The ongoing case of the US private military contractor Blackwater – covered extensively on this site here and here – continues. Note the seeming inability (or unwillingness, probably) of the US establishment to stop using an outfit charged with serious cases of murder and mismanagement:
In the aftermath of the 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad by operatives working for Blackwater, top company officials including then-president Gary Jackson “authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were intended to silence their criticism and buy their support,” according to the New York Times. Seventeen Iraqis were killed and more than twenty others wounded in the shooting, prompting the Iraqi government to announce it would ban the company from Iraq with officials vowing to prosecute the shooters. Blackwater, however, remains in Iraq to this day.
According to the Times, “Four former Blackwater executives said in interviews that Gary Jackson, who was then the company president, had approved the bribes, and the money was sent from Amman, Jordan, where Blackwater maintains an operations hub, to a top manager in Iraq. The executives, though, said they did not know whether the cash was delivered to Iraqi officials or the identities of the potential recipients.” The Times notes that the bribes “would have been illegal”:
[A] federal grand jury in North Carolina, where Blackwater has its headquarters, has been conducting a lengthy investigation into the company. One of the former executives said that he has told federal prosecutors there about the plan to pay Iraqi officials to drop their inquiries into the Nisour Square incident. If Blackwater followed through, the company or its officials could face charges of obstruction of justice, and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bans bribes to foreign officials.
At present, Blackwater works in Afghanistan for the State Department, the CIA and the Defense Department. It continues to protect US officials there and guards visiting Congressional delegations. Rep. Jan Schakowsky told The Nation she was guarded by Blackwater on a recent trip to Afghanistan and that the company is involved with the security details of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke when they visit the country.