Monday, June 30, 2014

A law unto themselves

US mercenary company Blackwater (now Academi) has a dodgy reputation, being involved in murders and the massacre of civilians in Iraq. They managed to get away with it for two reasons: firstly, because they claimed to be subject to US rather than Iraqi law. And secondly, because they threatened to murder US investigators:

Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.

American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.

The second paragraph is simply astonishing: a US company explicitly threatened to murder US officials, and other US officials backed them. No wonder Blackwater felt bold enough to kill with impunity in Nisour Square.