Category Archives: Blackwater
A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina [official website] ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit against Blackwater [JURIST news archive], now known as Xe Services [corporate website], can proceed in state court. The suit revolves around a 2007 shooting incident [JURIST news report] in the Nisour Square area of Baghdad that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. A subsequent FBI [official website] investigation revealed that 14 of the deaths were unjustified acts of excessive force [NYT report]. The lawsuit, the last remaining in relation to the shooting incident, was filed by the families of six victims. In his ruling, Judge Terrence Boyle said that nonresidents lack the right to sue in federal court for injuries sustained outside of the country, but that federal courts are obligated to remand such cases to the state level, where North Carolina law permits such suits.
Foreign governments as well as US courts and agencies continue to scrutinize the role of private security contractors in conflicts abroad as incidents of violence and abuse have raised concerns that the firms operate largely outside of the law. In October, the Afghan government announced that it had disbanded eight private security companies [JURIST report] operating locally and confiscated their weapons pursuant to a decree from President Hamid Karzai [official profile]. In September, a judge in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] declared a mistrial [JURIST report] in a murder case against two Blackwater defense contractors after the jury failed to reach a verdict following nine hours of deliberation. The defendants were charged with killing two unnamed men in Kabul and argued self-defense. In February, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced that it had launched an investigation [JURIST report] into Blackwater following allegations that the company bribed Iraqi officials with $1 million to allow them to continue operating in the country after the Nisour Square incident. Bribery of foreign officials is a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) [text, 15 USC § 78dd-1 text].
This is a civil suit, the last avenue left it seems. Some more background on this crime which I call murder: As the Jurist article states, the FBI investigated these murders and they called them..cough..unjustified shootings.. no shit, which I blogged about here. The DOJ did attempt to try the Blackwater murderers for these dead Iraqis but lo and behold a Federal Judge tossed out the case, which I blogged about here.
Lets not forget however, that the Obama Administration awarded Blackwater, now known as Xe Services new contracts in Afghanistan. These contracts were handed out as hearings were being held on smarmy contractors who were getting rich as shit at the taxpayer trough in our forever wars whilst wasting our cash, providing shitty services and goods and basically giving us squat for big bucks.
Ain’t that fucking great? Don’t you love the stench of friggin irony in the morning?
War Profiteer Blackwater, now known as XE, gets a new contract from the Obama administration. From WaPo:
When hearings on war-zone security contractors continue Monday, representatives of the best known — or most notorious — firm in the business will not be at the witness table.
The firm’s controversial track record in Iraq, from where it was recently evicted, won’t be on the official docket either.
But the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting is going to be talking about Blackwater Worldwide (now known as XE Services) nevertheless, given word late Friday that the State Department had just awarded it a $120 million contract for work in Afghanistan.
Officials of the companies that lost out to Blackwater/XE are all scheduled to testify Monday afternoon on Capitol Hill. The commission is also going to take up new problems with private security guards in Iraq.
The Afghanistan contract, to provide “protective security services” at new U.S. consulates in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, comes only four months after the Iraqi government expelled Blackwater/XE. Individuals from the firm are being prosecuted by the Justice Department for allegedly shooting unarmed civilians in Baghdad.
The company won the contract over two other American firms — Triple Canopy and DynCorp International, the Associated Press reported from Kabul, quoting U.S. embassy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. The one-year contract can be extended twice, for three months each, for a maximum of 18 months, the A.P. said.
Ain’t that some shit? Raping and pillaging the american taxpayer, not to mention killing civilians at the drop of a hat for no friggin reason…
Couldn’t happen to a better bunch o’ fuckwits! From McClatchy:
Five former employees of the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater violated a series of federal firearms laws to give the company a leg up in the military contracting and training business, a federal indictment charged Friday.
Blackwater officials falsified federal paperwork to conceal a gift of firearms to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, whom Blackwater was courting as a client, the indictment charges.
Former company president Gary Jackson used the tiny Camden County, N.C., sheriff’s office as a front to buy AK-47 automatic rifles that Blackwater wanted for its training facility in Moyock, N.C., and the company illegally possessed short-barreled rifles that Blackwater officials thought were useful for winning security contracts.
The indictment also charges former Blackwater vice-president William W. Mathews Jr.; former general counsel Andrew Howell; former vice-president Ana Bundy; and Ronald Slezak, who handled federal paperwork for firearms.
Mark Corallo, a company spokesman, said the company wouldn’t comment on the indictment beyond saying that it cooperated fully with federal investigators.
Oh please, oh please..get these fuckers..let’s see them in prison orange for the love of christ!
I know…they will never see the inside of a prison cell. Damn it.
I don’t see anything happening with the US suit..but the Iraqi courts would have a field day with these fuckers. Remember, the SOFA that Bush signed keeps contractors from being immune from Iraqi law prosecution. From Jurist:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Monday that Iraq will file lawsuits in both US and Iraqi courts against Blackwater after a US judge dismissed charges last week against five guards indicted for their involvement in the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians in September 2007. Judge Richardo Urbina of the US District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed [opinion, PDF] voluntary manslaughter and weapons charges against the five guards, finding that statements were obtained in violation of the Constitution. Al-Maliki said that his government rejects the ruling and has formed a committee to file suits in both the US and Iraq.
If the Blackwater, aka Xe, employees are no longer in Iraq..I guess they are safe..for now, but I wouldn’t want to be them..nope.
In a significant blow to the Justice Department, a federal judge on Thursday threw out the indictment of five former Blackwater security guards over a shooting in Baghdad in 2007 that left 17 Iraqis dead and about 20 wounded.
The judge cited misuse of statements made by the guards in his decision, which brought to a sudden halt one of the highest-profile prosecutions to arise from the Iraq war. The shooting at Nisour Square frayed relations between the Iraqi government and the Bush administration and put a spotlight on the United States’ growing reliance on private security contractors in war zones.
Investigators concluded that the guards had indiscriminately fired on unarmed civilians in an unprovoked and unjustified assault near the crowded traffic circle on Sept. 16, 2007. The guards contended that they had been ambushed by insurgents and fired in self-defense.
A trial on manslaughter and firearm offenses was planned for February, and the preliminary proceedings had been closely watched in the United States and Iraq.
But in a 90-page opinion, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District Court in Washington wrote that the government’s mishandling of the case “requires dismissal of the indictment against all the defendants.”
In a “reckless violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights,” the judge wrote, investigators, prosecutors and government witnesses had inappropriately relied on statements that the guards had been compelled to make in debriefings by the State Department shortly after the shootings. The State Department had hired the guards to protect its officials.
Aint’ that some shit to start off the new year with?