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accuracy
25-09-2007, 12:09 PM
This is a video clip of Blackwater. A private NO BID CONTRACT army of so called Christians. Here in this clip you will see them shooting at people for sport. OUR TROOPS have been blamed for this and it was NOT the troops. IT WAS BLACKWATER! Yes folks you are seeing right. They are killing people for sport and are under NO law. Even our moronic congress can't get answers as to who overlooks these savages! PLEASE research and spread the word because their home base is right here in America and they are growing. They are the "CHRISTIANS" who rescued the helpless poor people in NEW ORLEANS after Katrina hit by GUNPOINT. You might come face to face with them someday for having an opinion. It could be your last day on earth. Put all the pieces together and you will see that Bush is the most dangerous man on earth! They have been funded by Republicans as well as Christian groups including JAMES DOBSON!
BLACKWATER charges the American taxpayer $600 per soldier per day!That is far more than our troops (who are dying for Bush's corporate buddies) make. PLEASE watch this video and pass it on.

http://img.youtube.com/vi/HI_MACZo2sg/default.jpg

Time: 02.29min

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

accuracy
29-09-2007, 12:48 PM
BLACKWATER'S UGLY AMERICANS

September 28, 2007 3:38 PM Baghdad, Iraq
By Richard Engel, Middle East bureau chief

http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/09/28/385833.aspx



They are becoming the poster boys for excess. A new "photo cartoon" circulating in Baghdad among security contractors and some U.S. soldiers – and the laughter it’s generating here – speaks for itself.

"Blackwater has become a symbol of testosterone-fueled excess," one security contractor told me, who like most did not want to give his name because the industry is under such scrutiny.

http://msnbcmedia1.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/070928/070928_blackwater_hmed_12p.standard.jpg
The caption of a cartoon circulating in Baghdad reads: "I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am."

Blackwater has been at the center of a crisis here after a shooting – Blackwater says a gunfight – in Baghdad on Sept .16. Iraqi police and witnesses allege Blackwater guards shot dead at least 11 Iraqis. One officer told me today the dead toll has climbed to 17. Blackwater has remained tightlipped about the incident, only saying its guards were attacked and defended themselves under fire.

But a picture is emerging of at least some of what happened.

Two American sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity have told me that during the incident at least one Blackwater guard ordered his colleague to "stop shooting." The guard went so far as to draw a weapon to try to force him to stop.

"It was a Mexican standoff," a contractor said.

The account was also published today in the New York Times and Washington Post.

Other security companies here are now diving for cover. They worry the Blackwater crisis will jeopardize the entire security industry, essential for shipping nearly every import to Iraq.

Witness video
U.S. officials have cautioned that "no one should rush to judgment until all of the reports are in." There are currently several competing investigations under way, both in Iraq and in the United States. But delays and the bureaucratic process are making Iraqis, especially the police, nervous. Iraqi police say what happened on Sept. 16 is clear and suspect a cover up is under way.

I met Mohammed Abu Razak today. He's a well-spoken automotive parts importer, who survived the Sept. 16 incident. His 10-year-old son Ali did not.

Ali was in the seat behind Abu Razak when a bullet hit him in the head, shattering his skull. Abu Razak picked up the pieces of his son's skull and brain with his hands, wrapped the boy in a cloth and buried him in Najaf.

"I can still smell the blood, my son’s blood, on my fingers," he told me, looking down at his hands, fingers spread wide.

http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Video/070928/n_engel_blackwater_070928.standard.jpg
[I]VIDEO: Cell phone video taken by Mohammed Abu Razak shortly after the Blackwater shooting incident in Baghdad on Sept. 16]/I]

The other day Abu Razak found another section of the skull under a cushion in the backseat. A sheik advised him to also wrap it in cloth and burry it along with Ali’s remains in Najaf. He’s waiting to go in a few days. For now, the bundle sits on a table in his home.

"We understand that people here are killed by terrorists or criminals, but not by security companies that are supposed to provide, exactly what the name says, security," said Abu Razak. "I don’t want compensation. All I want is for justice and the truth to be known."

Abu Razak gave NBC News a video he took on his cell phone of his car shortly after the shooting. He says he has also provided the video to U.S. military investigators and has given sworn testimony.

Abu Razak says the shaky video proves that Blackwater did not fire with directed shots at clearly defined targets – the standard of military professionals – but shot multiple times at unarmed civilians cars like his.

I suspect more videos will emerge in the coming days.

While the video does seem to show that bullets came from multiple directions, it does not explain who was shooting, or why.

The investigation continues.

accuracy
29-09-2007, 01:00 PM
Blackwater cancels planned expansion

By Joseph Neff, McClatchy Newspapers
Fri Sep 28
http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20070928/wl_mcclatchy/20070928bcblackwater_attn_national_foreign_editors _ytop

RALEIGH, N.C. — In more fallout from the Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad that left 11 Iraqis dead, Blackwater USA apparently has stopped its expansion projects.

On Wednesday, the North Carolina private military contractor canceled a $5.5 million deal to buy 1,800 acres of farmland near Fort Bragg , where it was going to set up a training ground for soldiers and corporate executives.

The diplomatic and public relations damage from the shooting, combined with next Tuesday's scheduled testimony before Congress by Blackwater Chairman Erik Prince , prompted the company to put all new projects on hold, according to the president of the company that had agreed to sell the land to Blackwater.

"Blackwater said they had pulled all new projects off the table because of this shooting in Baghdad and because they were preparing Prince for Congress ," said Wayne Miller , the president of Southern Produce Distributors. "It's a shame. This would have been good for the economy of North Carolina ."

Southern Produce owns a huge tract of farmland and wetlands known as Barra Farm , near the Cape Fear River.

Miller said he was first approached to sell the land by the president of another security company, TigerSwan, which has offices in Cary, N.C. , and Breckenridge, Colo. When Miller asked TigerSwan's president, Jim Reese , about financing, Reese confirmed that Blackwater was behind the deal.

Prince inspected the property before agreeing to the price.

The sales contract allowed Blackwater to back out for any reason through Thursday. Miller said Blackwater Chief Executive Officer Gary Jackson had called Wednesday to cancel.

Neither Blackwater nor TigerSwan responded to requests for comment.

