Blackwater Worldwide

Blackwater Worldwide

Infobox Company
company_name = Blackwater Worldwide
company_
vector_logo =
company_type = Private military security firm
foundation = 1997
founder = Erik Prince
location_city =
location_country =
location = 850 Puddin Ridge Road Moyock, North Carolina, U.S.cite web|url=http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20061207151614-43671.pdf |title=Agreement for security services |accessdate=2007-12-30 |date=2004-03-12 |format=PDF |publisher=United States House of Representatives ]
origins =
key_people = J.Cofer Black
Gary Jackson
Bill Mathews
area_served =
industry = Private military & security contractor
products =
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees =
parent =
divisions = See Blackwater Worldwide businesses
subsid = Blackwater vehicles
owner =
company_slogan =
dissolved =
footnotes =
homepage = [http://www.blackwaterusa.com/ BlackWaterUSA.com]

Blackwater Worldwide, formerly Blackwater USA, is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark. [cite book|title=Private Military and Security Companies: Chances, Problems, Pitfalls and Prospects|editor=Thomas Jäger, Gerhard Kümmel|chapter=No Contractors on the Battlefield: The Dutch Military's Reluctance to Outsource|first=Dirk|last=Gielink|coauthors=Maarten Buitenhuis, René Moelker|pages=149|year=2007|publisher=VS Verlag|isbn=3531149016] It has alternatively been referred to as a security contractor or a mercenary organization by numerous reports by the U.S. and international media.cite news | first=Neil | last=Mackay | coauthors= | title=BACK IN IRAQ: THE 'WHORES OF WAR' | date=2007-10-02 | publisher=The Sunday Herald | url =http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.1724225.0.0.php | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ] cite news | first=Jeremy | last=Scahill | coauthors= | title=Will Blackwater Be Kicked Out of Iraq After Recent Bloodbath? | date=2007-09-28 | publisher=The Nation | url =http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/63789/ | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ] cite news | first=David | last=Swanson | coauthors= | title=Observing Our Government Through Blackwater | date=2007-09-28 | publisher=Scoop New Zealand | url =http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0709/S00503.htm | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ] cite news | first=Ian | last=Bruce | coauthors= | title=Blackwater uses armed force ‘twice as often as other Iraq firms’ | date=2007-09-28 | publisher=The Herald | url =http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1720705.0.0.php | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ] cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title= Blackwater admits employees illegally sold weapons | date=2007-09-23 | publisher=Tehran Times | url =http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=153482 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ] Interestingly, in October 2007, Blackwater USA renamed itself Blackwater Worldwide, basing themselves in the U.S. state of North Carolina, where it operates a tactical training facility (coord|36.455359|-76.202545) claiming to be the world's largest. The company undertakes training of more than 40,000 people a year, mostly from U.S. or foreign military and police services. The training consists of military offensive and defensive operations, as well as smaller scale personnel security. However, technologies used and techniques trained are not limited by U.S. domestic law, although it is unclear what legal status Blackwater Worldwide operates under in the U.S. and other countries, or what protection the U.S. extends to Blackwater Worldwide operations globally.cite news | first = Alissa | last = Rubin | coauthors = Paul von Zielbauer | title = Blackwater Case Highlights Legal Uncertainties | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/11/world/middleeast/11legal.html?_r=1&oref=slogin | work = New York Times | date = 2007-10-11 | accessdate = 2008-02-01]

Blackwater Worldwide is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department's three private security contractors. Of the 987 contractors Blackwater provides, 744 are U.S. citizens.cite news | first=Matthew | last=Lee | coauthors= | title=Feds Target Blackwater in Weapons Probe | date=2007-09-22 | publisher=Associated Press | url =http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/22/AR2007092200321.html | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ] cite web|url=http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32419.pdf |title=CRS report for congress, Private security contractors in Iraq: Background, legal status and other issues |accessdate=2008-01-02 |last=Elsea |first=Jennifer |coauthors=Nina Serafino |format=PDF] At least 90 percent of its revenue comes from government contracts, two-thirds of which are no-bid contracts.cite news | first=Bill | last=Sizemore | coauthors= Joanne Kimberlin | title=Blackwater: On the Front Lines | date=2007-07-25 | publisher=The Virginian-Pilot | url =http://hamptonroads.com/node/66271 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ] Blackwater Worldwide is currently contracted by the United States government to provide security services in the Iraq War.Blackwater Worldwide Oversight records]

On March 31 2004, four Blackwater Security Consulting (BSC) employees were ambushed and killed in Fallujah, and their bodies were hanged on bridges.

On September 16 2007, Blackwater employees in Nisour Square, Baghdad shot and killed 17 Iraqis, at least 14 of whom were killed "without cause" according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. [cite news |first=David |last=Johnston |authorlink= |coauthors=John M. Broder |title="F.B.I. Says Guards Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause" |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/world/middleeast/14blackwater.html |publisher=The New York Times |date=2007-11-14 |accessdate=2007-11-30 ] No charges have been laid.

Corporate history

In the late 1990s, Erik Prince spent part of his inherited wealth to purchase about convert|6000|acre|km2 of the Great Dismal Swamp, a vast wetland area on the North Carolina/Virginia border, now mostly a national preserve. Here he created his state-of-the-art private training facility, and his contracting company—Blackwater—is named for the peat-colored water of the swamp.cite book | title = The Man Behind Blackwater | publisher = Newsweek |date=2007-10-22 | pages = 36-38] Blackwater USA was formed in 1997 to provide training support to military and law enforcement organizations. In 2002 Blackwater Security Consulting (BSC) was formed. It was one of several private security firms employed following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. BSC is one of over 60 private security firms employed during the Iraq War to guard officials and installations, train Iraq's new army and police, and provide other support for occupation forces.cite news | first=Tom | last=Squitieri | coauthors= | title=Role of security companies likely to become more visible | date=2004-04-01 | publisher=USA Today | url =http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-01-security-usat_x.htm | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ] Blackwater was also hired during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by the Department of Homeland Security, as well as by private clients, including communications, petrochemical and insurance companies.cite news | first=Bill | last=Sizemore | coauthors= | title=US: Private Security Company Creates Stir in New Orleans | date=2005-09-15 | publisher=The Virginian-Pilot | url =http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=12634 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ] Overall, the company has received over US$1 billion in government contracts.cite news | first=Bill | last=Berkowitz | coauthors= | title= Blackwater Blues for Dead Contractors' Families | date=2007-06-29 | publisher=IPS News | url =http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38379 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ] Blackwater consists of nine divisions, and a subsidiary, Blackwater Vehicles.

