Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Corruption

Blackwater/Xe is in the news again:
Senior executives at Blackwater Worldwide, the US security company, approved secret payments of $1m (£600,000) to buy the silence of Iraqi officials after its guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007, it was alleged today.

Blackwater, which changed its name to Xe in February, approved the cash in December 2007, the New York Times reported, following an outcry in Iraq over the killings. The paper said that Gary Jackson, who was then Blackwater's president, approved the bribes and that the money was sent from Amman, Jordan, where the company had an office, to a top manager in Iraq.

[snip]

In the shooting at Nisour square in September 2007, 17 Iraqis were killed when guards protecting a convoy of US diplomats opened fire a crowded at a crowded crossing. The guards were accused of acting like trigger-happy cowboys, who shot with no fear of consequences. The killings shone a harsh light on the role of private contractors in war zones and hardened Iraqi sentiment against the company, which had already been criticised for its mistreatment of Iraqi civilians.

The attempt to bribe Iraqi government officials – which would be illegal under American law – created friction within the company, the Times reported.

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