While the #RussianOligarchs are vile post-Soviet capitalists, the hypocrisy of the US media is revealing.  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. This is not for the faint of heart but allegedly a video from the Ukraine conflict at a check-point at Mariupol which is surrounded by Russian troops. His domains of expertise include neocolonialism, military-industrial complex, and petro-imperialism. The Iraqi government ordered Blackwater to leave Iraq as soon as a joint Iraqi-U.S. committee finished drafting new guidelines on private contractors under the Iraqi-U.S. security agreement. His mother also suffered a stroke, he added. The traffic circle, Nisour Square, was only a block away from one of the main entrance gates to Baghdads Green Zone. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.  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. Blackwater is an American private military company . Majid survived because he was on the passenger side of the car and was protected from most of the barrage of bullets. Why Is Assange in Jail and Not Seymour Hersh? Iraqi authorities say 17 people were killed; the Department of Justice has said the total was 14. On Tuesday, President Trump pardoned 15 people, including Dustin Heard (from left), Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten and Paul Slough, the four former government contractors convicted for a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead. There are numerous reported incidents of mass murder conducted by US soldiers, special forces. Paul Dickinson is a lawyer who represented six Iraqi families in a civil lawsuit against Blackwater and its founder, Erik Prince (who is the brother of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos). ", Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics, Jasem Mohammed Hashem, who was working as a police officer when he was shot in the head in the attack, was also disappointed by Trump's decision to free the men who, he said, "opened fire randomly at the citizens.". https://t.co/O88HKyb3wd, Kevin Reed | wsws.org (@KevinReedWSWS) March 4, 2022. Now they'll go free. Russias reluctant and delayed military intervention in Ukraine is fundamentally a war of power projection, a shot across the bow to perfidious former allies, the East European states, whove been joining the EU and NATO in droves since the break-up of Soviet Union in 1991, that the collective security of Eurasian nations is a shared responsibility, and NATOs eastward expansion along Russias western flank not only imperils the security of resurgent Russia but also compromises the balance of power in the multipolar world. The Intercept is an independent nonprofit news outlet. The Blackwater incident cost the American military in the Middle East a lot more, experts interviewed by RT believe. An ambulance was called, and Ali and Mohammad were rushed to the other side of town. 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.  The U.S. State Department has said that "innocent life was lost", and according to The Washington Post, a military report appeared to corroborate "the Iraqi government's contention that Blackwater was at fault". The massacre took place in 2007, when the four were working as guards for Blackwater, a private military contractor, on an assignment in Baghdad. A federal district court judge sentenced four former Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries to lengthy prison terms on Monday for their role in the Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad, Iraq in 2007. I had never imagined that Trump or any other politician would affect American justice.". , 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. Dec. 24, 2020 Mohammed Hafedh Abdulrazzaq Kinani with a photo of his 9-year-old son, Ali, who was killed by Blackwater. In 2013, Academi subsidiary International Development Solutions received an approximately $92million contract for State Department security guards. The Nisour Square massacre was one of the lowest episodes of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. He could not understand what was happening or why. The Nisour Square massacre was the FBI's most comprehensive and expensive criminal investigation since 9/11. When the first indictments were dismissed on New Years Eve in 2009, they were told that the prosecutions would continue.  After a group of Iraqi ministers backed the Iraqi Interior Ministry's decision to shut down Blackwater USA's operations in Iraq, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called on the U.S. government to end its contract with Blackwater and called on Blackwater to pay the families $8million in compensation. Despite having immense firepower at its disposal that could readily turn the tide in conflicts as protracted as Syrias proxy war, the Russian advance in Ukraine has been slower than expected according to most estimates because Russia is only targeting military infrastructure and doing all it can to minimize collateral damage, particularly needless civilian losses in the former Soviet republic whose majority population is sympathetic to Russia.  In the memorandum opinion, Judge Urbina ruled the cases against Slough, Liberty, Heard, Ball, and Slatten had been improperly built on testimony given in exchange for immunity; that evidence included statements the guards had been compelled to give to State Department investigators, and as these statements would have been self-incriminating, they could not be used as evidence under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. "Today we were surprised that the American president issued a decision to pardon these criminals, murderers and thugs," Salman said, speaking from Baghdad. 