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Posted at 7:12 PM ET, 10/22/2010

WikiLeaks files likely pose little threat to Blackwater

By Jeff Stein

If the recent past is any guide, former Blackwater employees have no reason to fear allegations in the new documents released by WikiLeaks on Friday.

The U.S. military files record “at least 14 new cases of Blackwater employees opening fire on civilians,” incidents in which seven people were wounded and 10 died, according to al Jazeera, one of several news organizations given advance copies of the almost 400,000 documents obtained by WikiLeaks.

“In one in three of those Blackwater killings detailed in the secret files, the company was escorting U.S. diplomats,” al Jazeera said.

The Qatar-based news organization summarized only three of the incidents, however. In most cases either the exact dates and places where they allegedly occurred and names of the people involved were left out.

The network said it had “certified” a May 14, 2005, incident in which a U.S. patrol, “who were themselves almost hit,” observed Blackwater guards fire on a car carrying a family, killing the father and wounding the mother and daughter.

“The Blackwater truck didn’t stop,” it said.

In May 2006, Blackwater employees opened fire on an ambulance, killing the driver, after a roadside bomb exploded, al Jazeera said.

“Despite Jasem Abed Sarhan's death, Blackwater refused to confirm or deny its involvement,” the network said.

Blackwater changed its named to Xe Services in February 2009, saying it "reflects the change in company focus away from the business of providing private security," but it has continued to win contracts from the CIA and State Department to protect their installations and personnel.

Exactly four years earlier, “four civilians were wounded after an unknown Private Security Detail, or PSD, opened fire,” according to the newly released files. “On that same day in Baghdad, a Blackwater convoy escorting diplomats opened fire at three cars, killing at least one person. “

State Department investigators later reported that “several of the PSD individuals involved in the shooting provided false statements to the investigators as well as failed to justify their actions,” according to al Jazeera.

“Yet the US government refused to punish Blackwater,” it said. According to al Jazeera, the State Department concluded that “disciplinary actions would be deemed as a lowering the morale of the entire PSD entity.”

Xe officials could not be reached for comment.

But based on the resolution in the latest of several cases that arose from other actions involving Blackwater guards, it’s not likely that the Justice Department will open any new cases based on the WikiLeaks release.

Presumably, authorities have already reviewed the U.S. military files released Friday and declined to prosecute.

In any case, the Justice Department punctuated its difficulty bringing such cases to trial when it announced on Monday that it was dropping all charges against Andrew J. Moonen, a Blackwater employee accused of killing the bodyguard of an Iraqi vice president in 2006.

The Moonen decision followed a hung jury in September in the Virginia murder trial of two former Blackwater guards accused of killing two Afghan civilians. The jurors said they could not agree on the verdict.

Similarly, manslaughter and weapons charges were also dropped late last year against five former Blackwater guards involved in the infamous September 2007 incident in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed.

Incidents in combat zones are difficult to sort out, analysts say. Prosecutors also face jurisdictional problems.

“Contractors for the Defense Department are subject to criminal prosecution under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, but it has never been clear whether the law can be applied to contractors for the State Department, like Blackwater,” the New York Times noted on Thursday. “Those contractors generally have greater protections because of the possibility that they might be engaged in fighting.”

By Jeff Stein  | October 22, 2010; 7:12 PM ET
Categories:  Financial/business, Foreign policy, Intelligence, Lawandcourts, Media, Military  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ex-spies group official: Bankruptcy a security risk
Next: CIA renegade Agee’s files surface at NYU


if wikileaks endangered

chinese or russian soldiers

instead of american soldiers

wikileaks would have


room temperature by now.........

as accidents happen

and consider that someone who mocks


gets an instant death sentence

yet here american soldiers lives are at risk

and not even an arrest

Posted by: ProCounsel | October 22, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Nothing threatens, Blackwater because these killers are a power to themselves.

Bush created a monster when he let the Blackwater genie out of the bottle, and this monster will one day be a threat to our democracy.

Bush's arrogant bloody invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq has spawned an evil which will one day consume our democracy. Future generations of Americans, if there are any left, will spit on Bush's name.

Posted by: Ruhu | October 22, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Wait. WAIT!

This is so rich.

The Lib/Progs have been PRAYING (OF ALL THINGS)that wikileaks would expose AMERICAN soldier's purported mistreatment of Iraqis.

Having Iraqi mistreat Iraqi is just SOP.

There is NOTHING HERE for the Left to crow about. Move along.

Oh, BTW, Juan Williams is on Fox now.


