[78] The opinion elaborated "the government failed to establish that the Iraqi witnesses it presented to the second grand jury were not in any way influenced by their previous exposure to the defendants' compelled statements. In 2013, Academi subsidiary International Development Solutions received an approximately $92million contract for State Department security guards. [19] The three justifiable killings were those of the two passengers in the white Kia sedan and an unidentified Iraqi nearby. [26][27] A U.S. Army convoy arrived at 12:39p.m., backed by air cover, to escort TST 22 back to the Green Zone. "Trump pardons Blackwater contractors jailed for massacre of Iraq civilians", 23 December 2020. Mohammed forced a doctor to look at Ali. While the #RussianOligarchs are vile post-Soviet capitalists, the hypocrisy of the US media is revealing. He was told that he had to go to a neurologic hospital on the other side of Baghdad. The 14 victims killed by the Blackwater guards on trial were listed as Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubiay, Mahassin Mohssen Kadhum Al-Khazali, Osama Fadhil Abbas, Ali Mohammed Hafedh Abdul Razzaq, Mohamed Abbas Mahmoud, Qasim Mohamed Abbas Mahmoud, Saadi Ali Abbas Alkarkh, Mushtaq Karim Abd Al-Razzaq, Ghaniyah Hassan Ali, Ibrahim Abid Ayash, Hamoud Saeed Abttan, Uday Ismail Ibrahiem, Mahdi Sahib Nasir and Ali Khalil Abdul Hussein. Bullets were everywhere. He never received treatment. Only. The kind of reporting we do is essential to democracy, but it is not easy, cheap, or profitable. A 20,000-strong mercenary army is being assembled in Poland. For us, for everyone. Justice Blackwater mercenary sentenced to life in prison On Wednesday, Slatten was sentenced to life in federal prison for initiating a massacre that left 14 Iraqi civilians dead. [26][29], An Iraqi government account of the incident stated that as the convoy drew close to Nisour Square, a Kia sedan with a woman and her adult son in it was approaching the square from a distance, driving slowly on the wrong side of the road, and that the driver ignored a police officer's whistle to clear a path for the convoy. The Kia continued to roll forward after the driver was killed, according to an eyewitness, and Raven 23 continued to fire on it, killing the passenger (the driver's mother); eventually, the Kia was struck by a grenade and was incinerated. [95][96] Heard, Liberty, and Slough were resentenced on September 5, 2019 to terms approximately half the original 30-year periods. But when the shooting started, his life and the lives of his entire family changed forever. [6][85][86] Jurors sided with prosecutors' contention that the shooting was a criminal act, not a battlefield encounter gone wrong. [18][30] Iraqi investigators also alleged that Blackwater helicopters fired into the cars from the air, as at least one car had bullet holes in its roof; Blackwater has denied any of its aerial units discharged weapons. Because any state, particularly those pursuing socialist policies, that dares to challenge the Western monopoly over global trade and economic policies is internationally isolated and its national economy goes bankrupt over a period of time. The Nisour Square massacre occurred on September 16, 2007, when employees of Blackwater Security Consulting (now Constellis), a private military company contracted by the US government to provide security services in Iraq, shot at Iraqi civilians, killing 17 and injuring 20 in Nisour Square, Baghdad, while escorting a U.S. embassy convoy. [87], On April 13, 2015, federal district judge Royce C. Lamberth sentenced Slatten to life in prison, while the other three guards were sentenced to 30 years in prison each. "[51][52][53], On January 19, 2008, The New York Times reported that the contractor responsible for many of the deaths in the engagement, previously known only as "turret gunner no. That may be the overriding damage caused by these pardons. Mohammed had not been shot. He was shot through the back with a massive exit wound in his chest. Adela Sulimanis a London-based reporter for NBC News Digital. [4] Germany to ship anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine: https://www.dw.com/en/germany-to-ship-anti-aircraft-missiles-to-ukraine-reports/a-60995325. The majority of the Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq after the . It was not an easy path in either the civil or criminal legal system. Five independent UN experts condemned United States President Donald Trump's pardoning of private security contractors, convicted in 2015 for war crimes in Iraq, on Wednesday. Three Ex-Blackwater Guards Are Resentenced in Iraq War Massacre The men will serve about half of their original 30-year sentences for their roles in a 2007 shooting of unarmed