Skip to comments.Blackwater license being pulled in Iraq
Posted on 09/17/2007 4:34:26 AM PDT by decimon
BAGHDAD - The Interior Ministry said Monday that it was pulling the license of an American security firm allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of civilians during an attack on a U.S. State Department motorcade in Baghdad.
The ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday incident.
Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said eight people were killed and 13 were wounded when security contractors working for Blackwater USA opened fire in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of western Baghdad.
"We have canceled the license of Blackwater and prevented them from working all over Iraqi territory. We will also refer those involved to Iraqi judicial authorities," Khalaf said.
Blackwater, based in North Carolina, provides security for many U.S. civilian operations in the country. Phone messages left early Monday at Blackwater's office in North Carolina and with a company spokeswoman were not immediately returned.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman said witness reports pointed to Blackwater involvement but said the incident was still under investigation. It was not immediately clear if the measure against Blackwater was intended to be temporary or permanent.
U.S. troops are immune from prosecution in Iraq under the U.N. resolution that authorizes their presence, but Khalaf said the exemption does not apply to private security companies.
The U.S. Embassy said a State Department motorcade came under small-arms fire that disabled one of the vehicles, which had to be towed from the scene near Nisoor Square in the Mansour district.
An embassy official provided no information about Iraqi casualties but said no State Department personnel were wounded or killed. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.
He said the shooting was being investigated by the State Department's diplomatic security service, and law enforcement officials working with the Iraqi government and the U.S. military.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki late Sunday condemned the shooting by a "foreign security company" and called it a "crime."
Tens of thousands of private security contractors operate in Iraq some with automatic weapons, body armor, helicopters and bulletproof vehicles.
The contractors, including many Americans and Britons, provide protection for Westerners and dignitaries in Iraq as the country has plummeted toward anarchy and civil war.
Many have been accused of indiscriminately firing at American and Iraqi troops, and of shooting to death an unknown number of Iraqi citizens who got too close to their heavily armed convoys, but none has faced charges or prosecution.
Iraqi police said the contractors were in a convoy of six sport utility vehicles and left the scene after the shooting. A witness said the gunfire broke out following an explosion.
"We saw a convoy of SUVs passing in the street nearby. One minute later, we heard the sound of a bomb explosion followed by gunfire that lasted for 20 minutes between gunmen and the convoy people who were foreigners and dressed in civilian clothes. Everybody in the street started to flee immediately," said Hussein Abdul-Abbas, who owns a mobile phone store in the area.
The wartime numbers of private guards are unprecedented as are their duties, many of which have traditionally been done by soldiers. They protect U.S. military operations and have guarded high-ranking officials including Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Baghdad.
They also protect journalists, visiting foreign officials and thousands of construction projects.
Blackwater employees are not mercenaries. They take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution.
That being said, I would also like to see a larger military doing these sorts of jobs, but that is highly unlikely to happen as it would require greatly increasing the overall size of the military and the numbers on the ground in Iraq. Just imagine the screaming from the Dems and their minions in the press.
In fact, the squalling Dems are the main reason Blackwater has become a such large company with a huge presence in our conflicts overseas. Contractors can, to a larger extent than military forces, “fly under the radar,” since they are more or less ignored by the MSM. For example, one has to dig around a bit to find out how many Blackwater employees have lost their lives in Iraq, while one can get the latest military body count in seconds from any news outlet.
Back from the store yet? I’m tapping my...I mean I’m twiddling my thumbs in anticipation.
In general I have nothing against independent contractors in business. In this case, according to your friend, the practice is being used for competitive advantage. Seems a tad sleazy.
Furthermore, all we are seeing here is that knee-jerk reactions from politicians has already made its way into the Iraqi political process -
The Washington Post ^ | Sept 17, 2007 | Joshua Partlow
BAGHDAD, Sept. 17 - A U.S. State Department motorcade came under attack in Baghdad on Sunday, prompting security contractors guarding the convoy to open fire in the streets. At least nine civilians were killed, according to Iraqi officials.
Civilians? I don't think so.
No wonder the Iraqis are bitchin, they must be trying to mis-direct the attention away from the assignation attempt.
When folks know what really happened I bet they will be thumping on the Iraqis honchos as to just who tried to whack some US State Department officials and why are they trying to blame Blackwater
National Review? Aren’t they a bunch of commies or something?
The original comment I made was in reference to the authors poor research of the subject matter. He should know his area of operations and the players better.
I wouldn't mess with the Blackwater boyz. From what I've been privy to, they can unleash all hell if provoked......
I’m willing to bet that Whitewater caused more deaths than Blackwater...
Realistically, they fulfill a critical function in operations that fills the gap between what the regular military can do and what must be done but cannot because of the PC limp-wrists who would rather have us put down our arms and try to coexist with those who have and are continuing to try to kill us.
I don't see how that applies to this news article. Other than the quote below it seems straight news reporting.
"...as the country has plummeted toward anarchy and civil war."
If JSOC got Blackwater's contract I'm sure they wouldn't care if they were wearing clown suits and cummerbunds.
Dynacorps is another outfit that provides highly paid jobs to americans who have LE experience. They pay 100K a year or more depending on where you deploy. If hired you go to training in Texas, then go to Kosovo, Iraq, etc and train the locals in LE.
“You are correct about that, but this one is so poorly written and makes many assumptions that are blatantly false. The reporter should be b*tch-slapped.”
This is entertaining, and a compelling statement on the ineptness and dishonesty of the media. Watch the video clip all the way to the very end for the bloopers. He suggests pretty much the same thing you did in the credits at the end...it’s good for a laugh.
YouTube alternative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2sAFHBptJE
Malaki is a front man for the Shia and Iran.
He wants the sectarian violence as long as it benefits the Shia/Iran and everyone knows that.
He is very upset at the surges effect.. Which has been to reduce sectarian violence.
I know the method used is temporary the way it has been conducted but it real.
This whole idea of massive pay increases for “Operators is occuring right now and I can thing of few things that are more morally repugnant.
It would cost 10x or more to provide the same level of security.
The State Department has their own Security Personell and they are very good they simply need to be supplemented.
BW does a darn good job for light guys and we are fortunate to have them there. For my money they have saved countless GI’s Lives.
Finally they are almost all former GI’s or Allied first person shooters who are better that the average bear at the job because of experience, aptitude and they shoot first when confronted with danger while active US Forces have to take it on the chin first.
I was not aware that they take an oath, but I’m not sure that means as much for a contractor. I also don’t care for a team that “flys under the radar” and “have a bit more leeway in their ROE.” Would you all feel the same way with a Dem in office?
As far as Blackwater doing planned ops, I have no proof that they have. I've only seen a You Tube video of their snipers picking off targets with much glee. perhaps I assumed incorrectly.
Finally, you all can certainly distinguish between contractors cleaning toilets or slinging hash and getting into the shooting war, right?
If you don’t think that civilians have been shooting and running operations for years you are naive.
The US govt sends people to Ranger School, etc so that they can run paramilitary operations in many places just so that we don’t have actual military involved.
I have no problem at all with a true mercenary force. None.
Good to see he takes his responsibilities seriously.