Monday, September 17, 2007

Blackwater has been banned from Iraq

From CNN:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's Interior Ministry has revoked the license of Blackwater USA, an American security firm whose contractors are blamed for a Sunday gunbattle in Baghdad that left eight civilians dead.

Sunday's firefight took place near Nusoor Square, an area that straddles the predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Mansour and Yarmouk.

In addition to the fatalities, 14 people were wounded, most of them civilians, the official said.

"We have revoked Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq. As of now they are not allowed to operate anywhere in the Republic of Iraq," Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf said Monday. "The investigation is ongoing, and all those responsible for Sunday's killing will be referred to Iraqi justice."

Blackwater is one of many security firms contracted by the U.S. government during the Iraq war. An estimated 25,000-plus employees of private security firms are working in Iraq, guarding diplomats, reconstruction workers and government officials. As many as 200 are believed to have been killed on the job, according to U.S. congressional reports
Iraqi authorities have issued previous complaints about shootings by private military contractors, but Iraqi courts do not have the authority to bring contractors to trial, according to a July report from the Congressional Research Service.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee estimated in February that nearly $4 billion had been spent on security contracts amid the insurgency that followed the U.S. invasion in 2003 -- costs that have forced the delay, cancellation or scaling back of some reconstruction projects.

Note that the number given of 25,000 contractors are for those involved in security functions only. The rest of the 180,000 contractors in Iraq are the food service workers, the sanitation workers, the truck drivers and the like.

It will be interesting to follow this development. I somehow doubt that Blackwater will in the end actually leave Iraq. But I am a pessimist when it comes to Christian Fundamentalist whack-jobs, accountability and this administration. (Blackwater is owned by a fundie with 'loofah my back, please George' closeness to the president).

If they should leave, I would think that things would be better for our own troops and for the Iraqi people.


Dr. Zaius said...

If they do actually leave, it would almost be like Iraq has a real government. Naaa...

I am now curoius about this Christian fundamentalist that owns the company. Killing for Christ is fun and all, but killing for Christ at a profit, that's good business!

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I agree that they won't leave, Bush will make them stay so his BBF can make more money. I'll bet they arm all this foodservice and support personnel now too.

Jess Wundrun said...

Dr. Z Isn't that what Calvin had in mind?

Dr. MvM It will be a litmus test for the autonomy of the Iraqi government. I plan to keep an eye on it.

dguzman said...

I just saw this story, and I'm glad the Iraqi "government" is at least trying to act legitimate. Let's hope they can make good on this "ban" and get those crooks out of there.

What I want to know is this: according to the polls, the soldiers all want to come home. What about all these "independent contract workers"? Don't they want to come home? Or do they just figure they'll hide out there and collect their exhorbitant paychecks as long as they can?

Anonymous said...

Blackwater was hired to guard our precious investment in the Iraqi oil fields, license to kill and all that 007 shit. Now they must go? I doubt it.

Fran said...

I just read about this... and then came here.

The only thing that scares me is that the next stop (spoiler alert) for the Zombie Mercenary Army of Blackwater could be Iran.

Do you hate me for saying that?

Evil Spock said...

God, when I think of Blackwater, I imagine a bunch of mercenaries acting far above any rule of combat. I wonder if we outsource some torture to agencies like Blackwater.

I hope they get expunged with extreme prejudice.

pygalgia said...

They're not leaving. There will be a cosmetic name change for political cover, but the state department needs them for security. Their contract is with the state department, not the Iraqi government.

News Sophisticate said...

The US will never allow Blackwater to be kicked out by their propped up Iraqi Government.

There is NO WAY..they've got at least 500 million dollars worth of 'security contracts' in Iraq alone. Do you think the State Department will allow their diplomats to have their 'security team' booted. The question now is..How will they finagle their way out of this one. Dirty sub' machine gun' bastards.

BTW..did you know the Green Zone is guarded by a Company named Triple Canopy Inc. Not US soldiers.
I say we pull our troops out and let these PMA's fight in Iraq..Hell they are why it is so expensive. Make them earn their inflated paychecks.

Blackwater Magazine Ad

Distributorcap said...

must be my fried AARP brain, but i thought Black Water was a doobie brothers song