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Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder
#1
Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder

[B]By Jeremy Scahill[/B]


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."

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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.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090817/scahill
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#2
I hope Kucinich is wearing body armor and not flying or driving these days.....:call2:

Prince is a real 'prince' and such an observant Christian....I hope he gets what he deserves - along with his Xe Corporate Killers
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#3
Manchurian Global, eh? I'm not holding my breath that these Bush regime dogs of war will ever meet justice.

Quote:State Department investigators of the September 16h Blackwater Nisour Square shooting have granted limited immunity to Blackwater operators who were present at the incident, according to the Associated Press. But the press reports missed a key fact: The State Department’s investigators are from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the very bureau of the State Department that contracts with Blackwater for the services in question and that is responsible for operational control of those missions. Can you say conflict of interest?

This is a milestone in government outsourcing. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time a contracting agency has ever granted legal immunity to a contractor or contractors’ employees faced with potential criminal penalties.

As their contract monitors, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security would have known if the Blackwater operators were doing their jobs as prescribed by their Bureau contract. They would have known whether the contractors were working under a very aggressive Mission Fire Plan, which allowed point-and-spray marksmanship. My suspicion is that Diplomatic Security knew that Blackwater — er, I mean, "The BW Group" — operators were working within established State guidelines, even though this resulted in significant loss of life. Regardless, it should raise red flags for everyone concerned with government accountability in in the new age of national security outsourcing.

– R.J. Hillhouse, cross-posted at The Spy Who Billed Me

UPDATE: "The State Department investigators from the agency’s investigative arm, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, offered the immunity grants even though they did not have the authority to do so," the Times is reporting. "The immunity deals came as an unwelcome surprise at the Justice Department, which was already grappling with the fundamental legal question of whether any prosecutions could take place involving American civilians in Iraq."
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2007/10/...ater-immu/

Quote:While the indictments in the Nisour Square case are significant and historic, there will be substantial legal hurdles for prosecutors, not the least of which is the State Department's move in the immediate aftermath of the shootings to immunize the shooters from prosecution. The Bush administration left the initial investigation to Blackwater's employer, the State Department. Investigators from the department's Diplomatic Security Division offered the Blackwater shooters "limited-use immunity" before questioning them, meaning that their statements and information gleaned from them could neither be used to bring criminal charges against them nor even be introduced as evidence. When the FBI eventually arrived in Baghdad, some of the Blackwater guards involved in the shooting refused to be interviewed, citing promises of immunity from the State Department. The agency also discovered that the crime scene had been severely compromised.

The Blackwater guards will be at the center of a precedent-setting battle over what legal experts call a "grey zone" in US law under which private forces operate in Iraq. The men are being charged under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. Passed in 2000, the law provides for prosecuting contractors working for or alongside the US military. Blackwater works for the State Department, and lawyers for the company's five accused operatives will certainly challenge the law's application to their clients. They also intend to use Blackwater's longstanding argument that the shootings were the result of an armed attack against the men. "We think it's pure and simple a case of self-defense," said Paul Cassell, a Utah attorney on the defense team. "Tragically, people did die."

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081222/sc...l=hp_picks
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Reply
#4
AMY GOODMAN: Murder, destruction of evidence, weapons smuggling, corruption—those are just some of the explosive allegations made by two former employees of the private military contractor formerly known as Blackwater. The claims were made in sworn statements filed on August 3rd in federal court in Virginia.

The two men claim Blackwater’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. One also alleges that Prince, quote, “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies, quote, “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”

The identities of the two men, a former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company, were sealed out of concerns for their safety.

In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges Prince turned a profit by transporting “illegal” or “unlawful” weapons into the country on Prince’s private planes. They also charge 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 allegations and a series of other charges are contained in sworn affidavits, given under penalty of perjury, as part of a seventy-page motion by lawyers for Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for alleged war crimes and other misconduct.

Blackwater now operates under the name Xe, spelled X-E. We contacted the company about the allegations, but they didn’t return our calls.

Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill broke the story in The Nation magazine yesterday. Jeremy is the author of the bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His writing and reporting is also available at RebelReports.com. He is a twice George Polk Award-winning reporter. He joins us in our firehouse studio.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

JEREMY SCAHILL: Thanks, Amy. Nice to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: So, just lay it out. What is it that you discovered? What is this lawsuit all about?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, you know, there are two major investigations happening of Blackwater right now. One of them is being conducted by the Department of Justice for crimes committed by Blackwater over a wide range of years in Iraq. And five Blackwater operatives have been indicted on criminal manslaughter charges; they face thirty-five charges in all for their role in the Nisoor Square shooting, the single-greatest massacre of Iraqi civilians by a private force that we know of in Iraq. A sixth Blackwater operative, a guy named Jeremy Ridgeway, pled guilty to one count of manslaughter and then another, a lesser count, and is cooperating now with federal authorities.

The second investigation is being done by civilian attorneys, so to speak. A private lawyer named Susan Burke has been a pitbull in going after Blackwater for a number of shootings of civilians and others in Iraq. She’s working with the Center for Constitutional Rights, is suing Blackwater in five separate lawsuits in the Washington, DC area.

And so, what we have here are two affidavits that are sworn, under penalty of perjury, by one former Blackwater employee who, I’ve learned from sources, was actually a member of Blackwater management and had knowledge of Blackwater’s inner workings and operations. The other, as you stated, was a Marine who was honorably discharged and then took up employment with Blackwater as a security operator inside of Baghdad, and Iraq, in more general. Their two statements were submitted late Monday night in a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of a motion that Susan Burke and the Center for Constitutional Rights submitted, trying to stop Blackwater from having these cases dismissed. There’s going to be a hearing on Friday in this federal court, in Judge Ellis’s courtroom.

And these declarations, Amy, are stunning, in the sense that it’s the first time that we really see insiders at Blackwater alleging a direct role by Erik Prince, the sole owner and the founder of the company, potentially in either murdering someone who was cooperating with federal authorities or was intending to cooperate with federal authorities—talking about in the criminal investigation here of Blackwater—or he helped facilitate the murder of these individuals.

In the motion that was filed by Susan Burke on Monday, she says that under state law in Virginia, under state law in North Carolina, and under federal law in the United States of America, Erik Prince could be criminally charged with murder for his role in the killing of Iraqis, specifically, but not exclusively, because of the aspect here that he viewed himself as a crusader with a mission to essentially kill or, in the words of one of the former Blackwater people, “eliminate” Muslims and wage war on Islam globally, that Erik Prince was aware that he was sending men—in fact, he was intending to send men to Iraq that he knew were going to be reckless in their use of force.

He provided them, according to these individuals, with weapons that were unauthorized for use by the State Department. One of them says he was smuggling them in wrapped in sort of cellophane on his private airplanes, bringing them into Iraq. John Doe number one, the former Marine, witnessed, he says, weapons being taken out of dog food bags that had been brought into Iraq by Blackwater. Blackwater has a huge canine division, so—and I had heard this also from other Blackwater employees.

But what’s interesting is that they wouldn’t go on the record because of fear—and I’ve heard this for years—of either violence from Erik Prince’s management team or of being pursued monetarily by Blackwater. These are very explosive charges. To hear the words “murder” and “Blackwater” in the same sentence is not a shock to anyone who knows anything about what they’ve been doing in Iraq. To read, though, Erik Prince’s direct role in it and knowing that he micromanages everything in that company, these are explosive developments.

AMY GOODMAN: His background? I mean, the allegation that he views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. Erik Prince used to—you know, he said once that people that say those kinds of things about him don’t know anything about religion. Well, the fact is that if you look at Erik Prince’s life history, this is a kid who was sort of the crown prince of the radical religious right, if you look at it; not to be funny on words here, but Erik Prince was, in a way, the crown prince. His father, Edgar Prince, was one of the kingpins of the financial network that created the radical religious right. His dad, Edgar Prince, gave the seed money to Gary Bauer to start the Family Research Council; James Dobson, Focus on the Family. Close family friend of the Princes is Chuck Colson, who was Nixon’s hatchet man during Watergate and now has emerged to be one of the most powerful evangelical leaders in the United States, an adviser to President Bush.

