Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Blackwater: The American Terrorist Organization


By: Stewart Brennan

America can breath easier tonight (Sarcasm) because George Bush has hired Erik Prince, a proud Republican, financial supporter, and sitting board member of “Christian Freedom International”. I am talking about the owner and creator of Blackwater, Erik Prince.

The American people should be concerned about this heavily armed private security army hired by the American Government. Blackwater answers to no one…not even to congress. How convenient for the Bush Family to have an End Time Christian Military Republican as a secret weapon to by pass the wishes of the American people.

Lets look at why the American government needs 190 Billion dollars. After all, this is only pocket change for a trip to the candy store where you can buy Blackwater surprize packages, filled with bullets bombs and guns. In fact, I have a pen to sell congress for 1.3 billion dollars.

Who are these 200,000 contractors that have been hired by the US government to destroy Iraq? How much money are they Contracted for? If I was an American Citizen, I would call for more than an Investigation into corruption, these Evil Terrorist Christians, are paid to kill woman and children in Iraq by the American Government. The way I see it, the American Government has no choice but to consider Blackwater a terrorist organization and should shut it down with all their assets seized! After all, isn’t that what George Bush does to security forces, I mean, terrorists or terrorist groups in other countries? You might even find some of that missing 3 Trillion dollars that congress recently said “WOOPS, where did it go?”

The 190 Billion dollar gift to Bush’s business partners and the Blackwater SS Security Services, that congress approved, is sickening. WAKE UP AMERICA! Don’t place your trust in Bipolar Politics anymore. The Democrats and the Republicans have the same agenda prepared for them by the Council on Foreign Relations. Guess where that 190 Billion Dollars is going? If you have the answers, show me the spread sheet!!

Does anyone know the details of how 190 Billion dollars is spent? I say lets have a public inquiry into Government spending! By the way, Ron Paul and Denis Kucinich are the only Presidential hopefulls that voted against this recent war chest.

Blackwater, and other groups like them, are purchasing military aircraft from countries like Brazil. Guess where they got the money for those war toys…give up? I would not be surprised to see the same hired military groups planting evil plans for an attack on Iran? Don’t tell me that these guys are there to rebuild a country!

Can a company like Blackwater be unleashed on the American Population someday? Sure, why not, after all, it would be a contracted business deal with no accountability. Anybody with money could hire these guys to do anything they chose. Wait a minute… Do they do contract killing? That could be advantagous…
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About: Eric Prince

Erik Prince (born June 6, 1969 in Holland, Michigan) is the founder and owner of the military support contractor Blackwater USA. A millionaire and former US Navy SEAL, after high school he briefly attended the United States Naval Academy before attending and graduating from Hillsdale College. After college, he earned a commission in the United States Navy after joining in 1992, and served as a Navy SEAL officer on deployments to Haiti, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, including Bosnia. When his father Edgar Prince unexpectedly died in 1995, he ended his Navy service prematurely. After Erik's mother, Elsa Prince, sold the family's automobile parts company, Prince Corporation, for $1.3 billion to Johnson Controls, Inc., Erik moved to Virginia Beach and personally financed the formation of Blackwater USA in 1997.

Prince is the brother of Betsy DeVos, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Michigan and wife of former Alticor (Amway) president and Gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos. Prince's first wife, Joan Nicole Prince, died of cancer in 2003, and he has since remarried and has six children. He now runs Prince Group, Blackwater's parent company, from an office in McLean, Virginia and also serves as a board member of Christian Freedom International, a nonprofit group with a mission of helping "Christians who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ".

Prince is noted for disliking having his photo taken and distributed; he often uses his hands to shield himself from photographers. While attending a technology conference in North Carolina, he was visibly uncomfortable when photographed on stage and officials asked that the images not be published. Some have claimed that this is due to fear of terrorist reprisals for his role in creating Blackwater USA.

Since 1998, Prince has personally donated over $200,000 to Republican causes.
Erik Prince attended the Naval Academy, graduated from Hillsdale College, and was an intern in George H.W. Bush's White House. Prince has contributed $200,000 to the Republican National Committee since 1998, and also has supported the candidacies of conservatives such as President George W. Bush and Senator Tom Coburn. He also serves as a board member of Christian Freedom International, a nonprofit group that provides Bibles, food and other help (Guns?) to Christians in countries where they face persecution.

Arrest Bush, supporting members of Congress, and Erik Prince.

Stewart

See: Blackwater
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_USA

Book: "Licensed Kill": Hired Guns in the War on Terror by Robert Young Pelton, 2006. Prologue, which opens with an account of a meeting with Erik Prince; Chapter 2, and Chapter 11, "The Lord and the Prince" which contrasts the owner of Hart Security with that of Blackwater.

