US: $10k for killed Iraqi civilians

Victor’s justice and an insight into the occupier’s attitude towards “inconveniences” (aka murdered Iraqi civilians courtesy of Blackwater):

Just how much is an Iraqi life worth? I don’t know but, in the aftermath of the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater employees at Nisoor Square in September 2007, apparently Iraq and the United States, had very different ideas, according to one of the recently released Wikileaks cables. (Note: One can find all the Wikileaks cable concerning Blackwater here.

The cable shows, not surprisingly, that the Iraqi and U.S. governments were magnitudes of order apart on what an Iraqi life was worth.

According to the cable the U.S. Embassy in Iraq obtained a copy of the Government of Iraq’s investigation report of the September 16 incident at Nisoor Square. The report recommended payments of $8 million and $4 million for each death and injury respectively, and called for the USG to replace Blackwater within six months of the incident.

At that time the Embassy had begun accepting claims from victims of the incident and approved payments of $10,000 for each death, $5,000 for each injury, (800 times less than the Iraqi figure for both death and injury) and $2,500 for property damage.

The cable said the Iraqi government report stated “the conduct of the PSD violated Iraqi law and a number of CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] orders and that therefore the incident is a pre-meditated murder for which the Blackwater personnel must be held accountable. It also claims that the Ministry of Interior has information on seven other instances in which Blackwater personnel killed 10 Iraqis and wounded 15 others.”

Perhaps the most interesting part of the cable is at the end:

Numerous editorial cartoons have been published depicting Blackwater as bloodthirsty mercenaries. While the escalation of the Turkish border issue has been dominating the media, the Blackwater incident will likely remain a prominent issue for editorials and political cartoons as the unpopularity of private security firms makes it an easy target.

This seems to indicate that the embassy regarded criticism of private security contractors as just an image problem, and not a serious oversight and accountability concern.

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