Iraqi Government Revokes License of Blackwater USA
KPBS (2007-09-17) Amita Sharma Raymond Lutz
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A decision today by the Iraqi government to revoke the license of defense contractor Blackwater USA has emboldened local opposition to the firm. Opponents of Blackwater's plans to build a training center in San Diego's East County say the U.S. government should now follow suit. KPBS reporter Amita Sharma explains.
Iraqi leaders canceled Blackwater's license after gunfire from an American convoy killed eight Iraqi civilians. The Baghdad government says Blackwater bodyguards protecting U.S. State Department officials fired the shots. The U.S. Embassy says the convoy had come under fire.
Locally, those against Blackwater's proposal to build a new training camp for military and police forces in Potrero, east of San Diego, say it's time for the U.S. to act against Blackwater.
Project opponent Raymond Lutz:
Lutz: I'm wondering why our government doesn't revoke their license to operate as well. They're setting up these camps and we're not really sure who they're going to be answerable to here either. Apparently, they don't answer to any laws in Iraq. Do you think they're going to answer to laws over here?
It's not clear what effect, if any, the events in Baghdad will have on the Blackwater proposal here. Officials from San Diego County and Blackwater did not return calls.
Amita Sharma, KPBS News.