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Blackwater guard's statement at Smoking Gun

The proffer signed by Blackwater employee Jeremy Ridgeway, the 6th guard, is up at Smoking Gun. It is written with all kinds of inflammatory language that the prosecutors are going to use to say there were no reasons for weapons to have been fired. I read the whole thing and it really isn't much of a smoking gun.

The biggest problem for the other defendants is that their Bravo Falcon said he heard no incoming fire before hearing another convoy member open up on a white KIA that was coming close and moving slow. He saw the guy hitting the car and began to do so himself. The proffer offers a ridiculous explanation then saying he should have known there were other options available than simply joining in suppressing a perceived threat. They state that a "reasonable" person would have attempted to see if the vehicle showed any of the classic signs of a VBIED i.e. Guy driving with a scarf on chanting to himself. That is foolish given that the vehicle is already being engaged. Somebody perceived a threat and anyone interested in staying alive at that point has better things to do than try to read the driver's freakin' lips.

Other than the initial admission that he heard no incoming fire before the other guard opened up, there is nothing damaging in the statement. It made me wonder why the guy copped to it. Once bullets start flying nobody really knows what is going on, and this document pretends like that isn't true. Urban combat is inherently confused and chaotic, and while it is absolutely correct to require that responses be proportional and proper, it's folly to state that someone in the middle of a gunfight can tell who and where everybody is.

I have yet to hear if there is any physical evidence of incoming fire, or if the entire rationale for the shooting is the slow and close approach of the white KIA. If there is, everything changes, if not then the question is whether the guard who first shot at the white KIA honestly and reasonably believed the car was a bomb. If he did, then the initial shooting is justified. The rest of the actions as they sought, in their minds, to break contact were a continuation of that same belief bolstered by the sound of automatic gunfire (even if it was only theirs).

The case has many procedural difficulties, the primary being the law they are charged under does not apply to them, only to DoD contractors and military personnel and they are clearly State Department contractors. That alone should torpedo this, and regardless of the guilt or innocence of these men, using this law is a travesty.

TSO points out something I missed the first time through.

Did you read the second and third lines of page 2?  What the shit is this?

“were employed by the Armed Forces outside the US as defined by 18 USC 3267(1)”…

What a complete crock of shit.  When did DoS become the Armed Forces?

He adds the relevant Code

(1) The term “employed by the Armed Forces outside the United States” means—

(A) employed as—

(ii) a contractor (including a subcontractor at any tier) of—

(I) the Department of Defense (including a nonappropriated fund instrumentality of the Department); or

(II) any other Federal agency, or any provisional authority, to the extent such employment relates to supporting the mission of the Department of Defense overseas;

So unless the State Department is a subordinate unit of DoD, or they have subordinated their mission to DoD's then Blackwater employees definitely do not fall under this description. This is a case of the prosecutors attempting to steal a march by making their own incorrect finding that they were members of the Armed Forces. If say a Department of Energy contractor was sent along with a military team to help recover a nuke and he has a shoot out, that might fit this definition, but BW's guys absolutely not. The prosecutors also claim that since the military would have to guard the diplomats if BW didn't then they are performing a military function. BS again, State does not want military guards specifically to avoid being dependent on DoD. If it wasn't BW it would be GS civilians not soldiers.