Blackwater Raw Deal ??

Blackwater Raw Deal ??

This is a discussion on Blackwater Raw Deal ?? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I'm no authority on the matter but it seems to me that Blackwater Security being investigated for shooting first in a firefight is getting a ...

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Thread: Blackwater Raw Deal ??

  1. #1
    Member Array Bob66's Avatar
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    Blackwater Raw Deal ??

    I'm no authority on the matter but it seems to me that Blackwater Security being investigated for shooting first in a firefight is getting a raw deal.

    If it were me and I was being paid to protect others I'm sure I would try to shoot first. It's bad enough that I would be surrounded by people with guns. If someone pointed a gun at me or my charge I had better shoot first. What do they expect Blackwater to do let them shoot first and make sure they harm or kill? He who shoots first usually lives or protects his charge in this area of the world.

    I think they try to make positive events look bad in order to fit their agenda of distorting the facts.

    This accusation is even made after the shooting, the reporters were not even there to see what happened at the time. Video shows a lot of spent brass laying around but thats about all.

    (Quote) Anne Tyrrell, a spokeswoman for Blackwater, denied that assertion.
    "To my knowledge that's inaccurate," Tyrrell said. "I would urge caution in trusting the source."

    (Quote) The Iraqi government said it will file criminal charges against the Blackwater employees, according to Iraq's Interior Ministry. It's not clear how Iraqi courts would attempt to bring the contractors to trial.

    Link: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/...ort/index.html
    Last edited by Bob66; October 5th, 2007 at 06:06 AM. Reason: Add puntuation


  2. #2
    EW3
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    I have real mixed feelings about them over there, especially since they don't fall under the DOD's Rules Of Engagement. This was an incident that happened earlier this year involving the Air Force and Blackwater:

    Air Force drops charges in clash with Blackwater contractor
    The Air Force has dropped all charges against two officers involved in a road-rage incident with a Blackwater USA contractor in Afghanistan and has launched an investigation into the possibility of witness tampering in the case.

    The decision will mean more scrutiny of a high-profile clash between the uniformed military and the growing force of private contractors on the battlefield.

    Lt. Cols. Gary Brown and Christopher Hall could have faced a potentially career-ending court-martial over accusations that they rammed a vehicle driven by Blackwater contractor Jimmy Bergeron on a busy Kabul road Sept. 19 and that they assaulted and threatened Bergeron in a confrontation after the collision.

    After a preliminary hearing in February, an Air Force investigating officer recommended that the charges be dropped, suggesting that Bergeron was the aggressor in the incident and citing evidence that someone might have tried to bribe Afghan security guards to testify falsely about it.

    Lt. Gen. Gary North, commander of the 9th Air Force, agreed and dismissed all charges against the two officers, the Air Force announced over the weekend.

    In addition, the Air Force said, "the possibility of witness tampering raised questions about the integrity of critical evidence in the case. An investigation into this allegation is under way."

    At the preliminary hearing, Brown and Hall testified that it was Bergeron, driving a sport utility vehicle with blacked-out windows, who bumped their vehicle - not the other way around - and that they feared he was a suicide bomber. When they stopped, Bergeron got out and approached the Air Force vehicle. A shouting match ensued, and the officers drew their weapons.

    It was only after Brown pointed his rifle at Bergeron and clicked off the safety that Bergeron identified himself as an American, Brown testified.

    Bergeron was deployed by Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater under a contract with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to train an Afghan narcotics interdiction force.

    Lt. Col. Leslea Pickle, the investigating officer who presided over the preliminary hearing - known as an Article 32 hearing - wrote in her report that, before leaving Kabul, she was approached by the commander of the Afghan guards stationed at the gate of Camp Eggers, the U.S. base where the confrontation occurred.

    The commander "wanted to report an attempt to bribe his guards," Pickle wrote. "He reported that he was contacted numerous times in an effort to convince him to have the Afghan guards testify falsely."

    Pickle did not say who made the alleged bribery attempts or what testimony was being sought.

    Anne Tyrrell, a Blackwater spokeswoman, said in an e-mail statement that "the allegations of bribery involve someone other than a Blackwater-affiliated person attempting to bribe Afghan guards to change their testimony and falsely claim that a Blackwater contractor was at fault."
    "Naked and Starving as They are We Cannot Enough Admire the Incomparable Patience and Fidelity of the Soldiery" George Washington, Valley Forge, 1777.

