Blackwater Faulted In Military Reports From Shooting Scene
BAGHDAD, Oct. 4 -- U.S. military reports from the scene of the Sept. 16 shooting incident involving the security firm Blackwater USA indicate that its guards opened fire without provocation and used excessive force against Iraqi civilians, according to a senior U.S. military official.Writing at Firedoglake gives us another reason to be concerned about the Bush administration's mercenaries.
The reports came to light as an Interior Ministry official and five eyewitnesses described a second deadly shooting minutes after the incident in Nisoor Square. The same Blackwater security guards, after driving about 150 yards away from the square, fired into a crush of cars, killing one person and injuring two, the Iraqi official said.
The U.S. military reports appear to corroborate the Iraqi government's contention that Blackwater was at fault in the shooting incident in Nisoor Square, in which hospital records say at least 14 people were killed and 18 were wounded.
"It was obviously excessive, it was obviously wrong," said the U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the incident remains the subject of several investigations. "The civilians that were fired upon, they didn't have any weapons to fire back at them. And none of the IP or any of the local security forces fired back at them," he added, using a military abbreviation for the Iraqi police. The Blackwater guards appeared to have fired grenade launchers in addition to machine guns, the official said.
What still evades the framing of this debate, though, is that the violent lawlessness perpetrated against civilians in Iraq by this newly created thug caste is a taste of what is in store for us at home — unless Congress confronts the President’s and Prince’s plans to bring Blackwater increasingly to a neighborhood near you. It is remarkable that the hearings focus on what Blackwater is doing in Iraq — but not on what Blackwater plans to and is legally able to do here in the US when the President determines there is a `public emergency’ that requires the restoration of `public order’ — a power that he arrogated more completely with the 2007 Defense Authorization Act.Remember New Orleans after Katrina.