The alleged Iraq homicide case involving ex-Blackwater guard Andrew Moonen of Seattle has federal prosecutors stymied. We write about him today as part of our story on the error-riddled crash of Blackwater 61 in Afghanistan, a plane co-piloted by a former state smokejumper pilot which killed him, a Spokane soldier, and four others.
Moonen is under investigation in the shooting death of a bodyguard for the Iraqi vice-president last Christmastime. His Seattle attorney Stew Riley told me he has been in touch with the Justice Department ?and my impression is that the investigation is continuing," he says. Riley has complained to Rep. Henry Waxman, chair of the House Oversight Committee, for presuming his client guilty, Riley says.
A South Park resident, Moonen was indirectly fired for the shooting - by violating Blackwater alcohol and firearms policy - and sent home to Seattle without his 2006 Christmas bonus. (Blackwater and the State Department then debated how much should be paid to the dead bodyguard?s family and settled on a meager amount. They decided that any major compensation would induce other Iraqis to line up to be killed in hopes of gaining a large settlement for their families. No, seriously.)
Additionally, the New York Times today reports that the FBI, probing another Blackwater shooting in September this year that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, has concluded that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified. But, like Moonen, will the shooters be prosecuted?
The Times notes that the Moonen case
points to the difficulty the Department of Justice may be facing in deciding whether and how to bring charges in relation to the Sept. 16 shootings?nearly 11 months later, no charges have been brought [against Moonen] and officials said a number of theories had been debated among prosecutors in Washington and Seattle without a resolution of how to proceed in the case."