5 comments:

  1. House Bill Would Allow Prosecution of Contractors

    By David Stout
    The New York Times

    Thursday 04 October 2007

    Washington - Amid the fallout over the shooting of Iraqis by private American security guards, the House today overwhelmingly passed a bill to make all private contractors working in Iraq subject to prosecution in United States civilian courts.

    The vote was 389 to 30, with all of the "no" votes cast by Republicans. Voting for the bill were 225 Democrats and 164 Republicans.

    Senate Democratic leaders are expected to introduce similar legislation soon, and if the support in that chamber is similar to that in the House, President Bush would have no hope of killing the legislation with a veto.

    The White House and the Pentagon oppose the idea of putting contractors under the jurisdiction of civilian courts, arguing that it would insert civilian investigators into areas better covered under military law. But the recent shooting incident involving employees of Blackwater USA has exposed a loophole in current law that has left it unclear whether the security contractor's employees are now bound by any law at all.

    The current Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act applies to people supporting Defense Department operations overseas. But Blackwater's main mission is providing security for the State Department. Moreover, all American contractors are immune from prosecution in Iraqi courts.

    Blackwater's founder and chief, Erik D. Prince, told a House committee on Tuesday that his company's security guards are loyal Americans, and nothing like the trigger-happy mercenaries described in some news media reports.

    Many questions remain to be answered about the shooting incident, which took place on Sept. 16 in a Baghdad square. At least 17 Iraqis were killed under circumstances that some lawmakers say points to a shoot-first, ask-questions-later mentality on the part of Blackwater guards.

    There have also been allegations that Blackwater and the State Department have tried to cover up some shootings, or at least minimize the reaction to them, with quiet payments of money to victims' relatives.

    The bill's sponsor, Representative David Price, Democrat of North Carolina, said Wednesday on the House floor that objections to the measure are unfounded. He said his bill would provide accountability.

    "It means that we will have the tools at our disposal to ensure that the criminal behavior of the men and women working in our name and on our dime does not, in any way, damage our goals and objectives," Mr. Price said.

    Among the Republicans who voted for the bill were John A. Boehner of Ohio, the minority leader, and Roy Blunt of Missouri, the minority whip.

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  2. The State Department's Murderous Guardians
    By Robert Scheer
    Truthdig

    Tuesday 02 October 2007

    How did it come to be that the ostensibly best-educated and most refined representatives of the United States in Iraq are guarded by gun-toting mercenaries who kill innocent civilians? More urgently, why did State Department employees and their bosses in Washington tolerate-and pay to conceal-the wanton murder conducted on their watch?

    That's the real scandal of the more than $832 million the U.S. State Department paid Blackwater, investigated this week by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, headed by Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). The issue is not simply that of the Blackwater forces' horrid behavior but, more important, why the mayhem they unleashed upon innocent Iraqis was approved and covered up by the Bush administration. For example, why did a top State Department official initially suggest a payment of $250,000 of American taxpayers' money to conceal the uncontested fact that, as the House committee report states, "a drunken Blackwater contractor killed the guard of Iraqi Vice President Adil Abd-al-Mahdi"?

    The State Department enabled the Blackwater shooter to be spirited out of the country within 36 hours, and although Blackwater subsequently fired him, he has never faced any criminal charges. Nor have any of the others involved in the 195 shooting incidents Blackwater officials admitted have occurred in the past two years, incidents in which 84 percent of the time Blackwater contractors fired first. According to Blackwater's own documents, the congressional committee reports, "in the vast majority of incidents ... Blackwater shots are fired from a moving vehicle and Blackwater does not remain on the scene to determine if their shots resulted in casualties." During one trip U.S. diplomats made to the Ministry of Oil, 18 different Iraqi civilian vehicles were smashed by the fast-moving motorcade. Those hit-and-runs were conducted in full view of the escorted State Department officials without any of them forcing a subsequent investigation.

    Despite all the nonsense about a "liberated Iraq," one of President Bush's favorite phrases, the Iraqis still lack the authority to prosecute American mercenaries occupying their country because of a law pushed through by then-U.S. proconsul Paul Bremer, who was also guarded by Blackwater personnel. Bremer awarded the original no-bid contract to Blackwater, run by a major Republican campaign contributor, Erik Prince, who has donated $225,000 to the GOP. Prince's sister Betsy DeVos was Michigan's Republican Party chair and a Bush-Cheney "Pioneer" who came through with at least $100,000 for their 2004 campaign.

