Threats

At trial, the defense was allowed only to introduce a limited amount of evidence regarding the situation in Baghdad in 2007.  On this page you will find not only details about incidents that impacted Raven 23 prior to September 16, 2007, but additional materials that will give you some insight into what our military and contractors were dealing with.

WARNING: some video footage is extremely graphic. The origin of some of the footage we have gathered is unknown. If anyone is aware of any copyright issues, please let us know immediately and we will address it. 

We ask that the Lord bless the families of all the people impacted in these videos. They are horrifying, yet necessary to view. You must understand why men come home forever changed. No amount of money earned makes this any less life-changing.

******Please note special section, below, honoring fallen Blackwater warriors.******

Uploaded by Support Raven 23 on 2015-01-15.

Below are materials depicting the various incidents that occurred in the months preceding September 16, 2007:

At trial, even the Blackwater intelligence analyst was limited as to the extent of her testimony.  Her account of the threat situation in Baghdad is riveting, however.  Most of her testimony is included below. She currently lives the life of a quiet professional, so her name will not be broadcast here. That is not what is important - what IS important is that every single car in Baghdad at one time or another was on the BOLO list. Some scoffed, and said that made the BOLO list irrelevant.  Others realized that you could never, ever let your guard down. Ever.

The first part of her testimony gives you some background on the kind of person it takes to make a good intelligence analyst.

 

The next part of her testimony concerns the way she gathered her intel, how that intel was briefed to the teams:

This is the briefing intel from September 16, 2007.  Pay special attention to the VBIED Ambulance warning.  Al-Yarmouk Hospital was just a few hundred meters away from Nisur Square.

Now let's jump in here and interrupt her for just a moment.  CRITICAL to the prosecutor's case against these defendants is their need to convince the world that the convoy took no incoming. They were unprovoked, and decided - for no reason at all - to begin firing on "unarmed, innocent civilians." If there was any hint at all that the convoy was defending themselves, then the actions they took were not criminal.

Let's stop a moment and look at the elements of self-defense. Again, while the narrative lists Dustin Heard only, the SAME PRINCIPLES apply to each and every one of them.  Pursuant to the legal definition of self defense, the government had to prove that these men had NO RIGHT to self-defense.


To that end, the white Kia became critical.  Early witness statements was that an Iraqi policeman had waved through the white Kia, even though other vehicles had stopped.  That part of the story faded away as the Iraqi investigation progressed. The Iraqis - especially the Iraqi Police - could not claim "massacre" if they had, in any way, contributed to the situation that developed.

In any event, given the intelligence briefings that these men received every day, there can be NO DOUBT that a car coming toward them, past a line of cars that had stopped, could have - should have - been considered a legitimate threat.  VBIEDs were on the rise. There was even such a thing as a TBIED (turban-borne IED). Suicide bombers were riding motorcycles, bicycles. Anything, anywhere, anytime.

Despite this common knowledge in the intelligence community - and the contractor and military community - the Department of Justice instead scoffed and ridiculed these men for claiming the white Kia could possibly have been a VBIED. They laughingly waved off the possibility that a car containing two people, one of them a  woman (which, by the way, was not known until after the incident), could possibly have been a car bomb.  Listen to what the intelligence expert had to say about that:

It seems everyone knew what was going on in Baghdad except for the prosecutors.

Back to her testimony....about how people dressed as Iraqi policemen aren't always...and should never simply be "trusted."

Refer back to the Incident page here, to see the photo taken by a contractor - of uniforms for sale on the streets of Baghdad.

 

Bounty on the heads of Blackwater contractors.  Blackwater - specifically.

The Court took a break. Maybe you need one also. When you're ready, let's continue......

This next bit of testimony is extraordinarily interesting, because witness after witness - both American and Iraqi - testified as to how safe this area was. That because there were checkpoints all around this area, and many factions (Iraqi, Kurdish and American) on all sides, this area was NOT a dangerous area. Do tell.........


And now it gets good....she's about to tell us that a WHITE KIA is on the BOLO list:

And now the Watermelon EFP (see photos above) incident:

One of the other assaults made by the prosecution on Raven 23 was their team leader's decision to secure Nisur Square.  Clearly, as evidenced by the intel analyst's testimony, even though Nisur Square was the second-least-likely of the 3 routes to be used by the security detail escaping the VBIED that occurred earlier, her testimony clearly underscores that the security rating for each of the 3 routes was ever-changing, based on conditions on the ground in real time.  At any moment, the yellow route of Nisur Square could have developed into the green - preferred - route:

STAY TUNED - the cross examination will be posted next week.  You will see how the prosecution did all they could to make light of the dangerous situation in Baghdad.  Too bad they didn't have to work in the area, huh?

WARNING: GRAPHIC -

If you've never seen what an IED going off looks like to someone in a convoy, see below.

Uploaded by Support Raven 23 on 2015-01-15.

WARNING - GRAPHIC

Our hearts especially go out to the families of the men manning these checkpoints.  Any car, any time. May God bless their souls.

Uploaded by Support Raven 23 on 2015-01-15.

Uploaded by Support Raven 23 on 2015-01-15.

April 8th 2007, Raven 22 rescuing a British Team protecting US Army Corp of Engineers.

October 3rd 2007, BW rescuing Polish ambassador after his team was hit

Video of the dramatic October 3 rescue of Polish Ambassador Edward Pietrzy show just how risky the maneuver was for the skilled Blackwater helicopter pilot.

