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Subject: Contractors over-reacting in Iraq: US general
gf0012-aust    9/28/2007 10:30:38 PM
this is pretty much what some internal aust internal sec assessments have said as well - that some of the gun-happy PMC's are undermining the credibility of the uniforms. also there is the non small fact that the ave iraqi doesn't see PMC and Military - they see people who walk like a duck, quack like a duck - and then must be ducks. source: ht!p:// ------------------------------------------------------------------- Contractors over-reacting in Iraq: US general Private security contractors, who are under scrutiny over the shooting deaths of 11 Iraqis this month, have over-reacted in some situations and used "over the top" tactics, a US general says. US defence officials say contractors in Iraq serve critical roles that free US troops up for other duties. But officers, often speaking privately, say the strong-arm tactics employed by private security contractors hurt troops' efforts to secure the trust and cooperation of Iraqi civilians. "I can certainly say I've seen them do some tactics that I thought were over the top," said US Brigadier General Joseph Anderson, chief of staff for the Multi-National Corps-Iraq. "Are they quicker with the trigger? Are they quicker to wave a weapon, brandish a weapon, other tactics, cutting people off? All of us have experienced, have seen different things at different times. I have seen them, in my opinion, over-react but that does not mean it's consistently the case," he told Pentagon reporters by videolink from Iraq. Security contractors have come under intense scrutiny after a September 16 incident involving US firm Blackwater, in which 11 Iraqis were killed after guards opened fire while escorting a convoy through Baghdad. Blackwater works for the US State Department in Iraq. The Defence Department employs at least 7,300 security contractors in the war zone, but none from Blackwater.
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ArtyEngineer       9/28/2007 10:47:31 PM
Below is what I posted over on BW's blackwater thread a week or so ago.
"I asked around today who all had experiences with Blackwater whilst over "There".  Wasnt a single positive response regarding their "Professionalism" or ability to abide by any sort of ROE.  I was given numerous instances of where QRFs had to go out and get them out of the Sh!t (Not just BW).  They were very poor at coordinating their movements, wouldnt listten to intel regarding routes NOT to take and had the ability to undo in one fell swoop alot of hard earned trust built up with the local populace. Apparently they were removed from Anbar Provence quite some time ago.  Regarding the highlighted statement.  I believe that to have been true several years ago when they were VERY selective on who they hired on sadly I dont think thats the case these days."
Since then have had an opportunity to talk to a commpletly dofferent bunch of folks regarding their experiance with Blackwater and other PMC's.  Responses ranged from a "A bunch of trigger happy c0cksuckers" to a simple shake of the head and a roling of eyes.  Again nothing positive. 
Personally I think its a case of a few ruining the rep of the majority.  But in this fight its more about PR and Perception than actual facts regarding performance. 
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AdvanceAustralia       9/29/2007 10:37:05 AM
"US defence officials say contractors in Iraq serve critical roles that free US troops up for other duties."

There is something contradictory about this statement. Most of the security people working for the contractors are ex-military. They are charged out at a thousand bucks a day so ultimately cost the US government more than soldiers in uniform. The high charge-out rates allow the contractors to offer big salaries which induce serving soldiers to leave the service. This affects military retention rates and hence manning levels, leading to more outsourcing of what would otherwise be functions filled by the military. The government's use of contractors at high rates only encourages this problem and furthers the cycle.

Back in 2003 I was working for a construction firm that tendered for the construction of a hospital in Iraq (can't remember where exactly). We had the lowest bid but lost out because our management wanted the right to pull us out if things got too hot. Fair enough, the show must go on. What I couldn't understand is that the client was the US Corps of Engineers (the US Army) but we had to provide our own security. Knowing how construction companies price jobs, this security would ultimately cost the US Army a lot more than if they provided security themselves.

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gf0012-aust       10/5/2007 3:04:39 AM
*US military 'critical of Blackwater'*

October 5, 2007 - 4:05PM

US military reports from the scene of a shooting incident in Baghdad involving security contractor Blackwater indicate its guards opened fire without provocation and used excessive force, The Washington Post said.

At least 11 Iraqis were killed in the September 16 incident, which has outraged Iraqis who see the firm as a private army which acts with impunity.

Citing a senior US military official, the Post said the military reports appear to corroborate the Iraqi government's contention that Blackwater was at fault.

*"It was obviously excessive. It was obviously wrong," an un-named US military official told the newspaper.*

*"The civilians that were fired upon, they didn't have any weapons to fire back at them. And none of the IP (Iraqi police) or any of the local security forces fired back at them," the official was quoted as saying.*

The Blackwater guards appeared to have fired grenade launchers in addition to machine guns, the official told the Post. He said US soldiers had reviewed statements from eyewitnesses and video footage recorded at the scene.

An Iraqi Interior Ministry official and five eyewitnesses described a second deadly shooting involving the same Blackwater guards minutes after the incident in Nisoor Square, the Post reported.

The FBI is leading a State Department investigation of the incident, which occurred as Blackwater escorted a diplomatic convoy in western Baghdad. The Pentagon and a joint US-Iraqi team are also looking into the incident.
North Carolina-based Blackwater has said its guards reacted lawfully to an attack on the convoy they were protecting.

In previously unpublished remarks prepared for delivery at a congressional hearing, Blackwater Chairman Erik Prince said the Blackwater guards "came under small-arms fire" and "returned fire at threatening targets," the Post reported.

Portions of the remarks dealing with the incident were left out of his testimony after the Justice Department warned Blackwater the incident was under investigation, it reported.

The Post did not say how they obtained these remarks.

Blackwater is also under scrutiny over other shooting incidents involving Iraqis.

© 2007 Reuters, (h!tp://
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GOP       10/5/2007 10:52:37 AM
Does anyone know what kind of background the guys in the unit (who killed the 11 civilians) had? They couldn't have been ex-SOF I don't think.
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gf0012-aust    US State Dept to keep watch on Blackwater convoys   10/6/2007 5:44:15 AM
US State Dept to keep watch on Blackwater convoys

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ordered tighter controls on US security contractor Blackwater, including putting cameras on its convoys, after last month's deadly shootings in Iraq.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said dozens of diplomatic security agents would also be sent to Iraq to accompany each convoy protected by Blackwater guards.

The firm, which guards US diplomats in Baghdad, has come under intense scrutiny in the US Congress and is under investigation over the September 16 shootings in Baghdad that killed 11 Iraqis.

"These (measures) are not meant to signal that the review or the investigation of the 16 September incident is heading in any particular direction," said Mr McCormack.

The new measures will apply only to Blackwater and not to two other key State Department security contractors in Iraq, Triple Canopy and DynCorp, he said.

Dr Rice took the actions after receiving an initial report by a special panel she sent to Baghdad to look into the September 16 incident and review overall rules for security contractors. Mr McCormack said more recommendations would follow.

Special agents would begin immediately accompanying Blackwater when the firm transports US diplomatic personnel outside the fortified international zone, he said.

Record of incidents


Video cameras and other recording devices would be loaded onto convoy vehicles and there would be increased communication between privately secured convoys and the US military.

"The idea here is if you have an incident, you have a record."

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said the company had encouraged the new measures.

Blackwater, which has earned more than a billion dollars from U.S. government contracts since 2001, has defended its work in Iraq and says it acted "appropriately" during the September 16 shootings.

Iraq's government insists there was a crime.

Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, said Iraq and the US administration would do a "radical review" of an order passed by the US occupation authority in 2004 that exempted security contractors from prosecution under Iraqi law.

He said the order probably needed to be rescinded and the Iraqi government had the power to take that action.

- Reuters

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gf0012-aust    update   10/12/2007 8:08:47 PM

source: OnPoint


U.S. Army: Blackwater Fired First

Soldiers: Blackwater guards fired at fleeing cars
First U.S. troops on scene found no evidence of shooting by Iraqis
By Sudarsan Raghavan and Josh White
The Washington Post
Updated: 1:05 a.m. ET Oct 12, 2007

BAGHDAD, Oct. 11 - Blackwater USA guards shot at Iraqi civilians as they tried to drive away from a Baghdad square on Sept. 16, according to a report compiled by the first U.S. soldiers to arrive at the scene, where they found no evidence that Iraqis had fired weapons.

"It appeared to me they were fleeing the scene when they were engaged. It had every indication of an excessive shooting," said Lt. Col. Mike Tarsa, whose soldiers reached Nisoor Square 20 to 25 minutes after the gunfire subsided.

His soldiers' report -- based upon their observations at the scene, eyewitness interviews and discussions with Iraqi police -- concluded that there was "no enemy activity involved" and described the shootings as a "criminal event." Their conclusions mirrored those reached by the Iraqi government, which has said the Blackwater guards killed 17 people.

The soldiers' accounts contradict Blackwater's assertion that its guards were defending themselves after being fired upon by Iraqi police and gunmen.

Tarsa said they found no evidence to indicate that the Blackwater guards were provoked or entered into a confrontation. "I did not see anything that indicated they were fired upon," said Tarsa, 42, the commander of the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. He also said it appeared that several drivers had made U-turns and were moving away from Nisoor Square when their vehicles were hit by gunfire from Blackwater guards.

Lawsuit filed
In Washington on Thursday, an injured Iraqi man and the families of three Iraqi civilians who were killed in the Sept. 16 shootings sued the company in federal court, calling the incident a "massacre" and "senseless slaughter" that was the result of corporate policies in the war zone.

Attorneys for Talib Mutlaq Deewan, who was injured in the shootings, and the families of Himoud Saed Atban, Usama Fadhil Abbass and Oday Ismail Ibraheem, who were killed, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking for unspecified damages to compensate for alleged war crimes, illegal killings, wrongful death, emotional distress and negligence. The lawsuit names Blackwater USA, the Prince Group and Blackwater founder and chief executive Erik Prince as defendants.

"Blackwater created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company's financial interests at the expense of innocent human life," the 17-page complaint says.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said the company was aware of the lawsuit and would defend itself vigorously. She declined to comment further on the Nisoor Square incident until an ongoing FBI investigation is completed.

Susan L. Burke, one of the lawyers who filed the suit, said the families approached legal representatives in Baghdad in the hope of obtaining accountability for the shootings.

The families "are hopeful we can make a difference," Burke said, adding that she hopes the case will shed light on the "cowboy culture" she believes contractors have fostered in Iraq. "There is a sense of wanting to do something to make it right."

In the hours and days after the Nisoor Square shootings, the Quote    Reply

Nichevo       10/12/2007 11:31:44 PM
I have no real standing to speak with authority on this issue.  If you like, there are pro-Blackwater blogs, believe it or not.  Let me just say two things, neither of which may be true:

1)  While a BW contractor may earn $600 a day, this is a) per working day deployed, not for 365 days a year, and b) does not include the raft of benefits available to the US fighting man;

and more importantly:

2)  No protective-service clients of BW in Iraq have been killed.  In fact, I believe they just rescued the Polish Ambassador (being guarded by someone else!) from an ambush.

If all the accusations are true (and are they ever?), it may be a problem.  However, as for "professional," professional means "getting the job done."  While all the bad press may not be so profit-oriented as some may imagine, a perfect record is.

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