Author Topic: Erik Prince Blackwater/Xe = suspect in genocide/child sex slavery/narcotics ring  (Read 44751 times)

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Offline Dig

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Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090817/scahill
By Jeremy Scahill August 4, 2009


A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges that Prince turned a profit by transporting "illegal" or "unlawful" weapons into the country on Prince's private planes. They also charge that Prince and other Blackwater executives destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents and have intentionally deceived the US State Department and other federal agencies. The identities of the two individuals were sealed out of concerns for their safety.

These allegations, and a series of other charges, are contained in sworn affidavits, given under penalty of perjury, filed late at night on August 3 in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of a seventy-page motion by lawyers for Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for alleged war crimes and other misconduct. Susan Burke, a private attorney working in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights, is suing Blackwater in five separate civil cases filed in the Washington, DC, area. They were recently consolidated before Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia for pretrial motions. Burke filed the August 3 motion in response to Blackwater's motion to dismiss the case. Blackwater asserts that Prince and the company are innocent of any wrongdoing and that they were professionally performing their duties on behalf of their employer, the US State Department.

The former employee, identified in the court documents as "John Doe #2," is a former member of Blackwater's management team, according to a source close to the case. Doe #2 alleges in a sworn declaration that, based on information provided to him by former colleagues, "it appears that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct." John Doe #2 says he worked at Blackwater for four years; his identity is concealed in the sworn declaration because he "fear[s ] violence against me in retaliation for submitting this Declaration." He also alleges, "On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince's employ, Mr. Prince's management has personally threatened me with death and violence."

In a separate sworn statement, the former US marine who worked for Blackwater in Iraq alleges that he has "learned from my Blackwater colleagues and former colleagues that one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information about Erik Prince and Blackwater have been killed in suspicious circumstances." Identified as "John Doe #1," he says he "joined Blackwater and deployed to Iraq to guard State Department and other American government personnel." It is not clear if Doe #1 is still working with the company as he states he is "scheduled to deploy in the immediate future to Iraq." Like Doe #2, he states that he fears "violence" against him for "submitting this Declaration." No further details on the alleged murder(s) are provided.

"Mr. Prince feared, and continues to fear, that the federal authorities will detect and prosecute his various criminal deeds," states Doe #2. "On more than one occasion, Mr. Prince and his top managers gave orders to destroy emails and other documents. Many incriminating videotapes, documents and emails have been shredded and destroyed."

The Nation cannot independently verify the identities of the two individuals, their roles at Blackwater or what motivated them to provide sworn testimony in these civil cases. Both individuals state that they have previously cooperated with federal prosecutors conducting a criminal inquiry into Blackwater.

"It's a pending investigation, so we cannot comment on any matters in front of a Grand Jury or if a Grand Jury even exists on these matters," John Roth, the spokesperson for the US Attorney's office in the District of Columbia, told The Nation. "It would be a crime if we did that." Asked specifically about whether there is a criminal investigation into Prince regarding the murder allegations and other charges, Roth said: "We would not be able to comment on what we are or are not doing in regards to any possible investigation involving an uncharged individual."

The Nation repeatedly attempted to contact spokespeople for Prince or his companies at numerous email addresses and telephone numbers. When a company representative was reached by phone and asked to comment, she said, "Unfortunately no one can help you in that area." The representative then said that she would pass along The Nation's request. As this article goes to press, no company representative has responded further to The Nation.

Doe #2 states in the declaration that he has also provided the information contained in his statement "in grand jury proceedings convened by the United States Department of Justice." Federal prosecutors convened a grand jury in the aftermath of the September 16, 2007, Nisour Square shootings in Baghdad, which left seventeen Iraqis dead. Five Blackwater employees are awaiting trial on several manslaughter charges and a sixth, Jeremy Ridgeway, has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempting to commit manslaughter and is cooperating with prosecutors. It is not clear whether Doe #2 testified in front of the Nisour Square grand jury or in front of a separate grand jury.

The two declarations are each five pages long and contain a series of devastating allegations concerning Erik Prince and his network of companies, which now operate under the banner of Xe Services LLC. Among those leveled by Doe #2 is that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe":

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.


Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince's executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to "lay Hajiis out on cardboard." Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince's employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as "ragheads" or "hajiis."

Among the additional allegations made by Doe #1 is that "Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq." He states that he personally witnessed weapons being "pulled out" from dog food bags. Doe #2 alleges that "Prince and his employees arranged for the weapons to be polywrapped and smuggled into Iraq on Mr. Prince's private planes, which operated under the name Presidential Airlines," adding that Prince "generated substantial revenues from participating in the illegal arms trade."

Doe #2 states: "Using his various companies, [Prince] procured and distributed various weapons, including unlawful weapons such as sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers, through unlawful channels of distribution." Blackwater "was not abiding by the terms of the contract with the State Department and was deceiving the State Department," according to Doe #1.

This is not the first time an allegation has surfaced that Blackwater used dog food bags to smuggle weapons into Iraq. ABC News's Brian Ross reported in November 2008 that a "federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food." Another former Blackwater employee has also confirmed this information to The Nation.

Both individuals allege that Prince and Blackwater deployed individuals to Iraq who, in the words of Doe #1, "were not properly vetted and cleared by the State Department." Doe #2 adds that "Prince ignored the advice and pleas from certain employees, who sought to stop the unnecessary killing of innocent Iraqis." Doe #2 further states that some Blackwater officials overseas refused to deploy "unfit men" and sent them back to the US. Among the reasons cited by Doe #2 were "the men making statements about wanting to deploy to Iraq to 'kill ragheads' or achieve 'kills' or 'body counts,'" as well as "excessive drinking" and "steroid use." However, when the men returned to the US, according to Doe #2, "Prince and his executives would send them back to be deployed in Iraq with an express instruction to the concerned employees located overseas that they needed to 'stop costing the company money.'"

Doe #2 also says Prince "repeatedly ignored the assessments done by mental health professionals, and instead terminated those mental health professionals who were not willing to endorse deployments of unfit men." He says Prince and then-company president Gary Jackson "hid from Department of State the fact that they were deploying men to Iraq over the objections of mental health professionals and security professionals in the field," saying they "knew the men being deployed were not suitable candidates for carrying lethal weaponry, but did not care because deployments meant more money."

Doe #1 states that "Blackwater knew that certain of its personnel intentionally used excessive and unjustified deadly force, and in some instances used unauthorized weapons, to kill or seriously injure innocent Iraqi civilians." He concludes, "Blackwater did nothing to stop this misconduct." Doe #1 states that he "personally observed multiple incidents of Blackwater personnel intentionally using unnecessary, excessive and unjustified deadly force." He then cites several specific examples of Blackwater personnel firing at civilians, killing or "seriously" wounding them, and then failing to report the incidents to the State Department.

Doe #1 also alleges that "all of these incidents of excessive force were initially videotaped and voice recorded," but that "Immediately after the day concluded, we would watch the video in a session called a 'hot wash.' Immediately after the hotwashing, the video was erased to prevent anyone other than Blackwater personnel seeing what had actually occurred." Blackwater, he says, "did not provide the video to the State Department."

Doe #2 expands on the issue of unconventional weapons, alleging Prince "made available to his employees in Iraq various weapons not authorized by the United States contracting authorities, such as hand grenades and hand grenade launchers. Mr. Prince's employees repeatedly used this illegal weaponry in Iraq, unnecessarily killing scores of innocent Iraqis." Specifically, he alleges that Prince "obtained illegal ammunition from an American company called LeMas. This company sold ammunition designed to explode after penetrating within the human body. Mr. Prince's employees repeatedly used this illegal ammunition in Iraq to inflict maximum damage on Iraqis."

Blackwater has gone through an intricate rebranding process in the twelve years it has been in business, changing its name and logo several times. Prince also has created more than a dozen affiliate companies, some of which are registered offshore and whose operations are shrouded in secrecy. According to Doe #2, "Prince created and operated this web of companies in order to obscure wrongdoing, fraud and other crimes."

"For example, Mr. Prince transferred funds from one company (Blackwater) to another (Greystone) whenever necessary to avoid detection of his money laundering and tax evasion schemes." He added: "Mr. Prince contributed his personal wealth to fund the operations of the Prince companies whenever he deemed such funding necessary. Likewise, Mr. Prince took funds out of the Prince companies and placed the funds in his personal accounts at will."

Briefed on the substance of these allegations by The Nation, Congressman Dennis Kucinich replied, "If these allegations are true, Blackwater has been a criminal enterprise defrauding taxpayers and murdering innocent civilians." Kucinich is on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and has been investigating Prince and Blackwater since 2004.

"Blackwater is a law unto itself, both internationally and domestically. The question is why they operated with impunity. In addition to Blackwater, we should be questioning their patrons in the previous administration who funded and employed this organization. Blackwater wouldn't exist without federal patronage; these allegations should be thoroughly investigated," Kucinich said.

A hearing before Judge Ellis in the civil cases against Blackwater is scheduled for August 7.
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Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2009, 03:03:25 pm »

What's the difference between the 'terrorists' and Mr. Prince?

He's worse than the terrorists.. he's a traitor-terrorist-sociopath-probably-did-hits-for-Cheney-USGovernment-contractor.

I hope whoever the courageous persons are exposing this will be safe. Depending on who they incriminate, they could start feeling 'suicidal'. The government will no doubt have some secrets to keep; having been in bed with Blackwater/Xe for so many years.


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Offline InfoTruth

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2009, 03:09:44 pm »
Quote
The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.

That's just straight up scary, but all of us already knew how corrupt Erik Prince is. I doubt anything happens to him though.
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Offline donnay

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2009, 03:16:14 pm »
WOW!  This is BIG!  Just remember these are the same people who are training law enforcement in this country.  Maybe this news will blow the lid off of all this Police State Enforcement.

I also hope this investigation goes all the way back to the other Christian [sic] Crusader George W. Bush!!
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Offline sharpsteve

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2009, 04:27:01 pm »
From jeremyscahill on twitter http://twitter.com/jeremyscahill

The Erik Prince story crashed The Nation's site. They are working on it...about 1 hour ago from web

here is a cached version of the Erik Prince story that can be used while The Nation site is down: http://bit.ly/18wQk3 (h/t @rawstory)about 1 hour ago from web

Offline sharpsteve

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2009, 04:38:10 pm »
Is Erik Prince involved with The Family like Jeff Sharlet  talked about on Alex Jones? Sounds like he would be.

Author Jeff Sharlet on Alex Jones Tv 1/4:The Family
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMjGTxv0tQQ


Offline chris jones

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2009, 05:21:52 pm »


Finally, these men are finding conscience and courage, Bless their hearts.

This freak has to go down, Prince, I am with sincere hope he is indicted and held icognito, or it may be he will suicide, aided of course, he is a wellspring of information.

If the masters beleive he will blow the whistle, the sooner the feds, (and lets hope they are under honest supervision), contain him the better.

Has this news hit the MSM or is this being stalled.

This issue is a true nutcraker, we must keep up on this one.

Offline sharpsteve

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2009, 05:22:29 pm »
Jeremy Scahill will be on Olbermann tonight, discussing the allegations against Erik Prince and Blackwater

Offline Dig

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2009, 09:42:49 pm »
Olbermann does it right on this interview and acts like a GE Nazi puppet concerning Obama's secrecy in gov, the deathcare bill, and Clinton sleeping with the enemy.
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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2009, 01:27:52 am »
I hope something comes of this. These guys are putting their lives on the line to bring the truth out.
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Offline Giordano

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Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Implicated in Murder
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2009, 02:42:10 am »
"A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life........."


CONTINUE HERE:   


http://www.neithercorp.us/nforum/current_events/blackwater_founder_implicated_in_murder-t991.0.html;msg2277#new

Offline Dig

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2009, 03:01:08 am »
Patrick Fitzgerald is in position because he is effective at obstructing justice
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Offline Dig

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2009, 06:41:52 am »
An hour with Erik Prince, Chairman, CEO and Founder, Blackwater USA.
Monday, October 15, 2007

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/8734
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2009, 06:43:03 am »
Blackwater Blues for Dead Iraqi Civilians
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2007/9/18/122342/856
By Bill Berkowitz Tue Sep 18, 2007 at 12:23:42 PM EST   
       
Erik Prince, the founder and head of Blackwater USA, has contributed mega-bucks to Republican Party candidates and Christian right organizations and causes. Why is this advocate of "traditional family values" stonewalling the families of four Blackwater contractors killed in Fallujah in March 2004?

After an incident over the weekend that resulted in the murder of eight civilians and the wounding of thirteen others by private security forces in Iraq, the ministry of interior yesterday took the decision to expel Blackwater from the country.

According to The Guardian, US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, "apologized to the Iraqi government ... in an attempt to prevent the expulsion of all" Blackwater employees from Iraq.

Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, the son of conservative multi-millionaire, the late Edgar Prince, and the brother of Betsy DeVos, the wife of Dick DeVos, the son of Amway founder Richard DeVos.

Over the paast two decades, both the Prince and DeVos families have given millions of dollars to Republican Party candidates, and conservative Christian organizations and causes.
   topic: All Topics       

'The world's most powerful mercenary army'

In 1997, Erik Prince founded Blackwater USA, a company that grown into what journalist Jeremy Scahill terms "the world's most powerful mercenary army," in his recently released book titled "Blackwater."     

Both Prince and his company prefer to avoid the spotlight.

In March 2004, however, four of Prince's Anerican contractors -- Jerry Zovko, Scott Helvenston, Michael Teague and Wesley Batalona -- were killed in Fallujah while escorting a convoy of empty trucks. They were ambushed, shot and overcome by an angry mob. The men were burnt in their vehicles and then their charred bodies were strung up from a bridge.

The horrific images of the dead Americans received worldwide media attention. That incident was soon followed by a massive U.S. assault on Fallujah, an attack that reportedly resulted in thousands of dead Iraqi civilians.

Erik Prince's Blackwater USA was no longer under the radar. 

For the past three years, the families of the dead contractors have been trying to find out what really happened that March day in Fallujah. For three years they've been stonewalled by Prince.

The suit and countersuit

In February of this year, relatives of the four slain Blackwater USA contractors testified, at a House hearing in Washington -- held by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. -- on the company's operations. The families of the slain men, still unclear about what happened when their loved ones were killed, sued Blackwater USA "for wrongful death in the hope that their questions will be answered," the Associated Press reported in mid-June.

The lawsuit alleges that Blackwater sent the men on a job with inadequate equipment and protection.

According to the suit, AP pointed out, "the men should have been traveling in fully armored vehicles and should have had a guard in each vehicle acting as a rear gunner to protect them from attack."

The legal battle could have much broader implications. It "could prompt more government oversight of security contracting companies and determine the extent of their legal liability in the war zone," AP noted. It "is the most prominent [suit] in an emerging body of litigation surrounding the secretive world of private security contractors in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As details about security operations are revealed in the court cases, pressure has intensified in Congress to regulate how armed contractors operate."

Blackwater has assembled a high-profile well-connected legal team to combat the suit. They also filed a $10 million counterclaim. Blackwater's legal dream team -- which once included Fred Fielding, now White House counsel -- includes Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor who investigated the Monica Lewinsky and Whitewater scandals during the Clinton administration.

Blackwater maintains that since it was working for the government, it was "subject to the same protections against lawsuits as the military, which cannot be sued for the deaths or injuries of its troops," AP reported. The company "argues that the four families' lawsuit `unconstitutionally intrudes on the exclusive authority of the military of the federal government to conduct military operations abroad.'"

