CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—October 24, 2014. On Wednesday a federal jury returned guilty verdicts for four former Blackwater security guards charged in the September 16, 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis in Baghdad. The defendants were charged with the deaths of 14 Iraqis and the wounding of 17 others at Baghdad’s Nisour Square. Rep. Jan Schakowsky released the following statement in response:
“I have consistently raised concerns about the events in Nisour Square since this tragedy occurred over 7 years ago, and I welcome this verdict. It is an important demonstration of our nation’s commitment to justice and accountability, and I congratulate the Department of Justice for its persistence in this case.
At the same time, my concerns go far beyond the actions of individual Blackwater security guards. I believe we need to focus on the role of Blackwater itself in creating a reckless, “shoot first” culture that jeopardized not just Iraqi citizens but our brave military men and women. The Nisour Square shootings show the danger of relying on private military contractors who answer to a for-profit corporation, not military commanders.
In response to concerns about Blackwater and other private military companies, I introduced the Stop Outsourcing Security Act to phase-out the use of for-profit contractors for “mission critical” tasks in conflict areas. I will continue to push for legislative solutions to eliminate any reliance on hired guns to provide security in war zones.”