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A State Dept. Band-Aid for Blackwater Problem

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Posted on Oct 24, 2007

The State Department will implement new measures to guard against a repeat of last month’s Blackwater slaughter of 17 Iraqi civilians, but some of the new rules, including more cultural awareness training, feel like a Band-Aid on a serious head wound. In addressing this issue, the Iraqi government has chosen to make a point of its sovereignty, and so far the U.S. has done little to allay the Iraqi concerns.

By requiring more oversight in the form of video cameras and the presence of State Department security officials, the new policy at least acknowledges that there is a problem. But if you need security to monitor your private security, the system is probably beyond repair.


BBC:

The steps include tightening the state department’s rules of engagement so they are line with the military’s.

Contractors will also have to undergo improved cultural awareness training.

There will also be better co-ordination with the US military and tighter restrictions on the use of force.

Boards will be set up to investigate any future killings involving private contractors in Iraq, and will have the power to refer cases to the US justice department.

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By cyrena, October 25, 2007 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

#109546 by farmertx

•  Maybe there were attacks; maybe there wasn’t. I can’t trust the Iraqi’s, nor the Administration and especially not BlackwaterUSA to tell the facts straight.

I think I was referring to a larger/broader view and time frame regarding ‘attacks’. For me at least, the past 4 years or better. As I said, none of this is new. And, as I said, there is no “enemy’ to create what could reasonably be called a ‘combat’ situation, and that can be confirmed from countless records of these incidents over the past 4 years. The ‘enemy’ is the civilians. Period.

Yes, the initial invasion did allow for a collection of thugs and looters, and general ‘riff-raft’ to gain access to Iraq. That is true. They DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT represent more than 1% of the general population, and are NOT likely to be attempting to attack US troops, or US dignitaries. So, ANYBODY that the private guards shoot dead, or anybody that our own troops shoot dead, are likely to be CIVILIANS, who will NOT have fired first. It’s that simple. There’s no way around it.

If we were talking about a one or two time thing, then maybe it would be worth examining in minute detail. But, we’re not. This is SOP for the guards there. It’s standard operating procedure to kill civilians anytime our own (or the private guys) attack from the AIR. I mean really. How the hell are you gonna target an alleged ‘terrorist’… or two or three, from the AIR, with BOMBS, in the middle of the city, (or in the middle of the desert) and NOT kill civilians?

There are at least a million of them dead now FarmerTX, and then there are all of the other massacres and individual incidents of the same. It would be nice if we could chat about a group of 17 here, or a group of 24 there, and on and on…and somehow make it ‘ok’ that they are dead at the hands of these goons, but it doesn’t change anything. They’re all still dead, or still trying to flee, and not all that successfully. We’ve already heard countless stories from our own troops, and I put an additional link just below.

They shoot a bunch of civilians, then they find an AK-47, or the piece of an IED, and put it in the hands of, or near the bodies of the dead ‘terrorists’, and voila…that covers it.

Denial doesn’t help anybody. And, we don’t even have to rely on the “Iraqi’s” accounts. I have a collection of hundreds of these events, reported from independent media. No, they haven’t been available to the American mainstream media viewers/readers, for obvious reasons. It doesn’t mean we can just make them all go away.

Too many dead civilians to do that.

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By farmertx, October 25, 2007 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

#109433 by cyrena on 10/24 at 9:43 pm
(1365 comments total)

Maybe there were attacks; maybe there wasn’t. I can’t trust the Iraqi’s, nor the Administration and especially not BlackwaterUSA to tell the facts straight.

The fact that BlackwaterUSA was exempt from oversight predisposes that some questionable events could happen, if they weren’t pre-planned.

Combat situations is being fired upon, whether urban or rural, police or military.
An individual who has training and experience being under fire is apt to be able to make good decisions on the spot versus someone with little or no training.

I am aware of the families suit against Blackwater et.al. and the results.

One clue is the vast amount of money BlackwaterUSA itself gets from the Government; they have their own facility for building armored/IED resistant vehicles, they modify helicopter’s to their spec’s, have enough money to pay their people 10-20,000/month and make money on top of all that.

The Shrub, being the cheerful, clueless idiot, signs whatever his ‘trusted’ aide’s and the Shootist put in front of him, surrounds himself with military backdrops and threaten’s dire things from the terrorist’s, in order to keep bleeding the Treasury and forcing the Country into even deeper debt, all in the name of Business, which includes Oil.

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By cyrena, October 24, 2007 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment

#109232 by farmertx

•  Shooting the wrong person during or immediately afterr an attack is one thing. Just random killing is quite another.

FarmerTX
This is a whole different deal than what you’re thinking here. It’s been random killing by these Blackwater types for years. This isn’t an ‘isolated incident”, it’s just the only one to get out, and as you’ve said, to ‘generate soundbites’. But, this isn’t NEW. And, there weren’t any “attacks” to begin with.
• 
But a level of true oversight is required.

Same thing here. There’s NEVER been any oversight for these private contractors, and it was written that way, in Paul Bremer’s first 100 orders for the CPA. It specifically stated that there would be no accountability for these guys. (maybe order #18?)

• 
I’ve been told that many of the private guards in Iraq and Afghanistan are ex-military,.. That predisposes that they aren’t crazed killer’s; just people who are adapted to combat situations.

What combat situations FarmerTX? Standard warfare combat? That doesn’t apply in an urban guerrilla setting where the only ‘enemies’ are the civilians? We aren’t talking about ‘combating’ another army or military, (Iraq’s army was disbanded as soon as we got there…another Paul Bremer order, like running out the Ba’ath Party, which is what held the civil infrastructure together. Sorry, standard ‘combat’ situations don’t apply here.
• 
Still, they need to know that someone will question any death or injury to any civilian. Our Police forces have to deal with that and so should the guards.

