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Guess Who Has Immunity Now?

Remember that Blackwater killing of 17 Iraqi civilians – and the oh so independent investigation that was supposed to dig out the truth (yeah, right).

Well, it seems the investigation is stalled because:*

The State Department promised Blackwater USA bodyguards immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month’s deadly shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians, The Associated Press has learned.

The immunity deal has delayed a criminal inquiry into the Sept. 16 killings and could undermine any effort to prosecute security contractors for their role in the incident that has infuriated the Iraqi government.

H/T to Marcy who wonders:

Gosh, I couldn’t imagine why the State Department would immediately immunize all the guards in this investigation, can you?

Anyway don’t you think that’s something Condi should have told Waxman’s committee the other day … that these guys had already been given immunity from prosecution and that, therefore, the FBI investigation is likely to end up–like all other investigations of Blackwater–holding no one responsible?

Given the apparent lack of investigatory muscle we’ve seen on Blackwater, it’s encouraging to see that “the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions is planning an official visit to the US to investigate allegations of unlawful killings by US military and non-military actors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Incidents like the killings of Iraqi civilians in Haditha prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, and civilian deaths caused by airstrikes in Afghanistan have all raised issues that Alston would like to investigate.”

The Rapporteur, Philip Alston, noted:

“I am very interested in questions relating to military justice, … in other words, the response to alleged extrajudicial executions by members of the U.S. military, particularly in places like Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. … During his U.S. visit, Alston said actions by “non-state actors and military contractors” are also “clearly an issue I would want to look at insofar as executions are involved, and obviously in the Blackwater case recently they are.”

Along wth supporting robust investigations, citizen action can help to block Blackwater. Crooks and Liars noted the audacity of the company’s latest PR attempt to use the wildfires as another justification to build in California – in fact right near the location where the fires started – Blackwater attempted to claim they would have been able to fight the fires. The Courage Campaign is asking for signatures on their petition to Senators Boxer and Feinstein asking them to help stop Blackwater in California. You can sign it here.

* Interesting (but not surprising) to note that the Washington Post’s report on the immunity deal uses a photo from the 2004 killings of Blackwater personnel in Fallujah instead of the photos circulating from the killing of the Iraqi civilians on September 16th of this year.

Video: trailer for the film Shadow Company.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com