This Admission by the Government will Blow your Mind

The Government Acknowledged Before Trial that Raven 23 Took Incoming Fire & the White Kia Might Have Been a Reasonably-Perceived Threat

 Physical damage to command vehicle -

Physical damage to command vehicle -

A trial is supposed to be a search for the truth.  The Raven 23 website exposes many examples of how the prosecutors in the Raven 23 case took steps to hide the truth of what happened in Nisur Square from the jury--for example, by suppressing exculpatory evidence and presenting perjured testimony.  The DOJ took these improper actions--and others--in an attempt to convince the jury that Raven 23 did not take incoming fire and that the white Kia was not a reasonably-perceived threat.  However, the government itself acknowledged BOTH of these critical facts prior to the Raven 23 trial. 

In the days following the Nisur Square incident, the Department of State began its investigation and issued a preliminary report before the FBI arrived in Baghdad and took over the investigation.  This report included the finding that Raven 23 took incoming fire "from armed gunmen, including Iraqi police, from at least five locations in the vicinity of the Nisur Square Traffic Circle."  Though the preliminary report also concluded that additional investigation was needed to corroborate the speed at which the white Kia approached the convoy and that it was "likely" the Iraqis had fired on the convoy in response to "four Team 23 turret gunners" firing on the vehicle because "they perceived [it] as a lethal threat to their lives," the important fact remains that--within just days of the incident--the government found that Raven 23, in fact, took incoming fire.  In support of its finding that Raven 23 "was in fact fired upon at the traffic circle," the Department of State referenced "bullet strikes" to both the command and follow vehicles, AK-47 shell casings recovered in areas from which members of Raven 23 had reported receiving incoming fire, claims of hearing AK-47 fire by two witnesses (one American, one Kurdish) unaffiliated with Blackwater, among other things.  Despite the Department of State's finding that Raven 23 was fired upon, the DOJ told the jury at trial that Raven 23 did not take any incoming fire, for any reason, period.

Similarly, within two months of the Nisur Square incident, David Johnston and John M. Broder co-authored an article for The New York Times, which discussed at length findings from the FBI's investigation of the Nisur Square incident.  Critically, the authors disclosed that the FBI had not included the Kia's driver or passenger among those it found were killed in Nisur Square without cause.  Instead, the authors wrote that the FBI concluded "Blackwater guards might have perceived a threat when they opened fire on a white Kia sedan that moved toward Nisour Square after traffic had been stopped."  Consistent with the FBI's reported conclusion that Raven 23's actions in engaging the Kia's occupants "may have been justified under rules that allow lethal force to be used in response to an imminent threat," at trial, eight members of Raven 23--not counting the defendants--testified that the white Kia was a threat or could reasonably have been perceived as a threat.  The DOJ, however, failed to provide the FBI's report to the defense, denied it ever existed, and used the perjured testimony of Iraqi police officer Monem to ask the jury to find that the Kia did not present a threat to the convoy.

Based on its track record in the Raven 23 case, how likely is it that the DOJ was being truthful about the existence of the FBI's report or its findings?