While there has been an ongoing push to get President Trump to pardon traitors like Snowden, instead the first set of pardons includes the heroes and patriots of Raven 23, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten, and Paul Slough, who have been through a lot.
The four decorated military veterans had been protecting a State Department official when they came under attack in Baghdad. They defended themselves and were hung out to dry. While the attack happened under the Bush administration, the Obama administration decided to make an example of them. And in of the lowest points of a very low man, Biden promised the Iranian puppets in Baghdad that the men would be lynched. And the Obama administration delivered.
ice President Joe Biden today expressed personal regret over the 2007 shooting in which Blackwater guards working for the U.S. government in Baghdad, shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians, and he said the United States would appeal a recent court decision to dismiss the charges against the men implicated in the killings.
On Sept. 16, 2007, Blackwater guards who were protecting a motorcade of U.S. embassy officials in Baghdad, opened fire in Nisour Square.
Iraqi government officials claim the Blackwater guards were shooting indiscriminately at civilians. Blackwater contends that the guards were fired on first and were acting in self-defense and to protect their State Department charges.
Speaking in Baghdad today, Biden said that was unacceptable.
“A dismissal, I want to make clear, is not an acquittal and today I’m announcing that the U.S. will appeal this decision,” he said.
Advocates for the four men rebranded them as the Biden Four and that probably helped secure them pardons as a rebuke to the corrupt legacy of Joe Biden.
That and the DOJ’s determination to keep going after them even during the Trump administration.
On December 31, 2009, United States District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed the government’s initial case against Slough, Heard, Liberty, and Slatten — citing the government’s comprehensive, unconstitutional use of compelled statements against the defendants. The Iraqi government was outraged. Our system of independent courts and constitutional protections was alien to Iraq, and many Iraqis presumed that the dismissal was ordered from on high. There is extensive record of internal State Department correspondence about Iraqi demands that the Department of Justice appeal the dismissal.
The DOJ did appeal, and the D.C. Circuit reversed; the government brought a new case presumably free of the unconstitutional taint of its first effort, and in 2014 it secured a conviction — Slough, Heard, and Liberty were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter, and using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence — with the steep sentence due to federal weapons charges. Essentially the jury found the men guilty of a crime for using the precise weapons they were required to carry as part of their diplomatic protective mission.
Slatten was found guilty of first-degree murder for allegedly shooting the driver of the white Kia in cold blood, but the trial court did not permit the jury to hear evidence that another person, Slough, had repeatedly confessed to firing the fatal shots. So while the prosecution was able to introduce evidence that Slatten supposedly hated Iraqis and wanted “payback for 9/11,” the defense was not able to introduce evidence that Slough said he fired first.
In 2017, the D.C. Circuit weighed in again. It reversed Slatten’s conviction and remanded his case for a new trial, holding that the jury should have heard Slough’s admission that he fired the first shots. The court also found that the 30-year sentences against Slough, Heard, and Liberty were “grossly disproportionate to their culpability for using government-issued weapons in a war zone” and therefore violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
So the case against Slatten went back down again to the trial court, and in the summer of 2018, the DOJ tried again to convict Slatten. The jury could not reach a verdict. So, in October, the government tried Slatten for a third time. In December a federal jury found him guilty.
These men were hung out to dry to appease our enemies. President Trump reverses Biden’s appeasement and the persecution of patriots who fought for their lives in a war zone.