Sunday, December 21, 2008

Radio Logs Prove Blackwater Convoy Was Under Fire at Nisoor Square

Radio logs from Blackwater's Baghdad security teams show that the unit involved at the Nisoor Square shootout did indeed come under enemy fire.

Newsday reports, "Prosecutors said the men unleashed a gruesome attack on unarmed Iraqis. But the radio logs from the Sept. 16, 2007, shooting, turned over to prosecutors by Blackwater, suggest otherwise. The guards were authorized to fire in self-defense, so any evidence their convoy was attacked will make it harder for the Justice Department to prove they acted unlawfully."

The Salt Lake Tribune, covering the defense team in Salt Lake City, reports the story under the headline, "Blackwater Logs Depict Mortal Threat to Guards."

Below is a summary of the logs, as reported by the Associated Press. Raven 4 is a Blackwater convoy protecting an American diplomat near a car bombing. Raven 22 is a Blackwater unit that responds to assist Raven 4. Raven 23 was sent to secure Nisoor Square, a traffic circle, at which the deadly shootout occurred.

The following timeline from the September 16, 2007 Blackwater radio logs is from the Associated Press. The quotes are from the AP report:

11:59: Raven 4 reports a car bombing
12:00: Raven 22 leaves the Green Zone through Checkpoint 12 to back up Raven 4
12:10: Raven 22 and Raven 4 depart for Green Zone
12:11: Raven 23 reports securing Nisoor Square
12:12: "Raven 23 reports multiple insurgent small arms fire"
12:13: "Blackwater air support advised of small arms fire at Nisoor Square. Raven 23 reports Iraqi police shooting at convoy" [Note: The FBI would later credit the Iraqi police with helping build the federal prosecution of five Raven 23 team members.]
12:14: Raven 23 is ordered to proceed to Green Zone checkpoint 2
12:16: Raven 23 says that its command vehicle is disabled
12:18: Raven 23 attempts to tow its disabled command vehicle but says its members are still under attack
12:20: Raven 22 is "advised of Raven 23 shooting at Nisoor Square." Checkpoint 12 of the Green Zone is closed.
12:20: Raven 23 reports it is in traffic, "still taking sporadic small arms fire."

(Note: The facsimile of the radio log is brought to us through Blackfive.)

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