By MARC MCDONALD
AP reports that Blackwater Worldwide, the profiteering, mercenary outfit, is not expected to face criminal charges in the September shooting deaths of 17 civilians in Iraq.
So it looks like it'll soon be back to business as usual for Blackwater in Iraq. And make no mistake, business has been very good for Blackwater in recent years.
As the The Virginian-Pilot has noted, since 2000, Blackwater has raked in $505 million in publicly identifiable federal contracts. About two-thirds of that amount was in no-bid contracts.
Indeed, times are good for Blackwater these days. As HuffingtonPost.com reported on April 4, Blackwater's multimillion-dollar contract to protect diplomats in Baghdad was renewed, according to the State Department.
From the Associated Press:
Blackwater unlikely to face charges in Iraq shooting
Blackwater Worldwide, the security contractor blamed by an angry Iraqi government for the shooting deaths of 17 civilians, is not expected to face criminal charges-—all but ensuring the company will keep its multimillion-dollar contract to protect U.S. diplomats.
Instead, the seven-month-old Justice Department investigation is focused on as few as three or four Blackwater guards who could be indicted in the Sept. 16 shootings, according to interviews with a half-dozen people close to the investigation.
The final decision on any charges will not be made until late summer at the earliest, a law enforcement official said. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.
The State Department publicly raised the question of Blackwater's corporate liability last month when it extended the company's contract by one year. The contract could still be canceled if criminal charges are brought, but the department said it was unlikely to penalize the corporation if only its employees were charged.