Blackwater is a privately held company and does not publish much information about internal affairs. Blackwater's owner and founder Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL, attended the Naval Academy, graduated from Hillsdale College, and was an intern in George H.W. Bush's White House. Prince is a major financial supporter of Republican Party causes and candidates.cite news | first=Corey | last=Flintoff | coauthors= | title=Blackwater's Prince Has GOP, Christian Group Ties | date=2007-09-25 | publisher=National Public Radio | url =http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14659780 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ] Blackwater's president, Gary Jackson, is also a former Navy SEAL.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Four Civilians Worked for N.C. Security Firm | date=2004-03-31 | publisher=Fox News | url =http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,115806,00.html | work =Associated Press | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ]
Cofer Black, the company's current vice chairman, was director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (CTC) at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He was the United States Department of State coordinator for counterterrorism with the rank of ambassador at large from December 2002 to November 2004. After leaving public service, Black became chairman of the privately owned intelligence gathering company Total Intelligence Solutions, Inc., as well as vice chairman for Blackwater. Robert Richer was vice president of intelligence until January 2007, when he formed Total Intelligence Solutions. He was formerly the head of the CIA's Near East Division.cite news | last = Silverstein | first = Ken | title = Revolving Door to Blackwater Causes Alarm at CIA | publisher = Harper's Magazine | date = 2007-09-22| url = | accessdate = ] cite web | last = | first = | title = About Total Intelligence Solutions | url=http://www.totalintel.com/dsp_aboutus_personnel.php | accessdate = 2007-10-24] Black was senior advisor for counterterrorism and national security issues for the 2008 Presidential election bid of Mitt Romney.cite web | last = | first = | title = Former Top Counterterrorism Official Cofer Black Joins Romney For President | url=http://www.mittromney.com/News/Press-Releases/Cofer_Black_Joins_Romney_Campaign | accessdate = 2007-10-24]

Blackwater's primary training facility, located on convert|7000|acre|km2|0 in northeastern North Carolina, comprises several ranges; indoor, outdoor, urban reproductions; a man-made lake; and a driving track in Camden and Currituck counties. Company literature says that it is the largest training facility in the country. In November 2006 Blackwater USA announced it recently acquired an 80-acre (30 ha) facility 150 miles (240 km) west of Chicago, in Mount Carroll, Illinois to be called Blackwater North. That facility has been operational since April 2007 and serves law enforcement agencies throughout the midwest. Blackwater is also trying to open an convert|824|acre|km2|sing=on training facility three miles north of Potrero, a small town in rural east San Diego County, California located convert|45|mi|km east of San Diego, for military and law enforcement training.cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Locals Against Training Camp In East County |url=http://www.10news.com/news/13308753/detail.html |work= |publisher=10News.com |date=2007-05-12 |accessdate=2007-09-28 ] cite news |first= |last= R. J. Hillhouse|authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Exclusive Interview: Blackwater USA's President Gary Jackson |url=http://www.thespywhobilledme.com/the_spy_who_billed_me/2007/04/blackwater_usa_.html |work= |publisher=The Spy Who Billed Me |date=2007-04-26|accessdate=2007-09-28 ] cite news
first=Don
last=Bauder
title= Tiny Potrero Battles County and Blackwater USA
url= http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2007/feb/22/tiny-potrero-battles-county-and-blackwater-usa/
publisher=San Diego Reader
date=2007-02-22
accessdate=2008-04-13
] cite news |first=Lionel |last=Van Deerlin |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Blackwater in Potrero? |url=http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/op-ed/vandeerlin/20070419-9999-lz1e19vandeer.html |work= |publisher= |date=2007-04-19 |accessdate=2007-09-28 ] The opening has faced heavy opposition from local residents, residents of nearby San Diego, a local Congressmember Bob Filner, and environmental and anti-war organizations. Opposition focused on a potential for wildfire increases, the proposed facility's proximity to the Cleveland National Forest, noise pollution, and opposition to the actions of Blackwater in Iraq.cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Blackwater Plans for New Military Facility Near San Diego Draws Fire From Residents, Peace Activists and Local Congressmember |url=http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/04/19/1349211 |work= |publisher=Democracy Now! |date=2004-04-19 |accessdate=2007-12-12 ] cite news | first=Carrie | last=Khan | coauthors= | title=Blackwater's San Diego-Area Plan Spurs Protest | date=2007-10-09 | publisher=National Public Radio | url =http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15127334 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ] In response, Brian Bonfiglio, project manager for Blackwater West, said "There will be no explosives training and no tracer ammunition. Lead bullets don't start fires." In October 2007, when wildfires swept through the area, Blackwater made at least three deliveries of food, water, personal hygiene products and generator fuel to 300 residents near the proposed training site, many of whom had been trapped for days without supplies. They also set up a "tent city" for evacuees.cite news | first=Bill | last=Sizemore | coauthors= | title=Blackwater delivers supplies to wildfire victims in California | date=2007-10-26 | publisher=The Virginian-Pilot | url =http://hamptonroads.com/node/373811 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ] On March 7 2008, Blackwater withdrew its application to set up a facility in San Diego County.Fact|date=March 2008

In October 2007, Blackwater USA began a process of altering its name to Blackwater Worldwide, and unveiled a new logo.cite news | first=Paul | last=Von Zielbauer | coauthors= | title=Blackwater Softens Its Logo From Macho to Corporate | date=2007-10-22 | publisher=The New York Times | url =http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/22/business/media/22logo.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ] A Blackwater representative stated that the decision to change the logo was made before the September 16 2007 Nisoor Square shootings, but was not changed officially until after. Many referred to the change as having eliminated the previous "cross hair" theme, replaced by a reticle instead.

