In public he was the lean and ruthless face of American military outsourcing in Iraq. Erik Prince, as founder of the Blackwater security company, packed a mobile phone on one hip and a handgun on the other as he flew in and out of the world’s troublespots co-ordinating protection teams for American VIPs — and handling the backlash when his employees were accused of shooting dead 17 Iraqi civilians at a Baghdad crossroads in 2007.
In private, he was a CIA operative, with his own file as a “vetted asset” at the agency’s headquarters, and a mission to build “a unilateral, unattributable capability” to hunt down and kill al-Qaeda militants for the US Government wherever they could be found.
These claims, made by Mr Prince and supported by others who knew of his activities, form part of a potentially explosive investigation into the life of America’s best-known mercenary.
Mr Prince, aside from his work in Iraq, set up America’s closest forward operating base to the Pakistani border in Afghanistan, and helped to train a CIA assassination team that hunted an alleged senior al-Qaeda financier in Germany, and included A. Q. Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist, on its list of targets, according to Vanity Fair magazine.
Despite news reports that the security contractor formerly known as Blackwater has seen its contracts dry up and its influence wane, the company continues to do brisk business in Iraq and Afghanistan — and the Obama administration may be too afraid of the firm to do anything about it, says investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill.
“You know who’s guarding Hillary Clinton in Afghanistan right now? Blackwater,” Scahill told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Tuesday night. “You know who guards members of Congress? Blackwater. They have half a billion dollars in contracts in Afghanistan right now. CIA, State Department, Defense Department. Why is President Obama keeping these guys on the payroll? There has never been a company in recent history that made the case that corporations are corrupt, evil organizations [better] than Blackwater.”
Scahill was on The Rachel Maddow Show discussing the New York Times‘ revelation that senior Blackwater executives allegedly arranged for bribes of up to $1 million for Iraqi politicians in a bid to retain its contracts and silence criticism of the company in the wake of the Nissour Square massacre in 2007, in which 17 Iraqi civilians died after Blackwater guards opened fire.
Though the Times report stated that it’s unknown if the approved bribes ever reached their targets — Iraqi politicians — Scahill drew a connection between the alleged bribes and the fact that, after the Nissour Sqaure massacre, the Iraqi government first decided to bar Blackwater from operating in the country, and then reversed its position.
To stifle criticism of civilian killings, the American mercenary group formerly known as Blackwater approved payoffs of up to $1 million for Iraqi politicians, according to former company officials who spoke to The New York Times.
“Blackwater approved the cash payments in December 2007, the officials said, as protests over the deadly shootings in Nisour Square stoked long-simmering anger inside Iraq about reckless practices by the security company’s employees,” the Times reported. “American and Iraqi investigators had already concluded that the shootings were unjustified, top Iraqi officials were calling for Blackwater’s ouster from the country and company officials feared that Blackwater might be refused an operating license it would need to retain its contracts with the State Department and private clients, worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”
Wow, what a reason to de-mothball this site. They’re finally getting on with it. Eric Prince, murdering thug neo Christin Crusader and private army boy to Cheney and his murdering corparate mates.
Let’s nail the bastards.
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.”
Sworn statements filed in Federal Court allege that Blackwater founder Erik Prince launched a “crusade” to eliminate Muslims and Islam.
The private security company, facing charges in a US court for killing and injuring Iraqis, is attempting to silence its victims and their lawyers.
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.
I. One Tick Closer to Midnight
Last Friday, Dick Cheney was in Saudi Arabia for high-level meetings with the Saudi king and his ministers. On Saturday, it was revealed that the Saudi Shura Council — the elite group that implements the decisions of the autocratic inner circle — is preparing “national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors,” one of the kingdom’s leading newspapers, Okaz, reports. The German-based dpa news service relayed the paper’s story.
Simple prudence — or ominous timing? We noted here last week that an American attack on Iran was far more likely — and more imminent — than most people suspect. We pointed to the mountain of evidence for this case gathered by scholar William R. Polk, one of the top aides to John Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to other indicators of impending war. The story by Okaz — which would not have appeared in the tightly controlled dictatorship without approval from the top — is yet another, very weighty piece of evidence laid in the scales toward a new, horrendous conflict.
I apologise I have been slacking on this blog, but hubby with hernia, and operation and the death of an old, but much beloved family member took most of our time.
But we’re back, and promise to do better.
President Bush said lots of things about Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the Iraq War. But few of his charges grabbed more attention than an unscripted remark he made at a Texas political fund-raiser on Sept. 26, 2002. “After all, this is a guy who tried to kill my dad at one time,” Bush said. The comment referred to a 1993 claim by the Kuwaiti government—accepted by the Clinton administration—that the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) had plotted to assassinate President George H.W. Bush during a trip to Kuwait that spring. Ever since, armchair psychologists have suggested that personal revenge may have been one reason for the president’s determination to overthrow Saddam’s regime.
