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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Blackwater trial

I find it funny about the 6th guy that plead out and testified against his buddies. Now he is the only one who is guilty.

WASHINGTON – A federal judge dismissed all charges Thursday against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007.

Citing repeated government missteps, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed a case that had been steeped in international politics. The shooting in busy Nisoor Square left 17 Iraqis dead and inflamed anti-American sentiment abroad. The Iraqi government wanted the guards to face trial in Iraq and officials there said they would closely watch how the U.S. judicial system handled the case.

Urbina said the prosecutors ignored the advice of senior Justice Department officials and improperly built their case on sworn statements that had been given under a promise of immunity. Urbina said the government's explanations were "contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility."

"We're obviously disappointed by the decision," Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said. "We're still in the process of reviewing the opinion and considering our options."

Prosecutors can appeal the 90-page ruling.

Blackwater contractors had been hired to guard U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The guards said insurgents ambushed them in a traffic circle. Prosecutors said the men unleashed an unprovoked attack on civilians using machine guns and grenades.

The shooting led to the unraveling of the North Carolina-based company, which since has replaced its management and changed its name to Xe Services.

The five guards are Donald Ball, a former Marine from West Valley City, Utah; Dustin Heard, a former Marine from Knoxville, Tenn.; Evan Liberty, a former Marine from Rochester, N.H.; Nick Slatten, a former Army sergeant from Sparta, Tenn., and Paul Slough, an Army veteran from Keller, Texas.

Defense attorneys said the guards were thrilled by the ruling after more than two years of scrutiny.

"It's tremendously gratifying to see the court allow us to celebrate the new year the way it has," said attorney Bill Coffield, who represents Liberty. "It really invigorates your belief in our court system."

"It's indescribable," said Ball's attorney, Steven McCool. "It feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off his shoulders. Here's a guy that's a decorated war hero who we maintain should never have been charged in the first place."

The five guards had been charged with manslaughter and weapons charges. The charges carried mandatory 30-year prison terms.

Urbina's ruling does not say whether the shooting was proper, only that the government improperly used evidence to build the case. After the shooting, the State Department ordered the guards to explain what happened.

The five guards told investigators they fired their weapons, an admission that was crucial because forensic scientists could not match bullets from the shooting scene to specific weapons.

In exchange for those statements, the State Department promised the statements would not be used in a criminal case. Such limited immunity deals are common in police departments so officers involved in shootings cannot hold up internal investigations by refusing to cooperate.

The deal meant prosecutors had to build their case without those statements. Urbina said the Justice Department failed to do so. Prosecutors read those statements, reviewed them in the investigation and used them to question witnesses and get search warrants, Urbina said. Key witnesses also reviewed the statements and the grand jury heard evidence that had been tainted by those statements, the judge said.

The Justice Department set up a process to avoid those problems, but Urbina said lead prosecutor Ken Kohl and others "purposefully flouted the advice" of senior Justice Department officials telling them not to use the statements.

It was unclear what the ruling means for a sixth Blackwater guard, Jeremy Ridgeway, who turned on his former colleagues and pleaded guilty to killing one Iraqi and wounding another. Had he gone to trial, the case against him would likely have fallen apart, but it's unclear whether Urbina will let him out of his plea deal.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 05:00 PM
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Rule 1: Never rat out your friends
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by forever_frost View Post
Rule 1: Never rat out your friends
Snitches get stitches... and then become prison bitches...
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 07:34 PM
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Fuck him, he got what he deserved.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 01:24 PM
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so blackwater is no more?

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by futant View Post
so blackwater is no more?
Yes they are still around. They changed their name to xe. They need to change the name constantly so people forget about all the shit they do.

Our government needs our help, they have an addiction. Our government is addicted to our money. Since they always have our best interest at heart it's time we return the favor. We need to have an intervention, for the governments own good of course. It's just irresponsible for us to let people with a known money addiction continue to handle our money. Lets have an intervention now so we can help these sick individuals.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 03:43 PM
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Don't know the whole story, but if they were worried that a crowd was going to try to harm their charges, weren't they just doing their job? At what point do you defend the people you are supposed to? Maybe they were just there for show?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by MR TINFOIL HAT View Post
Yes they are still around. They changed their name to xe. They need to change the name constantly so people forget about all the shit they do.
"fuckin werd"

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 05:57 PM
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Did anyone actually think these 5 would go down for this? With all the news out there from the founder of Blackwater about their actual mission in Iraq, along with their connections to intelligence and the State Dept you'd have to be a fool to think they would not be walked out the back door for this.

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