Posted by: notinga | October 22, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of "The Pentagon Papers" which ultimately led to Nixon's demise when he went for the Great Cover-up. It's incredibly hard to believe the US, with the purported best intelligence agencies in the world, were not aware, let alone not complicit in these war crimes. Americans are easily fooled though, just look at how they allow their elections to be run like circuses. There is just too much here to simply slough off or spin, even with the greatest public relations firms in the world. The Pentagon is working overtime to protect their own six o'clock and not the lives of some Iraqis - are you kidding me? After reading this carnage and how they looked the other way, they have the audacity to feign their concerns for any Iraqi, period. This is totally disgusting when you consider the lies and suppression of this atrocious evidence. America's name has to be mud with any allies in the world today. Indeed the world is on to the American government and the Pentagon's propaganda. It's almost too hard to fathom the torture the Iraqis were subject to by the Americans' invasion that was based on lies at the outset. I'll never look at the American military again without thinking about the Nazi atrocities. I can't believe how desensitized the military has become with regard to human life.

Posted by: tjmars1 | October 22, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

One giant Wiki-YAWN.


Posted by: notinga | October 22, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I'd have no qualms or compunction about killing a Republican. Doesn't mean I'm going to do it but it's war. No aid or comfort to enemies foreign or domestic. You got to know you're in a fight and Ann Coulter speaks for the raw power criminal tyrants. Neither side wants to give the head's up to Nixon's 30000 name racial enemies list. Neither side wants to give the head's up to commies like MLK or terrorists like Teddy Kennedy and David Nelson of Ozzie And Harriet who were on the Bush era terror watch list. Anthrax only attacks Democrats. This ain't no party, this ain't no disco. Nuke the Republicans, go daisy ad.

Posted by: Uoughtano | October 23, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Well, now the recent awarding of new contracts for State Department security to XE makes sense.
When contracting these services was set up, the Military Code of Justice was carefully written by a bunch of Liberty law school "Christian" numbskulls with peculiar instructions, I’m sure, to allow these contractors to circumvent all responsibility for their behavior in hot situations, whether or not their employees were on or off duty, sane and sober, or drunk as skunks.
The "new" "Justice" Department just couldn't be bothered to go to work to see to it that some semblance of American justice could be extracted for these crimes against humanity.
No wonder Iraqi civilians hate us so vehemently.
If the shoes were on our feet ...
Oh, but that's right -- they were -- at the end of World War II.
And we hung Nazis, Italians, and Japanese for similar atrocities against not only Allied soldiers, but Allied civilians as well, after carefully fair, open and proven trials in which guilt and innocence was carefully documented and available for all the world to examine.
I guess such days of real American justice have long since gone by the wayside.
As someone recently commented about the money flowing in this election from multi-national corporations, "When is a corporation ever required to pledge allegiance to our flag?"
I guess the same can be said for private contractors.
That's why they are mercenaries, not troops.
From the daze when Cheney and Rumsfeld set up the mercenary outsourcing of the Iraqi and Afghan campaigns, it was all carefully planned to assure the corporations that they would be protected from any responsibility for their activities.
Hence, just like all the other companies, they can evade taxes and offshore our military duties with impunity.
The laws and courts have been carefully corrupted to allow it all.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | October 23, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, bad things happen in a war. Big surprise there. Wikileaks doesn't exactly help solve any problems of the present for sure.

Posted by: Nymous | October 23, 2010 3:15 AM | Report abuse

Blackwater is above the rules and regulations - past and present administrations depend on them to do the dirty work and then sweep it under the rug.

Posted by: Utahreb | October 23, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

there never was a serious prosecution threat against blackwater. war crimes, murder, rape, profiteering .... ho hum. nothing to see here; move along, chumps.

Posted by: mycomment | October 23, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"Bush's arrogant bloody invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq has spawned an evil which will one day consume our democracy."

What about the rest who voted for war? How about the people who elected them?

It is a Democracy, you know.

I suspect you gave up when it was difficult. That would explain the anger.

If you were always against the war. That is fine. We do have reasons to differ.

But why be so angry?

We won.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | October 23, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

You mean these Blackwater criminals could be executed on sight?
Praise the Lord!

Posted by: analyst72 | October 23, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

First off, you have to be smart enough to recognize the threat.

I don't want to say you're dumb, but, well, you know.