That’s my point again - they have NOT been questioned on civilian deaths. They’ve covered up most of them, and when they haven’t been able to do that, they’ve quietly paid off some of the families. Here again, this has been going on for years now. And, there has NEVER been any accountability.

There WAS, a couple of years back maybe, a suit brought against Blackwater by the families of those 4 contractors who were killed in an attack by rebels, and the families members tried to sue Blackwater, and Blackwater counter-sued them, shutting them up for life. There is like a WHOLE BUNCH of info out there on this. And, that’s the reason. That’s why the “owner” of Blackwater, Erick Prince, finally had to appear before a congressional hearing last month. I’m sure that didn’t change much, though at least that was the beginning, finally, of what we see now. Still, it’s taken years to get to this, and they’ve killed a whole bunch of civilians. RANDOMLY, and without provocation. How many times do you hear the ‘women and children” figure whenever they claim to have killed a bunch of ‘terrorists”? Yes, our troops do it as well, but it’s been mostly the contractors..

Iraq Says Civilians Killed in US Raid
  By Christian Berthelsen
  The Los Angeles Times
  Monday 22 October 2007

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102207K.shtml

New Evidence That Blackwater Guards Took No Fire
Baghdad - Fresh accounts of the Blackwater shooting last month, given by three rooftop witnesses and by American soldiers who arrived shortly after the

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101307B.shtml

State Department Ignored Blackwater Warnings
16 shooting involving contractors for Blackwater USA, the State Department’s main security contractor, killed at least 11 Iraqis and set off a series of

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/100707B.shtml


Blackwater Faulted by US Military: Report
U.S. military reports from the scene of a shooting incident in Baghdad involving security contractor Blackwater indicates its guards opened fire without…

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/100507D.shtm

Tension at House Hearing on Blackwater

Blackwater employees were accused of committing criminal acts of violence, including an incident in December 2006, when an inebriated Blackwater employee ...

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/100307J.shtml

There’s more, but these should catch you up.

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By cyrena, October 24, 2007 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

#109255 by mackTN on 10/24 at 7:41 am
•  So Iraq’s sovereign status is clearly limited, with that country having little say over what the U.S. does in its country? 
•  Legally, what is Iraq’s political status?  And, legally, what is our relationship to Iraq?

OK MackTN:
My earlier response was incomplete, and I just sort of accidently came across this article. It appears, (which I thought, but didn’t know the exact circumstances) that the UN did eventually issue some mandate/legality to allow the US to remain in Iraq, as part of a multi-national force. But, they’ve never accomplished what they went for, so now… the Iraqis are finally beginning to make a little more legal noise, but don’t know that will matter.  ….Anyway, you can check this out.

“…The oil game in Iraq may be almost up. On September 29th, like a landlord serving notice, the government of Iraq announced that the next annual renewal of the United Nations Security Council mandate for a multinational force in Iraq - the only legal basis for a continuation of the American occupation - will be the last. That was, it seems, the first shoe to fall. The second may be an announcement terminating the little-noticed, but crucial companion Security Council mandate governing the disposition of Iraq’s oil revenues….”

The entire article is at the link

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102407E.shtml

Endgame for Iraqi Oil?
  By Jack Miles
  TomDispatch.com

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By mdruss42, October 24, 2007 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Cultural Awareness? For a bunch of guys who knuckle walk? You are going to teach them to grunt more politely?

Cameras? Bullets do the same to electronics that they do to humans…...make them un-work.

It would be more honest to admit that we have given these things…I almost typed “people”...the right to live out all their worst sick fantasies, and kill at will.

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By Kalifornia1, October 24, 2007 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Again, Ms Condolences Rice has been asleep at the wheel, or worse, from the beginning of her tenure. She should be fired.

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By mackTN, October 24, 2007 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

So Iraq’s sovereign status is clearly limited, with that country having little say over what the U.S. does in its country? 

Legally, what is Iraq’s political status?  And, legally, what is our relationship to Iraq?

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By farmertx, October 24, 2007 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

And this will generate many sound bites and no real action.
Bad things happen to innocent people in a war. That is why a real leader uses war as a last resort.
Shooting the wrong person during or immediately afterr an attack is one thing.
Just random killing is quite another.
But a level of true oversight is required.
I’ve been told that many of the private guards in Iraq and Afghanistan are ex-military, a lot through China Post #1. That predisposes that they aren’t crazed killer’s; just people who are adapted to combat situations.
Still, they need to know that someone will question any death or injury to any civilian. Our Police forces have to deal with that and so should the guards.
Granted, the ideal solution is getting out. That doesn’t appear too likely in the short term.
Whether the House and Senate can find the courage to do something that needs to be done is iffy at best, based on the record to date.
Unfortunately, ignoring such things pays them much better.

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By rodney, October 24, 2007 at 5:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s really our country now.We do whatever we want and the Iraqi leaders can take it or leave it.We’ll leave whenever we want,take whatever we want,and arrest and kill whoever we want.The so called Iraqi leaders are just a bunch of puppets who can only pay lip service to it’s people. The puppet government can’t force us to leave,or make any decisions without US consent. That’s how it is in most of 100 plus countries where we have arms US troops aimed at it’s population. It’s who we are and what we are about. We sell weapons to the nations we already control,and start wars and kill the ones we don’t,and label anyone who don’t agree a terrorist. Democracy at the barrel of a gun. God Bless America and no one else.

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