Xe - Blackwater Sued for Drunken Killing of Iraqi VP's Guard and Alleged Cover Up, According to Burke ONeil LLC
Burke ONeil LLC (2009-03-20)
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WASHINGTON, March 20, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- A heavily intoxicated Blackwater "shooter" randomly murdered an Iraqi vice presidential guard after a Christmas Eve party in Baghdad in 2006 and the company then attempted to cover up the incident before reneging on promises to fully compensate the dead guard's family, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in California federal court.
The lawsuit alleges that several Blackwater-related defendants - now operating as Xe and other names under the control of chairman Erik Prince - attempted to evade responsibility after former Blackwater employee Andrew Moonen fatally shot Raheem Khalaf Sa'adoon, a 32-year-old married father of two who worked as a security guard for Iraqi Vice-President Adel Abdul Mahdi.
The plaintiffs are Mr. Sa'adoon's widow, Wijdan Mohsin Saed, and their two sons - 11-year-old Sajjad Raheem Khalaf and eight-year-old Ali Raheem Khalaf.
The family is represented by attorneys Susan L. Burke, William T. O'Neil, and William F. Gould, of Burke O'Neil LLC, of Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Va., and Joseph L. Oliva and Michael S. Faircloth, of Oliva & Associates ALC, of San Diego.
According to the complaint, Mr. Moonen left the holiday party and lost his way in a section of Baghdad known as Little Venice. Visibly intoxicated, he encountered Mr. Sa'adoon on guard duty and pulled out and fired his company-issued Glock at Mr. Sa'adoon, killing him for no reason.
Xe - Blackwater also is accused of spiriting Mr. Moonen out of Iraq, bribing an Iraqi government official, and destroying documents and other evidence relating to the Moonen shooting and other Xe - Blackwater shootings.
The complaint also alleges that:
- After high-level Xe - Blackwater executives Gary Jackson and Dave Jackson met with company personnel to discuss ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigations, company employees began to destroy documents and other evidence relating to the Moonen shooting and other legal proceedings.
- Illegal Xe - Blackwater conduct is captured on videotape and audiotape, but rarely reported or punished. Records of illegal conduct are routinely destroyed by the defendants.
- Company mercenaries who murdered innocent Iraqis ("bad shoots") were not disciplined or fired or placed on a "do not use" list. Instead, Xe - Blackwater continued to rehire and deploy mercenaries known to have killed innocents.
- Heavily armed "shooters" were routinely sent by Xe - Blackwater into the streets of Baghdad under the influence of steroids and other judgment-altering substances.
- Xe - Blackwater - which suggests that it primarily uses retired American military personnel - has hired former military personnel from at least a dozen nations. Some recruits and hires are known to have been involved in human rights abuses in Latin America and elsewhere. The defendants also hire and deploy to Iraq foreign nationals even though they were forbidden by the laws of their country from serving as mercenaries.
- The widow of Mr. Sa'adoon was promised a series of payments to compensate for the death of her husband. Xe - Blackwater paid a small sum initially, but then made no further payments.
Susan L. Burke, of Burke O'Neil LLC, stated, "By all accounts, the death of Raheem Khalaf Sa'adoon was senseless. His death is part of a pattern of illegal Xe - Blackwater shootings around the globe known to company management. From Mr. Sa'adoon's death to the litany of other civilian shootings by Xe - Blackwater personnel, the company has created, fostered and refused to curb a culture of lawlessness and unaccountability."
William F. Gould, of Burke O'Neil LLC, stated, "Blackwater's clever new name cannot obscure the legal consequences of the company's use of excessive and deadly force on innocents. A new logo for Erik Prince's mercenary operation cannot change the fact that a guard for an Iraqi vice president was randomly murdered by a Blackwater employee in an act that has absolutely no connection to the protection of U.S. or Iraqi interests."
The defendants include Mr. Prince, Mr. Moonen, Xe, various Prince-controlled entities such as Blackwater, The Prince Group, Falcon, Greystone Limited, Total Intelligence Solutions, EP Investments, and Raven Development Group.
Xe - Blackwater is accused in the complaint of committing war crimes, assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring, training and supervision, and tortious spoliation of evidence.
Mr. Moonen, of Seattle, Washington, eventually was fired for "violating alcohol and firearm policy," according to Mr. Prince's testimony before Congress in 2007.
The case is "Estate of Raheem Khalaf Sa'adoon v. Xe, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, et al.," in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (Case No. 09CV0561 W LSP).
Attorney Contacts: Susan L. Burke, of Burke O'Neil LLC, Washington, D.C., 202.445.1409; William F. Gould, of Burke O'Neil LLC, Charlottesville, Va., 434.466.3505.
Media Contact: Erin Powers, Powers Media Works
LLC, for Burke O'Neil LLC, 281.703.6000, info[at] powersmediaworks.com
SOURCE Burke O'Neil LLC http://www.burkeoneil.com