Did Blackwater bribe Iraqi officials after 2007 shooting?

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By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The US-based private security company Blackwater is under investigation by the US State Department, which suspects the corporation of having bribed Iraqi officials, in order to gain permission to continue to operate in Iraq, after the 2007 Nisour Square massacre. The company’s license to operate in Iraq was revoked by the Iraqi government on September 17, 2007, a day after trigger-happy Blackwater guards indiscriminately opened fire in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, killing 17 civilians, including women and children. But information obtained by The New York Times shows that the company hired well-connected Iraqi lawyers, and may have tried to buy off Iraqi lawmakers, in order to regain the right to operate on Iraqi soil. The paper quotes “several former Blackwater officials”, who claim that “questionable [and often unrecorded] transfers of cash” were routine at Blackwater, which renamed itself to Xe Services after the Nisour Square fiasco. The former officials said that “millions of [US] dollars” were smuggled into Iraq by Blackwater operatives “usually carried in by hand in paper bags”. For several months now, the US Justice Department Criminal Division’s Fraud Section has apparently been investigating the mercenary company for possibly violating US federal laws preventing US corporate entities from bribing foreign government officials. Neither the US Justice Department nor Blackwater representatives commented on The Times allegations.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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