Blackwater ‘hush money’ in deaths


Executives at US security firm Blackwater approved secret payments of about $1.08 million to Iraqi officials to “silence their criticism” after company guards killed 17 civilians in Baghdad, reports said yesterday. Former Blackwater executives said the company’s president at the time, Gary Jackson, approved the bribes. Money was sent from Jordan to their top company manager in Baghdad, but executives cited by The New York Times said they did not know if the funds were delivered. One of the sources told the newspaper that officials at the Interior Ministry, where decisions over company operating licences are made, were the intended recipients of the payments, which were aimed at quelling criticism and eliciting support.