(guest blogged by Bill W.) This time it wasn't Blackwater. In this case it was an Australian security company, Unity Resources, that was providing
October 9, 2007

(guest blogged by Bill W.)

This time it wasn't Blackwater. In this case it was an Australian security company, Unity Resources, that was providing security for a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contractor, RTI International. It seems that since USAID is " a quasi-independent State Department agency" the contractor doesn't fall under new regulations recently put in place by the State Dept in response to the Blackwater shooting 3 weeks ago in a Baghdad square that killed 17 and wounded 27.

The organization, RTI International, is in Iraq to carry out what is ultimately a State Department effort to improve local government and democratic institutions. But a Bush administration official said the State Department bore no responsibility for overseeing RTI's security operations. [...]

Tuesday's episode appears to show that the new oversight comes with many loopholes: Unity Resources is not working directly for the State Department, but for RTI International, which has been contracted by the aid agency to provide experts on local governing.

In fact, an American Embassy spokesman said, the State Department has no say in the operations of security companies employed by government contractors.

These loopholes are beyond absurd. Iraqis don't make a distinction between contractors or our military when it comes to the killing of unarmed innocent Iraqis just trying to drive down the street. It all reflects on the US led Iraqi occupation.

Ali Jafar, a traffic policeman posted near the Karada shooting, said he thought the similarities between [this and the Blackwater shooting] were undeniable.

"They are killing the people just like what happened in Nisour Square," Mr. Jafar said. "They are butchering the Iraqis."

And just as with the Blackwater incident, a witness to Tuesday's shooting said " the convoy moved out right away, without checking to see what damage had been done or to offer medical help." It also seems that, if the State Dept can get away with the claim that since they are a subcontractor they don't work for them and are not subject to their regulations, then they are still not subject to Iraqi law per the exemption (pdf) granted by the Coalition Provisional Authority to all contractors defined as "non-Iraqi employees and Subcontractors," and since they are an Australian co. they likewise would not even eventually fall under the " Blackwater Bill" passed by last week in the House as it will apply only " to all US civilian contractors."

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