Young Erik Prince interns at the George H.W. Bush White House but says it’s not conservative enough for him, so he backs Pat Buchanan’s insurgency campaign. Erik Prince converted to Catholicism, my sources tell me, because he wanted to be closer to the true tradition of the Church and to the Crusades. And then you have this individual serving in the military, leaving the Navy Seals then to start a private military training company, that once the so-called war on terror is launched by President Bush, a candidate who Erik Prince gave tremendous money to and his whole network funded—they were all Bush Pioneers—Bush then launches a war that he describes as a “crusade,” invading not one, but two Muslim countries, and putting Erik Prince and his private force of neo-crusaders at the vanguard of that occupation, guarding all of the senior people that Bush deployed in those countries to be his point men. Blackwater, effectively, under the Bush years, operated as an armed wing of the Bush administration, and now we know from employees that there, in fact, was a perception within the company that Erik Prince viewed himself as a crusader in a war against Islam.

The last point I’ll make on this is that what we also understand from John Doe number one is that these individuals inside of Iraq, the Blackwater operatives, some of them used call signs, identifying names, nicknames, that were taken from the realm of the Knights of the Templar, the original Crusaders, the warriors who fought the Crusades. And this is a very, very, I think, unsurprising development, in the sense that we’ve known many of these things about Erik Prince, but stunning to see it coming from insiders at Blackwater in sworn statements under penalty of perjury.

AMY GOODMAN: Other allegations in the documents, Prince’s North Carolina operations had an ongoing wife-swapping and sex ring?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah. I mean, I—you know, I had heard these allegations. I think the first time I heard something of that nature was in 2006. One of—this is something that comes from just one of the individuals, the one identified as John Doe number two. And John Doe number two says that it caused so much trouble at the company that Erik Prince—among the staff, because of the wife-swapping operation—that Erik Prince actually asked one of his senior executives, Joseph Schmitz, to conduct an investigation. There’s no further information on it.

Interestingly, Joseph Schmitz, speaking of the Christian stuff, was—Christian supremacist stuff—was Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon inspector general, was in love with Donald Rumsfeld, while he was supposed to be monitoring his conduct, and then leaves the Pentagon to go work for one of the contractors he was supposed to be overseeing. Joseph Schmitz is a radical, militant, right-wing Catholic, who once wrote a letter to the Washington Times about abortion, referring to himself as a former fetus, and therefore he understands the issue of abortion, because he’s a former fetus. He also is a member of the Knights of Malta and is an avowed Christian supremacist.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Jeremy Scahill, award-winning investigative journalist, who has just exposed this story. Now, we asked Blackwater—well, it’s now called Xe—to join us on the broadcast; they didn’t get back to us. But they did respond to Scott Horton, who wrote a piece in The Daily Beast.

The Xe spokesperson stated, “The brief filed by Plaintiffs includes two anonymous affidavits that state their ‘information’ has been provided to the Justice Department—we can gauge the credence given to those statements, which hold no water.”

Xe goes on to say, “When the indictments were announced, the [United States] attorney made a point of stating [that] ‘[t]he indictment does not charge or implicate Blackwater Worldwide’; ‘[i]t charges only the actions of certain employees for their roles in the September 16 shooting.’ He emphasized [that] the indictment was ‘very narrow in its allegations’: ‘Six individual Blackwater guards have been charged with unjustified shootings… not the entire Blackwater organization in Baghdad. There were 19 Blackwater guards on the… team that day…. Most acted professionally, responsibly, and honorably. Indeed, this indictment should not be read as accusation against any of those brave men and women who risk their lives as Blackwater security contractors.’”

