How Did Specialist Ciara Durkin Die?

(CBS/AP) Exactly how Ciara Durkin died remains a mystery. The Army National Guard soldier from Massachusetts was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in Afghanistan last week, and now her family is demanding answers from the military.

Initially the Pentagon reported that Durkin, part of a finance unit deployed to Afghanistan in November 2006, had been killed in action, but then revised its statement to read she had died of injuries “suffered from a non-combat related incident” at Bagram Airfield. The statement had no specifics and said the circumstances are under investigation.

Durkin had a desk job doing payroll in an office about three miles inside the secure Bagram Air Base. About 90 minutes after she left work last Friday, her family says she was found dead near a chapel on the base with a single gunshot wound to the head.

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Blackwater’s Private Lynch moment.

Blackwater still under fire despite dramatic air rescue

It would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that this once again prooves that Blackwater’s Erik Prince can count on some very powerfull friends. What is it that makes Erik Prince so valuable in Iraq? Blackwater alledgedly only has a 1000 men in the country. One of the smallest footprints of any of the Mercenary groups currently employed in Iraq. Why is the US Government prepared to antagonise the congress and the American population over this corporation. There must be a 1000 men with equal skills to replace the Blackwater protection unit. Also, why was video material from an AP reporter convisgated by American Military personel on the scene? Would it proove the official story as portrayed by CBS evening news fraudulent or worse, engineered? Wake up and smell the putrid pit that is the Blackwater/Administration connection.(traqvellerev)

Like a scene from from an action film, Blackwater USA, the private security contractor under fire for numerous abuses in Iraq, was dispatched to rescue Poland’s ambassador after an assassination attempt on a busy Baghdad street today.

Despite being the subject of numerous investigations by Iraqi and American authorities, Blackwater is still indispensable, according to CBS News, which called it “essential to the American and international presence” occupying Iraq. CBS reports that the Blackwater air rescue unit was dispatched by the American embassy because it was the only such unit available.

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Iraqis: Put Blackwater guards on trial

BAGHDAD – The official Iraqi investigation into last month’s Blackwater shooting has been submitted to the government and recommends the security guards face trial in Iraqi courts, and that the company pay compensation to the victims, an Iraqi government minister told The Associated Press on Thursday.The three-member panel, led by Defense Minister Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi, finished its work earlier this week and submitted the report and recommendations to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday, the government minister told AP on condition he not be identified by name.

The minister said the report was issued under the signatures of al-Obeidi, Maj. Gen. Tariq al-Baldawi, the deputy minister of national security; and Maj. Gen. Hussein Ali Kamal, the deputy interior minister for intelligence and security affairs.

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Iraq PM says ‘unfit’ Blackwater must go

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday that Blackwater should leave the country because of the mountain of evidence against the under-fire US security firm.

His comments came amid growing anger among Iraqis that “above-the-law” security contractors are continuing to operate in Iraq while Blackwater is being probed over a deadly shooting 17 days ago.

“I believe the abundance of evidence against it makes it unfit to stay in Iraq,” Maliki told a televised press conference in Baghdad.

A New York Times report on Wednesday citing witnesses, Iraqi investigators and a US official said that as many as 17 people were killed and 24 wounded when Blackwater employees opened fire in central Baghdad on September 16.

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Private soldiers no longer above the law

A Hughes 500 helicopter operated by the US private security company Blackwater provide cover for a US ground convoy in Baghdad
A helicopter operated by the US private security company Blackwater provides cover for a US ground convoy in Baghdad. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images
 

The House of Representatives today passed a bill to end the immunity of private security companies such as Blackwater in war zones.Blackwater, at the centre of a controversy over the killing of at least 11 civilians in Baghdad last month, is, like the other 170 private security companies operating in the country, subject to neither US nor Iraqi law.

The House bill closes this loophole. It secured the support of both Democrats and Republicans and was passed with an overwhelming majority, 389 to 30.

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Diplomatic immunity: the latest attempt to keep Backwater’s employees from prosecution

Charges for Blackwater ex-guard? Lawyer doubts it.

The Seattle attorney representing a former Blackwater contractor under investigation in the high-profile shooting death of an Iraqi said his client is being pilloried by Congress and the media, and he questions whether criminal charges can ever be filed.

“There are jurisdictional issues. And there are factual issues, including the issue of self-defense,” said Stewart Riley, who represents Andrew Moonen of Seattle. “You have to remember that the Green Zone is still a war zone.”

Riley said he has represented Moonen, a former Army paratrooper, since January, just a few weeks after Moonen allegedly shot and killed the bodyguard to the Iraqi vice president during a Dec. 24 confrontation in the Baghdad “Green Zone,” the heavily guarded compound that contains the U.S. embassy and Iraqi government offices.

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