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Blackwater Threatens to Sue Journalist
by Kurt Nimmo    Another Day in the Empire
Entered into the database on Thursday, December 22nd, 2005 @ 16:03:05 MST


Untitled Document

Yesterday I received an email from the journalist Mike Whitney informing me that if he does not remove a statement he made about Blackwater and the so-called Abu Ghraib scandal the mercenary corporation will sue him for defamation.

Apparently Blackwater expects Whitney to contact all websites, blogs, and forums on the internet that reposted his article–or even made reference or linked to it—and ask them to remove the offending remark, a completely unreasonable request. Mike’s retraction runs as follows:

A few months ago I wrote an article “The Second American Revolution” that was published on a number of web sites. The article contained the following paragraph: “Blackwater’s record in Iraq is a grim testimonial of criminal excess. They have been directly connected to the abusive treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the random killings and brutalizing of Iraqi civilians, and the extortion of information from resistance suspects.”

These claims cannot be substantiated and although other security firms have been accused of serious criminal conduct, Blackwater has not. Blackwater was not involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal at all and I seem to have completely muddled my facts.

I sincerely regret whatever harm I may have caused to either Blackwater or to the various web sites that, through no fault of their own, trusted me to do a better job of fact checking.

Reference to this article appeared on my blog in a comment posted on September 15th. As requested, I have removed the comment. That said, it should be noted that I did not check the factual veracity of every post on my blog, numbering in the thousands. I have since closed down the comment feature of my blog, mostly due to the massive amount of bandwidth it consumed and also because I was unable to moderate comments, the latter a full-time job.

As Mike noted, he should have checked his facts more closely, or at least used a noun such as “allegation” when writing his article. I wonder if Blackwater contacted the Washington Post and threatened to sue them after Ariana Eunjung Cha and Renae Merle wrote the following: “Now, with allegations that contractors may have allowed or instructed soldiers to abuse detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, there are questions about their accountability in a place where laws are still being written.”

Of course, the journalists used the aforementioned noun and, besides, the Washington Post is a large corporate newspaper with undoubtedly any number of lawyers on staff.

I believe I can state, without the threat of lawsuit, that Blackwater USA is in the habit of hiring fascist thugs—for instance, Chilean commandos, “many of who had trained under the military government of Augusto Pinochet,” according to Blackwater head honcho Gary Jackson—who have “behaved brutally, with impunity, in Iraq,” according to Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and were “deputized by the governor of Louisiana,” as Jeremy Scahill told Amy Goodman, and tasked with “stopping criminals” (a job for the National Guard, but then they were in Iraq), that is to say the desperate thirsty and hungry people of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I won’t say Blackwater participated in the federal confiscation of legal weapons in New Orleans because I have no direct evidence of this and, besides, I can’t afford a fancy lawyer.

Finally, although Whitney apparently got some his facts wrong, he is spot on in his characterizations of the Virginia-based mercenary for hire racket: “Blackwater represents the globalization of repression; a free-market progeny that is transforming the people’s army into privately-owned militias for multi-national corporations. The deployment of these armed-units is a clear and present danger to both personal liberty and democratic institutions.”