The US security company Blackwater agreed today to pay compensation over the killing of Iraqi civilians by company guards accused of reckless disregard for human life.
The deal comes just days after a US court threw out the prosecution of five of those guards over a notorious slaughter of up to 17 people in Baghdad.
The settlement amounts to an implicit admission by the highly secretive company that some of its guards were responsible for a series of unjustifiable killings. Blackwater appears to have reached the deal in order to avoid a court hearing that threatened to force the company to lay bear what critics contend was a policy of shooting first as well as the involvement of its employees in an array of criminal activities.
Blackwater, which has since renamed itself Xe after a deluge of bad publicity over its actions in Iraq, did not release details of the settlement of seven lawsuits that accused the company of a pattern of illegal activity and reckless killings.