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It wasn’t unusual for regular U.S. Army convoys to stop traffic. , In December 2008, the United States Department of Justice announced it was filing criminal charges against five of the Blackwater employees, and ordered them to surrender to the FBI. , A U.S. judge's decision to dismiss all charges against Blackwater on January 1, 2010, sparked outrage in the Arab world. The Iraqi Government revoked Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq on September 17, 2007, after a massacre in Nisour Square, Baghdad in which Blackwater … 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, incinerating it.  The incident has caused Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to call on the U.S. government to end its contract with Blackwater USA, and for the Iraqi government to push for an apology, compensation for victims or their families and for the guards involved in the shooting to be held "accountable". Mahde Shamke was 25 years old and driving a taxi to support his parents and siblings. In this Sept. 25, 2007 file photo, an Iraqi traffic policeman inspects a car destroyed by a Blackwater security detail in al-Nisoor Square in Baghdad, Iraq. It was chaotic.  The next day, Blackwater Worldwide's license to operate in Iraq was temporarily revoked.  A sixth Blackwater guard, Jeremy Ridgeway of California, struck a deal with prosecutors on December 4, 2008 and pleaded guilty to one count each of voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter, and aiding and abetting, and agreed to testify against the other five men. It is unfortunate and sad that those efforts have now been wasted.  A spokesman stated that the ban would last for the duration of the investigation, and that it would not be permanent. , On October 13, 2007, the FBI reported that it had concluded that at least 14 of the 17 Iraqis who died in the square had been killed without cause. The committee was co-chaired by Abd al Qadir, the Iraqi Minister of Defense and Patricia A. Butenis, the Chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. This combination made from file photo shows convicted former Blackwater guards, from left, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten and Paul Slough. The Iraqi government and Iraqi police investigator Faris Saadi Abdul stated that the killings were unprovoked. When Blackwater security guard Nicholas Slatten was tried and convicted for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, the U.S. legal system determined that he needed a new trial. Ali was the youngest of Blackwater’s victims that day. 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 hadn’t done it? Rogers. On January 31, 2009, the U.S. State Department notified Blackwater that it would not be renewing its security contract with the company. Bullets were everywhere. courts. Iraqi and Blackwater officials have starkly different accounts of what happened during the firefight. , 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. When Mohammed saw the convoy enter the traffic circle, he initially thought they were regular U.S. Army members.  Several sources have stated that the explosion was caused by a mortar round, though this is not reflected in the State Department's incident report. He suffered from his wounds for over a year until he died from a brain injury. The four armored vehicles drove away.  In response to the guards' killing of the Iraqi policeman, other Iraqi police officers began to fire at the Blackwater men, who communicated to the State Department operations center that they were under attack. We are taking fire from insurgents and Iraqi police. In his new book, journalist Maurice Chammah explores the rise and fall of capital punishment in Texas and what it means for the country. The report further said that Blackwater had reported that its forces fired first in over 80 percent of the cases. The efforts of the investigators, the prosecutors, and the men and women who supported them was immeasurable. My clients assuredly feel ignored, mistreated, and used. More were arriving in the backs of trucks. One such car approached the convoy, driving on the wrong side of the road, and refused to stop in response to Iraqi police orders. Again, the result was the civil legal system exhausting every defense afforded to Blackwater and the men. This evidentiary use of tainted information constitutes yet another Kastigar violation. Five were charged with 14 counts of manslaughter, 20 counts of attempted manslaughter and a weapons violation: Donald Ball, a former Marine from West Valley City, Utah; Dustin Heard, a former Marine from Knoxville, Tennessee; Evan Liberty, a former Marine from Rochester, New Hampshire; Nicholas Slatten, a former army sergeant from Sparta, Tennessee, and Paul Slough, an army veteran from Keller, Texas. In May 2007, there were two more reported shootings of Iraqi civilians by Blackwater contractors, including an Interior Ministry employee, which … Nassar Hamza was 67 years old when he was shot and wounded in the arm. ", The other four went on trial starting on June 17, 2014; ten weeks of testimony and 28 days of jury deliberations resulted in convictions for all four men on October 22, 2014. My law firm received a call from an immigration attorney the next year seeking representation for the Blackwater’s 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. They could not do anything for him. Slatten faced a potential sentence of life in prison. Their route home was through Nisour Square. Trump's Blackwater Guard Pardons Cause Shock And Dismay "We were surprised that the American president issued a decision to pardon these criminals, murderers and thugs," says an Iraqi … Prince strongly criticized the way in which federal authorities had handled the investigation and disputed the claims that U.S. or Blackwater personnel were to blame for the shootings. Machine gunfire would cause his lifeless body to shake in his pool of blood. It was his business partner who lay in the pool of blood and was repeatedly shot. The killings sparked international outrage. It wasn’t. They beat citizens and scorn them. He was shot through the back with a massive exit wound in his chest.  