notice
conditions

Thursday, June 16, 2005

 

U.S. Marines Detained 19 Contractors in Iraq

`U.S. Marines forcibly detained a team of security guards working for an American engineering firm in Iraq after reportedly witnessing the contractors fire at U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians from an armed convoy, the military said Tuesday.

After three days of detention in jail cells at a U.S. military base in Iraq, 19 employees of North Carolina-based Zapata Engineering, including 16 Americans, were released last week. [..]

The employees have said that the incident in Fallouja last month was a case of mistaken identity. Several have accused the Marines of verbally and physically abusing them while they were in custody. [..]

The incident has also raised new questions about the treatment of captives by U.S. military forces. Several of the detained Zapata employees said that they were stripped and threatened by a snarling military dog while Marines jeered and took photos.

“I never in my career have treated anybody so inhumane,” one of the contractors, Rick Blanchard, a former Florida state trooper, wrote in an e-mail message. “They treated us like insurgents, roughed us up, took photos, hazed us, called us names.” [..]

Mark Schopper, a lawyer for two of the contractors, said that his clients, both former Marines, were subjected to “physical and psychological abuse.”

He said his clients told him that Marines had “slammed around” several contractors, stripped them to their underwear and placed a loaded weapon near their heads.

“How does it feel to be a big, rich contractor now?” the Marines shouted at the men, Schopper said, in an apparent reference to the large salaries security contractors can make in Iraq.

He also said that during their detention, the workers’ relatives in the United States received phone calls from people with American accents threatening to kill their loved ones if they talked about the incident.’




Leave a Reply