|09BAGHDAD2804||2009-10-19 10:33:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Baghdad|
1. (SBU) Summary: On September 28, Iraqi soldiers manning an
international zone (IZ) checkpoint beat four U.S. citizen members of
a Dyncorp International (DI) personal security detail (PSD) convoy.
The DI PSD had violated at least two Embassy checkpoint policies, as
well as Iraqi instructions. Nevertheless, Iraqi reaction was a
grossly disproportionate and punitive use of force. The Embassy
remained abreast of the situation, contributed information to the
DOD-led (successful) effort to free the DI personnel, verified the
citizenship of the victims, and submitted a diplomatic note of
protest to the MFA. INL subsequently instructed DI to remove the
four PSD members from Iraq, which has occurred, and underscored that
DI personnel must comply with all Iraqi laws and regulations,
particularly at checkpoints. DI meantime has implemented a top-down
review of Embassy checkpoint policy with all of its PSD members.
Nevertheless, the incident underscores the utility of having Arabic
speakers join U.S. PSD convoys. End Summary.
2. (SBU) According to DI accounts, on September 28 at 1712 hours
Iraqi soldiers stopped and searched a DI convoy at IZ Entry Control
Point Number Four (ECP-4). After reportedly soliciting smoke
grenades from the occupants of each vehicle, Iraqi guards permitted
two of the three cars in the motorcade to depart CP-4. The
assistant PSD leader who was in the third car tried to obtain the
name of the senior Iraqi official at the CP.
3. (SBU) The violent Iraqi reaction apparently was sparked when
the assistant PSD leader photographed the senior Iraqi military
official on scene after the Iraqi declined to provide his name. Per
DI's initial report, Iraqi soldiers pulled the four PSD members from
their vehicle, stripped them of their weapons and equipment, and
physically assaulted them at gun point. The beatings reportedly
continued after the Iraqis transferred the DI PSD members to Brigade
Headquarters. One DI employee said that he had been struck in the
abdomen and lower back repeatedly with a 45-pound barbell while in
custoday at the Brigade Headquarters. Another reported that he
sustained numerous blows to the head by an AK-47 butt stock.
4. (SBU) A U.S. Army officer was able to secure the release of the
DI PSD members and most of their confiscated equipment (not
including one Beretta pistol) that evening. The four DI employees
received medical treatment that night at Sather AFB's Combat Support
Hospital. Three of the four were discharged, but the fourth was
held overnight with a reported concussion and possible cervical or
5. (SBU) Immediately after DI informed the Embassy of the
incident, the consular officers verified the PSD team members' U.S.
citizenship and began preparations to request a consular visit.
(NOTE: The Iraqis released the PSD team before the consular officer
engaged the MFA. END NOTE) RSO investigators interviewed the PSD
members and spoke to other DI personnel. The Embassy subsequently
submitted a diplomatic note of protest requesting that Iraqi
officials investigate the physical mistreatment of the four American
citizens, take appropriate measures to ensure that other instances
Qcitizens, take appropriate measures to ensure that other instances
of mistreatment of Americans or USG employees do not occur in Iraq,
inform all military and law enforcement agencies of their
obligations under Iraqi law, and urge the Government of Iraq to
investigate the matter and bring offenders to justice. The acting
DCM reiterated this message in a meeting with FM Zebari. RSO and
their local military counterparts are drafting a directive
establishing clear guidelines for PSDs operating in Iraq that will
be distributed to all parties.
6. (SBU) On September 29, INL Baghdad instructed DI to remove the
four PSD members from Iraq immediately, and to implement a top-down
review of Embassy checkpoint policy with the DI PSD members who
remain in Iraq. Both INL and RSO stressed that DI personnel must
obey all local laws and regulations. The RSO and MNF-I, meanwhile,
are developing a plan to communicate checkpoint policy to all USG
contractors. All four PSD members involved in the incident departed
from Iraq to Washington, D.C. on October 2. Per INL's instruction
to DI, these individuals will not return to service in Iraq.
7. (SBU) The DI PSD violated at least two Mission policies on
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checkpoint conduct, and these actions probably provoked or elevated
the violent response by the Iraqi guards. Nevertheless, the Iraqi
guards' reaction was a grossly disproportionate and punitive use of
force at the checkpoint and subsequently at the Brigade
8. (SBU) This incident underscores the utility of having Arabic
speakers in each PSD. The recently completed INL in-county PSD
training program could be used to vet, train and employ Iraqi Arabic
speaking local nationals within PSD convoys. DI is exploring this
option, as the September 28 incident might not have occurred if the
DI PSD had included an Arabic speaker schooled in the most effective
ways to communicate directly with Iraqis.