An Arizona Congressman and member of the Justice for Warriors Caucus said he can't wait for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to criticize President Trump's foreign policy at one of their upcoming debates.
"That will be the perfect time to bring up the Biden 4," U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, told The Rochester Voice earlier this week in a telephone interview.
The Biden 4, formerly known as Raven 23, include Evan Liberty of Rochester and three colleagues from his Blackwater team who were involved in a firefight with Iraqi insurgents in Nisour Square in Baghdad in 2007 during some of the heaviest guerrilla activity the Iraq War would see.
|U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (Courtesy photo)|
Gosar said estimates show some 1,700 Iraqi civilians died violent deaths in the third quarter of 2007, alone, which would include the month of September when Liberty and his Raven 23 team came under attack while guarding a traffic circle through which a diplomat was being rushed to the safety of the Green Zone.
Just moments after the Raven 23 team entered the traffic circle to hold up traffic for the diplomat's convoy, a single car lurched forward toward the Raven 23 vehicles.
Despite shouts from Raven 23 crew members, the white Kia continued to move closer. Knowing suicide car bombers were becoming more and more common around Baghdad a sharpshooter shot and killed the Kia's driver.
Defense statements the prosecution knew about but withheld from a jury refer to insurgents dressed up as Iraqi policemen who fired upon Raven 23.
"This is what the insurgents did," Gosar said. "They would put on a charade and divert our forces, and then they went after our convoys with car bombs."
Liberty, Paul Slough of Texas and Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten, both of Tennessee, were all sentenced to long sentences for their alleged involvement in what the Obama-Biden justice department described as a massacre of innocent Iraqi civilians.
Some 14 Iraqi civilians were killed in the melee, but the defense argued that the insurgents were firing beside or near civilians who were caught up in the crossfire.
|From left, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough|
During the trial the prosecution's star witness was Jeremy Ridgeway, most likely the Raven 23 team member who killed the most Iraqis that day. Ridgeway turned state's evidence and testified the shootings were unprovoked. In exchange he got a one-year sentence with six months suspended.
Meanwhile, Liberty, Slough and Heard got 30 years for weapons violations; Slatten got life for shooting the driver of the Kia, even though another team member admitted to shooting them.
A recent article by The Rochester Voice revealed new information about the case, including that the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence in the form of Blackwater team statements that referred to a firefight with insurgents dressed as Iraqi policemen.
That article can be viewed here.
Gosar said the team of President Obama, Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did nothing less than "throw these men under the bus" for political reasons.
Gosar cast the Biden 4 fiasco as just another Obama foreign policy misstep.
"From Bengazi to Fast and Furious to Hillary's Russian reset to them spying on our president, this just shows their administration was predicated on lawlessness," he said.
Gosar said he's not surprised that neither New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen nor Maggie Hassan or 1st District Congressman Chris Pappas, all Democrats, have refused to return emails or calls to The Rochester Voice.
"Members of The Biden 4 are political prisoners," he said. "The Democrats will never talk to you."
This point was driven home last month by none other than New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, who attended the Lydall groundbreaking in Rochester. Shaheen, whose team had not returned Rochester Voice emails regarding Liberty for more than a year, was asked by this writer if she had ever heard of Evan Liberty.
"No I have not," she said.
After filling her in on the Raven 23 case including that Evan Liberty and his family are from Rochester, she referred The Rochester Voice to her state director, Sarah Holmes, who gave me her card and agreed to get in touch with me to discuss his case. Sadly, she never returned several phone calls or emails.
Several Washington insiders have said it's unfathomable, even laughable, that Shaheen, who's been a U.S. Senator since 2009, wouldn't know who Evan Liberty is.
Gosar, however, said he was not surprised with the disingenuousness.
He referred to Hillary Clinton's email showing disapproval just days after a federal judge tossed the Raven 23 case on New Year's Eve of 2009 for lack of evidence. And a few weeks later Biden, himself, went to Iraq to guarantee the men would be indictment again.
Four years later they were found guilty in a DC courtroom in a trial that could well be the biggest travesty of justice of the century.
"The Obama administration just ramrodded over the constitutional rights of these men," Gosar said. "You see it all through the Obama administration."
The most dangerous thing about the way the Biden 4 were prosecuted is it shows that an administration intentionally violated the law, which Gosar says leads to anarchy.
He referred to the late Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, who said this in a dissenting opinion on a 1928 ruling absolving the government of illegal wiretapping:
"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy."
The majority decision was overturned in 1967.
Gosar said he got involved with the Justice for Warriors Caucus to help those accused of war crimes get the justice they deserve.
They sent a letter to President Trump urging him to pardon the Biden 4 in May.
"We're trying to highlight cases like the Biden 4, so they aren't lost, and we're highlighting them for the president," he said, adding the pardon request "is being looked at by (the president's) team, and there's a lot of talking back and forth."
Gosar said the presecutorial overreach and blatant disregard of Brady violations during the trial is breathtaking.
"This is legal malpractice," he said. "I'm not a lawyer but my chief of staff is, and he said this is unbelievable, only the government could get away with this."
He said he is hopeful the Biden 4 will be pardoned whether President Trump wins or loses in November, but he doubts the president will lose. He also said he's praying the Biden 4 comes up during a debate.
"It just shows how idiotic Biden is about the military, his insincerity," Gosar added.
To contact the New Hampshire delegation use these links.
To write a letter to President Trump urging a pardon. Mail it to the White House through this government portal. A letter suggested by the group "Free Raven 23" is below.
President Donald J. Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Re: The Decorated Veterans of Blackwater's Tactical Support Team Raven 23
Dear President Trump:
I am writing on behalf of four decorated veterans who need your help. These men--Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nick Slatten, and Paul Slough--went to war for our country and served deployments to some of the world's most dangerous regions. Then, after their tours were over, they went back into harm's way as contractors supporting the Department of State's mission to bring democracy to Iraq.
In 2007, while working under Blackwater's contract with the State Department, they came under fire and faced a car bomb threat in a Baghdad war zone. They used the force necessary to do their jobs and come home to their families, only to find themselves convenient targets of a political witch hunt. For nearly eleven years, they have been fighting their way through a civilian justice system that has failed at every turn.
As a result of numerous rights violations during the legal proceedings, one of these men (Nick) is scheduled to be retried (by a second civilian jury) in June 2018. The other three men (Dustin, Evan, and Paul) will be resentenced sometime after that.
I ask that you look into their case. These are good, honorable men who, under stronger leadership, would still be fighting for this country, not against its government. What has passed for justice so far in their case is anything but, and it is time that is recognized through a presidential pardon.
To listen to Congressional Justice for Warriors Caucus leader Louie Gohmert's comments on a Raven 23/Biden Four podcast go to https://www.buzzsprout.com/389536/3730862-congressional-justice-for-warriors-caucus-offically-requests-presidental-pardon-for-men-of-raven-23
To sign the online petition go to https://www.change.org/p/president-donald-j-trump-mr-president-please-pardon-the-biden-four