Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Did American fire on Iraqis for sport? - Lisa Myers & the NBC Investigative Unit - MSNBC.com


Back to Complete 
War News Index

Did an American fire on Iraqis unprovoked?
U.S. security contractors allege their supervisor was ‘out of control’

WASHINGTON - Shane Schmidt was a U.S. Marine for seven years, the leader of a sniper unit. Chuck Shepard spent seven years in the U.S. Army. After leaving the military, each found his way into the legions of heavily armed private security contractors working in Iraq.

he two men say they thought he was joking.

They claim the man first fired seven or eight rounds into a white truck positioned about 100 yards behind them.

"He cracked his door," alleges Schmidt, "put a foot out, and fired seven or eight rounds into a parked, white moving truck that was to our rear."

Later on that day, on the next leg of the mission, according to Shepard, the shift leader then said: "I've never shot anybody with my pistol before."

Shepard says the shift leader "immediately turns, opens the door, and fires seven to eight rounds into a taxi cab that we're overtaking, that we're passing."

The men claim the taxi rolled off the road, but that they are not sure if anyone was killed.

"I know that he shot at innocent civilians," says Shepard. "I know that we're trained very well on our marksmanship."

Whistle-blowers fired
But Shepard and Schmidt acknowledge they waited almost two days, by which time their supervisor left Iraq, to report the incidents to their company, Triple Canopy.

The men were fired, along with their supervisor, who has denied wrongdoing, according to the company.

Shepard and Schmidt are now suing Triple Canopy. Their lawsuit alleges they were fired "in retaliation for their reporting criminal activity which they had witnessed."

"I believe we were fired," says Shepard, "because they wanted this whole incident to go away."

The two were working together on July 8, 2006, when they claim they witnessed what they believe was a crime. They say another American fired, unprovoked, into two Iraqi civilian vehicles. They say it started during a mission to Baghdad International Airport, when their supervisor, who was leaving Iraq the next day and was in the vehicle with them, made a troubling remark.

"He'd made a comment that he was going to kill somebody today," says Schmidt. "Kill someone."

No comments:

amazon quicklinker

Favorites linker

google adds