Criminal Justice

Were Blackwater Guards Convicted Under a Law That Doesn't Cover Them?

Two issues that the Nisour Square shooters will raise on appeal

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Blackwater Worldwide

Yesterday a federal judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced one former Blackwater Worldwide security guard to life in prison and three others to 30 years each in connection with the 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad. The guard who received the life sentence, Nicholas Slatten, was convicted of murder last October for firing the shots that set off the bloodbath, while the other three—Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard—were convicted of manslaughter for joining the fusillade, which killed 14 unarmed civilians. The defendants maintained that they were responding to hostile fire, but there was no evidence of that aside from their accounts. The jury did not buy it, and neither did U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth. "It is clear these fine young men just panicked," Lamberth said, but "the overall, wild thing that went on here just cannot ever be condoned by a court."

I agree, and the charges seem appropriate given the lack of justification for the guards' actions. The problem is that the defendants, as State Department contractors, do not seem to be covered by the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA), the law under which they were charged. As I explained in a column after they were indicted in 2008, MEJA covers people "employed by or accompanying the Armed Forces outside the United States," including Defense Department contractors. In a 2008 report, the Congressional Research Service said "MEJA does not appear to cover civilian and contract employees of agencies engaged in their own operations overseas." The Congressional Budget Office agreed, stating flatly that "employees of security contractors working for the Department of State would not be subject to MEJA."

The Transparency and Accountability in Security Contracting Act of 2007 would have addressed this gap by extending American criminal law to all government contractors who commit felonies while working in areas where U.S. forces are operating. But that bill did not pass.

In addition to the jurisdictional question, which the defendants are bound to raise again on appeal, there is the issue of the 30-year sentences imposed on Slough, Liberty, and Heard. Those mandatory minimums were triggered by a provision of federal law aimed at people who use machine guns "during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime." The Washington Post reports that "the charge has primarily been aimed at gang members, rarely against police officers accused of misconduct and never before against security contractors given military weapons by the U.S. government."

Counterintuitively, Lamberth sentenced Slough, Liberty, and Heard to time served on the manslaughter and attempted manslaughter counts—the essence of their crimes—but warned that he could extend those sentences if the mandatory minimums are struck down on appeal. It seems strange that the punishment for killing people would be lighter than the punishment for using a particular kind of weapon to do so. But that is just one of the bizarre results produced by the weapon-related sentence enhancements that Congress has prescribed in the name of fighting violent crime, which also can be used to impose the equivalent of a life sentence on people who have never hurt anyone.

Addendum: In case you were wondering why the guards were not charged under Iraqi law, it was because an order by the provisional government created after the U.S. invasion made contractors immune from local prosecution for work-related conduct. That immunity was lifted largely as a result of outrage over the Nasour Square massacre.

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  1. It seems strange that the punishment for killing people would be lighter than the punishment for using a particular kind of weapon to do so.

    This is progressivism in a nutshell.

    1. Progressives don’t favor mandatory minimums, you mindless robot.

      1. Why, oh why do you make such obviously false claims, Tony?

        1. Maybe tony means that Progressives favor firearms-related laws which allow for a wide-latitude of hysteria rather than any strictly-limited sentencing.

          Because it would be wrong to rule out things like “beheading”, or having all of your property seized, or other progressive ideas about the unlimited reach of state justice.

          1. Tony is not wrong in this instance. Progressives have historically pushed for weapons *possession* bans and restrictions. both issues at play here – mandatory minimums and firearm use sentencing bonuses – were very much brought to us by conservatives, law & order dems and police/prison unions. Liberals have a long history of fighting mandatory minimums (as do libertarians).

            1. “Liberals have a long history of fighting mandatory minimums”

              Got a cite?

            2. It took me literally 6 seconds on Google to find a current example of progressives in favor of a manditory minimum. I don’t live in historically, I live in right now, and right now both blue and red progressives, along with sundry other political leaners favor mandatory minimums for their own particular sacred cow laws. That they do not favor them in all cases does not mean squat. I’ll agree that Liberals, if you can still find a real one outside of a nursing home do have a history of opposing mandatory minimums, but liberals are not progressives either.

