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Prosecutors: Blackwater Mercenaries Opened Fire to ‘Instigate Gun Battles’

• New York Times
 
Private security guards who worked for Blackwater repeatedly shot wildly into the streets of Baghdad without regard for civilians long before they were involved in a 2007 shooting episode that left at least 14 Iraqis dead, federal prosecutors charge in a new court document.

While traveling through Baghdad in heavily armored vehicles, at least one of the guards, under contract with the State Department to provide security for United States Embassy personnel, fired an automatic weapon “without aiming” while another deliberately fired into the streets to “instigate gun battles in a manner that was inconsistent with the use of force and escalation of force policies that governed all Blackwater personnel in Iraq,” the federal prosecutors stated.

The new accusations were included in a document filed by prosecutors last week in the criminal case against five former Blackwater guards who have been charged with manslaughter in federal court in Washington in connection with the shootings in Nisour Square, in Baghdad, on Sept. 16, 2007.

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