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US appeals to reopen Blackwater case

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 21:10 EDT
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WASHINGTON — A US appeals court met behind closed doors Tuesday as the government appealed a judge’s decision to clear five former guards with security company Blackwater of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007.

The three appeals court judges agreed to a request from all sides for the hearing into the controversial case to be closed to the public. A ruling is not expected for three months.

Charges against the Blackwater employees were dismissed last year, when a judge ruled US prosecutors violated the guards’ rights by using incriminating statements they had made under immunity during a State Department probe.

The ruling outraged the Baghdad government which maintains that 17 people were killed. Twenty people were also wounded.

In his ruling on December 31, 2009, judge Ricardo Urbina said prosecutors violated the defendants’ rights by using incriminating statements they had made under immunity during a State Department probe to build their case.

“The government used the defendants’ compelled statements to guide its charging decisions, to formulate its theory of the case, to develop investigatory leads, and ultimately to obtain the indictment in the case,” Urbina ruled.

After several months of reflection, the US administration said it would call for the case to be reopened, according to court documents.

It urged the court to rule “whether in light of the overwhelming untainted evidence presented to the grand jury” the case could continue in the courts.

The five guards, who had been part of a convoy of armored vehicles, had been charged with killing 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians during an unprovoked attack on September 16, 2007 at a busy Baghdad traffic circle using gunfire and grenades.

Witnesses said the Blackwater guards fired on the civilians in an unprovoked attack.

A sixth employee of Blackwater, which is now known as Xe, pleaded guilty in December to attempted homicide.

The Iraqi government has filed a lawsuit against Xe in a US court and was planning to file another in Iraq, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in January.

The case was among the most sensational that sought to hold Blackwater employees accountable for what was seen as a culture of lawlessness and lack of accountability in the company’s Iraqi operations.

Blackwater was then the largest private security firm employed by the Americans in Iraq, but it pulled out of the country in May after the government refused to renew its contracts.

It has always maintained that its guards opened fire in self-defense.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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  • http://www.911Blogger.com/ Orangutan.

    Hopefully Attorney General Eric Holder will wake up from his slumber.

  • Knot

    In other cases, conjecture and confessions obtained with torture are admissible and reason to base an entire nation’s foreign policy, yet facts gained while under immunity are enough that a Judge thinks the mercs should get away with murder. I hope that Suleiman is blackmailing the US with torture tapes, and that one day, he releases them. The insanity has gone on for too long.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah right, buddy. It’s going to take a little more then hope to get Holder to do his job.

  • Taleisin

    This happened in 2007? Justice ain’t swift in the USofA.

  • overdoneputaforkinit

    Our legal system still moves at the same speed it did in the old days of sailing ships.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RepublicConstitution?feature=mhum TruthRegimes

    Xe is far too powerful to receive anything more than a slap on the wrist. Even if these guys are imprisoned, it does nothing to slow down Xe’s war machine.

  • Anonymous

    The timing couldn’t be better to show respect for the truth and the Iraqi people than re-opening the case as the Middle East is freeing itself. The US Government suing Blackwater says alot.

  • Anonymous

    “The three appeals court judges agreed to a request from all sides for the hearing into the controversial case TO BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.”

  • Jaimie11

    Neither is it fair too often.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CS4S4JMWM64MC7IPSDDBF7OIJU Barbara

    We are living through a period of no accountability. Period. Obama protects Bush. The Bush appointed judges protect Blackwater. Blackwater contributes to political campaigns with the ill gotten monies while continuing to commit criminal acts.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U4CB4JMBKUBO6NL2RNREZDZUEA Freeky_Fried_Chicken

    Wikileaks exists because tyrants operate in secret.

  • Anonymous

    It ain’t swift, but it will give a swift kick to the wrong people.

  • Anonymous

    Funny thing – two of the three entities at the hearing – the judges and the Department of Justice – are paid by OUR tax dollars . . . and no doubt our tax dollars, having been channelled thru Xe/Blackwater by defense contracts, are paying for the defense lawyers, too . . . but We the People . . . who are paying for this charade . . . are not allowed to know what’s happening behind their closed doors.

  • Anonymous

    Bravo to bobevo and knot for getting through the layers of bullpucky to the heart of the matter.

  • Anonymous

    It often ain’t justice, either.

  • Anonymous

    “It has always maintained that its guards opened fire in self-defense.”

    ‘Cos they did!
    Just like Bush and Co invaded Iraq in self defense.

  • Taleisin

    I used to watch American court room dramas about truth, justice and the American way.
    It hurts to know my TV lied to me.

  • Anonymous

    It hurts YOU?! Think of my disappointment, when I learned the truth!

    But now you know the truth, you can just think of it as something akin to fantasy programming.