civilians in Iraq . I am overwhelmed with emotion at this fantastic news.. It was his business partner who lay in the pool of blood and was repeatedly shot. But NATOs covert operators embedded with Ukraines security forces reassured them that the war wasnt over and implored them to give their Western mentors a face-saving by mounting at least a semblance of resistance against the fierce onslaught by Russias professional security forces. The efforts of the investigators, the prosecutors, and the men and women who supported them was immeasurable. [33], Three Blackwater guards who witnessed the incident later said that they believed the shootings were unjustified. Mohammed could see other cars being shot. It was funded with millions that. However, after "Raven 23" entered Nisour Square, Watson was ordered to "lock down the traffic circle to expedite the travel of [the other Blackwater team]". "We showed the world that we were going to hold people accountable," he says. [1][2][3] The killings outraged Iraqis and strained relations between Iraq and the United States. Prosecutors asserted the heavily armed Raven 23 Blackwater convoy launched an unprovoked attack using sniper fire, machine-guns and grenade launchers. Blackwater mercenaries in helicopters also fired into traffic from overhead. In the sheer desperation to inflict maximum material damage to Russias security forces, however, NATO appears to have breached its own long-standing convention of curbing the proliferation of anti-aircraft munitions. [23]:32 Shortly after assuming their positions, "Raven 23" began firing on civilians in response to an approaching car, killing fourteen and wounding twenty more. "How are these criminals released after they killed 17 innocent people?" When he arrived at the hospital, it was a war zone. "This was Baghdad's Bloody Sunday," Dickinson told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly on Wednesday. ", Trump Grants Slew Of Pardons, Including To George Papadopoulos And Duncan Hunter, Blackwater Guards Found Guilty In 2007 Shootings In Iraq, Lawyer For Victims' Families On Trump Pardoning 4 Former Blackwater Contractors. security contractors who had previously been sentenced over the death of 17 Iraqi civilians in the 2007 Nisur Square massacre . A rocket grenade was fired into the car next to him. Defence lawyers argued their clients returned fire after being ambushed by Iraqi insurgents. [I]f such a thing happened in America or Britain, would the American president or American citizens accept it? Circuit Holds It Cruel and Unusual to Impose Mandatory Thirty-Year Sentence on Military Contractors for Gun Charge, "Former Blackwater contractor found guilty of murder in Iraq massacre", "Former Blackwater Guard Sentenced to Life for 2007 Baghdad Traffic-Circle Shooting", "Former Blackwater security contractor sentenced to life in Iraq shootings; In all, 10 men, two women and two boys, ages 9 and 11, were killed", "Blackwater Contractors Resentenced in 2007 Attack on Baghdad Civilians", "Survivors of Blackwater massacre in Iraq slam Trump's pardons for US guards behind killing", "Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Executive Grants of Clemency", "Relative of Blackwater victim in Iraq says pardons 'unfair', "UN criticises Trump's pardons for Blackwater guards jailed over Iraq killings", "I Sued Blackwater for the Massacre of Iraqi Civilians. Shots were fired everywhere. Why Is Assange in Jail and Not Seymour Hersh? Ukraine War Anniversary: UN and China Work for Peace, Devilish Zelensky, Kiev Hid Its Dead Soldiers in the Ravines. Trump Just Pardoned Those Convicted Killers", "Pardons in killings of Iraqi civilians stir angry response", "Chief of Blackwater Defends His Employees", "Tracing the Paths of 5 Who Died in a Storm of Gunfire", "Blackwater Execs Remain Free as Guards Convicted for Killing 14 Iraqis in Massacre", Use of white phosphorus by the United States, United States and the International Criminal Court, A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, "The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time", AfghanIraqi Freedom Memorial (Salem, Oregon), The Iraq War: A Historiography of Wikipedia Changelogs, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nisour_Square_massacre&oldid=1141803510, Violent non-state actor incidents in Asia, People convicted of murder by the United States federal government, Pages using embedded infobox templates with the title parameter, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, This page was last edited on 26 February 2023, at 22:05. Slatten faced a potential sentence of life in prison. How is Eric Prince still breathing? FBI investigators who visited the scene in the following days described it as the My Lai massacre of Iraq a reference