Saturday, January 26, 2008

Blackwater Back in the News

Blackwater Security, the mercenary thugs who enjoy shooting helpless Iraqis, is suing its former lawyers for malpractice. Back when the four Blackwater thugs were killed and hung on that Iraqi bridge, the survivors sued Blackwater for failing to proetct its employees. The suit was originally filed in state court, but Blackwater wanted the case moved to the Federal courts, where bush's appointees could be counted on to let Blackwater slide. Blackwater's original lawyers failed in their mission, and the suit proceeded in the North Carolina state courts.

The lawyers who failed so miserably were from the prestigious Wiley Rein firm included Fred Fielding, now White House counsel; Barbara Van Gelder, now an attorney with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Scott McCaleb, who is a partner with Wiley Rein; and Margaret Ryan, who is now a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Blackwater subsequently tried to have the case forced into arbitration, claiming the slain guards' contracts demanded it. Of course, the reason the arbitration clause is in the contract is not to protect the employees; it's there to protect the company. An arbitrator is unlikely to be swayed by romantic notions of "justice", "truth", and "fairness," focusing instead on who's paying the bills.

Blackwater also has another novel claim:

Blackwater, which is under investigation by the Justice Department for its involvement in a September shooting that left at least 17 Iraqis dead, contends that its contracted employees are de facto federal officers under the law.

Now there's a charming thought: Blackwater thugs as Federal officers. With the same immunity from prosecution that real Feds enjoy.

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