Well, Now We Know Why It Took So Long for Iraq to Kick Blackwater Out

By
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm

As DeLong noted, Blackwater lost its license to operate in Iraq in 2007, after its security officers gunned down innocent civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. Yet Blackwater didn’t actually leave Iraq until earlier this year, and even then it didn’t really leave. Many of its security guards were allowed to stay and work under a different name. And the State Department even extended the firm’s contract for Iraq.

But leave aside the State Department’s own questionable judgment for a moment. Now we have some inkling of why the Iraqis allowed the firm to stay:

Four former Blackwater executives said in interviews that Gary Jackson, who was then the company’s president, had approved the bribes, and the money was sent from Amman, Jordan, where Blackwater maintains an operations hub, to a top manager in Iraq. The executives, though, said they did not know whether the cash was delivered to Iraqi officials or the identities of the potential recipients.

Watch this become a major accusation in the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections. Jeremy Scahill, the company’s chief journalistic pursuer, comments:

While the Bush administration certainly protected Blackwater after Nisour Square, part of the reason for the alleged or attempted bribes may be this: As the US and Iraq negotiated the Status of Forces Agreement and the Iraqi government attempted to impose more authority over private military companies, the stakes got higher for Blackwater. An official license to operate in Iraq, which Blackwater did not have and long believed was an unnecessary formality, became crucial for Blackwater in order to continue on as the State Department’s prime contractor. To many Iraqis, Blackwater’s continued presence was a stark symbol of the country’s lack of sovereignty. It is an incredible fact that Blackwater has remained as long as it has in the country given the severity and extent of its alleged crimes and the rhetoric from Iraqi political figures about the company. It was not until March 2009 that the Iraqi government announced it would not extend Blackwater an operating license. In May 2009, Blackwater’s prime contract was awarded to competitor Triple Canopy. What is undeniable is that Blackwater has remained in Iraq much longer than most analysts predicted. The Times story may provide hints as to why this was the case.

I also love this section of the Times piece:

Reached by phone, Mr. Jackson, who resigned as president of Blackwater early this year, criticized The New York Times and said, “I don’t care what you write.”

Blackwater: so persecuted by the media! Don’t it turn your brown eyes blue?

Follow Spencer Ackerman on Twitter


Comments

7 Comments

Tweets that mention Well, Now We Know Why It Took So Long for Iraq to Kick Blackwater Out « The Washington Independent -- Topsy.com
Pingback posted November 10, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by attackerman, WashIndependent. WashIndependent said: Well, Now We Know Why It Took So Long for Iraq to Kick Blackwater Out http://bit.ly/sljwm [...]


uberVU - social comments
Trackback posted November 10, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by TWI_news: Well, Now We Know Why It Took So Long for Iraq to Kick Blackwater Out http://bit.ly/sljwm...


Mark
Comment posted November 11, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

Blackwater is one of the largest criminal enterprises running. They murder, take and make bribes, lie about everything, have total secrecy, control trillions of dollars and who knows if it is there at all, and above all they are not for our system of government. They have repeatedly said that they don't support public companies and think that everything should be hidden. How much did the Bush administration give to these guys in contracts that were not even bid. It is probably secret even though it is our (American taxpayer) money. There needs to be more accountability within the government concerning companies that won't divulge anything. Are they more trusted then the average American? Besides that, we don't need 'security' companies when we already have over a million troops. What do they do? Are they incapable of providing security? It is time to quit wasting money on private companies and have government workers do it! Since companies like Blackwater like to send all of their labor offshore and show no allegiance to the people of America I think that all government jobs should be taken back from them and given to the American people!


Mark
Comment posted November 11, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

Blackwater is one of the largest criminal enterprises running. They murder, take and make bribes, lie about everything, have total secrecy, control trillions of dollars and who knows if it is there at all, and above all they are not for our system of government. They have repeatedly said that they don't support public companies and think that everything should be hidden. How much did the Bush administration give to these guys in contracts that were not even bid. It is probably secret even though it is our (American taxpayer) money. There needs to be more accountability within the government concerning companies that won't divulge anything. Are they more trusted then the average American? Besides that, we don't need 'security' companies when we already have over a million troops. What do they do? Are they incapable of providing security? It is time to quit wasting money on private companies and have government workers do it! Since companies like Blackwater like to send all of their labor offshore and show no allegiance to the people of America I think that all government jobs should be taken back from them and given to the American people!


Scahill: Obama may be afraid of Blackwater « NWO News
Pingback posted November 11, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

[...] That sentiment was echoed by Spencer Ackerman at the Washington Independent, who also suggested a link between the alleged bribes and Blackwater’s continued presence in Iraq. “Now we have some inkling of why the Iraqis allowed the firm to stay,” Ackerman blogged. [...]


Scahill: Obama may be afraid of Blackwater. By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer « Kanan48
Pingback posted November 12, 2009 @ 1:24 am

[...] That sentiment was echoed by Spencer Ackerman at the Washington Independent, who also suggested a link between the alleged bribes and Blackwater’s continued presence in Iraq. “Now we have some inkling of why the Iraqis allowed the firm to stay,” Ackerman blogged. [...]


Progressive Nation » Blog Archive » Blackwater, Baghdad and Bribery, Made for Each Other
Pingback posted November 21, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

[...] Article: Well, Now We Know Why It Took So Long for Iraq to Kick Blackwater Out — Washington Independent Related Posts:Blackwater Heir Wants to Keep State Dept. Security ContractRory O’Connor: Declaring [...]


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.