Blackwater: Guilty!

Posted: November 14, 2007 in Iraq, Middle East, News & Views, Politics, U.S., War crimes, World News

F.B.I. Says Guards Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 — Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq, according to civilian and military officials briefed on the case.

The case could be one of the first thorny issues to be decided by Michael B. Mukasey, who was sworn in as attorney general last week. He may be faced with a decision to turn down a prosecution on legal grounds at a time when a furor has erupted in Congress about the administration’s failure to hold security contractors accountable for their misdeeds.

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Representative David E. Price, a North Carolina Democrat who has sponsored legislation to extend American criminal law to contractors serving overseas, said the Justice Department must hold someone accountable for the shootings.

“Just because there are deficiencies in the law, and there certainly are,” Mr. Price said, “that can’t serve as an excuse for criminal actions like this to be unpunished. I hope the new attorney general makes this case a top priority. He needs to announce to the American people and the world that we uphold the rule of law and we intend to pursue this.”

Investigators found no evidence to support assertions by Blackwater employees that they were fired upon by Iraqi civilians. That finding sharply contradicts initial assertions by Blackwater officials, who said that company employees fired in self-defense and that three company vehicles were damaged by gunfire.

Paul Cox, a spokesman for Price, said late Tuesday that if the FBI concludes there was criminal wrongdoing, “just because there are deficiencies in the law, and Congressman Price is trying to rectify that, that’s no excuse not to prosecute.”

Protecting Mercenaries?

Investigators did not have access to statements taken from Blackwater employees, who had given statements to State Department investigators on the condition that their statements would not be used in any criminal investigation like the one being conducted by the F.B.I.

Some lawmakers and legal scholars said the Sept. 16 case dramatized the need to clarify the law governing private armed contractors in a war zone. Workers under contract to the Defense Department are subject to the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, or MEJA, but many, including top State Department officials, contend that the law does not apply to companies like Blackwater that work under contract to other government agencies, including the State Department.

Comment: It’s only logical that Blackwater terrorists and mercenaries should be sent to Guantanamo for an indefinite period of R&R.

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Comments
  1. jonolan says:

    Actually a deficiency in the law is the only valid reason not to prosecute. That’s the way the law is supposes to work! If there’s no law covering the incident then it isn’t a crime so you can’t prosecute.

    That being said, freaking make a law so this doesn’t happen again! Or at least extend MEJA to any federally contracted mercenary company.

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