Much more Blackwater violence in Iraq than reported previously


This video from 2009 in the USA is called Holy Blackwater Crusades Continue on – Keith Olbermann.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

Other Killings By Blackwater Staff Detailed

State Dept. Papers Tell of Coverup

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 2, 2007; Page A01

Blackwater security contractors in Iraq have been involved in at least 195 “escalation of force” incidents since early 2005, including several previously unreported killings of Iraqi civilians, according to a new congressional account of State Department and company documents.

In one of the killings, according to a State Department document, Blackwater personnel tried to cover up what had occurred and provided a false report. In another case, involving a Blackwater convoy’s collision with 18 civilian vehicles, the firm accused its own personnel of lying about the event.

The State Department made little effort to hold Blackwater personnel accountable beyond pressing the company to pay financial compensation to the families of the dead, the documents indicate. In a case involving a drunken Blackwater employee who killed a security guard to one of Iraq’s vice presidents last Christmas Eve, U.S. government personnel helped negotiate a financial settlement and allowed the employee to depart Iraq.

Details of these and other incidents were released yesterday by the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), after the committee’s staff examined hundreds of internal Blackwater and State Department documents.

See also here.

US House Oversight: Blackwater Liveblog here.

Blackwater 3 October 2007 update: here. And here.

8 October 2007 update: here.

The Bush administration and Blackwater: here.

Abu Ghraib Prisoners Accuse US Mercenary Companies of Torture: here.

5 thoughts on “Much more Blackwater violence in Iraq than reported previously

  1. The scandal of Blackwater
    Posted by: “Jack” miscStonecutter@earthlink.net bongo_fury2004
    Fri Oct 5, 2007 7:16 pm (PST)

    The scandal of Blackwater

    The only punishment doled out to US security men
    involved in deadly shootings is a jet home

    Jeremy Scahill
    Saturday October 6, 2007
    Guardian (UK)

    Erik Prince, the secretive 38-year-old owner of the leading US mercenary
    firm Blackwater, has seldom appeared in public. But on Tuesday he found
    himself in front of a Congressional committee, TV cameras trained on his
    boyish face. The official focus of the hearing, convened by Henry
    Waxman’s committee on oversight and government reform, was two questions
    that should have been asked long ago: whether the government’s heavy
    reliance on private security is serving US interests in Iraq, and
    whether the specific conduct of Blackwater has advanced or impeded US
    efforts.

    What put Prince in the hot seat were the infamous Nisour Square
    shootings in Baghdad on September 16, in which as many as 28 Iraqi
    civilians may have been killed. Waxman said the justice department had
    asked him not to take testimony on the incident because it was the
    subject of an FBI investigation. In Prince’s prepared testimony, he said
    that people should wait for the results of the investigation –
    originally handled by the state department – “for a complete
    understanding of that event”.

    But the investigative process so far has hardly been impartial. Just
    hours before Prince’s testimony, CNN reported that the state
    department’s initial report on the shooting was drafted by a Blackwater
    contractor, Darren Hanner. The next day came the news that the FBI team
    assigned to look into the incident in Baghdad had a contract with
    Blackwater itself to provide security for their investigation.

    At the hearing Prince boldly declared that in Iraq his men have acted
    “appropriately at all times” and appeared to deny that the company had
    ever killed innocent civilians, only acknowledging that some may have
    died as a result of “ricochets” and “traffic accidents”. This assertion
    is simply unbelievable. According to a report prepared by Waxman’s
    staff, since 2005 Blackwater operatives in Iraq have opened fire on at
    least 195 occasions. In more than 80% of these instances, the Blackwater
    agents fired first.

    Not surprisingly, Prince said he supported the continuation of Order 17
    in Iraq, the Bremer-era decree giving organisations such as Blackwater
    immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts. Prince said Blackwater
    operatives who “don’t hold to the standard, they have one decision to
    make: window or aisle” on their flight home. In all, Blackwater has
    sacked more than 120 of its operatives in Iraq. Given that being fired
    and sent home have been the only disciplinary consequences faced by
    Blackwater employees, it is worth asking: what did they do to earn this
    punishment?