        2. “Why, oh why do you make such obviously false claims, Tony?”

          Stupid AND dishonest! A twofer!

      2. Dances-with-Trolls|4.14.15 @ 6:23PM|#

        It seems strange that the punishment for killing people would be lighter than the punishment for using a particular kind of weapon to do so.

        This is progressivism in a nutshell.

        *looks for something about mandatory minimums. looks again. concludes that Tony is an idiot.*

        1. If progressives don’t want something to happen, then it’s not their fault when something bad happens as the result of their actions.

          For example, if someone dies during a police confrontation related to selling black market cigarettes, this absolutely is not the progressives’ fault for creating a cigarette black market through high taxes.

          Absolutely not. And you’re a bigot if you say otherwise.

          1. Well, yeah. They never intended it to happen, so it can’t be their fault.

            Laws are magical incantations on parchment, passed with a solemn chant. Create them and they are magically obeyed. No one ever intends for enforcement of some minor law to result in death. People are supposed to just obey.

            1. It’s also totally not their fault that idiotic Medicaid laws in New York are bankrupting northern New York counties and hurling people into poverty.

              Tucker walks through the destruction wrought by two policies in particular. New York spends twice the national average on its Medicaid system, even though cheaper systems, like California’s, work better. Moreover, New York, unlike other states, requires cities and counties to help fund the Medicaid system. So the cost of maintaing a poorly functioning Medicaid system gets partially shunted onto upstaters who can’t afford it.

          2. “If progressives don’t want something to happen, then it’s not their fault when something bad happens as the result of their actions.”

            this is precisely the smug response I’ve gotten when i’ve pointed out that the primary result of the progressive “Green-energy” lobby has been massive handouts to crony solar-energy and Ethanol boondoggles, none of which have produced an iota of ‘carbon emissions reductions’ compared to say, *fracking*, but which drained upwards and above $5billion dollars a year from taxpayers.

            NOT FAIR!! they say. “We wanted good things for the environment! you can’t blame us!” WE HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS = therefore, are blameless when our dumb fucking ideas result in counterproductive disaster.

            Then they will quickly move on to the next issue that they insist must immediately require NEW Legislation and billions in funding, because *justice*.

            1. Then they will quickly move on to the next issue that they insist must immediately require NEW Legislation and billions in funding, because *justice*.

              Riding home today I was listening to ‘Chicago’s Progressive Talk’ because I am a vile masochist.

              The guy on the radio made some claims that made me laugh my ass off. First, he said Republicans are always speaking in abstractions. While true, this is hilarious coming from a noble “FAIRNESS JUSTICE EQUALITY” progressive.

              He then claimed the term free market is an abstraction. But it’s not. A free market is a specific sort of market free of distorting government intervention. There are no currently free markets on the planet, but it’s clearly not an abstraction since it defines a particular means of exchange and trade.

              It’s astonishing how dumb these people are.

              1. “There are no currently free markets on the planet,”

                There are some, but the thugs don’t like it one bit when a kid sells lemonade. You might include ebay, also; trade between two individuals.
                More importantly (according to Conquest, as I recall), the Soviet black market in food kept the Soviet gov’t alive for 10 years more than it would have otherwise.
                That market was distorted in that the risk costs were built in, but other than that, it was about as free as possible. Sorta like the dope market in most of the US.

              2. Ah, but as I always say, it’s not that they’re dumb. (Not all of them, anyway.) It’s that politics is the mindkiller, and if one is not careful, it can override common sense and lead one to make tortured arguments for absurd things.

            2. WE HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS = therefore, are blameless when our dumb fucking ideas result in counterproductive disaster

              Because it’s ALL social signaling. All of it. Agitation for the latest dumbfuck idea that will have terrible results gets them their social signaling. Why would or should they give a fuck about the results? They don’t even care about the cause itself, they just care about how other people think about them if they appear to care about it.

