Jeremy Scahill, leading journalist on Blackwater, broke the story at The Nation of two Blackwater employees’ sworn statements, under the penalty of perjury, alleging the founder of Blackwater — now known as “Xe” (pronounced “zee”) — committed some of the highest of high crimes as the Bush Administration’s private mercenary firm in the Middle East.
John Doe #1 was an ex-U.S. Marine who joined Blackwater after being honorably discharged due to injury. John Doe #1 was deployed to Iraq and “observed first hand a series of events that established that Blackwater was not abiding by the terms of the contract with the State Department and deceived the State Department.”
John Doe #1 is scheduled to redeploy to Iraq for Blackwater and alleged that those who have, or planned to, blow the whistle on Blackwater and its founder, Erik Prince, have been killed.
“I am providing this Declaration as a ‘John Doe’ because I fear violence against me in retaliation for submitting this Declaration,” John Doe #1 stated. “I have learned from my Blackwater colleagues and former colleagues that one or more persons who’ve provided information, or were planning to provide information about Erik Prince and Blackwater have been killed in suspicious circumstances.” (1.1-2)
John Doe #2 worked for Mr. Prince’s “web of companies” for “approximately four years” and also provided the affidavit as “John Doe” because he feared “violence against” him “in retaliation” for giving this statement. “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 #2 stated. “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.” (2.1)
“I personally observed multiple incidents of Blackwater personnel using unnecessary, excessive, and unjustified deadly force,” John Doe #1 stated. (1.2)
John Doe #1 describes an incident where his convoy stopped to fix a flat tire. An “Iraq civilian with a single passenger” was driving near them, but “not heading directly toward” them. Blackwater employee Brad Elmer (known as “Snoop”) “almost immediately began firing directly into the car”. John Doe #1 stated: “It was clear that Elmer was clearly injuring and likely killing the passenger and likely injuring the driver as well.”
John Doe #1 learned of an “incident” where Blackwater employee Luke Doak (known as “Peanut”) used “excessive and unjustified” deadly force on an Iraqi civilian within days of his arrival in Iraq September ’06 . “Doak had no reason to kill him. Doak was bragging and gloating about his ‘kill’. (1.5)
“Blackwater knew that certain of its personnel intentionally used excessive and unjustified deadly force, and in some instances used unauthorized weapons, to kill or injure innocent Iraqi civilians. Blackwater did nothing to stop this misconduct.” (1.2)
“Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life,” John Doe #2 stated. “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’.” (2.3)
In a civil suit filed by Iraqi civilians [.pdf] July ’07, a brief referring to ‘Prince companies’ as ‘Prince RICO Enterprise’ reads: “Reasonable discovery likely will show that the Prince RICO Enterprise violated [U.S. Code], having young girls provide Enterprise members at the ‘Blackwater Man Camp’ in exchange for one American dollar.”
John Doe #2 stated that Mr. Prince “knowingly” hired two people “previously involved in a Kosovo sex trafficking ring” to high-level posts within his corporations. Blackwater set up what is known as the “Man Camp” where adult and child prostitutes are used to provide ‘services’.
“Mr. Prince travelled repeatedly to Iraq, and frequently visited the Blackwater ‘Man Camp’ during his trips overseas,” John Doe #2 stated. “Mr. Prince failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men.” (2.4)
A mission from God
“Mr. Prince is motivated to engage in misconduct by two factors: First, he views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” John Doe #2 stated. “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.” (2.2)
Christofascists like Mr. Prince use collectivism as a tool of, what Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski would call, “intelligent manipulation.” Collectivizing individuals magnifies the false collective concept through repetition — repeat the superficial and material properties on the surface to erode the individual into the illusion that the voluntary human actions of the individual are predetermined by collective fate, predetermined by an omniscient, omnipotent being. When this mind control technique is successful, the individual controlled can commit immoral acts justified by the perceived meaning of “right” and “wrong” of a being with the absolute power to create, destroy, and eternally damn.
