Four Blackwater Guards Convicted in Niskoor Square Killings

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.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    …with dubious legal standing and far less control than was exercised over American soldiers by their chain of command.

    But that’s what PMCs are for.

  • D. C. Sessions

    dubious legal standing and far less control than was exercised over American soldiers by their chain of command.

    And that’s saying quite a bit.

  • marcus

    “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.”

    It is to be hoped that this conviction will have the desired effect of encouraging these blood-thirsty, asshole mercenaries to think twice before lighting up a bunch of innocent civilians…

    Nah, probably not.

  • bmiller

    victory for the U.S. government?

    Hmmmm. I bet there are many elements of the “government” for which this is not a victory at all. :)

    What I would like to see is the Village Idiot and Darth Cheney on the docket.

  • marcus

    PS: Thank you Chelsea Manning!

  • colnago80

    Re bmiller @ #4

    What I would like to see is Erik Prince in the slammer.

  • erichoug

    Ed, I really appreciate you referring to these guys as “mercenaries”. I get so incredibly sick of the news media calling them “Private Military contractors” or “guards” we should be calling them what they are and WE SHOULD NOT BE USING THEM AT ALL EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.

  • Doc Bill

    But, wait, wait! This is exactly what Bill O’Reilly laid out in his plan to deal with ISIS and other hot spots: 25,000 mercenaries turned loose to do the dirty work. Some how, in O’Reilly’s rat’s nest of a mind these would be “good guys with guns.” Right…

  • busterggi

    Guilty of a dozen murders? Probably get at least five years for that. Now making a joke about Allah – well clearly that’s death penalty crime.

  • magistramarla

    Doc Bill,

    These mercenaries are as much “good guys with guns” as are the mad militia of rednecks down on the Texas border.

    I read recently that one of their leaders was arrested on gun charges, since there was a warrant out for his arrest and he had a prior felony conviction. I’m truly surprised that there haven’t been any deaths of innocents (that we know of) down there yet.

  • sanford

    Certainly this is good news, but Eric Prince is still walking around

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    So, have the conservatives loudly declared that these wholesome, patriotic contractors are the real victims yet?

    Serious question. That’s exactly what they did with William Calley. Granted, they’re slightly less sane now…

  • dingojack

    Any betting they be out before Oscar Pistorius?

    :( Dingo

  • dingojack

    I’m sorry I’ll try that again:

    ‘Any betting they’ll be out before Oscar Pistorius?’

    :( Dingo

  • zmidponk

    erichoug #7:

    Ed, I really appreciate you referring to these guys as “mercenaries”. I get so incredibly sick of the news media calling them “Private Military contractors” or “guards” we should be calling them what they are

    The only problem I have with the term ‘mercenaries’ is that this might give impression they are a somewhat loose-knit collection of people of dubious morality who are simply using their skills at…well, killing people, basically, to get paid, which would be bad enough. The reality is actually quite a bit worse – companies like Blackwater/Xe/Academi/whatever they’ve changed their name to this year are very slick and professional commercial companies that are specifically in the business of making money from conflict and warfare.