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September 13 , 2008 Protest at Headquarters of Blackwater's Lobbying Firm: Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice Commemorating the 17 Innocent Civilians Murdered by Blackwater in Nisour Square

Event Media Advisory

A one year anniversary protest and rally against Blackwater was held on Saturday, September 13th in front of Blackwater lobbying firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice's headquarters in downtown Winston-Salem. The protest coincided with protest rallies held the same day at Blackwater facilities located in San Diego, Idaho, and Illinois. The event was sponsored by Blackwater Watch. Co-sponsors included North Carolina Stop Torture Now, UNC Chapel Hill Students for a Democratic Society and Fight Imperialism-Stand Together. There was no coverage of the event by the mass media.

Statements were read by representatives of the groups present. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice was asked to rescind their contract with Blackwater under threat of organizing a nationwide boycott targeting their current as well as prospective customers.

Car driven by Ahmed Haithem with his mother, Mohassin Kadhim, a physician. They were both killed by Blackwater gunfire and then their car was incinerated by a Blackwater grenade, burning them to a crisp.

Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice is the third lobbying firm hired by Blackwater since October 2007. Womble Carlyle lobbyists representing Blackwater are: Jimmy Broughton: Former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms; John Mashburn, former general counsel and policy director for Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who is the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee; and Mark Harkins, who was chief of staff to Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., chairman of the Investigations and Oversight subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee.

FIVE KEY REASONS TO GET Blackwater OFF OUR BORDERS AND OUT OF GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING:

  1. Blackwater Worldwide, a mercenary group, has a history of killing innocent civilians. In Nisour Square, Iraq, on September 16, 2007, Blackwater “security personnel” shot and killed without provocation seventeen Iraqis civilians, including a nine year old boy.
  2. Blackwater has taken no responsibility for any of the killings. Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, told Congress one month after the Nisour Square Massacre that he had no knowledge of his men hurting innocent civilians.
  3. Blackwater is not part of the military! It is a business that profits from bloodshed and killing. Its personnel are not accountable to military, civil, or criminal law. One year after the killings, no one at Blackwater has been charged for any of the killings of innocent civilians.
  4. Blackwater used subsidiary business names to apply for its building permits in San Diego to avoid the normal permit process and avoid public scrutiny.  Blackwater has done everything in their power to stop the right of the San Diego City Council, the City Attorney, and San Diego residents to say “no” to having Blackwater here, including suing the City of San Diego.
  5. Blackwater is a company that profits from conflict. NO CONFLICT = NO PROFIT! Blackwater mercenaries along the US-Mexico border will seek to profit from border instability. Any minor difference among ethnic groups can easily be exploited by Blackwater mercenaries to intervene and make money.

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