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  1. 09 Jan '10 13:28
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/01/iraq-us-blackwater-case-trial

    So, should these guys have gotten off on a technicality? Should they be sent back to Iraq to stand trial there?

    Are they murdering scum? Or brave heros?

    How will this affect any future alleged terrorist trials if confessions have been made under torture? Or will it be one rule for these guys and another rule for the alleged terrorists?
  2. 09 Jan '10 14:31 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by The Snapper
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/01/iraq-us-blackwater-case-trial

    So, should these guys have gotten off on a technicality? Should they be sent back to Iraq to stand trial there?

    Are they murdering scum? Or brave heros?

    How will this affect any future alleged terrorist trials if confessions have been made under torture? Or will it be one rule for these guys and another rule for the alleged terrorists?
    "Technicalities" often involve an individual's rights or important procedures that are in place to ensure proper due process.

    Here's a hypothetical example. The police illegally search a man's home and find the stolen items from a jewelery store - along with the video tape from the security cameras, which he had taken to hide his tracks. Obviously this man is guilty but a judge would have the legal *and* moral obligation to dismiss the charges. Why? Because then what's to stop those cops or other cops from conducting illegal search and seizures?

    Also, one quote your article implies the judge felt it was more than just a technicality.

    He said the government's case had been "contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility".


    I have actually known and worked with a lot of security contractors. I would find it extremely surprising if they just went out and slaughtered a bunch of civilians for the thrill of it. Even if they had no scruples whatsoever, intentionally bringing that kind of heat down on you would be incredibly stupid.

    I think *at worst* this is a case negligence and/or recklessness in the heat of battle.
  3. 09 Jan '10 14:47
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    "Technicalities" often involve an individual's rights or important procedures that are in place to ensure proper due process.

    Here's a hypothetical example. The police illegally search a man's home and find the stolen items from a jewelery store - along with the video tape from the security cameras, which he had taken to hide his tracks. Obviou ...[text shortened]... I think *at worst* this is a case negligence and/or recklessness in the heat of battle.
    I'm not so sure. Reading this report and similar ones (like the drunken security guy killing the bodyguard), I don't think it was the heat of battle. Obviously I don't know because I wasn't there but the fact that their testimonies are obviously incriminating and that one of them already confessed I think they would probably have been found guilty if the lawyers had done their job better.

    I have a question for you though, I think you should be able to answer. Why are these guys there in the first place? I understand that they are there to protect US interests but should this not be the responsibility of the military? Is it because the military is understaffed? Or is it because the Blackwater guys are cheaper?
  4. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    09 Jan '10 15:18
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    "Technicalities" often involve an individual's rights or important procedures that are in place to ensure proper due process.

    Here's a hypothetical example. The police illegally search a man's home and find the stolen items from a jewelery store - along with the video tape from the security cameras, which he had taken to hide his tracks. Obviou ...[text shortened]... I think *at worst* this is a case negligence and/or recklessness in the heat of battle.
    There was no "battle"; it was what is called when non-US forces are involved a "massacre". At best, they panicked and acted with depraved indifference to human life which still supports a murder charge under US law.
  5. 09 Jan '10 17:31
    Originally posted by The Snapper
    I'm not so sure. Reading this report and similar ones (like the drunken security guy killing the bodyguard), I don't think it was the heat of battle. Obviously I don't know because I wasn't there but the fact that their testimonies are obviously incriminating and that one of them already confessed I think they would probably have been found guilty if the ...[text shortened]... s it because the military is understaffed? Or is it because the Blackwater guys are cheaper?
    I would have to read up on the case further to form a strong opinion. I am curious why the judge said the government's case was "contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility"

    I don't discount that some people have an utter disregard for human life. But as I said before, what they were alleged to have done would not just be immoral - it would be incredibly stupid. Suiting up in full kit, mounting your vehicles and going outside the wire for the sole purpose of whacking a bunch of civilians would inevitably bring serious heat down.
  6. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    09 Jan '10 17:37 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    I would have to read up on the case further to form a strong opinion. I am curious why the judge said the government's case was "contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility"

