Blackwater Contract Killers Finally Convicted. After a Fashion.

Contractor Killers in Your Name
Four former Blackwater Worldwide “security contractors” were finally convicted for killing 14 innocent civilians and wounding 17 more in 2007 when they indiscriminately opened fire at a busy intersection at Baghdad’s Nisour Square. One of the victims was nine years old. Only one of the private army “contractors,” sniper Nicholas A. Slatten, was convicted of murder; the other three — Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty and Paul A. Slough — were convicted of voluntary manslaughter and the use of machine guns in a violent crime. The sentences for the machine gun convictions may actually be longer than those for taking innocent human lives.

These four were part of the 1,000 member Blackwater mercenary force that formed part of the G.W. Bush occupation of Iraq. They dressed like U.S. troops, were armed like U.S. troops, were paid better than U.S. troops and were regarded as occupying U.S. troops by the Iraqis. Guess who the Iraqis think conducted the Nisour Square massacre?

Why did George W. Bush use private mercenaries for his occupation of Iraq instead of United States armed forces? It would have been hard to do without re-instituting the military draft, a political nonstarter, and he’d already stretched National Guard troops. Blackwater’s private gunners cost more up front, but they didn’t get pensions or VA health benefits. Ir was an elegant free-market solution, similar to one used by another empire in decline, ancient Rome.


“Four Blackwater guards found guilty in 2007 Iraq shootings of 31 unarmed civilians,” Spencer S. Hsu, Victoria St. Martin and Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post

“4 ex-Blackwater guards guilty of deadly Iraq shooting,” Michael Winter, USA Today

“US jury convicts Blackwater guards in 2007 killing of Iraqi civilians,” Dan Roberts, The Guardian

“Some Iraqis Disappointed at Blackwater Convictions,” Sharon Behn, VOA

“Blackwater Mercenaries Convicted for Role in 2007 Iraq Massacre,” Thomas Gaist, Global Research

“Erik Prince on Blackwater verdicts: ‘A lot of politics surrounding this,’” Dan Lamothe, Washington Post

“Is the Blackwater Verdict the Beginning of the End for Private Military Contractors?” Matt Taylor, VICE

“A Verdict on Blackwater” (Editorial) New York Times 


“The Future of Blackwater and Other Guns for Hire,” Linda Robinson, Wall Street Journal


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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