Thursday, August 6, 2009

Erik Prince and Blackwater

Our friend at PhuckPolitics tipped me off to this fascinating story in The Nation about 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."

Those are two brave guys to come out with this. One of them even has his picture all over the internet. Why do you think they did it? Did they have a change of heart about their chosen business? Did they decide to cooperate with the government before it's too late, abandoning a sinking ship, as it were? 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.

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.

Now, what could that mean? If he were bringing the illegal weapons in for his own men, there wouldn't be any profit in it. So, I wonder who was buying the stuff? What do you think?

To me, the murders, the small-scale genocide that Blackwater supposedly conducted in Iraq, these weapons charges, even the Christian Supremacy nonsense are all to be expected. These guys are hired guns, after all, who happen to be led by a Christian Fundamentalist. What bothers me is what PhuckPolitics picked up on.

The best part of the story, the part that get’s me harder than Bob Dole watching an episode of True Blood and snorting a pile of crushed Viagra off a random stripper’s tit, is how our government gave Blackwater billions of dollars in no-bid contracts to fight on our behalf in two wars that has cost us over three trillion dollars.

Of course you won’t hear anything about that in the news because they’re too busy bitching about the government trying to take over health care, the government running out of money for the successful “Cash for Clunkers” program, Obama being a secret Kenyan, Obama being a racist, and Obama hating America because he drinks Bud Light.

What do you think about the Bush decision to utilize the services of a company like this? Is the military not enough? Are they ill-equipped for war compared to these hardened mercenaries? Was that the idea?

Is Obama failing to deliver on one of his major promises with regards to Iraq? And is part of that failure the decision to continue doing business with Blackwater.

What' s your opinion?


  1. The US has been using "hired guns" to fight all of our wars. Mercenaries have been involved in just about every conflict the US has been in. Coincidentally, they have been involved in just about every conflict every other nation has been in too.

    Fighting wars requires a lot of capital and manpower. It is not always economically feasible for a nation to keep enough equipment and a standing army to deal with every conflict. So there is a market for mercenaries.

    Not knowing much about Mr. Prince, I find it interesting that there are "whistleblowers." We have been trained in this country to trust everything that whistleblowers say. Whenever they are right, they always make the news in a big fashion. Whenever they are found to be lying, it isn't news (a disgruntled employee makes false accusations - who would have thunk it). So, I'll wait on making a judgement on Blackwater until I see some more evidence.

  2. Eric Prince is a born-again christian and, as such, you can make quite a few assumptions from that piece of information.

    Reputo- "Mercenaries have been involved in just about every conflict the US has been in." Were they in WWII and Korea? Vietnam?

    Bush [Cheney] used mercenaries, aka contractors, to bamboozle the citizens so that they did not know just how many men were fighting their war.

    Any argument about that, Reputo?

  3. @Reputo - We haven't been "trained" to trust whistleblowers. We've been "trained" to believe their lying pieces of shit.

    Don't believe me?

    Look at how the media portrayed the whistleblowers of Enron, Worldcom, the Jack Abramoff scandal, the Valerie Plame leak, and Russell Tice. The media made those whistlerblowers look like they were only coming forward for the money.

    And Erik Prince is a fucking religious nutjob. Besides thinking he is fighting in a holy war, he's funded the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and is a board member of Christian Freedom International.

    Of course most people don't care about this because Erik Prince is rich, white, powerful, loves guns, and hates Muslims.

  4. Vietnam - Private pilots and ground crews were used to ferry supplies behind enemy lines to the Civilian Irregular Defense Group which was trained by the CIA. This was before the US became officially involved so using military pilots and airplanes would have been an act of war.
    Additionally, the military relied heavily on civilian contractors to repair and maintain military equipment in the field (which included at battles on the front lines).

    Korea - Primarily contractors were limited to infrastructure and transportation jobs.

    WWII - Contractors were extensively used in the China campaign. Not only that, but prior to Pearl Harbor, the US was exporting a steady stream of mercenary pilots to fight for Great Britain.

    Intelligence gathering has always been in the realm of contractors.

    At some time in history mercenary became a bad term, so we changed to contractor. The types of jobs contractors were given now are no different than the types that were given to them before when we called them mercenaries.

    Yes, I would argue that. Bush used contractors because over the course of our countries history, the skill set needed by the military has changed drastically. In the 1700s contractors were used simply to boost numbers because battles were largely won by whoever had more troops. Since the skillset of soldiers was very limited (pointing the same gun you use to hunt Bambi and pulling the trigger), just about anyone could be a mercenary. Over time, technology has developed such that training a soldier requires giving them a more advanced skillset now. We use computer guided ordnance, jet aircraft, armored vehicles with multiple weapons systems, and on and on. The majority of contractors in a modern war are usually relegated to support functions (cooking food, maintaining vehicles, etc.) for one of two reasons 1) the skillset is so basic it is not worth it for the military to maintain personal to do only that job in peacetime (mopping floors) or 2) the job is so specialized, it is not feasible to train military personal to do the job when they may be leaving in a year or two after their committment is up (equipment repair). While there are a large amount of armed contractors in any modern war almost all are ex-military anyway. They are usually employed in security (because important people and assets need to be kept safe) or training (because it isn't feasible to ship 100,000 Iraqis over to the US to train).

    So no, I don't think Bush used contractors to "hide" the numbers. He used them because that is how our military has evolved. Frankly, every president faced with a war would make the same decision. He/she would be stupid to think that just the personnel in the US military could do everything.

    A little about hiding numbers. Lets say President A has an open war in country X and committs 150,000 troops and hires 100,000 contractors to wage the war. So President A says that we have 150,000 troops in a war zone. Lets now say that President B has a peacekeeping mission ongoing in country Y, he doesn't commit any troops on the ground, but sends warplane to drop bombs. These warplanes are supported back in friendly country Z bases by 50,000 troops and support personnel. President B says that we don't have any troops in the war zone.

    Which president is hiding numbers?

  5. Reputo, I don't think you can compare the hiring of cooks and cleaning staff in the past with the BILLIONS of dollars that has been paid to Blackwater.

    It's a bit baffling, but my guess is it's all part of the stranglehold the Military Industrial Complex has on the government. They scratch each others backs to the tune of billions. Halliburton, Blackwater, the Pentagon etc.