    But this is not yet another story about payoffs to the GOP faithful who have predominated in the occupation and are totally untrained for their assigned tasks in the restructuring of a country that they know nothing about. The Blackwater guards know their job all too well, which is to guard top U.S. officials by any means necessary-including the casual extermination of innocent Iraqis.

    Clearly, paid contractors are better for this task than American military personnel, since contractors operate outside of the restraints imposed on ordinary troops by law and by their own consciences. Many Blackwater contractors have been recruited from the U.S. military at much higher pay than direct service to their country afforded them. Whereas a top Army sergeant is paid $51,100 to $69,350 a year in salary, housing and other benefits, a Blackwater contractor (often a retired sergeant) receives six to nine times as much. The U.S. government pays Blackwater $1,222 per day for one Blackwater "Protective Security Specialist," which, the congressional report notes, "amounts to $445,891 per contractor" per year. In an unusual display of disapproval aimed at Blackwater from the right side of the aisle, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., noted Tuesday that Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' annual salary amounts to less than half of what some high-ranking Blackwater security officials in Iraq earn.

    Of course they're worth it, along with the Iraqi deaths they cause, if your own life is on the line and that's all that matters. This is clearly the position of the State Department employees in Iraq and their bosses in Washington who have covered up for Blackwater for years. As the House committee majority staff states: "There is no evidence in the documents that the Committee has reviewed that the State Department sought to restrain Blackwater's actions, raised concerns about the number of shooting incidents involving Blackwater or the company's high rate of shooting first, or detained contractors for investigation."

    No better evidence that the Iraqis are the Indians, attempting as imperfectly as they may to protect their ancestral terrain. But this time the imperial majesty of the United States, represented by American Ambassador Ryan Crocker, is established not by the U.S. cavalry but by a band of hired gunslingers.




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    Tracing the Paths of Five Who Died in a Storm of Gunfire
    By Sudarsan Raghavan
    The Washington Post

    Thursday 04 October 2007

    Baghdad - Minutes after noon on Sept. 16, Ali Khalil drove his black motorcycle toward Nisoor Square. Three days earlier, the 54-year-old blacksmith and father of six children had felt safe enough in the capital to reopen his shop.

    Osama Fadhil Abbas, a 40-year-old car dealer, was approaching the square in his white truck, on his way to wire $1,000 to Dubai.

    Mehasin Muhsin Kadhum, a 46-year-old doctor, and her eldest son, Ahmed Haitham, 20, were nearing the square in their white sedan, after a morning of errands that included picking up college application forms for Kadhum's daughter.

    From the southeast, along a road that leads from the Green Zone, a convoy of four armored Blackwater USA vehicles also made its way to the square.

    Fifteen minutes later, the convoy sped away through a thick cloud generated by smoke bombs, leaving behind a tableau of bullet-pocked cars and broken lives. The events of that afternoon are still contested, but what is clear is that many of those killed and wounded were civilians struggling with the vicissitudes of their turbulent nation.

    The victims were as young as 11 and as old as 55, according to hospital records. They were middle class and poor. They included college students, day laborers and professionals vital to rebuilding Iraq. There was a mother and her daughter. The daughter lived. There was a taxi driver, only 25, who was the sole provider for his parents and seven siblings. He died.

    Blackwater guards say they were ambushed and shot at by Iraqi policemen and civilians. Ten eyewitnesses and Iraqi police officials insisted in interviews that the guards opened fire in the square, unprovoked, and continued shooting even as civilians fled for their lives. Hospital records show 14 dead and 18 injured, a toll higher than most previous official tallies.

    The carnage has sparked outrage and demands to reform the private contractor industry. Almost three weeks later, the collective memory of Iraqis at the scene is raw.

    "It was catastrophic. So many innocent people were killed," recalled Zina Fadhil, 21, a pharmacist. That day, she huddled in fear inside her store about 100 yards from the square as Blackwater helicopters hovered above. Like other eyewitnesses, she said she saw Blackwater guards firing down from the helicopters, an allegation the security firm denies.

    "I am a peaceful person, but I wished I could have shot those people in the helicopters," Fadhil continued, her soft voice rising.

    Not one of the victims or family members interviewed had been aware that Blackwater was immune to prosecution in Iraq under an order by U.S. administrators after the 2003 invasion.

    "Why is the blood of Iraqis so free for everyone to spill?" asked Sahib Nasr, the father of one of the victims.

    Blackwater's Convoy Enters the Square

    Five months ago, a truck bomb detonated in the tunnel that runs beneath Nisoor Square. The repair work had become a metaphor for an Iraq capable of resurrecting itself. By Sept. 16, workers had painted pink and yellow flowers on the streets and draped Iraqi flags over railings. A white banner read: "Creators of Life are Always Victorious."