    Or don’t you enjoy a bit of fantasy / sci fi? (I watch only online or on disc – and none of it is courtroom garbage.)

  • Anonymous

    Forecast: above freezing day after tomorrow – first time in about a fortnight.
    (It’s nearly 2:00 p.m. on Thursday here.)

  • Taleisin

    Congratulations. I couldn’t live in the cold. I don’t know how you can even drive a car in that stuff. It looks way to dangerous. How are your summer temperatures?

  • Anonymous

    I can’t drive a car in any weather. Well, I know the basics, but a doctor suggested I not drive. A couple of neurological things: sometimes cross right and left, if I’m in a hurry – so too easy to slam on the gas instead of the brake or the other way about. Mainly, terrible depth and speed perception: can’t track things coming at me, can’t gauge distances or speeds well. You wouldn’t want me driving through your neighborhood, would you?

    Summers can get unbearably hot and humid. Last summer was a bear. strings of days in the middle or upper 90s with matching humidity. Our summers aren’t quite as bad as yours, I think – but our winters! (You lot don’t even have winters, as far as I’m concerned.)

    Average daily temps, plus record highs and lows:

    http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/daily/USIL0225?climoMonth=1

    (You can switch to metric.)

    It’s an often-miserable cycle: bitter cold and snow > wilting heat and humidity > bitter cold and snow…. (And they call this a temperate climate!)

    Strangely, I’ve just returned to Holzmair’s rendition of Schubert’s Winterreise (Poems by Wilhelm Müller.). Familiar with it? It’s a song-cycle about a man who leaves his love’s (and I assume his own) home town in the middle of a winter night and sets out alone on a long walking journey. He then spends most of the song cycle complaining about how cold and lonely he is. (Of course, that isn’t quite the way it’s normally described.)

  • Taleisin

    Mate, That all sounds a bit crook, as we say. The is a branch of Kinesiology that helps coordinating right and left brain hemispheres. I don’t know if it would help but there are exercises to help with coordination etc.

    My car sits in the carport. A knee will occasionally go weak on me and I don’t want that happening when I hit the brakes because of a child on the road. I have good public transport so I do by bit for the planet and leave the car alone.

    We are subtropical. The summers are getting hotter here. A few years ago we reached 115F for a few days. Adelaide down south has had hotter. So yeah, I can tell the planet is getting hotter. Winters very mild. 35F is our coldest nights but we complain about our winters. It is a dry cold. I have seen a Swedish sea captain rug up and complain.
    We go by European seasons but they do not suit our climate. The aborigines probably had a better understanding than whitefella.

    My grade 11 English teacher killed my love of Classic poetry although I have a deep love of australian bush poetry. I have never heard of Wilhelm Muller. I read many scriptures which ultimately tell you nothing about God. Mythology and ancient storytelling, understanding the wisdom we lost when we became ‘civilized’. I want to know when the first monkey became self-aware.
    I have just bought Essays and English Traits by R W Emerson. So I expect to be impressed.

  • Anonymous

    My coordination isn’t that bad. It’s just in rapid response that it would prove a problem — but that’s when it would be most disastrous. I trust the doc: he’s what a doctor ought to be, but few actually are. (So good he had to leave the US or go mad.)

    We’ve got pretty good public transportation in Chicago, too.

    The right-left glitch is occasionally problematic in other ways. I know right from left. Could do the ‘raise your left foot’ biz long before I started school. And I know that when I am facing North, West is on my left. Still, occasionally I’ll be facing South, and, say, want to go West: I’ll remind myself to ‘turn the map around,’ so to speak – and end up going East anyway! We’ve a few major streets here in Chicago that run more-or-less Northwest-Southeast, and I’ve recently moved to a location that is between two that are fairly near each other. What fun! [Snort]

    Don’t know much about Kinesiology.

    Blechh… 115 F sounds awful. And high humidity? Is it much different in New Zealand? Our winters are fairly dry, too – but I guess that depends on how you define ‘dry.’

    I’m not much for poetry myself, but threw in the name Müller just in case you were. (Never take anything for granted.) It’s possible, I suppose, that someone would know Müller’s poems, but never heard Schubert’s treatment of them in ‘Winterreise.’

    What would qualify as ‘bush poetry’? I remember having to read a bit of poetry in school – just one poem by this one and two by that one. Rather partial to Poe at one time. (I can still recite ‘The Raven’ – with difficulty.)

    Never could develop much of a taste for reading about religion and little more for mythology. Being sent to Catholic grammar school soured me on all of that. (They went berserk when I became an atheist.)

    Enjoy your Emerson. Let me know if it’s worth a read, will you?

  • Anonymous

    Oh, forgot: just got a bottle of Origin 2008 chardonnay. Will my dinner guest be impressed?

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