AI-Jane Political, And Economic Forums

Full Version: Reigning in Blackwater
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
This private contractor hired by the US gov to provide security in Iraq, has been operating virtually above (and outside, it seems) the law.
Now the Iraqi gov has had enough:
Quote:BAGHDAD - Iraqi authorities want the U.S. government to sever all contracts in Iraq with Blackwater USA within six months. They also want the firm to pay $8 million in compensation to families of each of the 17 people killed when its guards sprayed a traffic circle with heavy machine gun fire last month.
The demands — part of an Iraqi government report examined by The Associated Press — also called on U.S. authorities to hand over the Blackwater security agents involved in the Sept. 16 shootings to face possible trial in Iraqi courts.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071009/ap_o...ter_report

Also, finally a new bill for accountability of contractors in the US has been passed. Up to now, their actions did not fall under US law, they were granted immunity from Iraqi law, and of course the US do not feel obliged to submit to international law either:
Quote:With the armed security force Blackwater USA and other private contractors in Iraq facing tighter scrutiny, the House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would bring all United States government contractors in the Iraq war zone under the jurisdiction of American criminal law. The measure would require the F.B.I. to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing.
...

The State Department, which had been leading the investigation into the shooting, said Thursday that a team of F.B.I. agents sent to Baghdad in recent days had taken over the inquiry. No charges have been filed in the case, and Justice Department officials have said it is unclear whether American law applies.
Even if enacted, the House bill would have no retroactive authority over past conduct by Blackwater or other contractors.
...

Iraqi officials have said they would like to prosecute the Blackwater case, but it is extremely unlikely that American authorities would allow them to assert jurisdiction.

Shortly after the occupation of Iraq in 2003, the American administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, issued a decree granting immunity to American military and civilian personnel from criminal prosecution in Iraqi courts.
...

Scott Horton, a human rights lawyer who has been heavily involved in efforts to develop legislation that would hold contractors accountable, said in an interview that the House bill would close a loophole that might allow Blackwater employees to argue that their work was unrelated to the war effort because the company had a contract to protect State Department diplomats around the world.

But he expressed frustration that officials had not been more active in prosecuting crimes in Iraq and that the legal situation remained gray.

"When we have got a contractor city, say, of 180,000 people, and there hasn't been a completed prosecution of anybody coming out of Iraq, not one," he said, "what sort of city in America would be like that, where no one is prosecuted for anything for three years? It's unthinkable."
http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,15...92,00.html
As Col. Hunt on FNC stated, with consideration of the circimstances, Blackwater has conducted itself according to the rules of engagement, as before the Surge. And it is not necessarily Blackwater's liability here, because their job has been to protect those who they are escorting. Their success is exemplified by the fact that they have never lost one of their charges.

However, clearly the Surge is working, and the situation on the ground has been changing. Further, it is up to the military to notify all under it's command, and clearly Blackwater is under the overall command of the military within Iraq, that the mission has changed somewhat.

However, to attempt to crucify an organization for being Too good at carrying out their mission, would also be a mistake. This is what happens when politics sticks it's nose in to a military operation, regardless the group.
John L Wrote:Further, it is up to the military to notify all under it's command, and clearly Blackwater is under the overall command of the military within Iraq, that the mission has changed somewhat.
I would think they are clearly not under the command of the military. Private contractors with a different brief. So, "that the mission has changed somewhat" doesn't make sense, on top of being very vague and unspecific to the allegations. You are not a very competent apologist here, John. S2

Quote:However, to attempt to crucify an organization for being Too good at carrying out their mission, would also be a mistake. This is what happens when politics sticks it's nose in to a military operation, regardless the group.
Crucify? Aren't you being a bit hysteric here?
The aim is to hold them accountable, like everyone else. Every civilian and military personnel fall under a jurisdiction, so what makes armed mercenaries so different?
Blackwater and the CIA:
Quote:A number of senior CIA and Pentagon officials have taken top jobs at Blackwater, including firm vice chairman Cofer Black, who was the Bush Administration's top counterterrorism official at the time of the 9/11 attacks (and who famously said in 2002, “There was before 9/11 and after 9/11. After 9/11, the gloves came off.”) Robert Young Pelton, author of the new book, Licensed to Kill , says that an early Blackwater contract—a secret no-bid $5.4 million deal with the CIA—came in 2002 after Prince placed a call to Buzzy Krongard, who was then the CIA's executive director.
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/09/s...1158094722
Quote:The aim is to hold them accountable, like everyone else. Every civilian and military personnel fall under a jurisdiction, so what makes armed mercenaries so different?