    On that day, the Blackwater convoy was responding to a bombing near a State Department convoy about a mile away. As the Blackwater armored vehicles entered the square, a heavily guarded area near Baghdad's affluent Mansour neighborhood, Iraqi police officers moved to stop traffic.

    Kadhum, the doctor, and her son Haitham, who were in the flow of cars the officers were trying to stop, didn't react quickly enough. A Blackwater guard fired, striking Haitham as he sat in the driver's seat, three witnesses said.

    "The bullet went through the windshield and split his head open," recalled traffic police officer Sarhan Thiab. "His mother was holding him, screaming for help."

    The car, which had an automatic transmission, kept rolling. Another officer, Ali Khalaf, tried to stop the vehicle as another spray of bullets killed Kadhum.

    Thiab fled first, then Khalaf, followed by bullets that struck a traffic light pole, a billboard and their police guard post. Then the Blackwater guards escalated their firepower, engulfing the sedan in flames.

    In sworn statements to State Department investigators reported by ABC News, four Blackwater guards said they fired upon the sedan because it was traveling at high speed and would not stop. Khalaf and other eyewitnesses said it was moving slowly and posed no threat.

    Within moments, bullets flew in every direction, said witnesses and police officials. Scores sought cover in a nearby embankment. Others abandoned their vehicles. "They were shooting from four cars," said Ahmed Ali Jassim, 19, a maintenance worker, referring to the Blackwater guards. "People were fleeing, but where could they go?"

    Trapped in Traffic and Under Fire

    Abbas, the car dealer, was in his stopped Volkswagen box truck, crouched next to his friend Majid Salman. Their vehicle was two cars behind and one lane over from the white sedan. The men had witnessed Kadhum and her son get shot, then burn as their car caught fire.

    The night before, Abbas, a barrel-chested father of four, read the Koran as is traditional during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. That morning, he cracked jokes with his two young sons, Mohammed and Ahmed, they later recalled, before he left to send money to Dubai.

    Now, Abbas and Salman were trapped in traffic as Western gunmen fired automatic weapons toward them roughly 25 yards in front of their truck. Within seconds, bullets punctured the black car in front of their truck. Gripped by fear, Salman, 48, pushed open the passenger-side door and stumbled out. He was immediately shot in the leg and abdomen, and fell to the pavement.

    "Osama told me to get back in the car," Salman recalled. "I tried to climb back in, but I couldn't, so I crawled away on the ground."

    Salman looked back and saw Abbas pushing open his door. As he stepped out, he was shot multiple times. Moments later, weakened by his wounds, Salman passed out.

    People "Trying to Save Themselves"

    About half a mile away, traffic police officer Hussam Abdul Rahman, 25, heard his co-worker Thiab's frantic voice over the radio asking for backup and ambulances. So he drove his motorcycle toward Nisoor Square from the west. As he neared dozens of stalled cars, he swerved to avoid gunfire and was thrown off the motorcycle, scraping his left elbow. He hid behind a concrete barrier, watching the chaos unfold.

    "Whoever stepped out of his car was shot at immediately," Rahman said.

    He saw the Blackwater guards firing at a red bus. In their statements, one guard said they were coming under fire from the bus. Rahman disputed this account, saying the passengers were breaking windows to jump out.

    "People were trying to save themselves," he said.

    After the convoy sped away, Rahman recognized an olive-green car with the driver's door open. The seat was empty. The car belonged to his cousin Mahdi Sahib, a taxi driver.

    The short, mustachioed soccer fan's 10-member family lived off Sahib's $480 monthly income. Too poor to fix a broken windshield wiper, he had wrapped a ball of pink cloth at the tip of the rod.

    "All his hopes in life were to get married," said his brother Ali Sahib, 23. "But he could never afford it."

    Rahman called his cousin's cellphone. A stranger answered and informed him that Sahib had been injured. Rahman found him at a hospital in the Kadimiyah neighborhood, shot through his upper left side and bleeding internally.

    The motorcycle of Ali Khalil, the blacksmith, was found at the edge of the square. He had been shot several times in the chest and taken, still alive, to Yarmouk Hospital, said Khalaf, the traffic officer.

    Before he left that morning, recalled his wife, Fawzia Sharif, their grandson had woken up. Khalil had picked him up and kissed him. "Grandson, I am so happy I have seen you before I leave," he said.

