imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Jeremy Scahill: Blackwater's loopholes

by Jeremy Scahill Friday, Nov. 16, 2007 at 12:54 PM

REMINDER: Jeremy Scahill, will be speaking in the Los Angeles area, at the United Teachers of LA, 3303 W. Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA, at 7:00 pm on Friday, Nov. 16th and at the First Unitarian Church of Studio City, 12355 Moorpark, Studio City, CA at 7:00 pm on Saturday, Nov. 17th, each with author Dahr Jamail, Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq. For more information call: 213-309-2713.

REMINDER: Jeremy Scahill, will be speaking in the Los Angeles area, at the United Teachers of LA, 3303 W. Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA, at 7:00 pm on Friday, Nov. 16th and at the First Unitarian Church of Studio City, 12355 Moorpark, Studio City, CA at 7:00 pm on Saturday, Nov. 17th, each with author Dahr Jamail, Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq. For more information call: 213-309-2713.

************

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-scahill15nov15,0,4689055.story?coll=la-news-comment

From the Los Angeles Times

Blackwater's loopholes

Prosecuting private security contractors for shooting Iraqi civilians might be impossible.

By Jeremy Scahill

November 15, 2007

Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 killing of 17 Iraqi civilians by operatives of the Blackwater security company have concluded that 14 were victims of unjustified and unprovoked shootings. Some died in a hail of bullets as they fled. The investigators also have rejected assertions by Blackwater that its forces were defending themselves, saying there is no evidence to support that claim.

This initial glimpse into the evidence uncovered by the FBI bolsters the Iraqi government's claim (made within hours of the shootings in Baghdad's Nisoor Square) that the killings were criminal, as well as the findings of a U.S. military investigation that called all 17 of the killings unjustified. But that raises a crucial and complicated question: Who will prosecute the killers?

The answer may be no one. That certainly seemed to be the view of veteran diplomat Patrick Kennedy, who recently reviewed the State Department's use of private security. Kennedy and his team came back from Baghdad concluding that they were "unaware of any basis for holding non-Department of Defense contractors accountable under U.S. law."

Although the FBI conclusions appear damning, each of the three potential avenues for prosecuting Blackwater have fatal flaws:

U.S. civilian law: The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000 provides for prosecution in federal court of U.S. contractors for crimes committed overseas. The problem is that this law only applies to contractors working for or directly accompanying the U.S. military. Blackwater works for the State Department in Iraq as "diplomatic security," which is separate from military operations. Legislation has been introduced that would expand the act to apply to all contractors, but not retroactively. The Justice Department might argue that the Blackwater guards were indeed accompanying the military, but courts could well throw out such a case.

U.S. military law: In late 2006, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) inserted an amendment in the Defense Authorization Act that places all U.S. contractors under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the court-martial system. But this has not been tested, and the Department of Defense has shown no desire to use this option against any security contractors -- let alone ones who aren't working for the military. Facing a military prosecution, Blackwater could even get support from civil libertarians, who would see it as a creep toward applying military law to civilians.

Iraqi law: The Iraqi government wants to prosecute the Blackwater shooters in its courts, but that isn't going to happen. The day before L. Paul Bremer III ended his tenure as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in June 2004, he issued Order 17. It grants all contractors sweeping immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts. There is a provision that allows the U.S. to lift immunity in individual cases, but Washington would never hand over a U.S. citizen to an Iraqi court.

"These legal loopholes amount, in practice, to a license to kill with impunity," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is suing Blackwater for wrongful death and war crimes in federal court over the shootings. "There is no genuine deterrence to acting unlawfully."

Even if the Justice Department moves forward, the investigation was contaminated from the start. The State Department's initial report on the shooting was drafted by a Blackwater contractor on U.S. government stationery. Two weeks passed before the FBI was dispatched to investigate; for two weeks, the only people looking into this crime were from a non-law-enforcment agency, the State Department, which had potential culpability of its own.

Then there is this fact: The State Department inspector general, Howard Krongard, who previously has been accused of impeding investigations into Blackwater, has direct family ties to the company. His brother, A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, former CIA executive director, this year joined Blackwater's advisory board as a paid consultant. While at the CIA, Krongard played a role in Blackwater's first soldier-for-hire contract in Afghanistan in 2002.

Late last month, it emerged that the State Department had granted "limited use immunity" to some Blackwater operatives involved in the shootings before taking their statements. The result? Some Blackwater agents reportedly have refused to answer FBI questions, and those statements cannot be used as evidence, nor can any charges be based on them.

The immunity-for-statements deal calls the State Department's motivation into question, says military law expert Scott Horton of Human Rights First. "It seems less to be to collect the facts than to immunize Blackwater and its employees." This makes prosecution in any venue difficult, if not impossible.

The Bush administration has overseen a radical privatization of the U.S. war machine. There are now more private contractors in Iraq -- tens of thousands of them armed -- than U.S. troops. At the same time, the White House has militarized the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, staffing it with private warriors from Blackwater, DynCorp International and Triple Canopy. This force, conceived as a small-scale bodyguard operation for U.S. diplomats, now constitutes a paramilitary squad thousands strong, seemingly accountable to no one.

Although Blackwater's operatives must be held accountable, this is not just a case of rooting out "bad apples." These forces were deployed without any accountability structure or effective oversight; their mission was to keep U.S. officials alive by any means necessary. Blackwater has done that job, but we may never know how many Iraqis have died as a result. The investigation must determine which operatives killed the Iraqis on Sept. 16, but it can't stop there. It must extend to those who hired them and deployed them, armed, dangerous and apparently above the law.

Jeremy Scahill is the author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army."

####





Report this post as:

Local News

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

75 Election Tricks Of The Party Of The Rich O23 11:04PM

Oversight Board Reviews New Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico O23 5:19PM

Apocalypse capitalisme O20 7:45AM

Stress, réaction organique à l'agression O19 6:59AM

Elder Aliyah to Israel, Like Abraham and Sarah O18 6:35PM

Politoscope plurivalent O17 6:59AM

Paraphysique du microcosme macrocosme O15 6:44AM

September 2018 Honduras coup update O15 3:31AM

The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US O14 7:34AM

The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US O14 7:23AM

Paraphysique de l'ubérisation O13 7:56AM

22 Ways Trump Has Increased US Deficit By 4 to 5 Trillion Dollars O12 10:34PM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Plus d'hôpitaux, à bas les aéros O12 6:38AM

When Banana Ruled (documentary) O11 3:00AM

Outstanding Report By RAMOLA D &Dr.Tomo Shibata O10 9:17PM

Dark Clouds Gather on Horizon for Financial System, Warns International Monetary Fund O10 1:51PM

Fbi pure evil & immorality O10 5:39AM

Reality Check: Palestinian-Israeli Coexistence is a Big Lie O09 7:40PM

Voiceless Animals: 2018 Candidates They Oppose O09 7:01PM

IMF Lowers Global Growth Projections and Raises Concerns of Financial Crisis O09 3:27PM

Canitie, l'inhumanité vieillit O09 7:13AM

L'anarchie en quelques exemples O07 6:50AM

100 Ways GOP Have Stolen Elections Since 1876 O06 12:03AM

Proximospective de l'univocité réifiée O05 6:27AM

“Kava-no!!!” O04 6:42PM

Trump & Palestine vs. Genesis, Rashi & The Land of Israel O03 6:29PM

The Criminality of the Elites O03 11:35AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy