Inside the Blackwater Iraq Files: Shooting Randomly, Killing The NY Times' Pet Dog, No Discipline
Four years ago Gawker filed a FOIA request to obtain "State Department incident reports" on Blackwater (which rebranded itself as Xe, and then this week "Academi" to run away from its reputation) and other contractors in Iraq.
Now those reports are public and here's a gruesome summary of what they contain.
In Iraq, Blackwater's "protective services" consisted in large part of preemptively shooting any car that drove near its convoys. Page after page of the reports feature drivers (and occasionally boat pilots) who were fired upon simply because they drove "aggressively," attempted to pass, or didn't heed warnings to keep their distance. There was no routine mechanism for following up with the drivers to determine if they were injured or were actually hostile. Blackwater (and DynCorp and Triple Canopy) guards roamed Iraqi cities and highways, ignoring traffic rules and shooting at other drivers literally at will, and driving on. According to a 2007 investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, between 2005 and 2007 Blackwater operatives fired on Iraqis at least 195 times, or an average of 1.4 times per week. That included an infamous Baghdad firefight at Nisour Square that killed 17 civilians.
The incidents included shooting a judge in the leg and in perhaps the least dire but most telling incident, killing a beloved dog that had been "raised from a puppy" by New York Times staff in the country. In addition, there was little to no accountability for the rogue actions when they did occur since it was deemed bad for morale to dole out punishment.
Gawker has posted the documentsand asks citizen journalists to help them pore through it for more findings.