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 four security guards from the private military firm Blackwater who were serving jail sentences for killing 14 civilians including two children in Baghdad in 2007, a massacre that sparked an international outcry over the use of mercenaries in war. 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. He was told that he had to go to a neurologic hospital on the other side of Baghdad. Almost everyone who was killed or injured was shot in cars, taxis, or buses. The Machiavellian plan of NATOs military strategists is to establish refugee settlements with the humanitarian assistance in the border regions of Ukraines neighboring countries Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, and then provide guerrilla warfare training and lethal arms to all able-bodied men of military age in order to bleed Russias security forces in the protracted irregular warfare. Mohammed and his sister screamed for their children to get down. "Trump pardons Blackwater contractors jailed for massacre of Iraq civilians", 23 December 2020. In November last year, he pardoned a former US army commando who was set to stand trial over the killing of a suspected Afghan bomb-maker, and a former army lieutenant convicted of murder for ordering his men to fire at three Afghans. 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. security contractors who had previously been sentenced over the death of 17 Iraqi civilians in the 2007 Nisur Square massacre . Slatten, whom prosecutors said started the shooting, was sentenced to life in prison. Three former employees of the US private military contractor once known as Blackwater were sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday and a fourth received a life sentence . In his meetings with the high-ups in the US national security agencies, Erik Prince reportedly obtained a gentlemans promise, though without any documentary assurances due to the secretive nature of the Faustian pact, that he and his associates would not be held legally liable for the dirty work they do in the Ukraine proxy war. President Donald Trump's decision to pardon four Blackwater private security contractors convicted of a massacre in Baghdad has been met with fury by the victims' families in Iraq. 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. That changed yesterday with President Donald Trumps pardons. Prosecutors said the Blackwater convoy launched an unprovoked attack using sniper fire, machine guns and grenade launchers. In his testimony, Prince noted that, "It seems the ballistics analysis was done to prove the guilt of the Americans, not to just try to identify what happened there." This includes the right to see perpetrators serve punishments proportionate to the seriousness of their conduct. and thus prosecution by U.S. The headrest next to him where his sister sat had a bullet hole through it. It is unfortunate and sad that those efforts have now been wasted. The Blackwater guards appeared to have fired grenade launchers in addition to machine guns, according to the report.  A U.S. Army convoy arrived at 12:39p.m., backed by air cover, to escort TST 22 back to the Green Zone. He was shot in the abdomen. The convictions made the victims feel that justice had been obtained. The Nisour Square Massacre, in which Blackwater mercenaries fired hundreds of rounds in a crowded Baghdad traffic square, killing fourteen Iraqis, including ten women and two children, and .  Waxman stated that "the controversy over Blackwater is an unfortunate demonstration of the perils of excessive reliance on private security contractors. 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. However, the company was allowed to continue to operate in Iraq until January 2009 when the U.S.Iraq Status of Forces Agreement took effect. The hospital was too busy. Four Blackwater operatives were found guilty one of murder in a 2007 Baghdad massacre. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the, at the best online prices at eBay! The security industry has evolved drastically since those events, and under the direction of new ownership and leadership, Academi has invested heavily in compliance and ethics programmes, training for our employees, and preventative measures to strictly comply with all US and local government laws.. 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. 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. The Blackwater mercenaries were among the most flagrant killers in Iraq but hardly unique. 3", is named Paul Slough. It was his business partner who lay in the pool of blood and was repeatedly shot. , An Interior Ministry spokesman said Iraqi authorities had completed their investigation into the shooting and concluded that Blackwater guards were responsible for the deaths. In 2002, Blackwater received its first contract from the United States government. Iraqi police and Iraqi Army soldiers, mistaking the stun grenades for fragmentation grenades, opened fire at the Blackwater men, to which they responded.  The next day, Blackwater Worldwide's license to operate in Iraq was temporarily revoked. The incident was allegedly resolved only after another Blackwater contractor pointed his weapon at the man still firing and ordered him to stop. Ghasson Mahmood was a 55-year-old civil engineer.  