In the two years since the families filed its suit, it has bounced between state and federal courts amid a jumble of claims and counterclaims. Last month U.S. District Judge James Fox in North Carolina ordered the families and Blackwater into arbitration, a non-public procedure that is designed to resolve disputes without a trial. While the families are protesting that decision, that is a desirable outcome for the company as it would continue to secrecy for its operations.

Blackwater USA

That we know as much as we do about Blackwater USA is in part due to the first-rate reporting of several journalists, including The Nation magazine's investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill. In his bestselling book "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" (Nation Books, 2007), Scahill describes the company as "a sort of Praetorian Guard for the Bush Administration's `global war on terror.'"

He maintains that Prince

"has been in the thick of this right-wing effort to unite conservative Catholics, evangelicals, and neoconservatives in a common theoconservative holy war."

At the time the book was written Scahill pointed out that the Moyock, North Carolina-headquartered company had

"more than 2,300 private soldiers deployed in nine countries, including inside the United States. It maintainsa database of 21,000 former Special Forces troops, soldiers, and retired law enforcement agents on whom it could call at a moment's notice. ... [It] has a private fleet of more than twenty aircraft, including helicopter gunships and a surveillance blimp division."   

In addition, Blackwater had

"train[ed] tens of thousands of federal and local law enforcement agents ... [as well as] troops from `friendly' foreign nations." Blackwater "operates its own intelligence division and counts among its executives senior ex-military and intelligence officials."

The company, which has a facility in Illinois, is building one in California, and has a jungle training facility in the Philippines, has garnered more than $500 million in government contracts. This "does not include its secret `black' budget operations for U.S intelligence agencies or private corporations/individuals and foreign governments," Scahill notes.

In addition to Prince, "A number of Blackwater executives are deeply conservative Christians, including corruption-smeared former Pentagon Inspector General Joseph Schmitz, who is also a member of the Sovereign Order of Malta, which Scahill describes as `a Christian militia formed in the eleventh century [to defend] `territories that the Crusaders had conquered from the Moslems,'" Chris Barsanti wote in a review of the book for In These Times.

Blackwater had a visible, and financially lucrative, presence in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as the use of company contractors cost the American taxpayer $240,000 a day.

 `Radical right wing Christian mega-millionaire'

Blackwater USA is the brainchild of Erik Prince -- a former Navy SEAL and son of Edgar Prince, a wealthy Michigan auto-parts supplier -- described by Scahill as a "radical right wing Christian mega-millionaire" who is a strong financial backer of President George W. Bush, as well as a donor to a host of conservative Christian political causes. 

In the 1980s "the Prince family merged with one of the most venerable conservative families in the United States," when Erik's sister Betsy - nine years his senior -- married Dick DeVos, whose father Richard, founded the multilevel marketing firm Amway.

The two families exercized enormous political influence both inside and outside Michigan. "They were one of the greatest bankrollers of far-right causes in U.S. history, and with their money they propelled extremist Christian politicians and activists to positions of prominence," Scahill writes.   

Prince, who keeps a relatively low profile, recently appeared at the North Carolina Technology Association's "Five Pillars" conference. There, he put in a plug for his company, saying that had the police had the kind of training that Blackwater provides, they could have dealt with situations such as the killings at Columbine and Virginia Tech much better.

"When I saw the Columbine tapes, I saw a lot of law enforcement officers with really nice gear, equipment and weapons, but they had never really trained together. They had never tested those assumptions," Prince said. "The same with Virginia Tech -- they had never really trained or planned for an active shooter."
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2009, 06:44:02 am »
Xe is a private military contractor co-founded by former Navy Seal Erik Prince. It was formerly called Blackwater Worldwide, and before that Blackwater USA.
 http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Blackwater
Blackawter's abandoned logo


In February 2009, Blackwater changed its name to "Xe," (pronounced like the letter "Z"), as part of a "rebranding" effort aimed at helping the company distance itself from negative incidents such as a September 2007 shooting in Nisoor Square in Baghdad, Iraq that killed at least a dozen civilians.[1] The company says its latest name change is meant to reflect a new focus. Blackwater / Xe spokesperson Anne Tyrrell said, "We've taken the company to a place where it is no longer accurately described as Blackwater." Its subsidiaries also have new names: Blackwater Airships is now Guardian Flight Systems, Blackwater Target Systems is GSD Manufacturing, and Blackwater Lodge and Training Center is the U.S. Training Center. The company also shed its bear-paw and crosshairs logo, for a stylized rendering of the name "Xe." The new head of Blackwater / Xe, Gary Jackson, told employees, "Xe will be a one-stop shopping source for world class services in the fields of security, stability, aviation, training and logistics." [2]

Blackwater offers "tactical training," firing range and target systems, and security consulting under the company's subdivisions: Blackwater Training Center, Blackwater Target Systems, Blackwater Security Consulting and Blackwater Canine. According to its website, Blackwater provides "a spectrum of support to military, government agencies, law enforcement and civilian entities in training, targets and range operations as a solution provider." Their slogan is: "Providing a new generation of capability, skills, and people to solve the spectrum of needs in the world of security."[3]

Blackwater received no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and post-Katrina New Orleans from the current Bush administration.[4]

A "Timeline of significant events for Blackwater" was posted September 18, 2007, by The Virginian-Pilot of Hampton Roads, Virginia.[5]

In November 2008, Blackwater announced that it had "laid off an undisclosed number of employees after it failed to win a government contract for its Grizzly armored vehicle to replace the Humvee." [6] Contents
1 About Blackwater
2 Tax evasion
3 Fatalities
3.1 2007: The killing of five Blackwater employees in central Baghdad
3.2 2005: The loss of seven Blackwater employees north of Baghdad and in Ramadi
3.3 2004: The killing of four Blackwater employees in Fallujah
4 Lawsuits
5 Controversy
5.1 The Nisoor Square killings and Iraq's volte-face on expelling Blackwater
5.2 Blackwater Air Force
5.3 Reservists faced court martial for confrontation with Blackwater contractor
5.3.1 Cleared of all charges amid allegations of witness tampering and more
5.4 "America's Holy Warriors"
5.5 Starr defense
5.6 CIA-Pentagon-Blackwater "revolving door"
5.7 UN Peacekeepers?
5.8 Soliders of Fortune
5.8.1 "Coalition of the Billing"
5.8.2 Chilean "former commandos"
5.8.3 Colombian "seasoned counter insurgency troops"
5.8.4 Filipino "mercenaries"
5.9 Colonel Thomas X. Hammes on Blackwater in Iraq: "They made enemies everywhere"
6 Public relations and lobbying
7 Executives
8 Books
9 Contact info
10 Resources
10.1 Related SourceWatch articles
10.2 References
10.3 External articles

[edit]
About Blackwater

Blackwater has a 6,000 acre training facility as part of its headquarters, in North Carolina. The firm has additional offices in Baghdad, Iraq, and Kuwait City, Kuwait.

The "About Blackwater" section of its website states: "Blackwater Training Center was founded in 1996 to fulfill the anticipated demand for government outsourcing of firearms and related security training. Located on over 6000 acres in Moyock, North Carolina (just south of the Virginia border), Blackwater has the finest private firearms training facility in the U.S. Blackwater has set a new standard for firearms and security training and is recognized as the industry leader in providing government outsource solutions in training, security, canine services, aviation support services, range construction and steel target equipment. Since its inception, Blackwater has trained over 50,000 military and law enforcement personnel and provided solutions to hundreds of satisfied customers."[7]

Blackwater is one of two companies which make up The Prince Group, the other being Prince Manufacturing.[8] The Prince Group tapped former Pentagon Inspector General, Joseph E. Schmitz, for chief operating officer and general counsel in September of 2005.[9]

The Prince Group bought Aviation Worldwide Services[10] in May of 2003. AWS consists of STI Aviation, Inc., Air Quest, Inc., and Presidential Airways, Inc. These companies provide the logistical and air support for Blackwater operations. Blackwater itself consists of Blackwater Training Center, Blackwater Target Systems, Blackwater Security Consulting and Blackwater Canine.[11]
[edit]
Tax evasion

In October 2007, U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Henry Waxman said Blackwater "may have engaged in significant tax evasion." Waxman noted that the IRS had ruled that Blackwater had "violated federal tax laws by treating an armed guard as an 'independent contractor.'" Waxman added, "The implication of this ruling is that Blackwater may have avoided paying millions of dollars in Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and related taxes for which it is legally responsible." [12]

The House Oversight Committee had received information from a Blackwater employee, who was required "to sign a non-disclosure agreement before [Blackwater] agreed to pay the back pay and other compensation that he was owed. The terms of this agreement explicitly prohibited the guard from disclosing any information about Blackwater to 'any politician' or 'public official.'" Waxman warned that it "appears that Blackwater used this illegal scheme to avoid millions of dollars in taxes and then prevented the security guard who discovered the tax evasion from contacting members of Congress or law enforcement officials." [12]
[edit]
Fatalities
[edit]
2007: The killing of five Blackwater employees in central Baghdad

On the morning of Tuesday, January 23, 2007, a helicopter owned by Blackwater crashed in "the heavily Sunni Fadhil neighborhood in north-central Baghdad [on the east side of the Tigris River], where witnesses reported clashes between insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi forces," the Associated Press reported.[13] According to a U.S. military official, "five civilians were killed". A "senior Iraqi defense official said the aircraft was shot down" by "a gunman with a PKC machine gun."

Blackwater "confirmed the five men were employed by the North Carolina-based company as security professionals."[14]

"Although accounts varied, all were consistent that at least one person operating the aircraft had been shot and badly hurt before the crash," the Associated Press reported January 23, 2007.[14]

On Wednesday, January 24, 2007, the Associated Press reported[13] that U.S. and Iraqi officials said that four of the five Blackwater employees were "shot execution style in the back the head." A senior U.S. Department of Defense official said that it was unknown whether the four were alive when shot."

Although a "senior Iraqi military official said a machine gunner downed the helicopter,... a U.S. military official in Washington said there were no indications that the aircraft, owned by Blackwater USA, had been shot out of the sky. Two Sunni insurgent groups, separately, claimed responsibility for the crash."[13]

"The helicopter was shot down after responding to assist a U.S. Embassy ground convoy that came under fire in a Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad, said a U.S. diplomatic official in Washington. ... The doomed helicopter swooped into electrical wires before the crash. U.S. officials said it was not clear if gunfire brought the aircraft down or caused its pilot to veer into the wires during evasive manuevers."[13]

"A second helicopter also was struck, but there were no casualties among its crew, said the diplomatic official, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to make statements."[13]

"Before Tuesday's crash, at least 22 employees of Blackwater Security Consultants or Blackwater USA had died in Iraq as a result of war-related violence, according to the Web site iCasualties.org, which tracks foreign troop fatalities in Iraq. Of those, 20 were Americans, and two were Polish," the Associated Press reported.[15]
[edit]
2005: The loss of seven Blackwater employees north of Baghdad and in Ramadi

Blackwater lost seven American employees on Thursday, April 21, 2005, in Iraq, bringing the "number of Blackwater employees killed in Iraq to 18," CNN reported.[16]

Six employees were killed "when a Bulgarian commercial helicopter crashed north of Baghdad. ... A seventh died when a roadside bomb detonated next to one of the company's armored personnel carriers near Ramadi. Four Blackwater employees were wounded in the Ramadi attack. All were working under contract to the U.S. military."[16]

Insurgents shot the helicopter down "with a heat-seeking missile", Ellen Knickmeyer reported April 22, 2005, for the Washington Post.[17] "The Blackwater contractors and two Fijian bodyguards working for Virginia-based Skylink Air and Logistic Support were en route from a Baghdad-area airfield to Tikrit, north of the capital, U.S. officials said.

"The three-man Bulgarian crew was flying the helicopter close to the ground, a military tactic intended to avoid giving attackers time to spot aircraft and line up a shot, according to U.S. officials," Knickmeyer wrote.[17]

"The attack marked the first time in the two years of the U.S.-led occupation that fighters in Iraq have succeeded in bringing down an aircraft contracted for transporting civilians. Planes and helicopters are being used increasingly around the country as attacks make road travel on vital routes deadly for Iraqis and foreigners alike," Knickmeyer wrote.[17]
[edit]
2004: The killing of four Blackwater employees in Fallujah

Blackwater—and private military contractors in general—came under increased public scrutiny following the public killing and mutilation of four employees in Fallujah, Iraq on March 31, 2004. This increased scrutiny lead the firm to hire the Alexander Strategy Group for crisis management, public and media relations.[18]

According to Russel Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, a few days after the Fallujah killings, "Blackwater Security Consulting engaged in full-scale battle in Najaf, with the company flying its own helicopters amidst an intense firefight to resupply its own commandos."[19]
[edit]
Lawsuits
Blackwater has been sued by families of the contractors killed in Falluja in March 2004. The case marks the first time a company has been sued for deaths in the line of work. As Peter W. Singer states, this lawsuit, or one like it, was inevitable and necessary to establish some of the legal groundwork regarding contractors and PMCs on the battlefield.[20][21]
The case has been remanded back to Wake County Superior Court after being transferred to North Carolina Federal Court.[22]
Aviation Worldwide Services, LLC, Presidential Airways, Inc., STI Aviation, Inc. and Air Quest, Inc. together form Blackwater's aviation division. The four companies are being sued by the families of three soldiers in the US military killed in an airplane accident in Afghanistan in November, 2004.[23]
Complaint
Amended Complaint
Blackwater is being sued under the Alien Tort Claims Act by families of Iraqis slain in the September 16th, 2007 massacre in Baghdad.
Complaint
[edit]
Controversy
[edit]
The Nisoor Square killings and Iraq's volte-face on expelling Blackwater

First, on September 17, 2007, the Iraqi government said that "it was revoking the license" of Blackwater USA, which has been "accused of involvement in the deaths of eight civilians in a firefight[24] that followed a car bomb explosion near a State Department motorcade on September 16, 2007[25]]. ... Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said eight civilians were killed and 13 were wounded when contractors believed to be working for Blackwater USA opened fire in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of western Baghdad," the Associated Press reported September 17, 2007.[26]

A "preliminary Iraqi report" filed by the Ministry of Interior "on a shooting involving an American diplomatic motorcade said [September 19, 2007,] that Blackwater security guards were not ambushed, as the company reported, but instead fired at a car when it did not heed a policeman’s call to stop, killing a couple and their infant." The report, "presented to the Iraqi cabinet and, though unverified, seemed to contradict an account offered by Blackwater USA that the guards were responding to gunfire by militants. The report said Blackwater helicopters had also fired. The Ministry of Defense said 20 Iraqis had been killed, a far higher number than had been reported before."[27]

Then, on September 23, 2007, Iraq said it "will not take immediate steps to expel" Blackwater, which is under a joint investigation by Iraqi and U.S. governments. An Iraqi security spokesman, "further softening of Iraq's response to the shooting," said that "Blackwater and other private security companies were doing important work guarding foreign diplomats."[28]

In January 2008, the Associated Press reported that Blackwater "repaired and repainted its trucks immediately after a deadly September shooting in Baghdad, making it difficult to determine whether enemy gunfire provoked the attack. A Blackwater spokesperson said the truck repairs "would have been done at the government's direction," perhaps referring to an obligation under the firm's contract with the State Department that it maintain its own vehicles. [29]
[edit]
Blackwater Air Force

In August 2007, it was reported that Blackwater U.S.A., which "already has a force of armed helicopters in Iraq, and apparently wants something a little faster, and more heavily armed, to fulfill its security contracts overseas", was buying "one two-seater" "five ton, single engine" "Super Tucano light combat aircraft from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer".[30] "[B ]uilt for pilot training, [they] also perform quite well for counter-insurgency work."[31]

"[B ]asically a prop driven trainer that is equipped for combat missions", the "aircraft can carry up to 1.5 tons of weapons, including 12.7mm machine-guns, bombs and missiles. The aircraft cruises at about 500 kilometers an hour and can stay in the air for about 6.5 hours per sortie. One of the options is a FLIR (infrared radar that produces a photo realistic video image in any weather) and a fire control system for bombing. ...

