Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

    Can someone explain to me what is happening with this story?

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/12/08/...iref=hpmostpop

    (CNN) -- Five former security guards from Blackwater Worldwide turned themselves in to federal authorities Monday in Salt Lake City, Utah, over charges stemming from the 2007 shootings in Baghdad that killed 17 Iraqis.

    The Justice Department on Monday plans to charge the former guards with manslaughter and a weapons charge of using a machine gun while committing a crime of violence, a source with knowledge of the investigation said.

    A sixth Blackwater guard tied to the incident has reached a plea deal with the government, a source said.

    The Justice Department ordered the guards to surrender by Monday or face arrest. One of the guards is from Utah.

    The sources said that defense attorneys decided to have all of them surrender in one location rather than in their home states or in Washington, where the federal grand jury handed up the charges last week.

    The guards' surrender in Utah is a matter of convenience, sources said, and is likely to be followed by an aggressive legal defense. One of the sources said defense attorneys plan to fight "over venue first," then argue that U.S. law does not pertain to the actions of these guards.

    "Why in the world would the government manufacture a venue in Washington, D.C., when they know none of the men had been there or lived there?" a source asked.

    The Justice Department refused comment on the case because the charges are under seal.

    The State Department, which employed Blackwater to protect U.S. diplomats and other employees, also had no comment. Blackwater declined comment until an official announcement is made.

    The men who will stand trial are identified as Donald Ball, 26, of West Valley City, Utah; Dustin Heard, 27, of Knoxville, Tennessee; Evan Liberty, 26, of Rochester, New Hampshire; Nick Slatten, 25, of Sparta, Tennessee; and Paul Slough, 29, of Keller, Texas.

    The individual who reached the plea deal with the government has not been identified.

    The government has told Blackwater that the company will not face charges, according to sources with knowledge of the case.

    None of the guards has worked for Blackwater since 2007, said company spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell.

    An Iraqi official familiar with the investigation said that an FBI team and two U.S. prosecutors working on the case will meet in Baghdad on Saturday with more than 60 Iraqis involved in the incident. The meeting is intended to brief the Iraqis on the status of the case.

    Iraqi authorities accused Blackwater guards of killing 17 civilians and wounding nearly 30 in the September 2007 shootings in Nisoor Square in western Baghdad.

    Blackwater said its guards were protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy when they came under attack from armed insurgents. The guards returned fire, Blackwater said.

    But an Iraqi investigation called the killings "premeditated murder" and accused the guards of firing on civilians indiscriminately. The first U.S. soldiers to arrive on the scene told military investigators they found no evidence the contractors were fired upon, a source familiar with a preliminary U.S. military report told CNN.

    The FBI also investigated and determined the shootings were unprovoked and Blackwater personnel used excessive force, according to a senior Justice Department source speaking on background because the case remains sealed until Monday.

    The indictments are "a step in the right direction," said Mohammad Abdul Razzaq, whose 9-year-old son, Ali, was killed at Nisoor Square. "It was heinous crime and a painful incident, [but] we can overcome that if a just verdict is handed down."

    Hassan Salman, an Iraqi lawyer wounded in the shootings, said that the "American judicial system, known for its integrity, should hand down [to] the perpetrators of this heinous crime against the Iraqi people nothing less than death sentences."

    An attorney for Ball said Sunday his client "committed no crime" but would turn himself in Monday.

    "We are confident that any jury will see this for what it is -- a politically motivated prosecution to appease the Iraqi government," attorney Steve McCool said. "It has been reported that Mr. Ball will be charged with firearms offenses that carry mandatory penalties of up to life imprisonment. It would be outrageous to charge my client with offenses relating to guns issued by the State Department."

    In a statement, attorney David Schertler said: "We strongly disagree with the Department of Justice's decision to bring charges against Dustin Heard. Any charges brought against Mr. Heard are wrong and unjust."

    Slough's attorney, Mark Hulkower, said he is "an honorable young man who served this country with distinction for many years."

    Hulkower said Slough "should not face criminal charges for defending himself and others from insurgents in Iraq, and we are disappointed that federal prosecutors have taken it on themselves to second-guess how these brave young men fought for their lives."

    "We are confident Mr. Slough will be exonerated," he added.

    The complex legal case has been dogged by difficulties and may present a major challenge to federal prosecutors.

    Among the potential problems is that the law under which the charges are expected to be brought covers contractors working for the U.S. military, but the Blackwater guards were contracted by the State Department. Some independent legal experts question whether U.S. courts have jurisdiction in this case.

