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Old 03-12-2008, 07:21 PM   #2
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:45 PM   #3
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Re: Who is BLACKWATER????

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Originally posted by gherman

our President (Commander in Chief) "sums it up" for us:

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Old 03-12-2008, 09:13 PM   #4
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:31 PM   #5
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Re: Re: Who is BLACKWATER????

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It is disappointing to me that neither Democratic candidate would ban the use of private contractors in Iraq if elected.
Wait. I stand corrected. This just in...I'm kind of shocked. I hadn't heard this. I'll believe it when I see it but if Hillary comes through on this, wow. The problem with Obama's position of holding security contractors accountable is that it is impossible.

http://www.ronpaulwarroom.com/?p=8295

Update from Jeremy Scahill: A day after this story went live on TheNation.com, Senator Hillary Clinton, whose staff refused for a week to answer my questions about her position on private security forces, released a statement announcing that Clinton is now co-sponsoring legislation to “ban the use of Blackwater and other private mercenary firms in Iraq,” saying, “The time to show these contractors the door is long past due.” Read her full statement here. Her timing was interesting, to say the least. Why February 28, in the middle of a tough political campaign? Why not after last September’s Nisour Square massacre, when Blackwater operatives killed seventeen Iraqi civilians? Or, better, before it? Regardless, this makes Clinton the most significant US political figure to date to issue such a call. We will be monitoring closely how much of a legislative priority this becomes for Senator Clinton.

A senior foreign policy adviser to leading Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has told The Nation that if elected Obama will not “rule out” using private security companies like Blackwater Worldwide in Iraq. The adviser also said that Obama does not plan to sign on to legislation that seeks to ban the use of these forces in US war zones by January 2009, when a new President will be sworn in. Obama’s campaign says that instead he will focus on bringing accountability to these forces while increasing funding for the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the agency that employs Blackwater and other private security contractors. (Hillary Clinton’s staff did not respond to repeated requests for an interview or a statement on this issue.)

Obama’s broader Iraq withdrawal plan provides for some US troops to remain in Iraq–how many his advisers won’t say. But it’s clear that Obama’s “follow-on force” will include a robust security force to protect US personnel in Iraq, US trainers (who would also require security) for Iraqi forces and military units to “strike at Al Qaeda”–all very broad swaths of the occupation.

“If Barack Obama comes into office next January and our diplomatic security service is in the state it’s in and the situation on the ground in Iraq is in the state it’s in, I think we will be forced to rely on a host of security measures,” said the senior adviser. “I can’t rule out, I won’t rule out, private security contractors.” He added, “I will rule out private security contractors that are not accountable to US law.”

But therein lies a problem. The US Embassy in Iraq is slated to become the largest embassy in world history. If Obama maintains that embassy and its army of diplomats and US personnel going in and out of the Green Zone, which his advisers say he will, a significant armed force will be required for protection. The force that now plays that role is composed almost exclusively of contractors from Blackwater, DynCorp and Triple Canopy. And at present, these contractors are not held accountable under US law. Obama and a host of legal experts, including in the Justice Department, acknowledge that there may be no current US law that could be used to prosecute security contractors for crimes committed in Iraq, such as the killing of seventeen Iraqi civilians last September in Baghdad’s Nisour Square.

Obama’s proposed increase in funding to the diplomatic security division would ostensibly pave the way for a protective force composed entirely of US government personnel, but the process of building that force would likely take a long time. Short of dramatically reducing the US civilian and diplomatic presence in Iraq that necessitates such a security force, Obama may have no choice but to continue the contracting arrangements with firms like Blackwater if he is elected President.
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:08 PM   #6
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right -- these guys don't have to abide by any laws either:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20...latchy/2877385

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Authorities confirmed that the fingers belonged to hostages Jonathon Cote , of Gainesville, Fla. ; Joshua Munns , of Redding, Calif. ; Paul Johnson Reuben , of Buffalo, Minn. ; Bert Nussbaumer of Vienna, Austria ; and Ronald J. Withrow , an American who was kidnapped separately from the others.