    I don't discount that some people have an utter disregard for human life. But as I said before, what they were alleged to have done would not just be immoral - i ...[text shortened]... le purpose of whacking a bunch of civilians would inevitably bring serious heat down.
    You're creating a Strawman; it is not claimed that they went "outside the wire for the sole purpose of whacking a bunch of civilians". It is claimed that they panicked and acted with "depraved indifference to human life" and as a result killed 17 people. These facts are sufficient to support a murder charge.

    I suspect the judge's words were taken out of context; notice that the words "government's case" are not put in quotes indicates that it is the author of the article's opinion that the words used were describing the case itself rather than it's position as to the validity of the statements.
  7. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    10 Jan '10 06:45
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    You're creating a Strawman; it is not claimed that they went "outside the wire for the sole purpose of whacking a bunch of civilians". It is claimed that they panicked and acted with "depraved indifference to human life" and as a result killed 17 people. These facts are sufficient to support a murder charge.

    I suspect the judge's words wer ...[text shortened]... ibing the case itself rather than it's position as to the validity of the statements.
    And they should be tried in Iraq or, second option, in the Hague. There is no role for a US court in the proceeding.

    If the guards "flee justice" to the US and the US refuses to extradite for some reason, then the US is harboring fugitives.
  8. 10 Jan '10 16:35
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    You're creating a Strawman; it is not claimed that they went "outside the wire for the sole purpose of whacking a bunch of civilians". It is claimed that they panicked and acted with "depraved indifference to human life" and as a result killed 17 people. These facts are sufficient to support a murder charge.

    I suspect the judge's words wer ...[text shortened]... ibing the case itself rather than it's position as to the validity of the statements.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2009/12/31/GA2009123102131.html

    "The Justice Department alleges that the guards unleashed an unprovoked attack on Iraqi civilians in Nisoor Square while in a convoy."

    How is what I said any different from an unprovoked attack?

    I don't think the judges words were taken out of context. The article isn't exactly sympathetic to the Blackwater employees. Also:

    http://www.9and10news.com/category/story/?id=195073
    The judge says the Justice Department overstepped its bounds, wrongly used evidence it was not allowed to see and gave contradictory explanations.
  9. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    10 Jan '10 16:47 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2009/12/31/GA2009123102131.html

    "The Justice Department alleges that the guards unleashed an unprovoked attack on Iraqi civilians in Nisoor Square while in a convoy."

    How is what I said any different from an unprovoked attack?

    I don't think the judges words were taken out of context. T used evidence it was not allowed to see and [b]gave contradictory explanations.
    [/quote][/b]
    There's a lot of difference between an "unprovoked attack" and "outside the wire for the sole purpose of whacking a bunch of civilians" or "slaughtered a bunch of civilians for the thrill of it."(your words). Not all "unprovoked attacks" are premediated with their only purpose being to kill indiscriminately. I think you know this and are simply being disingenous.

    Your quote doesn't address my point; the judge is saying that the government acted improperly but that doesn't really address the merits of the case itself. Your assertion that the dismissal implies anything about the actual guilt of the accused is misplaced.

    EDIT: This AP article is a bit clearer: He dismissed the government's explanations as "contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility."