DuMb ko0K.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | October 23, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

First, as a retired member of the Foreign Service, I seriously question the presence of Diplomatic personnel in an active war zone. Usually the Diplomats show up after the shooting stops. In the interim the military civil affairs units take over the functions of a civilian government. The military, from my experience, is very good at defense and offense. But by the very nature of their training they aren't trained for protection of non-combatants. Imagine if the President of the US relied on beat cops to provide protection wherever he went rather than the Secret Service. Without adequate security the number of Diplomatic personnel who volunteer for these assignments would be pretty close to zero, those who did I would check closely for suicidal tendencies. To put things in a context those in DC can understand, suppose the Presidental motorcase was headed along Constitution Ave. and a car load of unknowns disregard police instructions to stop and head directly for the Presidents vehicle at a high rate of speed, what do you think the reaction of the SS would be? That is the position of Blackwater (Xe) in the infamous Baghdad incident. You don't know the intentions and have only seconds to react. The solution for accoutability would be to have a service comparable to the SS in training and experience as part of the government to protect American civilian personnel in hostile situations. Of course this is going to expand someones empire and cost a bunch of money in the process. BTW the Military Code of justice, also known as the Manual for Courts Martial was written, you guessed it, for the Military.

Posted by: hc01 | October 23, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"Blackwater changed its named to Xe Services in February 2009, saying it "reflects the change in company focus away from the business of providing private security," but it has continued to win contracts from the CIA and State Department to protect their installations and personnel."

Isn't it still a problem that U.S. courts do not have jurisdiction for crimes committed by Xe on foreign soil and the military does not have jurisdiction because these people are not military?

The U.S. government is hiring mercernaries, folks, who fall under no U.S. legal jurisdiction to account for their actions.

Another sign of why the U.S. has lost the moral respect of many nations of the world, and deserved to.

Posted by: amelia45 | October 23, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

In this YouTube clip from 1995, NPR's Nina Totenberg wishes AIDS on Jesse Helms. Why is she still working at NPR?

Posted by: NPRwasWrongToFireJuanWilliamsItIsNecessaryForADemocracyToFosterFreePoliticalTalk | October 23, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

lets recall all xe security agents and all military...
I'm sure pelosi will love having them on home soil...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 23, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

and lets use all xe and ex military to provide security at the polls...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 23, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course Bush's thugs are above the law. Blackwater can quite literally rape and kill for sport and no one will lay a finger on them. This is why we are hated around the world. And willfully clueless Americans STILL do not get it. And call anyone "anti-American" for bringing it up.

American exceptionalists like our right wing here are no different that complicit family member of an alcoholic, routinely making excuses for the drinking. Eventually the stuff hits the fan people, like on 9/11. Time to WAKE UP, GROW UP, AND START ACTING LIKE DECENT CITIZENS OF THE WORLD.

Posted by: B2O2 | October 23, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse


Blackwaters was caught doing their dirty jobs, changed their name and the government IMMEDIATELY continued doing business with these criminals.

It's not about the truth or about morals.


Posted by: coqui44 | October 23, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Blackwater is a symptom of something that was under way before 9/11 but blossomed. It was far worse at that time then anyone would want to believe let alone admit. It still goes on today, and nothing will stop the extreme abuses of that cadre of warped personalities that migrate to the opportunity to be violent, torture and kill.

I February 2001 former US Marines Colonel Vine and Lt Harry Bird descended on me with surveillance technology of the most unbelievable kind to imprison, torture, experiment and eventually kill. This is a civilian neighbourhood in London. They joined a surveillance operation against me that had been in effect for 2.5 years by that time. The disposition was there.

They just make up whatever it takes to emotionally charge everyone to carry out crimes and allow them to keep using surveillance technology. It's the Jessica Lynch syndrome reverse engineered to kill rather than rescue although they operate as Angels of Death pretending to help when they viciously do as much harm as possible.

The horror of the worst nightmare that cold be imagined from Big Brother is upon us and has been been for almost a decade in my direct experience. When I read about the futility of getting any prosecution against obvious violence by Blackwater personnel, it tells me that those hiding behind surveillance technology are going to skate free especially in this apathetic and unbelieving world we inhabit at present.

The have pretended to be military all the way with Bird recently claiming this as a "beach head" declaring that he was "embedded." He thinks he is in a "war" and has identified me as the "enemy." Foreign military personnel in the UK basically cannot be prosecuted except by consent since UK law protects them. If Vine/Bird and others are reservists, as I suspect, and DoD contractors, as I also suspect, they should be subject to the law as described at the end above.

The big problem is finding out their status and affiliation which they want to hide as much as they can. Toward this end of accountability TSA has taken giant step, and the "leaking" of this Wikilieaks' information has made a significant contribution. I would like to think there will be a ground swell of sentiment building to expose all of this activity and bring it to account especially since it is doing so much harm to the US and the US military as well as other nations like the UK.