    Waxman’s committee scrutinised one incident: the killing of one of the
    Iraqi vice-president’s bodyguards by an allegedly drunk Blackwater
    contractor last Christmas Eve. Prince confirmed that Blackwater had
    whisked him out of Iraq and fired him, and said that he had been fined
    and billed for his return ticket.

    According to the committee report, after the killing the state
    department charg���� d’affaires recommended that Blackwater make a “sizable
    payment” to the bodyguard’s family. The official suggested $250,000, but
    the department’s diplomatic security service said this was too much and
    could cause Iraqis to “try to get killed”. In the end, the state
    department and Blackwater are said to have agreed on a $15,000 payment.

    A pattern is emerging from the Congressional investigation into
    Blackwater: the state department urging the company to pay what amounts
    to hush money to victims’ families while facilitating the return of
    contractors involved in deadly incidents for which not a single one has
    faced prosecution.

    ���� Jeremy Scahill, a contributing writer for the Nation, is the author of
    Blackwater: the Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army

    Guardian Unlimited ���� Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2184931,00.html

    Re: The scandal of Blackwater
    Posted by: “jeffrey appel” attic4fester@yahoo.com attic4fester
    Fri Oct 5, 2007 11:42 pm (PST)
    RE: Blackwater’s founder, Erik Prince
    http://devos.wordpress.com/2006/10/20/blackwater-usas-erik-prince-dick-devos-brother-in-laws-in-arms/

    2.
    Blackwater video
    Posted by: “jeffrey appel” attic4fester@yahoo.com attic4fester
    Fri Oct 5, 2007 11:46 pm (PST)

    ————

    Canada urged to review private contractors guarding embassies and diplomats

    Murray Brewster, THE CANADIAN PRESS

    The Canadian Press

    October 08, 2007

    – The Foreign Affairs Department quietly relies on a host of private security contractors to protect Canadian embassies and diplomats across the globe – a small army that needs more supervision, say opposition critics and defence experts.

    The call for more oversight follows an incident last month involving the U.S. security firm Blackwater, in which 11 Iraqis died.

    Canada has only employed the controversial security contractor to train members of the Canadian Forces and has not used Blackwater for embassy or dignitary protection.

    However 2006 federal public account records show a handful of other U.S. and British security corporations working in Iraq have separate protection contracts with Canada for work in other countries.

    Precisely what kind of service is provided by firms such as the ArmourGroup of the United Kingdom, and subsidiaries of Wackenhut Security Systems, which ran afoul of U.S. lawmakers over private prisons, isn’t clear.

    There are also questions about a $456,000 contract Canada’s former ambassador to Kabul signed last year with Saladin Afghanistan Security Ltd.

    Documents released under the Access to Information law show the agreement, which ran from June 2006 until June 2007, was to provide a quick reaction force to protect the embassy and the army’s Strategic Advisor Team – both based in the Afghan capital.

    Despite repeated requests for comment last week, a Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said Friday no one was available to answer questions about security arrangements.

    Both the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department have launched reviews of their use of private security firms.

    Dave Perry, a defence researcher at the Dalhousie University’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, says the Conservative government would be wise to conduct its own review, even though the companies working for Canada may not have gotten into any trouble.

    “The issue is: who is providing security and what kind of mechanisms and safeguards are in place to ensure that there aren’t any problems,” said Perry, who has written about the military’s increasing reliance on private companies for logistics support.

    The fact that there have been no reports of incidents in troubled countries should not be taken for granted, he said.

    “Is there no reports because there have been no problems – or are there no problems because nothing is being reported?”

    Perry said he’s not criticizing the use of private security and stressed their use is necessary in violent parts of the world, but Canada must remain vigilant.

    The Corps of Commissionaires, which provides the bulk of protection for federal government buildings in Canada “can’t be everywhere and are not equipped to be operating in a theatre like Afghanistan,” he added.

    NDP defence critic Dawn Black said the matter of security contractors should be studied by a Parliamentary committee.

