The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

The Associated Press Reports Immunity To Blackwater

By Theo O’Brien

By granting Blackwater bodyguards immunity from prosecution, the State Department may have placed a strong deterrent in the federal investigation of the security contractor’s role in a shooting in Iraq that left seventeen Iraqi civilians dead.

The immunity deal has delayed a criminal inquiry into the Sept. 16 killings and could undermine any effort to prosecute security contractors for their role in the incident that has infuriated the Iraqi government.

‘Once you give immunity, you can’t take it away,’ said a senior law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.(1)

An Iraqi probe investigated Blackwater’s role in the deaths of seventeen civilians earlier this month. The conclusion was that Blackwater’s body guards were unprovoked and fired randomly, this prompted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to call for the company’s immediate departure from Iraq. The FBI is currently involved in its own investigation into the matter but it is reported that several of the Blackwater employees have refused to answer a number of questions citing the recently granted immunity.

[In the pursuit of truth, it is worth mentioning that Fox News has challenged the authenticity of the Associated Press story.]


October 29, 2007 Posted by | Blackwater, Theo O'Brien | , | 1 Comment

The Candidates (Part 3): Barack Obama (Video)

 By Nathan Schmitt

Full interview with Sen. Obama
Interview with Sen. Obama: Video (Click Here)

The third of “The Candidates” series: Illinois Democrat Senator Barack Obama. Here are his congressional voting records.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Nathan Schmitt | , , | Leave a comment

Darfur Peace Talks: Delayed

By Nathan Schmitt

Before the core story, here is a very, very brief history of the conflict between the Sudanese government and rebels in the Darfur region, via the BBC:

Fighting in Darfur began in 2003 when rebels attacked government targets.

Sudan’s government then launched a military and police campaign in Darfur.

A 2006 peace deal faltered because it was signed by the Sudanese government and only one rebel group.

The rebel movement then splintered into at least 12 groups and sub-factions.” (1)

Peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebel groups scheduled for this past weekend were delayed due to a lack of rebel presence. This situation is well summarized by CNN:

The peace conference, which opened Saturday, had widely been expected to see direct negotiations between rebels and government forces to resolve over four years of fighting that has claimed more than 200,000 lives in the western Sudanese region.

But none of Darfur’s rebel main leadership was in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte for the start of the talks, dashing hopes that an agreement could rapidly be reached.” (2)

Despite the absence of these key leaders,

The mediators declined to say the conference was being adjourned, insisting instead that the preliminary low-level talks were a necessary build-up for full-fledged negotiations.“(2)

However, the Sudanese government is less than enthusiastic about these developments:

Sudan‘s government negotiator warned earlier Sunday that Khartoum would have no patience for absent rebels. Nafie Ali Nafie said negotiations could be adjourned only to allow ‘those who came here’ to have more time to reach a common ground.” (2)

If key rebel leaders don’t agree to attend these talks in the very near future, it seems that these peace talks may be much less effective than was desired.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Darfur, Nathan Schmitt | , , | Leave a comment