Cars breezed by the trimmed green hedges and flowers of Baghdad’s Nisoor Square on Friday, while pedestrians strolled past billboards of smiling men and women promoting national elections. Little trace was left of the September 2007 day when Blackwater security guards opened fire on the crowded intersection, killing 17 civilians.
On Thursday, a judge in a U.S. federal court had thrown out the criminal prosecution of five Blackwater guards involved in the shootings. The consequences of that decision were still being felt Friday by survivors of the attack, politicians and ordinary Iraqis, who expressed feelings of helplessness at the hands of the United States.
The Iraqi government vowed to seek an appeal. Victims and others said they doubted they would ever see justice, convinced the American government considers their blood cheap.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled that prosecutors of the five security guards had wrongly relied on statements the defendants made to State Department investigators under the promise of immunity. The guards, who were facing counts of manslaughter and firearms violations, maintained they opened fire in response to an attack. Iraqis dispute that. [continued…]
Iraq said Friday that it will file a lawsuit against five Blackwater security guards cleared of manslaughter charges in the 2007 killing of 17 Iraqi civilians, an act a government official called murder.
The Iraqi government also will ask the U.S. Justice Department to appeal a federal judge’s “unfair and unacceptable” dismissal of the charges Thursday, spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.
An Iraqi man wounded in the 2007 incident also voiced his anger Friday, saying U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina’s dismissal of the charges showed “disregard for Iraqi blood.” [continued…]