( Neff reports for The (Raleigh) News & Observer .)

accuracy
04-10-2007, 12:25 PM
EU Envoy Hurt and Three Killed in Baghdad Bomb Attack, Blackwater Called in To Evacuate Wounded

http://www.antiwar.com/photos/eu-envoy-attack.jpg

accuracy
04-10-2007, 12:29 PM
See below for full articles!

accuracy
04-10-2007, 12:35 PM
Liability of Private Contractors at Abu Ghraib in Spotlight

="http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071003/pl_afp/usjusticeiraqtortureviolence"]http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071003/pl_afp/usjusticeiraqtortureviolence


by Fanny Carrier
Wed Oct 3, 3:30 PM ET


WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US judge heard arguments Wednesday on whether Iraqis who say they were tortured by interrogators and interpreters at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison can sue private companies for sending such people to Iraq without proper training.

http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/afp/20071003/capt.sge.fzd37.031007192957.photo00.photo.default-512x342.jpg
US soldiers secure a building holding Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, in 2004. A US federal judge heard arguments Wednesday on whether Iraqis who claim to have been tortured by their interrogators and interpreters at the Abu Ghraib prison can sue private companies for sending these specialists to Iraq without proper training.(AFP/Pool/File/Damir Sagolj) Email Photo Print Photo

The suit, filed in 2004 by a dozen former prison inmates and the family of a man who died in detention, targets the firms Titan, which provided interpreters, and CACI International, which supplied interrogators.

Last year, federal judge James Robertson threw out the part of the lawsuit that targeted the specialists on the grounds that it had not been filed near their places of residence, but he allowed charges against the companies to stand.

However on Wednesday, the two companies asserted they could not be held liable for actions by their employees because the latter had acted under the control of the US government, more specifically, the US Army.

"The substance of the test is simple: who is telling these people what to do," argued Ari Zymelman, an attorney for Titan.

He said his client was largely responsible for providing administrative support such as salaries, vacations and insurance.

Bill Koegel, an attorney for CACI International, said even though the specialists did not have weapons or wear uniforms, they were under the "complete and total operational control of the US Army."

But Susan Burke, a lawyer representing the former Abu Ghraib detainees, recalled how soldiers, who acted in the same way as private contractors, have been court-martialed and are now serving time in jail.

"What we're talking about, the tortured prisoners, is not authorized military action," she argued.

"To this day, the United States has not stepped in to say: 'These contractors were doing what we wanted them to do.'"

A ruling by the judge is not expected for several weeks, maybe even months. But if he rejects the motion by the companies, it could lead to a trial at a later date, even though some legal obstacles remain to be overcome.

The government could also intervene to attempt to block the disclosure of secret information such as the Army's interrogation techniques.

If such an attempt is successful, it could severely limit how much information can be presented to a jury to support the case.

In addition, Koegel tried Wednesday to discredit the main plaintiff, a Swedish national of Iraqi descent, who figures in court documents only under the name of Saleh.

Saleh told his Detroit lawyer that he had been sodomized, stripped naked, submitted to electrical shocks and dragged around by a collar around his neck.

He said he had also witnessed the rape and murder of numerous other detainees.

But Koegel cited an internal US Army investigation, according to which Saleh had been interrogated only once and had never been held by the units he blames for his mistreatment.

accuracy
04-10-2007, 12:42 PM
Abu Ghraib Prisoners Accuse US Companies of Torture

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/03/4283

Published on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 by Agence France Presse

WASHINGTON - Two US Army subcontractors accused of torturing prisoners at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib jail go to court Wednesday in a case that highlights the murky legal status of private US companies in Iraq.

Titan and CACI International were hired by the Army to provide interrogators and interpreters at the notorious prison, the scene of well-documented abuses of detainees following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

One former Iraqi prisoner now living in Sweden says that under the companies’ watch, he was sodomized, nearly strangled with a belt, tied by his genitals to other detainees, and given repeated electric shocks.

“This is probably the most important case still standing against Abu Ghraib because the cases against the government have essentially failed so far,” said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

“This case represents our last hope for getting some accountability for the torture in Iraq and getting any compensation for the victims,” said Ratner, whose group has fielded lawyers to assist in the lawsuit.

The case was filed in 2004 by a dozen former prisoners and the family of a man who died in detention, accusing Titan and CACI of conspiring with US officials “to humiliate, torture and abuse persons” at Abu Ghraib.

But US security companies in Iraq occupy a legal gray area, as highlighted by the case of Blackwater USA, which according to a new Congress report has been involved in nearly 200 shootings in Iraq since 2005.

The report was issued by a House of Representatives committee as congressmen convened hearings following a September 16 shooting in a crowded Baghdad square involving Blackwater guards that killed at least 10 Iraqis.

Under an order passed by the US occupation authority in 2004, security contractors hired by the Pentagon and State Department enjoy immunity from arrest under Iraqi law for acts related to their contracts.

After the Baghdad shootings, the Iraqi government said it was preparing a new law to control the operations of the private companies, but has backed off initial demands for Blackwater to be thrown out of Iraq.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Titan and CACI were to ask Washington federal judge James Robertson to dismiss the case.

The companies argue that they cannot be tried as they were under the control of the Army, which in turn says it can only prosecute its own personnel, not civilians.

Other US judges have refused to hear cases brought by former Iraqi prisoners, arguing that they have no jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed against foreigners in a third country.

But in one case brought by a federal prosecutor in North Carolina, former CIA agent David Passaro was jailed for more than eight years in February for beating an Afghan prisoner who died of his injuries in 2003.

Detroit-based lawyer Shereef Akeel, who is representing some of the Abu Ghraib plaintiffs, is confident that the case will proceed.

“This is for the sake of who we are (as Americans). And if we don’t understand the principals at stake here — if we let them lay low — we have done a disservice to our founding fathers,” he said.

“I have this vision of the Iraqis coming here… of putting them in a hotel in Washington, DC right across the street from the people who make the decisions… so they can have their day in court,” Akeel added.

The sole US officer charged over the Abu Ghraib abuses, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, escaped with just a reprimand at his court martial in late August.

Eleven junior soldiers are serving varying sentences but no senior Pentagon official was ever charged in the scandal, which President George W. Bush has described as the “biggest mistake” made by the United States in Iraq.

© 2007 Agence France Press

accuracy
04-10-2007, 12:45 PM
Congress Reining in Private Contractors

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/10/03/national/w093343D99.DTL

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

(10-03) 22:04 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --


Congress is moving to update a law that has kept Blackwater USA and other private security contractors in Iraq immune to criminal prosecution. The White House contends the change could cause new problems.


The House was expected to pass legislation on Thursday by Rep. David Price, D-N.C., that would extend the criminal jurisdiction of U.S. courts to any federal contractor working alongside military operations. Senate Democratic leaders said they planned to follow suit as soon as possible and send the measure to President Bush.


The legislation comes amid a string of allegations involving Blackwater employees hired by the State Department to protect diplomatic personnel in Iraq.


In one case, a drunk Blackwater employee left a Christmas Eve party in Baghdad and fatally shot the guard of one of Iraq's vice presidents. The contractor was fired, fined and returned home to the United States; no charges have been filed.


More recently, Blackwater guards were involved in a Sept. 16 shootout that left 11 Iraqis dead. The FBI is investigating.


It is unclear whether charges can be brought against any of the contractors. Federal officials cite murky laws governing the conduct of U.S. personnel abroad not hired directly by the military. The current law, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, covers personnel supporting the mission of Defense Department operations overseas.


Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters traveling with him in South America that a Pentagon review team has recommended the military have more control over contractors and private security guards fall under the military code of justice in some cases.


He said new guidelines for military commanders in Iraq probably will increase the number of private security contractors who will face prosecution or discipline for violence.


Because Blackwater's primary mission is to protect State Department officials, defense lawyers probably would argue successfully that the current law does not apply.


At the same time, U.S. contractors are immune from prosecution by Iraqi courts.


White House officials say they support increasing accountability of contractors abroad but worry that the House bill is too vague and may go too far. An administration statement Wednesday said the bill would have "unintended and intolerable consequences for crucial and necessary national security activities and operations."


But the statement did not explain further or give examples on how the bill would affect national security. The White House referred questions to the Justice Department, which declined comment.


The White House also cited concerns with stretching FBI resources by mandating that the agency conduct investigations overseas. Also, officials said they feared the military could be overtaxed if required to support criminal investigations led by the Justice Department.


In a statement, Price said the White House's objections were unfounded and "should infuriate anyone who believes in the rule of law.


"The fact is the administration has an embarrassing track record for investigating and prosecuting misconduct by contractors working in our name," Price said.


Blackwater founder Erik Prince told a House panel Tuesday that he supports expanding the law.


"Beyond firing him for breaking the rules, withholding any funds we can, we can't flog him," Prince said of the intoxicated Blackwater guard. "We can't incarcerate him. We can't do anything beyond that."


Blackwater has provided security for the FBI in Iraq. But spokesman Richard Kolko said that to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, the team investigating the Sept. 16 shooting would use U.S. government personnel for any security needs.


___


Associated Press writer Matt Apuzzo contributed to this report.

accuracy
04-10-2007, 12:49 PM
Blackwater's Version of Iraq Attack Disputed

All Things Considered, October 3, 2007 · James Glanz, New York Times Baghdad bureau chief, has been reporting on the September incident involving a convoy of Blackwater USA personnel who are accused of the unprovoked shooting of Iraqi civilians.

The Times spoke with a dozen witnesses and with Iraqi investigators, who dispute the version of events given by Blackwater.

The Times also reports that there was a second incident the same day, possibly involving the same Blackwater convoy, in which more Iraqis were shot.

Glanz talks with Robert Siegel.Listen:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14962706

accuracy
04-10-2007, 12:53 PM
Gates Promises Unspecified Moves to Strengthen Oversight of Contractors in Iraq

http://www.kgan.com/template/inews_wire/wires.international/30b95704-www.kgan.com.shtml

October 03, 2007

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) -- He's not giving details, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he expects to move on recommendations aimed at strengthening oversight of private security firms in Iraq.

He ordered a review after last month's incident involving Blackwater USA security guards in Baghdad in which at least 11 Iraqi civilians were killed.

At a news conference with leaders in El Salvador, Gates says he's reviewed a fact-finding team's preliminary report and says the recommendations are "reasonable." A Pentagon spokesman says the proposals involve resources and the structure needed for commanders to provide more oversight of private security teams.

The defense chief dispatched the team to Baghdad early last week while expressing concerns over whether the military has exercised enough control over the approximately 7,300 private security guards working for the U.S. military in Iraq.


Copyright © 2007, Sinclair Acquisition IV, Inc.

accuracy
04-10-2007, 12:56 PM
Ex-Blackwater Employee Is Suspect in Killing of Iraqi

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/04/world/middleeast/04contractor.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

By JOHN M. BRODER
Published: October 4, 2007
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — The former Blackwater USA employee who is the sole suspect in the killing last Christmas Eve of a bodyguard for an Iraqi vice president is a 27-year-old former Army paratrooper from Montana who now lives in Seattle, where he spends much of his time renovating his small home.

The former employee, Andrew J. Moonen, is identified in numerous government and company documents and is known to scores of Blackwater and government officials, but Congress, the State Department and the company have been keeping his identity confidential.

In an interview on Tuesday evening, Mr. Moonen declined to discuss the episode, in which, American and Iraqi officials say, a Blackwater worker who had been drinking heavily got into a confrontation with a bodyguard to Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi and shot him three times. The guard, Raheem Khalif, died early the next day at an American military hospital.

Mr. Moonen, who appeared composed during the interview, said that he had been following closely the flurry of recent news about Blackwater in Iraq, including the Sept. 16 shooting that left 17 Iraqis dead. On Tuesday, the company’s founder, Erik D. Prince, testified before a Congressional committee about the Christmas Eve shooting and other lethal episodes involving Blackwater guards.

Mr. Moonen said the situation made him uneasy. “There’s a lot of dust being kicked up, and I’ll be glad when it settles,” he said.

Mr. Moonen’s father, Alvin Moonen of Kalispell, Mont., where Andrew and his seven brothers and two sisters grew up, said that his son did not speak about his duties in the military or at Blackwater. “He said he was in the 82nd Airborne and that’s all he told me,” the father said in an interview on Tuesday. “He wouldn’t tell me anything.”

Asked about the accusations that his son was involved in the fatal shooting last December, Mr. Moonen’s voice fell. “They train these guys like they do and then they’re surprised?” he said.

More than nine months after the shooting, no charges have been brought. But there is an active investigation of the case in Seattle, an F.B.I. official said, although there is some question about what statutes apply to events occurring overseas and in a war zone.

The case has had wide reverberations from Baghdad to Washington. Iraqi officials have labeled the killing “murder” and say it is a textbook example of the way foreign contractors operate with impunity in their country.

The State Department, which employs Blackwater under a multibillion-dollar contract spread among three companies to provide security for its diplomats in Iraq, hoped to keep the case quiet by helping Blackwater to take Mr. Moonen out of Iraq and by paying the slain guard’s family $20,000 in cash. But the episode has become one of the central exhibits in numerous investigations by Congress, the Justice Department and Iraqi authorities into the operations of Blackwater and 170 other private security contractors working in Iraq.

Within hours of the Christmas Eve shooting, Blackwater officials ended Mr. Moonen’s employment, citing a “blatant and egregious” violation of company policy against possessing a firearm while drunk. Without naming the suspect in the shooting, Mr. Prince said on Tuesday that the company had dismissed him, fined him thousands of dollars and immediately shipped him out of the country. “We can’t flog him; we can’t incarcerate him,” Mr. Prince said. “That’s up to the Justice Department.”

They made him pay his own airfare home and forfeit his $3,000 Christmas bonus. Mr. Prince said that Blackwater paid $20,000 in compensation to the victim’s family, correcting earlier accounts that had put the sum at $15,000.

Mr. Moonen acknowledged that he had served in Baghdad, which he described as “scary,” particularly for a Westerner who found himself alone and isolated in the city. He did not explain why he felt isolated while serving as one of nearly 1,000 Blackwater security agents in Iraq and living in a secure compound in the Green Zone.

Stewart P. Riley, a Seattle lawyer, confirmed that he was representing Mr. Moonen in the investigation into the Baghdad shooting. He said that he had been in contact with federal prosecutors, but cautioned that no charges had been brought and that none may ever be brought.

“Everyone’s rushing to judgment in this case, and they’ve forgotten about the presumption of innocence and it’s a shame,” Mr. Riley said.

Mr. Moonen served in the 82nd Airborne Division from April 2002 to April 2005, according to Army personnel records. He served a seven-month deployment in Iraq, from September 2003 until early April 2004. Army records indicate that he was honorably discharged, but do not show any special medals or commendations.

Mr. Moonen’s family members revealed little about him, referring most questions to his lawyer in Seattle. But according to public records, he was granted a divorce in North Carolina in December 2004 from a woman who appears to live in the Seattle area. She could not be reached.

Washington State court records indicate that Mr. Moonen received six traffic citations between April 2001 and September 2007. An employee of the sheriff’s department in Kalispell said that Mr. Moonen was picked up on a juvenile misdemeanor charge when he was 16, but that records of the case were sealed.

A Blackwater spokeswoman, Anne Tyrrell, would not confirm or deny that Mr. Moonen had ever worked for the company. “I will not give you any information about any current or former employees, period,” she said.

A padlocked chain-link fence surrounds Mr. Moonen’s modest Seattle home, in a working-class neighborhood near the sprawling Boeing Company complex. Mr. Moonen is installing green siding and performing other renovations with the help of some of his brothers, he said. “It helps to have a big family,” he said.

He said that he installed the fence to prevent the theft of building materials, and he keeps it tightly locked even when he is at home. After chatting for a few minutes, he handed a reporter a sheet of paper with his lawyer’s name and telephone number and went back in the house.

J. Michael Kennedy contributed reporting from Seattle, Jim Robbins from Kalispell, Mont., and Barclay Walsh from Washington.

accuracy
04-10-2007, 01:12 PM
Editorial
Subcontracting the War

Published: October 1, 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/01/opinion/01mon2.html

There is, conveniently, no official count. But there are an estimated 160,000 private contractors working in Iraq, and some 50,000 of them are “private security” operatives — that is, fighters. The dangers of this privatized approach to war became frighteningly clear last month, after guards from Blackwater USA, assigned to protect American diplomats, were accused of killing at least eight Iraqis, including an infant.

Iraqis — whose hearts and minds the Bush administration insists it is finally winning — were infuriated by the killings, telling tales of arrogant and trigger-happy operatives terrorizing ordinary citizens. The incident provides an irrefutable argument for bringing these mission-critical jobs, which should be performed by soldiers, back into government hands as quickly as possible, and for placing any remaining private contractors under the jurisdiction of American military law.

Blackwater’s 850 operatives in Iraq are not the only problem. The fact that American diplomatic activity in Iraq nearly came to a halt when Blackwater was grounded for a few days shows how much American operations have come to depend on mercenaries.

The armed forces have relied on private contractors since the United States opted for an all-volunteer military after the end of the Vietnam War — mostly for noncritical tasks such as building or cooking. The Bush administration took it to a whole new level when it decided to fight a big war with a far too small force — requiring the Pentagon and other agencies to turn to private security contractors like Blackwater to help make up some of the difference.

Contractors have been in a legal limbo in Iraq since 2004, when the American authorities there granted them immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law. Some of the interrogators involved in the abuse of prisoners at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison were private contractors, yet none of them have been punished. Indeed, no private contractor has been prosecuted or convicted for any crime involving an Iraqi victim.

Last November, an amendment was included in the defense authorization bill that put private contractors under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, exposing the contractors to a court martial just like any other American soldiers. The Bush administration has been none too eager to enforce this new law, and the Pentagon has not yet issued guidelines to commanders about its application.

The lesson here is that such essential jobs cannot be outsourced. War is not a private business.

accuracy
04-10-2007, 01:20 PM
Blackwater: Shadow Army

http://img.youtube.com/vi/nqM4tKPDlR8/default.jpg

The Nation's Jeremy Scahill describes the rise of Blackwater USA, the world's most powerful mercenary army.


Time: 04:25
Blackwater: Shadow Army - YouTube

accuracy
04-10-2007, 01:35 PM
'Iraq For Sale' bonus scene: Blackwater

Added: October 07, 2006

http://img.youtube.com/vi/N83BdpNPvgw/default.jpg

Inside America's private army with extended bonus scenes from Robert Greenwald's documentary "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers"

A Film By: Robert Greenwald & Brave New Films

Visit [iraqforsale.org]

Time: 05:54

'Iraq For Sale' bonus scene: Blackwater - YouTube

horus21
04-10-2007, 03:11 PM
This is happening, and is designed for multiple outcomes, justification for when we fight these things back among many other. Keep it together ok, this will not last for ever.

premasai
05-10-2007, 02:42 AM
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6952

Global Research, October 1, 2007
AR News


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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.

Documents from Blackwater and the State Department show guards fired their weapons 195 times between from the beginning of 2005 through the second week of September, the Democratic staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found -- "an average of 1.4 incidents per week," the committee found.

"The Blackwater and State Department records reveal that Blackwater's use of force in Iraq is frequent and extensive, resulting in significant casualties and property damage," the staff report states.

Though the company's contractors are authorized to use force only defensively, "the vast majority of Blackwater weapons discharges are preemptive, with Blackwater forces firing first at a vehicle or suspicious individual prior to receiving any fire."

In another development, the FBI said it had been asked by the State Department to send a team of investigators to Iraq to look into the September 16 shootings. No criminal charges have been filed yet against Blackwater over that incident.

A report prepared by the staff of committee chair Rep. Henry Waxman, released details from Blackwater's own reports of multiple incidents involving Iraqi civilians.

accuracy
05-10-2007, 10:42 AM
Pilot said 'this is fun' before fatal Blackwater crash

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/02/blackwater.afghan.crash/

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A 2004 crash that killed everyone on board -- three crew members and three U.S. troops -- was caused by pilots from a Blackwater plane taking a low-level run through a mountain canyon in Afghanistan, testimony revealed Tuesday.

http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2007/POLITICS/10/02/blackwater.afghan.crash/art.plane.casa.jpg
A twin-engine CASA C-212, similar to the plane pictured, crashed in 2004, killing all six on board.


"I swear to God, they wouldn't pay me if they knew how much fun this was," the doomed plane's cockpit voice recorder captured the pilot saying shortly before the November 27, 2004, crash.

The account of the crash emerged during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Blackwater's performance in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In its November 2006 report on the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that Blackwater provided insufficient oversight and guidance of the pilots involved in the 2004 crash. Dispatchers failed to ensure that pilots followed their flight plan and did not adequately track flights in the air.

The NTSB said the military "did not provide adequate oversight of the contract carrier's operations in Afghanistan."

The company's chairman, Erik Prince, appeared before the committee to defend the firm Tuesday.