"The Super Tucano costs $9 million each, and come in one or two seat versions. The bubble canopy provides excellent visibility. This, coupled with its slow speed (versus jets), makes it an excellent ground attack aircraft."[31]
[edit]
Reservists faced court martial for confrontation with Blackwater contractor

In February 2007, the Air Force Times reported that
"Two Air Force lieutenant colonels are facing charges of assault and conduct unbecoming an officer stemming from a face-off with a Blackwater contractor in Afghanistan last fall. Civilian attorneys for the two men say the case raises troubling questions for airmen operating in the war zone, and argue that the Air Force is prosecuting the officers for essentially following rules of engagement.
"The facts of the case are in dispute. The Air Force charges indicate the two men, Lt. Col. Gary W. Brown and Lt. Col. Christopher R. Hall, initiated the incident by ramming the contractor’s sport utility vehicle. But family members of the two men say that story is backward — that security contractor Jerry Bergeron rammed the Air Force SUV the two officers were in and that they responded to what they perceived as a threat on their lives."[32]
[edit]
Cleared of all charges amid allegations of witness tampering and more

The two reservists were subsequently cleared, according to the Air Force Times:
"An investigating officer concluded in March that the charges against Brown and Hall should be dropped. 'Given the security situation in Kabul at the time, and the facts and circumstances of their encounter with Mr. Bergeron on the road, and then at the gate, I believe that they truly felt threatened and reacted exactly as they were trained to do,' she wrote. Moreover, her report to the convening authority, Lt. Gen. Gary North, head of Central Command Air Forces and 9th Air Force, included allegations of witness tampering, attempted bribery, falsified evidence and doctored charging documents. 'In this case, the Article 32 investigation uncovered information that someone may have attempted to influence the testimonies of several local national witnesses,' the Air Force statement released Saturday reads."[33]

Brown's wife Stacey set up a website, http://www.wrongedbyblackwater.com/, to publicise the case and raise money for the two men's legal defense.[34] Sometime in September 2007, the site was taken down. However, it is still available from the Yahoo cache.[35]
[edit]
"America's Holy Warriors"

Erik Prince[36] is "the secretive, mega-millionaire, right-wing Christian founder of Blackwater, the private security firm that has built a formidable mercenary force in Iraq," Chris Hedges wrote December 31, 2006, in Truthdig.[37]

Prince "champions his company as a patriotic extension of the U.S. military. His employees, in an act as cynical as it is deceitful, take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution.[38] These mercenary units in Iraq, including Blackwater, contain some 20,000 fighters. They unleash indiscriminate and wanton violence against unarmed Iraqis, have no accountability and are beyond the reach of legitimate authority. The appearance of these paramilitary fighters, heavily armed and wearing their trademark black uniforms, patrolling the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, gave us a grim taste of the future. It was a stark reminder that the tyranny we impose on others we will one day impose on ourselves," Hedges wrote.[37]
[edit]
Starr defense

"The new 'counsel of record' for the North Carolina-based company is none other than former Whitewater investigator Kenneth Starr—the independent counsel in the 1999 impeachment of President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal," Jeremy Scahill and Garrett Ordower reported online October 26, 2006, in The Nation.[39] "Starr was brought in last week by Blackwater to file motions in front of the US Supreme Court in a case stemming from the killing of four Blackwater contractors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah on March 31, 2004."

"There are undeniable benefits to having Starr, the US Solicitor General under President George H.W. Bush, represent Blackwater—a highly partisan GOP company—in front of a Supreme Court stacked with Bush appointees. Starr also has a personal connection to Blackwater. Starr and Joseph Schmitz, the general counsel and chief operating officer of Blackwater's parent company, the Prince Group, have both worked closely with the arch-conservative Washington Legal Foundation. Since 1993 Starr has served on the legal policy advisory board of the organization for which Schmitz has frequently acted as a spokesperson and attorney," Scahill and Ordower wrote.[39]
[edit]
CIA-Pentagon-Blackwater "revolving door"

"A number of senior CIA and Pentagon officials have taken top jobs at Blackwater, including firm vice chairman Cofer Black, who was the Bush Administration's top counterterrorism official at the time of the 9/11 attacks (and who famously said in 2002, 'There was before 9/11 and after 9/11. After 9/11, the gloves came off')," Ken Silverstein wrote September 12, 2006, in Harper's Magazine.[40]

In fall 2005, Robert Richer "resigned from the post of Associate Deputy Director of Operations; he immediately took a job as Blackwater's Vice President of Intelligence. Richer is a former head of the CIA's Near East Division and long served in Amman, where, for a period beginning in 1999, he held the post of station chief. For years he was the agency's point man with Jordan's King Abdullah, with whom he developed an extraordinarily close relationship," Silverstein wrote.[40]

Also, Silverstein wrote in September 2006, "there's talk at the agency that Blackwater is also aggressively recruiting José Rodriguez, the CIA's current top spy as director of the National Clandestine Service. Rodriguez has a number of former agency friends at Blackwater, most notably Rick Prado, with whom he served in Latin America and who is now Blackwater's Vice President of Special Programs."[40]

Recent Cofer Black start-up and merger, Total Intelligence Solutions, LLC, is a merger of three companies, The Black Group, The Terrorism Research Center, Inc. and Technical Defense. TIS very well may fall outside the legal corporate domain of Blackwater, however two of the top executives at TIS, Cofer Black and Enrique Prado still hold positions at Blackwater, and Robert Richer recently left his position at Blackwater to take on responsibilities at TIS. As well, it should be noted that one of the three companies merged to create TIS, The Terrorism Research Center, is owned by Blackwater founder Erik Prince.[41]
[edit]
UN Peacekeepers?
 
Blackwater's advertisement in the IPOA journal, March/April 2007
Blackwater was an active member of the International Peace Operations Association, a trade association which promotes the use of commercial force, logistics, demining and other conflict/post conflict services. Blackwater ran an advertisement on the second page of their journals, which can be downloaded free at their website,[42] which acts well as an example of the image the PMC industry has been seeking to re-define themselves within.

Blackwater said that "it can help keep peace in Darfur, Mark Langfitt reported May 26, 2006, for NPR. "Doug Brooks runs an association of private military firms, which includes Blackwater. He says his members can help where governments have failed."[43]

"The United Nations, which hopes to deploy in Darfur this fall, opposes the outsourcing of force," Langfitt wrote.[43] "The peacekeeping pitch sounds great, but has all kinds of problems, [said] Peter Singer, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and author of Corporate Warriors. "For one thing, [Singer said], there's little accountability. If contractors misbehave—as they did at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison—they rarely face charges. Singer says private military firms are focusing on peacekeeping, in part, to improve their image."

Blackwater "is pushing to be part of UN peacekeeping missions in places like Darfur," The Current host Anna Maria Tremonti commented May 11, 2006, on her CBC (Canada) radio show. "But so far the United Nations is not buying. It says peacekeeping is something that requires great sensitivity."[44]
[edit]
Soliders of Fortune
[edit]
"Coalition of the Billing"

"There are no reliable figures on the number of guards from Colombia or other countries," Sonni Efron wrote July 30, 2005, in the Los Angeles Times. "Fijians, Ukrainians, South Africans, Nepalese and Serbs reportedly are on the job in Iraq."[45]

Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution, "author of a book on the private military industry, said veterans of Latin American conflicts, including Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans, also had turned up. 'What we've done in Iraq is assemble a true 'coalition of the billing',' Singer said, playing off President Bush's description of the U.S.-led alliance of nations with a troop presence in Iraq as a 'coalition of the willing'," Efron wrote.[45]
[edit]
Chilean "former commandos"

Blackwater and other U.S.-based private military contractors do not only recruit Americans; according to Jonathan Franklin, former commandos from Chile are an increasing presence among private military troops in Iraq. Gary Jackson, president of Blackwater, told the British newspaper The Guardian that former Chilean commandos, "many of who had trained under the military government of Augusto Pinochet," will be sent to Iraq for a year and a half, to guard oil wells from saboteurs. "We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals - the Chilean commandos are very, very professional and they fit within the Blackwater system," said Jackson. And the private military melting pot doesn't stop there: "Squads of Bosnians, Filipinos and Americans with special forces experience have been hired for tasks ranging from airport security to protecting Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority."[46]
[edit]
Colombian "seasoned counter insurgency troops"

The Colombian news magazine Semana and the Financial Times of London reported in September 2006 that "35 Colombians—mostly seasoned counter insurgency troops—alleged in a letter to Blackwater that recruiters had promised them salaries of $4,000 a month," Bill Sizemore wrote in The Virginian-Pilot. "They said it was only when they were given their contracts barely hours before leaving Bogota that they learned they would be paid $34 a day, or about $1,000 a month."[47]

"American contractors can earn $10,000 a month or more working for Blackwater and its competitors in Iraq," Sizemore wrote.[47]

In July 2005, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) was concerned "that U.S. government contractors [were] hiring thousands of impoverished former military personnel, with no public scrutiny, little accountability and large hidden costs to taxpayers," Sonni Efron wrote in the Los Angeles Times.[45]

"The United States has spent more than $4 billion since 2000 on Plan Colombia, a counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics program that includes training and support for the Colombian police and military. Last month, Congress moved toward approval of an additional $734.5 million in aid to the Andean region in 2006, most of it for Colombia. 'We're training foreign nationals - who then take that training and market it to private companies, who pay them three or four times as much as we're paying soldiers,' Schakowsky said. 'American taxpayers are paying for the training of those Colombian soldiers,' she said. 'When they leave to take more lucrative jobs, perhaps with an American military contractor, they take that training with them. So then we're paying to train that person's replacement. And then we're paying the bill to the private military contractors'," Efron wrote.[45]
[edit]
Filipino "mercenaries"

"Many Filipinos apply for any type of work just to work abroad and earn money", with an estimated "tenth of the country's 84 million population ... out of the country and working legally and illegally abroad", Claro Cortes reported June 11, 2006, in Gulf News.[48]

"Authorities at the former US Naval Base in Subic have denied reports that an American company is using the facility to hire Filipino mercenaries for Iraq", Cortes wrote. Several Manila newspapers reported that Blackwater USA "was using the former US naval base to recruit Filipino mercenaries to fight in Iraq" and "even featured pictures of Filipino-looking men wearing combat fatigues during what appears to be guard duty in an alleged Middle East community."[48]

"The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounced the US for hiring Filipino mercenaries to fight its wars in Iraq and other countries," Manila's Sun Star reported June 12, 2006.[49] "New People's Army (NPA) spokesman Gregorio 'Ka Roger' Rosal said hiring Filipino civilians to provide support services for the US' war in Iraq and other countries is bad enough and should be discouraged, but 'hiring Filipino soldiers of fortune to fight in US wars of aggression and terror against other countries is even worse and deserves nothing but condemnation.'

"Rosal said the establishment of Blackwater's recruitment center in the Philippines stemmed from the mounting casualties of US military personnel that have triggered severe criticism, massive protests and plunging ratings for US President George W. Bush.

"He said the US has also turned to Third World countries to be able to cut costs as hired Filipino mercenaries are paid only US$60,000-US$80,000 a year, half of what it pays American mercenaries with equivalent qualifications and assignments," the Sun Star reported.[49]
[edit]
Colonel Thomas X. Hammes on Blackwater in Iraq: "They made enemies everywhere"

In late January 2005, journalist Tim Shorrock wrote on his blog about a conference "organized by the George Washington University Law School with support from the International Peace Operations Association, which represents, Blackwater, MPRI and other major contractors". Shorrock wrote:[50]
"They made enemies everywhere," Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, an expert on guerrilla warfare and a senior fellow at the National Defense University told [the conference]. He was referring to the tactics used by Blackwater USA, the North Carolina company that was hired by the Coalition Provisional Authority to provide security for L. Paul Bremer, the US administrator who was dispatched by the Bush administration to run Iraq in 2003.
A few minutes earlier, Chris Taylor, Blackwater's vice president for strategic initiatives, had boasted about the protective cordon his company provided to Bremer. Under a "turnkey security package" with the CPA, Bremer was accompanied by 36 "personnel protection specialists," two K-9 dog teams and three MD-530 helicopters built by MD Helicopters, Inc..
[edit]
Public relations and lobbying

On October 11, 2007, Blackwater announced their withdrawal from IPOA. According to the Wall Street Journal, a Blackwater spokeswoman said, “We have decided to take a hiatus from the association. We, like many other organizations engaged in this type of work, are pursuing other aspects and methods of industry outreach and governance."[1][2]

Blackwater's immediate departure from IPOA may have been to avoid an internal investigation from the trade association. [3]

Blackwater has started up their own organization, The Blackwater Peace and Stability Operations Institute, [4] and taken up the services of a well known public relations company.