On July 21, 2008 Blackwater Worldwide stated that they would shift resources away from security contracting because of extensive risk in that sector. "The experience we've had would certainly be a disincentive to any other companies that want to step in and put their entire business at risk," company founder and CEO Erik Prince told The Associated Press during a daylong visit to the company's North Carolina compound. [Apuzzo M. & Baker M. (2008). Blackwater brand shift: Security to take back seat. Retrived from http://www.newsobserver.com/1573/story/1149203.html on July 29, 2008.]

Iraq War involvement

Blackwater Worldwide has played a substantial role during the Iraq War as a contractor for the United States government. In 2003, Blackwater attained its first high-profile contract when it received a $21 million no-bid contract for guarding the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, L. Paul Bremer. [" [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/01/1621244 Blackwater USA: Building the 'Largest Private Army in the World'] ". Democracy Now!. 2004-04-01. Retrieved on 2007-10-08.] Since June 2004, Blackwater has been paid more than $320 million out of a $1 billion, five-year State Department budget for the Worldwide Personal Protective Service, which protects U.S. officials and some foreign officials in conflict zones. In 2006, Blackwater won the renumerative contract to protect the U.S. embassy in Iraq, the largest American embassy in the world. It is estimated by the Pentagon and company representatives that there are 20,000 to 30,000 armed security contractors working in Iraq, and some estimates are as high as 100,000, though no official figures exist.cite news| url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/26/AR2007052601394.html| title= U.S. Security Contractors Open Fire in Baghdad| publisher=Washington Post| first= Steve| last= Fainaru| coauthors= Saad al-Izzi| date=2007-05-07| pages=A01] cite news |first=Brian |last=Bennet |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Victims of an Outsourced War |url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1599682,00.html |work= |publisher=TIME |date=2007-03-15|accessdate=2007-10-25 ] Of the State Department's dependence on private contractors like Blackwater for security purposes, U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker told the U.S. Senate: "There is simply no way at all that the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security could ever have enough full-time personnel to staff the security function in Iraq. There is no alternative except through contracts." [cite news |first=Adam |last=Zagorin |authorlink= |coauthors=Bennet, Brian |title=Iraq Limits Blackwater's Operations |url=http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1662586,00.html |work= |publisher=TIME |date=2007-09-17 |accessdate=2007-10-24 ] cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Additional Information about Blackwater USA | date=2007-10-21 | publisher=Los Angeles Times | url =http://www.latimes.com/media/acrobat/2007-10/32930222.pdf | work =U.S Senate Oversight Committee | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-28 | language = ]

For work in Iraq, Blackwater has drawn contractors from their international pool of professionals, a database containing "21,000 former Special Forces operatives, soldiers, and retired law enforcement agents," overall. [cite news |first=Bill |last=Berkowitz |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Blackwater Blues for Dead Contractors' Families |url=http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38379 |work= |publisher=Inter Press Service |date=2007-06-29 |accessdate=2007-10-24 ] For instance, Gary Jackson, the firm's president, has confirmed that Bosnians, Filipinos, and Chileans "have been hired for tasks ranging from airport security to protecting Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority." Between 2005 and September 2007, Blackwater security staff was involved in 195 shooting incidents; in 163 of those cases, Blackwater personnel fired first. 25 members of staff have been fired for violations of Blackwater's drug and alcohol policy and 28 more for weapons-related incidents.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Blackwater boss grilled over Iraq | date=2007-10-02 | publisher=BBC News | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7024370.stm | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ]

Fallujah and Al Najaf

On March 31 2004, Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah attacked a convoy containing four American private military contractors from Blackwater USA who were conducting delivery for food caterers ESS.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=The High-Risk Contracting Business | date= | publisher=PBS | url =http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/contractors/highrisk.html | work =Frontline | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-28 | language = ] The four unarmed contractors, Scott Helvenston, Jerko Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague, were attacked and killed with grenades and small arms fire. Their bodies were hung from a bridge crossing the Euphrates. [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/03/31/iraq.main/ "Residents hang slain Americans' bodies from bridge"] CNN.com. May 6, 2004. Retrieved on 2007-10-08.] This event was one of the causes of the US military attack on the city in the First Battle of Fallujah.Operation Vigilant Resolve, GlobalSecurity.org.] In the fall of 2007, a congressional report by the House Oversight Committee found that Blackwater intentionally "delayed and impeded" investigations into the contractors' deaths.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title= Report: Blackwater 'impeded' probe into contractor deaths | date=2007-09-27 | publisher=CNN | url =http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/27/iraq.blackwater/index.html | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-28 | language = ]

In April 2004, a few days after the Fallujah bridge hanging, a small team of Blackwater employees, along with a fire team of U.S. Marines, held off over 400 insurgents outside the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters in Al Najaf, Iraq, waiting for U.S. troops to arrive. The headquarters was surrounded and it was the last area in the city that remained in coalition control. During the siege, as supplies and ammunition ran low, a team of Blackwater contractors convert|70|mi|km|0 away flew to the compound to resupply and bring an injured U.S. Marine back to safety outside of the city.cite news | first=Dana | last=Priest | coauthors= | title=Private Guards Repel Attack on U.S. Headquarters | date=2004-04-06 | publisher=Washington Post | url =http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A53059-2004Apr5?language=printer | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ] [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Contractors in combat: Firefight from a rooftop in Iraq|url=http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=108061&ran=150812 |work= |publisher=The Virginian-Pilot |date=2006-07-25 |accessdate=2007-10-24 ] In April 2005 six Blackwater independent contractors were killed in Iraq when their Mi-8 helicopter was shot down. Also killed were three Bulgarian crewmembers and two Fijian gunners. Initial reports indicate the helicopter was shot down by rocket propelled grenades. In 2006 a car accident occurred in the Baghdad Green Zone when an SUV driven by Blackwater operatives crashed into a U.S. Army Humvee. Blackwater guards disarmed the Army soldiers and forced them to lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle their SUV from the wreck.cite news | first=Rod | last=Nordland | coauthors= Mark Hosenball | title=Blackwater Is Soaked: An arrogant attitude only adds fuel to the criticism. | date=2007-10-15 | publisher=Newsweek | url =http://www.newsweek.com/id/42487 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-28 | language = ]