And the statement ends by saying, “It is obvious that Plaintiffs 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.”

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. Well, I mean, first of all, anyone who knows anything about federal criminal investigations and grand juries knows that there can, at any given time, be multiple grand juries. Yes, it’s true that there was a grand jury that ultimately produced indictments of five Blackwater individuals over the Nisoor Square shooting. But, as a source that I have within the US Justice Department told me, there can always be other grand juries. So just because that was the outcome of that particular grand jury does not mean that there’s not a grand jury sitting right now. In fact, when I called the US attorney in—the US attorney’s office in Washington, DC, working on this story, they said to me that they could not confirm or deny any action they may or may not be taking against uncharged individuals, and also said that, you know, “To be clear here, there was a grand jury there, but it doesn’t mean that there’s not a grand jury; we just can’t confirm or deny a grand jury.” So, you know, Blackwater is kind of playing with the facts there and playing with how the process actually works.

The reality is that we understand from the very pro-Blackwater book that was written by CNN executive producer, with Erik Prince’s cooperation, that Gary Jackson, the president of the company, has received some form of a target letter from the Department of Justice. And there’s a buzz going on right now in the circles of folks who follow this closely that there are more indictments of Blackwater figures that are going to be forthcoming. Whether or not Prince is going to be indicted is a totally different story. I do know, though, Amy, from talking to folks on Capitol Hill, that there is great interest in the Intelligence Committee and the Oversight Committee to pursue the allegations laid out by these two individuals in these sworn affidavits.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Obama’s overall policy around private contractors, the military contractors?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. I mean, I watched your interview with Henry Waxman, and I give him credit for the work that he did on this. I mean, he was on Blackwater’s case from 2003 until his role at the Oversight Committee ended and he moved on to Energy and Commerce. And Waxman and Jan Schakowsky and others, Dennis Kucinich, fought hard to try to have these kinds of forces banned for use by the US government abroad. They wanted all these jobs to be done by the US military. They lost in that battle.

Ironically, Hillary Clinton, as a senator, was the single most important US political figure to call for a ban of Blackwater and actually co-signed legislation with Bernie Sanders, Jan Schakowsky and a handful of others to try to end the use of these kinds of mercenary forces. Now Hillary Clinton is guarded by these very forces as Secretary of State and has not moved to end their use.

In fact, Obama, in Afghanistan, is expanding the use of these forces by 29 percent in the second quarter of this year, and it continues to grow. The Washington Post just had—did a big story about how the number of private forces is swelling, as the US troop levels grow in Afghanistan. In Iraq, they continue to play a very, very significant role. And I think that it’s important to note, Blackwater continues to do business with the federal government under Barack Obama. That should be a scandal on Capitol Hill, particularly in light of these allegations that have come forth. There needs to be congressional investigations once again.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill, award-winning investigative journalist, author of the bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His latest article is online at thenation.com online. Also, Democracy Now! correspondent.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#5
See
The Real World: Mercenaries, Murder and the American Way
Written by Chris Floyd
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 22:10
http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/con...n-way.html

and

The Bomb in the Shadows: Proliferation, Corruption and the Way of the World [at http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/conte...-the-world.html ].
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
Reply
#6
JUAN GONZALEZ: We begin today’s show with an explosive new report about the private military contractor Blackwater. The New York Times is reporting the CIA hired contractors from Blackwater in 2004 as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of al-Qaeda.

Executives from Blackwater helped the spy agency with planning, training and surveillance. The CIA spent several million dollars on the program, which the Times claims did not successfully capture or kill any terrorist suspects. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Blackwater had operational control over the program.

Officials say the CIA did not have a formal contract with Blackwater for this program. Members of Congress did not learn about it until earlier this year, after it had been canceled.

AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about this story, we’re joined by independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, the author of the bestselling book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He was working on this story when it broke. His article on the program will appear on thenation.com today.

