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  • Gina Keating

If this is Pulitzer-prize winning reporting, count me out

Oy! Charlie Savage of the New York Times, thank you for killing my ambition to win a Pulitzer Prize like yours. If this is the quality of journalism that wins Pulitzers, I think I'll pass.

First of all, 10 women did not die in Nisour Square, as you reported in your story on Wednesday. It probably wasn't even 10 men, as the DOJ would have you believe, because the U.S. State Department was paying Iraqis -- $10,000 per death, $5,000 per injury and $2,500 for property damage. So I guess we will never be sure who really died there.

(By the way, Charlie, that information about the payments was widely known but was spelled out in a Jan. 11, 2010 cable from Robert Ford, the Charge d'Affaires for Iraq, to Eric Holder at the Department of Justice and Hillary Clinton at the Department of State).

Oh, and Charlie, your own New York Times colleague, Sabrina Tavernise, reported the day after the incident that eight Iraqis were killed. Where did all those extra bodies come from, do you think? (if you don't believe me -- here's the story: https://www.nytimes.com/…/09/18/world/middleeast/18iraq.html

Did you know that two of those alleged victims listed in the DOJ's indictment were a man and woman who were reported missing that day, and whose bodies were never found? One of the children listed on that press release had been reported killed the previous day in a U.S. Army shooting -- what a conundrum, eh Charlie?

Then there's the guy who was at a checkpoint at least a 30 minute walk from Nisour Square, who swears he was shot by those Blackwater guards too! Interestingly, there was a gun battle that day at that checkpoint between the Iraqi Army and insurgents but he wasn't shot by them -- but by the Americans. Could it have been the money, Charlie?

Did you know, Charlie, that one of the attempted manslaughter charges pertains to a 16-year-old boy who got a cut on his arm (treated with a alcohol and cotton balls) while working at a nearby girl's school, and that another "victim" was sitting under an overpass more than a mile away?

I guess if you had called the defense attorneys at any time in the past twelve years when covering this story, Charlie, you would have known about this, as well as the other great scoops that you will learn from our podcast, Raven 23: Presumption of Guilt.

Sadly, because you and the rest of the Washington DC press corps did not do your jobs, we all had to hear this at a sentencing hearing on Wednesday that never should have happened. But you didn't report on this either:

"There are four eyewitnesses who had no relationship with Mr Slatten who said he was innocent. There is a Raven 23 member who admitted to this incident four times almost contemporaneously with this incident. There was ballistics and forensic evidence that suggests he is innocent; there were members of the State Department who said so; the top career former FBI polygraph expert said so; and this government said so to the victim's father -- so poignant that he refused, you know, to be part of this trial when asked by the government." - Dane Butswinkas, defense attorney for Nicholas Slatten. https://www.nytimes.com/…/…/blackwater-nicholas-slatten.html