Baghdad

On Christmas Eve 2006, a security guard of the Iraqi vice president, Adel Abdul Mahdi, was shot and killed while on duty outside the Iraqi prime minister's compound. The Iraqi government has accused Andrew J. Moonen, at the time an employee of Blackwater USA, of murdering him while drunk. Moonen was subsequently fired by Blackwater for "violating alcohol and firearm policy", and travelled from Iraq to the United States days after the incident. United States Attorneys are currently investigating.cite news | first=John M. | last=Broder | coauthors= | title=Ex-Paratrooper Is Suspect in a Blackwater Killing | date=2007-10-03 | publisher=New York Times | url =http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/04/world/middleeast/04contractor.html?hp | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ] The United States State Department and Blackwater USA had attempted to keep his identity secret. Despite the Blackwater incident, Moonen found subsequent employment. From February to August 2007, he was employed by US Defense Department contractor Combat Support Associates (CSA) in Kuwait. In April 2007, the US Department of Defense tried to call him back to active duty, but cancelled the request because Moonen was overseas.cite news | first=Robin | last=Wright | coauthors= Ann Scott Tyson | title=Iraq reveals $100 million purchase of Chinese arms | date=2007-10-04 | publisher=San Jose Mercury News | url =http://www.mercurynews.com/nationworld/ci_7080120?nclick_check=1 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ] cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title= Contractor involved in Iraq shooting got job in Kuwait | date=2007-10-04 | publisher=CNN | url =http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/04/blackwater.contractor/ | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-30 | language = ]

Five Blackwater contractors were killed on January 23, 2007 in Iraq when their Hughes H-6 helicopter was shot down. The incident happened on Baghdad's Haifa Street. The crash site was secured by a personal security detail, callsign "Jester" from 1/26 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Three Iraqi insurgent groups claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, however, this has not been confirmed by the United States.Fact|date=January 2008 A U.S. defense official has confirmed that four of the five killed were shot execution style in the back of the head, but did not know whether the four had survived the crash.cite news | first=Qassim | last=Abdul-Zahra | coauthors= | title=Suicide Bombing Kills 7 North of Baghdad | date=2007-01-24 | publisher=ABC News | url =http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2818435 | work =Associated Press | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-02 | language = ] [Pelton, Robert Young: "Licensed to kill, hired guns in the war on terror," Crown, 2006-08-29]

In late May 2007, Blackwater contractors opened fire on the streets of Baghdad twice in two days, one of the incidents provoking a standoff between the security contractors and Iraqi Interior Ministry commandos, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials. On May 30 2007, Blackwater employees shot an Iraqi civilian deemed to have been "driving too close" to a State Department convoy that was being escorted by Blackwater contractors.cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Contractors accused of firing on civilians, GIs|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20231579/ |work= |publisher=Associated Press|date=2007-08-11 |accessdate=2007-10-24 ] Other private security contractors, such as Aegis Defence Services have been accused of similar actions. Doug Brooks, the president of the International Peace Operations Association ("IPOA"), a trade group representing Blackwater and other military contractors, said that in his view military law would not apply to Blackwater employees working for the State Department. [cite news |first=Bill |last=Sizemore |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Iraq killing tracked to contractor could test laws|url=http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=117400&ran=74075 |work= |publisher=The Virginian-Pilot |date=2007-01-11 |accessdate=2007-10-24 ] In October of 2007, Blackwater USA announced that the company was taking a "hiatus" from membership in IPOA. [ [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119207104012555696.html?mod=googlenews_wsj "Blackwater quits security association"] by August Cole, The "Wall Street Journal", October 11 2007.]

On February 6 2006, a sniper employed by Blackwater Worldwide opened fire from the roof of the Iraqi Justice Ministry, killing three guards working for the state-funded Iraqi Media Network. According to 13 witnesses, the guards had not fired on the Justice Ministry. An Iraqi police report described the shootings as "an act of terrorism" and said Blackwater "caused the incident."Fact|date=May 2008 Iraqi Media Network concluded that the guards were killed "without any provocation."Fact|date=May 2008 The U.S. State Department, based on information obtained from Blackwater guards, who said they were fired upon, determined that the security team's actions "fell within approved rules governing the use of force." [Fainaru, Steve. " [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/07/AR2007110702751_pf.html How Blackwater Sniper Fire Felled 3 Iraqi Guards"] . "Washington Post" (2007-11-08). Retrieved on 2007-11-13.]

On September 16 2007, Blackwater guards opened fire in Nisour Square, Baghdad, killing 17 civilians in the Blackwater Baghdad shootings incident. Witnesses claimed that the attack was unprovoked and that the mercenaries, in the employ of the U.S., continued firing while the Iraqi civilians were fleeing. Two Blackwater helicopters were also spotted at the time, who witnesses say aided in the attack. However, Blackwater maintained that its guards were under attack and responded accordingly. The FBI found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and found no evidence to support assertions by Blackwater employees that they were fired upon by Iraqi civilians. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/world/middleeast/14blackwater.html F.B.I. Says Guards Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause - New York Times ] ] Federal prosecutors have narrowed their focus to three Blackwater employees. A number of victims and victims' families have filed a lawsuit against Blackwater in "Atban, et al. v. Blackwater USA, et al." [http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/blackwater-usa-sued-firing-iraqi-civilians%2C-according-legal-team-injured-sur] .