Jeremy, respond to this exposé.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, I think that what we see here in the Times is a very small fraction—and in the Post, for that matter—a very small fraction of this story. Blackwater has had a longstanding relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency, and I go into this at great length in my book.

There are two figures that I think tell the story of Blackwater’s relationship with the CIA. One is a man named Alvin, aka Buzzy, Krongard. The other is a man named J. Cofer Black.

Buzzy Krongard was the executive director of the Central Intelligence Agency when—in 2002, the number three man at the agency. He reportedly was a friend of or an acquaintance of Erik Prince’s father, Edgar Prince. The two of them ended up meeting officially in 2002, when Buzzy Krongard and Erik Prince arranged a black contract for Blackwater with the CIA to deploy a small team of men inside of Afghanistan on the CIA payroll. It was a $5 million contract. And the official reason for Blackwater going into Afghanistan was to provide protection for the CIA operatives that were operating in Afghanistan in the early stages of the US operations there.

So, Erik Prince himself—he’s a former Navy Seal—goes over with that first team of Blackwater guys as one of the operatives, and he goes to Shkin, which is a town along the Afghan-Pakistan border, where the CIA was running a mud fortress that was called the Alamo. Prince stayed there for a little bit of time. And according to another Blackwater executive who was with Prince on that trip that we talked to for my book, Erik Prince spent a few days there and then went to Kabul to try to win more business with other US federal agencies. So that initial relationship, Buzzy Krongard with Erik Prince, started, we understand, this CIA relationship with Blackwater.

Interestingly, when we talked to Buzzy Krongard, reached him on the phone in the course of doing my book, he was sort of startled at the idea that someone was asking about Blackwater and the CIA, and he said, “I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg,” meaning, I don’t know if Blackwater came to us with an offer to work for the CIA or if we we came to them. Now, who knows what’s true and what’s not true?

After that, Blackwater then started a whole division of its company for security operations. That’s pretty much when Blackwater’s role as a provider of private soldiers began. So, after that contract, then Blackwater ended up getting this huge contract inside of Afghanistan.

What the Times and the Post are saying is that, beginning in 2004, Blackwater was hired informally—there was no official contact—through Erik Prince and other executives to actually coordinate assassination teams that would hunt top al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and potentially in Pakistan. Now, I had heard about this program weeks ago and had been doing the work of going through and trying to track down people that could verify this information. I think a lot more is going to come out on this. This is also something—I reached a member of the House Intelligence Committee last night who told me that the Intelligence Committee is, in fact, going to probe the alleged ties of Blackwater to this secret assassination program, that Dick Cheney reportedly ordered hid from Congress.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Jeremy, I was struck by how skimpy the Times report was, in terms of actual facts, other than this, as you mentioned, this—the fact that there was no written contract or agreement, that it was all a word-of-mouth agreement between Prince and some CIA officials. But to your knowledge, did Leon Panetta brief members of Congress about this when he began raising questions about past CIA programs?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I talked to a member of the Intelligence Committee. I’m not going to reveal who it was. And they said that they could neither confirm nor deny that Congress was aware of an alleged role that Blackwater was playing, nor could they say whether Panetta mentioned this at the briefing. I understand from some sources that it seems that there’s inflated reports on exactly how much of an alarm bell Leon Panetta rang when he briefed the US Congress.

I think a central point here, though, is that it shows how there was no wall between the administration and Erik Prince of Blackwater. They knew that this guy was going to be a loyal foot soldier. And you take this, combined with the fact that a former Blackwater executive has alleged that Erik Prince viewed himself as a sort of crusader fighting a holy war in defense of Christianity in an attempt to, quote, “eliminate Muslims and Islam globally,” the idea that then he was working or voluntarily working on some kind of an assassination program makes perfect sense.