The law firms representing Blackwater, McDermott Will & Emery and Crowell & Moring, have hired public relations giant Burson-Marsteller. Robert Tappan, one of the Burson-Marsteller executives working on the Blackwater case,[51] was formerly the deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the State Department. While in this capacity, he spent six months in Baghdad as the director of strategic communications for the Coalition Provisional Authority. [52]

According to PRWeek, Burson subsidiary, BKSH & Associates, was hired through an internal connection at Blackwater to help with Erik Prince's October 2, 2007 testimony to Congress and that this "temporary engagement has ended". [53]

In January 2008, Blackwater hired Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, "as its D.C. representative for contracting and acquisition issues," reported O'Dwyer's PR Daily. The firm will serve as Blackwater's "D.C. representative for contracting and acquisition issues." Firm lobbyists on the Blackwater account include Jimmy Broughton, who was former Senator Jesse Helms's chief of staff; Mark Harkins, who worked for Representative Brad Miller; and Kevin Jones, who served as a legislative assistant to former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen.. [54]

In January 2008, the online database Lobbyists.info also listed C&M Capitolink and Gregory F. Hahn, in addition to Womble Carlyle, as Blackwater's lobbying firms. [55]
[edit]
Executives
Erik Prince, Chairman of the Board
Joseph E. Schmitz (former Inspector General, Office of the Secretary of Defense, under Donald Rumsfeld)[9]
J. Cofer Black, Vice Chairman of the Board (former Coordinator in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State, under Secretary of State Colin Powell)

In February 2009, Prince announced he was stepping down as the company's CEO, but would remain its chair. "I'm a little worn out by the whole thing, the politics of it all," he said. In other personnel changes, "Joe Yorio, 44, an executive from shipping company DHL with an Army Special Forces background, will become president of Xe, replacing longtime employee Gary Jackson. Danielle Esposito, 32, a veteran employee, will become chief operating officer and executive vice president. The chief executive slot remains open and is likely to be filled by Mr. Yorio." [56]
[edit]
Books
Robert Young Pelton, License to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, Crown Publishing Group, 2006. 288 pp. ISBN 9780307345455
Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (book), Avalon Publishing Group, Inc./Nation Books, 2007. 438 pp. $26.95. ISBN 10 1560259795 ISBN 13 978-1560259794
[edit]
Contact info

P.O. Box 1029
Moyock, NC 27958
Phone: 252 435-2488
Website (main): http://www.blackwaterusa.com/
Website (aviation): http://www.blackwaterusa.com/aviation/aircharter.asp
[edit]
Resources
[edit]
Related SourceWatch articles
Alexander Strategy Group
Aviation Worldwide Services, LLC
Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (book) by Jeremy Scahill
Blackwater Watch
civil war in Iraq
Custer Battles
Defense contractors
Executive Outcomes
Greystone, Ltd.
Hurricane Katrina
International Peace Operations Association
Loose Cannon Pentagon
McCain doctrine
Military-industrial complex
outsourcing
post-war Iraq
Presidential Airways, Inc.
Private Military Corporations
Privatization of Iraq
Vinnell Brown and Root (VBR)
Vinnell Corporation
war profiteering
[edit]
References
↑ National Public Radio, Business Blackwater Picks A New Name: It's Xe, Radio report. February 13, 2009
↑ August Cole, "Blackwater Puts on a New Public Face", Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2009.
↑ Blackwater Security.com.
↑ Company profile: Blackwater USA, NNDB.com.
↑ "Timeline of significant events for Blackwater," The Virginian-Pilot, September 18, 2007.
↑ "Blackwater Lays Off Workers," Associated Press, November 4, 2008.
↑ History, BlackwaterUSA.com.
↑ Prince Group, PrinceManufacturing.com.
↑ 9.0 9.1 Griff Witte, "Pentagon's IG Takes Job at Contractor," Washington Post, September 1, 2005.
↑ Aviation, BlackwaterUSA.com.
↑ "Blackwater USA Completes Acquisition of Aviation Worldwide Services press release," Press World, April 28, 2003.
↑ 12.0 12.1 Klaus Marre, "Waxman: Blackwater may have engaged in tax evasion," The Hill, October 22, 2007
↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Kim Gamel, "Helicopter Shot Down in Iraq; 5 Killed," Associated Press (CBS News), January 23, 2007.
↑ 14.0 14.1 Mike Baker, "Blackwater silent after helicopter crashes in Iraq, killing five," Associated Press (The Mercury News), January 23, 2007.
↑ Steven R. Hurst, "5 Americans Killed in Iraq Copter Crash ... over dangerous Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad," Associated Press (CBS News), January 24, 2007.
↑ 16.0 16.1 "7 U.S. security contractors killed in Iraq. Blackwater USA also lost 4 men in Falluja last year," CNN, April 21, 2005.
↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 Ellen Knickmeyer, "Insurgents Down Civilian Helicopter Near Iraqi Capital. 6 Americans Among Victims; More Bodies Found in Tigris," Washington Post, April 22, 2005.
↑ Jonathan E. Kaplan, "Private army seeking political advice in D.C.," The Hill, April 14, 2004.
↑ Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, "The Rising Corporate Military Monster," CounterPunch, April 23, 2004.
↑ This Reuters article is no longer available.
↑ This News & Observer article is no longer available.
↑ order.pdf Blackwater remanding order case number 05-00048, SourceWatch pdf.
↑ Griff Witte, "AFGHANISTAN: Blackwater Broke Rules, Report Says," Washington Post (CorpWatch), October 5, 2005.
↑ "Amateur video shows roadside bomb attack on contractors," CNN, September 17, 2007.
↑ "Report: Contractors involved in shooting," Associated Press (WANE.com), September 16, 2007.
↑ "Blackwater License Being Pulled in Iraq," Associated Press (New York Times), September 17, 2007.
↑ Sabrina Tavernise and James Glanz, "Iraqi Report Says Blackwater Guards Fired First," New York Times, September 19, 2007.
↑ " Reuters AlertNet, September 23, 2007.
↑ Lara Jakes Jordon and Mat Apuzzo, "FBI Finds Blackwater Trucks Patched," Associated Press, January 12, 2008.
↑ Super Tucano, Embraer.com, accessed September 4, 2007.
↑ 31.0 31.1 "Blackwater Buys Brazilian Bombers," Strategy Page, August 27, 2007.
↑ Rod Hafemeister, "Lt. colonels charged with assaulting contractor", Air Force Times, February 26, 2007.
↑ "Charges dismissed against officers in Kabul run-in with contractor", Air Force Times, April 4, 2007.
↑ Jay Price, "Air Force looks into fight with contractor", The News & Observer (North Carolina), February 21, 2007.
↑ wrongedbyblackwater.com via Yahoo cache. Undated, accessed September 30, 2007.
↑ Profile: Erik Prince, NNDB.com.
↑ 37.0 37.1 Chris Hedges, "America’s Holy Warriors," Truthdig, December 31, 2006.
↑ "Memorandum for All Blackwater USA Officers, Employees, and Independent Contractors. Subject: Blackwater USA National Security Oath and Leadership Standards," Prince Group (MountainRunner.us), September 16, 2005.
↑ 39.0 39.1 Jeremy Scahill and Garrett Ordower, "From Whitewater to Blackwater," The Nation, October 26, 2006.
↑ 40.0 40.1 40.2 Ken Silverstein, "Revolving Door to Blackwater Causes Alarm at CIA," Harper's Magazine, September 12, 2006.
↑ "Black and Prince Launch Intel Company," Iraqslogger, no date. Registration required.
↑ IPOA Online Journal, IPOAOnline.org.
↑ 43.0 43.1 Frank Langfitt, "Private Military Firm Pitches Its Services in Darfur," All Things Considered/NPR, May 26, 2006.
↑ Anna Maria Tremonti, "Whole Show Blow-by-Blow. The Current for Show May 11, 2006," CBC (Canada), May 11, 2006.
↑ 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 Sonni Efron, "Worry Grows as Foreigners Flock to Iraq's Risky Jobs," Los Angeles Times (GlobalPolicy.org), July 30, 2005.
↑ Jonathan Franklin, "US contractor recruits guards for Iraq in Chile. Forces say experienced soldiers are quitting for private companies which pay more for similar work," The Guardian (UK), March 5, 2004.
↑ 47.0 47.1 Bill Sizemore, "Blackwater USA says it can supply forces for conflicts," The Virginian-Pilot, March 30, 2006: "Stepping into a potential political minefield, Blackwater USA is offering itself up as an army for hire to police the world's trouble spots."
↑ 48.0 48.1 Claro Cortes, "Manila Newspapers: US Firm Blackwater Recruiting Mercenaries to Fight in Iraq, Authorities Deny it. GN Headline: US firm 'not recruiting mercenaries for Iraq'," Al-Jazeerah, June 11, 2006.
↑ 49.0 49.1 "Congress can look into hiring of Pinoy 'mercenaries' to Iraq: Palace," Sun Star (Manila, Philippines), June 12, 2006.
↑ Tim Shorrock, "Contractor's arrogance contributed to Iraqi rebellion, Marine Colonel says. 'Money doesn't talk, it swears...'," Tim Shorrock Blogspot, January 31, 2005.
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5io26XfEe4F4LJr8KxWsRUyjO_SbwD8S34P3O0
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/rls/62028.htm
http://www.prweek.com/us/news/article/743606/Blackwater-incident-sheds-light-crises/
↑ "Blackwater Bolsters Lobby Team," O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub req'd), January 21, 2008.
↑ "Blackwater USA," Lobbyist.info (sub req'd), accessed January 2008.
↑ August Cole, "Founder, CEO of Blackwater Steps Aside, 'Worn Out'," Wall Street Journal (sub req'd), March 2, 2009.
[edit]
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Offline Optimus

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2009, 10:28:01 am »
Blackwater's Dark Deeds Exposed
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090817/blackwatercountdown_video
By Countdown
August 5, 2009

Video: MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olbermann

The Nation's Jeremy Scahill and Keith Olbermann discuss the explosive news Scahill broke on Tuesday: Blackwater's founder, Erik Prince, has been accused, in sworn depositions from two former employees, of murder. Scahill notes that Blackwater being involved in scandal is "no great surprise," but the explosive details in the report confirm Prince's view of the war in Iraq as a religious crusade. More importantly, Scahill says, the Justice Department is in possession of this information, and according to the attorneys in the civil case from which these depositions came, Prince could be eligible for murder charges.

More of Scahill's coverage of Blackwater for The Nation is available here.

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2009, 07:38:33 pm »
Scahill on Olbermann exposing arms smuggling from US firms to Iraqi insurgents!

This is some really serious shit.

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2009, 01:20:01 pm »
Murder, Inc?

Blackwater accused of murder in 'crusade to eliminate Muslims'


By Keith Olberman and Jeremy Scahill
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23205.htm

MSNBC Broadcast August 04, 2009  - See Part 2 Below Broadcast August 05, 2009

Watch :

"Countdown-The Nation's Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater chief Eric Prince's deep troubles"

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yofTTH46-qo&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Finformationclearinghouse%2Einfo%2Farticle23205%2Ehtm&feature=player_embedded

Transcript For August 04, 2009

OLBERMANN: The slaughter of civilians for sport, weapons smuggling, destruction of evidence, wholesale corruption and finally murder. In our third story on the COUNTDOWN, a full-fledged criminal enterprise executed by the military contractors known formally as Blackwater, according to the sworn testimony of two of its employees. "The Nation's" Jeremy Scahill, who broke the story, joins us in a moment.

The details come straight from two sworn affidavits filed late last night by persons who identities have been sealed to protect their identity, men who have previously cooperated with federal prosecutors in the criminal inquiry into Blackwater. From John Doe number two, a former member of Blackwater's management team, quoting the affidavit, "it appears that Mr. Erik Prince, Blackwater's founder, and his employees murdered or had murdered one or more persons who had provided information or were planning on providing information to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct. On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince's employ, Mr. Prince's management has personally threatened me with death and violence."

John Doe number two also stating that Mr. Prince, pictured here, smuggled unlawful weapons into Iraq, including sawed-off, semi-automatic machine guns with silencers and illegal hand grenades. The affidavit also says that Prince, quote, "views himself as a Christian crusader eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe. To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the crusades. Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game."

Striking similar allegations made in the affidavit of John Doe number one, a former U.S. marine who worked for Blackwater in Iraq. He alleges that incidences of unjustified deadly force were initially videotaped and watched in a session called a Hot Wash. Blackwater, now known as XE Services, spelled XE, maintains that Mr. Prince and the company are innocent of any wrongdoing and performed their duties on behalf of their employer, the State Department.

Joining me now, as promised, the contributor to "The Nation Magazine" and author of "Blackwater, the Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," Jeremy Scahill. Good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

JEREMY SCAHILL, "THE NATION": Thanks for having me back, Keith.

OLBERMANN: As horrific as all this sounds, it's just part of what you described in the piece today. Flesh it out for us.

SCAHILL: Obviously to hear the term murder and Blackwater in the same sentence is no great surprise, particularly to people who have been following the history of this company. It's been at the center of some of the worst violence of in Iraq, killing civilians repeatedly. Five of its men are going to be tried on manslaughter charges for the Nisr (ph) Square Massacre in Baghdad in September '07. Another one pled guilty.

The Congress is investigating. The IRS is investigating. This is a scandal-plagued company.

What is explosive about what's happened here-and you just went through some of the most explosive of these details-is that you have two former Blackwater officials. I have learned from sources that's John Doe number two was actually in Blackwater management and was privy to some of the inner workings of the company.

Erik Prince, the owner of Blackwater, remains the sole owner of the company, no matter that he stepped down as CEO and founder of the company. He micro-manages every aspect of Blackwater's operations and that's been well known.

On the Christian supremacist angle, let's remember that Erik Prince viewed Blackwater as a neo-crusader force and has from the beginning. This is a guy who comes from the powerhouse of the radical religious right. His father was a major bank roller and gave the seed money to Gary Bauer to start the Family Research Council, James Dobson, Focus on the Family.

And then we have his force employed in Iraq as part of a war against a Muslim nation that George Bush characterized as a crusade. What we have here, Keith, is a confirmation from insiders at Blackwater that, in fact, Erik Prince did have a neo-crusader agenda, and, most explosively, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were intending to or did cooperate in the federal government's criminal investigation of Blackwater.

This is deadly serious.

OLBERMANN: To the murder in a second. But you mentioned something in here that strikes an obvious question. How could the Bush administration's State Department have missed this crusader element here, or was that what they were looking for?

SCAHILL: Missed it? I think it was considered a plus in the Bush White House. Remember, Keith, what we had here was the Bush administration essentially create a force that acted as an armed wing of the administration, not subject to the military command, not subject to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, that reported directly to George Bush's secretary of state and then to the president.

These were his men, his private force in Baghdad. And the allegations that they were running around shooting Iraqis as part of a war to eliminate Islam globally, as is actually what one of these individuals said, is extremely disturbing to anyone who believes in any semblance of Constitution, law or human rights.

OLBERMANN: Some specifics, to what you know about them. This is a strong term murder in court documents. This is under oath. This is not somebody throwing something up against a wall to see if it will stick. Are we talking about something related to the 2007 Baghdad Massacre or something here?

SCAHILL: It's unclear but I will tell you what I do know about this, Keith. The fact of the matter is that these individuals, in these sworn depositions, provided those depositions to lawyers, Susan Burke and the Center for Constitution Rights, that are suing Blackwater on behalf of Iraqis killed by Blackwater operatives in Iraq. They are suing them in civil litigation.

What we do know is that these same individuals say that they gave this identical information to the federal government, one of them in Grand Jury testimony, as part of the on-going criminal investigation. When I called the Justice Department and asked specifically, are you investigating Erik Prince on allegations that he was involved with murder, the Justice Department interestingly said that they would not confirm or deny any action that they may or may not be taking against uncharged individuals.

Erik Prince, according to the lawyers suing Blackwater, could be eligible for murder charges in both Virginia and the state of North Carolina under this existing law. That's the argument they're making in their motion that was filed late last night in the Eastern District of Virginia.

OLBERMANN: Jeremy Scahill, who has been the watchdog on Blackwater, now Xe, of "The Nation," who brought this story to everyone's attention today. Great thanks for doing so and great thanks for coming in.

SCAHILL: Thank you, Keith.

Update - MSNBC Broadcast August 05, 2009

Watch :

"Keith Olbermann: Blackwater - Murder, Inc."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW9g6ao1p9U&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Finformationclearinghouse%2Einfo%2Farticle23205%2Ehtm&feature=player_embedded

 

Blackwater Founder's Visions of Christian Supremacy in Iraq

By Kevin Gosztola

Open Salon --- Explosive allegations concerning Blackwater have recently become public in a bombshell of a story published by Jeremy Scahill, a man who has been on the Blackwater beat for years now.

Two individuals, a former employee and a Marine who used to work as a security operative, allege that Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, may have murdered or assisted in the murders of individuals who were helping federal authorities investigate his company. 

What’s striking isn’t that Blackwater and murder is in the news. Blackwater has a history of being linked to allegations of murder (for example, the Nissour Square killings on September 16, 2007).

The most salient part of this news are the words written in a five page declaration by a former member of Blackwater’s management team, who is being referred to as “John Doe #2” because he fears he may face violent retaliation if his identity is found out.

Doe #2 alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe":

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince's executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to "lay Hajiis out on cardboard." Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince's employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as "ragheads" or "hajiis."

That Erik Prince may have been involved in murders of people cooperating with investigations of his company isn't as important as the fact that if this is true he murdered because he felt compelled by a higher power to do so.

