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Blackwater mercenaries resume patrols in wake of Baghdad civilian killings
Sunday, September 23, 2007 :Armed guards of Blackwater USA have resumed escorting American officials in Baghdad less than a week after the security company shot and killed at least 11 Iraqi civilians and wounded at least 13 others. The decision by the US embassy to send the mercenaries back onto the streets of the Iraqi capital came despite calls by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the US State Department sack the company, and a demand by the Iraqi government that security personnel from Blackwater and other security firms be stripped of their immunity from prosecution.
The redeployment of the Blackwater patrols flies in the face of Bush administration claims that it is building a “sovereign” Iraq government, and that the US occupation is making progress in its mission to bring “democracy” to the beleaguered country.
The US has dismissed the preliminary findings of an Iraqi government review, carried out by the Interior, National Security and Defense ministries, which found that the Blackwater guards had fired on Iraqi civilians September 16 without provocation. The US embassy to date has released no findings from a separate investigation it is conducting into last Sunday’s events. In its only statement on the incident, Blackwater USA has said the convoy was responding to an ambush.
The state minister for national security affairs, Shirwan al-Waili, said the Iraqi investigation was nearly complete and that he believed the findings were definitive. “The shots fired on the Iraqis were unjustifiable,” he told the New York Times, “It was harsh and horrible.” The Iraq government is also investigating six other violent episodes involving Blackwater this year that left at least 10 Iraqis dead and 15 wounded.Read More