BACK IN IRAQ: THE ‘WHORES OF WAR’

America’s hired guns in Iraq have been called ‘the coalition of the billing’, but Blackwater mercenaries are accused of more than just taking the money.
Investigations Editor Neil Mackay examines the links between the security firm and the US political elite

EVEN FOR Blackwater, it was an atrocity too far. If an Iraqi government report is to be believed, Blackwater, a US mercenary company which is unofficially the world’s largest “for hire” private army, indiscriminately and without provocation opened fire earlier this month on civilians in a Baghdad street, killing at least 20 people.

Iraq immediately revoked the firm’s licence to operate in the country and moved to expel its staff and prosecute those responsible for the shootings, but Blackwater’s activities have since resumed.

This coincides with the release of a US Embassy report on the September 16 shooting, obtained by the Washington Post and described by a State Department official as a “first blush” account. It details the events, as given by Blackwater guards, and has stirred controversy in Iraq and Washington and prompted an inquiry into the role of Blackwater and other private security firms in Iraq.

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