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Viewing cable 07BAGHDAD3504, PSD INCIDENT UPDATE: EMBASSY APPROVES CONDOLENCE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07BAGHDAD3504 2007-10-22 18:06 2010-11-30 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #3504/01 2951859
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221859Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3966
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 003504 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/21/2017 
TAGS: AMGT ASEC PREL APER IZ
SUBJECT: PSD INCIDENT UPDATE: EMBASSY APPROVES CONDOLENCE 
PAYMENTS, GOI INVESTIGATION REPORT RELEASED, RSO ACTIVITY 

REF: A. BAGHDAD 03341 
B. BAGHDAD 03307 
C. BAGHDAD 03257 
D. BAGHDAD 03164 
E. BAGHDAD 03156 
F. BAGHDAD 03143 
G. BAGHDAD 03136 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Patricia A. Butenis for reasons 
1.4 (b) and (d) 

CONFIDENTIAL 

SIPDIS 

------- 
Summary 
------- 

(C) 1. The Embassy obtained a copy of with the results of the 
Government of Iraq's (GOI) investigation report of the 
September 16 incident at Nisoor Square. The report portrays 
the incident as an unprovoked attack on unarmed civilians, 
references a number of other alleged incidents involving 
Blackwater, recommends payments of $8 million and $4 million 
for each death and injury respectively, and calls for the USG 
to replace Blackwater within six months of the incident. It 
is unclear to what extent the GOI is committed to these 
recommendations or how it intends to implement them. The 
Embassy has begun accepting claims from victims of the 
incident, with 15 claims submitted so far. Post has approved 
payments of $10,000 for each death, $5,000 for each injury, 
and $2,500 for property damage. The Regional Security Office 
(RSO) is implementing changes to procedures and increasing 
linkages to the GOI for cooperation and information sharing 
on PSD issues. The Embassy is awaiting the Department's 
determination as to what information about past PSD incidents 
can be shared with the Joint Commission, and is developing a 
work plan to guide the meetings of the Joint Commission; this 
work plan will also form the basis of Post's proposed 
structure for the Joint Commission's report. 

----------------- 
GOI Investigation 
----------------- 

(C) 2. On October 11 the Ministry of Defense (MOD) gave the 
Embassy a copy of the final report of its investigative 
committee. The report was produced and endorsed by the eight 
Iraqi members of the Joint Commission. The details of the 
incident as described in the report portray a random and 
unprovoked shooting involving small and medium arms fire 
resulting in the deaths of vehicle passengers and bystanders. 
The report states that there was no evidence the convoy was 
fired upon, that a total of 17 Iraqis were killed, 27 
wounded, 7 cars burned or damaged, and that 2 Iraqi Security 
Forces were among the casualties. 

(C) 3. The report concludes that the conduct of the PSD 
violated Iraqi law and a number of CPA orders and that 
therefore the incident is a pre-meditated murder for which 
the Blackwater personnel must be held accountable. It also 
claims that the Ministry of Interior has information on seven 
other instances in which Blackwater personnel killed 10 
Iraqis and wounded 15 others. It states that due to these 
previous violations, the company's license was not renewed 
after it expired in June 2006. 

The report makes 5 recommendations: 

-- 1: That a court investigate the crime and take actions as 
stipulated by relevant CPA and Iraqi law immediately. 
-- 2: That the Council of Ministers requests the U.S. 
Government replace Blackwater within six months of the 
incident and replace it with a more disciplined company. 
-- 3: That Blackwater pay $8 million for each death and $4 
million for each injury. 
-- 4: That the MOI address the issue of Blackwater operating 
illegally (without a license). 
-- 5: That new legislation governing security contractors 
drafted by the MOI and currently being considered by 
legislative bodies be adopted as quickly as possible (Ref A). 

------------------------------------ 
Embassy Approves Condolence Payments 
------------------------------------ 

(C) 4. On October 18 and October 20 the Embassy sent a team 
to the National Iraqi Assistance Center, a facility where 
MNF-I collects claims paperwork from Iraqis injured in MNF-I 
incidents, to collect applications from the Nisoor Square 
incident. The Iraqi National Police previously provided the 
Embassy with contact information of family members for 7 of 
the 17 Iraqis killed and for 15 of the 27 injured, all of 
whom were contacted. So far the Embassy has received 

paperwork for 15 claims, including one claim form that was 
previously submitted to MNF-I. 