    Also muddying the waters are alleged assurances of immunity given to the guards by State Department diplomatic security agents investigating the incident before the FBI got involved.

    The State Department said its agents did not offer blanket immunity from criminal prosecution but only promised statements the guards made on the scene could not be used against them in any prosecution.

    But when the investigation was turned over to the Justice Department to examine possible criminal activity, FBI agents discovered some guards believed they were immune from prosecution and therefore refused to be interviewed again, complicating the FBI probe.

    The shootings heightened tensions between U.S. and Iraqi government officials and contributed to a protracted debate over the extent of immunity that U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors have from Iraqi laws.

    Security contractors had immunity from Iraqi law under a provision put in place in the early days of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. But starting next year, under a U.S.-Iraq security agreement that Iraq approved last week, Iraq will have the "primary right to exercise jurisdiction" over U.S. contractors and their employees.

    The State Department, which employed Blackwater to protect U.S. diplomats and other employees, renewed Blackwater's contract this year over strong objections from the Iraqi government.
    What I'm reading is that Blackwater guards were charged with protecting US Diplomats. They claim to have come under fire from insurgents and returned fire. Iraqi officials claim that it was a premeditated murder and the FBI determined that the attack was unprovoked.

    Also the article states, "Security contractors had immunity from Iraqi law under a provision put in place in the early days of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq."

    Are they being charged in the United States because they were working for the State Department?

    I'm not taking sides, I was just hoping someone could explain why they were being charged here in the States.
    Big-eye101: "A true catman post a day keeps the bad mood away"

    Please do not take any posts made by Catman seriously. If you begin to take his posts seriously, please seek psychiatric attention.

  • #2
    Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

    I find it ironic that CNN is all over this...........ted turner probably got a woody as well when CNN aired the two delta operators being dragged through the streets in Somalia in 1993.

    I would like to ask the State Department why Iraqi government officials, and US Governent officials prefer blackwater guards to guard them....
    Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
    Level II Volunteer FireFighter
    Level I HazMat Technician
    NYS EMT-B
    Town of Mamaroneck Fire Dept.

    sigpic




    Bring On Project Reality 1.0!!!
    RSS Feeds:Bamboo | | 9/11 - Never Forget |
    Apophis - "TG was created to cater to a VERY specific type of gamer rather than trying to appeal to the greater gaming population.
    Tactical Gamer is not mainstream.
    We are not trying to attract mainstream gamers."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

      It'd be nice if the FBI would arrest the cops who shoot people unprovoked in the US of A as well.

      What makes Iraqis so special?
      A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

      "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

        Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
        It'd be nice if the FBI would arrest the cops who shoot people unprovoked in the US of A as well.

        What makes Iraqis so special?
        Whoa, there. Sue the living dogcrap out of the police department? Sure. But arrest him for an accident like that? C'mon, let's be reasonable. You can argue about the greater SWAT trend, but let's not take it out on this guy that accidentally shot a mother and child. Put yourself in his shoes.
        Become a supporting member!
        Buy a Tactical Duck!
        Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
        TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran:

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

          *reads Tybalts article*

          Um, Tybalt? They did arrest him, and they charged him in court. He was acquitted. Not too much the government can do after that, except maybe fire him I guess.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

            Kero,

            Good point. :]

            Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
            Whoa, there. Sue the living dogcrap out of the police department? Sure. But arrest him for an accident like that? C'mon, let's be reasonable. You can argue about the greater SWAT trend, but let's not take it out on this guy that accidentally shot a mother and child. Put yourself in his shoes.
            Okay, but then should this fellow also not be charged? Put yourself in his shoes.

            Separately, may I fire my gun through the walls of my house if I hear sounds like someone's breaking in? What if I think I hear gunshots? When does firing blindly through walls become acceptable?

            Or are cops held to a lower standard than us everyday "citizens"? I know they're jobs are dangerous and everything, but it's not like being a cop is as dangerous as, say, working sales for Coca-Cola. Maybe Coca-Cola salesmen should be able to fire blindly whenever they hear something scary, too.
            Last edited by Nikolas; 12-08-2008, 04:05 PM.
            A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

            "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

              Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
              Okay, but then should this fellow also not be charged? Put yourself in his shoes.
              He should not.

              Separately, may I fire my gun through the walls of my house if I hear sounds like someone's breaking in? What if I think I hear gunshots? When does firing blindly through walls become acceptable?
              No. No. Blindly? Almost never.
              Become a supporting member!
              Buy a Tactical Duck!
              Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
              TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran:

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

                Not to high jack this anymore but the officer in lima was also going into a drug house during a raid, that was well known to have fire arms.


