It’s easy to see today’s news of Erik Prince being accused of murder as nothing short of cathartic. If the charges are true — they come from sworn affidavits by two former Blackwater Worldwide employees testifying in a federal lawsuit against Blackwater (now known as Xe) –it means the golden Blackwater boy has finally been unsheathed of his golden shield and will finally stand accountable for the many crimes his guards have been accused of perpetuating throughout the six years of war in Iraq.
Jeremy Scahill, the indomitable reporter who has been all over Blackwater like a tick on a dog, writing the must-read Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, and keeping close tabs in general on the military industrial complex for The Nation and his own blog, RebelReports.com, broke the story this morning.
Prince’s former employees say he:
— “may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company.”
— “turned a profit by transporting ‘illegal’ or ‘unlawful’ weapons into the country on Prince’s private planes”
— “destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents” with fellow employees, who also “intentionally deceived the U.S. State Department and other federal agencies.” This would include “hotwashing” videos depicting incidents in which Blackwater guards showed “excessive force” against Iraqi civilians. Several Blackwater guards are now on trial, and facing the above-mentioned civil suit, for their role in the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisoor Square in September 2007.
— “ignored the advice and pleas from certain employees, who sought to stop the unnecessary killing of innocent Iraqis.” Prince allegedly returned employees back to Iraq knowing they had been initially sent home because other staff found them unfit for duty because, aside from exhibiting mental instability, these men had been “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.”
— “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe”
These charges are indeed explosive. The last statement, if authentic, makes an already unattractive man and personal story that much more repulsive. Especially since his now-tainted multimillion dollar successes have come straight from his silver-spooned pedigree and Christian Evangelical political connections. Son of wealthy businessman Edgar Prince, who co-founded the Family Research Council with Gary Bauer, Prince worked for President George H.W Bush and has since been a bigtime donor to rightwing Christian groups and Republican causes and candidates. Later on, to cash in on the best post-9/11 security contracts available, Prince started Blackwater and called on his Republican friends, including the now-defunct and disgraced Alexander Strategies Group (Jack Abramoff’s lobbyist pals), to get the job done. And it worked. According to reports, Blackwater raked in $1 billion in profits from 9/11 to 2007.
According to this new damning testimony, Prince mixed his religion with his politics with his business. Somewhere along the line, according to the affidavits against him, his faith became a hate-fueled mutation of Jesus’s teachings. But his business soared, mostly because his politics — enjoined by the mighty but ill-fated Republican galaxy that was Washington under President George W. Bush — ensured that he won the contracts and shielded him from the real probing by congressional investigators that he and his company deserved (even though every single violent deed perpetuated against innocent Iraqis put our troops in harm’s way and further delegitimated the shaky U.S occupation there).
It should be pointed out that despite numerous attempts for comment by Prince and/or officials at his numerous holdings, Scahill did not get a response to the released affidavits.
Hopefully, these lawsuits will conclude Prince’s fall from favor. Unfortunately, for now, Xe rolls on and its lucrative federal, state and private contracts, too.
UPDATE: To show that I’m not all about the “far left agitprop,” here’s Xe (Blackwater’s) response, posted by lefty MoJo:
The proper place for this case to be litigated is in the Court, and we will respond fully in our reply brief (which will be filed on August 17) to the anonymous unsubstantiated and offensive assertions put forward by the plaintiffs. Because the plaintiffs have chosen inappropriately to argue their case in the media, however, we will also say this:
– The brief filed by Plaintiff includes two anonymous affidavits state that their “information” has been provided to the Justice Department — we can gauge the credence given to those statements — which hold no water. When the indictments were announced, the United States Attorney 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.”
– 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.
-We question the judgment of anyone who relies upon and reiterate anonymous declarations.