Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Iraqi govt wants Blackwater to pay $136 mn. compensation to families

(Reuters) - The Iraqi government wants US security firm Blackwater to pay $8 million in compensation to each of the families of 17 people killed in a shooting, a senior government source said yesterday. The source said the figure was roughly in line with compensation paid by the Libyan government to the families of the 270 people killed in the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing over Scotland.
"We want them to pay $8 million [about Dh29.3m] for each family," the source said. "The same level as the compensation for the Lockerbie victims." Blackwater had been told of the demand, the source said. It was unclear what the private American firm's response was. Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said on Sunday an investigation set up by Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki had found Blackwater "deliberately killed" the 17 people in the September 16 shooting in western Baghdad.
Blackwater has said its guards responded lawfully to a hostile threat against a US State Department convoy it was guarding, but Dabbagh said the investigation had also found there was no evidence they had come under fire.
The incident caused outrage among Iraqis who see security contractors like Blackwater as private armies which act with impunity. Blackwater employs about 1,000 people in Iraq. Its founder, former US Navy SEAL Erik Prince, told a Congressional hearing last week that his men had come under small-arms fire and "returned fire at threatening targets."

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