Blackwater bill passes House

first_imgAt the same time, all U.S. contractors are immune from prosecution by Iraqi courts. The bill’s passage came on the same day that a government minister told The Associated Press that the official Iraqi investigation said Blackwater security guards involved in the September incident face trial in Iraqi courts and the company should pay compensation to the victims. The White House and congressional Republicans said they support the intent of the bill, but thought it was drafted poorly. In a statement issued Wednesday, the White House said the bill would have “unintended and intolerable consequences for crucial and necessary national security activities and operations.” The statement did not explain further or give examples on how the bill would affect national security. The White House referred questions to the Justice Department, which declined to comment. Before passage, the House voted 342-75 to ensure the legislation would not affect intelligence operations. Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., accused Democrats of rushing the bill through Congress in a partisan bid to criticize the Bush administration’s handling of the war. “It is amazing to me the number of men in Blackwater that have lost their lives and we never hear it on the other side of the aisle,” Shays said. “Blackwater is evil. That’s the way it appears in all the dialogue.” Rep. David Price, who sponsored the bill, said the White House’s objections were unfounded and “should infuriate anyone who believes in the rule of law.” Blackwater founder Erik Prince told a House panel Tuesday that he supports expanding the law. “Beyond firing him for breaking the rules, withholding any funds we can, we can’t flog him,” Prince said of the intoxicated Blackwater guard. “We can’t incarcerate him. We can’t do anything beyond that.” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the FBI was assuming control of the Sept. 16 probe from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The step was taken, in part, on the possibility that the investigation might lead to the case being referred to the Justice Department for prosecution.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Democrats called the 389-30 vote an indictment of the incident, which left at least 13 Iraqis dead. Senate Democratic leaders said they planned to follow suit with similar legislation and send a bill to President Bush as soon as possible. “There is simply no excuse for the de facto legal immunity for tens of thousands of individuals working in countries” on behalf of the United States, said Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas. The FBI arrived in Baghdad Thursday to investigate the Sept. 16 shooting. Bush administration officials acknowledge they are unsure whether U.S. courts would have jurisdiction in the case or others like it. In a separate incident, a drunken Blackwater employee left a Christmas Eve party in Baghdad and fatally shot the guard of one of Iraq’s vice presidents. That contractor was fired, fined and returned home to the United States; no charges have been filed. The current law, called the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, covers personnel supporting the mission of Defense Department operations overseas. But because Blackwater’s primary mission is to protect State Department officials, defense lawyers probably would argue the law does not apply. LEGISLATION: Senate will follow with a similar bill in response to Baghdad incident that left 13 Iraqis dead. By Anne Flaherty THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – The House passed a bill Thursday that would make all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones subject to prosecution by U.S. courts. It was the first major response by Congress to a deadly shooting in Baghdad involving Blackwater USA security guards. last_img read more


first_imgThe Minister for Health Dr James Reilly TD officially has said the new Emergency Department and Medical Block at Letterkenny General Hospital will vastly improve patient care.The Minister is in Letterkenny this morning to officially open the units.The €24 million Medical Block is a new facility that has been designed with the needs of patients in mind. The facilities have been functioning for several months, with the official opening today.Each ward is 24-bedded, with 16 of those beds being single en suite rooms. This means that there are a total of 48 single en suite rooms in the new facility, which helps staff care for patients within a therapeutic environment, offers better privacy, protects patients’ dignity and assists with the control of infection.Four of the single rooms on each level are tailor-made to be used as isolation rooms, and are designed to the latest international standards.Speaking today, Dr Reilly said: “I am delighted to be in Donegal to officially open this impressive new facility for the people of Donegal and the North West. I know that patients will welcome this development and I know it will lead to improved outcomes for patients. “I particularly welcome the new Acute Medical Assessment Unit where patients presenting with medical conditions are seen, treated and discharged within 10 hours or a decision is made to admit them to the hospital. This assists the hospital in maintaining lower admission rates and more importantly reduces waiting times for our patients.”It is a proud day for Hospital Manager Mr Seán Murphy.