    AND

    Urbina's ruling does not resolve whether the shooting was proper

    http://www.wtnh.com/dpps/news/national/Federal-judge-tosses-Blackwater-case_3167007
  10. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    10 Jan '10 16:59
    From Judge Urbina's ruling:

    The explanations offered by the prosecutors and investigators in an
    attempt to justify their actions and persuade the court that they did not use the defendants’
    compelled testimony were all too often contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility.
    In short, the government has utterly failed to prove that it made no impermissible use of
    the defendants’ statements or that such use was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

    https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2008cr0360-217
  11. 10 Jan '10 17:20
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    There's a lot of difference between an "unprovoked attack" and "outside the wire for the sole purpose of whacking a bunch of civilians" or "slaughtered a bunch of civilians for the thrill of it."(your words). Not all "unprovoked attacks" are premediated with their only purpose being to kill indiscriminately. I think you know this and are simply being dis ...[text shortened]... tp://www.wtnh.com/dpps/news/national/Federal-judge-tosses-Blackwater-case_3167007
    You think I'm being disingenuous? That hurts. I can't tell you how much your opinion means to me. My statement pertained mostly to the OP who asked, "are they murdering scum." To me this implies malicious intend, not somebody who was fired upon and used excessive force.

    Since you seem to be saying they are guilty of unprovoked attacks, what are you suggesting their motivation is?

    I agree with you that the judge saying the government acted improperly isn't significant. But let's just say, hypothetically, in explaining the dismissal he said their case was "contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility"?

    Do you not suppose that merits a little more digging before you declare them guilty of unprovoked attacks on unarmed civilians?
  12. 10 Jan '10 17:24
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    From Judge Urbina's ruling:

    The explanations offered by the prosecutors and investigators in an
    attempt to justify their actions and persuade the court that they did not use the defendants’
    compelled testimony were all too often contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility.
    In short, the government has utterly failed to ...[text shortened]... yond a reasonable doubt.

    https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2008cr0360-217
    OK, I concede the context was very important in this case.

    Still, I would like to read more on the case before I make up my mind about what happened. Does that link contain the transcripts of the defendants' statements?
  13. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    10 Jan '10 17:28
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    You think I'm being disingenuous? That hurts. I can't tell you how much your opinion means to me. My statement pertained mostly to the OP who asked, "are they murdering scum." To me this implies malicious intend, not somebody who was fired upon and used excessive force.

    Since you seem to be saying they are guilty of unprovoked attacks, what are ...[text shortened]... more digging before you declare them guilty of unprovoked attacks on unarmed civilians?
    The Judge didn't say that, so your hypothetical is irrelevant. What he did say is quoted in my last post and is taken from his ruling (which I provided a link to).

    I told you what their "motive" was; fear and incompetence. The evidence against them is quite overwhelming including many statements from witnesses and a lack of bullet casings that could be attributed to fire from insurgents. I'd love to see them standing trial in an Iraqi court which is where their alleged crime was committed.
  14. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    10 Jan '10 17:32
    Originally posted by USArmyParatrooper
    OK, I concede the context was very important in this case.

    Still, I would like to read more on the case before I make up my mind about what happened. Does that link contain the transcripts of the defendants' statements?
    No, but starting on page 5 it gives summaries of the statements. They are, for the most part, exculpatory describing a fire fight. No Iraqi witness that I know of, including Iraqi police and military, supported this version. And no physical evidence of an exchange of fire was found.
  15. 10 Jan '10 17:47 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    No, but starting on page 5 it gives summaries of the statements. They are, for the most part, exculpatory describing a fire fight. No Iraqi witness that I know of, including Iraqi police and military, supported this version. And no physical evidence of an exchange of fire was found.
    I've been reading the court document and I'm far from finished.

    But thus far, the summation of the defendants' statements are far from incriminating.

    I'm not so good with legalese, but I interpret this to mean witness tampering.

    The government’s key witnesses immersed themselves in the defendants’ compelled statements, and the evidence adduced at the Kastigar hearing plainly
    demonstrated that these compelled statements shaped portions of the witnesses’ testimony to the indicting grand jury


    I'm also do not consider a plea bargain as an admission of guilt. I know from a couple of experiences that the judicial system is very good at intimidation. He had a choice between a guaranteed slap on the wrist or a possible 30 years plus in prison. Even an innocent person can be compelled to accept the former.

    I have not, nor am I arguing that they're definitely not guilty. I just need a lot more information before I'm ready to break out my lantern and pitch fork.