Monday, June 11, 2007

Blackwater sues to silence

Families of Blackwater contractors who have died on the job. Via Steve Bates at Yellow Doggerel Democrat and Rook at Rook's Rant, AlterNet:
The following article is by the lawyers representing the families of four American contractors who worked for Blackwater and were killed in Fallujah. After Blackwater refused to share information about why they were killed, the families were told they would have to sue Blackwater to find out. Now Blackwater is trying to sue them for $10 million to keep them quiet.

Raleigh, NC -- The families of four American security contractors who were burned, beaten, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and their decapitated bodies hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River on March 31, 2004, are reaching out to the American public to help protect themselves against the very company their loved ones were serving when killed, Blackwater Security Consulting. After Blackwater lost a series of appeals all the away to the U.S. Supreme Court, Blackwater has now changed its tactics and is suing the dead men's estates for $10 million to silence the families and keep them out of court.

Following these gruesome deaths which were broadcast on worldwide television, the surviving family members looked to Blackwater for answers as to how and why their loved ones died. Blackwater not only refused to give the grieving families any information, but also callously stated that they would need to sue Blackwater to get it. Left with no alternative, in January 2005, the families filed suit against Blackwater, which is owned by the wealthy and politically-connected Erik Prince.

A point was made in Rook's comments that these lawyers are in it just for the big bucks. With the secrecy and lack of accountability, I don't care what the motives of the lawyers are. Just drag Blackwater and all other defense contracting businesses out into the sunlight.


Steve Bates said...

Thanks for posting on this, ellroon. It needed to be published in more places, and I didn't have the strength to do it last night.

ellroon said...

Anything we can do to get sunlight into the Bush administration's dank and slimy operations. When this is all done, we're going to need tons of bleach, scrubbers, and mops to remove the taint.

Steve Bates said...

Taint? 'tain't our fault, but 'tis our job.

Gandalf said it much better to Frodo, but I can't find the quote at the moment.

Update: found it before I posted:

Frodo: "I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."

Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide."

Anonymous said...

For those who did not see it, the "other comment" about the lawyers is in-line below.

Ellroon: agree that truth needs to come out, but live TV before Congress will do a better job than some ambulance chaser who is more concerned about getting money than learning the real story.


This story is outrageous, and everyone's heart goes out to the families. But Callahan and Miles (the guys who wrote the story) are trying to take you to the cleaners. These guys are California personal injury lawyers who took the case on a contingency--the families aren't paying lawyer bills! Even if they were, it says right in the fine print of this story (and in the court documents themselves) that the claims are against the lawyer running the estates and against the estates--the families aren't even parties to the case!! These are mega-rich lawyers, who brag on their website about one case alone where they won almost a BILLION dollars ( They are just trying to get you to give them money out of sympathy for the poor families and/or hatred of Bush and his cronies. Here's what I propose: If you check out the facts (not blogs!) on this and you believe the families are paying lawyer bills, donate your heart out. BUT, if you see that these two yayhoos are just trying to line their pockets and get MORE rich off your nickel, do this: make a donation so the families know you support 'em, but make it only a penny. Enough one cent donations, and these ambulance chasers will get the message that they are no better than Blackwater.

ellroon said...

Blogger ate my wonderfully worded first response, dammit.

Understand these lawyers could easily be motivated by greed and fame, but it is not unusual for lawyers to agree to not be paid by the families when they activate a lawsuit. They just take a larger slice of the settlement. That said, these could be the worst of the slimy bottom feeders, but they still are the ones rising to the challenge. Who else has shown any interest in taking on Blackwater?

And even though these Blackwater contractors were doing something they shouldn't have, in a place they shouldn't have been, caused the U.S. military to get involved and created an international incident that probably nailed the coffin shut on winning hearts and minds... even so, their families need to know the truth and need compensation for those who died on the job.

Will Congress investigate? I hope so. This mercenary army has an enormous budget and hooks into the fanatical Christian right and Cheney's dreams of a shadow government. We need to expose it by any means necessary.

If it takes bottom feeders to start the ball rolling, so be it.