Legal status and oversight of Blackwater Worldwide

Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq was revoked by the Iraqi Government on September 17 2007, resulting from a highly contentious incident that occurred the previous day during which seventeen (initially reported as eleven) Iraqis were killed. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7033048.stm Blackwater 'killed 17', says Iraq] ] [http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/09/18/blackwater.iraq/index.html U.S. suspends diplomatic convoys throughout Iraq - CNN.com] ] The fatalities occurred while a Blackwater Private Security Detail (PSD) was escorting a convoy of U.S. State Department vehicles en route to a meeting in western Baghdad with United States Agency for International Development officials. The US State Department has said that "innocent life was lost." [http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/10/07/iraq.main/?iref=mpstoryview U.S., Iraq to probe firefight involving Blackwater] ] An anonymous U.S. military official was quoted as saying that Blackwater's guards opened fire without provocation and used excessive force. [http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN0439965120071005 Blackwater faulted by U.S. military: report] ] The incident has sparked at least five investigations, and the FBI says it will begin a probe. [http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3699197&page=1 FBI Opens Probe Into Blackwater] ] Blackwater helicopters were dispatched to evacuate the Polish ambassador following an insurgent assassination attempt on October 3 2007.cite news
first=Kim
last=Curtis
coauthors=
title=Ambush Injures Polish Diplomat in Iraq
date=2007-10-03
publisher=Associated Press
url =http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=3685330
work = | pages =
accessdate = 2008-04-13 | language =
]

U.S. Congress

On October 2 2007 Erik Prince was subjected to a congressional hearing conducted by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform following the controversy related to Blackwater's conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan.BBC News, [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7024370.stm "Blackwater boss grilled over Iraq"] , October 2, 2007.] [ [http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20071003153621.pdf Testimony of Erik D. Prince, Chairman and CEO, Blackwater For The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, October 2 2007] .] Blackwater hired the public relations firm BKSH & Associates Worldwide, a subsidiary of Burson-Marsteller, to help Prince prepare for his testimony at the hearing. Robert Tappan, a former U.S. State Department official who worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, was one the executives handling the account. [ [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=3692823 "Blackwater aided by PR giant"] by Richard Lardner, the Associated Press, October 5 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-13] BKSH, a self-described "bipartisan" firm (Hillary Rodham Clinton, when pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination, was also a client), is headed by Charlie Black, a prominent Republican political strategist and former chief spokesman for the Republican National Committee, and Scott Pastrick, former treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. [ [http://www.burson-marsteller.com/Integrated_solutions/Pages/BKSH.aspx BKSH web site] ] [ [http://www.narcp.com/about/index.php#black National Association of Republican Campaign Professionals (NARCP) Board of Directors: Charlie Black] ]

In his testimony before Congress, Prince said his company has a lack of remedies to deal with employee misdeeds. When asked why an employee involved in the killing of a vice-presidential guard incident had been "whisked out of the country" he replied, "We can't flog him, we can't incarcerate him." [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2182296,00.html "Iraq security firm denies trigger-happy charge"] by Ewen MacAskill, "The Guardian", October 3 2007.] Asked by a member of Congress for financial information about his company, Prince declined to provide it. "We're a private company, and there's a key word there — private," he answered. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/02/AR2007100202022.html "The man From Blackwater, shooting from the lip"] by Dana Milbank, "The Washington Post", October 3 2007, Page A02.] Later he stated that the company could provide it at a future date if questions were submitted in writing. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbDmwsuyrKA&mode=user&search= CSPAN video of the quote on YouTube] .] When the term "mercenaries" was used to describe Blackwater employees, Prince objected, characterizing them as "loyal Americans". [ [http://www.slate.com/id/2175210/nav/fix/ Blackwater Unplugged] by Bonnie Goldstein, Slate, October 3 2007.]

A Committee on Oversight and Government Reform staff report, based largely on internal Blackwater e-mail messages and State Department documents, describes Blackwater as "being staffed with reckless, shoot-first guards who were not always sober and did not always stop to see who or what was hit by their bullets."cite news |first=David |last=Stout |authorlink=David Stout |title=Report Depicts Recklessness at Blackwater |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/01/washington/01cnd-blackwater.html?bl&ex=1191556800&en=2794af83a6d6c99c&ei=5087%0A |publisher=New York Times |date=October 1, 2007 |accessdate=2007-10-04 ] A staff report compiled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on behalf of Representative Waxman questioned the cost-effectiveness of using Blackwater forces instead of U.S. troops. Blackwater charges the government $1,222 per day per guard, "equivalent to $445,000 per year, or six times more than the cost of an equivalent U.S. soldier," the report alleged. [http://www2.nysun.com/article/63821 "Blackwater Chief Defends Firm"] , The Associated Press, October 2 2007 By: RICHARD LARDNER and ANNE FLAHERTY ] During his testimony on Capitol Hill, Erik Prince disputed this figure, saying that it costs money for the government to train a soldier, to house and feed them, they don't just come prepared to fight. "That sergeant doesn't show up naked and untrained", Prince stated. ["The Washington Post", October 4 2007 By: DeYoung, Karen. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/02/AR2007100201037_2.html?sid=ST2007100201081 "Former Seal Calls Allegations Against Employees 'Baseless'"] ]

