News / USA

US Lawyers for Blackwater Guards: 2007 Baghdad Shooting was Self-Defense

FILE - An Iraqi traffic policeman inspecting a car destroyed by a Blackwater security detail in al-Nisoor Square in Baghdad, Iraq, Sept. 25, 2007.
FILE - An Iraqi traffic policeman inspecting a car destroyed by a Blackwater security detail in al-Nisoor Square in Baghdad, Iraq, Sept. 25, 2007.
Reuters
Blackwater security guards faced gunfire from multiple directions and acted in self-defense when they shot into a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007, their lawyers told a jury on Wednesday in a case over the killing of 14 unarmed people during the Iraq war.
 
The guards, who were securing a route for a U.S. State Department convoy, made split-second decisions to defend themselves and their team and should not be second guessed years later, even if civilians were killed, two lawyers said.
 
"They did their jobs," said Brian Heberlig, a lawyer for one of the guards, Paul Slough, said. "These men committed no crimes."
 
The trial of the four men formerly with Blackwater unit Raven 23 over the shooting in Nisur Square comes as rebels in Iraq have engaged in a lightning advance to seize main cities across the north of the country.
 
U.S. prosecutors say that the Blackwater guards did not face hostile gunfire and recklessly opened fire and continued shooting even though they did not face any threats. The killings sparked international outrage.
 
Former Blackwater Worldwide guard Evan Liberty, right, arrives at federal in Washington, June 11, 2014.Former Blackwater Worldwide guard Evan Liberty, right, arrives at federal in Washington, June 11, 2014.
x
Former Blackwater Worldwide guard Evan Liberty, right, arrives at federal in Washington, June 11, 2014.
Former Blackwater Worldwide guard Evan Liberty, right, arrives at federal in Washington, June 11, 2014.

Slough, Dustin Heard and Evan Liberty are charged with manslaughter over some of the deaths, attempt to commit manslaughter and a firearms offense that carries a mandatory 30-year sentence.
 
A fourth guard, Nicholas Slatten, is charged with murdering the driver of a white Kia, Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubia'y. That car's movement toward the Blackwater convoy prompted the guards to open fire in the belief it could be a car bomb, one of the lawyers said.
 
A federal prosecutor on Tuesday painted a very different picture of Slatten firing the first shots at the Kia and of the car only inching forward after the driver had been hit because he could not keep his foot on the brake pedal.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Patrick Martin at the time told jurors that the majority of the other members of the Blackwater unit would testify that they did not see any threats at Nisur Square. Their testimony is expected later this summer during what is expected to be a four-month-long trial.
 
On Wednesday a lawyer for Heard, David Schertler, told the jury the opposite, that the court would instead hear "overwhelming evidence" of incoming fire.
 
Logs of real-time reports from the incident, which lasted less than half an hour, showed the guards believed they were under attack, Schertler said.
 
A report from 12:12 pm, for example, one minute after the convoy locked down the square, warned of multiple insurgents and small arms fire, according to logs that he showed the jury.
 
The guards are charged under a U.S. law that covers contractors who support Defense Department missions. Since the Blackwater unit was working for the State Department, the jury will also decide whether the law applies to them.
 
Blackwater Worldwide is now known as Academi and is based in McLean, Virginia.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid