Friday, January 1

Ave Imperator! Silenti te salutant!

BAGHDAD — Iraqis on Friday reacted with disbelief, anger and bitter resignation to news that criminal charges in the United States had been dismissed against Blackwater Worldwide security guards who opened fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007.

[..] The attack, at Nisour Square, left 17 Iraqis dead and 27 wounded. Many of the victims were riding inside cars or buses at a busy traffic circle when a Blackwater convoy escorting American diplomats rolled through and began firing machine guns, grenade launchers and a sniper rifle.
The Blackwater guards said they believed they had come under small-arms fire from insurgents. But investigators concluded that the guards had indiscriminately fired on unarmed civilians in an unprovoked and unjustified assault.

The incident calcified anti-American sentiment in Iraq and elsewhere, raised Iraqi concerns about the extent of its sovereignty because Blackwater guards had immunity from local prosecutors and reopened a debate about American dependence on private security contractors in the Iraq war.
The accused have their own rights, and the court concluded they were violated by government officials offering immunity for testimony.

Here's Spencer Ackerman:
For all I know that was the right legal call. It was stunning to hear that the first U.S. agents to interview the Blackwater guards offered them immunity: not only were they from the State Department, not the Justice Department, but they were from the division of State that oversees the contract Blackwater held. Whether they intended to sabotage a prosecution is unknown, but that’s exactly what they effectively did.
The resulting dismissal is tragic but apparently necessary according to the standard that no one is obligated to testify against themselves.

I hope those State people have been or will be fired and ostracized... but they'll probably just get re-hired by some company like Blackwater/Xe.

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