Apparently [Not] Deleted LA Times Story on Blackwater [Update]

Update 7:37pm EST 9/20/07 by LithiumCola]: The article is available at LATimes, again, here.

[Update 7:36pm EST 9/19/07 by LithiumCola]: In the comments at Kos, silence says that according to Ned Parker the apparent deletion is a technical glitch.  The information in the article is important enough for an essay, in any event.

[Update 7:54pm EST 9/19/07 by LithiumCola]: I can confirm that the original story is still on Lexis Nexis.  This isn’t as big a deal as I thought.  However, the story is hard to find on the net anywhere, so it’s good to have reference to it here, so I’m keeping the diary up.  My apologies to readers, to Ned Parker, and to the LA Times about any mistakes or confusion on my part.

A search at the LA Times website for articles by staff writer Ned Parker shows that he filed two stories on September 19th (“Maliki insists U.S. replace Blackwater”, “U.S. limits diplomats’ travel in Iraq”), one on the 17th (“Suspect arrested in Iraqi sheik’s death”), and one on the 16th (“Iraq’s war makes intimate enemies”).

But Ned Parker also filed a story on September 18th; this story doesn’t appear on the search.  It appears not to be on the LA Times site at all.  It’s hard to find.  This September 18th story is about Blackwater, and contains some startling claims made by employees of other contract security companies.

Here’s a passage from the apparently deleted article.  Don’t mind the headline . . . check out the stuff below:

Blackwater Security Firm Banned from Iraq
Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 18, 2007, 6:31 AM PDT

— snip —

Among fellow security companies in Baghdad, Blackwater is often disliked and even feared.

“They are untouchable. They’ve shot up other private security contractors, Iraqi military, police and civilians,” said one security contractor, who declined to give his name because of the sensitivity of the issue.

One contractor described an incident three weeks ago where a four-vehicle Blackwater convoy pushed through a crowded Baghdad street and pointed a gun at his team, even though they waved an American flag, an indicator used by security contractors to identify themselves to each other.

There have several fatal shootings involving Blackwater since late last year. On Christmas Eve, a Blackwater employee walking in the Green Zone stopped by an Iraqi checkpoint and after an argument shot dead the Iraqi, who was a guard for Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdel Mahdi, an Iraqi official and a U.S. diplomat said.

— snip —

I found the longest version of this article cached, from an also deleted post at the website of KTLA, a TV station in Las Angeles.  Here’s the cached postHere’s the AP article KTLA replaced it with.

I took the following passage from the apparently deleted article, and googled it:

“They are untouchable. They’ve shot up other private security contractors, Iraqi military, police and civilians,” said one security contractor, who declined to give his name because of the sensitivity of the issue.

That would seem to be important information.

I get three hits.  The KTLA post and two cropped versions.  One at Star-Telegram and one at Contra Costa Times

It’s very hard, then, to find this passage about claims of Blackwater employees shooting at or threatening “other private security contractors, Iraqi military, police and civilians”.  It’s not to be found, apparently, at the LA Times itself.


Major Hat Tip to Magnifico, whose dead link to the LA Times story got me looking for this stuff.


Skip to comment form

    • nocatz on September 20, 2007 at 01:22

    I don’t have Jeremy  Scahill’s book BLACKWATER with me, but some of those “they are untouchable” comments sound familiar.  They are not subject to UCMJ, and because they’re DOD contractors, are protected by ‘secrecy’ concerns. I can’t tell you what happened to the LA Times article…but this crap has been going on.  From The Nation online March 07

    On Christmas Eve inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, an American Blackwater contractor allegedly shot and killed an Iraqi bodyguard protecting a senior Iraqi official. For weeks after the shooting, unconfirmed reports circulated around the Internet that alcohol may have been involved and that the Iraqi was shot ten times in the chest. The story then went that the contractor was spirited out of Iraq before he could be prosecuted. Media inquiries got nowhere–the US Embassy refused to confirm that it was a Blackwater contractor, and the company refused to comment.


  1. …i’d say that this story got disappeared because it wasn’t verifiably and solidly true. ’cause, see, we all know how seriously the commercial media take their duty to seek out and back up facts regardless of politics in covering the most important stories of the day. i’m sure the editorial powers that be came down hard on parker for doing such slapdash, sloppy work.

    < / snark >

    recommended. enthusiastically.

    • nocatz on September 20, 2007 at 02:21

    because no one here was posting like
    a fucking pirate. 

    • TexDem on September 20, 2007 at 04:03

    I’ve seen this story before.


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