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    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    If I was driving in Iraq and got bumped and someone tried to get out of the vehicle I think the chances of that person getting shot would be pretty high.

    Austin

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    Member Array Bob66's Avatar
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    I'm probably only stirring the pot here because I don't know all the facts. If a search is made on Blackwater, Blackwater shoots first, Blackwater shoots civilians or other similar catch phrase, they almost always lead to some left wing liberal site that tries to make Blackwater look bad.

    I still think working in a country surrounded by people with guns and someone points a gun at me I would rather shoot first and suffer the consequences if any, at least I might live and protect those who paid me. Same goes for here in the states, only we're not surrounded by people with guns yet, although I do believe we would be a more polite society if we were. We are getting to be more with CCW though and us that carry seem to be pretty well behaved.

    I realize these people are getting paid for what they do but I think it takes a special person to do this. It also takes a very special person to volunteer for any of the Armed Services today and take the meager pay they get to place their lives on the line for us and our Country. We have an all volunteer Armed Service and they are still signing up. God Bless them all.

    Bob

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    Senior Member Array Scot Van's Avatar
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    Conjecture

    I think it is extremely important to remember that the American media has an agenda. To speculate on the actions of ANY fighting group on the ground abroad isn't something I'm willing to do. If you're willing to play judge and jury, you're willing to first rely on the validity of the information barfed up by the American political machine.

    Even the Iraqi 'government' (which really isn't in place yet) isn't sure of what they're charging, and even when they are, remember that it is the same 'government' that misplaced 340 million dollars in assistance funding. I am unwilling to formulate an opinion on this story because the overwhelming ambiguity of the 'facts', favoring instead the limited information coming directly from Mr. Prince's own mouth. Bear in mind that any newspaper editor or columnist has but one job...to sell.

    I will say this. Having read lots of material concerning this, including the Scahill book, I think it is egretious to think we know ANYTHING about ANYTHING remotely related to the actual workings of this company. The latest information? Here's what I just read

    "A staff report compiled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on behalf of Representative Waxman questioned the cost-effectiveness of using Blackwater forces instead of United States troops. Blackwater charges the government $1,222 per day per guard, "equivalent to $445,000 per year, or six times more than the cost of an equivalent U.S. soldier," the report alleged. During his testimony on Capitol Hill, Erik Prince disputed this figure, saying that it costs money for the government to train a soldier, to house and feed them, they don't just come prepared to fight. That sergeant doesn't show up naked and untrained", Prince stated. "

    Whether or not the stated figure is accurate seems irrelevant to me. The last time I checked, the American government is free by common business practice, to pay whatever they determine is a fair price. The GOING RATE for the skills and specialties featured by this group of operatives was whatever it was...our government didn't have to take it. If our government didn't like the price tag, they NEVER had to use Blackwater.

    Besides, if anyone wants to talk about fleecing, let's talk about Halliburton FIRST, ok?

    Finally, to call this group a 'mercenary army' isn't fair. Remember that the group is mostly comprised of ex-US military and law enforcement...that means that these guys are LOYAL to the United States. They have families and homes that they love very much. Many of them are decorated veterans, and to assume that they would shed loyalties so easily is to greatly underestimate their convictions. The term 'Mercenary' implied that they would fight for the highest bidder, regardless of conviction, and that isn't only innacurate...it is wrong. I implore fellow forum member to delay judgement on ANY issue until somebody offers the facts.
    Last edited by Scot Van; October 6th, 2007 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Emboldened text for clarification.
    A man in the hands of his enemies is flesh, and shudderingly vulnerable. - author unknown

  6. #6
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    EW3 - I won't comment on the current BW situation as I have been before (and will be again) involved with the contract itself on some level. I also have some mixed feelings about the current contractor situation over there. However, a few points in your other article lept out at me:

    1 - Did these USAF officers not notice that the man they were arguing with was speaking English, was (in all likelyhood) dressed in 511s and a military/LEO/Blackwater shirt, was covered in US military tattoos, and so on? I've spent 15 months in Afghanistan, working with both military and civilian agencies, and I could tell an American from an Afghan from 300 meters, period. I'm not buying the "he didn't ID himself as an American" line as reported.