On September 21, CNN reported that Blackwater would resume normal operations the following day.  Bringing the weapons charges was disputed within the Justice Department, which initially opposed including them in the indictment.  A White House statement said the men had a "long history of service to the nation" as veterans of the US Armed Forces, and that there was strong support for the pardons from the public and elected officials.  The FBI investigation found that, of the 17 Iraqis killed by the guards, at least 14 were shot without cause. courts.  Waxman stated that "the controversy over Blackwater is an unfortunate demonstration of the perils of excessive reliance on private security contractors. When he arrived at the hospital, it was a war zone. Joining is simple and doesn’t need to cost a lot: You can become a sustaining member for as little as $3 or $5 a month. Spring flowers are planted in Nisour Square, the site of a deadly shootout by Blackwater private security contractors in 2007, in Baghdad on April 15, 2015.  Also, it is not clear whether the license revocation is permanent. Their belief in our legal system was misplaced. , The U.S. State Department said it planned to investigate what it called a "terrible incident". 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. 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. The hospital was too busy. , On October 11, 2007, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit against Blackwater USA under the Alien Tort Claims Act on behalf of an injured Iraqi and the families of three of the seventeen Iraqis who were killed by Blackwater employees during the September 16, 2007, shooting incident. - Asser Institute (Decision Date: 31 December 2009)", "Ex-Blackwater Guards Face Renewed Charges", "Blackwater guards face new U.S. charges for Iraq shooting deaths", "Legal questions loom in Blackwater convictions", "Blackwater guards found guilty in Iraq shootings", "Emails Reveal Discord Over Blackwater Charges", "Ex-Blackwater Guards Sentenced to Long Prison Terms in 2007 Killings of Iraqi Civilians", "U.S. Appeals Court Tosses Ex-Blackwater Guard's Conviction in 2007 Baghdad Massacre", "Murder conviction in Blackwater case thrown out, other sentences overturned", "In Blackwater Case, Court Rejects a Murder Conviction and Voids 3 Sentences", Recent Case: D.C. These men will now be free, despite their crimes, and they will not serve the time in prison they deserved. ", On October 4, 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it would be taking the lead in the investigation of the shooting incident.  The panel also recommended that Slatten undergo a re-trial on the grounds that it was unjustifiable to try him with his co-defendants, and that he should have been tried separately. https://theintercept.com/2020/12/23/blackwater-massacre-iraq-pardons Mohammed met members of the U.S. Army on the streets and handed out candy and juice when he saw them. When Mohammed opened the door, his son fell toward him as his skull opened and a large part of Ali’s brain fell onto the pavement between his father’s feet.  Prosecutors stated they reached their decision after an "assessment of the admissible evidence against him. He despised Saddam Hussein and his oppressive and vindictive ways. He never received treatment. He was also encouraged to pursue it by Micah Bell. Everything was eerily quiet. The key people in this have not spoken with investigators. Mohammed turned his bullet-riddled SUV around and drove back to the closest hospital only a few blocks behind him. About 1,000 of Blackwater’s contractors guarded diplomats in Iraq. Now they have pardons from Trump. He had tried to run but was lying in a pool of blood — killed by machine gunfire from the armored cars. 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", International military intervention against ISIL, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nisour_Square_massacre&oldid=1004926569, Violent non-state actor incidents in Asia, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Sequence of events triggering the Nisour Square massacre, This page was last edited on 5 February 2021, at 03:05. The result of the long legal battle is that each man was ensured a fair trial, free of partiality and without unjust favor. " Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki harshly criticized the dismissal.  However, the court then found that the mandatory minimum sentences as applied to the defendants were unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishments, over the partial dissent of Judge Judith W. Machine gunfire tore through his body. Iraqi police and Iraqi Army soldiers, mistaking the stun grenades for fragmentation grenades, opened fire at the Blackwater men, to which they responded.  