Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Iraq Officials Want Blackwater Ousted
The Carpetbaggers Report
Iraq demands Blackwater’s ouster
Posted October 8th, 2007 at 4:50 pm
Under pressure from Democratic lawmakers and Iraqi officials, the State Department announced late Friday that it would expand its oversight of Blackwater private security forces dramatically. The efforts include cameras being installed in Blackwater vehicles and diplomatic babysitters joining every Blackwater convoy.
Iraq isn’t satisfied.
Iraqi authorities want the U.S. government to sever all contracts in Iraq with Blackwater USA within six months and pay $8 million in compensation to each of the families of 17 people killed when the firm’s 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.
The tone of the Iraqi report appears to signal further strains between the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the White House over the deaths in Nisoor Square — which have prompted a series of U.S. and Iraqi probes and raised questions over the use of private security contractors to guard U.S. diplomats and other officials.
Al-Maliki ordered the investigation by his defense minister and other top security and police officials on Sept. 22. The findings — which were translated from Arabic by AP — mark the most definitive Iraqi positions and contentions about the shootings last month.