Aftermath Footage of Sept 16, 2007 Blackwater Shootout

From the LiveLeak description:

"New footage of the aftermath of the deadly Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square is being cited by Blackwater defenders as helpful to their version of events.
A new 10-minute video posted on YouTube that shows the aftermath of the violent Sept. 16 shooting incident in Baghdad’s Nisour Square is being cited by people close to Blackwater USA as evidence which could counter allegations of possible abuses by its security operatives during a shooting incident that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. The video, apparently released by the Iraqi government, shows a burning vehicle and what appear to be soldiers and armored cars swarming into and out of the frame. Some Blackwater people think the video is helpful because of what it doesn’t show: no bodies, no pools of blood, no ambulances or stretchers. On the other hand, it does little to resolve the key issues under investigation, such as who fired first and why.

Indeed, the video may prove only one thing: the limitations of new measures to increase the accountability of security contractors in Iraq. A panel of experts appointed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to investigate the Sept. 16 incident recommended that the State Department pay for the installation of video and audio recorders in every vehicle used by the three big private security contractors assigned to protect U.S. diplomats and other visiting VIPs. A committee of State Department and Pentagon officials is now discussing the practical details of buying and installing the cameras. Sources at all three companies--Blackwater, Dyncorp and Triple Canopy Inc.--told NEWSWEEK they’d be happy to use camera because they believe the equipment will more likely exonerate their operatives than incriminate them. Dyncorp spokesman Greg Lagana said that when his company first won contracts to protect U.S. government personnel in war zones abroad, a State Department security officer was assigned to command each protective detail and took responsibility for anything that happened. Rice has ordered her security office to send over more agents, but up until now the State Department simply has not had enough officers to cover every convoy in Iraq.

The Sept. 16 incident also brought into sharp relief other flaws in State Department procedures. According to a U.S. law enforcement official, when State Department officers first started investigating the incident, they told witnesses they interviewed that whatever information they volunteered could not be used against them. This offer amounted to legal “immunity,” said the source, who also asked for anonymity, and it has tainted evidence gathered by the State Department team so badly that the Justice Department in Washington has had to remove from the case any investigators who might have read initial witness statements. They have been replaced with a fresh team of prosecutors."

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