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Private Contractors in Iraq to Lose Immunity

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Posted on Jul 2, 2008
Blackwater guard
Salon.com

Blackwater guards, shown here protecting Paul Bremer, the former U.S. administrator in Iraq, have been immune from any effective law apparatus.

The folks at Blackwater and other private security outfits in Iraq encountered a dramatic setback Wednesday after an Iraqi minister announced that private guards will no longer be given immunity from U.S military and Iraqi law, ending more than five years of unregulated mercenary violence in the country.


The BBC:

The US has agreed to scrap immunity for foreign security guards in Iraq, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says.

The US embassy in Baghdad has not confirmed the announcement, which comes as the US and Iraq are negotiating a controversial security pact.

Foreign firms employing thousands of guards won huge contracts in Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion, but were not subject to Iraqi or US military law.

Iraqi frustration became fury last year when guards killed 17 people in a day.

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By nrobi, July 3, 2008 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

This is just another of the scams that the shrub’s administration has purported to be the truth. In the overall strategy of the take-over of a sovereign nation there has never been a prosecution of any mercenary for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Crimes such as murder and rape go unpunished because of the orders signed by then Coalition Provisional Authority head, L. Paul Bremer. 
How these orders came to be is still a mystery and where the basis for these orders came from only G-d, and the current cabal of the Gang of Five know.
It would be an illegal and immoral act to grant retroactive immunity to mercenaries for their crimes, and the Iraqi people are rightly outraged at the lack of oversight and accountability that has occurred on the watch of the shrub and his neo-con cohorts.
To say the least, these orders and laws that have been foisted upon the Iraqi people, have created an insurgency that is self-perpetuating, is a statement of fact and not the fiction of Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of War. For there was nothing about the invasion of Iraq, that could be considered defensive of our nation, nothing that the invasion of Iraq had to do with anything to do with terrorism or the support of terrorism.
How these hypothesis, were foisted upon the American people and given such play, the Main Stream Media has a lot to answer for. These companies worked hand in glove with the illegal and immoral administration of the shrub and Darth Vader to bamboozle the American people into believing a complete fabric of lies and deception regarding the sovereign nation of Iraq.
Should these men, who say they believe in an almighty G-d, stand before that G-d, they should think very hard and clearly about the many lives that they have taken by their lies and deceptive ways. No one for whom, G-d is a judge, would consider that they do not have innocent blood on their hands.
One need only think of the innocent Iraqi, men, women and children, that have been needlessly and wantonly slaughtered by the almost millions of people and it would cause me to shudder at the cost of my soul. How do these people sleep at night, while they cause such needless and wanton destruction?
If and when, there is a prosecution of an “outside” contractor, euphemism for a mercenary, then and only then will I believe that the Iraqi people are gaining independence from the Amerkkkan led government that had been handpicked and instituted for the sole purpose of raping the Iraqi nation of its natural resources and leaving the people with absolutely nothing to show for their misery and degradation.

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By Greg Bacon, July 3, 2008 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

Of the 400 or so treaties the US government made with the Native Americans, of that total, we honored none.

This story is just some feel good BS to help get that Status of Forces Agreement passed before the Bush/Cheney Junta leave office, to give a whiff of legality to our continued occupation of Iraq, the ethnic cleansing of its people and the theft of their oil

Mercs in Iraq will still kill with impunity, with hardly any facing the consequences for their misdeeds.

Uncle Sam will just tell the Iraqi’s that those Bastardwater mercs that mowed down your family were “temporarily” assigned to an Army unit, therefore, they had immunity.

Uncle Same still speaks with forked tongue.

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By msgmi, July 2, 2008 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This will never happen. The contractors have become an integral part of security in Iraq. No contractor will serve if not granted immunity from foreign justice. In order to circumvent this issue, the ‘forked-tongue’ treaty policy of the Olde West era will be resurrected and reborn.

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By samosamo, July 2, 2008 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

This to me is some of the best news I have seen of late from and about Iraq and especially about those steroid monkeys of any private contracting criminal business. Now to go after the money these creeps have stolen from the US by pretending to do a good job.
And now if we can make sure that the current administration will not remain immune to prosecution for any and all of their crimes. I sure will not hold my breath on any of this as anything can still happen.