              When you realize that this is all just staggering, abject narcissism, it makes a whole lot more sense why they seem to not give the slightest fuck what actually happens.

  2. I find it nearly impossible to believe, in our present legal climate, that there is not some law that they could be charged under. The mind boggles at the thought. That said, why haven’t they been turned over to the Iraqis., whom I assume would like a crack at them?

    1. “why haven’t they been turned over to the Iraqis.”

      Because the State dept had secured immunity for its personnel serving in Iraq beforehand? Are you just catching up to the story now?

      This case was already thrown out by one federal judge, then re-opened on appeal by the Obama DoJ. I’m guessing (as noted here) that it will get thrown out again because these PMCs were operating under conditions that pretty much put them in a legal black hole.

      1. I didn’t keep up with the particulars, no. Just remember when it happened.

      2. “[…]then re-opened on appeal by the Obama DoJ.”

        Hey, if Obo doesn’t like a law or a certain outcome, he’ll just make a royal pronouncement and change things!

        1. Yes, what a bastard for holding government employees responsible for massacring civilians.

          1. jay_dubya|4.14.15 @ 9:41PM|#
            “Yes, what a bastard for holding government employees responsible for massacring civilians.”

            Yes, especially if you have to try them under a law that doesn’t apply. Just try them anyhow!
            Did you miss a reading class somewhere?

    2. Maybe because it would be unethical to send US citizens to a place where their due process rights will not be respected?

      1. Then don’t send them to college.

      2. “Maybe because it would be unethical to send US citizens to a place where their due process rights will not be respected?”

        Like a war zone? Or is due process always observed between combatants?

        1. Irrelevant. See Ted S. above for ‘how to make an awesome comment’.

          1. Cytotoxic|4.14.15 @ 11:37PM|#
            “Irrelevant”

            So you didn’t cum yet?

  3. “MEJA does not appear to cover civilian and contract employees of agencies engaged in their own operations overseas.”

    That’s fine. Send them back to Iraq and they can be tried and sentenced there.

    1. Extraordinary rendition is acceptable now?

      1. Apparently.

      2. ‘Extraordinary rendition’ is when you snatch someone and send them to a country that will torture them for you.

        *Extradition* is when you send someone who’s committed a crime in another state back to that state for a trial.

        1. But they didn’t commit a crime under Iraqi law, so you’re talking about extraordinary rendition.

          1. No – they were *immunized from prosecution* for breaking Iraqi laws.

            Very different thing.

            1. thank you, Agammamon, for being one of the few hear speaking any sense atm. murder remains a crime regardless of the extrajudicial concordat of an occupying military force.

              1. jay_dubya|4.14.15 @ 9:44PM|#
                “murder remains a crime regardless of the extrajudicial concordat of an occupying military force.”

                Even if you have to make up a new meaning of a law to try them, right?

            2. No, it isn’t a very different thing — not when your sole justification for shipping them to Iraq is so they can be “tried and sentenced there”. The Constitution forbids ex post facto law.

              Look, we all get it. You want heads to roll. But notwithstanding Obama’s love for making up the law as he goes along, you have no legal grounds for shipping these guys to Iraq.

              1. Ok – these guys had what was basically diplomatic immunity through an agreement between the US and whatever their was of the Iraqi government all the time.

                Diplomatic immunity is *not* irrevocable. Countries can and do choose to not exercise it whenever one of their agents is caught doing something heinous.

                Its not an ‘ex-post facto law’ – they broke the law that was in place in Iraq at the time. We had an agreement to immunize our agents from the consequences of breaking the law in Iraq (and, quite possibly, failed to close the loop and left them not accountable under *any* legal system).

                They broke Iraqi law. The US could have (and did) assert immunity for them, but the US could have always not done so or chose to revoke that immunity once further details of the case were exposed.

                Its not ex-post facto, nor would it be extra-ordinary rendition.

                Call its a bad policy – sure. I’m all for SOFA’s when done right. But its neither of the above.

                1. “but the US could have always not done so or chose to revoke that immunity once further details of the case were exposed.”

