CODEPINK Protests at DC-Based Private Security Group to Condemn Blackwater and Call for its Expulsion from Iraq

Contact: Contact: Medea Benjamin 415-235-6517, Gael Murphy 202-412-6700
September 19th, 2007

Group will March to State Dept. to Demand Cancellation of Blackwater Contract

Details:   Wednesday, September 19, 2007, 3 PM
                Start at International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), an umbrella Private Security Group that Blackwater belongs to
                Location: 1900 L Street, NW, Washington DC
                March to  State Department, arriving 4 pm at 2201 C Street NW

On Sunday, September 16, Blackwater USA, a private army that provides security for US officials in Iraq, was involved in the fatal shooting of 8 Iraqi civilians after shooting indiscriminately during an attack on a U.S. State Department motorcade in Baghdad. The Iraqi government has revoked the operating license of Blackwater, but the Bush administation, in what is widely seen as a test of the Iraqi government's sovereignty, is trying to reverse this decision.

The International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), a DC-based umbrella Private Security Group that Blackwater belongs to, has been defending Blackwater. “We will start our protest at IPOA, which is the public face for Blackwater in Washington DC, calling on the company to leave Iraq,” says CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. “Then we'll march to the State Department to let them know that as taxpayers, we demand they cancel all contacts with this mercenary company that has become known as Murder, Inc.”

“As a private contractor, Blackwater is subject to virtually no oversight and its employees literally get away with murder,” says Retired Colonel  and Diplomat Ann Wright, who will lead the march. “The State Department has given Blackwater $678 million in contracts since 2003 to guard US personnel in Iraq, instead of using the State Department's internal Diplomatic Security. We demand that the State Department cancel its contract with Blackwater and instead hire government employees for security who can be held accountable for their actions.”

CODEPINK is the national women's peace group that has most recently
garnered international attention when its members "disrupted" General
Petraeus' report on Iraq. Started in the lead-up to the Iraq war,
CODEPINK has inspired thousands of women throughout the United States
and the world to make the color pink synonymous with political rabble
rousing. CODEPINK also rents a house a few blocks from the Capitol and
has had since March over 250 women visit to participate in actions in
the Halls of Congress.