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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:25 PM
Original message
Trigger-happy cowboys have finally had their day
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 10:38 PM by seemslikeadream
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/articl...

Until recently it was one of the most threatening sights in Iraq a convoy of heavily armed foreign security guards, wearing civilian clothes and driving unmarked cars, barrelling down a busy street in Baghdad. Motorists would swerve to avoid them and pedestrians run for cover. Even children knew to duck.

Iraqis had learnt that these mercenaries were trigger-happy and beyond the law. Countless cases were recorded of injuries and deaths caused by the hired guns. In one instance, video released on the internet showed foreign gunmen firing on Iraqi motorists without warning. An investigation was begun, but no one was prosecuted. Their behaviour contributed to the atmosphere of suspicion and hostility between Iraqis and Westerners in the country after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

The matter came to a head last year when guards working for Blackwater opened fire on Iraqi civilians in Baghdad as they escorted US diplomats. The Iraqi Government decided to make a stand on the issue and the US Government took notice. Whatever the outcome of the trial, incidents like this are unlikely to be repeated.

From next year foreign security guards will lose immunity from prosecution under the terms of the new status of forces agreement signed between Baghdad and Washington. The next time a foreign security guard opens fire on civilians he will face Iraqi justice. The days of the cowboys running amok in Iraqi cities are over.


http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jtLfZ...

US: Blackwater used grenades on unarmed Iraqis
By LARA JAKES JORDAN and MATT APUZZO 9 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) Blackwater Worldwide security guards opened machine gun fire on innocent, surrendering Iraqis and launched a grenade into a girls' school during a gruesome Baghdad shooting last year, prosecutors said Monday in announcing manslaughter charges against five guards.

A sixth guard involved in the attack cut a plea deal with prosecutors, turned on his former colleagues, and admitting killing at least one Iraqi in the 2007 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. Seventeen Iraqis were killed in the assault, which roiled U.S. diplomacy with Iraq and fueled anti-American sentiment abroad.

The five guards surrendered Monday and were due to ask a federal judge in Utah for bail.

"None of the victims of this shooting was armed. None of them was an insurgent," U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor said. "Many were shot while inside civilian vehicles that were attempting the flee from the convoy. One victim was shot in the chest while standing in the street with his hands up. Another was injured from a grenade fired into a nearby girls' school."

The guards were charged with 14 counts of manslaughter and 20 counts of attempted manslaughter. They are also charged with using a machine gun to commit a crime of violence, a charge that carries a 30-year minimum prison sentence.

The shootings happened in a crowded square where prosecutors say civilians were going about their lives, running errands. Following a car bombing elsewhere in the city, the heavily armed Blackwater convoy sought to shut down the intersection. Prosecutors said the convoy, known by the call sign Raven 23, violated an order not to leave the U.S.-controlled Green Zone.


http://www.thespec.com/News/article/479021

Plea by Blackwater guard helps U.S. indict five others

December 08, 2008
Ginger Thompson
Copyright 2008 New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON In the first public airing of an investigation that remains a source of international outrage, the Justice Department today unsealed its case against five private security guards, built largely around the chilling testimony of a sixth guard about the 2007 shootings that left 17 unsuspecting Iraqi civilians dead at a busy Baghdad traffic circle.


In pleading guilty to manslaughter, the sixth security guard, Jeremy P. Ridgeway of California, described how he and the other guards used automatic rifles and grenade launchers to fire on cars, houses, a traffic officer and a girls school. In addition to those killed, there were at least 20 people injured.


The six guards were employed by Blackwater Worldwide, the largest security contractor in Iraq; the company, based in North Carolina, has not been charged in the case.


Ridgeway said in court documents that the episode in Nisour Square on Sept. 16, 2007 started when the guards opened fire on a white Kia sedan "that posed no threat to the convoy."


In a legal move aimed at challenging the venue for the case, the five guards surrendered to federal authorities in Salt Lake City, Utah, in what is considered a more conservative, pro-military part of the country than Washington, D.C., where the Justice Department made public its case.


The indictments and the defendants cross-county legal manoeuvre set the stage for the first test of the governments ability to hold private security contractors accountable for what it considers crimes committed overseas. They are also likely to produce protracted arguments on technical matters aimed at scuttling the case well before a jury has the opportunity to evaluate the guards actions.


http://news.scotsman.com/world/Security--guards-39machi...


Security guards 'machine-gunned Iraqis as they tried to surrender'



Previous PreviousNext Next View GalleryPublished Date: 09 December 2008
PRIVATE security guards fired machine guns at innocent, surrendering Iraqis and launched a grenade into a girls' school, US prosecutors said yesterday.


Manslaughter charges were announced against five guards with Blackwater Worldwide.

A sixth guard for the US contractor admitted in a plea deal to killing at least one Iraqi in the 2007 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. Seventeen Iraqis wereADVERTISEMENT killed.

The five guards surrendered yesterday and were due to ask a federal judge for bail.

"The tragic events in Nisoor Square were shocking and a violation of basic human rights," said the FBI assistant director, Joseph Persichini.

In addition to being charged with 14 counts of manslaughter, the five guards face 20 counts of attempted manslaughter.

The shooting unfolded in the crowded square, where prosecutors say civilians were going about their lives.

The guards tried to shut the intersection after a car bombing elsewhere in the city.

Witnesses said the guards opened fire unprovoked. Women and children were among the victims, and the shooting left the square littered with wrecked cars.

Blackwater, the largest security contractor in Iraq, says its guards were ambushed by insurgents while responding to a car bombing.

Pat Rowan, the national security prosecutor, said: "At least 34 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, were killed or injured without justification or provocation by these Blackwater security guards."

Paul Cassell, a defence lawyer, said: "We think it's pure and simply a case of self-defence. Tragically, people did die."

Although the case has been assigned to a judge in Washington DC, the accused men want it moved to Utah, the state in which they surrendered. There they have a good chance of finding a conservative jury pool, made up of people more likely to support the Iraq war.

Khalid Ibrahim, a 40-year-old electrician who said his father, Ibrahim Abid, 78, died in the shooting, said: "The killers must pay for their crime against innocent civilians.

"Justice must be achieved so that we can have rest from the agony we are living in.

"We know that the conviction of the people behind the shooting will not bring my father to life, but we will have peace in our minds and hearts."
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HopeFor2006 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yippee-I-O-Kai-ay-
No more happy trails for the cowboys.
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Withywindle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:30 PM
Response to Original message
2. Throw the book at those fuckers.
Hoping for a "pro-military" jury? Oh bullshit. These are mercs, not real military. Three times the pay and less than a third of the attempt at honor.
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HCE SuiGeneris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 12:20 AM
Response to Original message
3. Far past time for a lawsuit against their employer as well.
K & R
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cabluedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 03:41 AM
Response to Original message
4. I loved seeing the Blackwater thugs hanging off that bridge shot full of bullet holes while the MSM
called them "contractors". Hope more of them die in Iraq. Mercs are paid killers.
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 05:11 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. get lost.
Edited on Tue Dec-09-08 05:12 AM by ret5hd
:boring:
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cabluedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Nah, I will speak my own opinions about the Blackwater murderers. nt
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 05:43 AM
Response to Original message
6. The entire war was illegal
so all attacks were genocide.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 06:21 AM
Response to Original message
7. How is this not murder?
Manslaughter. Go figure.

-Hoot
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