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State Department grants*** Blackwater immunity

October 30, 2007 | Blackwater,Death,Defense industry,Ethics,FEMA,George Bush,Iraq,Military,MSM,PR,U.S. government


But it apparently didn’t tell FBI agents before sending them to Baghdad to investigate the Sept. 16, 2007, incident that left 17 Iraqis dead.

The investigative misstep comes in the wake of already-strained relations between the United States and Iraq, which is demanding the right to launch its own prosecution of the Blackwater bodyguards.

Misstep? The U.S. State Department can’t seem to get a grasp on oversight. The U.S. embassy offers to pay Iraqi families $12,500 for each Blackwater victim. Who’s running this joint? FEMA?

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell declined comment about the U.S. investigation.

Well. Duh.

It’s not clear why the Diplomatic Security investigators agreed to give immunity to the bodyguards, or who authorized doing so.

Of course not.

Bureau of Diplomatic Security chief Richard Griffin last week announced his resignation, effective Thursday. Senior State Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said his departure was directly related to his oversight of Blackwater contractors.

But Blackwater branches out and expands its contracts, even though it was accused of stealing Iraqi airplanes, smuggling and illegally selling weapons, almost killing a U.S. soldier and evading taxes.

Last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ordered a series of measures to boost government oversight of the private guards who protect American diplomats in Iraq. They include increased monitoring and explicit rules on when and how they can use deadly force.

Right. Cultural awareness training. Yeah. That’ll fix it. Heckuva job, Condi.

At least the immunity explains why Blackwater CEO Erik Princewelcomes extra oversight,” has employed a new PR campaign and blitzed (blizted with Blizter … get it?) the mediachatting with everyone but Letterman, and asked reporters to contact Congress on Blackwater’s behalf. Sort of his own little “bring ’em on” statement.

***Oh, wait. Blackwater always had immunity.

Dig this.

Oh, that Bush. He’s such a kidder.

Need more laughs?

We believe that Iraq as a market will continue to grow for some time due to the outsourcing by the US government in terms of convoy logistics, in terms of guarding, that will continue. The fact that there are obviously huge oil reserves in Iraq and international companies will go back in once the security situation stabilises a bit more. Patrick Toyne-Sewell, ArmorGroup International, The Independent, Oct. 24, 2007

Here are some of the companies with government contracts in Iraq:

Posted by Becky @ 3:11 pm | Comments  

FEMA: Heckuva Job Brownie 2.0

October 27, 2007 | California fires,Ethics,FEMA,Media,PR,U.S. government


The Federal Emergency Management Agency talked about the California fires to fake reporters at a fake press conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, and it was presented as real in mainstream media. Harvey E. Johnson Jr., deputy administrator and chief operating officer of FEMA answered questions from his public-relations staff, Cindy Taylor (communications deputy director), Michael Widomski (program operations), John P. Philbin (director, Office of External Affairs) and possibly Ali Kirin (press aide). Think Progress has the video from FOX News.

Anyone get fired? Suspended? Fined? Put in a corner?

Actually, Philbin was moving up and out — as the new head of public affairs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Sweet.

The Department of Homeland Security was shocked — shocked! — at FEMA’s behavior.

“This is inexcusable and offensive, and stunts like this will not be tolerated or repeated,” said spokeswoman [i.e., PR] Laura Keehner. “It was a lapse of judgment, and we find it offensive, and it won’t happen again.”

The White House yawned.

“It is not a practice that we would employ here at the White House,” said Press Secretary Dana Perino, mentioning three times that it was an “error in judgment.” “It’s not something I would have condoned, and they, I’m sure, will not do it again.”

All-righty then. 

Oh, and speaking of Brownie, guess what he’s up to now. He’s giving interviews and advice about disaster preparedness for Cotton Companies.

I know. Crazy, isn’t it? I would have thought he’d go back to horses. Or branched out into fashion. But, gee, maybe he really knows what he’s talking about. The Oklahoman thinks so. CNN (and Wolf!) thinks so. Wow. Thumbs up, Brownie.

Hat tip: Matthew

Posted by Becky @ 10:32 pm | 4 Comments  

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