A reluctant Guantanamo Bay jailer, who found himself working in that “legal black hole” at age 19, tells his shocking story.
Historian Andy Worthington, author of the Guantanamo Files
, estimates that a maximum of around 50 of the 774 people who have spent time in “Gitmo” were hardened terrorists. U.S. forces in Afghanistan — where many, but by no means all of the detainees were captured — essentially had no routine in place to distinguish between hard-core anti-American terrorists and the legion of people unfortunate to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. That would be problematic in any conflict, but Afghanistan was a conflict in which the Bush administration was unilaterally rewriting the laws of war. It was also a country that had been mired in a longstanding civil war, one that had nothing to do with the United States. That intra-Muslim conflict had drawn people from around the Islamic world — not only fighters, but religious students, aid workers and other adventurous types who found themselves on the wrong end of a fight with the most powerful country in the world.
From Friday the 14th to Monday the 17th I will be blogging from Sidney
This morning I arrived in Sidney for the 911 truth tour that is kicking off in Sidney.
Because my days will be jammed packed with presentations and meetings with high profile members of the 911 truth movement I will blog only on one blog. http://aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com I have choosen that blog because I live in New Zeand and there is barely a dicussion going on about the events of 911. I hope that with this blog I can bring the discussion over there. New Zealand is involved in the war in Afghanistan and has civilians in Iraq.
So if you want to read about the events in Sidney visit that blog.
How callous can you be? I am deeply ashamed to have originated from Holland when I read stuff like this.
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
A gay teenager who claims he faces the death penalty in Iran after his boyfriend was executed there two years ago has spoken of his anger and disappointment at losing his legal battle against deportation.
Mehdi Kazemi, 19, who sought sanctuary in Britain in 2005 when he discovered that his partner had been hanged in Tehran for engaging in homosexual acts, is expected to be returned to Iran in the next few weeks.
Mr Kazemi fled to Holland from Britain last year after the Home Office rejected his claim for asylum. But yesterday, a Dutch court ruled that he should be sent back to Britain after refusing to consider his claim for asylum.
March 12 (Bloomberg) — Admiral William Fallon‘s resignation as U.S. commander in the Middle East provoked criticism that President George W. Bush won’t tolerate dissent and fed speculation his Iran policy could become more confrontational.
“Congress needs to determine immediately whether Admiral Fallon’s resignation is another example of truth tellers being forced to the sidelines in the Bush administration,” said Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who lost to Bush in the 2004 election. “His departure must not clear the way for a rush to war with Iran.”
By Steve Bloomfield and Katherine Butler
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
The conflict in Darfur has entered a violent and deadly new phase. Another “scorched earth” policy is being unleashed, reminiscent of the worst waves of government-backed violence that brought the Sudanese region to world attention five years ago and led the US to declare that what was happening there constituted genocide.
“The central role the NSA has come to occupy in domestic intelligence gathering has never been publicly disclosed,” The Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman reports on Monday page ones. “But an inquiry reveals that its efforts have evolved to reach more broadly into data about people’s communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than the domestic surveillance programs brought to light since the 2001 terrorist attacks.”
6 hours after the internet connection had been reconnected we experienced another 12 hour blackout. I hope that this time we will be able to stay online.
Our apollogies for not posting for the last 36 hours, a failure in our connection caused a 36 hour blackout.
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Friday, 7 March 2008
An Iranian lesbian who fled to Britain after her girlfriend was arrested and sentenced to death faces being forcibly returned after losing the latest round in her battle to be granted asylum.
The case of Pegah Emambakhsh, 40, comes a day after The Independent reported on the growing public outcry over the plight of a gay Iranian teenager who fears he will be executed if he is deported to Iran.
Both cases have provoked international protests against Britain and led to calls for an immediate moratorium on the deportation of gay and lesbian asylum-seekers who fear they will be persecuted in Iran.
OTTAWA – At least 33 pilots in Canada, including some flying large commercial airliners, have complained about being flashed in the eyes by bright lights that could be lasers, officials said yesterday.
Canada’s transport ministry said it is probing the complaints, which started in 2005, and had handed most of them over to the police.
From The Sunday TimesMarch 2, 2008We killed too many, say Bali bombers
Three Islamic radicals behind the bombings in which 202 people died talk in prison to our writer about faith, mass murder and their impending execution by firing squad
AS our Jeep rocked along a jungle track towards the maximum-security prison housing the Bali bombers, we passed a group of bored-looking men in fatigues sitting around outside a hut in the noonday heat.
“The firing squad,” said the defence lawyer Achmad Michdan in a matter-of-fact tone. “They’ve been here for two months now.”
The families and friends of the three prisoners awaiting execution were with us, and they too drove past the men, who stared at the convoy of vehicles.