The Blackwater incidents cited by Iraq's Interior Ministry as reason for the security firm to be barred from operating in Iraq include the deaths of four people with ties to Iraq's government-funded television network.
The first of those was the Feb. 2 shooting death of Suhad Shakir, a reporter with the Al Atyaf channel, as she was driving to work. She died outside the Foreign Ministry near the Green Zone, where top U.S. and Iraqi officials live and work.
Five days later, three Iraqi security guards were gunned down inside the fortified compound that houses the government-funded Iraqi Media Network, which is also known as Iraqiya.
Habib Sadr, the network's director general, said the three guards, members of Iraq's Facilities Protection Service, were at their post at the back of the complex. A towering blast wall was a short distance in front of them to protect the compound from Haifa Street, which is notorious for car bombings and drive-by shootings.
According to Sadr and Interior Ministry officials, the three were picked off one by one by Blackwater snipers stationed on the roof of the 10-story Justice Ministry about 220 yards away on the opposite side of the street.
The above is from Leila Fadel's "Blackwater blamed for deaths of reporter, 3 guards" (McClatchy Newspapers) on the mercenaries at Blackwater. James Risen's "State Dept. Tallies 56 Shootings Involving Blackwater on Diplomatic Guard Duty" (New York Times) offers this:
The State Department said Thursday that Blackwater USA security personnel had been involved in 56 shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq so far this year. It was the first time the Bush administration had made such data public.
To no surprise James Glanz and Sabrina Tavernise are back to shovel the usual crap they've provided on Blackwater throughout. Based on a a two-page report (put out by the US), they write a self-serving account that makes you wonder if they're sleeping with Blackwater? Unliked the Iraqi government's report, the two never use "self-serving" to describe the report. The report isn't worth noting here. It's nothing but distraction and you can tell that by the fact that the State Department is trying to publicly maintain distance from the report. But Tavernise and Glanz have no distance, they've been one-sided throughout on this story and today's nonsense further undermines their own standing as journalists.
A US-Iraqi commission to provide oversight of private security contractors in Iraq was still to meet on Friday almost a fortnight after an American firm was accused of killing 10 Iraqis by mistake.
[. . .]
But a joint statement from the commander of US forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and US ambassador Ryan Crocker, said the body -- conceived as a watchdog for the booming security industry in Iraq -- was still to meet.
"The full Iraqi-US joint commission on US government Protective Security Detail (PSD) operations in Iraq is preparing for its first meeting in Baghdad," the statement said.
Reuters notes: "The bodies of an Iraqi police lieutenant and his wife were found on Tuesday with gunshot wounds and signs of torture in Baghdad's Sunni district of Adhamiya, the U.S. military said." Which should beg the question why that detail was released now as opposed to Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday?
Dominic Evans (Reuters) reports that if the 59 announced deaths holds, September will be the lowest month of announced US service members deaths for the year. September in 2005 and 2003 was lower than the announced 59. Also worth noting is that M-NF 'elected' to allow DoD to announce deaths this month. The increased air war is also left out of the equation and no mention of the helicopter coming under fire and forced to land.
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