to the infamous slaughter of civilian villagers by US troops during the Vietnam war in which only one soldier was convicted. Iraqi traffic police initially tried to wave down the Blackwater men that there was no threat, but they too had to run for cover. [54], Radio logs released in December 2008 seemed to affirm that the guards had been responding to an attack on September 16. [28] TST 22 arrived at Nisour Square after Raven 23 had left; when TST 22 tried to withdraw, its route was blocked by Iraqi Army and Police vehicles. These convictions happened under the Obama Administration. [21]:116[22] The Blackwater commander, Jimmy Watson, had received an order to stand by and not leave the Green Zone upon reaching a checkpoint, but he made a "tactical decision" to advance to Nisour Square after waiting for a few minutes; upon informing the Blackwater Tactical Operations Center of this, he was ordered to return to the Green Zone. The headrest next to him where his sister sat had a bullet hole through it. ", "By investigating these crimes and completing legal proceedings, the US complied with its obligations under international law," she added. Luckily, before his SUV was attacked, Mohammed, his sister, and their children had time to duck into the car. [37], Henry Waxman, the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which held hearings on the use of Private Security Contractors in February 2007, said his committee would hold hearings "to understand what has happened and the extent of the damage to U.S. security interests". What takes place doesnt mention Russian soldiers but others preventing citizens from escaping. He could not understand what was happening or why. Blackwater mercenaries committed a massacre. The ones who were killed on the street were shot running for their lives. Abraham Al Mafrage was a 70-year-old farmer and father of seven who was also shot in the head and died that day. The Blackwater guards included Nicholas Slatten, who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the 2007 Nisoor Square massacre, when he and other . It was an honor to represent these victims and their families. How many covert wars, miscarriages of justice, and dystopian technologies would remain hidden if our reporters werent on the beat? Blackwater Mercenaries Filmed on a Rampage in Iraq & Shooting Civilians from WarPosting After being leaked by a former employee of the notorious PMC, the footage dated April 2006 was featured in a piece called "The Warrior Class" by Charles Glass. Before VT Nuclear Education: The Beirut Nuclear Coverup, The Hidden History of the Incredibly Evil Khazarian Mafia. Erik Prince, chairman of the Prince Group, LLC and Blackwater USA, tesifies during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in 2007. pardon four Blackwater private security contractors, US announces troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan. [19] A Blackwater spokeswoman responded to the findings by saying Blackwater "supports the stringent accountability of the industry. The Iraqi government and Iraqi police investigator Faris Saadi Abdul stated that the killings were unprovoked. [3][84] Prosecutors stated they reached their decision after an "assessment of the admissible evidence against him". An initial prosecution was thrown out by a federal judge sparking outrage in Iraq but the then vice-president, Joe Biden, promised to pursue a fresh prosecution, which succeeded in 2015. My law firm received a call from an immigration attorney the next year seeking representation for the Blackwaters victims, and I was eventually retained to represent the Kinani family in a civil lawsuit against Blackwater, Prince, and various other Blackwater companies and, of course, the men who were charged and eventually convicted of murder, manslaughter, and weapons charges for their conduct. Among the pardons made by President Trump this week, the pardon of four former guards for Blackwater has been regarded by some as particularly galling. [37] A senior aide to al-Maliki said that three of the Blackwater guards were Iraqis and could be subject to prosecution. In addition to the Kinani family, I represented five other families and victims. After capturing Kherson yesterday, Russian forces even apprehended several suspicious and armed foreign nationals who are currently being interrogated by Russias military intelligence GRU. Despite the public display of uncharacteristic valor by sporting military fatigues and flaunting images and video clips of soldiers proudly standing beside caches of MANPADS and Javelins on social media, Ukraines conscript army was so frightened following Russias military intervention that it wanted to surrender territory and opted instead for mounting guerrilla warfare by adopting hit-and-run