Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blackwater Has Been Banned From Iraq? Not so fast, says Condi.

From The Guardian

The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, apologised to the Iraqi government yesterday in an attempt to prevent the expulsion of all employees of the security firm Blackwater USA.


The apology offers a face-saving exercise for both the Iraqi and the US governments. The US would find it temporarily awkward if Blackwater was expelled. At the same time, it does not want to be seen to be undermining the decisions of the Iraqi government, which the Bush administration repeatedly insists is autonomous.

There are tens of thousands of mercenaries - or private security operators - in Iraq, including British firms as well as American. Jeremy Scahill, author of a book about Blackwater, put the figure at about 180,000 and described them as "unaccountable". Blackwater has 1,000 employees in Iraq.

So today we have a new number to chew on: There are 180,000 contractors (if not more), 25,000 are security operators,(if not more) and 1,000 of those are Blackwater, um yeah.

How can we demand to bring the troops (in line with considering private troops to be 'troops') home if Iraq makes a legal demand for the same and the US won't comply? And when we do bring the troops home, what of the mercenaries? What are the Constitutional ramifications?

Update: Please see News Sophisticate for more on this. They've been covering this story for a long time. Here's the link: http://newssophisticate.blogspot.com/2007/09/whose-guarding-green-zone-contractors.html
which also is listed pretty high up on the boards at Buzzflash today. Way to go, guys.


Dr. Zaius said...

Here is the slippery legal weasel explanation:
In the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977 it is stated:
Art 47. Mercenaries
1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.
It should be noted that many countries, including the United States, are not signatories to the Protocol Additional GC 1977 (APGC77). So although it is the most widely accepted international definition of a mercenary, it is not definitive.
The situation during the Occupation of Iraq 2003 – shows the difficulty in defining what is a mercenary soldier. While the United States governed Iraq, any U.S. citizen working as an armed guard could not be defined a mercenary, because he was a national of a Party to the conflict (APGC77 Art 47.d). With the hand-over of power to the Iraqi government, some would say that unless they declare themselves residents in Iraq, i.e. a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict (APGC77 Art 47.d), they are mercenary soldiers, if one does not consider the United States to be a party to the U.S. Occupation of Iraq. However, those who acknowledge the United States to be a party to the conflict would insist that U.S. armed guards cannot be called mercenaries (APGC77 Art 47.d). If no trial of accused mercenaries occurs, allegations evaporate in the heat of accusations and counter-accusations and denials. Coalition soldiers in Iraq supporting the interim Iraqi government are not mercenaries, because they either are of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict or they have been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces (APGC77 Art 47.f). Wikipedia

Splotchy said...

Forget about Blackwater and the Iraqi people, what's going to happen to Newt (the girl, not the Gingrich)?!!

Jess Wundrun said...

Dr. Z well, that clears it up. I do remember at the time of the handover of power in Iraq that the actual date was significant in many of these quasi-legal maneuvers. Oil rights and mercenaries among them.

(Lawyers, guns and money, eh?)

splotchy I thought Ellen Ripley had her. But yeah, maybe Condi is raising her in the image of her father?

dguzman try not to notice that condi's gun is bent.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

That photo of Condi has scarred me for life, thanks a lot Jess.

Distributorcap said...

blackwater also hires Iraqi children for 3 cents a month to make Ferragamos...hence Condi's interest