    This is basically a he said/she said, and apparently there was enough "he said" to warrant charges against the USAF officers. The fact that the USAF immediately dismissed all of these charges based solely on allegations of attempted witness tampering strikes me as extremely odd. Can you imagine a person on trial here getting all of their charges dismissed based on something as flimsy as this? The person reporting these allegations (another USAF officer) didn't even say that the allegations had anything to do with the case in question! To me (and keep in mind, I have 16 years in the Big Green Machine, so I'm not looking to dig on the military or support BW) this reeks of "thank God, now I can make this all disappear," from the Commander of the 9th Air Force.

    Look, BW has its issues. There are serious allegations about the 16 SEP incident that need to be fully investigated. But to paint all of the contractors over there as loose-cannon, blood-thirsty, trigger-happy cowboys is simply wrong, and I know this first hand. Keep in mind that, days after this story broke, and while they were being raked over the media coals, BW contractors pulled the Polish Ambassador to Iraq out of his burning vehicle, evacuated him on their own helicopter, and continued their 100% success rate in protecting people in the most dangerous environments on earth.

    If people did something wrong - punish them. If there are flaws in the system, fix them. But don't throw out the baby with the bathwater...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Senior Member Array Rugerman's Avatar
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    The bottom line here is that our govt has had one hand tied behind their back while fighting this war. Blackwater becomes the free hand to cover the one that is tied. If you take away the govt's ability to utilize Blackwater you are really asking for us to throw in the white towel. The Democrats don't want us to be able to fight that is why we have such crazy ROE's in the first place. Read the book "Lone Survivor" and you will understand that we are asking our troops to go to war but won't let them protect themselves. Outside contractors on the other hand don't fall within the same rules so therefore we can use them to get the job done right. All of these Democrats complaining about Blackwater are the same ones that have been protected by Blackwater when they visit over there. It is a very sad picture we are painting.
    George Washington: "A free people ought to be armed."

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugerman View Post
    The bottom line here is that our govt has had one hand tied behind their back while fighting this war. Blackwater becomes the free hand to cover the one that is tied. If you take away the govt's ability to utilize Blackwater you are really asking for us to throw in the white towel. The Democrats don't want us to be able to fight that is why we have such crazy ROE's in the first place. Read the book "Lone Survivor" and you will understand that we are asking our troops to go to war but won't let them protect themselves. Outside contractors on the other hand don't fall within the same rules so therefore we can use them to get the job done right. All of these Democrats complaining about Blackwater are the same ones that have been protected by Blackwater when they visit over there. It is a very sad picture we are painting.

    I think you hit the nail on the head there buddy. But I wholeheartedly differ with you on the fact that armed, combatant "contractors" (read MERC's) are a good thing. If the mission cannot be accomplished with existing ROE, you either change the ROE or change the mission, you don't send a bunch of cowboys in that by way of a loophole don't have to follow anybody's rules and are all but impossible to hold accountable for anything. Sure they have great percentages, but they don't have to submit to any oversight or follow anybody's rules. They may get the job done, and that makes people happy, just so long as you don't find out how they did it. I know some of the people here are affiliated with some of these organizations and I don't want to paint with a broad brush that they're all bad, they're not. But when there is no accountability, and no oversight, you don't end up culling the bad apples. I'm sure even they can agree with that. When all is said and done, I don't think we want to be sending the Hessian's to do our dirty work for us though. JMO

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    blueeyedevil - to clarify, they ARE required to follow somebody's rules. There are absolute, black and white ROEs in place for all contractors that work for the US Govt (those working for private companies have them, too, but I can't speak to exactly what they entail.) I can tell you that the ROEs for BW contractors are appropriate to their environment, and are not significantly different then the military's. They are not sent out without rigid, plain language rules and regs. The problem lies in the punishment of those that BREAK these well defined rules...

    We (obviously) can't have them tried under Iraqi "law," at least not at this stage of the game. We should (and probably soon will) be able to prosecute them under US law. The problem there is in investigations - it isn't like going to a house on main street and asking the neighbors what happened; conducting a criminal investigation in a place like Baghdad is...complicated, to say the least. Somehow, a middle ground must be met where these guys are accountable for lawlessness, without railroading them or crippling the federal law enforcement community by having them investigate every claim of misconduct that might arise (and there are tons of completely bogus claims raised every day...remember when the Iraqis were up in arms because our night vision could "see through women's clothes?")

