Monday, September 17, 2007
The Iraqi Ministry of Interior has cancelled the license of the North Carolina-based security/paramilitary-mercenary firm Blackwater after several of its employees allegedly opened fire randomly after coming under attack by Iraqi guerillas on Sunday in Baghdad left 8 civilians dead. All Blackwater employees have been told to leave the country except for those involved in Sunday's attack who will stand trial in Iraq, according to an Iraqi government spokesman.
A U.S. military census report released in December 2006 noted that there were then over 25,000 military "contractors"/mercenaries operating in Iraq. Blackwater is responsible for security of U.S. Department of State officials (pictured here with former U.S. viceroy Paul Bremer) and even guards convoys and U.S. military installations. Critics of military contractors say that they are under-trained, are not governed by rules of engagement, and do not have to answer to anyone, even the U.S. military, except their employer. Security contractors are often misleadingly referred to as "civilian contractors" when they are engaged in fighting or killed in Iraq. In reality they are serving as mercenaries.
The Washington Post U.S. Military Census Report article:
Blackwater Banned (BBC Interactive article)