The twin-engine CASA C-212, a light cargo plane operated by Blackwater sister company Presidential Airways, crashed in a box canyon well off its planned route from Bagram Air Base to the western Afghan town of Shindand.

"You're an X-wing fighter Star Wars man," an NTSB report quoted the plane's co-pilot, Loren Hammer, saying during the flight -- a reference to the dizzying battle in the 1977 film.

"You're [expletive] right. This is fun," the pilot, Noel English, responded.

About eight minutes later, the plane slammed into the wall of the canyon, which was flanked by ridgelines that rose nearly a mile above surrounding terrain.

When rescuers found the wreckage three days later, they discovered one of the passengers had survived the crash only to die of internal bleeding and exposure, the NTSB found.

When an unidentified passenger asked about the plane's route before the crash, flight mechanic Melvin Rowe told him, "I don't know what we're gonna see. We don't normally go this route."

English added, "All we want is to avoid seeing rock at 12 o'clock."

English and Hammer had been in Afghanistan less than two weeks, the NTSB found.

Federal investigators found each should have been paired with a more experienced aviator, according to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California. Waxman is chairman of the oversight committee, which is investigating Blackwater's performance on more than $1 billion in U.S. government contracts since 2001.

He said a company e-mail stated the company had overlooked experience requirements "in favor of getting the requisite number of personnel on board to start up the contract."

"The corporation hired inexperienced pilots. They sent them on a route they didn't know about," Waxman said. "It seems to me that it's more than pilot error. There ought to be corporate responsibility, and Blackwater was the corporation involved."

Prince said investigators concluded the crash in Afghanistan was not due to corporate error, but pilot error. He rejected Waxman's contention that the pilots "acted like cowboys."

"We provided thousands and thousands of flight hours of arrival service since then," Prince said. "Today, still, we're flying more than a thousand missions a month."

Passengers on the flight included Lt. Col. Michael McMahon, the commander of a Hawaii-based Army aviation battalion; and two members of his unit, Chief Warrant Officer Travis Grogan, and Spc. Harley Miller.

In a letter read to the committee, McMahon's widow, Col. Jeannette McMahon, wrote the accident was the result of a "gross lack of judgment in managing this company." Her husband's unit had a great safety record, she wrote: "It's ironic and unfortunate that he had to be a passenger on this plane versus one of the people responsible for its safe operation."

The families of the passengers have filed suit against Presidential Airways and its related firms. Blackwater's effort to dismiss the case is before a federal appeals court in Atlanta, plaintiff's lawyer Robert Spohrer said.

The company has come under scrutiny over its work in Iraq, where government officials accuse its contractors of killing as many as 20 civilians in a September clash in Baghdad.

The Defense Department hired Blackwater to fly cargo to sites in Afghanistan, where larger transports are unable to take off or land. Prince described the job as "rugged, Alaska-style bush flying." And he said the military violated its own regulations by flying 400 pounds of 81mm mortar rounds along with the passengers and gear.

accuracy
05-10-2007, 11:47 AM
http://www.bartcop.com/wolf-blackwater-1932.jpg

accuracy
05-10-2007, 11:56 AM
http://www.bartcop.com/blackwater-the-law.JPG

accuracy
27-11-2007, 12:21 PM
Error

adimon
27-11-2007, 03:57 PM
The first video you posted on this thread is not a clip from Iraq at all.

It is highly unlikely that it's even soldiers or mercenaries firing.

The weapon being used is not something that would be used by soldiers or mercenaries. It sounds like a .22 SMG which would not be carried by AEGIS or Blackwater or suchlike.

I'm not sure if it's a hoax video, or if it's live rounds being fired, but there are just too many inconsistencies with reality for it to be Iraq.

greenleaf
27-11-2007, 05:05 PM
The first video you posted on this thread is not a clip from Iraq at all.

It is highly unlikely that it's even soldiers or mercenaries firing.

The weapon being used is not something that would be used by soldiers or mercenaries. It sounds like a .22 SMG which would not be carried by AEGIS or Blackwater or suchlike.

I'm not sure if it's a hoax video, or if it's live rounds being fired, but there are just too many inconsistencies with reality for it to be Iraq.


you are quite correct in your obsevations..i can also confirm that the audio used in the clip is a mix of amr_mono audio codec and aac codec..meaning two pieces of audio were used in creating this clip (one from a backgrpound radio claiming to be a blackwater radio (yet they wear headsets!))

this clip is about as fake as they come..

plus
as a car driver..approaching a vehicle shooting at you, why would you continue to approach it... If I was on watch, I would suspect suicide bombing.

for a username like Accuracy..i would have expected more in getting caught up in made up agruments made to descredit those on the ground rather than those making the orders

adimon
27-11-2007, 05:13 PM
Absolutely. I've watched the clip a few times more. I think it's filmed in the USA. Some of the vehicles are ones you wouldn't see in Iraq. The traffic is very dense as well.

steevo
27-11-2007, 06:18 PM
I disagree with you Adimion and greenleaf, that video of Blackwater in Iraq looks genuine to me. Thanks for posting it Accuracy.

adimon
27-11-2007, 07:06 PM
Steevo, the gunfire sounds are way too quiet to be an assault rifle which would be the IW of a mercenary group. Also, the footage is taken at different times and montaged together from different camera angles in different places. (Something else I noticed on my 5th viewing)

steevo
27-11-2007, 08:41 PM
Steevo, the gunfire sounds are way too quiet to be an assault rifle which would be the IW of a mercenary group.

You do NOT work for Blackwater so you REALLY DONT KNOW what guns they use. You are assuming.

Also, the footage is taken at different times and montaged together from different camera angles in different places. (Something else I noticed on my 5th viewing)

Different angles and different places ? I'm sorry but that doesnt make it fake. From your point of view that would make nearly every video a fake, on every subject that you have ever seen.

adimon
27-11-2007, 08:56 PM
You do NOT work for Blackwater so you REALLY DONT KNOW what guns they use. You are assuming.


Show me a picture of any soldier - NATO or PMC carrying a .22 SMG, or to be honest, an IW that isn't a Colt or HK variant.

I know what those sound like. Have you head gunfire from inside a moving vehicle to be able to judge this?

The IWs shown in this picture make a very different noise to those heard on the tape.

http://www.nh-tems.com/images/Blackwater5.jpg

steevo
27-11-2007, 09:19 PM
Show me a picture of any soldier - NATO or PMC carrying a .22 SMG, or to be honest, an IW that isn't a Colt or HK variant.

I know what those sound like. Have you head gunfire from inside a moving vehicle to be able to judge this?

The IWs shown in this picture make a very different noise to those heard on the tape.



Adimon, what gun would you CHOOSE if you wanted to have some fun shooting innocent people from your vehicle and in the process not bring TOO MUCH attention to yourself ? A noisy one or a more quiet one ? I'm not in to guns that much but I know which one I would choose, and I reckon that Blackwater would be given a choice of weapons, dont you ?

adimon
27-11-2007, 09:54 PM
So you don't refute your lack of knowledge on the subject then?

