In the midst of the investigations over the deaths of 17 Iraqis last month, the State Department awarded immunity to the Blackwater security guards allegedly responsible for the killings. However, the department had no right or ability to do so, according to the Justice Department.
Since Blackwater is a private, hired security company, guards cannot be tried in military court, making the prosecution process even murkier than usual war cases.
The incident occurred during a trip through Baghdad with American diplomats–one convoy carrying the passengers and the other opening fire on Iraqi citizens. Although Blackwater defended their actions as self defense,
“subsequent accounts from witnesses and Iraqi investigators indicated that the convoy had not been attacked and that the Blackwater guards fired indiscriminately around the square. American soldiers investigating the scene afterward also found no evidence of an attack.”
My International Relations class watched a great Frontline documentary on the problems behind privatizing our security in Iraq, especially highlighting the grotesque excess–both in money and supplies–that is being handed out to these guards with taxpayer funds. It’s worth a watch–it is a really startling and enlightening look at companies like Halliburton.
Immunity Deals Offered to Blackwater Guards – [New York Times]