Archive for January 2010
This might work. Report in the NY Times by Mark Mazzetti and James Risen:
The Justice Department is investigating whether officials of Blackwater Worldwide tried to bribe Iraqi government officials in hopes of retaining the firm’s security work in Iraq after a deadly shooting episode in 2007, according to current and former government officials.
The officials said that the Justice Department’s fraud section opened the inquiry late last year to determine whether Blackwater employees violated a federal law banning American corporations from paying bribes to foreign officials.
The inquiry is the latest fallout from the shooting in Nisour Square in Baghdad, which left 17 Iraqis dead and stoked bitter resentment against the United States.
A federal judge in December dismissed criminal charges against five former Blackwater guards implicated in the episode, but Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. recently announced that the Obama administration would appeal that decision.
The investigation, which was confirmed by three current and former officials speaking on condition of anonymity, follows a report in The New York Times in November that top executives at Blackwater had authorized secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials to buy their support after the shooting. The newspaper account said it could not determine whether any bribes were actually paid or identify Iraqi officials who might have received the money.
The Justice Department has obtained two documents from the State Department, which had security contracts with the company, that have raised questions about Blackwater’s efforts to influence Iraqi government officials after the Nisour Square shootings, according to two American officials familiar with the inquiry.
One document, a handwritten note, shows that …
I thought other readers might find the thread to this post to be of interest.
Thanks to The Eldest for the pointer to this Baltimore Sun article by Scott Calvert:
Donations for Haiti have poured in to the American Red Cross of Central Maryland from a range of sources. Nothing, though, has stood out like the coins and crumpled dollar bills that spilled from one envelope.
That gift – $14.64 – came from the pockets of homeless people at a downtown Baltimore shelter.
"We were all weepy-eyed," recalled Red Cross volunteer coordinator Bobbie Jones, who was at the front desk when the donation arrived.
Public relations director Linnea Anderson got teary, too. "Just the thought of those people huddled together in a shelter and seeing a need beyond themselves is enough to give anybody chills," she said. "What a remarkable example of the human spirit." …