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Grand jury: Mercenaries in Iraq "shooting a lot of people," not just Blackwater



Federal authorities have convened a grand jury to investigate multiple shootings involving private security contractors in Iraq, including a Sept. 16 incident in which guards for Blackwater Worldwide killed 17 civilians at a Baghdad traffic circle, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The Washington grand jury has issued subpoenas to several private security firms, including Blackwater, a legal source briefed on the probe said yesterday. Authorities are seeking company "after-action" reports and other documents that may shed light on specific incidents, he said.

The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, declined to say which incidents have been targeted, but he said the investigation ranges well beyond Blackwater. Private security companies in Iraq "have been shooting a lot of people," he said.

Well, sure. That's why Iraq is back to normal!

Of course, since the loyal Bushies running the war eliminated the rule of law, prosecuting the mercenaries for breaking the law might turn out to be difficult:

But the U.S. government's ability to prosecute remains hampered by the lack of clarity over what laws may apply. For instance, contractors were immunized from Iraqi laws under a June 2004 order signed by the U.S. occupation authority. That ruling remains in effect.

How con-v-e-e-e-e-n-i-e-n-t.

But seriously, is there really a story here?

How on earth can we use mercenaries to suppress domestic insurrection if they don't get some practice shooting civilians?

Eyes on the prize, people! Move along, move along!

NOTE If this grand jury investigation turns out to be more than kabuki, I will happily eat my hat, or crow, whichever is more distasteful, over any of the remarks I made about State's handling of this affair that, for once, turned out to be overly cynical.

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