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FBI Blames Blackwater in 14 Civilian Deaths

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Posted on Nov 14, 2007
Nisour square

Baghdad’s Nisour Square, where the massacre took place.

The FBI, which is still investigating Blackwater’s Sept. 16 killing rampage in Baghdad, has determined that at least 14 of the 17 shootings were unjustified and in violation of deadly-force rules. The Justice Department is looking into whether to press charges, if it even has the authority, which means that Blackwater could very well get away with murder.

New York Times:

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 F.B.I. investigation into the shootings in Baghdad is still under way, but the findings, which indicate that the company’s employees recklessly used lethal force, are already under review by the Justice Department.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek indictments, and some officials have expressed pessimism that adequate criminal laws exist to enable them to charge any Blackwater employee with criminal wrongdoing. Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the F.B.I. declined to discuss the matter.

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By 1drees, November 26, 2007 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another CLASSIC name for “Contractors” is simply “Mercinaries” or “Assassins”, I mean if you call it by another FANCY name it doesnt make it better or different.
to put it in plain SIMPLE WORDS these are the MEN & WOMEN who want FAST BUCKS and DONT CARE WHO & dont care HOW MANY TO KILL.
Now you might have resopect for your people who work like that BUT i dont and neither do oterpeopel who come from where I come. TO ME its just another CRIMINAL doesnt matter if the employer is a gang or your govt.
to PATRIKHENRY who wishes well but too much
“I hope the families of the 14 civilians sue Blackwater out of existence”
Actually Blackwater just expanded into the Intel business, a step farther from the Muscle into the Brain part, and its being said that they are in a position to run parallell to the US govt in that field & to surpass the govt if need be.

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By Frank, November 16, 2007 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

To Know Contractors, Know Government
By TYLER COWEN, NY Times October 28, 2007 Economic View

ALLEGATIONS of misbehavior by employees of Blackwater USA in the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqis have brought the military’s use of private contractors into question. But whatever the possible sins of the Blackwater firm, the overall problem is not private contracting in itself; contractors do not set the tone but rather reflect the sins and virtues of their customers, namely their sponsoring governments.

It is easy to rail against contractors for holding money above loyalty to country; Halliburton, for instance, has been a target of this criticism. But money isn’t the real issue. Few Americans would join the armed services without pay, and most American weapons are made by the private sector for profit.

Furthermore, privateers, private ships licensed to carry out warfare, helped win the American Revolution and the War of 1812. In World War II, the Flying Tigers, American fighter pilots hired by the government of Chiang Kai-shek, helped defeat the Japanese. Today, many of our allies receive payment, either implicitly or explicitly, to support American efforts. War is, among other things, an economic undertaking, so the profit motive in military affairs isn’t always bad or ignoble.

When it comes to supplying troops, or protecting high-ranking officials, private military contractors often offer greater flexibility and rapidity of response. The employees, many of whom are former soldiers or operatives, tend to have more experience than current, mostly younger soldiers.

The recent comeback of private contracting suggests that central governments have become weaker again, at least relative to the tasks they are undertaking. Alexander Tabarrok, my colleague (and sometimes co-author) at George Mason University, where he is also a professor of economics, traced the history of private contractors in a study, “The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Privateers” (The Independent Review, spring 2007, He showed that public navies and armies began to displace private contractors in the 19th century, as governments became more powerful and better funded.

Today, America no longer has a draft, its military bureaucracy can be inflexible and the public wishes to be insulated from the direct impact of war. Contractors are a symptom of government weakness, but are not the problem itself. The first Persian Gulf War, which enjoyed greater international support, was not reliant on contractors to nearly the same degree.

Among many Iraqis, Blackwater and other companies have a reputation for getting the job done without much caring about Iraqis who get in the way. But part of the problem may stem from economic incentives. If Blackwater is assigned to protect a top American official, who is later assassinated, Blackwater may lose future business. A private contractor doesn’t have a financial incentive to protect Iraqi citizens, who are not paying customers. Ultimately, this reflects the priorities of the United States military itself. American casualties are carefully recorded and memorialized, but there is no count of Iraqi civilian deaths.

