Blackwater Trial Update
So much for the judge's optimistic prediction that the Blackwater 7 jury trial could be wrapped up in "a couple of hours" on Weds.--it consumed another full day. Three members from the all-white jury were struck early on as they had some tie to Blackwater or were deemed to be unable to be objective--for example, one was engaged to a member of Blackwater.
Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now! interviewed one of the defendants, Mary Grace, by phone. She was arrested as she knelt and prayed just inside the front gate area of Blackwater property during the non-violent action Oct. 20.
It was recently reported in the New York Times that Blackwater immediately repaired and painted all vehicles involved before a full investigation could be made. 17 unarmed civilians were killed in a busy urban area but due to Paul Bremer's 2004 contractor immunity provision, Blackwater remains free from accountability to this day. There are over 200 known incidents of death or damage to civilians by Blackwater. Again, known.
The Blackwater 7 cited international/humanitarian law in their defense as they pleaded "not guilty" on all counts and on behalf of all people who have been harmed by Blackwater's actions worldwide.
One charge of "damage to real property" was dismissed.
The other two charges of "resisting arrest" and "trespassing" have stood.
The You Tube video clearly shows no physical resistance of arrest by any of the defendants beyond the classic civil disobedience tactic of "going limp."
Is one expected to receive arrest with open arms??? No one struggled or attempted to get away when arrested; all defendants remained peaceful and respectful towards the arresting officers. One Currituck County officer admitted in court on a previous day he was at no time threatened by them.
As far as "trespassing," how is it that a private company solely funded by public funds (the State Dept. being its biggest client), is considered to be above the law??? Blackwater has distinct privileges not afforded US military service members.
The Blackwater 7 will receive sentencing, today, Weds., Jan. 24. Please send "good karma" their way.
Addendum: Four former Blackwater security guards were finally convicted Wednesday in the 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis in Baghdad. I am glad for this verdict. Our government should not be using hired thugs to terrorize people around the world. They only do it for plausible dependability. The big perps like Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney and other leading CIA neocons will probably never see the inside of a courtroom, much less a prison cell but there are tens of thousands of their victims who should have justice. Instead, the horror of their continuing crimes continue as they return to Iraq and move into Syria.