Remember also, Juan, that one of the top executives at Blackwater right now is a guy named Cofer Black, twenty-eight-year veteran of the CIA. He was running the assassination program for the CIA in 2002, when Blackwater first started working for the CIA. Cofer Black was head of the CIA’s counterterrorism center. He was the guy who gave orders to the CIA jawbreaker teams: go into Afghanistan, chop off Osama bin Laden’s head with a machete, and bring it back to me in a box with dry ice, because I told the President I would present it to him. He now is running Prince’s private CIA. The notion that Blackwater wouldn’t have developed that kind of a relationship and now has on its payroll three of the biggest clandestine operators of the CIA in modern history, it’s just—it’s incredible.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, is it conceivable that the special ops role of Blackwater with the CIA could have affected how the government reacted to the killings that the Blackwater employees were involved in in Iraq?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, plausible deniability. Look, if you have a—you create as many barriers between the executive branch and the actual assassinations, because of prohibitions on assassination. This has become a huge issue now in this country. If you can sort of say, this was an arrangement, a private arrangement, between the head of this company and some rogue people at the CIA, then what you’re doing is you’re—and Blackwater is perceived by many as a sinking ship right now.

Part of what could be happening here is that they’re trying to really say Blackwater was actually responsible for all of it, when I think there’s a lot of evidence to indicate that this was an official policy, that Dick Cheney, if he didn’t create the program, was involved with the concealment of the program from the Congress. Look, I had somebody in Congress tell me last night, “Erik Prince was apparently trusted more than the US Congress by the White House, because he knew about this program, and we didn’t.” So, I mean, I think, yes, Blackwater—there’s ample evidence to suggest that Blackwater was involved with this program. And I think we need to probe the role. But there’s also the political reality that the Cheney folks are circling the wagons in an attempt to try to absolve themselves of any criminal culpability.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill, can we get the name straight? What is Blackwater called today?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, Blackwater has, you know, twenty different iterations, and they have all sorts of companies. In Afghanistan right now, they’re working for the State Department under the banner of U.S. Training Center. They’re working for the Department of Defense under Paravant. They’re working for—with their aviation wing through Presidential Airways. The official name of the company, how they do business overtly with the US government, is through U.S. Training Center. I understand that they also have some companies that are used for covert operations. TigerSwan is a company that I understand has been used for some of their covert work.

AMY GOODMAN: And the New York Times refers to them as Xe Services, X-E.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, that’s so last week. Amy. I mean, you know, they change—it changes pretty much every week.

The other thing is they have a—they have an offshore operation, which is a classic, old-fashioned mercenary operation called Greystone, which I understand still does business in Iraq.

And let’s remember, Blackwater is not just working for the US government; they work for the International Republican Institute, a John McCain-affiliated organization that’s been involved with interference in democratic processes in countries around the world and destabilizing countries. There are reports that they’ve been in Pakistan recently. And there’s—I understand there’s going to be some probing of that. In fact, Representative Jan Schakowsky, on August 6th, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking for information about Blackwater’s alleged role in Pakistan right now. This is a company that continues to work at every level, secret and overt, of the US government.

AMY GOODMAN: And let’s talk about Blackwater’s relationship with the Obama administration, the contracts it currently has.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. Well, I mean, I’ve spent the better part of the past month pursuing this, and Blackwater has one official remaining overt contract in Iraq. The State Department has confirmed that Blackwater still is armed in Iraq. They’re working technically on an aviation contract, though the State Department told me that their men are allowed to carry weapons and that it’s countrywide in Iraq. Blackwater has these Little Bird helicopters that have become a central part of the transportation of US officials, occupation officials, around Iraq. That is supposed to end on September 3rd. The Obama administration increased the value of that contract in late July by $20 million to $187 million. So Blackwater has made over a billion dollars in Iraq on diplomatic security, as they call it, though some would say they’re involved in the most undiplomatic work possible. They have that contract.