You forget, I'm the evil trollish trained killer that's moved in these circles. :eek:

You can't have it both ways steevo.

Du
Du hast
Du hast mich
Du hast mich gefragt
Du hast mich gefragt und ich hab nichts gesagt

steevo
27-11-2007, 10:03 PM
So you don't refute your lack of knowledge on the subject then?

You forget, I'm the evil trollish trained killer that's moved in these circles. :eek:

You can't have it both ways steevo.

Du
Du hast
Du hast mich
Du hast mich gefragt
Du hast mich gefragt und ich hab nichts gesagt

I admit I dont know that much about guns. But I dont need to know about guns to realise that what you are saying is flawed. You are not a member of Blackwater so that means that you, Adimon, do not have the required information to know what guns Blackwater use. You are assuming again :rolleyes: What I do know is that different guns are used for different situations.

I repeat what I said :-
Adimon, what gun would you CHOOSE if you wanted to have some fun shooting innocent people from your vehicle and in the process not bring TOO MUCH attention to yourself ? A noisy one or a more quiet one ? I'm not in to guns that much but I know which one I would choose, and I reckon that Blackwater would be given a choice of weapons, dont you ?

adimon
27-11-2007, 10:10 PM
Adimon, do not have the required information to know what guns Blackwater use.

I'm not a police officer, but I know that the pistol they carry is a Browning 9mm.

I have contacts in PMCs and know that, although they have a choice of weapons, they are nearly all (95%) Colt or HK variants. So I know that the chances of an Aegis employee carrying a .22 SMG is very small.

The info above says its Blackwater, then changes it mind to Aegis. Either way, I know what I'm talking about.

I'll answer your question, since you repeated it you clearly want fulfilment.


I repeat what I said :-
Adimon, what gun would you CHOOSE if you wanted to have some fun shooting innocent people from your vehicle and in the process not bring TOO MUCH attention to yourself ? A noisy one or a more quiet one ? I'm not in to guns that much but I know which one I would choose, and I reckon that Blackwater would be given a choice of weapons, dont you ?

I wouldn't fire on innocent people. If I was a soldier I'd know it's extremely hard to fire on anything in a moving vehicle so would wait until dismounted. If I was in a country where I was tasked to kill an enemy and avoid civilian casualties I'd choose a LOUD rifle, since the sound generally keeps civilians out of the way, and therefore collateral damage to a minimum. Above all, since defence budgets are overstretched, even in the private sector, I'd use whatever they gave me, because no, I wouldn't have a choice. It would be a Colt or HK variant, and wouldn't sound like a .22 SMG.

steevo
27-11-2007, 10:39 PM
I'm not a police officer, but I know that the pistol they carry is a Browning 9mm.

But that is NOT Blackwater is it :rolleyes:

I have contacts in PMCs and know that, although they have a choice of weapons, they are nearly all (95%) Colt or HK variants. So I know that the chances of an Aegis employee carrying a .22 SMG is very small.

"They have a choice of weapons", thanks Adimon you do admit that then ?

The info above says its Blackwater, then changes it mind to Aegis. Either way, I know what I'm talking about.

Just because you "know what you are talking about" doesnt mean you are right on this occasion. Your evidence is based on just basic knowledge, you did not witness the incident. In your opinion the video is a fake and that is all. I repeat that Blackwater have all sorts of guns, not just the ones that Adimon says they have.

I'll answer your question, since you repeated it you clearly want fulfilment.



I wouldn't fire on innocent people. If I was a soldier I'd know it's extremely hard to fire on anything in a moving vehicle so would wait until dismounted. If I was in a country where I was tasked to kill an enemy and avoid civilian casualties I'd choose a LOUD rifle, since the sound generally keeps civilians out of the way, and therefore collateral damage to a minimum. Above all, since defence budgets are overstretched, even in the private sector, I'd use whatever they gave me, because no, I wouldn't have a choice. It would be a Colt or HK variant, and wouldn't sound like a .22 SMG.

So you would use a "loud" rifle in those circumstances. In Iraq, you wouldnt live very long with decisions like that.
Wow you even know about the defence budget in the private sector too lol Is there anytrhing you dont know :D

adimon
27-11-2007, 11:00 PM
But that is NOT Blackwater is it :rolleyes:

I was demonstrating a point. You were being obtuse.

"They have a choice of weapons", thanks Adimon you do admit that then ?

Yes, Colt or HK in 95% of cases. I repeat that I have friends and contacts in the PMCs and they don't use .22 SMGs

Just because you "know what you are talking about" doesnt mean you are right on this occasion. Your evidence is based on just basic knowledge, you did not witness the incident. In your opinion the video is a fake and that is all. I repeat that Blackwater have all sorts of guns, not just the ones that Adimon says they have.

Oh so you DO know then?

So you would use a "loud" rifle in those circumstances. In Iraq, you wouldnt live very long with decisions like that.

LOL :D You seem to know a lot about war. ;)

Wow you even know about the defence budget in the private sector too lol Is there anytrhing you dont know :D

Yes I do know about procurement in defence, both private and publicly contracted. I'd be happy to share this info with you.

Yes there is plenty I don't know. Anything about gardening for example.

I have never made any claims about being omniscient. :p

steevo
27-11-2007, 11:35 PM
LOL :D You seem to know a lot about war. ;)


Well YOU reckon to have been a soldier, yet you would pick a gun that would get you "noticed" when it would not have been necessary ? You would make yourself an easy target if you did that. Have you been on the front line ? I can just hear it now, "Oh shit! We've got Private Adimon in our platoon, we're dead!:confused:" :p

adimon
27-11-2007, 11:52 PM
Well YOU reckon to have been a soldier, yet you would pick a gun that would get you "noticed" when it would not have been necessary ? You would make yourself an easy target if you did that.

I was making the point about being loud from the point of view of what it's like being on 'hard' patrols in a theater where peacekeeping and counter-insurgency is the operational role. If you're trying to engage with the enemy at close quarters without being detected, then you would take measures to remain so.

There is no front line anymore, and operations are not conducted according to any films you may have seen, so if you have no operational experience yourself why don't you admit you know nothing about it?

Do you know what asymmetric warfare is?

steevo
27-11-2007, 11:59 PM
I was making the point about being loud from the point of view of what it's like being on 'hard' patrols in a theater where peacekeeping and counter-insurgency is the operational role. If you're trying to engage with the enemy at close quarters without being detected, then you would take measures to remain so.

There is no front line anymore, and operations are not conducted according to any films you may have seen, so if you have no operational experience yourself why don't you admit you know nothing about it?

Do you know what asymmetric warfare is?