The first four men were security contractors with Kuwait -based Crescent Security and were captured in a brazen ambush of their 43-truck supply convoy in the southern Iraqi town of Safwan, near the Kuwaiti border, on Nov. 16, 2006 .
Security contracter = dangerous job.

I'm not saying they shouldn't abide by the law... but they are targets even more than our troops.
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:00 AM   #7
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Impunity to use deadly force

One of the scariest types of impunity being offered by the Bush administration is impunity to use deadly force. If a government can do that, then what can’t it do? And why would a government in a supposed democracy do such a thing?

Blackwater USA
First let’s consider Blackwater USA, the mercenary corporation that has contracted with the Bush administration for $700 million dollars to provide “diplomatic security” in Iraq. On September 16th, 2007, Blackwater forces protecting a U.S. State Department official opened fire on an Iraqi vehicle. The incident is described in The Nation by Jeremy Scahill:

Inside the vehicle was… a young Iraqi family – man, woman and infant – whose crime appeared to be panicking in a chaotic traffic situation… Gunfire rang out in Nisour Square as people fled for their lives. Witnesses described a horrifying scene of indiscriminate shooting by the Blackwater guards. In all, as many as 28 Iraqis may have been killed…

Within 24 hours of the killings, the Iraqi government announced that it was expelling Blackwater from their country and intended to prosecute those responsible. Scahill explains how that worked out:

But getting rid of Blackwater would not prove to be so easy. Four days after being grounded, Blackwater was back on Iraqi streets. After all, Blackwater is not just any security company in Iraq; it is the leading mercenary company of the US occupation… The company’s domestic political clout has been key to its success…

This was not an isolated incident, and Blackwater’s impunity to kill Iraqis was not unplanned. Just before leaving Iraq on June 27, 2004, in the process of allegedly handing over sovereignty to the Iraqi government, the US administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, L. Paul Bremer, issued Order 17, which granted immunity to all U.S. private contractors in Iraq for all future crimes that they may commit. Since then, Blackwater has been involved in several deadly incidents, including five in the year prior to the one described above. But whenever Iraq has complained about those incidents the U.S. government has refused to take any action against the culprits or to allow Iraqi prosecution of them.

Nor is Blackwater’s license to kill limited to foreign countries. Scahill describes the following Blackwater activity during their response to Hurricane Katrina, from his book
“Blackwater – The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army”:

The company beat the federal government and most aid organizations to the scene as 150 heavily armed Blackwater troops dressed in full battle gear spread out into the chaos of New Orleans… All of them were heavily armed…. A possibly deadly incident involving hired guns underscored the dangers of private forces policing American streets… The security guard said their convoy came under fire from “black gangbangers”… The guard said he and his men were armed with AR-15s and Glocks and that they unleashed a barrage of bullets in the general direction of the alleged shooters on the overpass. “After that, all I heard was moaning and screaming, and the shooting stopped.”

No charges were ever brought against Blackwater for the civilian deaths in Iraq or in New Orleans.
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:21 PM   #8
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My uncle worked for Blackwater in New Orleans after Katrina. He is related to the Prince's through my aunt, so all of this his VERY close to home for all of us. I don't know much about them other than the people working for them in Iraq must be slightly insane. It's the most dangerous job I can think of, but their employees are extreme risk takers and live/die for this job.

I won't condone or condemn them. They have made HUGE mistakes but in some circumstances they are a necessary evil. I did not understand most of what they did until it was explained to me. I won't get into it here b/c I don't think it's appropriate.
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:27 PM   #9
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Re: Re: Re: Who is BLACKWATER????

Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl




http://www.ronpaulwarroom.com/?p=8295

Update from Jeremy Scahill: A day after this story went live on TheNation.com, Senator Hillary Clinton, whose staff refused for a week to answer my questions about her position on private security forces, released a statement announcing that Clinton is now co-sponsoring legislation to “ban the use of Blackwater and other private mercenary firms in Iraq,” saying, “The time to show these contractors the door is long past due.” Read her full statement here. Her timing was interesting, to say the least. Why February 28, in the middle of a tough political campaign? Why not after last September’s Nisour Square massacre, when Blackwater operatives killed seventeen Iraqi civilians? Or, better, before it? Regardless, this makes Clinton the most significant US political figure to date to issue such a call. We will be monitoring closely how much of a legislative priority this becomes for Senator Clinton.