    Hospital Scenes of Sadness and Loss

    After the shooting stopped, Zina Fadhil cautiously walked out of her pharmacy. Cars with blown-out tires were moving slowly. For a few minutes, an eerie silence filled the air. Then she saw police pickup trucks fly by, carrying the wounded and dead, stacked on top of one another.

    "I could see only their legs," she recalled.

    At Yarmouk Hospital, already short on staff, doctors and nurses were overwhelmed by the wounded. At least two children of elementary-school age had bullet wounds, said two emergency room doctors who were present that day. They, like other hospital staff, asked that their names not be used because kidnappers often target doctors.

    In one room, hospital workers registered the possessions of the dead and injured - inexpensive watches, cheap slippers, thin wallets, small amounts of money, even a bag of vegetables. "These were simple people," said a young doctor overseeing the task. Victims' cellphones rang constantly as people tried to reach them.

    Doctors tried to revive Khalil, but he died within minutes. A relative called his wife, Sharif, and told her to come to the hospital. She brought along bedsheets, pillows and a water jug to comfort him. When she arrived, she was sent to the morgue.

    A neighbor who witnessed the shootings called Firoz Fadhil Abbas, Osama's brother. He was blunt. "Look, your brother is dead. Please come right away." Firoz claimed Osama's body, shot in the head and upper back.

    In a nearby ward, his friend Salman regained consciousness. "I thought of Osama," he recalled. "I felt right then that he wasn't alive."

    A few miles away, at Kadimiyah Hospital, parents and siblings stood by the bedside of Sahib, the taxi driver. The doctors could not stop his internal bleeding. And over three hours, Sahib slowly lost consciousness. Relatives took turns holding his hands.

    "Don't leave me alone," Sahib said, seconds before he died.

    A Charred Sedan, Numbers in the Sand

    Haitham Ahmed, the husband of Kadhum and the father of Ahmed Haitham, was growing concerned. He had repeatedly called their cellphones without getting through. At 5 p.m., he called his brother Raad Ahmed, a dialysis specialist at Yarmouk Hospital.

    Raad Ahmed had left the hospital when the shootings erupted. Now he went back. Among the dead, he spotted two bodies - a woman and a man - burned beyond recognition.

    "I had my doubts," Ahmed recalled. "My heart didn't want to believe it."

    So he and his wife drove up the road to Nisoor Square, where they spotted a charred white sedan. The license plate had been removed. His wife saw numbers printed in the sand next to the car. Ahmed knelt to the ground, then called his brother.

    Ahmed began to read him the numbers: "2 . . . 9 . . . 9," he said, before choking up.

    It was the family's car.

    At the morgue, Haitham Ahmed recognized his son's shoe and his wife's dental bridge.

    "In the Hands of God"

    Dressed in a black head-to-toe abaya, Sharif visited the police headquarters at Nisoor Square last week, carrying a folder filled with documents to prove her identity. She had come to pick up Khalil's motorcycle.

    Two years ago, insurgents displaced them from their home in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood. They were living with Khalil's brother. Now, she has neither a pension nor savings, she said. "An entire family has been destroyed," she said, her eyes welling with pain.

    She plans to file a complaint at a local police station in Yarmouk - the first step to compensation, national police officials told her. But she has little faith in such promises. "Everything is in the hands of God," she said, staring out at the square.

    Sahib Nasr, father of taxi driver Mahdi Sahib, has already filed complaints with the Yarmouk police and a local court. The 60-year-old patriarch said he wants compensation for his loss, nothing less. "I cannot work at this age," he said.

    "I blame the government," added Mahdi's brother Ali, his voice suddenly brimming with anger. "If it wasn't for the government allowing Blackwater to go around free, they will not kill innocent people like that."

    "We want Blackwater to be tried," he said.

    Questions of Accountability

    On Monday, inside his spacious cream-colored house in Baghdad's Khadisiya neighborhood, Firoz Fadhil Abbas questioned whether anyone would be held accountable for the shootings.

    He has met several times with U.S. military investigators, and every time they apologized for his brother's death, he said. But such words have done little to ease the clan's loss.

    "It looks like everything is back to normal. The company is back in operation," Abbas said. "And we've lost the head of our family. There's no justice here."

    Mohammed Osama Fadhil, Osama's 14-year-old son, quietly listened to the conversation. Seated near him was his brother, Ahmed, a solemn 7-year-old. Finally, Mohammed spoke, focusing on Blackwater.

    "They killed many others before," he said. "Have they done anything to help those people, so that we can expect something?"

    Around the corner, his father's Volkswagen truck was parked in the driveway of a neighbor's house. A huge hole was gouged in the driver's door, surrounded by smaller bullet holes. On the top of the cab was another gaping hole, seemingly from powerful bullets fired from above. The windshield was shattered into hundreds of honeycomb patterns.