Jeremy Scahill, a journalist for The Nation and the man who broke this news story yesterday, discussed Prince’s Christian supremacist ideology on Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann yesterday night.

“…let`s remember that Erik Prince viewed Blackwater as a neo-crusader force and has from the beginning. This is a guy who comes from the powerhouse of the radical religious right. His father was a major bank roller and gave the seed money to Gary Bauer to start the Family Research Council, James Dobson, Focus on the Family.

And then we have his force employed in Iraq as part of a war against a Muslim nation that George Bush characterized as a crusade. What we have here, Keith, is a confirmation from insiders at Blackwater that, in fact, Erik Prince did have a neo-crusader agenda, and, most explosively, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were intending to or did cooperate in the federal government`s criminal investigation of Blackwater…”

When asked how Bush could have missed the “crusader element,” Scahill rightfully explained that Bush viewed this as a “plus” and did not miss it.

Scahill said, “These were his men, his private force in Baghdad. And the allegations that they were running around shooting Iraqis as part of a war to eliminate Islam globally, as is actually what one of these individuals said, is extremely disturbing to anyone who believes in any semblance of Constitution, law or human rights.

Robert Weitzel, in an article titled, “U.S.’s Military Crusade for Christ,” writes that “Prince envisions an evangelical “end time” role for his warriors, “Everybody carries guns, just like Jeremiah rebuilding the temple in Israel—a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other.””

Prince has served on the board of directors of Christian Freedom International, a “crusading missionary organization operating in the overwhelmingly Islamic countries of Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Prince is and has been one of many leaders who have been using forces and violence because of what they believe. When considering other crusader elements that have played a role in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the entire “war on terror,” it becomes more apparent that the U.S. is waging violence in a calculated manner similar to Islamic jihad and many are doing it for religious reasons like Islamic jihadists, aiming to advance a Christian supremacist agenda.

In 2007, Operation Stand Up planned to send “freedom packages” to soldiers and Marines in Iraq that would have contained Bibles and “the apocalyptic video game, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces,” where “Christians carry on warfare against people of other faiths.” (The Military Religious Freedom Foundation prevented the packages from being sent.)

Campus Crusade for Christ (known as “cru” on college campuses) has been providing weekly “God’s Basic Training” programs to the U.S. Air Force Academy so that “‘government paid missionaries’ can complete their training.”

Televangelist John Hagee, a pastor of a 16,000 member church with millions of viewers a week, preaches “that in order to bring about the Second Coming of Christ and the Rapture of true believers, Islam first has to be destroyed.”

In an interview on NPR, Hagee, who Americans may remember from John McCain’s presidential campaign, said on Fresh Air in September of 2006:

GROSS: Pastor Hagee, if you believe that the Bible takes precedence over Washington, D.C., I would assume maybe you'd think the Bible takes precedence over the Israeli government as well. If you use the Bible as the basis of policy, is there any room for compromise? And if you use the Bible as the basis for policy, then should Muslims be using the Quran as the basis of their policy? And again, what possible room for compromise is there at that point?

HAGEE: There's really no room for compromise between radical Islam and --

GROSS: I'm not talking about radical Islam. I'm just talking about Islam in general.

HAGEE: Well, Islam in general, those who live by the Quran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews. Now, I had an Islamic on my television show last week. His name was Walid Shoebat. He was raised as a Palestinian terrorist and at one time was -- placed a bomb and was supposed to walk into a bank. And I said, "Walid, I'm trying to understand the definition of what is a radical Islamic person, because I've read many books, many magazines and I can't come up with a good definition of what constitutes a radical Islamic." And he says these words, and I'll quote them, he said, "Anyone who truly believes the Quran is willing to kill Christians or Jews. That's waging jihad." He said, "Now, those people who are willing to go into another country and start a war will only be about 15 to 20 percent of Islam."

There are 1.3 billion people who follow the Islamic faith, so if you're saying there's only 15 percent that want to come to America or invade Israel to crush it, you're only talking about 200 million people. That's far more than Hitler and Japan and Italy and all of the axis powers in World War II had under arms. That is a massive number of people. So while we may define radical Islam as a minority, because there are so many, it is still an overpowering military potential.

Bush once thanked Hagee for “spreading the hope of God's love and the universal gift of freedom." 

If you recall, in May, GQ got a hold of “briefing covers” showing that briefings from Rumsfeld and elite Pentagon strategists on progress in Iraq came illustrated by “victorious quotes from the Bible and gung-ho photographs of U.S. troops.”


Major General Glen Shaffer, the director for intelligence serving Mr Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a devout Christian dressed the briefings up with religious themes and Bush read them and accepted that what was happening in Iraq as part of his “mission from God.”

The latest news from Iraq reported by the Jerusalem Post is that Iran’s Fars news agency is claiming the CIA and Mossad have been “actively promoting Christianity in the Kurdish region of Iraq.”

The agency claims Americans and Israelis have been “offering $1,000 to any youngster willing to convert to Christianity.”

To those who have read the opening chapters of Reza Aslan’s How to Win a Cosmic War or for those familiar with the core ideas of his book, you know how dangerous it is that American foreign policy is so entangled with Christian supremacist forces in America.

Aslan argues, for the most part, that the way to win a cosmic war (how he characterizes “the war on terror”) is to not fight it. But, Christian supremacists acting based on what they believe about end times will never choose to not fight.

So long as people like Erik Prince and others with views similar to him influence foreign policy or play a role in carrying out America’s foreign policy goals and objectives, Americans can count on hearing more news of torture and abuse of Muslims, more news of murder and mass killings of Muslims, and more news proselytizing and attempts to convert Muslims.

We can count on a bloody war on Islam to continue under the guise of the "war on terror."

UPDATE 1

For additional reading on how Christian supremacist ideology is transforming the U.S. military, check out Jeff Sharlet's article from Harper's, which was published in May of this year.

Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/05/0082488


Offline bigron

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2009, 01:44:21 pm »
The Real World: Mercenaries, Murder and the American Way

by Chris Floyd

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m56693&hd=&size=1&l=e

August 5, 2009



Who could possibly have suspected this? A Beltway-wired mercenary company hired by the American government to act as freebooting muscle in the war of aggression against Iraq has been accused -- in sworn affidavits from company insiders -- of operating a murder and gun-running racket in order to push its hard-right owner's religious extremism. Can such a thing even be contemplated? Why, the next thing you know, they'll be telling us that good, clean-limbed, all-American agents used KGB-derived torture tactics against helpless captives or something!

And yet, incredible as it may seem, insiders from the company once known as Blackwater (and now going under the brand-name disguise of Xe) have given sworn statements implicating the company and its founder, Eric Prince, in killing Iraqi citizens for God and profit (as if there were any difference between the two amongst our gilded militarists), running guns to various militant factions in the conquered country -- and murdering potential witnesses who might testify in investigations of Blackwater's nefarious doings.

The intrepid Jeremy Scahill is on the case in The Nation (here, via Anti-war.com).
http://original.antiwar.com/scahill/2009/08/04/blackwater-founder-implicated-in-murder/
Scahill has been on Blackwater's case for a long time, penetrating deep into the bowels of the military-industrial-security complex that dominates, by bribery and brute force, the American political system. This is truly courageous work on Scahill's part, for not a few incisive divers in these murky waters have woken up dead over the years.

In his latest report, Scahill has unearthed some scathing testimony against Blackwater and its well-connected founder. You should read the whole piece, but here are just a few key highlights:



A former Blackwater employee and an ex-U.S. Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince’s companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

...These allegations, and a series of other charges, are contained in sworn affidavits, given under penalty of perjury, filed late at night on August 3 in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of a seventy-page motion by lawyers for Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for alleged war crimes and other misconduct.

...The former employee, identified in the court documents as "John Doe #2," is a former member of Blackwater’s management team, according to a source close to the case. Doe #2 alleges in a sworn declaration that, based on information provided to him by former colleagues, "it appears that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct."

...he two declarations are each five pages long and contain a series of devastating allegations concerning Erik Prince and his network of companies, which now operate under the banner of Xe Services LLC. Among those leveled by Doe #2 is that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe":

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to "lay Hajiis out on cardboard." Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as "ragheads" or "hajiis."

...Both individuals allege that Prince and Blackwater deployed individuals to Iraq who, in the words of Doe #1, "were not properly vetted and cleared by the State Department." Doe #2 adds that "Prince ignored the advice and pleas from certain employees, who sought to stop the unnecessary killing of innocent Iraqis." Doe #2 further states that some Blackwater officials overseas refused to deploy "unfit men" and sent them back to the U.S. Among the reasons cited by Doe #2 were "the men making statements about wanting to deploy to Iraq to 'kill ragheads’ or achieve 'kills’ or 'body counts,’" as well as "excessive drinking" and "steroid use." However, when the men returned to the U.S., according to Doe #2, "Prince and his executives would send them back to be deployed in Iraq with an express instruction to the concerned employees located overseas that they needed to ’stop costing the company money.’"

...Doe #1 states that "Blackwater knew that certain of its personnel intentionally used excessive and unjustified deadly force, and in some instances used unauthorized weapons, to kill or seriously injure innocent Iraqi civilians." He concludes, "Blackwater did nothing to stop this misconduct." Doe #1 states that he "personally observed multiple incidents of Blackwater personnel intentionally using unnecessary, excessive and unjustified deadly force." He then cites several specific examples of Blackwater personnel firing at civilians, killing or "seriously" wounding them, and then failing to report the incidents to the State Department.

...Doe #2 expands on the issue of unconventional weapons, alleging Prince "made available to his employees in Iraq various weapons not authorized by the United States contracting authorities, such as hand grenades and hand grenade launchers. Mr. Prince’s employees repeatedly used this illegal weaponry in Iraq, unnecessarily killing scores of innocent Iraqis." Specifically, he alleges that Prince "obtained illegal ammunition from an American company called LeMas. This company sold ammunition designed to explode after penetrating within the human body. Mr. Prince’s employees repeatedly used this illegal ammunition in Iraq to inflict maximum damage on Iraqis."

...Blackwater has gone through an intricate rebranding process in the twelve years it has been in business, changing its name and logo several times. Prince also has created more than a dozen affiliate companies, some of which are registered offshore and whose operations are shrouded in secrecy.


In that last paragraph, we see how the merging of militarism with the rapacious crony capitalism that has brought the world economy to its knees. Prince -- and many, many other operators in the shadowlands where crime, terror, corruption, covert ops and high affairs of state all mix and mingle -- have been able to use the collapse of regulatory power over high finance to hide their criminal activities and war atrocities. What we have seen over the past few decades, in fact, is the expansion of the BCCI system -- "the largest criminal organization in the history of the world," as the US Senate called it -- into the "normative" system of global affairs: the "way of the world." For a much more detailed look at this system, please see  The Bomb in the Shadows: Proliferation, Corruption and the Way of the World.
http://www.uruknet.info/component/content/article/3-articles/1401-the-bomb-in-the-shadows-proliferation-corruption-and-the-way-of-the-world.html

What will come of these latest sworn allegations against Blackwater? A very likely scenario is that nothing will happen: Scahill's story will be swept away by the tsunami of trivia and idiocy that swamps the American political discourse day after day, year after year, and Blackwater - or Xe, or whatever new moniker the company's PR whizzes come up with -- will continue to gorge itself on public money and innocent blood in various countries around the world.

Or who knows? It may be that Prince and his boys have ended up on the wrong side of some factional tussle in the imperial backrooms, and will be trussed up as a sacrifice -- one of the periodic burnt offerings our leaders make to make the rubes back home believe that "the system still works." In some ways, this would be unjust; after all, Blackwater was just doing exactly what it was sent to do in Iraq -- which was exactly what the American military was sent to do in Iraq: i.e., kill a bunch of "ragheads" and impose America's "unipolar domination" on world affairs. Or, as Thomas Friedman put it with his customary eloquence, to tell the Ay-rabs to "Suck. On. This." Why should Eric Prince be punished for playing such a key role in what no less than Barack Obama himself has called "an extraordinary achievement" in Iraq?

Again, it is likely that Prince and Blackwater will get away clean, or at most with a light wrist tap for some minor infractions here and there. But even if they are found guilty of these heinous accusations, it is certain that the true architects of the mass murder of more than one million innocent human beings in Iraq -- who would be be alive today if not for the American invasion and the continuing occupation -- will never pay for their vastly greater crimes.

And the system that spawned these crimes will go on and on, "surging" into new atrocities and unnecessary deaths around the globe -- even while praising itself constantly, obsessively, pathologically, as a "force for peace" in the world.




 

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2009, 07:35:51 pm »


Murder, Inc?

Blackwater accused of murder in 'crusade to eliminate Muslims'

... "The affidavit also says that Prince, quote, "views himself as a Christian crusader eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe. To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy. ...


And tonight Olbermann reports that Prince intentionally hired people with experience in "ethnic cleansing".
This is NOT murder... he should be tried for genocide.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2009, 06:28:58 am »
Iraqis speak of random killings committed by private Blackwater guards

by Oliver August, Times
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m56731&hd=&size=1&l=e

 

Suhad Abul-Ameer, mother of Ali Husamaldeen, who was killed by members of Blackwater, carries his picture as she prays at her house in Baghdad


Baghdad, August 6, 2009

Guards employed by Blackwater, the US security company, shot Iraqis and killed victims in allegedly unprovoked and random attacks, it was claimed yesterday.

A Virginia court also received sworn statements from former Blackwater employees yesterday alleging that Erik Prince, the company’s founder, "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe".

They also accused the company of following a policy of deliberate killings and arms dealing and of employing people unfit or improperly trained to handle lethal weaponry.

In Baghdad yesterday, some Iraqis said they believed that the case was a last chance for justice and an opportunity for America to divorce the behaviour of its military from the private guards.

Farid Walid, who was shot in Nisour Square two years ago during a massacre that killed 17 Iraqis, said: "Everybody here knows of cases where Blackwater guards shot innocent people without a second thought. They are a symbol of the occupation. Nobody will forget. But Iraqis might think at least a little differently of America if the killers are put in prison."

Mr Walid is among several Iraqis behind an attempt to take Blackwater to court in the US, helped by an American lawyer, Susan Burke, and her local legal team.

Umm Sajjad, whose husband was allegedly shot by Blackwater guards, said: "The US forces have come to our neighbourhood many times and they never harmed anybody. It was Blackwater that wanted to harm people."

Her husband was working as a security guard at the Iraqi Media Network, a state broadcaster, when a Blackwater convoy passed them one day in 2007. She says that without warning, the Iraqis were fired upon and three of them were killed. The Blackwater convoy never stopped or sent anyone to check what happened.

Umm Sajjad said: "I was told that there was no exchange of fire or any other reason to provoke them to shoot at my husband and his colleagues. They were on a high building but they didn’t have weapons in their hands."

Other families have tales of shootings allegedly committed by Blackwater, which has since changed its name.

Abu Suhad lost his daughter in 2007 when she was driving her car near the Iraqi Foreign Ministry in central Baghdad. He said: "Eyewitnesses told me that four white Blackwater cars went by her. Three were already past when the last one shot her in the head at close range and killed her. The eyewitnesses said they were very bewildered why they shot her. The bullet came from the driver’s window, which means that he got next to her when he shot her. The bullet entered from under the ear and left from the upper side of her skull. There were bits of her hair and skin on the car roof."

