Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sworn Statements on Murky Blackwater Deeds

According to two affidavits deposited in a federal court in Virginia on 3 August, the then-CEO of the mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater and now rebranded as "Xe", Erik Prince, "murdered or had murdered" Blackwater employees who were cooperating with a government inquiry about the company's criminal conduct in Iraq. Both sworn statements, posted as part of an article in The Nation by Jeremy Scahill, were given by former employees of Blackwater named only as "John Doe One" and "John Doe Two" for their own protection. The second affidavit also says that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe" and intentionally deployed mercenaries to Iraq who "shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis."

Among the other charges cited in the affidavits and in the article by Scahill - who has written a book on Blackwater's activities - are the following:

  • Erik Prince smuggled illegal weapons ("sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers") and ammunition ("designed to explode after penetrating within the human body") into Iraq in bags of dog food.
  • Blackwater knew some of its staff intentionally used excessive force to injure and murder innocent bystanders, and did nothing about it. Both John Does cite numerous cases where innocent passersby were killed apparently "as a sport or game".
  • Some of its mercenaries used M249 Squad Automatic Weapon ("SAW") machine guns in violation of State Department rules, which only allowed them to use pistols or M4 automatic carbines.
  • Against the advice of other company executives, Prince insisted on deploying to Iraq men who were patently unfit to serve, due to their stated intention to rack up "body counts" of "ragheads", due to alcohol and steroid abuse, or because they ignored safety regulations in operating weapons.
  • Prince also ignored the advice of mental health experts who warned him against deploying mercenaries who were psychologically unfit to serve.
  • He "knowingly hired two persons who were previously involved in the Kosovo sex trafficking ring to serve at relatively high-levels [sic] within his companies."
  • Blackwater ran a "Man Camp" where employees were supplied with prostitutes, including child prostitutes. Prince, the "Christian crusader", also visited the camp.
  • Many top Blackwater executives in the company's North Carolina headquarters took part in an "ongoing wife-swapping and sex ring", which caused so much trouble among the top management that a special investigation was undertaken.
Needless to say, Prince is a generous financial backer of fundamentalist Christian groups, having donated millions of dollars to causes such as The Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, the Council for National Policy, and Watergate conspirator Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries. Naturally, he is also a large donor to the American Enterprise Institute and the Republican Party. The company's excellent relations to the Bush administration are further illustrated by the fact that the former director of the CIA Counterterrorist Center and the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, Cofer "Flies on their Eyeballs" Black, has been a vice chairman of Blackwater/Xe since 2005.

The company has won government contracts worth at least hundreds of millions of dollars since 2001.

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