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By cyrena, July 2, 2008 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

Part 1 of 2 Killing with impunity

This ‘kill with impunity’ and no accountability was initially blamed on a “loophole in the laws,” at least according to Condi the Rice. Obama introduced legislation 1 and ½ years ago, to address it. 
“In February 2007, Obama introduced contractor reform and oversight legislation that has become the Democrats’ major plan in the Congress. Obama’s bill seeks to make all contractors subject to prosecution in US civilian courts for crimes committed on a foreign battlefield. The bill is not without its problems. In theory, FBI investigators would deploy to the crime scene, gather evidence and interview witnesses, leading to indictments and prosecutions.
Apart from the fact that it would be impossible to effectively police such an enormous deployment of private contractors (at present basically equal to the number of active duty US troops in Iraq), the legislation would give the private military industry a tremendous PR victory. The companies could finally claim that a legally accountable structure governed their operations, yet they would be well aware that such legislation would be nearly impossible to enforce. Perhaps that is why the industry has passionately backed this approach.”

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080331/scahill

“FEB 2007: Obama Submitted a Bill to Make Contractors Accountable to Law—to Clinton’s Committee. In February, Obama submitted “A bill to require accountability and enhanced congressional oversight for personnel performing private security functions under Federal contracts, and for other purposes.” The act would clarify the legal status of contractors, subjecting them to the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) to ensure that all contractors working in war zones – regardless of contracting agency – would be held accountable under U.S. law. Passed in 2000, MEJA says that contractors for the armed forces can be prosecuted under US law for crimes committed overseas. However, because companies like Blackwater have contracts with the State Department rather than the Defense Department, the company is not technically subject to that law. Obama’s bill would also require federal agencies employing private security contractors to report to Congress on the details of those arrangements, such as the total number and cost of contractors, the number of contractors killed or wounded, information about the military and safety equipment provided to contractors, and details of disciplinary action taken against contractors. The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services, which Clinton serves on. [S. 674, Introduced 2/16/07]”

continues

“JAN 2008: Part of Obama Bill signed into law requiring new reporting on extent to which the United States relies on contractors. Section 863 of P.L. 110-181, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 includes reporting requirement on the extent to which the United States has come to rely on private security contractors. The rest of the Obama bill is subject to ongoing negotiations in the Senate.”

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By cyrena, July 2, 2008 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Part 2 of 2

How they came to be…with immunity.

“Blackwater USA’s First Federal Contract Was In 1998 – Under The Clinton Administration. At a House committee hearing on private contractor oversight, Blackwater USA counsel Andrew Howell was asked when his company received its first government contract. Howell replied, “I believe that was 1998.” Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) inquired, “And that was under the Clinton administration?” Howell responded, “Yes, sir.” [House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Hearing Transcript, 2/7/07]

http://2008central.net/2008/03/17/obama-press-release-response-to-clinton-attacks-on-military-contractors/

“THE USE OF PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES EXPANDED DURING THE CLINTON ADMINSTRATION

The Clinton Administration’s “‘Privatize First, Ask Questions Later’ Mentality Has Led to The Situation We Face Now In Iraq.”  In an article in The Nation, William D. Hartung wrote, “The latest wave of military privatization started in the first Bush Administration, when Defense Secretary Cheney asked Halliburton to study what it would cost to have a private company take charge of getting US forces overseas in a hurry. Halliburton was hired to do just that in Somalia, employing 2,500 people. The Clinton Administration picked up where Bush/Cheney left off, hiring Halliburton—then run by Cheney—as the logistics arm for the war in Kosovo.  Halliburton’s contract started out as a $ 180 million deal but soon mushroomed to more than $ 2.5 billion as the company built Camp Bondsteel and other military facilities on lavish, cost-plus terms.  […]  But the urge to privatize soon expanded to include anything and everything, up to and including hiring former Green Berets and Navy SEALs for serious security and training functions.  The ‘privatize first, ask questions later’ mentality has led to the situation we face now in Iraq, where private companies are performing front-line military functions ranging from providing security to the Coalition Provisional Authority (Blackwater) to training the new Iraqi army (Vinnell) to protecting oil pipelines (Erinys) to interrogating prisoners (CACI).”  [The Nation, 6/7/04]”

http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/gGBKsT

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By P. T., July 2, 2008 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

I’ll believe it when I see an actual prosecution.

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By JIm Yell, July 2, 2008 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Finally Iraq is responding to the free booting that has been allowed by the privitization of war.

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