A spokesman stated that the ban would last for the duration of the investigation, and that it would not be permanent. A 20,000-strong mercenary army is being assembled in Poland. Russian-American political scientist Malek Dudakov called the shooting a landmark event and a major international scandal. Nasser, who attended the 2014 trial in the United States, said his brother's death had broken his father's heart. ", "After years of waiting, the victims finally saw justice served when these men were convicted," she said in an email.  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. The committee was co-chaired by Abd al Qadir, the Iraqi Minister of Defense, and Patricia A. Butenis, the Charg d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. , Blackwater, which had been operating in Iraq without an Iraqi government license, applied for one after the incident, but the application was rejected by Iraqi officials in January 2009. On Tuesday, President Trump pardoned four former Blackwater contractors convicted in the killings. Their belief in our legal system was misplaced. On Tuesday, President Trump pardoned 15 people, including Dustin Heard (from left), Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten and Paul Slough, the four former government contractors convicted for a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead. That day changed my life forever. Mohammed quickly got out of the car and saw blood inside the rear window. Again, the result was the civil legal system exhausting every defense afforded to Blackwater and the men. "It was obviously excessive", a U.S. military official speaking on condition of anonymity told the Washington Post. 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. Nicholas Slatten, 35, was a former security guard at the private US military firm Blackwater and was based in Baghdad. Then one of his sisters children said that Ali was hurt. "I am overwhelmed with emotion at this fantastic news.". U.S. military reports appear to corroborate the Iraqi government's contention that Blackwater was at fault in the incident. Trumps pardon of the Blackwater mercenaries who murdered 14 Iraqi civilians at Nisour Square shows the world what justice means in the United States. ", 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 pardons could damage the United States' reputation abroad, as they undo the significance of the convictions, which had demonstrated that U.S. military contractors could be held accountable if they conducted criminal actions. That may be the overriding damage caused by these pardons. The White House further stated that the Court of Appeals "ruled that additional evidence should have been presented at Mr Slatten's trial", and recently that prosecutors said "that the lead Iraqi investigator, who prosecutors relied heavily on to verify that there were no insurgent victims and to collect evidence, may have had ties to insurgent groups himself". , In September 2013, the charges against Ball were dropped. Pepe Escobar (@RealPepeEscobar) March 1, 2022. , On September 27, 2007, The New York Times reported that during the chaotic incident at Nisour Square, one member of the Blackwater security team continued to fire on civilians despite urgent cease-fire calls from colleagues. Consider what the world of media would look like without The Intercept. A caption at the bottom of the screen states . Dickinson says the great expense that the FBI put into the prosecution of the case has now come to nothing. In 2014, four former government contractors who worked for Blackwater Worldwide, a security firm founded by Erik Prince an ally of Trump and the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos were convicted in federal court in Washington in connection with the killings.  According to this account, the security team fired warning shots and then lethal fire at the Kia. The incident happened at the height of the "military surge" ordered by the then President George W. Bush to bring the armed resistance against the occupation in Iraq under control. He told NPR on Wednesday that he was shocked by Trump's pardons he himself had made trips to the U.S. to give testimony in the proceedings against the four. A. Six of my Blackwater brethren contractors are on the helicopter going to Tikrit. Trump issued pardons for all four men on Tuesday. , Clemency caused outrage among Iraqi citizens and family members of the victims. Rogers. , On December 19, 2018, Slatten was found guilty of murder and again was sentenced to life in prison on August 14, 2019. "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.". Now justice has been undone by the stroke of a pen," Sarah Holewinski, the organization's Washington director, said in a statement. Extending the hand of friendship, Russia significantly drawdown its forces along the western border before the summit last year. , 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. That notion has now been shown to be false, Dickinson says. Each step of the way, the U.S. legal system ensured that these men were given fair and just prosecutions. The Blackwater guards were firing indiscriminately. 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. Before. 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", "Private Security Company Association 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, "The Associated Press: APNewsBreak: Blackwater founder questions FBI work", "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.