                But im glad to see those black water guys charged. Even if they did not do what the media is fornicating over. This will atleast show the Iraqis that Americans are not free and clear when it comes to just killing people.
                that sounds like a good idea trooper.
                -Vulcan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

                  Cing,

                  I agree with you on all counts, then. I would rather see less people charged than more - especially when it's clear that no malicious intent was involved (the LEO "blindly" firing on the kneeling woman might be an exception...).

                  However, right now there is a discrepancy. An LEO who killed a woman after "blindly" firing into a room is charged with manslaughter. A citizen who kills a man (LEO) knocking down his door is charged with 1st degree murder (and possibly capital murder!).

                  Seems like it makes better sense to charge the LEO in the first scenario with a crime. The private citizen, after all, saw an immediate threat. And yet the citizen receives the much tougher charge?

                  Of course, we don't have all the facts. I'm just going on a couple of media reports. But Balko is pretty straight with the facts...
                  A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                  "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

                    Originally Posted by Catman1975
                    What I'm reading is that Blackwater guards were charged with protecting US Diplomats. They claim to have come under fire from insurgents and returned fire. Iraqi officials claim that it was a premeditated murder and the FBI determined that the attack was unprovoked.

                    Also the article states, "Security contractors had immunity from Iraqi law under a provision put in place in the early days of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq."

                    Are they being charged in the United States because they were working for the State Department?

                    I'm not taking sides, I was just hoping someone could explain why they were being charged here in the States.
                    What Catman is asking before the thread got OT, was why are there federal charge. The simple answer is the Blackwater security guards were not under Iraqi or US Military control and/or authority. They were immune from the Iraqi law and prosecution by their contract with the State Department. As private (civilian) security contractors for the State Department, the military could not prosecute them.
                    Both working for the State Department and as US Citizens they may be charged in federal court. Anyone committing crimes outside the US (or committing crimes against the US) may still be charged. Examples are drug traffickers, terrorists, accepting or receiving bribes, exporting restricted technology...


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

                      Originally posted by Jakaleel View Post
                      What Catman is asking before the thread got OT, was why are there federal charge. The simple answer is the Blackwater security guards were not under Iraqi or US Military control and/or authority. They were immune from the Iraqi law and prosecution by their contract with the State Department. As private (civilian) security contractors for the State Department, the military could not prosecute them.
                      Both working for the State Department and as US Citizens they may be charged in federal court. Anyone committing crimes outside the US (or committing crimes against the US) may still be charged. Examples are drug traffickers, terrorists, accepting or receiving bribes, exporting restricted technology...
                      good information.
                      that sounds like a good idea trooper.
                      -Vulcan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

                        Originally posted by TheMinority
                        huh?

                        I hate how the media will report things. They make such a huge deal over stories that really dont need to be made into such a huge deal. They get off reporting on murder and death rather then reporting the good things in this world. Why not report on how many lives those operators have saved?
                        that sounds like a good idea trooper.
                        -Vulcan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

                          cause i cant use the word i wanted.
                          that sounds like a good idea trooper.
                          -Vulcan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

                            Professional operators just don't decide to murder innocent people. Clearly they responded the way they did because they felt threatened. As to why they are being charged? Politics!
                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Blackwater Guards charged for shooting in Iraq

                              Originally posted by Charcoal_Grey View Post
                              Professional operators just don't decide to murder innocent people. Clearly they responded the way they did because they felt threatened. As to why they are being charged? Politics!
                              i'd like to see how they can even prove this.......imagine what the crime scene looked like after the american's returned (and how many things were placed that were not there before), and of course al jazerra speed dialed cnn probably saying "women and children were killed"
                              Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
                              Level II Volunteer FireFighter
                              Level I HazMat Technician
                              NYS EMT-B
                              Town of Mamaroneck Fire Dept.

                              sigpic




                              Bring On Project Reality 1.0!!!
                              RSS Feeds:Bamboo | | 9/11 - Never Forget |
                              Apophis - "TG was created to cater to a VERY specific type of gamer rather than trying to appeal to the greater gaming population.
                              Tactical Gamer is not mainstream.
                              We are not trying to attract mainstream gamers."

                              Comment

                              Connect

                              Collapse

                              TeamSpeak 3 Server

                              Collapse

                              Advertisement

                              Collapse

                              Twitter Feed

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X