A federal judge has denied a motion for retrial by four former Blackwater guards previously found guilty of provoking a gunfight that killed 14 Iraqis in Baghdad.
The four men claimed they should be granted a new trial because they believe one of the witnesses lied in court. Courthouse News reported that on November 10, Judge Royce Lamberth denied the motion, declaring the government did not need to retry the guards because the witnesses’ testimony was not essential to the conviction.
Sarhan Deab Abdull Monem, a traffic policeman who was present at the shooting, changed his story following his testimony, but Judge Lamberth said the new admission “would offer little chance of an acquittal at a new trial.”
On September 16, 2007, Blackwater contractors fired automatic weapons, sniper rifles, and grenade launchers at a public square following an explosion. The shooting caused 14 deaths and injured 17 other individuals. According to internal State Department memos released by investigative journalist James Risen, government officials said, “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law” and created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”
In October 2014, the contractors were found guilty of the deaths of fourteen Iraqi citizens, with a fifth contractor pleading guilty before trial. The jury found the shooting was unprovoked, and U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced three of the men to 30 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter. A fourth man, the sniper who fired the first shot, received a life sentence for murder.
Blackwater, now known as Academi, claims to have 20,000 soldiers worldwide, with at least 100,000 private military contractors doing business with the U.S. government’s Department of Defense. The violence caused by these men is yet another example of the failure of the global War on Terror.
Thankfully, in the case of these four men and the 14 people they murdered, there will be some justice. Unfortunately, until the people are willing to make monumental changes and begin resisting taxes levied by the American empire, there is very little opportunity to build a world without domination and oppression.
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