 

On January 23, 2007, 5 Blackwater contractors lost their lives when their helicopter was shot down, and during the recovery efforts.

Below is the New York Times article that covered the incident:

 

 

The firefight in the video, below, occurred after the recovery of the BW Aircraft (see caption below):

B Co 5-20, 3-2 SBCT ambushed as they pulled off recovering a downed Blackwater aircraft on 23 Jan 07. Firefight lasted over 45 min. Huge firefight!

 

From the Blackwater Alumni - below is a list of their fallen.  Rest in Peace, Warriors. Thank you for your service.

1. Jerko "Jerry" Zovko - KIA 31MAR2004; Fallujah - Small Arms Fire
2. Mike "Iron Mike" Teague - KIA 31MAR2004; Fallujah - Small Arms Fire
3. Stephen "Scott" Helvenston - KIA 31MAR2004; Fallujah - Small Arms Fire
4. Wes "Wes" Batalona - KIA 31MAR2004; Fallujah - Small Arms Fire
5. Richard "Kato" Bruce - KIA 02JUN2004; (LOCATION: TBD) – Vehicle Accident
6. Chris Neidrich - KIA 05JUN2004; Baghdad - Rt. Irish Ambush
7. Jarrod Little - KIA 05JUN2004; Baghdad - Rt. Irish Ambush
8. Krzysztof Kaskos - KIA 05JUN2004; Baghdad - Rt. Irish Ambush
9. Arthur Zukowski - KIA 05JUN2004; Baghdad - Rt. Irish Ambush
10. Noel English - KIA 27NOV2004; Afghanistan - Plane Crash
11. Melvin Rowe - KIA 27NOV2004; Afghanistan - Plane Crash
12. Loren Hammer - KIA 27NOV2004; Afghanistan - Plane Crash
13. Bruce "Bee" Durr - KIA 12MAR2005; al-Hillah - IED
14. James "Tracker" Cantrell - KIA 12MAR2005; al-Hillah – IED
15. Robert Gore - KIA 21APR2005; N. of Baghdad - Helicopter Shot Down
16. Steven McGovern - KIA 21APR2005; N. of Baghdad - Helicopter Shot Down
17. Jason Obert - KIA 21APR2005; N. of Baghdad - Helicopter Shot Down
18. David "Pat" Patterson - KIA 21APR2005; N. of Baghdad – Helicopter Shot Down
19. Luke Petrik - KIA 21APR2005; N. of Baghdad - Helicopter Shot Down
20. Eric Smith - KIA 21APR2005; N. of Baghdad - Helicopter Shot Down
21. Curtis "Sparky" Hundley - KIA 21APR2005; Ramadi - IED
22. Thomas "Bama" Jaichner - KIA 10MAY2005; Ramadi - Sniper
23. Kenneth Webb - KIA 19SEP2005; Mosul - VBIED
24. Peter Tocci - KIA 19SEP2005; Mosul - VBIED
25. David Shephard - KIA 19SEP2005; Mosul - VBIED
26. Arthur Laguna - KIA 23JAN2007; Baghdad - Helicopter Shot Down
27. Steve "G-Man" Gernet - KIA 23JAN2007; Baghdad - Small Arms Fire
28. Casey "Rooster" Casavant - KIA 23JAN2007; Baghdad - Helicopter Shot Down
29. Shane "War Baby"Stanfield - KIA 23JAN2007; Baghdad – Helicopter Shot Down
30. Ron "Cat Daddy" Johnson - KIA 23JAN2007; Baghdad – Helicopter Shot Down
31. Jeremy Wise- Afghanistan - KIA 30DEC2009
32. Brian Woods- Afghanistan- KIA 19AUG2009

Former Blackwater Personnel Killed While Working Elsewhere:
33. Dave Randolph - KIA 09NOV2004; Between Ramadi & Fallujah – RPG (EODT)
34. Rod "K2" Richardson - KIA 04OCT2006; Baghdad - EFP (Falcon Security)
35. Jerome "Jerry" McCauley- KIA 31 January 2008; Baghdad, Route Irish.
36. William "Sonny" Hinchman - KIA 17JUL2009; Baghdad – Training Accident (Xe)
37. Roland "Jonny Quest" Tressler - KIA 17JUL2009; Baghdad – Training Accident (Xe)
38. Nick Leotti - KIA 08FEB2010; Baghdad - (Xe)
39. Michael "Max" Sacks - KIA 29JUL2010; (Xe)

40. Norman Spruill- KIA 4APR2012 Afganistan (MPRI)

41. Matt Fineran - KIA 29Jan2015 Afghanistan (PSI) - Kabul airport by local national

42. Walt Fisher - KIA Afghanistan (PSI) - Kabul airport by local national

Brothers lost from other than hostile action over the years.
43. Lance Warren
44. Chris Gaffney
45. Scott "Mongo" Brachman
46. Sean Bowles
47. Jim Parker
48. Ken "Thumper" Bell
49. Dave "Dave-O" Olinger
50. Keith Jorgenson
51. Glen Wenzel
52. Tom Mitchell
53. Josh "Pedro" Hernandez
54. Cory Wainscott (Corey was Tactical Commander on R23 on September 16, 2007)
55. Mike Mcginess
56. Tommy Lopez
57. Jeff Reynolds
58. Chris Coene
59. Jim "Mammal" Grey

Brothers killed stateside.
60. Eric Chapa
61. Stephen Patrick White