Saturday, May 02, 2015

CC Report May 2015

Concealed Carry Report - Click Display Images to view this email properly.
May 2015 • Issue No. 18
Showing Support for Blackwater’s Raven 23
Tim Schmidt
A “massacre of justice.”

That’s what Jessica Slatten calls the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of her brother, Nick, and three other decorated combat veterans: Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard.

The four men—all members of the government-contracted tactical security team known as “Raven 23”—were, in late 2014, found “guilty of numerous crimes in connection with a 2007 shooting incident that occurred in Baghdad’s Nisur Square.”

On April 15th, 2015—six long months after their convictions—the men were sentenced for their supposed crimes: Slough, Liberty, and Heard to the minimum 30 years—and Slatten for life.

There’s just one glaring problem:

The men have vehemently maintained their innocence from day one, claiming their actions in Baghdad were justified and in congruence with their considerable training.

Here’s a condensed version of what transpired in Nisur Square:

In September of 2007, the private security contractor Blackwater, for whom the four men worked, was under contract by the U.S. Department of State to provide diplomatic security in war-torn Iraq.

According to Jessica Slatten, “Raven 23 set up four vehicles along a traffic circle in Nisur Square to secure an exit route for another team that had been attacked by a VBIED [vehicle-borne improvised explosive device]. Shortly after locking down the circle, two things happened almost simultaneously: a white Kia broke from stopped traffic and moved toward the convoy (a textbook sign of a car bomb attack), and the convoy began taking incoming small arms fire from AK-47s.”

She continues, “Acting in accordance with their extensive training and experience, several members of Raven 23...responded to stop the threats, suppressing the active shooters and using escalating force to stop the white Kia.”

A two-way firefight ensued, and insurgent fire took out one of Raven 23’s vehicles, which had to be towed from the scene.

What happened next can perhaps best be described as the beginning of things going horribly wrong:

“Iraqis flooded the scene, collecting what one witness described as pillowcase-sized bags of spent shell casings—evidence that was never turned over to American investigators. Even without the benefit of this evidence, the Department of State concluded that Raven 23 took enemy fire and responded appropriately. However, facing intense political pressure from the then-existing Iraqi government, and a body count that far exceeded anything documented at the scene and that continued to grow in response to Iraqi television ads, the FBI went to Iraq—three weeks after the incident—to conduct its own investigation.”

Needless to say, that skewed investigation and the men’s ensuing trial through a corrupt justice system hinged on a push for convictions instead of a search for truth (I encourage you to review the entire case here).

Likewise, Slough’s, Liberty’s, Heard’s, and Slatten’s story has become—unjustly so—one about murder rather than one about self-defense. Despite overwhelming evidence and testimony that solidifies their claims of innocence, the four men have spent the last 8 years paying for crimes they did not commit. They will continue to pay with their good names and their freedom—so long as good people stand by and do nothing.

You already know how I feel about law-abiding Americans using firearms in self-defense. (After all, that’s ultimately why the USCCA exists: to protect the good guys and gals after they’re forced to pull the trigger.) So it probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Raven 23’s story has deeply moved me to take action.

The freedom of four innocent men is no laughing matter, and their story hits close to home. See, each and every one of us who carries a gun for self-defense could one day face a similar fate after being forced to use our weapon to defend ourselves or the ones we love: and that’s simply not OK with me.

I ask you to familiarize yourself with this “massacre of justice” and decide for yourself: If you believe, like I do, that these four men’s actions were justified self-defense and that they deserve more from a country they chose to serve and protect without reservation, please click here to find out how you can help. These fellow responsibly armed Americans need our support now more than ever.

Take Care and Stay Safe,

Tim Schmidt
Publisher - Concealed Carry Report
USCCA Founder
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