"The sudden blow to the case against the former Blackwater security guards over a shooting that killed 17 Iraqis and wounded at least 20 may have come as a surprise to the public in Iraq and the [US], but the legal problem that the judge cited Thursday when he threw out the indictments was obvious to American government lawyers within days of the shooting. The issue was that the guards, as government contractors, were obligated to give an immediate report of what they had done, but the Constitution prevents the government from requiring a defendant to testify against himself, so those statements could not be used in a prosecution. ... The prosecutors were also concerned, even when using qwhat they called a 'taint team' to try to prevent information in the guards' compulsory statements from influencing the investigation, according to the 90-page ruling by Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of the Federal District Court in Washington. The judge said the prosecutors had failed to take 'coomon sense precautions' to avoid the problem. The ruling led to disappointment in the [US] as in Iraq. ... Judge Urbina's decision would make it difficult for prosecutors to reinstate the original charges. Information that the guards were required to give immediately after the shootings was deeply woven into the governments effort to secure the indictments, he wrote. ... Investigators did not find physical evidence of an attack by Iraqis, the judge's decision said. ... But in their presentations to the second grand jury, the prosecutors also edited out evidence that suggested that the guards were firing in self-defense, the judge said, and those omissions were improper", my emphasis, Matthew Wald at the NYT, 2 January 2010: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/02/us/02legal.html.
"Iraqis seeking justice for 17 people shot dead at a Baghdad intersection responded with bitterness and outrage Friday at a US judge's decision to throw out a case against a Blackwater security team accused in the killings. The Iraqi government vowed to pursue the case, which became a source of contention between the US and the Iraqi government", my emphasis, Rebecca Santana at the Houston Chronicle, 2 January 2010.
"The dismissal of charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused by the [DOJ] of recklessly shooting in a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007 potentially strains US-Iraqi relations at a critical moment and raises new questions for the Obama administration about effective legal ovesight of battlefield contractors. ... 'Investigations conducted by specialized Iraqi authorities confirmed unequivocally that the Blackwater guards committed the crime of murder and broke the rules by using arms without the existence of any threat obliging them to use force, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement, the AP reported", my emphasis, August Cole at the WSJ, 2 January 2010, link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126229226969112429.html.