Sunday, October 14, 2007

Iraqis Sue Blackwater for Baghdad Killings

By Jeremy Scahill

"Blackwater USA is facing a lawsuit over the September 16 killings in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. The largest mercenary company working for the US State Department in Iraq, Blackwater may soon need more lawyers on its payroll than it has armed operatives in Baghdad......

The suit contains seven counts against Prince and Blackwater. Two of them, war crimes and extra-judicial killing, are being brought under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows for litigation in US courts for violations of fundamental human rights committed overseas. The other five counts are wrongful death; assault and battery; negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision. Attorney Burke says this case is bigger than the four plaintiffs she is representing. Ultimately, through legal discovery, she wants to expose what the suit alleges is a pattern wherein “excessive and unnecessary use of deadly force by [Blackwater] employees is not investigated or punished in any way.”

“We are going to get at the internal corporate files, the e-mails, the memos to expose the corporate culture that is leading to all this death and destruction in Iraq,” Burke says. “What these Iraqi families are doing is a civil service to all Iraqis because they don’t want anyone else to be killed by Blackwater.”"

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