This is about the September, 2007 Blackwater Baghdad shootings in which five contract security officers are charged with killing seventeen innocent Iraqis and face up to thirty years in prison. Nearby Iraqi witnesses claim the incident was unprovoked. That would mean that an armed group of private officers within a volatile foreign land had nothing better to do with their time than to form an evil cabal and decide to open fire on some innocent people just for kicks.
That reminds me of the allegation that eleven L.A. cops arrived on a murder scene in 1994, and when they found out the killer was a celebrity, they all agreed to plant evidence against the celebrity for no other reason but that he happened to be black.
First, it’s important to understand just exactly the role of this private security organization’s role within Iraq.
Blackwater is the largest of the State Department’s three private military security contractors, training over 40,000 officers a year in offensive and defensive military tactics. They received a government contract in 2003 to provide services in Iraq, securing facilities and dignitary personnel, not to mention the American Embassy in Baghdad, the largest in the world. Their role has been significant, and not without tragedy and loss. In March of 2004, four Blackwater consulting employees were ambushed in Fallujah and their bodies hung from bridges. In April 2005, six Blackwater contractors were shot down in their helicopter. There’s more.
The real question, is whether these security officers are guilty of murder or that they were legitimately acting in self defense. The only witnesses are, the Blackwater guards, and …those American-loving Iraqi civilians who would never tell a lie.
I’ve often written about the government’s zeal in taking up allegiance to foreign governments whenever the conduct of police/soldier action is in question. Better to kiss butt than to stick up for one of our own. We have numbers of Border Patrol Officers and local police officers in America today who are serving long prison terms for actions that didn’t warrant such vehement prosecution, but served to placate and grease the squeaky wheel.
What about the lives of prosecuted officers and their families? Oh well, collateral damage.
Supposedly, the government has flipped one of those guards into testifying against the others. As a juror I would send up a red flag to my fellow jurors, as this guy was surely made a deal in order to bolster to government’s case. The deal is familiar. The government buys the testimony, in exchange for shorter prison time.
Because the alleged “crime” involved the possession and use of a firearm, minimum-maximum sentencing laws apply if the guards are convicted. That equates to no-option terms of thirty years of everyone convicted, other than the snitch of course.
The problem with the government’s case, are the Blackwater radio logs. In their article dated December 18th, 2008, Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Lara Jakes cast serious doubt about the veracity of those Iraqi witnesses as the logs reveal how the guards were under fire for eight minutes from insurgents and Iraqi police. They obviously lend credence to the defendants point of view. After all, defending ones self is still a legitimate motive for shooting back, is it not?
Based on all the information known thus far, it would appear the government knows this is a loser, but they’re going through the motions to make Maliki and the Iraqi media happy.
Read the entire article.
Who knows. Maybe those Iraqi insurgents were only throwing shoes.
(Thanks to fellow Blogateer Ed Hensley for bringing this item to my attention.)