Friday, January 1, 2010

"You Have the Right to Remain Dead and Unavenged..."


The company supports the judge’s decision to dismiss the charges. From the beginning, Xe has stood behind the hundreds of brave men who put themselves in harm’s way to protect American diplomats working in Baghdad and other combat zones in Iraq. Like the people they were protecting, our Xe professionals were working for a free, safe and democratic Iraq for the Iraqi people. - Joseph Yorio, president and CEO of Blackwater

If I had any hopes whatsoever this morning that 2010 would be better than last year, this article would've smashed them. Clinton appointee Judge Ricardo Urbina threw out the indictment against Blackwater scumbags Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard, Donald Ball and Nicholas Slatten, the five men indicted by a federal grand jury in the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Sq. September 16th, 2007. In light of Judge Urbina's judicial history, it's not surprising that he didn't order the defendants to write 2000 times, "I will not kill any more defenseless civilians."

And I can perfectly understand why Urbina made this ruling. The 5th Amendment is to protect everyone from self-incrimination and the existing laws need to be upheld for the common good. However...

In Urbina's 90 page ruling, it seemed to boil down to the State Department's pressuring the two men to make incriminating statements right after the incident. Apparently, the Department of Justice couldn't make a case proving that they could prosecute these terrorists for hire without using the confessions that were apparently made under coercion, self-incriminating statements the mercenaries were then verbally promised wouldn't be used against them. In other words, their 5th amendment rights were violated by the State Department.

And this wouldn't be the first time Foggy Bottom bailed out Blackwater's bottom, such as when they offered a whopping $12,500 for each death.

In his scathing criticism of how the Bush-era State and Justice Departments began to botch this case, thereby making it unwinnable for the Obama-era DOJ, Urbina also criticized the DOJ sitting on unspecified "exculpatory evidence" and using "distorted witness statements" in their case. It's hard to imagine what possible exculpatory evidence could recommend these terrorists to a judge's mercy but a few things stand out that don't sound kosher.

One, why is US law insisting on giving these men 5th amendment and Miranda rights when they weren't even on US soil? Blackwater has spent a lot of money trying to prove that they are not subject to either the UCMJ nor civilian law because they're neither military nor civilians but "security contractors". With Order 17, CPA head L. Paul Jerry Bremer way back in 2004 guaranteed legal protection from Iraqi law to the very same people who guarded him during his Year of Living Dangerously as dictator of Iraq.

We're supposed to believe, through Judge Urbina's decision, that a verbal agreement to not use incriminating statements made between State Dept. investigators and these Blackwater mercenaries carries legal weight? We're supposed to believe that their obvious guilt is supposed to be waved away over a minor technicality like them not having private or company lawyers present days after the shooting while 6000 miles away from home?

And how can Urbina reconcile the age-old dichotomy between the 5th Amendment barring self-incrimination and the part of the Miranda rights that says, "...anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law" (especially since that doesn't seem to be contingent on whether or not one has a lawyer present. The general assumption being if you speak without legal representation, you do so at your own risk)?

The thing that we walk away from this questionable ruling which obviously prizes the mercenaries' legal rights over the basic human rights of those slaughtered Iraqi people is that the law should never victimize soldiers of fortune no matter how obvious their guilt but it should be there to defend them. We're also supposed to believe that verbal reassurances between mass murder suspects and State Department officials is supposed to have the heft and weight of legally-binding documents and constitutional law.

Here's Urbina's ruling in .pdf format, if you can stomach this bleeding heart liberalism that nonetheless apparently doesn't have any blood to bleed for the 17 innocents who were slaughtered in Nisour Sq on September 16, 2007. It's a ruling that's almost appeal-proof and is obviously concerned with protecting the rights of five trigger-happy murderers and is quick to throw suspicion on the surviving eyewitnesses who were there.

5 Comments:

At January 1, 2010 at 1:37 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

THis post has more info on Urbana's ruling than I have seen anywhere else.

At first when I heard of the judges decision I had thought it was a simple legal technicality, but you've pointed out that the judge did have a choice here and he clearly chose to free these mercenary murderers.

I have trained myself to swap the word 'mercenary' every time I see the word 'contractor' in an article about Iraq.

 
At January 1, 2010 at 4:19 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Not all contractors are soldiers of fortune, comrade.

 
At January 1, 2010 at 11:23 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

Yeah, I know... But technically they are all 'soldiers' of fortune since their sole purpose there is to profiteer from the Conservative's plan to murder the civilians of Iraq and their war crime of destroying civilian infrastructure.

So even if they there to build 'schools' that were destroyed by American taxpayers, they wouldn't be getting paid unless we had destroyed it all first.

 
At January 3, 2010 at 2:00 AM, Blogger Stan B. said...

Not only did they have the run of the place in Iraq, but when they went and got themselves strung up on an Iraqi bridge (because they didn't follow their own security guidelines), it was US soldiers and Marines that had to man up and save face on their sorry assed behalf in Sadr City- that's when the shit really hit the fan...

 
At January 5, 2010 at 1:34 AM, Blogger Stan B. said...

The Federal prosecutors purposely sabotaged their own case against them... there was PLENTY of other evidence they could have used!!!

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/4/judge_dismisses_all_charges_against_blackwater

 

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