Mr Walid remembers the Nisour Square shooting on September 16, 2007 — for Iraqis one of the blacker days of the US occupation. Claiming to have come under fire, Blackwater guards stopped in the middle of a large roundabout and began shooting in all directions.

"I left my car and ran away to hide in a petrol station, which was made of concrete. The shooting was so heavy it was like rain," he said. "I saw lots of people getting shot. The driver who had been in front of me died and his wife fell out of the car. Her child was killed as well. The shooting went on for about ten minutes."

Iraqis still find it hard to believe that companies such as Blackwater were given such free rein. Until the start of this year its employees were immune from prosecution in the country.

In another alleged incident involving the company, Ali Husamaldeen was walking in Wathba Square, central Baghdad, on September 9, 2007, when he was felled by a single gunshot. Passers-by reported a Blackwater helicopter overhead, from which they say the fatal shot was fired. According to his mother, Umm Ali, her son was unarmed and in no way a threat.

Leqaa al-Yaseen, an MP, said: "I believe the US authorities have the main responsibility for what happened because Blackwater came to Iraq with their permission. Regarding Blackwater smuggling weapons into Iraq, that suggests the US forces didn’t know about it at the time. But I think they did know.

"The tragedies that happened to our Iraqi people at Nisour Square and other places are not separate from the US forces in Iraq. The US Government is trying to avoid responsibility by blaming private companies."

Officials in Baghdad have told The Times that they are continuing to investigate allegations similar to those made in the US against Blackwater.

Major-General Fathel al-Barwari, commander of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces, said he was gathering evidence of illegal weapons trading by the company. As a result, Blackwater could also face criminal prosecution in Iraq, where it is now banned, but other companies connected to Mr Prince still operate.

Tahseen Al-Shekhli, for the defence ministry in Baghdad, said: "If the allegations of illegally smuggling weapons into Iraq are proven, the Iraqi authorities will definitely take legal measures against this company."

The Iraqi Government has tightened up rules for private security companies in recent years.



 

Offline bigron

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2009, 09:08:30 am »
Security firm denies criminal allegation

Published: Aug. 6, 2009 at 2:18 AM
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/08/06/Security-firm-denies-criminal-allegation/UPI-95801249539507


Chairman of Blackwater USA Erik Prince testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on private security contracting in Iraq in Washington on October 2, 2007. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch)

Xe, a private security firm formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, has denied claims in court documents that its founder engaged in criminal activity in Iraq.

The allegations are contained in affidavits filed in Virginia in a lawsuit brought by two former employees of Blackwater. The plaintiffs -- who are identified only as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 -- accuse Blackwater founder and former Chief Executive Officer Erik Prince of murder and other serious crimes in Iraq, CNN reported.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia on behalf of Iraqi families who say relatives were killed by Blackwater personnel.

Xe issued a statement saying it would file a brief Aug. 17 in response "to the anonymous unsubstantiated and offensive assertions put forward by the plaintiffs."

The firm was contracted until May by the U.S. State Department to provide security in Iraq. The government did not renew the contract, CNN said.



Offline chris jones

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2009, 11:18:16 am »
Is that Erik Price or Oly North, ah whats the difference.

I have read he and his family are ultra Christians, I don't know how true that it.
But, it reminds me how many have been killed in the name of GOD.

Looking back, the OLE Holy Crusades. Extermination and pillaging.
Nothing has changed.

He, ERIK, needs to be in chains. Given a lifetime in solitary confinement he may, maby, possibley find his conscience. though I doubt it.
I would love to hear him spill his guts, but alas he would suicide before that would happen, possibly assisted.

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2009, 03:21:06 pm »
Is that Erik Price or Oly North, ah whats the difference.

I have read he and his family are ultra Christians, I don't know how true that it.
But, it reminds me how many have been killed in the name of GOD.

Looking back, the OLE Holy Crusades. Extermination and pillaging.
Nothing has changed.



Yes, and *I* am reminded of the millions who have been exterminated by atheists in the name of social progress and enlightenment. Soviet Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Southeast Asia... and all that just in the last 100 years.

Nothing has changed, except more people are on to THEM now than ever before.

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2009, 10:37:16 pm »
US Blackwater-Xe Mercenaries Spread Fear In Peshawar
By Nadeem Sarwar and Aqeel Yousafzai
http://www.ahmedquraishi.com/article_detail.php?id=763
Deutsche Presse-Agentur [DPA]
Monday, 27 July 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

PESHAWAR, Pakistan—Fear is spreading across University Town, an upmarket residential area in Pakistan's north-western city of Peshawar, due to the overt presence of the controversial US private security contractor Blackwater.

Sporting the customary dark glasses and carrying assault rifles, the mercenaries zoom around the neighborhood in their black-colored armored Chevy Suburbans, and shout at motorists when occasionally stranded in a traffic jam.

The residents are mainly concerned about Blackwater's reputation as a ruthless, unbridled private army whose employees face multiple charges of murder, child prostitution and weapons smuggling in Iraq.

'Sometimes, these guys stand in the streets and behave rudely with the passers-by, sometimes they point guns at people without provocation' said Imtiaz Gul, an engineer, whose home is a few hundred meters from the US contractor's base on Chanar Road in University Town.

'Who rules our streets, the Pakistani government or the Americans? They have created a state within the state,' he added.

Repeated complaints to the authorities have been to no avail since, according to residents.

Blackwater provides security to the employees of Creative Associates International Inc. (CAII), an American company carrying out multi-million-dollar development projects in the country's Islamic militancy-plagued Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Founded in 1997 by Erik Prince, a former US Navy SEAL officer and a major contributor to Republican Party candidates, Blackwater has hired thousands of former military personnel from Western countries as well as other mercenaries from the Third World.

It emerged as the largest of the US Department of State's private security companies, winning multi-million-dollar contracts globally, but attracted a lot of media attention in September 2007 when its personnel killed 17 civilians in an unprovoked shooting while escorting a convoy of US State Department vehicles to a meeting in Baghdad.

The firm is now facing a civil lawsuit filed in the US state of Virginia by those who were injured and who lost family members in the massacre.

The company faces charges of human rights violations, child prostitution and possible supply of weapons to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, an Iraqi group designated by United Nations, European Union and NATO as a terrorist organization.  It has been declared persona non grata in Iraq.

To conceal its bad reputation, the shadowy company renamed itself Xe Worldwide in February 2009 and Prince resigned as its chief executive officer the following month.

In Pakistan, the Interior Ministry asked the regional governments of all four provinces to keep an eye on the activities of Blackwater in early 2008, immediately after it was believed to have been hired by CAII, according to a media report.

CAII works locally under the name of FATA Development Programme Government to Community (FDPGC).

Lou Fintor, a spokesman for the US embassy in Islamabad, said that Blackwater-Xe was not in any way associated with its missions in Pakistan. But the denial does not include the possibility that the security firm was working for a private US company.

Blackwater has recruited dozens of retired commandos from Pakistan's army and elite police force through its local sub-contractors, said an intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some Pakistani security officials suggested that besides providing security to the aid workers, Blackwater was carrying out covert operations.

Among these were buying the loyalties of influential tribal elders and tracking the money flowing to al-Qaeda and Taliban through the national and international banks, something which perhaps goes far beyond the mandate of a private security firm.

Taliban and al-Qaeda militants who use the tribal regions to attack civilian and government targets inside Pakistan and NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan are also watching Blackwater's moves.

On June 9, suicide bombers drove an explosive-laden vehicle into Peshawar's sole five-star hotel, the Pearl Continental, after shooting the security guards, and detonated it at the side of the building where some Blackwater guards were staying.

Sixteen people died including four of the security firm's personnel - two Westerners and the same number of locals.  Four more guards were injured.

The dead bodies and injured were moved quietly.  Neither the Pakistani government nor any foreign official admitted these deaths, apparently at the request of US officials.

'Absolutely no comments,' Qazi Jamil, the senior superintendent of police in Peshawar said abruptly when German Press Agency DPA asked him about the Blackwater deaths.

But a minister in the North-West Frontier Province government, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he knew that some US private guards died but did not know how many and which firm they were from.

'The provincial government was not directly dealing with the issue.  It's the federal intelligence agencies that handled it,' said the minister.

The possibility that Islamist militants might be plotting more attacks on the contractors is also a source of concern for many residents in University Town.

'In the first week of July we requested the interior minister in a letter that targets like Blackwater should be kept away from the residential areas,' said Ihsan Toro, a trader and member of council of citizens in University Town.

'Al-Qaeda and the Taliban must be after them,' added Toro.

 
This is a report by the German news agency DPA.

 

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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US Still Paying Blackwater Millions
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2009, 06:30:36 am »
US Still Paying Blackwater Millions
By Jeremy Scahill
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090817/scahill2
August 7, 2009

Just days before two former Blackwater employees alleged in sworn statements filed in federal court that the company's owner, Erik Prince, "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," the Obama administration extended a contract with Blackwater for more than $20 million for "security services" in Iraq, according to federal contract data obtained by The Nation. The State Department contract is scheduled to run through September 3. In May, the State Department announced it was not renewing Blackwater's Iraq contract, and the Iraqi government has refused to issue the company an operating license.

"They are still there, but we are transitioning them out," a State Department official told The Nation. According to the State Department, the $20 million represents an increase on an aviation contract that predates the Obama administration.

Despite its scandal-plagued track record, Blackwater (which has rebranded itself as Xe) continues to have a presence in Iraq, trains Afghan forces on US contracts and provides government-funded training for military and law enforcement inside the United States. The company is also actively bidding on other government contracts, including in Afghanistan, where the number of private contractors is swelling. According to federal contracting records reviewed by The Nation, since President Barack Obama took office in January the State Department has contracted with Blackwater for more than $174 million in "security services" alone in Iraq and Afghanistan and tens of millions more in "aviation services." Much of this money stems from existing contracts from the Bush era that have been continued by the Obama administration. While Obama certainly inherited a mess when it came to Blackwater's entrenchment in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has continued the widespread use of armed private contractors in both countries. Blackwater's role may be slowly shrinking, but its work is continuing through companies such as DynCorp and Triple Canopy.

"These contracts with Blackwater need to stop," says Representative Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat and a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. "There's already enough evidence of gross misconduct and serious additional allegations against the company and its owner to negate any possibility that this company should have a presence in Iraq, Afghanistan or any conflict zone--or any contract with the US government."

On July 24 the Army signed an $8.9 million contract with Blackwater's aviation wing, Presidential Airways, for aviation services at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Bagram, home to a massive--and expanding--US-run prison, has been the subject of intense criticism from the ACLU and human rights groups for holdings hundreds of prisoners without charges and denying them habeas corpus and access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Blackwater aviation contract for Afghanistan is described as "Air Charter for Things" and "Nonscheduled Chartered Passenger Air Transportation." The military signed an additional $1.4 million contract that day for "Nonscheduled" passenger transportation in Afghanistan. These payments are part of aviation contracts dating back to the Bush era, and continued under Obama, that have brought Blackwater tens of millions of dollars in Afghanistan since January. In May, Blackwater operatives on contract with the Department of Defense allegedly killed an unarmed Afghan civilian and wounded two others. Moreover, Presidential Airways is being sued by the families of US soldiers killed in a suspicious crash in Afghanistan in November 2004.

The sworn affidavits from the former Blackwater employees, first reported by The Nation on August 3, have sparked renewed calls on Capitol Hill for the Obama administration to cancel all business with Blackwater. "I believe that the behavior of Xe, its leadership, and many of its employees, puts our government and military personnel, as well as our military and diplomatic objectives, at serious risk," Schakowsky wrote in an August 6 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "Given this company's history of abuse and in light of recent allegations, I urge you not to award further contracts to Xe and its affiliates and to review all existing contracts with this company." Schakowsky sent a similar letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Meanwhile, VoteVets.org, a leading veterans' organization, has called on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to investigate the allegations contained in the sworn declarations submitted in the Eastern District of Virginia on August 3. VoteVets.org, which has more than 100,000 members, also appealed to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to "immediately hold hearings, and make recommendations on a new legal structure" to hold private military contractors accountable for alleged crimes.

"Given the charges made against Xe and Erik Prince in these sworn statements, which include smuggling and use of illegal arms inside of Iraq, as well as the encouraged murder of innocent Iraqis, it is essential that these loopholes be closed, retroactively, so that Xe, Prince, and his employees cannot escape proper prosecution in the United States now or in the future," wrote the group's chair Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran, in a letter to Senator John Kerry and other lawmakers. "It is absolutely crucial that we show Iraqis and the rest of the world that no matter who you are or how big your company is, you will be held accountable for your conduct--especially when in a war zone. Failure to do so only emboldens our enemy, and gives them yet another tool to recruit more insurgents and terrorists that target our men and women in harm's way."

For its part, Blackwater/Xe issued a statement responding to the sworn statements of two of its former employees. The company called the allegations "unsubstantiated and offensive assertions." It said the lawyers representing alleged Iraqi victims of Blackwater "have chosen to slander Mr. Prince rather than raise legal arguments or actual facts that will be considered by a court of law. We are happy to engage them there."

What Blackwater/Xe's statement did not flatly say is that the allegations are untrue. "I would have expected a crisp denial," says military law expert Scott Horton, who has followed this case closely. "The statement had the look of a denial to it, without actually refuting the specific allegations. I can understand why from the perspective of a corporate public affairs officer--just repeating the allegations would be harmful and would add to their credibility."

Blackwater also claims that the accusations "hold no water" because, even though the two former employees said that they had already provided similar information to federal prosecutors, no further Blackwater operatives or officials have been indicted. The company claims that according to the US attorney, the indictment of five Blackwater employees for the September 2007 Nisour Square shootings is "very narrow in its allegation" and does not charge "the entire Blackwater organization in Baghdad."

But, as Blackwater certainly knows, there are multiple prosecutors looking into its activities on a wide range of issues, and more than one grand jury can be seated at any given time. Simply because indictments were not announced regarding other actions when the Nisour Square charges were brought by the Justice Department does not mean Prince, Blackwater and its management are in the clear.

"We know that the federal criminal investigation is still ongoing, so this prosecutor's statement was not really anything definitive," says Horton. "Second, the presumption in US law is that, with fairly rare exceptions, crimes are committed by natural persons, not by legal entities like corporations. A corporation might be fined, for instance, but if it's deeply entangled in criminal dealings, it's the officers who would be prosecuted. Among other things, of course, it's impossible to put a corporation in the slammer. So saying that Blackwater wasn't charged with any crime really doesn't mean much."

Blackwater says it will formally respond to the allegations against Prince and Blackwater in a legal motion on August 17 in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Prince and the company are being sued for war crimes and other alleged crimes by Susan Burke and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

On August 5, Blackwater's lawyers filed a motion with the court reiterating their request for a gag order to be placed on the plaintiffs and their lawyers. That motion largely consisted of quotes from two recent Nation magazine articles covering the case, including one about the allegations against Prince. Despite the fact that the affidavits of "John Doe #1" and "John Doe #2" were public, Blackwater accused the lawyers of "providing this information" to the media. Blackwater's lawyers charged that the plaintiffs' attorneys comments to The Nation were intended "to fuel this one-sided media coverage and to taint the jury pool against [Erik Prince and Blackwater]," adding that The Nation articles and the "coordinated media campaign" of the lawyers "demonstrate a clear need for an Order restraining extrajudicial commentary by the parties and their counsel." On August 7, Judge T.S. Ellis III, a Reagan appointee, denied Blackwater's motion.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline chris jones

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2009, 06:37:06 am »
Yes, and *I* am reminded of the millions who have been exterminated by atheists in the name of social progress and enlightenment. Soviet Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Southeast Asia... and all that just in the last 100 years.

