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Monday, March 03, 2014

Former Blackwater Security Contractors Seek Dismissal of Case Stemming from Nasoor Square Shooting

As you may recall, back in 2007 there was an incident at Nasoor Square in Baghdad, Iraq in which Blackwater International security contractors fired upon, and killed, individuals in the square when the American convoy was halted...based on the contractors' reported belief that they were under attack by terrorist insurgents.  

The incident fueled an already largely partisan debate about the role of, and limitations upon, private security contractors in the war on terror.  The Nasoor Square incident ultimately led to criminal manslaughter and weapons charges against several of the Blackwater contractors.  Those charges were dismissed by a federal district court judge in 2009.  Charges were resurrected against the Blackwater defendants and they are now apparently seeking dismissal based on whether, or how, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act applies to contractors of the State Department (vs the DoD).  One of the articles appears in the Air Force Times, here:

A lot has been alleged against Blackwater, not only in civil and criminal courts but in the court of public opinion.  Having defended military members accused of improper shootings/killings in Middle East combat, I always try to warn not to pre-judge.  Split second decisions and actions in the heat and fog of an asymmetric war zone are, at best, imperfect.  Even when mistakes happen, and they are bound to happen in any armed conflict (particularly one in which the enemy dresses as, and uses, the civilian populace to disguise and shield themselves), that doesn't mean the intent was criminal. 

After years of US government gag orders, Blackwater International founder, Erik Prince, has written a book called:  

"Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror."  

Before accepting the prevailing public narrative about Blackwater, I encourage you to at least read Erik Prince's book for yourself.

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.

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