It is harder to recognize when private contractors are being underemployed. During the Rwandan civil war in the 1990s, the United Nations debated using two private contractors, Executive Outcomes or Sandline International, to intervene. The U.N. rejected the notion and instead turned to a poorly trained Zairean police contingent. We’ll never know how private contractors would have fared, but the Zaireans were ineffective; some 800,000 Rwandans were murdered.

Yet the use of contractors is not a free lunch…

Continued… Topics/Subjects/D/Defense Contracts

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By PatrickHenry, November 15, 2007 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

With a 400+ billion dollar budget and 1.2 million active duty personnel don’t you think we could train a couple of hundred body guards equal to those in Blackwater?

At least the soldiers who swore the oath would be tried under the UCMJ and held accountable when the occaisional soldier goes off the reservation.

I hope the families of the 14 civilians sue Blackwater out of existence.

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By david, November 15, 2007 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is a gator guilty of murder when it eats a human encroaching on it’s territory?  No, it’s the gator’s job to eat anything it can to survive.  Same with Blackwater.  The State Department gave them carte blanche to keep them safe.  If that means killing 14, 17, 1,000,000 Iraqis, then that is what they will do.  It’s their job.  Besides, what’s 14 Iraqis compared to the 400,000 that have died as a result of Dick Cheney’s greed and insanity?  Blackwater is our FRIEND.  When they come to search my house during martial law, I hope they remember that I LOVE BLACKWATER.

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 15, 2007 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

#113651 by Don Stivers on 11/14 at 8:25 pm: “...If this administration has given them immunity, then it is they, our administration who is guilty of murder.  Remember the Nazi Nuremberg trials…”

A million dead and four million homeless - yet they are only “pressing charges” against a handful of security guards!!!!!!!

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By Verne Arnold, November 15, 2007 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

Blackwater and all contractors guarding U.S. convoys and diplomatic personnel are put in a double bind:  They are in a no win situation; namely, react too slowly and lose their customers not to mention themselves (bad for business) or err on the side of caution and kill innocent civilians and protect their customers.  From the government’s perspective, which would you choose?  After all Iraqi life is cheap; $2,000 to $5,000 per body killed.
Given we have draft dodging, sociopathic, greedy, megalomaniacal, fascist leaders running this country what else could you possibly expect to happen? 
They know what’s going on and have made their choices; this will continue with various cover ups, down right lies, and small payoffs.  Oh sure somebody will “hang” for this “unfortunate event” to satiate the masses; and outrage and indignation will fly off the media and official spokesperson (Dana whatever) of Buchaney.
And….we will go to work, live our lives, and enjoy our non-war affected lives as usual.  Ain’t life grand?

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By cyrena, November 15, 2007 at 12:34 am Link to this comment

The full article mentions ONE prior murder by a Blackwater employee:

“…A Blackwater guard, Andrew J. Moonen, is the sole suspect in the shooting on Dec. 24 of a bodyguard to an Iraqi vice president….”

And, he too, has so far not been charged with anything. BUT, there have been many others. At some point, it might be worth it to dig thru my files and find the others. NONE have been prosecuted of course, because of this so-called loophole, that Congress is now attempting to fix.

Don, the ‘insanity’ is that they would even claim such a ‘loophole’ that the MEJA ‘doesn’t apply’ to contractors working for agencies other than the Dept of Defense, INCLUDING the State Department. However, that’s been Condi the Rice’s claim…that the MEJA doesn’t apply to Blackwater. So, who is Blackwater allegedly employed by, (besides we the people, who are paying them to kill innocent Iraqis in their own country?) And, how did anything ever become so insane as to claim that ANY army on the US payroll is exempt from ANY laws?

This is beyond insane, though I’m not sure what to call it. But, they WILL be prosecuted, every one of them…even if we have to go to the The Hague to do it ourselves. Same with Dick Bush et al. Might as well get the paperwork started now. No reason to wait on Mukasey, who isn’t likely to do a damn thing.

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By Don Stivers, November 14, 2007 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

No!  They cannot get away with murder.  If this administration has given them immunity, then it is they, our administration who is guilty of murder.  Remember the Nazi Nuremberg trials!  And following orders that are illegal was no excuse.

When does the insanity stop?

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