                  Or, as Cis-Gendered Shitlord asserts below, “the US” (whoever that might be) could have chosen otherwise for valid reason.
                  I don’t know the facts, and neither does anyone commenting here, but generally I prefer the rule of law, and if that means letting some guilty to go free to avoid false punishment, I’ll take it.
                  It seems there is doubt here (at least to me) and ginning up some law by which to prosecute the guys sounds a bit ‘royal’ to me, to say the least.

  4. Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard

    Wow, it’s a surprise one of them wasn’t named ‘Rambo FoxNews’.

    1. If he were from the French Foreign Legion, he’d be named Rambu? Faux la informations.

        1. My friend Vincent told me that a quarter-pounder with cheese is called a royale with cheese in France.

          1. So what do they call a Whopper?

            1. He didn’t go to Burger King.

            2. “Hugh’s Mom”

              1. You know Epi, I really admire your dedication to throwing that joke out there in literally every circumstance without regard to whether it makes a lick of sense.

                You’re like infinite typewriters helmed by infinite monkeys with infinite extra chromosomes.

                1. You’re like infinite typewriters helmed by infinite monkeys with infinite extra chromosomes.

                  Well, so long as he’s got infinite Hugh’s moms I’m sure he’s okay with this.

                  1. I’m getting the sense that Hugh thinks I should do more mom jokes. I mean, I thought enough was enough, but if Hugh thinks so…

            3. Hugh Akston|4.14.15 @ 7:56PM|#
              “So what do they call a Whopper?”

              Watch your mouth!

      1. Actually, it would be “Rambu? LesNouvellesFaux”

        1. Ahem, “Rambu? LesNouvellesFausses”.

          I hate gendered languages. Fuck’ em with a stick.

    2. Bradley Hitler-Smith?

        1. *Silence, scattered applause*

  5. The defendants maintained that they were responding to hostile fire, but there was no evidence of that aside from their accounts.

    I suppose this was an affirmative defense (self-defense), so the burden was on the defendants, but what other evidence was available or presented to the court to refute this claim? I’m just curious how evidence collection or criminal investigation happened in Iraq.

    Its appalling that Lamberth applied a law that seems pretty obvious on its face not to apply. They were immunized under Iraqi law (which I think is probably the right thing, given the, what’s the phrase? totality of the circs at the time), but that should have been paired with a clear statement of what law they were subject to. It might just be possible that no law applied to them, if the Bush admin managed to fuck things up that thoroughly.

    1. It’s not a fuck up. It’s a feature of using them.

    2. I too blame Bush.

    3. Cheney said we would be greeted with flowers.

      1. Palin’s Buttplug|4.14.15 @ 8:04PM|#
        “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!”

      2. We were greeted with exploding flowers.

  6. Mercs are still a great idea and their use in Iraq brought about a lot of good. There just needs to be contingencies for this situation.

    1. Really? I guess I missed all that “good” when I was there – I guess you saw different?

      Common poster in security rooms in MNSTC-I

      http://callofduty.wikia.com/wi…..kwater.jpg

      1. Swiss Servator…burn B??gg!|4.14.15 @ 8:09PM|#
        “Really? I guess I missed all that “good” when I was there – I guess you saw different?”

        If (someone elses’) blood is being spilled, Cytotoxic is drooling!

      2. I had always wondered if those Blackwater guys were a bunch of wannabe douches. Serious question, why didn’t they go into law enforcement? I’m sure we are all the safer for it, but it seemed an eventuality.

        1. Because they got the skills to pay the bills.

          Make $45 grand in some podunk sheriff’s department or $80k base pay, plus travel, per diem, and danger pay?

          Most are former soldiers so they have a skillset that the typical cop applicant doesn’t have.

          1. I also understand there’s a tax-free zone?

            1. For *soldiers*, not private contractors.

        2. Say what you will, but I don’t think “wannabe” is probably an accurate description. As Agammamon said above, most are former soldiers, and it’s my understanding that a number are former special forces.

          The question is, do they become cops when they come home because a regular job doesn’t have enough “action”?