Nothing has changed, except more people are on to THEM now than ever before.

Agreed . mind control works both ways. True conscience has but one answer.

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2009, 06:51:36 am »
Is that Erik Price or Oly North, ah whats the difference.

I have read he and his family are ultra Christians, I don't know how true that it.
But, it reminds me how many have been killed in the name of GOD.

Looking back, the OLE Holy Crusades. Extermination and pillaging.
Nothing has changed.

He, ERIK, needs to be in chains. Given a lifetime in solitary confinement he may, maby, possibley find his conscience. though I doubt it.
I would love to hear him spill his guts, but alas he would suicide before that would happen, possibly assisted.

There is nothing 'Christian' whatsoever about Erik Prince. He and his cabal have used the evangelical Christian community to build their resume (doing "God's" work), raise money, and then under 'Christian' cover, proceeded to engage in genocide.

Similar to Zionists, who operate under "Jewish" cover, they are nothing more than sociopaths who wear the cloak of religious zealotism in an effort to hide evil intent. Likewise the Muslim Brotherhood, devout "Muslims" are using Islam as a cover for terrorism. These efforts destroy not only their 'targeted' populations, but also the groups in which they seek cover.  None are true believers in any religion ... perhaps the most 'honest' of all were the communists, 'atheists' - who just did their evil out in the open, although you could argue they hid under the cover of working on behalf of the 'people'.
 
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline donnay

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2009, 06:55:06 am »
There is nothing 'Christian' whatsoever about Erik Prince. He and his cabal have used the evangelical Christian community to build their resume (doing "God's" work), raise money, and then under 'Christian' cover, proceeded to engage in genocide.

Similar to Zionists, who operate under "Jewish" cover, they are nothing more than sociopaths who wear the cloak of religious zealotism in an effort to hide evil intent. Likewise the Muslim Brotherhood, devout "Muslims" are using Islam as a cover for terrorism. These efforts destroy not only their 'targeted' populations, but also the groups in which they seek cover.  None are true believers in any religion ... perhaps the most 'honest' of all were the communists, 'atheists' - who just did their evil out in the open, although you could argue they hid under the cover of working on behalf of the 'people'.
 

So true and nicely put!
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Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2009, 06:58:06 am »
Veterans Call for New Legal System to Govern Contractors
In Light of Explosive Charges Against Blackwater

By VoteVets.org  |  Press Release
PUBLISHED: August 06, 2009
http://www.votevets.org/news?id=0240

Veterans also call for immediate hearings to investigate the charges
WASHINGTON, DC - On behalf of its 105,000 veterans and civilian supporters, VoteVets.org today wrote to the Chairs and Ranking Members of key committees in Congress, calling for a new legal structure to be set up that would govern contractors, and for immediate hearings into the charges.  The full letter is below.

In the latest issue of The Nation, two sworn statements were uncovered that charged the Erik Prince, founder of Xe (formerly Blackwater), with involvement of murder plots against those who cooperated with Federal investigators, illegal arms smuggling into Iraq, and that the company "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

Speaking for VoteVets.org, Iraq War Veteran and the group's chairman Jon Soltz wrote, "Whether it is in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere, people in foreign lands do not see troops or contractors.  They see Americans armed with guns.  The issues we have faced with contractors in Iraq reflect poorly on all Americans, including our troops who have performed honorably and admirably.  The conduct of many contractors therefore not only increases negative feelings about our troops, but undermines our ability to win the hearts and minds of those we need the most.  It is of utmost importance that we fully investigate the charges in the sworn statements, and set up a system of legal accountability for all those contractors acting on our behalf."

The group made two recommendations - immediate hearings into the charges, and hearings to determine the best way to set up a new legal structure that would govern contractors, hold them accountable, and allow for prosecutions.

Currently, the law is murky, at best.  The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000 (MEJA was enacted to close some of the loopholes.  However, MEJA as originally written only applied to "those persons employed by or accompanying the Armed Forces."  Later amendment to the law defines "Armed Forces" to include "an employee of a contractor (or subcontractor at any tier) of . . . any other Federal agency, or any provisional authority, to the extent such employment relates to supporting the mission of the Department of Defense overseas."

As contractors like Xe are contracted through the U.S. Department of State, and officially work in support of that department, they have argued they do not fall under MEJA.

"As a result, Xe and other contractors essentially operate in a war zone with no accountability, and any employees brought up on charges for wrongdoing in a war zone can and have tried to exploit this lack of defined jurisdiction over them when brought to court," wrote Soltz.  "It is essential that these loopholes be closed, retroactively, so that Xe, Prince, and his employees cannot escape proper prosecution in the United States now or in the future.  We believe the best way to do this is to create a legal structure similar to MEJA, but applied specifically to all those contracted to work for the United States in any capacity, for any agency or department."

VoteVets.org is the leading progressive, pro-military organization of veterans, dedicated to the destruction of terror networks around the world, with force when necessary. It primarily focuses on education and advocacy on issues of importance to the troops and veterans, and holding politicians accountable for their actions on these issues
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline chris jones

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2009, 08:34:22 am »
There is nothing 'Christian' whatsoever about Erik Prince. He and his cabal have used the evangelical Christian community to build their resume (doing "God's" work), raise money, and then under 'Christian' cover, proceeded to engage in genocide.

Similar to Zionists, who operate under "Jewish" cover, they are nothing more than sociopaths who wear the cloak of religious zealotism in an effort to hide evil intent. Likewise the Muslim Brotherhood, devout "Muslims" are using Islam as a cover for terrorism. These efforts destroy not only their 'targeted' populations, but also the groups in which they seek cover.  None are true believers in any religion ... perhaps the most 'honest' of all were the communists, 'atheists' - who just did their evil out in the open, although you could argue they hid under the cover of working on behalf of the 'people'.
 
Yes, you hit on an excellant point. Look to our regime, they hide behind the flag and their elected stations, their titles and rhetoric. Religions have been doing this for years and continue to, the list goes on and one. I won't ramble as you hit on it very nicely my friend.

Offline Dig

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2009, 09:53:52 am »
There is nothing 'Christian' whatsoever about Erik Prince. He and his cabal have used the evangelical Christian community to build their resume (doing "God's" work), raise money, and then under 'Christian' cover, proceeded to engage in genocide.

Similar to Zionists, who operate under "Jewish" cover, they are nothing more than sociopaths who wear the cloak of religious zealotism in an effort to hide evil intent. Likewise the Muslim Brotherhood, devout "Muslims" are using Islam as a cover for terrorism. These efforts destroy not only their 'targeted' populations, but also the groups in which they seek cover.  None are true believers in any religion ... perhaps the most 'honest' of all were the communists, 'atheists' - who just did their evil out in the open, although you could argue they hid under the cover of working on behalf of the 'people'.
 

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Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2009, 06:55:13 pm »


Stangrof posted this thread; adding here (as if it's not heinous enough with Blackwater/Xe/Prince):

Quote

http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=124956.0
Blackwater provided child prostitutes to contractors: Lawsuit

http://rawstory.com/rawreplay/?p=3858


And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Unintelligable Name

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2009, 07:00:59 pm »
I also hope this investigation goes all the way back to the other Christian [sic] Crusader George W. Bush!!

George Bush is Illuminati... SKull and Bones/Knights of Eulogia and probably a Freemason through his usage of "Ordo Ab Chao."

How many times must he flash the mano cornuta? I guess a billion+1 since certain people think he's a Christian regardless of his high crimes, secret societies, and hand signals... Bohemian Grove anyone?

Each President claiming they are Christian is a simple scheme to get elected. Look at Obama as the latest example... a Muslim claiming to be Christian.

Offline bigron

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Re: Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater is a suspect in multiple murders
« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2009, 05:58:01 am »
Blackwater used 'child prostitutes in Iraq' 


08/08/2009 09:04:00 PM GMT
 
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/articles/34/Blackwater_used_child_prostitutes_in_Iraq_.html


New disturbing charges have emerged against XE, the infamous private security firm formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, whose operations came under spotlight after its 2007 carnage in Baghdad.

According to a report by MSNBC and based on alleged sworn declarations by two Blackwater employees in federal court, the firm used child prostitutes at its compound in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

The declarations added Iraqi minors got involve in sexual acts with Blackwater members in exchange for one dollar and Erik Prince, the firm's owner, "failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men."

Based on other statements, the firm was involved in another sex scandal; "Prince's North Carolina operations had an ongoing wife-swapping and sex ring, which was participated in by many of Mr. Prince's top executives."

The two employees also alleged that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," The Nation reported.

Prince also allegedly forced health professional to endorse the redeployment of those Blackwater members who had been mental problems, such as excessive drinking and drug abuse.

Other charges against the firm include arms smuggling, money laundering and tax evasion.

The criminal activities of the firm first came under scrutiny after a group of the firm's members who were tasked to guard US diplomats in Iraq opened fire on civilians in Baghdad on September 2007, killing 17 people.

According to federal contract data obtained by The Nation, the Obama administration has recently extended a contract with Blackwater for more than $20 million for "security services" in Iraq.



-- Press TV

 
 

 

Offline Satyagraha

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CIA Contracted Blackwater for Death Squad assignments
« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2009, 08:23:07 pm »
Blackwater: CIA Assassins?
By Jeremy Scahill
August 20, 2009
A http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090831/scahill1

In April 2002, the CIA paid Blackwater more than $5 million to deploy a small team of men inside Afghanistan during the early stages of US operations in the country. A month later, Erik Prince, the company's owner and a former Navy SEAL, flew to Afghanistan as part of the original twenty-man Blackwater contingent. Blackwater worked for the CIA at its station in Kabul as well as in Shkin, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where they operated out of a mud fortress known as the Alamo. It was the beginning of a long relationship between Blackwater, Prince and the CIA.

Now the New York Times is reporting that in 2004 the CIA hired Blackwater "as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda." According to the Times, "it is unclear whether the CIA had planned to use the contractors to capture or kill Qaeda operatives, or just to help with training and surveillance."

The Times reports that "the CIA did not have a formal contract with Blackwater for this program but instead had individual agreements with top company officials, including the founder, Erik D. Prince, a politically connected former member of the Navy Seals and the heir to a family fortune." A retired intelligence officer "intimately familiar with the assassination program" told the Washington Post, "Outsourcing gave the agency more protection in case something went wrong." The Post reported that Blackwater "was given operational responsibility for targeting terrorist commanders and was awarded millions of dollars for training and weaponry, but the program was canceled before any missions were conducted."

"What the agency was doing with Blackwater scares the hell out of me," said Jack Rice, a former CIA field operator who worked for the directorate of operations, which runs covert paramilitary activities for the CIA. "When the agency actually cedes all oversight and power to a private organization, an organization like Blackwater, most importantly they lose control and don't understand what's going on," Rice told The Nation. "What makes it even worse is that you then can turn around and have deniability. They can say, 'It wasn't us, we weren't the ones making the decisions.' That's the best of both worlds. It's analogous to what we hear about torture that was being done in the name of Americans, when we simply handed somebody over to the Syrians or the Egyptians or others and then we turn around and say, 'We're not torturing people.'"

Reached by telephone, Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that because of her oath of secrecy on sensitive intelligence issues, she could neither confirm nor deny that Congress was aware of Blackwater's involvement in this program before the Times report. Schakowsky also declined to comment on whether Blackwater came up at a June briefing by CIA director Leon Panetta, which she attended. That briefing sparked calls for an investigation into whether Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the CIA to conceal an assassination program from Congress.

"What we know now, if this is true, is that Blackwater was part of the highest level, the innermost circle strategizing and exercising strategy within the Bush administration," Schakowsky told The Nation. "Erik Prince operated at the highest and most secret level of the government. Clearly Prince was more trusted than the US Congress because Vice President Cheney made the decision not to brief Congress. This shows that there was absolutely no space whatsoever between the Bush administration and Blackwater."

As The Nation has reported, Blackwater continues to operate on the US government payroll in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where it works for the State Department and the Defense Department. The CIA will not confirm whether Blackwater continues to work for the agency (or, for that matter, if it ever has).

Blackwater's work for the CIA was the result of meetings in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 between Prince and Alvin "Buzzy" Krongard, then-executive director of the CIA, the agency's number-three man. Krongard and Prince, according to a former Blackwater executive interviewed by The Nation, "were good buddies." In a 2006 interview for my book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Krongard said that the company was hired to provide security for the CIA in Afghanistan. "Blackwater got a contract because they were the first people that could get people on the ground," Krongard said. "The only concern we had was getting the best security for our people. If we thought Martians could provide it, I guess we would have gone after them."

The relationship between Krongard and Prince apparently got chummier after the contract was signed. One former Blackwater executive said in 2006, "Krongard came down and visited Blackwater [at company headquarters in North Carolina], and I had to take his kids around and let them shoot on the firing range a number of times." That visit took place after the CIA contract was signed, according to the former executive, and Krongard "may have come down just to see the company that he had just hired."

The relationship between Blackwater and the CIA quickly evolved. Shortly after Prince arrived in Afghanistan in May 2002, according to a former Blackwater executive who was with Prince, the Blackwater owner focused on winning more business with government agencies, providing private soldiers for hire. In 2002 Prince, along with former CIA operative Jamie Smith, created Blackwater Security Consulting, which would put former Navy SEALs and other special ops on the market.

Prince subsequently tried to join the CIA but was reportedly denied when his polygraph test came back inconclusive. Still, he maintained close ties with the agency. He reportedly was given a "green badge" that permitted him access to most CIA stations. "He's over there [at CIA headquarters] regularly, probably once a month or so," a CIA source told Harper's journalist Ken Silverstein in 2006. "He meets with senior people, especially in the [directorate of operations]."

Prince would also go on to hire many senior Bush-era CIA officials to work at Blackwater. In July 2007 Buzzy Krongard joined the company's board; Prince offered him a $3,500 honorarium per meeting attended plus all expenses paid. "Your experience and insight would be ideal to help our team determine where we are and where we are going," Prince wrote in a letter to Krongard. At the time his brother, Howard "Cookie" Krongard, was the State Department inspector general responsible for overseeing Blackwater's work for the State Department. In September 2007 California Democratic Representative Henry Waxman accused Cookie Krongard of impeding a Justice Department investigation into Blackwater over allegations the company was illegally smuggling weapons into Iraq.

Prince hired several other former CIA officials to run what amounted to his own private CIA. Most notable among these was J. Cofer Black, who was running the CIA's counterterrorism operations and leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden when Blackwater was initially hired by the CIA in 2002. Black left the government in 2005 and took a job at Blackwater running Prince's private intelligence company, Total Intelligence Solutions.

While at the CIA, Black ran the "extraordinary rendition" program and coordinated the CIA "Jawbreaker" team sent into Afghanistan to kill or capture bin Laden and senior Al Qaeda leaders. In the days immediately after 9/11, he told Bush that his men would aim to kill Al Qaeda operatives. "When we're through with them, they will have flies walking across their eyeballs," Black promised Bush. When Black told Bush the operation would not be bloodless, the president reportedly said, "Let's go. That's war. That's what we're here to win."

Before the CIA Jawbreaker team deployed on September 27, 2001, Black gave his men direct and macabre directions: "I don't want bin Laden and his thugs captured, I want them dead.... They must be killed. I want to see photos of their heads on pikes. I want bin Laden's head shipped back in a box filled with dry ice. I want to be able to show bin Laden's head to the president. I promised him I would do that." According to CIA operative Gary Schroen, a member of the Jawbreaker team, it was the first time in his thirty-year career he had been ordered to assassinate an adversary rather than attempt a capture.

