EX-BLACKWATER MERCENARY WITH MONROE TIES WILL NOT FACE FEDERAL INDICTMENT
October 19, 2010
(NATIONAL) -- After a probe lasting nearly four years the U.S. Department of Justice said Monday it will not seek an indictment against a former Blackwater USA mercenary, Andrew Moonen who works as a Monroe prison guard, for a 2006 shooting in Baghdad that killed a bodyguard of the Iraqi vice president.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle sent a letter to Andrew Moonen's criminal defense attorney saying that after sending prosecutors to Baghdad and gathering evidence and statements, the government decided it could not build a case against Moonen.
Obstacles to prosecution included forensic evidence in the field that was hard to obtain in a war zone and the fact that Moonen had claimed self-defense, which prosecutors would have had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, was not true.
SkyValllyChroncle.com was the first and only Snohomish County news source to report on this case on June 8, 2009. That story is HERE
MOONEN WAS AT HEART OF LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST BLACKWATER
Moonen was at the heart art of a lawsuit filed in 2006 against America’s largest pay-for-play mercenary army, the former Blackwater USA now known simply as Xe.
In papers filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, the family of Raheem Khalaf Sa'adoon alleged that Blackwater committed a war crime by failing to control its "shooters" working under a contract with the United States government in Iraq.
Sa'adoon, a 32-year-old father of two who worked as a guard to the Iraqi vice president, was shot to death on Christmas Eve 2006 while guarding a home in a neighborhood of Baghdad's Green Zone.
The man’s family, his widow and two sons, alleged his killer was Blackwater employee Andrew Moonen, 28 who lived in Seattle in 2009 and was employed in Monroe at the prison as guard, and that the shooting follows a pattern of such incidents involving employees of the Virginia-based mercenary organization.
The complaint alleges that on Christmas Eve 2006 a highly intoxicated and heavily armed Andrew Moonen, then employed by Blackwater in Iraq, shot and killed Sa'adoon for no reason.
The lawsuit claimed that Blackwater conspired with Moonen to avoid any responsibility in the slaying and as part of that conspiracy did “evade Iraqi authorities” and swiftly flew Moonan out of Iraq “after the murder” back to the U.S., bribed an Iraqi official and destroyed documents and other evidence related to this and other Blackwater killings.
Earlier the family filed a lawsuit against Moonen but that lawsuit was later dropped.
The lawsuit also alleged the killing of Sa'adoon was but one of a “staggering number of senseless deaths that directly resulted from Blackwater’s misconduct.”
The lawsuit against Blackwater/Xe was reportedly settled in January.
U.S. PAID BLACKWATER $2 BILLION DOLLARS
The suite alleged that Blackwater – whose fortunes rose dramatically with it’s ties to the Bush White House and the invasion of Iraq for which it received many contacts for services - earned “more than $2 Billion dollars from the United States in providing “armed forces” to protect Department of State personnel in Iraq, and that the U.S. paid this huge sum of money to Blackwater based on “Blackwater’s misrepresentations that it was a legitimate company able to conduct itself in a lawful manner.”
The suit also alleged Blackwater has a pattern of recklessness in using deadly force, that it fosters a company culture in which excessive use of deadly force by its employees is not investigated or punished in any way and that Blackwater routinely sent heavily armed Blackwater “shooters” into the streets of Baghdad with the knowledge that some of them were taking steroids and other judgment altering substances.
Moonen's attorney said at the time that his client disputed the charges and says Moonen was shot at in the green Zone, ran for his life and did not know anyone had died until the next morning. Moonen claims he fired his weapon that night in self-defense.
Right after the shooting Moonen was flown out of Iraq. The lawsuit claims Blackwater destroyed video and audiotape of the shooting shortly afterward, and after a March 2008 meeting of high-level executives started systematically eliminating company records regarding the incident.
According to various news reports Moonen was fired by Blackwater but then hired by another military contractor for work in Kuwait.
Military records show the 28-year old Moonen served a three-year stint n the U.S. Army beginning in April 2002.
Since that 2006 shooting in Iraq, federal investigators in this country have been reviewing the incident and the recent announcement by the U.S. Justice Department brings that probe to end.
In the 2007 documentary film “Iraq For Sale” there is a segment on Blackwater’s paid, armed soldiers in Iraq.