    "They Were Innocent"

    Ten minutes away, Kadhum's charred white sedan sat at a bus stop on the fringes of Nisoor Square. Her husband, Haitham Ahmed, said he wants it left there until justice is served.

    In the days following the deaths of his wife and son, he petitioned Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to hold Blackwater accountable. The mild-mannered pathologist still has not been contacted by Iraqi or U.S. officials.

    "They have killed my beloveds. They were innocent," he lamented on Wednesday. "We don't have any contacts with any party, any side. We are all doctors."

    "What I want is the law to prevail," he added. "I hope that this act will not go without punishment."

    There were opportunities, he said, for his family to flee Iraq. But he and his wife believed in the promise of a new Iraq. "I feel pain when I see doctors leaving Iraq," he said.

    His son was going to follow in his footsteps. In his third year of medical school, the soccer-loving, multilingual Ahmed planned to become a surgeon.

    Now, he said, his two other children, Mariam, 18, and Haidar, 16, are concerned about his safety. "Enough of the pain, enough of death in Iraq."

    Mariam was born in the last phases of the Iran-Iraq conflict. Her eyes filling with tears, she said she wanted to leave: "I was born in one war, I don't want to die in another."

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    Special correspondent Saad al-Izzi contributed to this report.

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  3. Blackwater Faces War Crimes Inquiry After Killings in Iraq
    By Anne Penketh
    Independent UK
    Friday 12 October 2007
    The American firm Blackwater USA has been served notice that it faces investigations for war crimes after 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed in a hail of bullets by its security guards in Baghdad.
    The killings last month put the spotlight on the private security firms whose employees are immune from prosecution, unlike professional soldiers who are subject to courts martial. In the second such incident in less than a month, involving the Australian contractor Unity Resources Group this week, two Armenian Christian women were shot dead after their car approached a protected convoy. Their car was riddled with 40 bullets.
    Ivana Vuco, the most senior UN human rights officer in Iraq, spoke yesterday about the shootings by private security guards, which have provoked outrage among Iraqis. "For us, it's a human rights issue," she said. "We will monitor the allegations of killings by security contractors and look into whether or not crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed."
    An Iraqi who was wounded in the 16 September shooting, and the relatives of three people killed in the attack, filed a court case in Washington yesterday accusing Blackwater of violating American law by committing "extrajudicial killings and war crimes."
    Iraq says there are more than 180 mainly US and European security companies in the country, with estimates of the number of American contractors running at 100,000. Many Iraqis see the firms as little more than trigger-happy private armies, and the latest incidents have strained relations between Iraq and the US, which has ordered a full security review.
    Iraqi authorities have accused Blackwater of the "deliberate murder" of Iraqi civilians in the shooting in a crowded city square, and are demanding millions of dollars in compensation and the removal of the company from the country within six months. The security firm says its guards returned fire at threatening targets and responded lawfully to a threat against a convoy it was guarding.
    Ms Vuco said human rights laws applied equally to contractors and other parties in a conflict. "We will be stressing that in our communications with US authorities. This includes the responsibility to investigate, supervise and prosecute those accused of wrongdoing," she said at the launch in Baghdad of the latest UN human rights report, covering the period from April to June. It described the human rights situation in Iraq as "very grim".
    Said Arikat, the UN mission spokesman, urged the Bush administration to hold accountable those involved in indiscriminate shooting; "to apply the rules of engagement and prosecute them". He added: "There cannot be rogue elements that are above the law. Definitely, we will be driving that point home time and again."
    In the most recent shooting, on Tuesday, a woman taxi driver, Marany Awanees, and her front-seat passenger were killed. Unity Resources Group said its guards feared a suicide attack and fired only after issuing several warnings. The guards were protecting financial and policy experts working under contract for the US Agency for International Development.
    Private security firms benefit from immunity under a 2004 law promulgated by the Coalition Provisional Authority.


