Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Oh, Blackwater!

About a week ago, I posted on the Defense Department's response to the increasing reports of murderous behavior on the part of Blackwater, a government contractor assigned security work in Iraq. At the time, I noted that while Defense intended to investigate, the State Department was still sitting back. An article in today's Washington Post hints at why State was being so quiet.

Blackwater security contractors in Iraq have been involved in at least 195 "escalation of force" incidents since early 2005, including several previously unreported killings of Iraqi civilians, according to a new congressional account of State Department and company documents.

In one of the killings, according to a State Department document, Blackwater personnel tried to cover up what had occurred and provided a false report. In another case, involving a Blackwater convoy's collision with 18 civilian vehicles, the firm accused its own personnel of lying about the event.

The State Department made little effort to hold Blackwater personnel accountable beyond pressing the company to pay financial compensation to the families of the dead, the documents indicate. In a case involving a drunken Blackwater employee who killed a security guard to one of Iraq's vice presidents last Christmas Eve, U.S. government personnel helped negotiate a financial settlement and allowed the employee to depart Iraq. ...

On the eve of the hearing, the FBI announced that it is sending a team of agents to assist the State Department in investigating the alleged killing of at least 11 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater personnel on Sept. 16. ...

[Rep. Henry]Waxman and other critics have said the State Department, which has paid Blackwater nearly $1 billion for security work in Iraq, allowed the company to operate with impunity. "There is no evidence in the documents that the Committee has reviewed," a memorandum released by Democrats said, "that the State Department sought to restrain Blackwater's actions, raised concerns about the number of shooting incidents involving Blackwater or the company's high rate of shooting first, or detained Blackwater contractors for investigation."
[Emphasis added]

How nice: State has paid Blackwater a cool billion, has not exercised any oversight, and in fact appears to be complicit in the cover-up of at least some of the murderous behavior by this gang of thugs. Now, two weeks after the latest rampage by Blackwater, and after a growing number of national and international articles about the incident made it impossible to sweep it under the rug, the State Department is finally calling upon the FBI "to assist" in its investigation.

After all, who could have imagined?

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Blogger shrimplate said...


10:52 PM  

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