“Today is a truly historic day for Letterkenny General Hospital. The new Emergency Department, Acute Medical Assessment Unit, and Medical Wards constitute the single biggest development in the hospital for 31 years and provide a major enhancement to our delivery of patient care,” he told Donegal Daily.“The last decade has seen a number of very significant service developments in Letterkenny and we are delighted to welcome Minister Reilly to officially open this new facility and share in our celebration of this historic improvement in patient care within Donegal.“I would also like to pay tribute to the staff of this hospital without whose commitment, cooperation, and hard work this facility would not have been opened so quickly. “This wonderful environment for providing patient care is also a tribute to the expertise and efforts of the Capital Project Team led by Mr Michael Martin and the Commissioning Project Team led by Dr Anne Flood and the many Clinicians, including Mr Gerry Lane and Dr Ken Mulpeter, who gave so much of their time in helping design the new facilities.“In welcoming today’s realisation of our vision for improved Emergency Care for the people of Donegal and visitors to our County, we also look forward to the future and the continued development of Letterkenny Hospital as the largest non tertiary provider of Acute Services within HSE West. I have no doubt that Management, Clinicians, Staff and Friends of Letterkenny General will continue to work together to deliver an enhanced range and quality of patient care to our Community throughout this year and in the years ahead.”Project Manger for the Commission Team, Dr Anne Flood, Director of Nursing and Midwifery paid tribute to all who had worked on the commissioning of the new facility.“So many staff of different professional groups worked together in true team spirit to ensure this facility was open on the earliest possible date,” said Dr Flood. “Staff were not only flexible in their working arrangements but many came in out of hours voluntarily to ensure that the new building was open and available for patient care. I am delighted that the new facility allows us to provide clinical care including nursing care for patients in a more clinically appropriate environment than was previously available to us, whilst also allowing us to maintain patient privacy and dignity whilst administering emergency care.“The New Acute Medical Assessment Unit allows many patients to be seen in an area separate from the centre of trauma and emergency care whilst the provision of single rooms on the Medical Wards within this building enhances our Infection Prevention Control measures whilst providing patients with a comfortable and private environment in which to receive care and recover.”Michael Martin, Capital Projects Manager, HSE Estates, commented: “This significant infrastructural project for the Hospital has been delivered on time and within budget, utilising the most modern of technologies and constructed to internationally recognised standards due to the commitment of Project and Clinical Staff at all stages of the Project.“Planning, for example the number of single rooms, preceded the guidance in this area and was advanced due to the excellent clinical argument, and infection control best practice guidance that was put forward locally.“As Project Manager I would like to thank the Clinicians, Nursing and Facilities Staff whose vision made the delivery of this project an enjoyable task. I would acknowledge the excellent work of the Design Team led by TODD Architects and the Contractors who delivered a functional, modern, fit for purpose facility which met and in many cases exceeded all expectations of their brief, and finally would like to pay tribute to all HSE Estates staff, locally, regionally and nationally who assisted and backed this project at all stages from concept to commissioning.”The new ED offers a modern patient-focused environment for patients who require emergency care. Some of the new highly technical innovations include a highly automated robotic pharmacy dispensing system.This ensures that drug stocks are managed in a highly secure and efficient environment and is the first of its kind in the North West. The ED also has a separate children’s area. There is also an area for acute psychiatric admissions. The area provides a safer working environment for staff and a more comfortable welcoming environment for patients and their families.Fast Facts on New Facilities:20km of heating pipe was used30-40 km of electric cabling was used60,000 cubic meters of soil was excavated65,000 man hours went into the building of it.NEW €24M MEDICAL FACILITY AT LETTERKENNY GENERAL WILL IMPROVE PATIENT CARE – HEALTH MINISTER was last modified: March 22nd, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:NEW €24M MEDICAL FACILITY AT LETTERKENNY GENERAL WILL IMPROVE PATIENT CARE – HEALTH MINISTERlast_img read more