    I also dislike the term mercenary, as it denotes a willingness to work for a foreign govenment. Very, very few BW folks would do that. These guys are, by and large, patriotic Americans, doing something for the war effort that few people are willing or able to do.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    I thinbk the Blackwater affair is going the same way that Executives Outcomes & Sierra Leone. EO did a fantastic job erradicating the nutjobs that were terrorizing the country and massacring innocent civilians. But the UN got a wind of thier success and put pressure in the Sierra Leone govermnent and passed those stupid regulations against "mercenaries".
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Well, I just saw on the news that Blackwater is now going to be required to have video in all of their vehicles and all radio traffic is to be recorded. This was ordered by the Secretary of State. This wont answer the questions about what has already happened, but should make any future investigations easier.

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    There was another directive in that memo from SECSTATE that may very well have quite a large impact on ol' OPFOR... :)
    Last edited by OPFOR; October 6th, 2007 at 11:30 AM.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Member Array Gadfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    Well, I just saw on the news that Blackwater is now going to be required to have video in all of their vehicles and all radio traffic is to be recorded. This was ordered by the Secretary of State. This wont answer the questions about what has already happened, but should make any future investigations easier.
    Pure window-dressing for popular consumption.

    "Daaannngg! Video camera got all shot up . . . ."

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    Distinguished Member Array bandit383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    These guys are, by and large, patriotic Americans, doing something for the war effort that few people are willing or able to do.
    They do it for one reason and one reason only...money.

    Rick

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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    EW3 - I won't comment on the current BW situation as I have been before (and will be again) involved with the contract itself on some level. I also have some mixed feelings about the current contractor situation over there. However, a few points in your other article lept out at me:

    1 - Did these USAF officers not notice that the man they were arguing with was speaking English, was (in all likelyhood) dressed in 511s and a military/LEO/Blackwater shirt, was covered in US military tattoos, and so on? I've spent 15 months in Afghanistan, working with both military and civilian agencies, and I could tell an American from an Afghan from 300 meters, period. I'm not buying the "he didn't ID himself as an American" line as reported.

    This is basically a he said/she said, and apparently there was enough "he said" to warrant charges against the USAF officers. The fact that the USAF immediately dismissed all of these charges based solely on allegations of attempted witness tampering strikes me as extremely odd. Can you imagine a person on trial here getting all of their charges dismissed based on something as flimsy as this? The person reporting these allegations (another USAF officer) didn't even say that the allegations had anything to do with the case in question! To me (and keep in mind, I have 16 years in the Big Green Machine, so I'm not looking to dig on the military or support BW) this reeks of "thank God, now I can make this all disappear," from the Commander of the 9th Air Force.

    Look, BW has its issues. There are serious allegations about the 16 SEP incident that need to be fully investigated. But to paint all of the contractors over there as loose-cannon, blood-thirsty, trigger-happy cowboys is simply wrong, and I know this first hand. Keep in mind that, days after this story broke, and while they were being raked over the media coals, BW contractors pulled the Polish Ambassador to Iraq out of his burning vehicle, evacuated him on their own helicopter, and continued their 100% success rate in protecting people in the most dangerous environments on earth.

    If people did something wrong - punish them. If there are flaws in the system, fix them. But don't throw out the baby with the bathwater...
    OPFOR....
    The reports of this incident indicated the contractor was dressed not in 5.11 gear, but in local tribeman garb with LBV, full beard, etc....personally, I think the only mistake the officers made was NOT shooting him. He demonstrated to be a threat (driving alongside and ramming them and ramming from behind), and based on the timeframe and location of the incident (there had been VBIED attack which killed local guard outside the embassy within 7-10 days prior), they would have been justified in shooting. There were no distinguishing markings on the contractors vehicle (orange panel, flag, etc); whereas the officers were in their vehicle, in uniform...

    IRT the case--there was an overeager JAG who wanted to pin "something" on somebody in theater and this is the case they got. This should have been a non-issue--the 2 AF officers should not have been charged. They followed their training and used their best judgment (which saved this contractor's life), and were being punished for it. In fact, immediately after this happened, the officers reported it to the MPs at their destination--that is how the investigation started--somewhere it was turned around on them...
    Magazine <> clip - know the difference

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    You have never lived until you have almost died. For those that have fought for it, life has a special flavor the protected will never know

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