In September 2002, five months after Blackwater's first known contract with the CIA in Afghanistan, Black testified to Congress about the new "operational flexibility" employed in the "war on terror." "There was a before 9/11, and there was an after 9/11," Black said. "After 9/11 the gloves come off." Black outlined a "no-limits, aggressive, relentless, worldwide pursuit of any terrorist who threatens us," saying it "is the only way to go and is the bottom line." Black would later brag, in 2004, that "over 70 percent" of Al Qaeda's leadership had been arrested, detained or killed, and that "more than 3,400 of their operatives and supporters have also been detained and put out of an action." The Times reports that the Blackwater-CIA assassination program "did not successfully capture or kill any terrorist suspects."

In addition to Black, Total Intelligence's executives include CEO Robert Richer, the former associate deputy director of the CIA's Directorate of Operations and second-ranking official in charge of clandestine operations. From 1999 to 2004, Richer was head of the CIA's Near East and South Asia Division, where he ran covert operations in the Middle East and South Asia. As part of his duties, he was the CIA liaison with Jordan's King Abdullah, a key US ally and Blackwater client, and briefed George W. Bush on the burgeoning Iraqi resistance in its early stages.

Total Intelligence's chief operating officer is Enrique "Ric" Prado, a twenty-four-year CIA veteran and former senior executive officer in the Directorate of Operations. He spent more than a decade working in the CIA's Counterterrorist Center and ten years with the CIA's "paramilitary" Special Operations Group.

Total Intelligence is run out of an office on the ninth floor of a building in the Ballston area of Arlington, Virginia. Its Global Fusion Center, complete with large-screen TVs broadcasting international news channels and computer stations staffed by analysts surfing the web, "operates around the clock every day of the year" and is modeled after the CIA's counterterrorist center, once run by Black. The firm employs at least sixty-five full-time staff--some estimates say it's closer to 100. "Total Intel brings the...skills traditionally honed by CIA operatives directly to the board room," Black said when the company launched.

Representative Schakowsky says the House Intelligence Committee is investigating the CIA assassination program and will probe alleged links to Blackwater. "The presidential memos (often referred to as 'findings') authorizing covert action like the lethal activities of the CIA and Blackwater have not yet surfaced," says Ray McGovern, a retired twenty-seven-year CIA analyst who once served as George H.W. Bush's national security briefer. "They will, in due course, if knowledgeable sources continue to put the Constitution and courage above secrecy oaths."

Blackwater Strikes Back

The Times report comes as Prince and his Blackwater empire are facing the prospect of a potentially explosive civil trial over the killing of Iraqi civilians. Attorney Susan Burke and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), who are suing Prince and his companies on behalf of their Iraqi victims, have alleged that Prince is "equivalent to a top mafia boss who is responsible for all the day-to-day crimes committed at his direction and behest." If the case proceeds, the process of discovery could blow the lid off some of the darkest secrets of the powerful security contractor and its secretive owner. Burke and CCR are suing Prince and his companies directly rather than his individual employees because they say Prince "wholly owns and personally controls all Defendants." Burke also alleges that Prince has committed "violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal statute permitting private parties to seek redress from criminal enterprises who damage their property." Among the allegations are war crimes, extra-judicial killings and assault and battery of Iraqis.

Since the first case was filed by Iraqi civilians against Prince and Blackwater over the killing of seventeen Iraqis at Baghdad's Nisour Square on September 16, 2007, the company's high-powered lawyers have fought feverishly to have that and four other cases dismissed. Now, facing a crucial August 28 hearing in federal court in Virginia, they are putting forward a new argument: instead of Prince and Blackwater standing trial, the US government should be the defendant.

In a motion filed August 12, Blackwater's lawyers asked federal Judge T.S. Ellis III to order "that the United States 'be substituted as the party defendant,' in place of all of the current Defendants." In his motion, Blackwater lawyer Peter White of the powerhouse firm Mayer Brown argued that the company was working for the State Department in Iraq and therefore was on official business when the alleged killings and injuries of Iraqis took place. White cites the 1988 Westfall Act, which prohibits suits against government employees for their actions on behalf of the government and states that the government will assume liability for any lawsuits against employees.

Federal tort law defines "employees" in this context as "persons acting on behalf of a federal agency in an official capacity, temporarily or permanently in the service of the United States, whether with or without compensation." The fact that the defendants are "corporate entities" in this instance, White claims, "does not alter that conclusion." In the motion, Blackwater's attorneys note that the company, which recently renamed itself Xe Services, now does business with the government under the name US Training Center (USTC).

"The idea that the United States government should accept liability for the unprovoked criminal manslaughter of seventeen innocent Iraqis by Blackwater mercenaries, and place it on the back of taxpayers, is corporate animism run amok," says Ralph Nader, who has spent his entire career fighting against corporate personhood. "If Blackwater wants to be treated like a person, then its latest mutation, USTC, should be prosecuted, convicted and given the equivalent penalty of corporate capital punishment by revoking its charter and terminating its corporate operations."

The Westfall Act was passed in 1988 as an amendment to the Federal Torts Claim Act "to protect federal employees from personal liability for common law torts committed within the scope of their employment, while providing persons injured by the common law torts of federal employees with an appropriate remedy against the United States." After Westfall, the government assumed legal responsibility for suits filed against federal employees and made the sole remedy for victims suits against the government.

Blackwater has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene in the case and to assume liability for the allegations against Blackwater. If that were to happen, legal experts say, the case would be dead in the water. "It's clear that if they win this motion and the government is substituted, since the wrongs occurred in a foreign country, the government is absolutely immune and the case will be dismissed," says Alan Morrison, a former federal prosecutor who is now the associate dean for public interest at George Washington Law School. "This is an effort [by Blackwater and Prince] to absolve themselves...of any liability for the alleged wrongs to the plaintiffs." He adds: "A gigantic, for-profit corporation is seeking to use this statute, designed to protect government employees, to shield themselves from any responsibility for the deaths and injuries" of Iraqis.

"When Blackwater chooses to interpose itself in the middle and to make profit off these individual employees in the relationship with the government, the notion that Blackwater itself, a corporation, could be an employee is unusual to say the least," says Morrison. "Why would Congress want to, in effect, transfer liability from a large, well-heeled corporation like Blackwater to the United States taxpayers for this kind of conduct? What they'd be saying [if Blackwater's interpretation of the Westfall Act is accepted] is they would have wanted to assume liability for that which they didn't have any liability in the first place."

The Justice Department has not yet issued a position in this case. "Unfortunately, there's nothing we can provide in regard to your inquiry at this time," an official wrote in an e-mail. Earlier, in response to questions from The Nation, a Justice Department spokesperson sent a memo filed by the department earlier this year in a similar case against Blackwater in federal court in Florida, in which the department had rejected the company's attempt to make the government responsible. "Defendants' request for Westfall Act certification should be denied because only natural persons can be considered 'employee(s) of the government,'" Assistant Attorney General Tony West wrote on June 8 in a thirty-five-page filing opposing Blackwater's motion.

Several legal experts interviewed by The Nation said they could not foresee the Justice Department intervening on Blackwater's behalf. But the Westfall Act has been used by attorneys general in both the Bush and Obama administrations to attempt to absolve senior Bush officials of liability for their alleged role in crimes and to make the government liable. On June 26 Holder's office intervened in a lawsuit filed by CCR against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and twenty-three other military and medical officials "for their role in the illegal detention, torture, inhumane conditions and ultimate deaths" of two Guantánamo prisoners.

Citing the Westfall Act, Tony West wrote that "the type of activities alleged against the individual defendants were 'foreseeable' and were 'a direct outgrowth' of their responsibility to detain and gather intelligence from suspected enemy combatants." In defending the government's position, West cited case law stating that "genocide, torture, forced relocation, and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment by individual defendants employed by Department of Defense and State Department were within scope of employment" and similar cases justifying CIA torture as part of official duty.

"It is essentially saying torture is all in a day's work when it comes to holding people in military detention," says Shane Kadidal, who heads the Guantánamo project at CCR. In that case, the issue was not whether Rumsfeld and the others were "employees" but whether they were doing official business. Blackwater's argument is a tougher sell, says Morrison. "Does it hold water?" he asks. "It holds Blackwater."

Meanwhile, in another development, Prince's lawyers have responded to explosive allegations made against Prince by two former employees. In sworn affidavits submitted by lawyers representing the Iraqis suing Blackwater, the two alleged that Prince may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. One of the former employees alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life." They also charge that Prince was profiting from illegal weapons smuggling. In a motion filed August 10, Prince's lawyers asked Judge Ellis to strike from the record the sworn statements of the two former employees, saying that "the conclusory allegations they contain are inadmissible on multiple grounds, including lack of foundation, hearsay, irrelevance, and unfair prejudice." They charge that the lawyers suing Blackwater are attempting to "use this litigation as a 'megaphone' to increase their ability to influence the public's perceptions regarding the use of contractors in military battlefield situations, the Iraq War, and most particularly about Erik Prince and the other defendants. Unsubstantiated statements made in filings in this Court become 'newsworthy' simply because they appear in those filings." The lawyers characterize the allegations as "scandalous, baseless, inadmissible, and highly prejudicial." Interestingly, nowhere do Prince's lawyers say flatly that the allegations are untrue.

As the cases against Prince move forward, the company continues to do a robust business with the federal government, particularly in Afghanistan. Schakowsky has called for a review of all of the companies' current contracts, and she has called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stop awarding the company contracts. The "Obama administration should at the very least cancel and debar [Blackwater's] present and pending government contracts," says Nader. "Otherwise corporate crimes, privileges and immunities continue to pay and pay and pay."

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Blackwater Disclosure Adds to CIA Worries
« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2009, 06:19:07 am »
Blackwater Disclosure Adds to CIA Worries
News of 'Targeted Killing' Program Precedes Interrogation Report, Possible Probe

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, August 21, 2009
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/20/AR2009082004064_pf.html

The disclosure Wednesday of the CIA's decision five years ago to let a private security contractor help manage its sensitive effort to kill senior al-Qaeda members drew congressional criticism Thursday on the eve of key decisions by the Obama administration that current and former intelligence officials fear could compound the spy agency's political troubles.

Those decisions include the expected release Monday of newly declassified portions of a 2004 CIA report that questions the legality and effectiveness of the agency's harsh interrogations at secret prisons. Additionally, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. may order a probe of possible criminal actions by CIA officers and contractors during those interrogations.

"In September, you are going to have a hurricane coming through Washington that is aimed right at the intelligence community," warned Porter J. Goss, the CIA's director from September 2004 to May 2006. He noted that a Justice Department inquiry is also pending into whether laws were broken when CIA officers destroyed videotapes of the harsh interrogations.

Democratic House and Senate lawmakers and staff members have already described as inappropriate the Bush administration's decision to hand management and training responsibility for the CIA's "targeted killing" efforts to Blackwater USA, and they have reiterated their intent to press for speedier and more complete disclosure by the agency of such activities in the future. CIA Director Leon E. Panetta terminated the program in June, shortly before telling Congress about its existence.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the intelligence committee, sharpened her previous criticism of the program. "It is clear to me that the failure to notify before now constituted a violation of law," she said in a statement Thursday.

She said she could not address the program's parameters but emphasized that it "had, in fact, gone beyond the simple planning stage."

"I have believed for a long time that the Intelligence Community is over-reliant on contractors to carry out its work," she said. "This is especially a problem when contractors are used to carry out activities that are inherently governmental."

Democrats have previously pushed to ban the use of contractors to conduct interrogations, and some suggested Thursday that the restriction should extend to hit squads. "There is still too much being done by contractors that ought to be done by government employees," said a congressional staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the CIA program remains classified.

Goss said he had not been fully briefed on the details of the CIA activities in question, many of which are classified, so he could not confirm the reported involvement of Blackwater, now known as Xe Services LLC. A spokeswoman for the firm did not return a phone call Thursday, but two former intelligence officers familiar with the effort said the company had received millions of dollars for helping train and equip teams to undertake the killings.

Goss alluded to that effort, stating that "my standing orders were 'field-forward' mission."

"We wanted to catch the people who brought down the trade centers and killed innocent people and wanted to kill more," he said. "And we wanted to have every possible legal means at our disposal that we could to deal with them. That was certainly in my vision statement, and that is the briefing that was given to members of Congress" during his tenure.

"In my view, we should constantly be looking at all our options in terms of national security," Goss said. "Suppose you got a high-value guy, a terrorist, part of al-Qaeda, a radical fundamentalist trained to kill innocent people, who you cannot talk down from the tree. What happens when you actually find that guy? Do you send the FBI? That's probably not the best option for the tribal areas" in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Political controversy over conducting lethal activities overseas stems from the fact that "we have not resolved the basic rules of engagement for covert forces in the world today," Goss said. "It keeps getting pushed by the prevailing political winds." He added that the CIA, when confronted by a particularly tough problem involving a shortage of manpower, too much regulation or political indecision, has "a tendency to say, 'Let's see if we can farm this out.' That does not mean we are trying to evade a law, but to get the mission done in a creditable way."

One motive the CIA might have for hiring contractors may be to add personnel without officially enlarging its bureaucracy, Goss said. "But it's also the case that there are some folks at retirement age who still feel like they have some horsepower left, so they go off into a consulting business and make themselves available."

A former intelligence official familiar with the effort said the decision to outsource a substantial portion of the program stemmed partly from the agency's close ties to Blackwater, which hired several of the agency's top executives, including former CIA counterterrorism chief Cofer Black and former deputy director for operations Robert Richer.

A second former intelligence official intimately familiar with Blackwater's role said that there was never a formal contract, but rather a verbal agreement between top executives of the company and the agency. The former official said that the agreement covered only Blackwater's expenses and overhead, with no additional profit for the firm. "No one made a dime off of this," the former official said.

Michael V. Hayden, Goss's successor as CIA director, also declined Thursday to comment on Blackwater's involvement in the targeted killing program but told reporters that the use of contractors had ended by the time he became head of the agency in 2006. At the time he learned about it, he said, the initiative was still in the planning stages and "never reached either the political or the legal threshold" that would have triggered a mandatory congressional briefing.

"Somewhere in that mix, I probably would have gone down to talk to Congress, but . . . the threshold I probably would have first crossed was a political one, not a legal one," Hayden said. There was no specific legal requirement, he said, but "the fact was that this was maybe of a bit of a different flavor than the kinds of things we had briefed the Hill on in the past."

Presidential aides, as well as CIA officials, have said they fear that heightened controversy over the Bush administration's counterterrorism efforts will push the Obama administration into a partisan debate it has sought to avoid.

The release of the CIA report Monday -- on a date picked by a federal judge in New York in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union -- will come as the president settles into his holiday at Martha's Vineyard, increasing the likelihood that it will draw attention during a political lull.

Hayden said he expects the report's release to damage CIA morale, even though some passages will bolster CIA assertions that the harsh interrogations had helped the country learn about "the basic infrastructure of al-Qaeda" and plan its counterattack.

Holder, speaking at a news conference in Washington, said the Justice Department has worked closely with the CIA in an effort to release only those portions of the report that will not compromise national security. "We will not be doing anything that will endanger the American people," Holder said.

Staff writers Ben Pershing, Anne E. Kornblut and Carrie Johnson contributed to this report.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40