The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's fractured per curiam decision first found that Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act authorized the prosecutions, over the partial dissent of Judge Janice Rogers Brown. , The Private Security Company Association of Iraq, in a document last updated on July 3, 2007, listed Blackwater as not having a license to operate in Iraq despite their attempts to apply for one. He was shot through the roof of his car as the Blackwater convoy drove past firing down into traffic. The incident has caused Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to call on the U.S. government to end its contract with Blackwater USA, and for the Iraqi government to push for an apology, compensation for victims or their families and for the guards involved in the shooting to be held "accountable". I felt I had done that, and I knew the prosecutors were doing that. Ghasson Mahmood was a 55-year-old civil engineer. ", Clemency caused outrage among Iraqi citizens and family members of the victims.  Several Iraqi and American investigations have been conducted into the incident. The Blackwater guards appeared to have fired grenade launchers in addition to machine guns, according to the report. , On September 19, as a result of the incident, the United States temporarily suspended all land travel by U.S. diplomats and other civilian officials in Iraq outside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone. :32 Shortly after assuming their positions, "Raven 23" began firing on civilians in response to an approaching car, killing fourteen and wounding twenty more. Our civil case resulted in a resolution that was acceptable to the parties. Mohammed could see other cars being shot. (In 2012, Blackwater settled a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the … That wasn’t unusual. Then one of his sister’s children said that Ali was hurt. , In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Blackwater's rights to conduct work in Iraq were temporarily suspended. WASHINGTON — Three former Blackwater security contractors were sentenced on Thursday to roughly half of their original 30-year prison terms … According to Javier Escuella, the heist got off t… The Blackwater guards were firing indiscriminately. They started out as a private security firm providing training support to law enforcement, the justice department, and military organizations and received their first contract from the United States government in 2000 after the bombing of the USS Cole.In 1998, the private security firm bought a training facility on a dark swamp in North Carolina and officially adopted their name, whi… Majid survived because he was on the passenger side of the car and was protected from most of the barrage of bullets. They then set off stun grenades to clear the scene. In the middle of the attack, Mohammed could not understand why this man lying dead was a target. A State Department employee who was walking into the department's Baghdad operations center on the day of the incident heard a radio call from the convoy: "Contact, contact, contact!  Howard Krongard, who was appointed Inspector General of the U.S. State Department in 2005, resigned in December 2007 after he was accused by the House Oversight Committee of improperly interfering with investigations into the Blackwater Baghdad shootings. Majid Al Kareem was 51 years old when he was shot. If it is determined that one person was complicit in the wrongdoing, we would support accountability in that. Abraham Al Mafrage was a 70-year-old farmer and father of seven who was also shot in the head and died that day. An Iraqi policeman went over to the car, possibly to help the passenger, but the vehicle kept moving and it looked to the guards as if the policeman was pushing the car towards the Blackwater TST. , On April 1, 2009, the Associated Press reported that forensic tests on bullets were inconclusive. A rocket grenade was fired into the car next to him. What happened next is rather confused. Iraqi leaders were already angry that the Bush administration had denied them the opportunity to try the Blackwater contractors. Despite the absence of two senior members of the gang, Arthur Morgan and Hosea Matthews, who had their own lead, the remainder of the outlaw gang proceeded with the robbery. Convoy Attacked in Baghdad, Sparking a Shootout", "3 Blackwater Guards Called Baghdad Shootings Unjustified", "Blackwater Denies Any Wrongdoing in Shooting Incident (Update1)", "Iraqi leader urges U.S. to cancel Blackwater contract", "Iraqi Investigators say Videotape Shows Blackwater Guards Fired Without Aggravation", "House Passes Bill That Would Hike Penalties for U.S. Security Contractors in Iraq", "Iraqi Government Disputes Blackwater USA's Version of Shooting", "Iraq battle was self-defense, security firm says", "FBI takes lead in probe over Blackwater crisis", "Blackwater most often shoots first, congressional report says", "Report: Blackwater Killings Unjustified", "From Texas to Iraq, and Center of Blackwater Case", No forensic match for ammo in Blackwater shooting, "Overcoming post-colonial myopia: A call to recognize and regulate private military companie"s, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Army, "Wounded Iraqis: 'No one did anything' to provoke Blackwater", "Blackwater incident witness: 'It was hell, Family Members of Slain Iraqis Sue Blackwater USA for Deadly Baghdad Shooting, "Blackwater Verdict a U.S. 'Snub' of Iraqi Leader Nouri al-Maliki: Kayhan, Islamic Republic of Iran", "White House: Contractor bill would have 'intolerable' effects", "Blackwater settles Nisoor Square lawsuit", "5 Blackwater guards face manslaughter charges", "Blackwater Guard in Secret Deal to Testify in Massacre Case", "US judge sets trial in 2010 for Blackwater guards", "Appeals court revives Blackwater shooting case", "US judge dismisses charges in Blackwater Iraq killings", "Reopening of Blackwater Case Confuses Iraqi Victims", "Biden Says U.S. Will Appeal Blackwater Case Dismissal (Published 2010)", "ICD - Slough et al.
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