I'll bet you a Starbucks she changes her position before the General.



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Old 03-13-2008, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje
My uncle worked for Blackwater in New Orleans after Katrina. He is related to the Prince's through my aunt, so all of this his VERY close to home for all of us. I don't know much about them other than the people working for them in Iraq must be slightly insane. It's the most dangerous job I can think of, but their employees are extreme risk takers and live/die for this job.

I won't condone or condemn them. They have made HUGE mistakes but in some circumstances they are a necessary evil. I did not understand most of what they did until it was explained to me. I won't get into it here b/c I don't think it's appropriate.


Sorry if anything said here hits too close to home. It's certainly not personal, but it's too important to keep getting swept under the rug, and isn't talked about enough. I'm sure many good people sign up for Blackwater and other similar companies without knowing what they're signing up for. I make no judgments about your uncle at all.

The thing is, the contractors in Iraq make on average about $500,000 dollars a year, have the best equipment (armored vehicles, for example), and answer to no one, while our US soldiers average about $50-70,000 a year and are trying to work within guidelines constantly violated by the contractors, and to the Iraqis, they're all the same. So the behavior of the contractors puts our troops at greater risk and undermines everything they're trying to do. How would it feel to be a US soldier and see contractors with better equipment, answering to no US law, and making as much as 9 times what you're making?

And there are so many bigger questions. Like why is Prince building massive training camps around the country, what are these contractors going to do when the war is over (if it ever is) and they come home? Blackwater has a fleet of aircraft and 20,000 trained men to call up on a moment's notice, and they are not just patriotic Americans as Prince would have us believe. He has recruited, trained and deployed men from third world countries (Chile, Columbia, Poland, Bulgaria to name a few). The Chilean government is actually against the war in Iraq and refused to join the coalition but Blackwater recruited Chilean men anyway. Over 900 contractors have been killed in Iraq, and over 12,000 have been injured but these numbers are not included in the total numbers of war casualties.

I mean, the list of problems and questions is endless. And George Bush doesn't even know anything about Blackwater even though Prince has close ties with his Christian right buddies and is making a frigging fortune off this war? Right.
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Old 03-13-2008, 01:04 PM   #11
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PMCs is a modern form of mercenaries. And I think it's extremely dangerous that they are employed by western Governments.
They are already lobbying for a war in Iran. I don't know if it was Blackwater, or one of the other companies, but I've read once a press release where they stated how important it is to attack Iran.

I think Poland and Bulgaria might be a little pissed that you are calling them third world countries, joyfulgirl. Though it certainly has some truth to it.
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Old 03-13-2008, 01:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega


I think Poland and Bulgaria might be a little pissed that you are calling them third world countries, joyfulgirl. Though it certainly has some truth to it.
SORRY! Obviously I didn't mean that. I meant third world countries PLUS countries like Poland, etc... I shouldn't post from work. I'm much more careless.
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Old 03-13-2008, 01:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl




Sorry if anything said here hits too close to home. It's certainly not personal, but it's too important to keep getting swept under the rug, and isn't talked about enough. I'm sure many good people sign up for Blackwater and other similar companies without knowing what they're signing up for. I make no judgments about your uncle at all.
Oh, I agree. I mainly don't discuss it b/c the only things I know about Blackwater are from people I know that work there or are in the family, so those are things I shouldn't share. I'm just not that into politics and have been disgusted with this war for a long time, so I pretty much avoid the issue.

My uncle did a contract job in New Orleans for a short period of time b/c he had retired from his previous job (law enforcement) and it was good money. He said it was pretty boring actually, but he's told plenty of stories about the guys in Iraq....

I could ask more specific questions, but I just don't like getting involved in something I don't really understand....you know? I am powerless against it, I'd rather not be a part of it.
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