Blackwater has received a new $92 million contract from the Pentagon to fly passengers and cargo between locations around central Asia. The contract was announced at a time when Blackwater is the target of several investigations over its role in Iraq following a deadly shooting in Baghdad two weeks ago that left at least 11 Iraqis dead. Newsweek has obtained an extensive evidence file assembled by the Iraqi National Police after the Sept. 16 shooting. Iraqi officials concluded Blackwater forces opened fire unprovoked from the ground and the sky.
Blackwater Involved in 56 Shootings in Iraq This Year
Over the weekend the State Department revealed Blackwater employees have been involved in 56 shootings while guarding US diplomats this year. Meanwhile Blackwater has put off plans to buy 1,800 acres of farmland near Fort Bragg in North Carolina where it was planning to set up a training ground for soldiers and corporate executives. Blackwater's founder Eric Prince has been called to testify before Congress on Tuesday.
White House Orders New Plans For Attack On Iran
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh is reporting there has been a significant increase in the tempo of planning for war with Iran inside the Bush administration. Writing in the New Yorker, Hersh reports the White House recently requested the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing 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. Hersh writes "What had been presented primarily as a counterproliferation 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. On Sunday John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, called for the U.S. to attack Iran and for the overthrow of Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. During a meeting in England, Bolton said negotiations with Iran had failed and that he saw no alternative to military action.