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Iraq Bans Blackwater, Launches Investigation

Posted on Sep 17, 2007

The Iraqi government has ordered employees of the North Carolina-based security firm Blackwater USA to leave the country and is opening a criminal investigation following Sunday’s deadly shootout in Baghdad, during which a group of Blackwater contractors escorting a convoy of U.S. officials opened fire on nearby civilians.


Iraq has cancelled the licence of the private security firm, Blackwater USA, after it was involved in a gunfight in which at least eight civilians died.

The Iraqi interior ministry said the contractor, based in North Carolina, was now banned from operating in Iraq.

The Blackwater workers, who were contracted by the US state department, apparently opened fire after coming under attack in Baghdad on Sunday.

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The BBC report also noted that Sunday’s incident occurred after the publication of a survey of over 1,400 Iraqis which posits that over a million people may have died as a result of violence in their country since the war began in 2003.

A UK-based polling agency, Opinion Research Business (ORB), said it had extrapolated the figure by asking a random sample of 1,461 Iraqi adults how many people living in their household had died as a result of the violence rather than from natural causes.

The results lend weight to a 2006 survey of Iraqi households published by the Lancet, which suggested that about 655,000 Iraqi deaths were “a consequence of the war”.

More links:

Click here to listen to Truthdig’s interview with journalist Jeremy Scahill about his book, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”

Read about another two other incidents involving Blackwater contractors that created trouble for the firm and for U.S.-Iraqi relations.

Visit Blackwater’s website here.


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By Michael Gass, September 17, 2007 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

The misconception on U.S. contractors operating in Iraq comes from Paul Bremer’s edict about contractor immunity issued under the Coalition Provisional Authority and extension thereof; in June, 2004, Bremer issued an “extension” to that edict:

- Under an order signed Sunday by L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator of Iraq, the contractors’ immunity provision covers “official acts that they perform in contracts in support of the Iraq reconstruction effort,” said Scott Castle, general counsel for the occupation authority. In matters unrelated to their contract work, they will be subject to Iraqi rules.

The U.S. military operates under the UN Security Council resolution, but contractors are special and not covered:

- As an occupying army, the 138,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq have been outside Iraqi law since U.S.-led forces took over the country in April of last year. The troops will remain exempt in the future on the basis of a June 8 U.N. Security Council resolution and an accompanying exchange of letters between Allawi and the U.S. government in which Iraq requests their continued presence, according to a senior U.S. military official.

  As a result, there will be no need for an immediate status of forces agreement — the kind that usually governs U.S. military presence in foreign countries, the official said. U.S. soldiers will continue to be subject to U.S. military justice only.

  “We will continue to operate more or less as before,” the official added.

  But the status of civilian contractors has become a special question because the contractors are not covered by the Security Council resolution or the letter from Allawi requesting that U.S. forces remain in Iraq for an undetermined time. Moreover, they do not come under U.S. military jurisdiction (which has since changed) because they are not part of the military, although some are hired by the Pentagon.

  (U.S. Military Contractors operating in combat zones are now subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Congress quietly made this change as part of the FY 2007 Military Authorization Act.)

  In that light, the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority has asked Allawi to grant the contractors immunity from prosecution in Iraq similar to that granted soldiers, said George Sada, Allawi’s spokesman. “They have made that demand,” Sada said. “We think it is a bit too much. It is under discussion.”

This was to remain effective until the Iraqi’s established their permanent government (not the interim government) and continued immunity for contractors was REQUESTED:

- The Americans will still hold responsibility for security. And the interim government will not be able to amend the Transitional Administrative Law, or the interim constitution. That document outlines many civil liberties guarantees that would make problematic a declaration of emergency — something Allawi has hinted he may try to order.

I have not found where Prime Minister Allawi granted the request, nor, that after the 2005 election in Iraq that established their permanent government any immunity was extended or granted to U.S. contractors in Iraq.

The BBC is reporting, as of today (17 Sept):

- The Iraqi interior ministry said the contractor, based in North Carolina, was now banned from operating in Iraq.

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By 911truthdotorg, September 17, 2007 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

Look at these f*cking barbarians!! My God!!

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By farmertx, September 17, 2007 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

I can all but hear Shrub now…Imagine the gall of those damn ragheads thinking that they are a sovereign Nation, able to determine what is best for them. I am the Decider Guy and they damn well best remember that.
At worst, Blackwater will change its name to Premiere Consultants and continue as before. That’s assuming that the Shootist doesn’t order up a rendition for that cheeky Interior Minister.

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By QuyTran, September 17, 2007 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

Those mercenaries have to be sentenced due to their crimes against humanity !

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By cyrena, September 17, 2007 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

Felicity Ref#100882

You’re right Felicity. It is Order #17 of the 100. (at least the 100 that have been written down…we know Cheney doesn’t like committing this kind of stuff to paper, but Bremer did it).

So, that would explain why Blackwater has killed civilians before, and nothing ever happens or is done about it. They have a license to operate with impunity there…just like all the rest of the contractors the Cabal has in place in Iraq and elsewhere.

That would sadly mean that the Iraqi government probably is wasting their time, but on the other hand, it may be a sign that they’re getting it together, just by banning Blackwater and tossing them out. (if indeed that can really happen, since they are as much prisoners to the Cabal as all the rest of us).

The other thing is that it wouldn’t do any good to try and “investigate” or otherwise bring charges against Blackwater even HERE. That’s already been tried, when they turned on their own employees who tried to make them accountable for some of their crimes against THEM. Matter of fact, they COUNTER-SUED the families of these former Blackwater employees!!!

So, for the Iraqis, maybe it is a waste. But, nothing beats a try but a failure, so maybe it will lead them on to greater knowledge, about how to escort the REST of us out of their country.

They don’t stand a prayer, as long as we’re there.

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By Maria, September 17, 2007 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is not it time to start naming Iraq’s morgues and cemeteries after our American celebrities leading and supporting the war? Like “Morgue named after Laura Bush and Lynne Cheney,” or “Cemetery named after Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol, and John Podhoretz?” - The places where thousands of babies, pregnant women and youth are buried after being maimed and murdered by the illegal war.

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By thomas billis, September 17, 2007 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Firat of all the numbers from the Lancet were only disputed by the neo cons in the White House and their lackeys.You want to see George Bush move quickly.I guarantee you that Bush gets them to reissue the Blackwater license before the week is out.Blackwater is neo con haven.

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By felicity, September 17, 2007 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

“The Iraqi government…is opening a criminal investigation.”

According to Order #17 of the “100 Orders” put in place by Paul Bremer, American (and foreign) security firms have full immunity from Iraq’s laws.  Any charges brought against them must be brought to US courts.  So, the Iraqi government is basically wasting its time.

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