I already said I dont know that much about guns and I dont pretend to, but I do know some things about it (which I dont need to go into), I just arent into guns and explosions like you are, I got over that when I was a kid. And I dont need to know what you reckon to know. Common-sense will suffice here adimon.

So you havent been on the front line then. You just like to talk about it ?

adimon
28-11-2007, 12:26 AM
I already said I dont know that much about guns and I dont pretend to, but I do know some things about it (which I dont need to go into), I just arent into guns and explosions like you are, I got over that when I was a kid. And I dont need to know what you reckon to know. Common-sense will suffice here adimon.

So you havent been on the front line then. You just like to talk about it ?

You know some things but won't go into them? You don't respect yourself enough to have mutual honesty with people?

You wanna know my military history but admit you're holding stuff back?

You don't need to know what I reckon to know? What does that mean?

Common-sense? How can civilians have common sense on military operations?

*Forrest Gump voice* "They sending me to Vietnam, Jenny - this is whole other country"

There is no front line steevo. As for the rest, why the fuck would I want to discuss anything with you anymore after the blatant disrespect you exude towards me, let alone the details of my military service?

No doubt you will claim my ignorance of you hereafter as a personal triumph, but as I've said before, by treating me with hostility you achieve nothing, and lose a great deal. The same goes for politicians - if you treat them ALL like they are The Devil, then how will you ever learn anything about them? By reading about them on the Internet? The best kind of research is done in person, by talking to other people - who know things, not just read them on a website. And IF you the politicians you're researching are being less than honest with you, then you can still remain alert and puzzle things out. If you choose to avoid Gordon Brown and make no effort to meet him, you're missing out on the best way to form a reasoned judgement on the man. If you just read this and that about him written by others, you're selling yourself short.

The point is this. If you want to believe the above video is genuine footage of Blackwater or Aegis firing at innocent civilians from a van, then ask yourself whether you would come to the same conclusion if you had watched the video without any preconceptions or description of the video.

If you want to demonise me that's your choice. I'm trying to help you.

steevo
28-11-2007, 03:12 AM
You know some things but won't go into them? You don't respect yourself enough to have mutual honesty with people?

You wanna know my military history but admit you're holding stuff back?

I dont really want to know any of your history but being on the front line is very different to any other position in the military, and they have my respect for what they are going through (and for what ? :mad:). In Iraq and Afghanistan, there is definitely the equivalent of a "front line", you can ask the ones who put their lives on the line and they will tell you.
I arent holding back on "stuff". What I meant is that I dont NEED go into what I know about guns because the realms of common-sense is enough for any soldier/person to know what type of gun should be used in the situation shown in the video and any person with common-sense and without knowledge of guns could work out that a quiet sounding gun would be more effective in that situation.

You don't need to know what I reckon to know? What does that mean?
Your knowledge is of no use to me, it's disinformation IMO. That's what it means.:cool:

Common-sense? How can civilians have common sense on military operations?
I just explained it above.

*Forrest Gump voice* "They sending me to Vietnam, Jenny - this is whole other country"

There is no front line steevo. As for the rest, why the fuck would I want to discuss anything with you anymore after the blatant disrespect you exude towards me, let alone the details of my military service?

I have explained that above.

No doubt you will claim my ignorance of you hereafter as a personal triumph, but as I've said before, by treating me with hostility you achieve nothing, and lose a great deal.

Not really.

The same goes for politicians - if you treat them ALL like they are The Devil, then how will you ever learn anything about them? By reading about them on the Internet? The best kind of research is done in person, by talking to other people - who know things, not just read them on a website. And IF you the politicians you're researching are being less than honest with you, then you can still remain alert and puzzle things out. If you choose to avoid Gordon Brown and make no effort to meet him, you're missing out on the best way to form a reasoned judgement on the man. If you just read this and that about him written by others, you're selling yourself short.

I agree.

The point is this. If you want to believe the above video is genuine footage of Blackwater or Aegis firing at innocent civilians from a van, then ask yourself whether you would come to the same conclusion if you had watched the video without any preconceptions or description of the video.

That is a good point Adimon, but look at the events of 9/11 and 7/7, we were told by Bush and Blair what supposedly happened, but we came to a DIFFERENT conclusion, it was an inside job. We get the info and make a decision but always keep an open mind because new info is ALWAYS coming out. We have to filter out the BS and misinformation and disinfo.

If you want to demonise me that's your choice.

You are doing ok without me ;)

I'm trying to help you.

Oh thanks very much Adimon ;):D

adimon
28-11-2007, 04:58 AM
being on the front line is very different to any other position in the military, and they have my respect for what they are going through (and for what ? ). In Iraq and Afghanistan, there is definitely the equivalent of a "front line", you can ask the ones who put their lives on the line and they will tell you.
I dont NEED go into what I know about guns because the realms of common-sense is enough for any soldier/person to know what type of gun should be used

If by front line you mean likely to come under contact, then every location within a theater of conflict is the front line. If you speak to anyone in the military they will tell you this. A soldier driving a supply truck in Iraq is just as likely, if not more, to come under fire, as a multiple of infantry patrolling enemy-held territory. This is the central tenet of asymmetric warfare, which is a concept universally accepted and held by modern military doctrine.

But I guess you think you know better.

As for you knowing without having any experience, you are naive.

accuracy
28-11-2007, 11:21 AM
:D:)

adimon knows it all to obscure the truth.

Just another CIA paid disinformation troll spreading L I E S.

Sooooo, what are you really trying to say.:D

More bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

accuracy
28-11-2007, 12:21 PM
Blackwater lawsuit says order ignored

Lawsuit Claims Blackwater Guards Abandoned Post on Day of Shootings, Used Steroids

LARA JAKES JORDAN
AP News

Nov 27, 2007 18:30 EST

A lawsuit against government contractor Blackwater Worldwide accuses its bodyguards of ignoring a direct order and abandoning their post shortly before taking part in a shooting in Baghdad that killed 17 Iraqi civilians.

Filed this week in U.S. District Court in Washington, the complaint also accuses North Carolina-based Blackwater of failing to give drug tests to its guards in Baghdad — even though an estimated one in four of them was using steroids or other "judgment altering substances."

A Blackwater spokeswoman said Tuesday its employees are banned from using steroids or other enhancement drugs but declined to comment on the other charges detailed in the 18-page lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of five Iraqis who were killed and two who were injured during the Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. The shootings enraged the Iraqi government, and the Justice Department is investigating whether it can bring criminal charges in the case, even though the State Department promised limited immunity to the Blackwater guards.

The three teams of an estimated dozen Blackwater bodyguards had already dropped off the State Department official they were tasked with protecting when they headed to Nisoor Square, according to the lawsuit filed by lawyers working with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Blackwater and State Department personnel staffing a tactical operations center "expressly directed the Blackwater shooters to stay with the official and refrain from leaving the secure area," the complaint says. "Reasonable discovery will establish that the Blackwater shooters ignored those directives."

Additionally, the lawsuit notes: "One of Blackwater's own shooters tried to stop his colleagues from indiscriminately firing upon the crowd of innocent civilians but he was unsuccessful in his efforts."

The civil complaint offers new details of the incident that has strained relations between the United States and Iraq, which is demanding the right to launch its own prosecution of the Blackwater bodyguards.

The Justice Department says it likely will be months before it decides whether it can prosecute the guards, and it is trying now to pinpoint how many shooters in the Blackwater convoy could face charges. A senior U.S. law enforcement official confirmed Tuesday that government investigators are looking at whether the Blackwater guards were authorized to be in the square at the time of the shooting. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

In an interview, lead plaintiff attorney Susan L. Burke said private investigators turned up the new evidence through interviews with people in Iraq and the United States "who would have reason to know." Those people do not include government officials, Burke said, and she declined to comment when asked if they include Blackwater employees.

The civil lawsuit does not specify how much money the victims and their families are seeking from Blackwater, its 11 subsidiaries and founder, Erik Prince, all of whom are named as defendants.

"We're looking for compensatory (damages) because the people who were killed were the breadwinners in their families," Burke said. "And we're looking for punitive in a manner that suffices to change the corporation's conduct. We have a real interest in holding them accountable for what were completely avoidable deaths."

The lawsuit also accuses Blackwater of routinely sending its guards into Baghdad despite knowing that at least 25 percent of them were using steroids or other "judgment-altering substances." Attorneys estimated that Blackwater employs about 600 guards in Iraq. The company "did not conduct drug-testing of any of its shooters before sending them equipped with heavy weapons into the streets of Baghdad," the lawsuit states.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said Blackwater employees are tested for drug use before they are hired and later given random quarterly tests. She said use of steroids and other performance enhancement drugs "are absolutely in violation of our policy."

"Blackwater has very strict policies concerning drug use, and if anyone were known to be in violation of them they would be immediately fired," Tyrrell said.

She declined comment on whether the bodyguards ignored their orders and abandoned their posts, or on other details outlined in the lawsuit.

Blackwater's contract with the State Department to protect diplomats in Iraq expires in May, and there are questions whether it will remain as the primary contractor for diplomatic bodyguards. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said his Cabinet is drafting legislation that would force the State Department to replace Blackwater with another security company.

The State Department declined to comment on the case Tuesday, citing standard policy on pending legal matters. Deputy spokesman Tom Casey referred questions on the matter "to those involved in the lawsuit."

___

Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Matt Apuzzo contributed to this report.

Source: AP News

accuracy
28-11-2007, 12:35 PM
Witnesses testify in Blackwater lawsuit

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Nov 28,

WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury investigating Blackwater Worldwide heard witnesses Tuesday as a private lawsuit accused the government contractor's bodyguards of ignoring orders and abandoning their posts shortly before taking part in a Baghdad shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.

Filed this week in U.S. District Court in Washington, the civil complaint also accuses North Carolina-based Blackwater of failing to give drug tests to its guards in Baghdad — even though an estimated one in four of them was using steroids or other "judgment altering substances."

A Blackwater spokeswoman said Tuesday its employees are banned from using steroids or other enhancement drugs but declined to comment on the other charges detailed in the 18-page lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of five Iraqis who were killed and two who were injured during the Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. The shootings enraged the Iraqi government, and the Justice Department is investigating whether it can bring criminal charges in the case, even though the State Department promised limited immunity to the Blackwater guards.

Justice Department national security prosecutors Kenneth Kohl and Stephen Ponticiello, both of whom are handling the Blackwater case, spent much of Tuesday afternoon in the grand jury room, which is off limits to the public. Two witnesses also spent hours behind closed doors in the District of Columbia's federal courthouse. One of them emerged sporadically to speak with an attorney, who refused to identify himself, his law firm or his client.

When the grand jury was dismissed for the day, the men left without commenting, as did Kohl.

Before the shootings in Baghdad last September, the three teams of an estimated dozen Blackwater bodyguards had already dropped off the State Department official they were tasked with protecting when they headed to Nisoor Square, according to the lawsuit filed by lawyers working with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Blackwater and State Department personnel staffing a tactical operations center "expressly directed the Blackwater shooters to stay with the official and refrain from leaving the secure area," the complaint says. "Reasonable discovery will establish that the Blackwater shooters ignored those directives."

Additionally, the lawsuit notes: "One of Blackwater's own shooters tried to stop his colleagues from indiscriminately firing upon the crowd of innocent civilians but he was unsuccessful in his efforts."

The civil complaint offers new details of the incident that has strained relations between the United States and Iraq, which is demanding the right to launch its own prosecution of the Blackwater bodyguards.

The Justice Department says it likely will be months before it decides whether it can prosecute the guards, and it is trying now to pinpoint how many shooters in the Blackwater convoy could face charges. A senior U.S. law enforcement official confirmed Tuesday that government investigators are looking at whether the Blackwater guards were authorized to be in the square at the time of the shooting. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

In an interview, lead plaintiff attorney Susan L. Burke said private investigators turned up the new evidence through interviews with people in Iraq and the United States "who would have reason to know." Those people do not include government officials, Burke said, and she declined to comment when asked if they include Blackwater employees.

The civil lawsuit does not specify how much money the victims and their families are seeking from Blackwater, its 11 subsidiaries and founder, Erik Prince, all of whom are named as defendants.

"We're looking for compensatory (damages) because the people who were killed were the breadwinners in their families," Burke said. "And we're looking for punitive in a manner that suffices to change the corporation's conduct. We have a real interest in holding them accountable for what were completely avoidable deaths."

The lawsuit also accuses Blackwater of routinely sending its guards into Baghdad despite knowing that at least 25 percent of them were using steroids or other "judgment-altering substances." Attorneys estimated that Blackwater employs about 600 guards in Iraq. The company "did not conduct drug-testing of any of its shooters before sending them equipped with heavy weapons into the streets of Baghdad," the lawsuit states.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said Blackwater employees are tested for drug use before they are hired and later given random quarterly tests. She said use of steroids and other performance enhancement drugs "are absolutely in violation of our policy."

"Blackwater has very strict policies concerning drug use, and if anyone were known to be in violation of them they would be immediately fired," Tyrrell said.

She declined comment on whether the bodyguards ignored their orders and abandoned their posts, or on other details outlined in the lawsuit.

Blackwater's contract with the State Department to protect diplomats in Iraq expires in May, and there are questions whether it will remain as the primary contractor for diplomatic bodyguards. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said his Cabinet is drafting legislation that would force the State Department to replace Blackwater with another security company.

The State Department declined to comment on the case Tuesday, citing standard policy on pending legal matters. Deputy spokesman Tom Casey referred questions on the matter "to those involved in the lawsuit."

___

Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Matt Apuzzo contributed to this report.

accuracy
29-11-2007, 12:53 PM
http://www.bartcop.com/wolf-unlawful.jpg