Blackwater Loses License to Work in Iraq

Back in early June, I wagered my husband that Blackwater was going to make the front page of MSN within six month, with news of their problems in Iraq. Sure enough.

BAGHDAD – The Iraqi government said Monday that it was revoking the license of an American security firm accused of involvement in the deaths of eight civilians in a firefight that followed a car bomb explosion near a State Department motorcade.

The Interior Ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday shooting. It was the latest accusation against the U.S.-contracted firms that operate with little or no supervision and are widely disliked by Iraqis who resent their speeding motorcades and forceful behavior.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to express regret about the incident, al-Maliki’s office confirmed to NBC News.

Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said eight civilians were killed and 13 were wounded when contractors believed to be working for Blackwater USA opened fire in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of western Baghdad.

“We have canceled the license of Blackwater and prevented them from working all over Iraqi territory. We will also refer those involved to Iraqi judicial authorities,� Khalaf said.

Khalaf said witness reports pointed to Blackwater involvement but said the shooting was still under investigation. It was not immediately clear if the measure against Blackwater was intended to be temporary or permanent. [full text]

“Opening fire in a civilian neighborhood.” Wow. According to this article, there are about 1,000 Blackwater employees in Iraq. What will we do without them?

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3 thoughts on “Blackwater Loses License to Work in Iraq

  1. Mr. PCritic is of course incorrect and one can only caution against a rush to judgement. Unless you have been shot at and fired on by RPG’s or the target of endless murder efforts, a little caution should be excercised. Blackwater operates under very strict rules of engagement and their task buy contract is to protect officials from murder, bombs, beheadings, torture, and a host of other activities by the same loonies who hung contractors from bridges or kill girls because they want to read. Any number of contractors, Blackwater ot otherwise, have been murdered in the perfomance of their duties, and all are highly trained and experienced professionals. It is also unclear wheter the so-called and now Shiite government has the right to ban Blackwater from anything, never mind their responsibilities to protect. Similarly, “the reports of civilians” many of whom may be the very thugs who launched the atrtack must be questioned. We should separate these guys doing their jobs at risk to their own lives from a stance on whether or not we should even be in Iraq (in my view it is time to leave or redeploy). If O.J. is entitled to “innocent until proven guilty” so are these guys, and I suspect their case is a but stronger.

  2. Condoleeza Rice has promised ‘an investigation’ so we don’t have to worry about anything. Some related stories–the Custer-Battles corporation from Rhode Island that was accused by one of its former employees of killing civilians and stealing money, and this–
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051010/scahill
    about Blackwater in New Orleans after Katrina. From what I see of corporate ethics here in the US I am not confident that private contractors who work in secrecy are putting human life ahead of their bottom line.

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