Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh, THAT Immunity!

By Cernig

ABC has the exclusive - the text of the immunity that State Dept. officials were denying giving to Blackwater employees suspected of gunning down innocent iraqi civilians.
The wording of the immunity is included at the beginning of the Blackwater guards' sworn statements, which have been obtained by ABC News.

In each of the statements, the guards begin by saying "I understand this statement is being given in furtherance of an official administrative inquiry," and that, "I further understand that neither my statements nor any information or evidence gained by reason of my statements can be used against me in a criminal proceeding, except that if I knowingly and willfully provide false statements or information, I may be criminally prosecuted for that action under 18 United States Code, Section 1001."
It isn't just Colonels who can issue lying denials, it seems.

I guess the U.S. has finally reached the point immortalized two decades ago by the Brit political comedy Yes, Minister - "never believe a rumor until the official denial has been issued".

Hat tip to Macswain, who snarkily observes:
The State Department is placing a myopic and exaggerated emphasis on the fact that the deal does not provide a complete blanket of immunity. This does not, however, equate to an ability to prosecute and provide accountability for any wrongdoing as they are suggesting. Once the statements are out, it is extremely difficult for any prosecutor to convince a federal judge (especially the ton of such judges appointed by Republicans) that the evidence being used was not in some way obtained as a result of or influenced by the protected statements.

Remember how Conservative Judges used a broad reading of limited use immunity to get North and Poindexter out of their Iran Contra convictions?

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