Thursday, September 20, 2007

Did Blackwater Spring al-Samarri From Iraq Prison?

The US defence contractor, Blackwater, seems to be a law unto itself, at least in Iraq. Atop the US military's 160,000 personnel in Iraq there are an estimated 180,000 contract employees doing everything from the soldiers' laundry to servicing their weapons and providing security to the American and Iraqi bureaucracies. The number of mercenaries is believed to be in the range of 20-30,000.

Blackwater has recently become embroiled in controversy over the purported shooting of Iraqi civilians by some of the company's mercenaries. Now it's alleged that Blackwater operatives helped break a major Iraqi swindler out of prison and spirit him out to the United States. Former Electricity Minister Ahyam al-Samarrai was in prison awaiting sentencing for stealing $2.5-Billion in reconstruction funds.

Until now the name of the private security company said to have been involved has been kept quiet. Today an Iraqi official told McClatchey news the company was Blackwater.

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