tactics from the safety of border regions of Poland and Romania. hide caption. After it was added, defense attorneys contended a 30-year sentence would be too severe, since the law was intended to deter gang members from carrying automatic weapons. It is unfortunate and sad that those efforts have now been wasted. The report found that the guards fired their weapons 195 times from the beginning of 2005 through the second week of September 2005. Donald Trump has pardoned the four contractors jailed over the killing of 14 civilians. The four armed contractors, Scott Helvenston, Jerry Zovko, Wesley Batalona, and Mike Teague, were killed and dragged from their vehicles. "The civilians that were fired upon, they didn't have any weapons to fire back at them. Although Mohammed was going to return quickly with his sister and Alis cousins for a visit, Mohammed told his son that he could go with him. The four guards Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten were part of an armoured convoy that opened fire indiscriminately with machine-guns, grenade launchers and a sniper on a crowd of unarmed people in a square in the Iraqi capital. [25][31], The account by the Blackwater firm differed from the Iraqi government's account; Blackwater's account stated the driver of the Kia sedan had kept driving toward the convoy, ignoring verbal orders, hand signals, and water bottles thrown at the car, and continued to approach even when fired upon. A. Mohammed was thrilled when the U.S. entered Baghdad years earlier in 2003. Are they going to release me?". "Pardoning the Blackwater contractors is an affront to justice and to the victims of the Nisour Square massacre and their families," said Jelena Aparac, Chair . [97], On December 22, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump granted full presidential pardons to Slatten, Slough, Liberty, and Heard. Pepe Escobar (@RealPepeEscobar) March 1, 2022. Hassan Salman is among the Iraqis who were shot during the ambush. The other three guards faced decades in prison; the weapons charges carried a minimum 30-year sentence under a law enacted during the 1990s cocaine epidemic. When the first indictments were dismissed on New Years Eve in 2009, they were told that the prosecutions would continue. [59] (The Protocol makes no distinction between defensive and offensive actions, but the U.S. does make such a distinction, in that it does not regard defensive actions by security guards to be combat. I sued Blackwater, its founder Erik Prince, and the four men who were convicted of murder, manslaughter, or weapons charges in a civil lawsuit filed in North Carolina, the home of Blackwaters headquarters and training facility in Moyock. [40] The US House passed a bill, titled the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, that would make all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones subject to prosecution by U.S. [64], US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified before Congress that the Pentagon has sufficient legal authority to control its contractors, but that commanders lack sufficient "means and resources" to exercise adequate oversight. [12] The U.S. State Department has said that "innocent life was lost",[13] and according to The Washington Post, a military report appeared to corroborate "the Iraqi government's contention that Blackwater was at fault". We are taking fire from insurgents and Iraqi police. On Tuesday, President Trump pardoned four former Blackwater contractors convicted in the killings. Using the good offices of his sister Betsy Devos, who worked as Trumps secretary of education, Erik Prince even made an offer to Trump for the outsourcing of the Afghanistan war to private military contractors advising and assisting Afghan security forces following the withdrawal of US troops. When Mohammed looked to his right, the driver of the car next to him shouted that the soldiers had just shot into another car in front of them. [1] Russian forces seize huge Ukrainian nuclear plant, fire extinguisher: https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/top-wrap-1-europes-largest-nuclear-power-plant-fire-after-russian-attack-mayor-2022-03-04/. Boslego also said the attack had a negative effect on our mission, [an] adverse effect It made our relationship with the Iraqis in general more strained.. [73], The trial was set for early 2010,[74] but the charges were dismissed by United States District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Ricardo Urbina on December 31, 2009, who ruled that the Justice Department had mishandled evidence and violated the guards' constitutional rights. Nicholas Slatten was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted of murder, while Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted of manslaughter and weapons charges. "This was the slaughter of innocent civilians who were merely going about their day when a Blackwater convoy rolled through a traffic circle after having violated orders to stand down and not exit the Green Zone and began firing indiscriminately into cars that were carrying people going to work.". President Donald Trump pardoned four former Blackwater mercenaries on Tuesday who had been convicted for their role in the Nisour Square massacre that left 14 people dead in Baghdad in 2007. Of the $10 billion humanitarian and military assistance for Ukraine announced by the Biden administration, the top brass of the Pentagon is reportedly making preparations for allocating a significant portion of the funds for providing military training and arms to almost a million refugees who have fled Ukraine following the war. [34], In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Blackwater's rights to conduct work in Iraq were temporarily suspended. on about your day, ask yourself: How likely is it that the story you just read would have been produced by a different news outlet if The Intercept hadnt done it? Blackwater Mercenaries: NATOs Secret Weapon in Ukraine War, VT RADIO: Alternative Foreign Policy Talk, Khazarian Mafia at War: The Jewish Oligarch Who Planned the Terror, Russias Future Predicted by Well-Known Christian Saints, Most Front-Line Ukrainian Soldiers Killed Within 4 Hours, How Russia managed to survive Western sanctions, How War Began The Genesis of NATOs Coup in Ukraine , From Global Warming Denial to Holocaust Denial, On this day in 1940, Woody Guthrie writes This Land Is, Former U.S. President Carter to Hospice, Will Pariah Trump Attend State, Dr. Fauci Admits COVID Shots Didnt Have A Chance Of Controlling. [88], On August 4, 2017, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned Slatten's murder conviction and ordered the other defendants to be re-sentenced to time already served. He died in the hospital hallway surrounded by family as he was asking for water. It looks at the rise of private security contractors such as Blackwater in the era of modern warfare. The pardons are one of several the US president has granted to American service personnel and contractors accused or convicted of crimes against non-combatants and civilians in war zones. The four armored vehicles drove away. As shootings in the square were not uncommon, it is unclear whether the shells were from the shooting in question or from other incidents. Who would hold party elites accountable to the values they proclaim to have? The September 16, 2007 shootings by Blackwater mercenaries left 14 Iraqis dead and wounded 18 others in Baghdad's Nisour Square. "Before he died, he went crazy as he used to go out into the street and whenever he saw a young man, he imagined that he was Mahdi," he said. It wasnt unusual for regular U.S. Army convoys to stop traffic. [45] Also, it is not clear whether the license revocation is permanent. Sarah Holewinski, Washington director at Human Rights Watch, said Trump's pardons were an insult to justice, "but it's also an insult to the victims. [14], On October 2, 2007, the Democratic staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report stating that Blackwater USA guards had used deadly force weekly in Iraq and had inflicted "significant casualties and property damage". Mohammed would look to see what was happening. [81] A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found "systemic" errors in the district court's 2009 decision to dismiss charges against the five former Blackwater guards and added "We find that the district court's findings depend on an erroneous view of the law". Associated Press WASHINGTON Four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards were convicted and immediately jailed Wednesday for their roles in a deadly 2007 shooting in Baghdad's Nisour Square. No wonder Russia formally issued an ultimatum on Tuesday, March 1, that it would target the hub of covert warfare. [41], Richard J. Griffin, the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, who made key decisions regarding the department's oversight of private security contractor Blackwater USA, resigned in November 2007, after a critical review by the House Oversight Committee found that his office had failed to adequately supervise private contractors during the Blackwater Baghdad shootings. Mohammed was a businessman dealing in auto salvage. We dont have ads, so we depend on our members 35,000 and counting to help us hold the powerful to account. Now they'll go free. In the middle of the attack, Mohammed could not understand why this man lying dead was a target. I had never imagined that Trump or any other politician would affect American justice.".