In Iraq, they’re on the third year of a five-year contract for private security services for the US State Department, where they are one of the premier forces transporting US diplomats around the country. When Ambassador Holbrooke, for instance, goes to Afghanistan, his security detail is in part made up of private soldiers. Hillary Clinton, who said that she would ban Blackwater, if elected president, now is the employer of Blackwater in Afghanistan. For the Department of Defense, Blackwater works in a capacity training the Afghan military forces. These are massive, massive contracts that Blackwater still has with the Obama administration.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And in the about thirty seconds that we have left, could you give us a sense—the Times is reporting that these assassination teams did not actually kill anybody. Is that your understanding, as well?

JEREMY SCAHILL: I would raise very serious questions about that, and I’ll tell you why. Cofer Black, when he was head of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, said, shortly after Blackwater started working for the CIA, that they had killed thousands of people and that they either killed or detained thousands of people as part of their covert program. Blackwater is alleged to have been working under the CIA’s paramilitary assassination program.

I think that before we go off to the races with declarations about how programs of this nature didn’t work, let’s remember one very important fact. These guys are former Navy Seals. They are the most sophisticated, highly trained operatives in the US military. That was the bonus of hiring Erik Prince. You are getting, off the books, off the map, unknown, plausibly deniable paramilitary operatives, who were the most seasoned veterans of US covert operations, to work essentially a black program in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I doubt very seriously that, if Blackwater was involved, no one got killed.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill, thanks so much for being with us. His article will appear at thenation.com today. Jeremy Scahill, award-winning investigative journalist, author of the bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Good luck on Friday night, tomorrow night, on Bill Maher. Jeremy will be on with Jan Schakowsky, Jay Leno and NBC’s Chuck Todd.

http://rebelreports.com/
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#7
Peter - thanks for posting the ever interesting Jeremey Scahill's latest interview.

Cheney's mob will try to protect themselves as further details of Their deep black Phoenix-style assassination programme emerge.

Whilst Blackwater is already metamorphosing into numerous other forms and entities, in classic bug (or Octopus) fashion.

Whatever.

If lil' Dick Cheney tries to dump on the Prince family, it could get interesting. In a voyeuristic, rubbernecking a car crash, kind of way.

Like watching the shootout in a spaghetti western with just the Bad and the Ugly. Confusedecruity:
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Reply
#8
It is quite amazing that: it continues with the Obama Admin., as with the Bush; that it changes its name almost every month and for every project; that its founder states that its mission is nothing short of a Christian crusade to kill Muslims and that the MSM ignores all of the above....not to mention all of their myriad crimes against humanity and the rules of war, et al. They only had the name Xe for a few months, but like a true covert entity they are, they have already shed it.....
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#9
Peter Lemkin Wrote:It is quite amazing that: it continues with the Obama Admin., as with the Bush; that it changes its name almost every month and for every project; that its founder states that its mission is nothing short of a Christian crusade to kill Muslims and that the MSM ignores all of the above....not to mention all of their myriad crimes against humanity and the rules of war, et al. They only had the name Xe for a few months, but like a true covert entity they are, they have already shed it.....

I was just gonna ask about that Peter. The only use I've see of "Xe" for Blackwater was the original news account of the name change (from something infamous and unspeakable to something unpronounceable and unspeakable). And they've consistently been referred to as Blackwater ever since.

Did they officially change their name back to Blackwater or did it just fail to catch on?
Reply
#10
Jan Klimkowski Wrote:Peter - thanks for posting the ever interesting Jeremey Scahill's latest interview.

Cheney's mob will try to protect themselves as further details of Their deep black Phoenix-style assassination programme emerge.

Whilst Blackwater is already metamorphosing into numerous other forms and entities, in classic bug (or Octopus) fashion.

Whatever.

If lil' Dick Cheney tries to dump on the Prince family, it could get interesting. In a voyeuristic, rubbernecking a car crash, kind of way.

Like watching the shootout in a spaghetti western with just the Bad and the Ugly. Confusedecruity:

I find it really helpful that you consistently link current events to their historical antecedents Jan. It gives instant perspective and context and shows the continuity and the--all important--big picture.

Hee hee, The Bad and the Ugly.
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