Ignoring that Mr. Prince viewed himself as a “Christian crusader” who deployed “certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis” is very dangerous. The supremacy of faith in the cognitive process was the first step toward these individuals abandoning reason and the fundamental of basic morality that moral standards are universal to all individuals. At that point, the individual moral agent can be corrupted in any manner which those who possess their faith desire. Remember that President Bush saw himself as a ‘crusader’ of sorts and told then-French president Jacques Chirac that he saw himself participating in the Biblical battle to thwart Gog and Magog, Satanic agents of the apocalyspe.
Mr. Bush told Mr. Chirac: “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”
Mr. Bush clearly chose Mr. Prince as a man ‘who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis’.
Blackwater was authorized to use specific weaponry in its contract with the State Department and unauthorized to use others. “Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq,” John Doe #1 continued. (1.2)
“Mr. Prince generated substantial revenues from participating in the illegal arms trade. Using his various companies, he procured and distributed various weapons, including unlawful weapons such as sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers, through unlawful channels of distribution.” John Doe #2 stated. “For example, Mr. 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.” (2.5)
Blackwater employee Beau Phillips (known as “Elvis”) “used unjustified and excessive force” when he fired an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon (known as a “saw”) into a car, in killing or injuring those inside. “Any shots fired on behalf of the State Department in Iraq are supposed to come from either an M4 or a pistol.” (1.4)
“Mr. 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,” John Doe #2 stated. “Mr. Prince’s employees repeatedly used this illegal weaponry in Iraq, unnecessarily killing scores of innocent Iraqis.” (2.4)
Corporate privilege from the State
Blackwater was not an institution acting in accordance with the free market. Blackwater is an institution which exists as it does because of financing provided by the State, acquired via the forceful, not free, method of taxation and the oppressive tools of central banking and odious debt.
John Doe #2 stated that Mr. Prince “personally created and controlled” the state-approved web, “known in the lawsuit as ‘Prince companies'”, which all “operated as a single company… in order to obscure wrongdoing, fraud and other crimes”. (2.1-2)
John Doe #2 continued: “Mr. Prince treated all the revenues flowing in to the Prince companies as fungible and within his complete and absolute personal control. 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. (2.2)
Mandated public risk, extracted by the barrel of a gun, to feed corporate rewards is not an aspect of socialism or the free market. The State’s relationship with the military industrial complex is fascist violence, against the people it forcefully taxes and indebts, in order to trickle wealth up to its privileged cronies.
John Doe #1’s convoy — where “Snoop” opened fire into a vehicle — did not see if the driver or passenger were still alive, nor did they alert the Iraqi authorities, or the U.S. State Department as was “required by contract”. “Snoop” was not disciplined by Blackwater and continued to work under the U.S. contract. (1.3)
Before the “incident” where “Peanut” had used “excessive and unjustified force against Iraqis”, his supervisor at the time tried to put him on Blackwater’s “Do Not Use” list. Blackwater continues to use “Peanut”, allowing him to work under the U.S. contract and “continue to engage in a pattern of misconduct using deadly weapons”. (1.5)
“Elvis”, who opened fire with an unauthorized M-249 into a car with civilians, was another case where Blackwater did not check to see if the people inside where alive or in need of medical assistance. John Doe #1 witnessed “Elvis” open fire with the illegal “saw” into another vehicle “for no reason”. Again, Blackwater did not check on the civilians’ conditions or report the “incident” to the Iraqi authorites or U.S. State Department, and “Elvis” was not disciplined by Blackwater and continued to work under the U.S. contract. (1.4)
The incidents described were all videotaped with audio by a dash cam. At the end of the day, John Doe #1 states, “We would watch the video in a session called a ‘hot wash’. Immediately after the hot washing, the video was erased to prevent anyone other than Blackwater personnel from seeing what had actually occurred.” (1.4)
On top of laundering money between State-protected corporate entities and trafficking children, Mr. Prince “hid the revenue from his illegal weapons trade with assistance from an employee willing to engage in criminal conduct, Carol Confers,” John Doe #2 stated. “Mr. Prince feared, and continues to fear, that the federal authorities will detect and prosecute his various criminal deeds. 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.” (2.5)
Deploying ‘unfit’ workers to use deadly force
“[Mr. Prince] sought every opportunity to deploy men to Iraq in order to earn more money from the United States government. Mr. Prince and his top manager Gary Jackson knew the men being deployed were not suitable candidates for carrying lethal weaponry, but did not care because deployments meant more money.