      3. I had a Ugandan mercenary stick a loaded AK in my face for not wearing a PT belt to the DFAC.

        I never really understood the point from the government’s point of view. I mean, the Ugandans probably came cheap given most of them probably couldn’t read the ID’s they were checking, but I wonder if any money is actually saved by using the likes of Blackwater.

        1. Money being saved – sort of.

          The thing is, the money for mercs comes from a different pot than the money for manning.

          Its easier to hire mercs – even though each one is paid waaay more than an equivalent soldier than it is to get manning limits lifted and money appropriated for that.

        2. lol

          “money”…..”saved”….. wheeze… gasp…. lol….

          i think in the “cost-benefit” analysis, we could have just bombed iraq with bags of money, and still come out ahead.

        3. Aegis or Triple Canopy?

          I seem to remember some West Africans from Triple Canopy in Baghdad….and Aegis was around An-Nasariyah.

          1. I couldn’t tell you the name of the contractor. It was in Speicher.

            The thing is, the money for mercs comes from a different pot than the money for manning.

            My thought was a lot of them are being hired as ex-soldiers. Guys who could have been retained in the first place. I don’t think costs were the real reason they were used, but just my view.

            1. Where the money comes from is *very* important in government accounting.

              If you could have a billion dollars marked for building maintenance and no matter how short you were on manpower you couldn’t spend a single cent on personnel.

    1. I actually saw ‘Breaker Morant’ in the theater when it came out, shows how boring it was to be 19 that summer.

      Thus whenever I”ve seen Edward Woodward in something else, I’d think, ‘there’s the Breaker Morant guy.’

      Now this weekend, thanks to Comcast giving away all the on-demand premium channels for free, I saw the original 1970s ‘Wicker Man’ for the first time ever. Now he will be the “Wicker Man’ guy.

      Pretty cool flick. I’m impressed his character could withstand Britt Ekland writhing naked against the wall, singing an invitation for him to come and fuck her. And, had he done so, he would have lived in the end!

      Moral: never pass up a hot chick begging you for sex, or you might be burned alive.

      Other question — did the idea for Burning Man come from this movie?

      1. I saw ‘The Wicker Man’ back in the 70s. It is fantastic. But I am also a fan of The Golden Bough,

      2. This is the first you’ve seen the 1973 Wicker Man? Christopher Lee, who played Lord Summerisle, called it “the Citizen Kane of horror movies”. It’s really an amazing example of how atmosphere and story can be eerie as hell.

        Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you watch the Neil LaBute remake with Nicolas Cage. But there are hilarious compilations of its awfulness on YouTube.

        1. Fully agree (much to the chagrin of Episplotch). The remake made me want to shoot anyone associated with that disaster.

          1. I disagree with both PB and Episplotch, Nic Cage was not a fan of the bees, and he has an Oscar, so he knows what he is doing.

          2. I disagree with both PB and Episplotch, Nic Cage was not a fan of the bees, and he has an Oscar, so he knows what he is doing.

            1. I really took umbrage.

        2. Britt Ekland dancing naked.

          I’ll be in my bunk.

    2. Several times. I like that movie.

  7. Good evening Peanuts!

    Sorry – I’ve been busy lately. I’ll make it up to you!

  8. Fucking asshole cops broke one the Atlanta Hawk’s best players leg with a baton when he was 100 feet away from a stabbing incident at a NY nightclub.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_…..ing-injury

    1. Cop whacks black guy. And he’s in the NBA.

      Their sphincters will take days to unclench.

      1. A Swiss black guy, not even a real black guy!

  9. “It is clear these fine young men just panicked,” Lamberth said, but “the overall, wild thing that went on here just cannot ever be condoned by a court.”

    I long for the day that is spoken in the trial of cops too!

  10. OT: Jack Dunphy explains:

    Why Slager isn’t a killer.

    1. A more likely explanation for the shooting is that Slager was unprepared ? mentally or physically ? for an encounter with a resisting individual. When that encounter came, he panicked and fired out of mistaken but not altogether unreasonable fear that he would be harmed if he did not. And then he panicked further and compounded his mistake by handling and moving evidence that might have bolstered whatever slim claim to justification he might have had.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA

      No way.