    “This raises a number of concerns that the government must address in order for Canadians to understand what’s going on,” she said.

    “With what happened in the U.S. with Blackwater and the lack of accountability, I think we have to be very wary and careful when it comes to contracting out our security.”

    Perry said a potential review by Foreign Affairs officials should look at what rules of engagement contractors might have in high-risk countries – or the point at which guards are allowed to use deadly force. In addition, their company’s arrangements with the local military need to be clearly spelled out.

    In the case of Blackwater, forces protecting U.S. diplomats have often not told the American or Iraqi militaries when they are passing through certain areas, which has led to confusion.

    Roughly half of the Foreign Affairs Department’s $29.9 million protection services budget goes to either the Canadian Forces or the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. The rest is paid out to nearly two dozen private security firms, which provided services in various cities.

    For instance Wackenhut’s subsidiaries in Peru and Greece do unspecified work for Canada, apparently in those countries. Local security is contracted in volatile places such as Lagos in Nigeria, Islamabad in Pakistan and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, among others.

    Copyright © 2007 The Canadian Press

    http://www.topix.net/content/cp/2007/10/canada-urged-to-review-private-contractors-guarding-embassies-and-diplomats

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  2. The Really Bad Dogs of War

    http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/?p=355

    by Srdja Trifkovic

    Srdja TrifkovicFocusing on Blackwater while neglecting MPRI is like investigating Ivan Demjanjuk for years on end, but allowing Adolf Eichmann to live peacefully in Buenos Aires.

    Up to 17 Iraqis were killed on September 16 by mercenaries working for the security company Blackwater USA, in what Iraqi and some U.S. officials say was unprovoked murder. Earlier this week two Armenian Christian women were killed by Unity Resources Group hired guns. A devastating report by the House Oversight Committee accused Blackwater of acting like murderous cowboys, but the firm still operates with impunity–unaccountable under either U.S. or Iraqi law. Yet while exposing the misdeeds of “security contractors” is necessary and long overdue, it is curious that the media have neglected the work of a far more sinister mercenary outfit, one that has caused thousand-fold more death and suffering over the years.

    Since time immemorial kings and governments have hired militarily skilled men and groups to do their fighting and provide security services. In the two decades since the Iran-Contra scandal, however, a few major “international security firms” and “private military contractors” have come into being to satisfy a particular requirement of the U.S. government: to provide military training, logistics, arms, equipment and advice to foreign clients whenever it is desirable for Washington to be able to plausibly deny direct American involvement. The most important among them has been MPRI. The firm has claimed “more generals per square foot than in the Pentagon,” including Gen. Carl E. Vuono, the former Army chief of staff; Gen. Crosbie E. Saint, the former commander of the US Army in Europe; and Gen. Ron Griffith, the former Army vice chief of staff. There are also dozens of retired top-ranked generals and thousands of former military personnel, including elite special forces, on the firm’s books.

    MPRI is to Blackwater what a general is to a sergeant. It is less interested in the heat of combat than–in its own words–in “training, equipping, force design and management, professional development, concepts and doctrine, organizational and operational requirements, simulation and wargaming operations, humanitarian assistance, quick reaction military contractual support, and democracy transition assistance programs.”

    When the 1991 UN arms embargo prevented the Clinton Administration from helping Croats and Bosnian Muslims directly, MPRI was engaged to do all that the U.S. government preferred not to do openly. In 1994 it referred MPRI to Croatia’s visiting defense minister Gojko Susak, who duly contracted the company to train and equip its forces. According to U.S. Army War College Quarterly, with the explicit consent of the U.S. State and Defense Departments the firm undertook to modernize and retrain the Croatian army, including the general staff. In the summer of 1995, thanks to such assistance, the formerly inept Croatian army mounted Operation Storm,

    using typical American combined-arms tactics, including integrated air, artillery, and infantry movements, as well as maneuver warfare targeted against Serbian command, control, and communication systems. French and British officials accused MPRI of helping to plan the Croatian invasion, an allegation denied by the company. Correctly or not, MPRI received credit for a major success.

