Skip to comments.Former Blackwater guard testifies against friends
Posted on 07/03/2014 9:53:15 AM PDT by Dave346
WASHINGTON (AP) Former Blackwater security guard Matthew Murphy and now-indicted ex-colleague Paul Slough were friends, having survived the war in Iraq together, creating a bond that under different circumstances might have lasted a lifetime.
But from the witness stand in the Blackwater criminal trial this week, Murphy testified that he saw Slough fire at least two grenades into a car where a woman and her son died, two of 14 Iraqis killed on Sept. 16, 2007, in a downtown Baghdad square.
In three days of testimony, Murphy became the first Blackwater security guard to testify against his former associates in a trial expected to take months.
Slough is charged with manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and violating gun laws, as are two other defendants, Dustin Heard and Evan Liberty. A fourth defendant, Nicholas Slatten, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of the driver of the car. All four have pleaded not guilty.
The plan that day nearly seven years ago was that the Blackwater convoy of four heavily armed vehicles including Murphy, Slough and 17 other guards would come to the aid of a separate Blackwater convoy, and that both would return to the safety of the Green Zone.
The plan fell apart in the Nisoor Square traffic circle. Witnesses have described violence that began around the time a white Kia driven by the woman's son rolled close to the convoy in which turret gunners Murphy and Slough were riding.
The Blackwater team had brought traffic to a halt, but the Kia moved forward ever so slightly toward the armored vehicles. Car bombs were a staple of insurgent attacks in Iraq in 2007 and especially in that nation's largest city. On cross-examination, defense lawyers brought out the fear factor that Blackwater guards faced at that moment including the clatter of AK-47 gunfire in the vicinity that Murphy conceded could have become a threat.
Murphy said Slough fired his M-4 rifle at the Kia, as well as at least two grenades. Murphy held his fire, he said, because he'd lost confidence in Slough's judgment, noting that firing at a possible car bomb could have touched off any explosive. In addition, the picture before the two guards a car with a woman in it did not fit the usual car-bomber profile.
As shots were fired and hand grenades exploded, Murphy said a uniformed officer in the square gestured to him from a distance as if to say, "What is going on?" Murphy shrugged back, with his arms outstretched, and replied, "I don't know, man."
The episode, in which 18 other Iraqis were wounded, left Murphy furious, he testified. Raven 23 the convoy's call sign had gone to the rescue of another convoy and ended up shooting unarmed people.
Blackwater leaders "were waiting for us" when the convoy pulled into the safety of the Green Zone, Murphy said. He would eventually lose his job at Blackwater, even though he hadn't fired his gun. He said Slough told him he believed he was doing his job and was sorry if Murphy had a problem with it.
Before that day, the guards in Raven 23 got along, Murphy said. Afterwards, there was tension between those who thought the guards who used their weapons had acted wrongly and those like Slough who said they had been ensuring the safety of the convoy.
"I don't hate any of these guys," Murphy said. "My opinion changed because of what they did."
A former Marine who served in Iraq, Murphy, now 37, said he ended up returning to Iraq and working for Blackwater after having grown bored with civilian life. As a Blackwater security guard he made 10 times what he had been paid as a Marine corporal, he said.
no comment except .. right is right and wrong is wrong.
Tie the hands of the warriors.
It seems that WWII was and will forever be the last war with stated aims and men in uniform pursuing those aims.
In the 21st century, politicians fearful of the leftist press will always outsource the dirty work to contractors abroad and at home as they are with the Guatemalan train invasion. The armed forces will be hamstrung by silly arcane rules of engagement and PR missions.
And nobody knows which is which in this administration.
I wonder if he’s going to have an “accident”?
Ok - so Murphy (correctly) assed the vehicle as no threat, and acted accordingly.
But - under the circumstances, hostile environment/war zone, AK rounds going off, and a vehicle squeezing through traffic to get close - was the alternative judgement a criminal (felony) act?
I think the defense should show film of car-bombing attacks, and ask the jury at what point they would decide to defend themselves.
Just to give an idea of what these defendants are facing, 3 Blackwater guards testified against them to a grand jury in 2010. Murphy was one of them.
As I understand it, radio logs as well as photos of the Blackwater vehicles show that the convoy took hostile fire including from Iraqi police. There’s going to be a strong defense in this case.
Fog of war, mistakes are made. Doesn’t mean they are criminal. Adding on weapons charges is criminal. The convoys in Afghanistan have traffic accidents all the time because the Afghanis are horrible drivers. If an Afghani is unfortunate enough to hit an Aussie convoy there is a good chance that guy will get lit up.
Or both. Hiring contractors to do the army's job was never a good idea and was destined to end badly.
No disagreement from me on those. Never made sense why they were using contractors for so many security areas in a war.
A summary of radio logs from Blackwater Worldwide indicating that a convoy of security guards, Raven 23, reported being under fire in Baghdads Nisoor Square. Raven 23 is the convoy involved in the fatal shooting of 17 civilians. Raven 4 refers to a separate convoy escorting a U.S. diplomat. Raven 22 is a convoy dispatched to join Raven 4 after a car bombing.
1159 Blackwater convoy Raven 4, protecting US diplomat, reports car bombing
1200 Blackwater convoy Raven 22 exits Green Zone checkpoint 12 to escort Raven 4
1210 Raven 22 and Raven 4 depart for Green Zone
1211 Raven 23 secures Nisoor Square
1212 Raven 23 reports multiple insurgent small arms fire
1213 Blackwater air support advised of small arms fire at Nisoor Square. Raven 23 reports Iraqi police shooting at convoy
1214 Raven 23 ordered back to Green Zone checkpoint 2
1216 Raven 23 reports command vehicle disabled, no injuries
1218 Raven 23 begins towing out disabled command vehicle, still being engaged by unspecified enemy
1220 Raven 22 advised of Raven 23 shooting at Nisoor Square. Green Zone checkpoint 12 closed.
1220 Raven 23 in traffic, still taking sporadic small arms fire
Agreed! Like female bomber$/martyrs never existed.