Here’s some refreshing news for a change. Four former Blackwater mercenaries were convicted on nearly every count for the unjustified killing of more than a dozen Iraqis when they got all trigger happy leading a convoy through Niskoor square, opened fire and threw grenades in a crowd of people.
In a sweeping victory for the U.S. government, a federal jury on Wednesday found four former Blackwater guards guilty on nearly every count they faced in connection with the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqis at a Baghdad traffic circle.
Jurors found three of the ex-guards guilty of manslaughter and weapons charges, and a fourth guilty of murder.
The verdict comes more than seven years after the shooting incident that outraged Iraqis and inflamed anti-American sentiment around the world.A court clerk read the jury’s verdict aloud on Wednesday around noon to a packed courtroom, repeating the word “guilty” 71 times as the defendants sat and listened silently.
Paul Slough, Dustin Heard and Evan Liberty were convicted of voluntary manslaughter in connection with at least 12 deaths at Nisur Square, where the Blackwater unit had been trying to clear a path for a U.S. State Department convoy. The Washington jury also found the three guilty of attempted manslaughter in connection with the wounding of at least 11 Iraqis who had been at the site.
The fourth guard, Nicholas Slatten, was found guilty of murder in connection with the first death at the circle.
This is the first — only — hint of anything remotely like accountability among the hundreds of thousands of mercenaries our government used in Iraq, with dubious legal standing and far less control than was exercised over American soldiers by their chain of command.