    This “major success” was the bloodiest episode of ethnic cleansing in Europe since World War II. The operation drove a quarter-million Serb civilians from their homes, with MPRI-trained Croat soldiers summarily executing the stragglers and indiscriminately shelling refugees. All along, according to the former head of Croatian counterintelligence, Markica Redic, “the Pentagon had complete supervision during the Storm action.” Miro Tudjman, son of the late president and former head of Croatia’s foreign intelligence, says that during Operation Storm all Croatian electronic intelligence “went online in real time to the National Security Agency in Washington.” Several Croat officers–including MPRI graduates–have been brought to trial for war crimes since that time, but no MPRI employee has ever been charged.

    “These new mercenaries work for the Defense and State Department and Congress looks the other way,” the late Colonel David Hackworth, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, commented on MPRI’s role in the Balkan wars. “The American taxpayer is paying for our own mercenary army, which violates what our founding fathers said.”

    MPRI was also granted a major contract to train and equip the Bosnian Muslim forces. It was financed by a number of Islamic countries. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia deposited money in the United States Treasury, which MPRI drew against. The Bosnian Muslims received over $100 million in surplus military equipment from the US government “Equip and Train Program,” but MPRI contractors did everything else, from planning long-term strategy to conducting war games and training locals in the use of American weaponry. According to Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution, “It was a brilliant move in that the U.S. government got someone else to pay for what we wanted from a policy standpoint.”

    The next MPRI assignment was to train and equip a shadowy guerrilla group accused by the State Department of being a terrorist organization. The military men knew that the Drug Enforcement Administration suspected the guerrillas of smuggling high-grade Afghan heroin into North America and Western Europe, and police agencies across Europe had been alerted to the links among the rebels and the various mafias:

    Was this the setting for a Tom Clancy novel? Or was it a flashback to one of the numerous secret meetings attended by the likes of Richard Secord and Oliver North during the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980s? Actually, it was neither. It was a real life and present-day strategy session at MPRI (formerly known as Military Professional Resources, Inc.). Its client: the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

    MPRI was subsequently caught off-guard when Bosnia’s Muslim army arranged for millions of dollars worth of arms to be secretly transferred from Bosnian caches to KLA guerrillas in Kosovo and Serbian Muslims in the province of Sandzak. As a result of the arms transfers, the State Department temporarily suspended MPRI’s “train and equip” program–but not for long: soon thereafter the KLA itself became itself a valued client. Col. Hackworth was the first prominent commentator to reveal that MPRI was using former U.S. military personnel to train KLA forces at secret bases inside Albania. Some of the military leadership of the KLA–including Kosovo’s current “prime minister” Agim Ceku, a war criminal par excellence–included veterans of MPRI-planned Operations Storm.

    The fruits of MPRI’s work became apparent in the aftermath of NATO bombing. Just like in the Krajina, hundreds of thousands of Serbs were ethnically cleansed, thousands were murdered, their homes looted or burned, their cemeteries vandalized, their churches dynamited.

    And finally, in 2001, MPRI enjoyed the rare feat of working for both sides both sides of a Balkan conflict. It was contracted by the government of Macedonia–as part of a U.S. military aid package–“to deter armed aggression and defend Macedonian territory.” It was also helping the local KLA offshoot known as the NLA carry out armed aggression against Macedonian territory. In late June of that year, the Macedonian army undertook a major assault against KLA positions in the village of Aracinovo near Skopje. In a NATO sponsored operation–supposedly to help the Macedonian Army–U.S. troops were sent in to “evacuate” and “disarm” the terrorists. The soldiers “saved” 500 terrorists together with their weaponry, took them to another village, gave them their U.S.-made weapons back, and set them free. But sources in the U.S. Army in Kosovo revealed that the mysterious “evacuation” had the real objective of rescuing and concealing the identity of 17 Americans, MPRI instructors, who were among the withdrawing rebels.

    Compared to MPRI, Blackwater are thuggish amateurs; but don’t expect any House Oversight Committee reports or New York Times exposés.

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