Department changed several elements of the contract, including tightening up rules of engagement, putting cameras on all convoys and having a diplomatic security officer ride along with the detail.

Starr said Blackwater was operating with the agreement of the Iraqi government and he did not know when the FBI's investigation of the incident would be completed.

Asked whether the Blackwater Baghdad deal could be scrapped if the FBI investigation found wrongdoing, Starr said: "We can terminate contracts at the convenience of the government if we have to."

"I am not going to prejudge what the FBI is going to find in their investigation. I think really, it is complex. I think that the U.S. government needs protective services," he said.

"Essentially I think they do a very good job. The September 16th incident was a tragedy. It has to be investigated carefully," he added.

"I am concerned (about the Iraqi response) and yet at the same time there have only been about three incidents, three escalation of force incidents, since September 16," he said.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Amd304912

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Offline bigron

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Iraqi official: Blackwater staying on 'is bad news'


Story Highlights
NEW: Iraqi official: Iraq's investigation found that "Blackwater committed a crime"

Iraqi government displeased contract was renewed, top adviser says

Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqis, including women and children, in September

Thousands of contractors provide security for U.S. diplomats, workers




BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. State Department's renewal of Blackwater's contract to provide security in Iraq "is bad news," an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said.

Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 people, including women and children, last September, prompting an outcry and protest from Iraqi officials.

"This is bad news," al-Maliki adviser Sami al-Askari said. "I personally am not happy with this, especially because they have committed acts of aggression, killed Iraqis, and this has not been resolved yet positively for families of victims."

About 25,000 private contractors from three companies protect diplomats, reconstruction workers and government officials in Iraq. Under a provision put into place in the early days of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, security contractors have immunity from Iraqi prosecution. Watch Iraqis express anger over the announcement »

Al-Askari said he would push for the Iraqi government to contest the contract renewal.

"The U.S. government has the right to choose what contractors it chooses, but Iraq should also have the right to allow or ban certain contractors from operating on its territory," he said.

Al-Askari said there is a general mood of displeasure within the Iraqi government because of the contract renewal.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said a joint Iraqi-U.S. commission was set up after the shootings, and Iraqis told U.S. officials that the rules of engagement and use of force must be changed.

As a result, a State Department security officer accompanies every convoy manned by contractors, Al-Dabbagh said, and every vehicle is outfitted with a security camera. Recordings from the camera are sent to a command center.

Al-Dabbagh said the Iraqi government still wants Blackwater to come under the jurisdiction of Iraqi law and its courts.

"Most importantly, the Iraqi investigation concluded that Blackwater committed a crime at Nusour Square," he said. "The U.S. informed us that the FBI investigation is still not done, and if Blackwater [personnel are] ... convicted, then the contract will be reviewed."

Another al-Maliki adviser, Sadeq al-Rikabi, said the contract would be temporary since the U.N. mandate under which the United States operates in Iraq will expire at the end of the year, to be replaced by a bilateral agreement under negotiation.

"No doubt, the role of the U.S. military and contractors will be agreed on" in the new arrangement, al-Rikabi said.

Blackwater is one of three contractors working under a "task order" to provide security services in Iraq. The other two are Triple Canopy and DynCorp.

The State Department contract must be renewed every year and is up for renewal next month. In effect, Blackwater's contract will roll over for another year, said Greg Starr, who heads the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service.

Starr said new rules and an agreement between the State Department and U.S. military have improved coordination and the supervision of contractors.

Blackwater must work under the rules of the Iraqi government, he said.

The FBI is in charge of the U.S. investigation of the September incident, in which survivors and victims' family members contend Blackwater guards started shooting without provocation.

Blackwater says its employees were returning fire after coming under attack from armed insurgents, but an Iraqi investigation called the killings "premeditated murder."

Starr said the U.S. government, in particular U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, will take a close look at the FBI's investigation report, "and then we decide whether it is consistent with U.S. goals and policies to continue the contract."

It will be important to see whether the FBI finds Blackwater itself criminally responsible, or merely a few of its employees, Starr said.

"We can terminate contracts for the convenience of the government if we have to," he said. "I am not going to prejudge what the FBI is going find in its investigation. It's complex. I think the U.S. government needs protective services."

"I am up to this point very satisfied with the changes we have seen," Starr said. "Essentially, I think they do a very good job. The September 16 incident was a tragedy; it needs to be investigated carefully. The results of that will come out eventually and we will decide how we will proceed."

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell declined to comment, referring all questions to the State Department.

CNN State Department Producer Elise Labott and Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.
 

 
 
 
Links referenced within this article

Watch Iraqis express anger over the announcement »
#cnnSTCVideo
Iraq
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Iraq
FBI
http://topics.edition.cnn.com/topics/Federal_Bureau_of_Investigation

 

 
Find this article at:
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/04/05/iraq.blackwater/index.html 

Offline bigron

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Iraqis angered by renewal of Blackwater contract


Khalid Al-Ansary
Reuters North American News Service

Apr 05, 2008 09:47 EST
http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=116183

BAGHDAD, April 5 (Reuters) - Iraqis expressed anger on Saturday at news the United States had renewed the contract of Blackwater, a private security firm blamed for killing up to 17 people in a shooting incident last year.

"Renewing this contract means we will see this sort of thing again in the streets," Abbas Hasoun, a grocer, said. "I wish we could turn the page on this, but keeping this company here means bloodshed will continue."

A traffic policeman who said he was questioned in Turkey by the FBI about the shooting was patrolling on Saturday the same busy traffic circle where the incident took place.

"I went to Turkey and testified about what I saw, but all my efforts were in vain when I heard the news," said the policeman who asked that his name not be published for security reasons.

The FBI is investigating whether Blackwater employees broke the law during the shooting last September when Blackwater staff, apparently believing they were under attack, fired into cars in heavy traffic, killing civilians.

In spite of the criminal probe, the State Department announced on Friday the firm's contract to protect U.S. personnel in Baghdad would be renewed.

The State Department says Blackwater's tactics have been changed to prevent further incidents like last year's shooting.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the government believed its requests for tighter controls over Blackwater's activities had been met.

"The demands of the Iraqi government have been taken into consideration and Blackwater will follow the Iraqi government's laws. We were never against Blackwater's work in Iraq, but the company has committed a mistake," he said. Ordinary Iraqis were less tolerant.

"These companies should be removed from the country. They don't deserve to stay here a moment. They committed massacres and killed innocent people," said Naseer Kahdim, a soldier checking cars a few hundred metres from the site of the shooting.

The government's political opponents accused it of failing to enact measures that would control foreign security firms.

"So far we haven't passed laws governing the work of foreign companies. The government should have shown its influence and authority by taking the initiative," said Saleem al-Jubouri, spokesman for the mainly Sunni Arab Accordance Front bloc.

"But the Americans want to show that Iraq is under their control. It's a violation of the Iraqi judicial system." (Additional reporting by Wisam Mohammed; Editing by Robert Woodward)

Source: Reuters North American News Service