Was Defended, Rewarded by UN Security Chief Starr, Questions Mount
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 12 -- The questions emerging about military
contractor Blackwater, now known as Xe Services LLC, extend to the
top of the United Nation's security department. Public and private
documents show that Gregory B. Starr, who earlier this year moved
from the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service to head
the UN's Department of Safety and Security, was the official
responsible for continuing and defending Blackwater's contracts, even
after the company's involvement in killing civilians in Iraq in 2007.
Now Blackwater founder Erik Prince is being personally accused of
murder. At the UN, Inner City Press has repeatedly asked that Starr
finally give his first press conference since assuming his UN post
more than three month ago.
Blackwater contractors were involved in the killing of at least 17
civilians in Iraq. But six months later in April 2008, as acting head
of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Starr assessed
"essentially I think they do a very good job."
protests, Blackwater's contract with the U.S. government was
extended: "'I have requested and received approval to have task
order six -- which Blackwater has to provide personal protective
services in Baghdad -- renewed
... for one year,' the head of
diplomatic security, Gregory Starr, told reporters."
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named Starr to replace former Security
chief David Veness, who resigned in light of failures leading to the
deadly bombing of UN premises in Algeria, the UN Working Group on the
use of mercenaries held a closed door session in New York, and took
evidence on abuses by Blackwater.
UN's Ban swears in Gregory Starr, Blackwater issues not shown
Shaista Shameem, said that "it is crucial that the United States
Government, as a major client of these companies, demonstrates its
commitment to ensure full accountability of private military and
security contractors for any possible violations of international
human rights and humanitarian law."
a major book
on the subject, Starr is quoted that "it might be the case that
Blackwater can't be held accountable... Starr and his colleagues
argued that Blackwater was 'constitutionally immune' from such
that the UN's new head of security should answer. Watch this site.
other DSS questions that Starr should publicly address include what
training is given to DSS officers to deal with distraught but
non-violent staff members, the Security Risk
Assessments required for the UN's relocation under its Capital Master
Plan, and what will be done about the DSS
pre-determined promotions scandal....