In the wake of Prince's testimony before Congress, the US House passed a bill in October 2007 that would make all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones subject to prosecution by U.S. courts, and Senate Democratic leaders have said they plan to send similar legislation to President Bush as soon as possible. [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,299370,00.html House Passes Bill That Would Hike Penalties for U.S. Security Contractors in Iraq] ] The legal status of Blackwater and other security firms in Iraq is a subject of contention. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/11/world/middleeast/11legal.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin Blackwater Case Highlights Legal Uncertainties] by Alissa J. Rubin and Paul von Zielbauer, The New York Times, October 11 2007.] Two days before he left Iraq, L. Paul Bremer signed "Order 17" giving all Americans associated with the CPA and the American government immunity from Iraqi law. [ [http://www.cpa-iraq.org/regulations/20040627_CPAORD_17_Status_of_Coalition__Rev__with_Annex_A.pdf COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY ORDER NUMBER 17 (REVISED)] ] cite news | first=Michael | last=Hirch | coauthors= | title=Blackwater and the Bush Legacy |date=2007-09-20 | publisher= | url =http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20892483/site/newsweek/ | work =Newsweek | pages =2 | accessdate = 2007-09-23 | language = ] A July 2007 report from the American Congressional Research Service indicates that the Iraqi government still has no authority over private security firms contracted by the U.S. government.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Blackwater staff face charges |date=2007-09-23 | publisher= | url =http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/09/23/blackwater.probe/index.html | work =CNN.com | pages = | accessdate = 2007-09-23 | language = ] On October 5 2007 the State Department announced new rules for Blackwater's armed guards operating in Iraq. Under the new guidelines, State Department security agents will accompany all Blackwater units operating in and around Baghdad. The State Department will also install video surveillance equipment in all Blackwater armored vehicles, and will keep recordings of all radio communications between Blackwater convoys in Iraq and the military and civilian agencies which supervise their activities. [cite news |first=John M. |last=Broder |title=State Dept. Plans Tighter Control of Security Firm |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/06/washington/06blackwater.html?hp |publisher=The New York Times |date=2007-10-05 |accessdate=2007-10-06 ]

Iraqi courts and legal action

On September 23, 2007, the Iraqi government said that it expects to refer criminal charges to its courts in connection with a shooting involving Blackwater guards. [cite news | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/world/middleeast/23blackwater.html | title = Security Firm Faces Criminal Charges in Iraq | work = The New York Times | date = September 23 2007] However, on October 29, 2007, immunity from prosecution was granted by The U.S. State Department, delaying a criminal inquiry into the September 16 shootings of 17 Iraqi civilians. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Blackwater-Prosecutions.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1193698557-WxIvWeVikzfXmRts13BWgA "Immunity Deal Hampers Blackwater Inquiry"] ] Immediately afterwards, the Iraqi government approved a draft law to end any and all immunity for foreign military contractors in Iraq, to overturn Order 17. The U.S. Department of Justice also said any immunity deals offered to Blackwater employees were invalid, as the department that issued them had no authority to do so. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7069173.stm BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq to end contractor immunity ] ]

Legal specialists say that the U.S. government is unlikely to allow a trial in the Iraqi courts, because there is little confidence that trials would be fair. Contractors accused of crimes abroad could be tried in the United States under either military or civilian law; however, the applicable military law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, was changed in 2006, and appears to now exempt State Department contractors that provide security escorts for a civilian agency. Prosecution under civilian law would be through the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which allows the extension of federal law to civilians supporting military operations; however, according to the deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s criminal division Robert Litt, trying a criminal case in federal court would require a secure chain of evidence, with police securing the crime scene immediately, while evidence gathered by Iraqi investigators would be regarded as suspect.

Non-Iraq services

Blackwater Worldwide was employed to assist the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts on the Gulf Coast. According to a company press release, it provided airlift, security, logistics, and transportation services, as well as humanitarian support. It was reported that the company also acted as law enforcement in the disaster-stricken areas, for example securing neighborhoods and "confronting criminals". [ [http://www.democracynow.org/2005/9/12/overkill_feared_blackwater_mercenaries_deploy_in Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans] ] Blackwater moved about 200 personnel into the area hit by Hurricane Katrina, most of whom (164 employees) were working under a contract with the Department of Homeland Security to protect government facilities, [http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=92177&ran=4586 ARTICLE: Blackwater employees create a stir in New Orleans (The Virginian-Pilot - HamptonRoads.com/PilotOnline.com) ] ] but the company held contracts with private clients as well. Overall, Blackwater had a "visible, and financially lucrative, presence in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as the use of the company contractors cost U.S. taxpayers $240,000 a day." [ [http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38379 US-IRAQ: Blackwater Blues for Dead Contractors' Families ] ] There has been much dispute surrounding governmental contracts in post-Katrina New Orleans, especially no-bid contracts such as the one Blackwater was awarded. Blackwater's heavily-armed presence in the city was also the subject of much confusion and criticism.

Blackwater is one of five companies picked by the Department of Defense Counter-Narcotics Technology Program Office in a five-year contract for equipment, material and services in support of counter-narcotics activities. The contract is worth up to $15 billion. The other companies picked are Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Arinc Inc.. [ [http://www.washingtontechnology.com/online/1_1/31393-1.html Five to vie for counter-narcoterrorism work ] ] Blackwater USA has also been contracted by various foreign governments. In 2005, it worked to train the Naval Sea Commando regiment of Azerbaijan, enhancing their interdiction capabilities on the Caspian Sea. [ [http://www.blackwaterusa.com/training/inter_default.asp Blackwater Training ] ] In Asia, Blackwater has contracts in Japan guarding AN/TPY-2 radar systems. [ [http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/10/blackwater-japa.html Blackwater: Japan's Missile Defense Force | Danger Room from Wired.com ] ]

Litigation

Blackwater is currently being sued by the families of Scott Helvenston and the three other contractors killed in Fallujah in March 2004. The families say they are not suing for financial damages, but rather for the details of their sons' and husbands' deaths, saying Blackwater has refused to supply these details, and that in its "zeal to exploit this unexpected market for private security men," the company "showed a callous disregard for the safety of its employees."Four family members testified in front of the House Government Reform Committee on February 7 2007. They asked that Blackwater be held accountable for future negligence of employees' lives, and that federal legislation be drawn up to govern contracts between the Department of Defense and defense contractors. Blackwater has counter-sued the lawyer representing the empty estates of the deceased for $10 million on the grounds the lawsuit was contractually prohibited from ever being filed. [http://www.onpointnews.com/docs/blackwater3.pdf]

