Update: Blackwater Quit Trade Group to Avoid Scrutiny

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This is an update to my recent piece on Blackwater’s withdrawal from the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), a private military industry trade group. Earlier today, the IPOA issued a press release, explaining that Blackwater’s sudden departure from the organization, announced yesterday, may have been intended to quash an IPOA investigation of the firm’s conduct in Iraq, specifically relating to the September 16 shootings in Baghdad, which killed 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded 24 others. According to the press release:

On October 8, 2007 the IPOA Executive Committee authorized the Standards Committee to initiate an independent review process of Blackwater USA to ascertain whether Blackwater USA’s processes and procedures were fully sufficient to ensure compliance with the IPOA Code of Conduct.

Yesterday, I spoke with Doug Brooks, the IPOA’s founder and president. He assured me that Blackwater’s decision to withdraw from the organization had not been the result of an internal IPOA disciplinary process. He went on to praise Blackwater for its cooperation, saying “they’ve been quite open with us.”

Nevertheless, Blackwater’s decision appears to have had the intended effect: According to a source with knowledge of the IPOA’s internal deliberations, the group’s investigation of Blackwater’s conduct has now been cancelled.

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