Triple Canopy to Replace Blackwater/Xe in Iraq
7 May 09 | AJE
Blackwater, a U.S. security firm, has halted its operations in Iraq, ending a controversial chapter for the company whose guards shot dead several civilians in Baghdad in 2007.
Susan Ziadeh, an American embassy spokeswoman, said on Thursday “the task order for security protection operations held by Blackwater comes to an end today in Baghdad”.
Triple Canopy, a Virginia-based private military company, will replace Blackwater, which operated to protect US government personnel in Iraq.
The US state department signed a contract reportedly worth nearly a billion dollars with Triple Canopy on March 31, 2009, after it refused to renew annual contracts for Blackwater.
Blackwater renamed itself Xe after the Iraqi government banned it in January over the killings in Baghdad’s Nisr Square on September 16, 2007.
Its guards killed 17 civilians and wounded 20 others when they opened fire while escorting an American diplomatic convoy through the square, according to an Iraqi investigation.
US prosecutors sid 14 civilians were killed in the incident.
Five Blackwater guards pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges, but the shooting focused a spotlight on the discreet and highly lucrative private security and military operations of private security operations in Iraq. >>>