According to an Army report, on November 27, 2004, a Blackwater plane, "in violation of numerous government regulations and contract requirements," crashed into a mountainside in Afghanistan, killing all six passengers on board.cite news| url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/04/AR2005100401425_pf.html| title= Blackwater Broke Rules, Report Says| first=Griff| last= Witte| publisher=Washington Post|date=2005-10-05| pages= D02] Several U.S. military personnel were on board because there was space on the cargo plane. Underqualified Blackwater staff made a series of errors leading to the plane crashing into a rock wall.fact|date=May 2008 Errors included failing to file a flight plan and failing to use oxygen masks, which may have caused the pilot to succumb to high-altitude euphoria. [Marc Pitzke, [http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,509852,00.html "The chronicle of a deadly Blackwater flight"] , "Der Spiegel", October 06 2007.] The families of the three soldiers killed — Lt. Col. Michael McMahon, Chief Warrant Officer Travis Grogan and Spec. Harley Miller — filed a wrongful death suit against Blackwater, alleging negligence. Presidential Airways, a division of Blackwater, questioned the validity of the Army's report, stating that it "contains numerous errors, misstatements, and unfounded assumptions." On April 19, 2006, "The Nation" magazine published an article titled, "Blood is Thicker Than Blackwater," concerning the families' lawsuit against Blackwater. The article discussed the removal of the word "armored" from already-signed contracts, and other allegations of wrongdoing. [ [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060508/scahill Blood Is Thicker Than Blackwater ] ]

On October 11, 2007, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit against Blackwater under the Alien Tort Claims Act on behalf of an injured Iraqi and the families of three of the 17 Iraqis killed by Blackwater employees during the September 16, 2007 Blackwater Baghdad shootings. [" [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/11/1340205 Family members of slain Iraqis sue Blackwater USA for deadly Baghdad shooting] ". Democracy Now!. 2007-10-11. Retrieved on 2007-10-11]

Controversy and criticism

: "See also: Blackwater Worldwide arms smuggling allegations"There are a variety of ongoing controversies involving Blackwater Worldwide that are not in direct relation to their specific and individual operations for the U.S. government. However, their role in their work is the factor of these controversies. Critics consider Blackwater's self-description as a private military company to be a euphemism for mercenary activities.cite news |first= Alice |last= Cherbonnier |title= Blackwater Reveals Underpinnings of 'Private Security' Industry |url=http://baltimorechronicle.com/2007/032607Cherbonnier.html |publisher=Baltimore Chronicle |date=2007-03-26 |accessdate=2007-09-28 ] Jeremy Scahill points out that Chilean nationals, mostly former soldiers, whose country of origin does not participate in hostilities in Iraq, work for Blackwater in that country, thus those Chileans meet the definition of "mercenary." [ [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/18/140201 Can Iraq (or Anyone) Hold Blackwater Accountable for Killing Iraqi Civilians? A Debate on the Role of Private Contractors in Iraq] ] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1162442,00.html U.S. contractor recruits guards for Iraq in Chile: Forces say experienced soldiers are quitting for private companies which pay more for similar work] by Jonathan Franklin, "The Guardian", March 5 2004.] At least 60 Chilean Blackwater employees were trained during dictator Augusto Pinochet's regime. [ [http://www.lafogata.org/irak/ira_12-3.htm La Fogata - Irak] Coletazos de Guerra Sucia En Iraq es icon] [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20040905234927/http://www.athensnews.com/issue/article.php3?story_id=17195 News Analysis: For security in Iraq, corporate America turns to Central and South America] by Louis E. V. Nevaer, "The Athens News", Athens, Ohio, June 28 2007 (archived)] [ [http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.1724225.0.0.php "Back in Iraq: The 'whores of war': America’s hired guns in Iraq have been called ‘the coalition of the billing’, but Blackwater mercenaries are accused of more than just taking the money"] by Neil Mackay, The Sunday Herald, September 27 2007] Author Chris Hedges wrote about the establishment of mercenary armies, referring to Blackwater as an example of such a force, asserting its existence as a threat to democracy and a step towards the creation of a modern day Praetorian Guard in a June 3 2007 article in the "Philadelphia Inquirer". [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20070811130034/http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20070603_What_if_our_mercenaries_turn_on_us_.html "What if our mercenaries turn on us?"] (archived) by Chris Hedges for the "New York Times", philly.com, June 3 2007.]

In March 2006, Cofer Black, vice chairman of Blackwater USA, allegedly suggested at an international conference in Amman, Jordan, that the company was ready to move towards providing security professionals up to brigade size (3,000–5,000) for humanitarian efforts and low-intensity conflicts. Critics have suggested this may be going too far in putting political decisions in the hands of privately owned corporations. [ [http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=102251&ran=202519&tref=po "Blackwater USA says it can supply forces for conflicts"] ] The company denies this was ever said. [ [http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=107950&ran=140774 "Inside America's private army" (continued)] ]

In December 2006, an Iraqi politician, Ayham al-Samarie, escaped from a prison in Iraq, where he was awaiting trial for 12 criminal corruption cases. Blackwater, which he had hired for protection before his arrest, allegedly helped him escape. [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16264322/ "Former Iraqi cabinet minister escapes police custody in Baghdad"] , "MSNBC" ] cite web
url=http://www.mcclatchydc.com/iraq/story/19838.html |title=Maliki blasts Blackwater firm for other incidents|first=Leila|last=Fad |publisher=McClatchy Newspapers |date=2007-09-19
] He said from Dubai he would return to the United States as he hadn't broken any U.S. laws and had fled Iraq because he feared he would be killed or kidnapped.fact|date=August 2008 He arrived in Chicago on January 9, claiming that an Iraqi judge had ordered his release, he feared being killed if he stayed in jail, and U.S. officials had assured him he would not be extradited to Iraq. fact|date=August 2008

On September 22 2007, U.S. federal prosecutors announced an investigation into allegations that Blackwater employees may have smuggled weapons into Iraq, and that these weapons may have been later transferred to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish nationalist group designated a terrorist organization by the United States, NATO and the EU.cite web|url=http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/2002/12535.htm|title=Foreign Terrorist Organizations List|publisher=United States Department of State|accessdate=2007-08-03 - USSD Foreign Terrorist Organization] cite web|url=http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000011_en_1|title=Terrorism Act 2000|publisher=Home Office|accessdate=2007-08-14 - Terrorism Act 2000] cite web|url=http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/45394.htm|title=Council Decision|publisher=Council of the European Union|accessdate=2007-08-14] The U.S. government was investigating Blackwater for these alleged crimes.MSNBC, [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17149369/ "Feds probe Blackwater links to arms smuggling"] , September 22 2007.] On October 4, 2007, the FBI took over the investigation.AFP, [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j-JDedemHNNq6z0KByaqzbMRbrCw "FBI probes Blackwater as Congress moves on Iraq security firms"] , October 4 2007.]