      1. These are the only group of fucks capable of carrying enough water for elephants.

      2. Was Dunphy watching a different video that we saw? You know, the one where the guy was fifteen yards away with his back turned, attempting to flee the scene? Because Dunphy describes it as though Slager shot him while in mid-struggle.

    2. A more likely explanation for the shooting is that Slager was unprepared ? mentally or physically ? for an encounter with a resisting individual. When that encounter came, he panicked and fired out of mistaken but not altogether unreasonable fear that he would be harmed if he did not. And then he panicked further and compounded his mistake by handling and moving evidence that might have bolstered whatever slim claim to justification he might have had.

      Read more: http://pjmedia.com/blog/walter…..z3XKhGZFTi

      Someone at reason told me he killed Scott because he’s a malicious bastard incompetent. Dunphy says he was unprepared and panicked. Wow, am I relieved.

      1. “A more likely explanation for the shooting is that Slager was unprepared ? mentally or physically ? for an encounter with a resisting individual. When that encounter came, he panicked and fired out of mistaken but not altogether unreasonable fear that he would be harmed if he did not”

        I’m pretty sure the phrase “grasping at straws” was invented specifically for this claim.

    3. The comments on that article gave me cancer.

  11. If Blackwater’s going to prison, does that mean that the Mississippi moon won’t keep on shinin’ on me?

    1. -1 Doobie

      it is only acceptable to cite Michael McDonald-written Doobie Brothers songs. All others are heresy.

      1. NO.

        “Long Train Runnin'” (or “Long Train Running”) is a song recorded by The Doobie Brothers and written by band member Tom Johnston. It was included on the band’s 1973 album The Captain and Me and released as a single, becoming a top 10 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 8.,/I

        Wikipedia.

        1. You are simply proving my point. Your endorsement is like giving something dick cancer.

          1. It is What a Fool Believes.

            1. + 2 Double-Doobie Bonus

              Minute by Minute, he is increasingly wrong

              1. Yah-Mo be There. (ducks and covers)

                  1. Jesus, this thread is Alright with me.

                  2. Someone is in the mood for some yacht rock.

                    1. Ha! I have a friend who plays in a Yacht Rock cover band. They’re in amazing demand in the Bay Area. I didn’t realize the concept of Yacht Rock was well known, I’m still not sure I know exactly what it is.

          2. Michael McDonald out his sound on them of course – if you like bland faggy music. The early Doobs were the only Doobs.

            Shame on you Gilmore.

            1. I bet you’re a big fan of George Clooney’s “Batman”, too.

              1. Another Park Another Sunday.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udSHItTjWyQ

                I bet you like Ted Nugent too.

                (he sucks)

              2. I bet you’re a big fan of George Clooney’s

                Better than a Rock Hudson conservative.

    2. Holy shit I hated that song. And I liked the Doobie Bros. Long Train Runnin’ is a classic.

  12. Counterintuitively, Lamberth sentenced Slough, Liberty, and Heard to time served on the manslaughter and attempted manslaughter counts?the essence of their crimes?but warned that he could extend those sentences if the mandatory minimums are struck down on appeal. It seems strange that the punishment for killing people would be lighter than the punishment for using a particular kind of weapon to do so.

    That’s not the only thing that’s strange or counterintuitive. How could striking down a minimum result in an increase??

  13. OT: Son of British politician arrested in Turkey for trying to join ISIS.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.in/briti…..ria-629212

    The British really are fooked (as my Scottish grandfather would say).

    1. So all that Muslim immigration turns out to be a bit problematic, eh? Who could ever have guessed?

  14. I was a Blackwater contractor. I spent almost 4 years in Iraq protecting State Department diplomats. I wasn’t in Nisour Square when this incident happened, but I was out on a run during this. I remember hearing that Raven 23 was taking fire over the radio that day. Our team beat feet back to the Green Zone in case there was a following attack.