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    Blackwater Guards Fired at Fleeing Cars, Soldiers Say
    By Sudarsan Raghavan and Josh White
    The Washington Post
    Friday 12 October 2007
    First US troops on scene found no evidence of shooting by Iraqis; incident called 'criminal'.
    Baghdad - Blackwater USA guards shot at Iraqi civilians as they tried to drive away from a Baghdad square on Sept. 16, according to a report compiled by the first U.S. soldiers to arrive at the scene, where they found no evidence that Iraqis had fired weapons.
    "It appeared to me they were fleeing the scene when they were engaged. It had every indication of an excessive shooting," said Lt. Col. Mike Tarsa, whose soldiers reached Nisoor Square 20 to 25 minutes after the gunfire subsided.
    His soldiers' report - based upon their observations at the scene, eyewitness interviews and discussions with Iraqi police - concluded that there was "no enemy activity involved" and described the shootings as a "criminal event." Their conclusions mirrored those reached by the Iraqi government, which has said the Blackwater guards killed 17 people.
    The soldiers' accounts contradict Blackwater's assertion that its guards were defending themselves after being fired upon by Iraqi police and gunmen.
    Tarsa said they found no evidence to indicate that the Blackwater guards were provoked or entered into a confrontation. "I did not see anything that indicated they were fired upon," said Tarsa, 42, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. He also said it appeared that several drivers had made U-turns and were moving away from Nisoor Square when their vehicles were hit by gunfire from Blackwater guards.
    In Washington on Thursday, an injured Iraqi man and the families of three Iraqi civilians who were killed in the Sept. 16 shootings sued the company in federal court, calling the incident a "massacre" and "senseless slaughter" that was the result of corporate policies in the war zone.
    Attorneys for Talib Mutlaq Deewan, who was injured in the shootings, and the families of Himoud Saed Atban, Usama Fadhil Abbass and Oday Ismail Ibraheem, who were killed, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking for unspecified damages to compensate for alleged war crimes, illegal killings, wrongful death, emotional distress and negligence. The lawsuit names Blackwater USA, the Prince Group and Blackwater founder and chief executive Erik Prince as defendants.
    "Blackwater created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company's financial interests at the expense of innocent human life," the 17-page complaint says.
    Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said the company was aware of the lawsuit and would defend itself vigorously. She declined to comment further on the Nisoor Square incident until an ongoing FBI investigation is completed.
    Susan L. Burke, one of the lawyers who filed the suit, said the families approached legal representatives in Baghdad in the hope of obtaining accountability for the shootings.
    The families "are hopeful we can make a difference," Burke said, adding that she hopes the case will shed light on the "cowboy culture" she believes contractors have fostered in Iraq. "There is a sense of wanting to do something to make it right."
    In the hours and days after the Nisoor Square shootings, the U.S. military sought to distance itself from Blackwater. Dozens of soldiers went door-to-door to seek out victims, offer condolence payments and stress that the military was not involved in the shootings, Tarsa and his soldiers said. Their actions underscore the long-standing tensions between the U.S. military and private security companies - and the military's concerns that such shootings, and the lack of accountability for the private security industry, could undermine U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq.
    "It was absolutely tragic," said Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division and the Army's top commander for Baghdad. "In the aftermath of these, everybody looks and says, 'It's the Americans.' And that's us. It's horrible timing. It's yet another challenge, another setback," he said.
    The Washington Post on Thursday examined a storyboard of the soldiers' assessment that has been forwarded to senior U.S. military commanders, photos taken by aerial drones shortly after the shooting and sworn statements by two U.S. soldiers at the scene that day. The Post also reviewed photos taken by U.S. soldiers of the shootings' aftermath. These, along with interviews with four of Tarsa's soldiers who inspected the scene, revealed previously undisclosed details:
    · At least two cars, a black four-door taxi and a blue Volkswagen sedan, had their back windshields shot out, but their front windshields were intact, indicating they were shot while driving away from the square, according to the photos and soldiers. The Volkswagen, which crashed into a bus stand, had blood splattered on the inside of its front windshield and windows. One person was killed, soldiers said.
    · U.S. soldiers did not find any bullets that came from AK-47 assault rifles or BKC machine guns used by Iraqi policemen and soldiers. They found evidence of ammunition used in American-made weapons, including M4 rifle 5.56mm brass casings, M240B machine gun 7.62mm casings, M203 40mm grenade launcher casings, and stun-grenade dunnage, or packing.
    · A white sedan, carrying a doctor and her son, had not entered the Nisoor Square traffic circle, where the Blackwater vehicles had stopped, when it was fired upon, according to the aerial photos. News reports have said the guards shot at the car because they believed it approached them in a threatening manner.
    "I was surprised at the caliber of weapon being used," said Capt. Don Cherry, 32. "My guys have 203s with nonlethal rounds we use as warning shots. It's a rubber ball that bounces off the windshield."
    "This is a hand grenade you are flying out there," he added.
    From Forward Operating Base Prosperity, inside the Green Zone, Capt. Peter Decareau recalled seeing thick black smoke rising Sept. 16 and thinking it was from a car bomb. He and other soldiers got into their Humvees and drove toward Nisoor Square.
    They arrived about 12:30 p.m. and saw that Iraqi police had blocked in a second Blackwater convoy. By then, the Blackwater guards who had opened fire had left. The second Blackwater convoy apparently had been sent to support the first convoy, according to an initial State Department report.
    But Iraqi police officials refused to let the Blackwater convoy leave until another U.S. military unit escorted it back to the Green Zone.
    Decareau headed on to the square. It was flooded with more than 50 Iraqi security force personnel, including top generals. The police were evacuating victims. By then, the smoke, which had risen from the burning white sedan, had vanished. Two charred bodies were still in the car.
    "People were upset," recalled Sgt. Derrek Martin.
    By 1:30 p.m., both Cherry and Tarsa had arrived. Some Iraqi police officials told them that the Blackwater guards fired at the white car as it neared the square. The officials guessed that the driver may have accidentally pressed on the accelerator instead of the brakes, Tarsa said. Witnesses have said the car was driving slowly and posed no threat.
    "With a vehicle speeding up to a convoy, that's grounds for escalation of force," said Sgt. Jesse Fegurgur, 30.
    Cherry said he could consider the assault on the white sedan "a mistake," but he didn't understand why the guards fired down the road at cars whose drivers had turned around and were moving away.
    "I was upset this happened," Cherry said. "This was uncalled for."
    Decareau saw cars pointed away from the square with their rear windshields shot out, many bullet holes and smears of blood, he said.
    An Iraqi colonel walked up to Tarsa and described the Blackwater shooters as men in "tan uniforms, black helmets, and that flag," pointing at the U.S. flag on Tarsa's sleeve. The colonel added that he knew the U.S. military wasn't involved. Still, Tarsa dispatched his soldiers across their sector over the next few days.
    "I wanted our guys to be on the ground, to look people in the eye, to listen to their anguish, listen to their outrage, to let them know we're going to help those people personally affected," Tarsa said.
    "I was concerned about acts of vengeance and misinformation somehow indicating we were part of this event," he said. Tarsa spoke with community and tribal leaders.
    "It was a very tense 24 hours," said Maj. David Shoupe, the battalion spokesman. "We didn't know which way it was going to go."
    ---------
    White reported from Washington.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are absolutely right, the Blake water is world No.1 terrorist group, but no one declaring it as a terrorist????????????????????????? were are the civilized peoples, where are the human rights???????