(C) 5. On October 21 the Embassy Claims and Condolence 
Committee, chaired by the DCM, reviewed the claims submitted. 
The Embassy's claims and condolence program is modeled after 
MNC-I's, which typically provides up to $2,500 per incident 
(death, injury or property damage) but which permits payments 
of up to $10,000 per incident in extraordinary 
circumstances, if approved by the MNC-I Division Commanding 
General. Consistent with military practice and with the 
Ambassador's approval, the Committee agreed to make payments 
of $10,000 to the family members of those killed, $5,000 to 
those injured, and $2,500 for each instance of property 
damage. The Committee agreed to arrange a forum for payment 
to the 15 claimants who have already filed paperwork, to 
expedite this payment, and to work with the GOI to contact 
the remaining potential claimants. The Embassy believes that 
Blackwater should also make its own payments in this 
incident, and requests the Department's assistance in 
conveying this message. 

--------------------------------------------- -- 
Preparing for the next Joint Commission Meeting 
--------------------------------------------- -- 

(C) 6. As agreed at the first Joint Commission Meeting on 
October 7 (Ref A), the Embassy is working with the Department 
to decide what information regarding the Nisoor Square and 
other PSD incidents can be shared with the Commission. The 
Embassy Legal Advisor is developing a work plan for the 
Commission, which, after consultation with our Iraq working 
level counterparts, we plan to introduce at the next meeting. 
The goal of this plan is to have each of the Joint 
Commission's meetings focus on one of the major themes of the 
report that the Commission will ultimately issue. 

--------------------------------------------- ---- 
Investigation and Regional Security Office Update 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 

(C) 7. The FBI continues its investigation with support from 
the Regional Security Officer (RSO) as needed. The RSO is 
implementing changes to its operating procedures. Diplomatic 
Security (DS) agents are now in charge of and accompanying 
all Chief of Mission (COM) motorcade movements in Baghdad 
outside of the IZ and to the extent possible in the rest of 
Iraq. An increased staffing pattern to sustain this larger 
workload has been approved by Post Management and has been 
submitted to the Department. DS is in the process of 
procuring video systems for all PSD vehicles and 
communications recording equipment for the Tactical 
Operations Center. The RSO is also taking technological steps 
to improve the mutual awareness of RSO and MNC-I elements in 
the field, and is procuring radios that will allow tactical 
communications between RSO air and ground assets and MNC-I 
assets. 

(C) 8. The RSO is also forming an investigative response unit 
that will potentially include MNF-I and GOI representatives, 
to investigate all incidents involving COM security assets, 
including statistical analysis and metrics of PSD incidents 
and systematic collection and archiving of recorded video 
footage and radio communications. Additionally, the RSO is 
reviewing the viability of alternative non-lethal escalation 
of force procedures. 

(C) 9. The RSO is working to improve linkages to the GOI for 
the general sharing of information and investigation of 
specific PSD incidents. The RSO will be participating 
regularly in the GOI/USG Crisis Action Cell, which is a 
weekly meeting between senior U.S. military officials, the 
Minister of Defense, and the National Security Advisor where 
PSD incidents are often raised. The RSO is scheduled to meet 
with the Chiefs of the Iraqi Police and the National Police 
in an effort to develop closer working-level relationships. 

-------------- 
Media Coverage 
-------------- 

(C) 10. The Nisoor Square incident and private security 
contractors in general have continued to receive negative 
coverage and have served as rallying points for Iraqi 
politicians and government officials (both those in power and 
in the opposition). Coverage of the establishment of the 
Joint Commission stemmed mostly from U.S. Government 
statements about it. Coverage of GOI statements included 
those of Al-Dabbagh on October 7 saying that the Iraqi 
investigation found Blackwater responsible for "deliberate 
murder". Other reports focused on the GOI's call for 
Blackwater to pay a total of $136 million for the incident 
and comparing it to the Lockerbie bombing. An October 9 

incident involving Unity Resources Group (URG), the PSD of a 
USAID contractor, in which two Iraqi women were killed, was 
reported as a "Blackwater-type massacre". 

(C) 11. Newspaper and other coverage waned due to the Eid 
al-Fitr holiday, but Blackwater returned to the press once 
the news cycle resumed, with reports focusing on the Prime 
Minister's advisor Sami al-Askri who said "the Iraqi 
government has a clear position regarding the future of 
Blackwater in Iraq. The security firm should be expelled 
within six months." Editorials in all of Iraq's newspapers 
have lashed out at Blackwater, likening it to another militia 
contributing to the deterioration of Iraq's security. 
Numerous editorial cartoons have been published depicting 
Blackwater as bloodthirsty mercenaries. While the escalation 
of the Turkish border issue has been dominating the media, 
the Blackwater incident will likely remain a prominent issue 
for editorials and political cartoons as the unpopularity of 
private security firms makes it an easy target. 
CROCKER