    There were bullet pockmarks on several of the vehicles and clear radio transmission logs indicating the team was taking fire. Other team members I talked to recalled Iraqis running out into the street and collecting spent AK47 casings from the weapons the Iraqi Police (or guys who were dressed like them) fired at them. This evidence was suppressed by the prosecution. The photos of the pockmarks on the armored vehicles was explained by the prosecutor as “the result of firing a 240G close to the vehicle.” What bullshit.

    Raven 23 was responding since there was a VBIED in close vicinity to one of our teams. They wanted to secure an exit route in the event there was a following attack.

    Like I said, I wasn’t there, but after talking to the folks on the team, it sounds like these guys got railroaded for political expediency.

    1. Why didn’t the Bushpigs pardon them?

      1. You can’t pardon people who aren’t convicted of anything, shithead

        1. What was Nixon convicted of, oh great tampon of inferior Doobie Music?

          1. Interesting point, but at best the exception rather than the rule

            “In 1866, the Supreme Court ruled in Ex parte Garland that the pardon power “extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment.” (In that case, a former Confederate senator successfully petitioned the court to uphold a pardon that prevented him from being disbarred.) Generally speaking, once an act has been committed, the president can issue a pardon at any time?regardless of whether charges have even been filed.”

            That said = a political figure being pardoned pre-trial for what was going to amount to the crime of “Perjury” doesn’t compare well to “people accused of mass murder”

            more specifically, it doesn’t make your suggestion any less idiotic.

            1. It’s not unusual to grant amnesty to combatants. Usually it’s a larger scale thing.

      2. Why would he?

    2. I guess there are technical details here that could be explored further.

      Were there unarmed civilians who were killed? I get that when you’re in a war zone full of enemy combatants, that everyone shooting at you is a potential unarmed civilian.

      I don’t have much problem believing the Blackwater contractors initially believed they were under fire, but I also don’t have much problem believing that once they started firing, they didn’t show any proper restraint.

      1. There were unarmed civilians that were killed, but there was really no way to prove who shot whom. I know Slough in his address to the court noted that the 9 year old was shot with a black-tipped round, a round that he did not carry and was never issued.

        I don’t doubt the possibility that a lack of restraint could have happened here, but in my experience most of the guys there were professionals and experienced combat vets, not nervous 19 year olds with guns.
        I don’t know, though. The case sounds fishy. Some Iraqi witnesses who testified on behalf of the defendants changed their story later in the trial. There were all kinds of issues with the preservation of evidence once the Iraqi police had hold of it and there were multiple accounts of evidence tampering at the scene. The Iraqi militants were always good at playing the propaganda game.

        1. You know, buttplug that’s a good point. The prosecution has stated that they wanted to wait until BHO was in office so that the DoJ would be more compliant with the case.

        2. I got a question on your comment about suppressed evidence of the casings.
          How was it “suppressed”? Did the defense try to introduce it and it was disallowed? Was it agree prior to trial that it was inadmissible?

          1. Shit, Sevo, I may have overstated that. The only thing I could find was a blog written from guys who attended the trial stating that the prosecution “bitterly fought defense efforts” to include the logs in the trial. Unfortunately they didn’t provide a link. I might have been to hasty to conclude that the logs were disallowed into evidence. My apologies.

            A copy of the log and a short description of the events are found here at the bottom of the page.

            1. I was reading a lot of stuff posted by my former colleagues on Facebook, so I had a lot of stuff swimming through my head. Sorry for the bad info. The supportraven23.com has some good reading material about the incident and the trial, and has several pages of court documents.

              1. If anyone was guilty of anything that day, it was this guy– who decided to turn State’s witness for leniency:

  15. I think Cab Calloway is far more libertarian than Rush.

    Here’s the proof:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPkPyVYp6ik
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mq4UT4VnbE

  16. http://thepeoplescube.com/peop…..16180.html

    If you don’t read the People’s Cube, you should.

  17. So, any US contractor who shoplifts while carrying a government-issued weapon gets 30 year in prison?

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