    ReplyDelete
  5. 2015 April 13

    Emails reveal US officials undermining Blackwater case

    Former Blackwater security guards, from left: Paul A. Slough, Dustin L. Heard, Nicholas A. Slatten and Evan S. Liberty.

    Source: Press TV
    http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/04/13/406067/Behind-scenes-of-Blackwater-case-revealed

    The FBI agents have found out that senior officials in the US Justice Department intentionally attempted to undermine the case of Blackwater security guards’ fatal shooting of Iraqi civilians in 2007, internal emails revealed.

    The FBI has planned to charge the American contractors with crimes, including weapons charges, manslaughter and attempted manslaughter that could send them to prison for the rest of their lives.

    Several emails, obtained by the New York Times, however, revealed that the department’s senior officials were against the move and sought to drop some of the charges in an effort to lighten the sentences.

    In September 2007, Blackwater security guards opened fire on unarmed Iraqi people near a bustling traffic circle with machine guns and grenade into Baghdad’s crowded Nisour Square, killing at least 17 people and wounding several others.

    In December 2008, as the Justice Department prepared to ask a grand jury to vote on an indictment, the lead FBI agent, John Patarini received an email from Kenneth Kohl, a federal prosecutor who had written, “We are getting some serious resistance from our office to charging the defendants with mandatory minimum time.”

    Patarini, however, replied, “I would rather not present for a vote now and wait until the new administration takes office than to get an indictment that is an insult to the individual victims, the Iraqi people as a whole, and the American people who expect their Justice Department to act better than this.”

    He also forwarded it to colleagues and superiors.

    Four former Blackwater contractors are scheduled to be sentenced at a federal court on Monday. Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty, Nicholas A. Slatten and Paul A. Slough were convicted at trial in October.

    The Department is seeking sentences of 57 years for Slough, 51 years for Liberty, 47 years for Heard and life in prison without parole for Slatten.

    Last week, federal prosecutors wrote in court documents that “the crimes here were so horrendous — the massacre and maiming of innocents so heinous — that they outweigh any factors that the defendants may argue form a basis for leniency.”

    An FBI supervisor, Andrew McCabe, encouraged top FBI officials to continue with the case, saying the Justice Department was “delaying and reducing” the indictment.

    “This is the latest in what has become a troubling habit by DOJ,” he wrote.

    ReplyDelete

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