It is inconceivable that US military personnel like Vine/Bird et al would ever behave in this way without being stopped, but such is the case today. It is far worse because everyone joins in just as the US forces turned a blind eye to the Iraqi atrocities and did nothing as these disclosures reveal. Worst of all is that Blackwater has changed its name, goes unscathed and gets into State to protect its people throughout the world. I think that Blackwater now Xe portends more serious implications in the future than anyone even begins to suspect as Vine/Bird reflect.

Posted by: garydchance | October 23, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

ProCounsel wrote: " Consider that someone who mocks mohammed gets an instant death sentence... yet here american soldiers lives are at risk and not even an arrest[against wikileaks]"

So, what are you saying? That you'd rather there be NO TRUE HEROES standing up against this vile, blood-sucking empire's
expansionist blood-licking adventure into a sovereign nation in this apparent botched robbery?

Posted by: jewishmother | October 23, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

For garydchance - check with your Dr, your meds need bumbed up.

Posted by: hc01 | October 23, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

It’s more than a little ironic that, with its newest document dump from the Iraq campaign, WikiLeaks may have just bolstered one of the Bush administration’s most controversial claims about the Iraq war: that Iran supplied many of the Iraq insurgency’s deadliest weapons and worked hand-in-glove with some of its most lethal militias.

Posted by: steve_real | October 23, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

LAWYERS SAY JURISDiction. Is that like Nuremburg and Tokyo after WWII ? Or is it the "Right Makes Right" theory of law?

Posted by: jtw19391 | October 23, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

LAWYERS SAY Jurisdiction. Is that like Nuremburg and Tokyo after WWII ? Or is it the George Bush and Bary Obama "Right Makes Right" theory of law?

Posted by: jtw19391 | October 23, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Without commenting on the merits of the Nuremburg trials, there certainly were some really bad types there. It is usually the policy of the victor to try the vanguished. Of course some of the charges were a bit off the wall, such as "waging agressive war". I wasn't aware there was any other type, certainly a new concept of non-agressive war. I am certain if Saadam had won there would have been a lot of allied types having a short trial followed by a short rope.

Posted by: hc01 | October 23, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

For hc01. I guess you are not keeping up with the current Wikileaks disclosures

As I said, some do not want to believe let alone admit the truth. These people have been known to me from the beginning since I reported their child abuse in an adjacent flat. The former US Marines who joined almost a decade ago became known very quickly and have remained in place all these years. Vine travels a bit, though, like to Kabul after the successful invasion at the end of 2001. There are no mysterious "they" and what they have done has been well noted by them and my experience.

It doesn't matter to me that there are those like yourself who choose to be dismissive in your own brutal way. Your suggestion is brutality coincident with those who seek to deny the validity of what I describe so that they can continue with their torture. Someday you will learn the accuracy of what I describe, but it's better now than later.

The Telegraph article linked above notes that the British government "constantly denied" the extent of Iran's involvement in the Iraq insurgency which was revealed by the Wikileaks documents.

I met two psychiatrists from a nearby hospital to explain the fact of the hoax by the child abusers, but they would have none of it and blamed me, the victim, themselves. Since I had met them, I also recognised their presence as they rolled out into the community to participate in the surveillance torture and experimentation adding their surreptitious medication to the activity which has so far failed. These people are not a mysterious "they" either, and I heard them describe exactly what they were doing.

That particular NHS hospital obtained some financing for itself at that time by leasing a ward for the making of a porno film There are psychiatrist who are quite willing to be suppressive in the interest of the powers that be just as there are psychiatrists who are terrorist and kill many as occurred at Fort Hood. We've got to understand character, evaluate it properly and take the correct and legal actions to prevent abuses wherever they might occur.

The problem with Blackwater now Xe is that they most likely will become part of this vast culture of violence developing further as they have already demonstrated in the past. If these are not dealt with properly, it can only get worse, and people like yourself who turn a blind eye to the truth and seek to "medicate" those with whom they do not agree are a real threat and danger. I appreciate your comment since it has given me the opportunity to reply rationally and reasonably here.

PS That's "bumped" not "bumbed." I'll let Richard Evans, MD, know that you've recommended a higher dosage of unlawful and criminal involuntary surreptitious medication outside a hospital environment by writing this since either he or his colleagues are watching this as I write. They have been commenting all along.

Posted by: garydchance | October 24, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

tin foil in the hat helps

Posted by: hc01 | October 24, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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