17 episodes

How did four highly decorated American soldiers become prisoners of war in their own country? This series re-examines the US Department of Justice’s controversial prosecution following a gun battle in Baghdad between Iraqi insurgents and military contractors. Why did the DOJ hold multiple trials for over a decade? Was the DOJ seeking justice? Or playing politics?

Raven 23: Presumption of Guilt Think Again

    • Government
    • 4.6 • 357 Ratings

How did four highly decorated American soldiers become prisoners of war in their own country? This series re-examines the US Department of Justice’s controversial prosecution following a gun battle in Baghdad between Iraqi insurgents and military contractors. Why did the DOJ hold multiple trials for over a decade? Was the DOJ seeking justice? Or playing politics?

    Saving the Pentagon from Itself

    Saving the Pentagon from Itself

    On September 10, 2001, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld presents his vision for a new type of military that relies heavily on privatization.  Rumsfeld claims that he is not trying to destroy the Pentagon, but “save it from itself.”  At the exact time that he is giving his speech, four radical Jihadists are checking in to the Marriot Hotel in Herndon, VA. 

    Less than 24 hours after giving his speech, Donald Rumsfeld would no longer be talking about war in the figurative sense.  He would be involved in it literally, as he bravely rushed into the embers of the West Wall of the Pentagon to save lives. 
    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thinkthink)

    • 22 min
    Universal Deceit

    Universal Deceit

    Mike and Gina introduce the men of Blackwater’s Raven 23: Dustin Heard, a former US Marine from Maryville, Tennessee; former US Marine Evan Liberty from Rochester, New Hampshire; US Army veteran Paul Slough of Sanger, Texas; and Nicholas Slatten, a veteran of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, of Sparta, Tennessee.
    Their families and military comrades discuss the characters and reputations of these small town enlistees, and what motivated them to join the fight after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacking attacks on New York and Washington DC.
    The episode also introduces Blackwater Worldwide founder, Erik Prince.

    FOR MORE:

    GALLUP POLL:
    62% feel U.S. made a mistake sending troops to Iraq (2007)
    https://news.gallup.com/poll/28099/latest-poll-shows-high-point-opposition-iraq-war.aspx

    NYT:
    From Texas to Iraq, and Center Of The Blackwater case (2008)
    https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/19/us/19slough.html

    SUPPORT THE MEN OF RAVEN 23:
    http://www.supportraven23.com/









    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thinkthink)

    • 27 min
    Unintended Consequences

    Unintended Consequences

    Gina and Mike explain how US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld put in motion the growing influence and use of military contractors the day before the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacking attacks on New York and Washington DC.
    This episode introduces Judge Royce Lamberth, chief of the US District Court for the Washington DC circuit and head of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) that allowed law enforcement to spy on US citizens. 
    Meanwhile, Dustin, Evan, Paul and Nick deployed to find the conflict, US preparedness and the people they encountered markedly different from what they expected.

    And Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik Prince describes how his military contracting company morphed from a battlefield supply service to a finely honed, superbly equipped diplomatic protection squad and quick reaction force to meet growing violence across war-torn Iraq.

    FOR MORE:

    RUMSFELD INTERVIEW
    Donald Rumsfeld's 9/11 story
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haCq-WS-VXU

    LAMBERTH INTERVIEW
    Judge Reflects after 9/11, 'Bloodcurdling' Briefings
    https://www.npr.org/2013/07/11/198329788/fisa-court-judge-reflects-after-sept-11-bloodcurdling-meetings-and-briefings

    SKATING ON STILTS
    Book by Stewart Baker
    https://www.skatingonstilts.com/







    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thinkthink)

    • 23 min
    Civil War

    Civil War

    In this episode, Iraq slips closer toward civil war as the US occupation enters the fourth year of a mission that President George W Bush declared “accomplished” three years earlier. 
    The U.S. is having trouble recruiting soldiers to staff the occupation, so the government hires nearly 200,000 military contractors to fill the recruitment gap. 
    With their tours ending, Dustin, Evan, Paul and Nick consider their options in the private sector, and each decide to rejoin the fight as contractors for Erik Prince’s Blackwater Worldwide. 
    Robert Ford, the second-in-command at the US Embassy in Iraq during this time, recalls that tensions grew to a fever pitch between Iraqi civilians.

    And Mike and Gina look to define the word "mercenary".

    FOR MORE:

    LOS ANGELES TIMES
    Contractors outnumber troops in Iraq (2007)
    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2007-jul-04-na-private4-story.html

    INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS:
    Geneva Conventions protocol relating to Mercenaries
    https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/ihl/WebART/470-750057








    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thinkthink)

    • 29 min
    Ground Truth

    Ground Truth

    In this episode, Gina and Mike recreate the events of Sept. 16, 2007 based on the US government’s own evidence, showing that the Raven 23 convoy took incoming gunfire in Nisour Square from AK-47 wielding insurgents.


    They interview members of the 19-man Raven 23 team about their minute-by-minute experiences during the Nisour Square incident and its aftermath.

    And examine the transcripts of the Iraqi witness statements to deconstruct why the body count and survivor accounts changed so wildly in the aftermath of the incident. 


    Digging into the US government’s documents, witness statements, victim lists and trial transcripts shows a subpar investigation conducted three weeks after the incident as well as outright violations of criminal procedure. 


    Former Raven 23 member Tommy Vargas unearths long-buried information about the Nisour Square incident and hands it over to Gina.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION REGARDING THE EVENTS OF SEPT. 16th, 2007, PLEASE VISIT:
    http://www.supportraven23.com/incident




    Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thinkthink)

    • 46 min
    Stand Down!

    Stand Down!

    In this episode, we’re introduced to: Nick Poulos, Blackwater's detail leader; TJ Hill, a mechanic working for Blackwater, and Keith George, Blackwater's  Iraq protection leader. Each of the men recounts his memories of the Nisour Square Incident, and where the government’s inquiry went off track.
    And Gina sits down with former Raven 23 vehicle commander Tommy Vargas, who has recently found long-buried information

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
357 Ratings

357 Ratings

noobtoober69 ,

Podcast

Awesome! Very immersive and filled with tons of true warfighter stories would recommend

Cherylb2021 ,

Raven23

I came by this interview thru the Shawn Ryan podcast. It is compelling and it offers the perspective of these military men/ contractors that fought for their country and for their fellow military men. I recommend it highly.

Boingfish ,

Well done!

Thank you!

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