Friday, October 12, 2007

Blackwater in the news

Blackwater USA continues to be in the news.

James Glanz from the New York Times tells us New Evidence That Blackwater Guards Took No Fire:
Fresh accounts of the Blackwater shooting last month, given by three rooftop witnesses and by American soldiers who arrived shortly after the gunfire ended, cast new doubt Friday on statements by Blackwater guards that they were responding to armed insurgents when Iraqi investigators say 17 Iraqis were killed at a Baghdad intersection.

The three witnesses, Kurds on a rooftop overlooking the scene, said they had observed no gunfire that could have provoked the shooting by Blackwater guards. American soldiers who arrived minutes later found shell casings from guns used normally by American contractors, as well as by the American military.
Rod Nordland and Mark Hosenball from Newsweek announces Blackwater Is Soaked: An arrogant attitude only adds fuel to the criticism:
The colonel was furious. "Can you believe it? They actually drew their weapons on U.S. soldiers." He was describing a 2006 car accident, in which an SUV full of Blackwater operatives had crashed into a U.S. Army Humvee on a street in Baghdad's Green Zone. The colonel, who was involved in a follow-up investigation and spoke on the condition he not be named, said the Blackwater guards disarmed the U.S. Army soldiers and made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV. His account was confirmed by the head of another private security company. Asked to address this and other allegations in this story, Blackwater spokesperson Anne Tyrrell said, "This type of gossip has led to many soap operas in the press."
Bill Sizemore from the Virginian-Pilot lets us know Blackwater quits trade group that was reviewing its conduct:
Embattled Blackwater USA, facing a review of its conduct by its Washington-based trade group after a deadly shooting incident in Baghdad last month, has pulled out of the organization, effectively halting the inquiry.

In a statement Friday, the International Peace Operations Association said its executive committee had authorized an independent review Monday to determine whether Blackwater's processes and procedures were in compliance with the group's code of conduct. Two days later, on Wednesday, the Moyock, N.C.-based private military company withdrew from the organization.

"Once a company leaves IPOA, we lack jurisdiction," J.J. Messner, the group's director of programs and operations, said Friday. "We can't do anything about a company that's not a member."
Erik Prince (pictured above), the president of Blackwater USA was grilled before a congressional committee earlier this week (or perhaps it was last week); here's The Case of The Drunken Blackwater Shooter:
It's not all bad news, however. There was today an article by Jon W. Glass of the Virginian-Pilot that had Blackwater in, if not a positive light, at least a neutral light: New submachine gun could shake up the firearms world. Turns out that Transformational Defense Industries Inc., a Virginia Beach company, has developed a "revolutionary," 45 caliber, submachine gun. They call it the Kriss Super V. The company uses ranges at the Blackwater USA campus in Moyock to fire the weapons.

Check it out:
And to think that I don't have an RSS alert for Blackwater; this is all from my usual stream.

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