Trump Pardons 4 Blackwater War Criminals Who Slew 14 Iraqi Civilians in a ‘360 Rotational Fire’ Massacre
Shot up traffic in a 360 degree arc around them, as was routine for US forces — thousands should have been prosecuted
President Donald Trump pardoned Marine Corps veteran turned U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter and four other Iraq War veterans in a flurry of clemency moves Tuesday evening, the latest in a line of controversial acts of executive power by the commander in chief.
Hunter, 44, was once seen as a rising star within the Republican party but was sentenced to 11 months in federal prison for misuse of campaign funds.
The other four veterans on Trump’s list of 20 pardons and commutations were four former Blackwater security personnel: Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard. The men all served in the U.S. military in separate tours in Iraq, but were sent to prison for their role in a controversial 2007 attack in Baghdad which left 14 people dead, including several minors.
All five men were given full pardons for their crimes. In a statement, Trump said that the decision stemmed from an outpouring of support from Republican members of Congress and his own concerns about judicial overreach.
Trump’s statement on the four contractors, who were working for Blackwater at the time of the killings, notes that the 2007 incident “resulted in the unfortunate deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians” but suggested that missing evidence may have hurt the men’s chances for a fair trial, and that Iraqi investigators may have had ties to insurgent fighters.
The president also lauded the men for their “a long history of service to the nation” as service members before their work as contractors.
Like several other veterans convicted of war crimes, the four men have become a focus of conservative activists lobbying for less scrutiny of battlefield decisions after the fact. Last year, Trump pardoned three other high-profile veterans convicted of or charged with similar offenses.
Source: Military Times
On Sept. 16, 2007, their convoy traveled to a crowded traffic circle in downtown Baghdad as part of the effort to evacuate a U.S. diplomat.
At some point, the guards opened fire with machine guns and grenade launchers. They say the shooting started only after a white Kia sedan driven by the Iraqi medical student lurched out of stopped traffic and approached their four armored vehicles. The men had received intelligence reports that a white Kia might be used as a car bomb, so they feared they were under attack. [Yeah right. If they actually had such specific intel (from where??) why shoot up all the other cars?]
The unarmed driver, Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubia’y, was one of the 14 civilians killed in the attack.
No evidence of a bomb was ever found.