I hate to say this but some people seem to inhabit a veritable Never-Never Land, where with just a sprinkle of pixie dust they can suddenly soar through the air in flights of fancy. "Hold them accountable"? Why Stroll you are sounding like some door-to-door cause advocacy doing a little neighborhood polling.

Just yesterday, another security company generated an incident in which two people were killed, but just how does anyone demand accountability when the principal agency for this anarchy is an inane collection of Iraqi politicians calling themselves a "government" while busily collecting legislative salaries [let us just say priming their personal pumps] for doing nothing. Private "armies" are nothing new in this setting, after all even members of "government" have them, but somehow we are never informed about incidents involving these "guards". This last involved an Australian firm, but I am afraid that reports on violence are being selectively screened for propaganda potential and international rhetoric.

Yet, Stroll, you talk of accountability, but should not the first listing of parties to be closely reviewed include the Maliki government.
Ignorance abounds. The US made a choice back in the early 1980s to privatize our military. This is the result.

I disagree that Blackwater as a whole has done anything but good work. The Islamic thungs choose to act in populated areas and these type incidents are guaranteed to occur and they want them to occur.

The US Army cannot function w/o organizations like Blackwater,so assuming Iraq insists on Blackwater leaving Iraq,so does the US Army leave Iraq. It will be interesting to see if they insist,because I thiunk I'm right on this,they leave,we leave,their role is far too large for us to cover with Army soldiers as everyone knows we have a small conventional force for such a large nation.
drgonzaga Wrote:I hate to say this but some people seem to inhabit a veritable Never-Never Land, where with just a sprinkle of pixie dust they can suddenly soar through the air in flights of fancy. "Hold them accountable"? Why Stroll you are sounding like some door-to-door cause advocacy doing a little neighborhood polling.
Never-neverland, eh? What an odd remark...
But I enjoy your flowery language, almost poetic, yet lacking substance and pointedness.

Quote:Just yesterday, another security company generated an incident in which two people were killed, but just how does anyone demand accountability when the principal agency for this anarchy is an inane collection of Iraqi politicians calling themselves a "government" while busily collecting legislative salaries [let us just say priming their personal pumps] for doing nothing. Private "armies" are nothing new in this setting, after all even members of "government" have them, but somehow we are never informed about incidents involving these "guards".
Do these "private armies" operate outside the law? I think you will find that they are bound by Iraqi law and jurisdiction. The supposed state of chaos and anarchy, and lack of implementating of policing and application of the law is no excuse to exclude armed mercenaries from falling within one framework of law or the other - read the articles again, and I'm sure you will grasp the issue at hand, which the house of representatives found worthy passing a bill, for and the State Dep. worthy of investigating.
From the yahoo article:
Quote:The Iraqi government report said its courts were to proper venue in which to bring charges.
It said Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq expired on June 2, 2006, meaning it had no immunity from prosecution under Iraqi laws set down after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.


Quote:This last involved an Australian firm, but I am afraid that reports on violence are being selectively screened for propaganda potential and international rhetoric.
Do you mean this incident, it's on msn: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21216606/
Yes, there are no official figures or reports available (or existent?) to assess and compare.

Quote:Yet, Stroll, you talk of accountability, but should not the first listing of parties to be closely reviewed include the Maliki government.
Comparing the government of a nation with armed contractors operating in a foreign territory - hmm, the phrase apples and oranges comes to mind.
Really, Stroll, why are private security firms in Iraq in the first place? Is it not a direct result of the fact that the Maliki government has done everything possible to frustrate the emergence of institutional confidence? They could not even handle the execution of Saddam Hussein in a dignified manner. For the past year it has done nothing to eliminate the "private" armies of individuals such as Sadr [not to mention the obvious absence of legislation to enforce] and all of the wringing of hands is just too hypocritical for my tastes. Maliki's vaunted Amaliya Ma’an ila Al-Amam is a joke within the urban environment of Baghdad and to contend that his government has even structured a coherent system of justice for the operation of rational courts is a flight of fancy.

This assessment remains valid at all points:

Quote:Militias and small, illegally armed groups operate openly and often with popular support. This is especially true in areas where the Government of Iraq is perceived as unable to provide effective social and security services for the population. Militias—whether legal or illegal—provide an element of protection for select portions of the populace, usually on an ethno-sectarian basis, resulting in, overall, a more dangerous environment for the Iraqi community. Some militias also act as the security arm of organizations devoted to social relief and welfare, lending these armed groups further legitimacy. Whether operating within or outside the law, these armed groups operate separately from formal public safety structures. Their continued existence challenges the legitimacy of the constitutional government and provides a conduit for foreign interference. An effective disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program is essential to meeting near- and long term security requirements for Iraq.

http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs/Sec...ug29r1.pdf

That 2006 report to the US Congress remains more than valid.