civilian contractors

Strange Coincidence - former Xe guards asked to leave Iraq

Less than a week after the discovery of online video footage of an American Iraqi hostage, Issa Salomi, 250 former Blackwater security guards have been formally asked to leave Iraq (Iraq orders former Blackwater security guards out Washington Post, By Qassim Abdul-Zahra, February 11, 2010). One of the kidnappers' demands, as presented by Salomi in the online video, was "the expulsion of former Blackwater security guards."

That's an uncomfortably strange coincidence.

Iraq expels 250 ex-Blackwater staff

Al Jazeera, February 12, 2010

Making the announcement on Thursday, Jawad Bolani, the interior minister, said: "We have sent an order to 250 former Blackwater employees, who today are working with other security companies in Iraq, to leave the country in seven days and we have confiscated their residence permits.

"All of those concerned were notified four days ago and so they have three days to leave. This decision was made in connection with the crime that took place at Nisur Square."

Bolani was referring to an incident at the busy Baghdad square in September 2007, when five guards employed by Blackwater were accused of killing 14 unarmed Iraqis in a gun and grenade attack, and wounding 18 others.

Xe Neverending Corruption and Crimes of Blackwater

From TPM, we get this little tidbit of news concerning Blackwater, a corporation so tarnished with corruption, gun running, muder, prostitution and rape of minors and other legal issues that they changed their name to Xe to try and dump the image they had built for themselves and other mercenary groups:

A lawsuit filed by two former employees of Blackwater charges that
the controversial security contractor defrauded the U.S. government,
including charging it for strippers and prostitutes, the New York Times reports.

Perhaps the most explosive charge in the lawsuit -- filed by a
married couple, Brad and Melan Davis, is that the company put a
Filipino prostitute in Afghanistan on its payroll under the "Morale
Welfare Recreation" category, then billed the government for her salary
and plane tickets.

I think TPM gets this story mostly right... But it seems that Blackwater/Xe may have actually been double billing for the prostitues' flights, as well as pretty much anyone else they could book on their privatized fraudulent err farce:

Missing Man: Iraq and Contractors, Then and Now

Today's news via CNN:

  Missing man in Iraq identified as Army civilian employee

(CNN) -- An Army civilian employee missing in Baghdad, Iraq, since January has been identified as a 60-year-old man from California, the U.S. military said.

Issa T. Salomi of El Cajon was last seen in the Iraqi capital and has been unaccounted for since January 23, the Department of Defense said Friday.

Salomi was working with U.S. Forces-Iraq in the country. Search efforts are under way, the military said. No more information was available.

This is not "new" news -- civilian contractors in Iran have been having a rough go of things throughout this whole debacle. For more information, check out these recent stories by Susie Dow related to civilian contractors in Iraq:

  Thank You - A Sliver of Justice

and

  Americans Missing in Iraq as of June 2008

You may also find the following Journal articles of use, interest and relevance:

  • Missing Contractor: US Military Mechanics may Hold the Keys

    Missing Contractor: U.S. Military Mechanics May Hold the Keys

    Both Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick worked for Ultra Services of Istanbul, Turkey.

    October 9, 2003 -- Kirk von Ackermann left a meeting at FOB Pacesetter, a small and isolated...

    http://thejournal.epluribusmedia.net/index.php/features/42-the-world/71-missing-contractor-us-military-mechanics-may-hold-the-keys

  • Defense Base Act Conference - Part I

    In cooperation with the Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation, the Loyola Law School of New Orleans held a two-day conference in Washington D.C. on October 23 and 24, 2008. The conference coincided with the publication of a unique...

    http://thejournal.epluribusmedia.net/index.php/features/1-latest-news/195-defense-base-act-conference-part-i

  • Iraq Contractors - Raw Data From CENTCOM - Pt II

    Susie Dow and ePluribus Media issued a FOIA request in August of 2007 for Central Command (CENTCOM) for data on civilian contractors in Iraq.   New contractor census data addressing that request was recently received by ePluribus Media this October,...

    http://thejournal.epluribusmedia.net/index.php/features/1-latest-news/203-iraq-contractors-raw-data-from-centcom-pt-ii

 

Five Civilian Contractors In Iraq Held In The Death Of A U.S. Civilian Contractor

Hat-tip to Lady SaraBeth of Delphi Forums for the heads-up.

Our own intrepid Susie Dow has been writing about this sort of thing for months, along with some pieces by Jim Staro, Jan Barry, Connecticut Man, Cho and others. It's still happening. It's still not acceptable. But hopefully, this is the start of some degree of accountability. Via CNN:

__________

5 contractors held in U.S. death in Iraq

Five American security contractors have been detained in connection with the killing of another American contractor inside Baghdad's Green Zone, sources told CNN on Saturday. James Kitterman's bound and blindfolded body was found last month in a car in the heavily protected district. The 60-year-old Houston, Texas, resident owned a construction company that operated in Iraq. full story
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For those who are interested, we have a short compilation over the fold of some recent coverage on the stories of civilian contractors missing or killed in Iraq.