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Posts Tagged ‘civilian deaths’

Blackwater and the war on Pakistan

In foreign policy, war and peace on December 1, 2009 at 2:07 am

According to freelance journalist Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater security forces are operating within Pakistan. Scahill is a sort of expert on the mercenary outfit and its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2007, he wrote The New York Times bestseller, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”

In an article last week in The Nation, Scahill says that members of an elite division of Blackwater are working at a covert base in Pakistan that is run by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Blackwater and JSOC’s purpose in Pakistan is to plan and carry out assassinations against “suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives.”

Blackwater, who recently changed its name to Xe Services and U.S. Training Center, denies such claims.

In 2007, Blackwater security contractors faced much criticism for allegedly killing 17 Iraqi civilians. Today in an article for The Dawn Media Group, writer Huma Yusuf says that Pakistanis look unfavorably at Blackwater’s presence in Pakistan.

“Pakistanis are also enraged at the idea that Blackwater employees — who operate outside any legal framework — are running around their country, taking pot shots at anyone who seems suspicious, or is deemed problematic by the US.”

Pakistan has repeatedly asked the United States to respect its sovereignty and borders. But this administration, like its predecessor, is ignoring such requests. Instead, it is expanding America’s reach in the pursuit of suspected terrorists with little regard for the rule of law.