Rod Nordland, New York Times, April 4, 2009
“Late last month Blackwater Worldwide lost its
billion-dollar contract to protect American diplomats here, but by next
month many if not most of its private security guards will be back on
the job in Iraq.
“The same individuals will just be wearing new uniforms, working for Triple Canopy, the firm that won the State Department's contract after Iraqi officials refused to renew Blackwater's operating license, according to American diplomats, private security industry officials and Iraqi officials. Blackwater - viewed in Iraq as a symbol of American violence and impunity - lost the contract after being accused of excessive force in several instances, particularly an apparently unprovoked shooting in downtown Baghdad in 2007 in which 17 civilians were killed….
“Critics of Blackwater said they worried that the same people might perpetuate what they believed was a corporate culture that disregarded Iraqis' lives. ‘They're really all still there, and it's back to business as usual,’ said Susan Burke, an American lawyer who has filed three civil rights lawsuits against Blackwater on behalf of Iraqi civilians alleged to be victims of it.”
David Teather, The Guardian, April 2, 2009
"At Coq d'Argent, the restaurant atop the
salmon-coloured building at Number One Poultry, next to Bank station,
two traders were angry that the police didn't seem to be making any
arrests. 'The demonstrators are goading the police and hitting them,
but they aren't arresting anyone,' said one.
"'I'll make money if they arrest more than 140,' he said. Traders, he explained, were putting spread bets on the number of arrests - with the quoted spread on Bloomberg at 130-140. They were also paying out on deaths and if more than 20 protesters were injured in horse charges. The riots, they said, were only a minor inconvenience: 'We've been in this morning, made a lot of money and now are chilling out.'"
Eileen Sullivan, Associated Press, April 1, 2009
"The U.S. Border Patrol is erecting 16 more video
surveillance towers in Michigan and New York to help secure parts of
the U.S.-Canadian border, awarding the contract to a company criticized
for faulty technology with its so-called 'virtual fence' along the
U.S.-Mexico boundary. The government awarded the $20 million project to
Boeing Co., for the towers designed to assist agents stationed along
the 4,000-mile northern stretch....
"Boeing is the firm responsible for a 28-mile stretch of technology erected along the U.S.-Mexico border near Tucson, Ariz., as part of the government's Secure Border Initiative. The company was widely criticized for delivering an inferior product. Last year the government withheld some of the payment to Boeing because technology used in the test project near Tucson did not work properly. Boeing also was late in delivering the final product....
"Tim Sparapani, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the Secure Border Initiative has been a disaster since its inception. 'The technologies don't work, they're not weather-resistant and they're certainly privacy invasive,' Sparapani said. 'Putting them in America's backyards only invades the privacy of Americans, it doesn't add to our security.'"