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Blackwater Worldwide security guards used machine guns and grenade launchers against unarmed Iraqi civilians, some who had their hands up, federal prosecutors said Monday in announcing manslaughter indictments against five guards.
A sixth guard admitted in a plea deal to killing at least one Iraqi in the 2007 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. Seventeen Iraqis were killed in the assault, which roiled U.S. diplomacy with Iraq and fueled anti-American sentiment abroad.
The five guards surrendered Monday and were due to ask a federal judge for bail.
"The tragic events in Nisoor Square on Sept. 16 of last year were shocking and a violation of basic human rights," FBI Assistant Director Joseph Persichini said.
In addition to being charged with 14 counts of manslaughter, the five guards also face 20 counts of attempted manslaughter. They are also charged with using a machine gun to commit a crime of violence, a charge that carries a 30-year minimum sentence.
Originally posted by cmd18B
Nobody is above the law and justice was served...
Contractors have provided the Bush Administration with political cover, allowing the government to deploy private forces in a war zone free of public scrutiny, with the deaths, injuries and crimes of those forces shrouded in secrecy. The Administration and the GOP-controlled Congress in turn have shielded the contractors from accountability, oversight and legal constraints.
Invoking Rumsfeld's designation, the company has in effect declared its forces above the law--entitled to the immunity from civilian lawsuits enjoyed by the military, but also not bound by the military's court martial system.