Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blackwater Guards Are Finally Charged.

At the time when Blackwater Security men were shooting innocent Iraqis on the streets of Baghdad, people like Joe Scarborough were defending them saying things like, "If the Iraqis think they can do a better job than Blackwater then why don't they get their own people out there protecting their own country. I don't need lectures from Iraqi losers telling us what we are doing wrong."

It's hard to understand the mindset which allowed people like Scarborough to publicly defend such barbarism. And, I well remember on this blog, facing down right wingers who insisted that we didn't yet know if any crime had even been committed.

Thankfully, that argument has been finally settled:

Five Blackwater Worldwide security guards were charged with manslaughter and weapons violations in the deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians in a hail of gunfire and explosives at a busy Baghdad intersection. The government said they displayed a disregard for human life.

The defendants chose to surrender to authorities in Utah today and were to appear in federal court in Salt Lake City. Government officials said at a news conference it intends to try them in Washington, where support for the war in Iraq isn’t likely to be as strong as in the western state.

A sixth Blackwater guard pleaded guilty last week to voluntary manslaughter and related charges, prosecutors said. The firearms charge against the five defendants carries a mandatory minimum prison term of 30 years and the penalty for manslaughter is 10 years.

The charges are “a reminder” that anyone who engages “in unprovoked attacks will be held accountable,” Assistant Attorney General Patrick Rowan said at a press conference. “Security guards were obligated to refrain from firing their powerful weapons except for necessary self-defense.”

I've already posted this video of the kind of behaviour Blackwater were engaging in:

I can't think of any other war in which private contractors were given the kind of power which the Bush administration allowed companies like Blackwater to enjoy in Iraq, and Bush gave them this power whilst attempting to negotiate that they could operate with complete immunity from Iraqi law.

The story of what took place in Nisour Square is covered here.

It's long overdue that someone was held accountable for what was, by any reasonable description, a massacre.

Click title for full article.

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