Sixteen private American security guards are under investigation for shooting at U.S. Marines and Iraqi civilians during a three-hour spree west of Baghdad, the military said Thursday.
The Marines said the 16 Americans and three Iraqi contractors were arrested and held in a military jail for three days after spraying small arms fire at Iraqi civilians and U.S. forces from their cars in Fallujah late last month. There were no casualties.
A group of American security guards in Iraq have alleged they were beaten, stripped and threatened with a snarling dog by US marines when they were detained after an alleged shooting incident outside Falluja last month.
"I never in my career have treated anybody so inhumane," one of the contractors, Rick Blanchard, a former Florida state trooper, wrote in an email quoted in the Los Angeles Times. "They treated us like insurgents, roughed us up, took photos, hazed [bullied] us, called us names."
A Marine Corps spokesman denied that abuse had taken place and said an investigation was continuing. According to the marines, 19 employees of Zapata Engineering (ed: does this ring any bells, people?), including 16 Americans, were detained after a marine patrol in Falluja reportedbeing fired on by a convoy of trucks and sports utility vehicles. The marines also claim to have seen gunmen in the convoy fire at civilians.
This is believed to be the first time that private military contractors have been detained in Iraq by the US military, and it has reignited debate about their status and accountability.
Day after day, it just gets more sad and bizarre over there.Read this article