According to Prince, he stated in September 2007 that there was a “rush to judgment” about Blackwater, due to "inaccurate information".Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times, [http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/743a95c6-7119-11dc-98fc-0000779fd2ac.html "FBI probes Blackwater over shooting"] , "Financial Times", October 2 2007.]

In January 2008, Marshall Adame, a Democrat running for Congress in North Carolina's 3rd District, took part in a live question-and-answer forum where he was asked a question about Blackwater. Adame, who had served as a State Department official in Iraq recounted, "I saw them shoot people, I saw them crash into cars while I was their passenger. There was absolutely no reason, no provocation whatsoever." He then stated, "There is no place in the American force structure, or in American culture for mercenaries, they are guns for hire; No more, no less."fact|date=May 2008 This led Blackwater executive vice president Bill Mathews to send an internal corporate email to staff:

There is a man named Marshall Adame who is running for congress in our district. He just put a quote online which says he wants this company and all of us to cease to exist.

Do you like your jobs? Are you sick and tired of the slanderous bullshit going on in DC? If so, would you all mind joining me in reminding Mr. Adame that he is running for office in our backyard. Tell all your friends and family too. We welcome their assistance in making this point very clear to Mr. Adame.
Anyone who wants to send a letter may do so at the following address…....
His email is ....
He was too cowardly to put a phone number on the web. I ask that you keep your comments to Mr. Adame professional (well, mostly professional). We help him if our comments get threatening or too crass. Let’s run this goof out of Dodge….! [ [http://hamptonroads.com/2008/03/using-blackwater-campaign-issue Using Blackwater as a campaign issue] ]

As a result of the letter writing campaign Adame stated, "I feel very strongly about how extensively organized Blackwater has become, and I will do everything I can as a congressman to look into that, to find out whether or not the things they're doing are even legal." [ [http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/01/hbc-90002175 Blackwater and the Administration of Justice] Harper's Magazine January 19 2008] Ultimiately however, Adame was defeated in the 2008 Democratic primary by Craig Weber. [ [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Marshall_Adame] Congresspedia.org]

ee also

*UN Mercenary Convention
*Arms trade
*International Peace Operations Association
*
*Shadow Company
*Blackwater Watch

Notes

External links and references

wikinewshas|News related to this article
*
*

* [http://www.blackwaterusa.com/ Blackwater USA's official website]
* [http://www.greystone-ltd.com/ Blackwater's "Greystone" (international division) website]
* [http://www.blackwaterwatch.com Blackwater Watch] news aggregation site
* [http://blackwaterwatch.net/ Blackwater Watch]
* [http://www.blackwaterfacts.com/ BlackwaterFacts.com]
* [http://www.noprivatearmies.org/ No Private Armies]
* [http://stopblackwater.net/ Stopblackwater.net]
* [http://www.shadowcompany.com "Shadow Company"] Award-winning Documentary Film directed and written by Nick Bicanic (the only film with footage of Blackwater employees training and operating in Iraq) - praised for balance by both Democrats and Republicans - ranging from Amnesty International to Blackwater.
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/view/ "Private Warriors"] episode of ""Frontline" (June 21 2005), includes piece on Blackwater USA contractors
* [http://www.hcss.nl/en/publication/389/ The Strategic Contractor — op-ed 19 Sept 2007 by The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies]
* [http://www.waronwant.org/Mercenary+Trophy+Videos+13260.twl Blackwater trophy video in Iraq and link to report discussing Blackwater's actions around the world]
* [http://www.cfr.org/publication/14279/ Council on Foreign Relations: The Other Army in Iraq]
* [http://www.hd.net/drr235.html Dan Rather interview with Robert Young Pelton] on HDNET. (Go to Minute 37:50.)
* Journalist [http://barryyeoman.com/blackwater.html Barry Yeoman's Blackwater articles]
*P.W. Singer, "Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry" (2004).
*cite web
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date=2007-09-30
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* [http://www.insight-info.com/articles/item.aspx?i=793 US Fails at Enforcing Prosecution of Contractors]
*Ravenwood fictional version of Blackwater on "Jericho" http://firefox.org/news/articles/1247/1/Review--Jericho-Episode-Two-Condor/Page1.html http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2008/02/jericho-a-ratin.html

* "Licensed to Kill, Hired Guns in the War on Terror" by Robert Young Pelton, Crown Books 2006, 368. pp. Extensive material on Blackwater in Prologue and Chapter 2, "The New Breed," Chapter 5, "The Blackwater Bridge," Chapter 6, "Under Siege" which discusses Blackwater at An Najaf, Chapter 7, "The Dog Track and the Swamp," which chronicles Pelton's visits to Blackwater training facilities, one of which is a dog track, Chapter 8, running the Gauntlet, and Chapter 11, "The Lord and the Prince," partly about Erik Prince.

*cite web
last = Eisnor
first = DiAnn
authorlink =
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date=2007-10-22
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month =
url = http://www.platial.com/map/59362
title = Blackwater

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*cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
date=2007-10-22
year =
month =
url = http://www.prwatch.org/node/6642
title = Blackwater's Repositioning, Real and Imagined
format =
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pages =
publisher = Center for Media and Democracy
language =
accessdate = 2007-11-02
accessyear =


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