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1 Feb 2008

Daphne Eviatar, American Lawyer

The War Comes Home

...[D]eaths of American civilians working for private companies contracting with the U.S. military is a relatively new phenomenon... In May 2005...[nine] drivers who survived [an April 2004 Baghdad] massacre--and relatives of those who didn’t--sued KBR and its then parent, Halliburton Company... In September 2006,...the federal district court in Houston dismissed the case... [KBR's lawyers] convinced the court that the case raises a political question beyond the competence of the federal judiciary. The plaintiffs have appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. But if the district court’s decision stands, it will mean that the actions of virtually any military contractor working for the federal government could be deemed beyond the authority of the courts--and immune from American law. [also refers to CACI, Blackwater, Titan (now part of L-3 Communications)]