Blackwater says it is “pleased” with the outcome.
By Jeremy Scahill
January 7, 2010
Two sources with inside knowledge of Blackwater’s settlement with Iraqi victims of a string of shootings, including the Nisour Square massacre, have confirmed to me that Blackwater is paying $100,000 for each of the Iraqis killed by its forces and between $20-30,000 to each Iraqi wounded. One source said it was "an absolute bargain" for Blackwater. Based on the number of dead and injured named in the civil lawsuits, the total amount paid by Blackwater is likely in the range of $5 million. Blackwater has made more than $1.5 billion in "security" contracts in Iraq alone since 2003.
Blackwater’s owner, Erik Prince, recently said his company is spending $2 million a month in legal fees to battle civil and criminal cases and investigations.
Blackwater released a statement saying the company was "pleased" with the ruling. "This enables Xe’s new management to move the company forward free of the costs and distraction of ongoing litigation, and provides some compensation to Iraqi families," the company said, using its new moniker, Xe.
The Nisour Square massacre was the single deadliest incident involving private US forces in Iraq. Seventeen civilians were killed and more than 20 wounded by Blackwater forces in a shooting the US military labeled a "criminal" action. Among the dead were women and children and some victims were shot in the back as they fled Blackwater’s gunfire.
The settlement was finalized last night in court papers filed by the attorney for the Iraqis, Susan Burke, who brought the suit with the Center for Constitutional Rights. Blackwater is still facing a separate civil lawsuit in North Carolina filed by more victims of the Nisour Square shootings.
Update: I have heard that two of the injured Iraqi plaintiffs received higher payments than the others, including the families of the deceased.