“Certain employees located overseas refused to deploy unfit men and instead sent them back to the United States, advising that they were unfit to deploy for various reasons. These reasons included the men (a) making statements about wanting to deploy to Iraq to ‘kill ragheads’ or achieve ‘kills’ or ‘body counts,’ (b) excessive drinking, (c) steroid use, and (d) failure to follow safety and other instructions regarding lethal weaponry. When these demonstrably unfit men were returned to the United States, Mr. 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’.
“Mr. Prince also 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.” (2.3)
Like the “incidents” of murder, Blackwater “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,” John Doe #2 stated. (2.4)
The Justice Department
A hearing in the civil cases against Blackwater was scheduled for today before Judge T.S. Ellis III, who receives an eerie amount of high-profile cases, including the dismissal of a civil case against Custer Battles which was contracted by the U.S. State Department to provide security at Baghdad International Airport. Judge Ellis denied Blackwater’s gag order request.
The U.S. Justice Department was unable to comment to Mr. Scahill as to whether or not there is an investigation into these allegations, a Grand Jury has been convened, or if a Grand Jury will convene.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has corroborated statements alleging the party to contracts with State Department and numerous individuals committed or contracted others to commit numerous counts of murder — the unlawful killings with with malice aforethought that was willful, deliberate, and premeditated. The willfullness is evident in Mr. Prince’s avatar as a ‘Christian Crusader’ and his selection of employees. The deliberation is evident in Mr. Prince’s control of his corporations’ actions and the continuation of deploying workers who violated the terms of the contract with the State Department who knowingly used excessive and unjustified deadly force on countless civlians. The conscious deployment of “unfit men” to employ deadly force is evidence of intent to kill being fashioned prior to the killing.
The State consistently brags it can ‘indict a ham sandwich’. The steak dinner is on a silver platter for Mr. Holder.
Continuity under Obama
What the Bush Administration State Department knew is speculation. Mr. Scahill reports today that the State Department continues to contract Blackwater (under the name, “Xe”) under the Obama Administration and extended its contract in Iraq for $20m — two days before the statements of John Doe #1 and #2 were made — to provide “security services.
“Despite its scandal-plagued track record, Blackwater (which has rebranded itself as Xe) continues to have a presence in Iraq, trains Afghan forces on U.S. contracts and provides government-funded training for military and law enforcement inside the United States,” Mr. Scahill reports. “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’.
Mr. Scahill continues: “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 — U.S.-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 Obama Administration’s continuity on top on the ongoing investigations and sworn statements alleging Blackwater’s highest of high crimes is the crime of facilitation, at least, in a just society.
See interviews with Mr. Scahill on the story he broke and his blog for more. See his update today at The Nation. If you’re unfamiliar with Mr. Scahill, he’s truly one of the hardest-working, honest voices speaking truth to power serving us with information. Subscribe to his blog and follow him on Twitter.
NOTE: Statements from John Doe #1 are followed by (1.x) and those from John Doe #2 are followed by (2.x), ‘x’ being the page number of the aforementioned affidavit.
This week, msnbc’s Keith Olberman was one of the people I thumped his silent shilling for the Federal [sic] Reserve. As long as this silent shilling exists, I will continue to do so.
That said, Mr. Olbermann is the only person covering this story — and has done so three nights in a row — as Iraq quickly becomes ‘The Forgotten War’. Anyone covering this story would have to cover that Mr. Obama continues to contract Blackwater for it services and it’s becoming clear that the mainstream media does not want to talk about that. Mr. Olbermann’s summation last night (7:55):
I can’t say whether or not Mr. Olbermann covers this if he didn’t take a thumping from Glenn Greenwald this week. Mr. Olbermann’s very conscious of his image. For all we know, covering this story, stating he won’t have corporate communications consultant Richard Wolffe on his program anymore, and having Mr. Scahill on his program two nights in a row is mostly an effort to regain whatever cultural capital he lost when it was shown he is clearly a corporate tool of msnbc’s parent company, General Electric.