October 2nd, 2007

Chris Keeley

Blackwater incident witness: 'It was hell'

Blackwater incident witness: 'It was hell'

  • Story Highlights
  • Two witnesses describe Blackwater guards shooting civilians on September 16
  • Iraqi police officer says no one fired at Blackwater guards during the incident
  • He describes heavy gunfire at cars, pedestrians
  • Blackwater says its guards responded properly; State Department investigating
From Jomana Karadsheh and Alan Duke
CNN

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An Iraqi police officer who was directing traffic at Baghdad's Nusoor Square on September 16 said Blackwater guards "became the terrorists" that Sunday afternoon when they opened fire on civilians, an incident the Iraqi government said was unprovoked.

A 37-year-old Baghdad businessman and a father of four, whose youngest son was killed by a Blackwater bullet, said he wanted no monetary compensation but only for the guards to "admit to the truth."

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Chris Keeley

Seymour Hersh: White House Intensifying Plans to Attack Iran

Seymour Hersh: White House Intensifying Plans to Attack Iran

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/02/1438251

In his latest article in the New Yorker magazine, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reports there has been a significant increase in the tempo of planning for war with Iran inside the Bush administration. Hersh says the White House recently requested the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw longstanding plans for a possible attack. Hersh also reports the Bush administration's rationale for bombing Iran has shifted from Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program to Iran's role in Iraq. [includes rush transcript]

 


The Bush administration is approaching its last year in the White House. As the clock ticks towards 2008, speculation grows over whether President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will indeed launch a widely feared attack on Iran.

The latest report from the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says war planning is intensifying. Writing in the New Yorker, Hersh reveals that the White House recently requested the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw longstanding plans for a possible attack. According to Hersh, the Bush administration's rationale for bombing Iran has shifted from Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program to Iran's role in Iraq. Hersh writes: "What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism."

The focus is no longer a broad bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities but strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere.

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Chris Keeley

Edward Mapplethorpe - new works on paper at Foley Gallery. "...In this new body of work Mapplethorpe

Edward Mapplethorpe - new works on paper at Foley Gallery. "...In this new body of work Mapplethorpe continues his formal exploration of line, combining the gestural impulses of action painting with the mechanical processes of the photographic medium. The artist’s use of hair as subject allow for the play between control and randomness that has always structured and tempered his work to reach a new level of complexity.
For Mapplethorpe, hair has always been emblematic of revolution, acting as a cultural signifier and barometer of change against the status quo. It’s implementation here is evocative of both the conceptual and formal risks undertaken by the artist in creating this ambitious project. The exhibition is composed of unique works solely created in the darkroom without the use of traditional cameras. The result is a spiritual and organic balance between chaos and order encompassing a stunning visual range spanning from the intricate delicacy of fleeting lines to bold, graphic tangles of color."



http://www.foleygallery.com/exhibitions/exhibitions_past_ins.php3?exhib=30 
Chris Keeley

Report Details Shooting by Drunken Blackwater Worker

Report Details Shooting by Drunken Blackwater Worker

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 — A Blackwater USA employee under investigation in the killing last December of an Iraqi bodyguard in an off-duty confrontation was so drunk after fleeing the shooting that another group of guards took away the loaded pistol he was fumbling with, a report to a House committee said Monday.

The guards, employees of Triple Canopy, another private military contractor, returned the weapon to the Blackwater employee, who smelled of alcohol, and escorted him away from their guard post in the fortified Green Zone, the report said. Shortly afterward, the police detained the man, a 26-year-old firearms technician whom the report did not name, at the Blackwater camp inside the Green Zone, but determined he was too intoxicated to be interviewed.

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Chris Keeley

Erik Prince, the founder and chief executive of Blackwater, testified during a House Oversight and G

the State Department, which has paid Blackwater more than $832 million for security services in Iraq and elsewhere, under a diplomatic security contract it shares with two other companies, DynCorp International and Triple Canopy.

Blackwater Chief Defends Employees Before House Panel

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 —The head of Blackwater USA said today that his company was the victim of “a rush to judgment” by a Congressional committee looking into claims that the company’s contract security guards in Iraq have repeatedly been involved in reckless shootings of civilians.

Erik Prince, the founder and chief executive of Blackwater, insisted that his employees were responding to hostile fire in a controversial Sept. 16 shootout that left at least eight Iraqis dead, a contention that has been vehemently disputed by witnesses and by the Iraqi government.

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Chris Keeley

An Incursion of Briefs at Guantanamo--WashPost 10/2/07

*An Incursion of Briefs at Guantanamo*

Tuesday, October 2, 2007; A17

/Undergarment/s/ from Under Armour
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Under+Armour+Inc.?tid=informline>,
the sports apparel line, offer "all-day performance, delivered in a
lightweight compression fit," at least according to the company/' s
/promotional material. While "unprecedented" in its ability to deliver
comfort, Under Armour underwear is not standard issue for detainees at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Guantanamo+Bay?tid=informline>.
So when two men in detention there were found to possess the contraband
briefs, the Navy attorney contacted their attorneys. One of the
detainees in question is Shaker Aamer, whose release the British
government wrote to request from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Condoleezza+Rice?tid=informline>
in August. But before turning to the larger question of whether Aamer
will stay or go, there's the question of what he's wearing. And as the
recent exchange between the Navy/ /lawyer and/ /Aamer's attorney Clive
Stafford Smith illustrates, in the legal wrangling over detention, even
details on intimates can lead to contentious debate:/

/From: the Commander, JAGC, U.S. Navy
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/U.S.+Navy?tid=informline>,/

/Staff Judge Advocate/

/To: Mr. Clive Stafford-Smith,/

/attorney for Shaker Aamer/

/Date: Aug. 12, 2007/

"Your client Shaker AAmer, detainee ISN 239, was recently discovered to
be wearing Under Armor briefs and a Speedo bathing suit. Neither item
was issued to the detainee by JTF-Guantanamo personnel, nor did they
enter the camp through regular mail . . . We are investigating the
matter to determine the origins of the above contraband and ensure that
parties who may have been involved understand the seriousness of this
transgression. As I am sure you understand, we cannot tolerate
contraband being surreptitiously brought into the camp. Such activities
threaten the safety of the JTF-Guantanamo staff, the detainees, and
visiting counsel. . . . we would like to know whether the contraband
material, or any portion thereof, was provided by you, anyone else on
your legal team . . ."

/From: Mr. Clive Stafford Smith,/

/attorney for Shaker Aamer/

/To: the Commander, JAGC, U.S. Navy,/

/Staff Judge Advocate/

/Date: Aug. 29, 2007/

"I will confess that I have never received such an extraordinary letter
in my entire career. KCollapse )