Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Deadly Serious

I'm not sure how much longer we can look forward without looking backward. After years of following the criminality of American CEO's and politicians, I should be drained of any outrage. But then my outrage is suddenly refueled when I read this report by Jeremy Scahill, an expert on the private military contractor Blackwater:
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."
You should really read the entire article and the two sworn statements linked within. However, I'll summarize some of the allegations against Blackwater founder and owner, Erik Prince:
  • Operated a web of companies to obscure money laundering and evade taxes.
  • Smuggled illegal weapons into Iraq for profit.
  • Destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents.
  • Did nothing to stop the excessive and unjustified deadly force against civilians.
  • Views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.
  • Ignored the assessments done by mental health professionals and deployed "unfit men" obsessed with killing "ragheads."
  • Knowingly hired two persons previously involved in the Kosovo sex-trafficking ring to serve at relatively high levels in the company.
  • Failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes including child prostitutes by 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.
Is it just me or does that list get weirder and weirder? The first couple of crimes are what we've sadly grown to expect from war profiteers, and then we get to the murderous Christian crusader and sex-trafficking parts...

Our government wants us to believe that they're simply outsourcing and privatizing military security, but the UN says it's a new form of mercenary activity. However, the U.S. is not under any law or treaty barring the use of mercenaries. I think that makes us look like some kind of banana republic.

We gave a 1.2 billion dollar contract to a company that operates with impunity and is run by a greedy, neo-Christian crusader in a volatile region that wants us out. At first I wanted to add Blackwater and Erik Prince to the long list of idiotic mistakes made by the Bush Administration, but Jeremy Scahill believes that Bush and company considered the crusader element a definite plus in the decision to hire Blackwater:

Probably because of all the bad press, Blackwater changed their name to Xe -- which looks like a word I'd try to get away with in Scrabble. I have no idea what the name means, but I'm guessing it's short for "xenophobia."

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