Blackwater III- did the Government skew the evidence?
Keep in mind that NO AUTOPSIES were done on any of the alleged victims. No forensic evidence was processed from even one of the people who reportedly were “massacred.” No ballistics, no corroborative testimony, just the word of Iraqis who said their relatives were killed. At least one of the “victims” was reportedly several miles away from Nisur Square at the time of the incident. Some of their stories almost gave the Blackwater team super powers.
Yet the FBI – part of Eric Holder’s Department of Justice — took the word of the Iraqis without question.
Cars- Defense was denied access
The FBI purchased –yes with taxpayer money- all the cars that were allegedly involved in the incident. This created an obvious problem: buying up evidence in a country with little money is a no-brainer. People would run to come forward with their cars just to get the money. Over the years, more and more “damaged vehicles” showed up for “evidence.”
All in all, Iraqi witnesses made numerous claims about nearly 30 vehicles – overturned cars, people killed when they tried to exit their cars and took off running. Lots of claims made about cars. Yet the DOJ opposed the defense’s Constitutional right to have the cars (evidence) produced for their own inspection.
But look back at the picture — where are all these 30 cars? If this was a massacre, where are all the bodies? Why do the people appear to be nonchalantly walking around without any frenzied running? With 14 people dead in the street, people should have been tripping over bodies. If there were 18 people injured, where are they?
Unsecured “crime scene”
The ‘crime scene’ was not secured. Iraqis wandered through the area, picking up shell casings and gawking at the burned out hulk of the Kia. Groups of Iraqi soldiers stood around talking in the exact spot where some of the incoming fire from insurgents originated. The Iraqis claimed to have recovered “pillowcases” full of evidence, but no bags of evidence were brought to the trial.
The Iraqi witnesses and their coach
According to the Iraqis and the US government, there was no incoming fire on the convoy. It was their contention that the incoming fire from “insurgents” was a figment of the Blackwater team’s imagination – no threats, no danger. The Iraqis claimed that the Blackwater team opened fire on them, killing indiscriminately. Some Iraqis claimed that the some of the victims were shot in the back – which is highly unlikely. There were many odd testimonies- the following are only a sampling:
One witness alleged that a bullet from Raven 23 traveled a long distance southward to the checkpoint not visible from Nisur Square, killing a man named Mushtaq Karim. The only person to fire in that direction was Jeremy Ridgeway. He also testified that helicopters rained down bullets from above. Blackwater Air personnel fired no rounds whatsoever- but they DID provide an eyewitness account of men dropping weapons and Iraqi police uniforms behind embankments… testimony which was virtually ignored.
Witness Tampering- Iraqi Colonel Faris, who arrived just minutes after the incident, is an official from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, and the Iraqi Chief of Police (lead investigator), carrying a lot of clout. He was on scene immediately after the incident. Despite being brought to the US to testify at taxpayer expense during the trial, the prosecution never called him as a witness. Iraqi witnesses testified that Faris coordinated their interviews.
After a convoluted testimony, one witness made it clear that Colonel Faris claimed to hold sway over the actions of the Iraqis.
Some of the Iraqi witnesses confessed that statements written by policemen were given to them to sign. One witness testified that it was ok for him to lie when it is “justified” (of course it is- remember “taqiyya”- the Islamic practice of lying.).
Iraqi TV carried a commercial sponsored by the Iraqi Police that was looking for victims, and witnesses of the incident:[From the Support Raven 23 website]
A man “claimed his 9-year old son was killed during the incident. This witness, who now lives in the United States, initially claimed that “soldiers” in “uniform” had killed his son, and said as much in the boy’s obituary. But when Blackwater was identified as being involved in the incident, this witness became something of a “poster boy” (sadly, because of the death of his son under some tragic condition). This part of the story is extremely odd, because Iraqis knew the difference between soldiers and contractors, and they also knew that claims were to be made through the US Embassy. One must ask, why would this man wait until he saw a television commercial before making a claim?”
Witness Jassim Hisham, claimed that he was shot in the head, causing serious memory loss and wasn’t able to remember things. But when asked what he remembered from that day, he was very vivid in his answers, down to the details about changing his clothes out of his police uniform. Was he coached?
Then he testified that he really didn’t see anything because he was taking cover behind a concrete abutment. ?
Remember – testimony from truck 4’s witnesses said that men dressed as policemen were shooting at the convoy, and Blackwater Air personnel testified to seeing the clothing change.
Ballistics and burns
Not only did the Iraqis not turn over evidence they supposedly collected, but of all the alleged “bullet” fragments collected by the FBI, NOT ONE SINGLE bullet fragment matched ANY Raven 23 weapon. In addition, the DOJ instructed the FBI NOT to test ballistic evidence from enemy rounds collected at the scene.
This photo shows damage to the command vehicle.
Multiple witnesses testified that damage to the Command vehicle was caused by small arms fire. But the government did everything in their power to confuse that evidence by insisting grenade “blow back” fragments were the cause. When things didn’t go their way, they resorted to sarcastic remarks.
Attempts to discredit their own witnesses
Example: One member of the Blackwater team, Eddy Randall, experienced the derision of the prosecution after it was revealed that his testimony did not match what the prosecution hoped.
Eddy was the driver of vehicle #4 that contained Dustin Heard and Jeremy Ridgeway, truck commander Tommy Vargas, and ‘fire team’ member Dean Wagler. Eddy was asked by the prosecution if he could see the impacts to the truck ahead of them, which he did confirm. It was the government’s contention that there was no incoming, and that the holes in truck# 3 were fragments or grenade “blowback.”
Basically the prosecution alleged that the Blackwater team shot themselves.
Eddy was only one of numerous witnesses who stated that the damages to the truck were bullet strikes. The government, however, put on an “expert” witness who conducted a “test” of what blowback from a grenade might look like. Problem: Mr. Randall testified that the strikes on the truck came AFTER he heard the grenade explosions go off, not during.
The prosecution sarcastically asked him if he saw a bullet fly through the air, and during rebuttal called him “Superman Randall” who could “tell the difference between a bullet and fragments.” Mr. Randall ONLY testified to seeing the impacts on the truck – the prosecution attempted to discredit their own witness, and used sarcasm to do it.
Note: the prosecution’s “expert” witness was nowhere near as experienced in firearms or grenades as the Blackwater team.
Wait for Part IV- the prosecution’s malicious scheme