US Embassy Blamed State Dept Investigator For Upsetting Its Relationship With Blackwater After Investigator Complained About Death Threat

from the above-the-law dept

The "private security" contractor formerly known as Blackwater has often been accused of being engaged in what might normally be seen as a level of evil and depravity normally reserved for over-the-top movie villains. And yet, every time new news comes out about the company, it only seems to either live up to that reputation or take it even further. Blackwater is today known as Constellis Holdings as of a few weeks ago. Before that it was Academi. And before that it was also known as Xe Services for a while, as the company keeps trying to get further and further from its Blackwater reputation. NY Times reporter James Risen -- who the DOJ is currently trying to put in jail -- has an astounding report about how a Blackwater exec threatened to kill a State Department investigator, telling that investigator that nothing would be done if he were killed, because it happened in Iraq. Believe it or not, this was over the State Department investigator merely investigating claims of unsanitary conditions in a dining facility, rather than anything more serious:
Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
As chilling as that is, what may be even more ridiculous was the reaction of US embassy officials in Iraq, when they were told of this threat. Rather than siding with the State Department investigator, they sided with Blackwater, and whined about the investigator "disrupting" their relationship with Blackwater:
American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.
A few weeks after the State Department investigators were kicked out of the country by the US embassy, the infamous incident with Blackwater employees shooting up civilians happened. Following that, the State Department finally "took statements" from the investigators about what happened, "but took no further action." As Risen's report notes, when an investigation happened of the shootings, it appears that the warnings about Blackwater's out of control and "above the law" nature that the investigators had sent just weeks earlier were entirely suppressed.
Patrick Kennedy, the State Department official who led the special panel, told reporters on Oct. 23, 2007, that the panel had not found any communications from the embassy in Baghdad before the Nisour Square shooting that raised concerns about contractor conduct.

“We interviewed a large number of individuals,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We did not find any, I think, significant pattern of incidents that had not — that the embassy had suppressed in any way.”

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 7:57am

    Just another terrorist threat

    Somebody sure needs to disrupt that relationship. But really, over food services problems? No problem to small to cause death threats. Anyone else see a problem here? I thought the goal was to eliminate terrorists, not make more of them.

     

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  2.  
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    A nonny mouse, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 8:06am

    Re: Just another terrorist threat

    Well, that would be the Goverment's aim, but for Blackwater?

    A cynic may suggest their aim is to keep getting paid, and as they are getting paid to stop terrorists...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 8:10am

    Forgotten lessons of history

    The government should take a little time to refresh themselves about the Praetorian Guard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 8:11am

    Threats of Death...

    makes people do all sorts of screwed up stuff.

    Just look at post 9/11 American, now the most screwed up Nation in the World.

     

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  5.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 8:15am

    He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. - Nietzsche

    We need these people doing horrible things to keep us safe from those who might do horrible things to us, and if you dare get in the way you might just be another casualty on the field. Pity no one considered that condoning the actions of the greater of 2 evils, merely got the other side to step up their game... pushing each side further and further to win at any cost.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 8:30am

    It's a Corportion

    Silly, don't you know that Corporations don't have to abide by your stupid laws? They are people and will vote you out of office if you don't get your deference's in order.

     

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  7.  
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    Pixelation, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 8:33am

    When a US corporation makes terrorist threats, it's okay apparently...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 8:37am

    Aww...did it taint Blackwater's fragile reputation?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    Re: Forgotten lessons of history

    Indira Gandhi's ghost may have something to say about their reliability.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Call me Al, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:10am

    Look weasel words

    “We interviewed a large number of individuals,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We did not find any, I think, significant pattern of incidents that had not — that the embassy had suppressed in any way.”

    So what he is saying is that there wasn't a pattern of Blackwater threatening to kill US officials... well that is ok then.

     

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  11.  
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    sorrykb (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 9:56am

    The NY Times article and the accompanying documents are extraordinary. We need more of this kind of reporting.

    It should come as no surprise that a Blackwater exec would believe he can get away with murder, given that Blackwater employees have gotten away with murder on numerous occasions. But the fact that said exec would come right out and directly threaten a State Department investigator (and in front of a witness) underscores how utterly unaccountable this company is to any law or external authority. Blackwater has become a corporate pseudo-state, whose security is guaranteed by its own very well-armed military and by the constant flow of dollars guaranteed by its cronies in the U.S. government.

    Over 50 years ago, President Eisenhower warned:
    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.

    I fear we've gone beyond even his most dire predictions.

     

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  12.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    It certainly worked well enough for the banks in 2008. (No, seriously. When a few people take a few people hostage and demand money and political concessions or they'll kill them, we call them terrorists and terminate them with extreme prejudice. When a few people take the entire world economy hostage and demand money and political concessions or they'll kill them... hey, why aren't any SWAT teams showing up?)

     

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  13.  
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    DOlz (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:01am

    Re:

    "We need these people doing horrible things to keep us safe from those who might do horrible things to us, …”

    No we don’t need people to do horrible things on our behalf. When we sink to the level of our enemies, we become our enemies. We need to find better ways to solve our problems after all not all of problems are nails.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:11am

    'out of control and "above the law" nature' now why does this sound familiar, i have to ask?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:13am

    At least we know what to expect from private law enforcement councils (LEC), and their militarized private mercenary army under their command. Known as SWAT.

    After all, Iraq was built in a image that American leaders wanted it to be built in. Private Blackwater Mercs and all. Now we see that image being reflected back home in the form of private law enforcement councils (LEC).

     

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  16.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    Those that forget history are bound to repeat it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    David, Jun 30th, 2014 @ 11:45am

    Re: Threats of Death...

    Not much different pre 9/11. It's more like post-Eisenhower that Americans were reeducated into cowardice, making 9/11 a windfall event.

    The sad thing is that 9/11 was a large pushover win for those forces turning the U.S.A. into the axis of evil, the administrative/industrial/military complex.

    You cannot fight darkness with darkness. It is light that defeats darkness.

    There are hardly any significant international terrorist leaders or similarly perceived threats which have not been trained and/or installed by the CIA.

     

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  18.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Jul 1st, 2014 @ 12:31am

    The "private security" contractor formerly known as Blackwater has often been accused of being engaged in what might normally be seen as a level of evil and depravity normally reserved for over-the-top movie villains...
    ...and democratically elected governments.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Jul 1st, 2014 @ 12:34am

    Re: Re:

    We have met the enemy and he is us.
    - Walt Kelly

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2014 @ 3:51am

    A corporate exec so scared of criticism of the dining hall that he's willing to threaten a US government official?

    Blackwater's security personnel have always sounded like a bunch of wash-out soldier wannabes, but apparently they had one helluva badass Lunch Lady.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2014 @ 10:01am

    “We interviewed a large number of individuals,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We did not find any, I think, significant pattern of incidents that had not (left anyone alive, therefore could not prove) — that the embassy had suppressed in any way.”

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Been There, Done That, Jul 1st, 2014 @ 10:52pm

    Sounds right up there with "I know where your kids go to school." And someone felt the need to report this guy up the line? Stand down, fagot, there's a war on, let the boys sling some lead.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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