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How Blackwater Survived Iraq Probes Of Being "above The Law" - By Threatening To Kill Investigators

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Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, The NY Times reports that the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. However, as James Risen reports, a senior official of the notorious private security firm allegedly threatened to kill a government investigator leading the probe into the firm’s Iraqi operation. Stunningly (or not), the US embassy sided with him and forced the inspector to cut the visit short.

As The Times reports, based on documents which were turned over to plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Blackwater... According to the documents, the investigators found numerous violations, including changing of security details without the State Department’s approval, reducing the number of guard details and storing of automatic weapons and ammunition in Blackwater employees’ private rooms.

There were also discipline problems, with guards having parties with heavy drinking and female visitors, including one episode in which an armored Blackwater car was requisitioned by four drunken employees, who drove to a private party and crashed the $180,000 vehicle into a concrete barrier.

As the probe continued, apparently it irritated some people in power in Iraq...

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.

That's one way to kill an investigation dead.

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wiki: Theodore S. Westhusing

Colonel Theodore S. Westhusing (November 17, 1960 – June 5, 2005),[1] a West Point professor of English and Philosophy, volunteered to serve in Iraq in late 2004 and died in Baghdad from an allegedly self-inflicted gunshot wound in June 2005. At the time he was the highest-ranked American to die violently in Iraq since the start of the March 2003 United States-led invasion. He was 44 years old, married with three young children.
Westhusing served with what the U.S. Department of Defense called the "Multi-national Security Transition Command - Iraq". His primary duty was to oversee the training of Iraqis for civilian police duty, in collaboration with USIS, a private military company. In mid-May 2005 he received an anonymous letter alleging fraud, waste and abuse by USIS. He also witnessed many of the following charges as well. The accusations included the following:
  • forged employees' résumés claiming elite forces background
  • inadequate skills and competence of trainers
  • insufficient numbers of trainers in order to maximize profits
  • disappearance of large quantities of weapons, radios, and other equipment
  • employees boasting of killing Iraqis
Westhusing, who was left-handed, was found in his trailer with a gunshot wound behind his left ear from his own 9mm Beretta service pistol on June 5, 2005, a month and three days before his tour of duty was to end. He had a heated and confrontational meeting with General Petraeus that morning concerning these issues with USIS. A DOD Army report also stated that an administrator near his trailer had heard a very loud argument in Colonel Westhusing's office trailer before he was found dead by the contractor. Approximately an hour after this argument and the earlier meeting with Generals Petraeus the USIS contractors that morning, he was found by a USIS contractor who then altered the death scene before reporting it. A note was found at his side in which he wrote, in addition to a short explanation, "I am sullied - no more". Three of the seven numbered pages of the document by his side were not disclosed in the investigation.[5] This note was part of a journal he was keeping to document these issues. Other pages were excluded from the Army's final report because of what was considered sensitive government issues.

As it happens, I used to know someone who served with Westhusing who understood, via the grapevine, that it was a genuine case of a suicide (and that Westhusing was an exceptional, honourable man). Still, even if so, he must have been under a lot of pressure not to report on the dodgy dealings he believed he had uncovered.

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Blackwater awarded over $1bn from State Dept. since threat on investigator's life

The US State Department has allocated more than a billion dollars in contracts to the security firm Blackwater and its later manifestations since a top official for the company threatened a government investigator’s life in 2007.

The Huffington Post reported that the notorious security contractor Blackwater, its subsequent incarnations, and its subsidiaries have received more than $1.3 billion since the fall of 2007 for training and operations the world over.

In August 2007, State Department investigator Jean C. Richter said a Blackwater project manager, Daniel Carroll, told Richter “that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” where the investigator was observing - and criticizing - the company’s operations. The New York Times reported the details of the threat last month.

Richter and his partner in the probe were later asked by officials at the American embassy in Baghdad to leave. The next month, Blackwater guards infamously shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians at Nisour Square. The incident sparked outrage with American presence in Iraq among the local population. The US is currently trying to prosecute four of the five guards involved in the incident after a first failed attempt to do it in 2009.



Clearly the US government thinks there is nothing wrong with Blackwater's behaviour considering it continues to do business with this gang of criminals to the tune of $1.3 billion...

By association the US government is nothing but a gang of criminals and mass murderers themselves.

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