mega-millionaire, right-wing Christian founder of Blackwater, the private security firm Crimes & Incidents, posted by Mr. Prince, a resident of the Canyon Oaks neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2009 at 11:26 pm
"America's Holy Warriors"
Erik Prince is "the secretive, mega-millionaire, right-wing Christian founder of Blackwater, the private security firm that has built a formidable mercenary force in Iraq," Chris Hedges wrote December 31, 2006, in Truthdig.
Prince "champions his company as a patriotic extension of the U.S. military. His employees, in an act as cynical as it is deceitful, take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution. These mercenary units in Iraq, including Blackwater, contain some 20,000 fighters. They unleash indiscriminate and wanton violence against unarmed Iraqis, have no accountability and are beyond the reach of legitimate authority. The appearance of these paramilitary fighters, heavily armed and wearing their trademark black uniforms, patrolling the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, gave us a grim taste of the future. It was a stark reminder that the tyranny we impose on others we will one day impose on ourselves.
Posted by Mr. Prince, a resident of the Canyon Oaks neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2009 at 11:32 pm
"The new 'counsel of record' for the North Carolina-based company is none other than former Whitewater investigator Kenneth Starr—the independent counsel in the 1999 impeachment of President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal," Jeremy Scahill and Garrett Ordower reported online October 26, 2006, in The Nation "Starr was brought in last week by Blackwater to file motions in front of the US Supreme Court in a case stemming from the killing of four Blackwater contractors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah on March 31, 2004."
"There are undeniable benefits to having Starr, the US Solicitor General under President George H.W. Bush, represent Blackwater—a highly partisan GOP company—in front of a Supreme Court stacked with Bush appointees. Starr also has a personal connection to Blackwater. Starr and Joseph Schmitz, the general counsel and chief operating officer of Blackwater's parent company, the Prince Group, have both worked closely with the arch-conservative Washington Legal Foundation. Since 1993 Starr has served on the legal policy advisory board of the organization for which Schmitz has frequently acted as a spokesperson and attorney," Scahill and Ordower wrote.
"A number of senior CIA and Pentagon officials have taken top jobs at Blackwater, including firm vice chairman Cofer Black, who was the Bush Administration's top counterterrorism official at the time of the 9/11 attacks (and who famously said in 2002, 'There was before 9/11 and after 9/11. After 9/11, the gloves came off')," Ken Silverstein wrote September 12, 2006, in Harper's Magazine.
In fall 2005, Robert Richer "resigned from the post of Associate Deputy Director of Operations; he immediately took a job as Blackwater's Vice President of Intelligence. Richer is a former head of the CIA's Near East Division and long served in Amman, where, for a period beginning in 1999, he held the post of station chief. For years he was the agency's point man with Jordan's King Abdullah, with whom he developed an extraordinarily close relationship," Silverstein wrote.
Also, Silverstein wrote in September 2006, "there's talk at the agency that Blackwater is also aggressively recruiting José Rodriguez, the CIA's current top spy as director of the National Clandestine Service. Rodriguez has a number of former agency friends at Blackwater, most notably Rick Prado, with whom he served in Latin America and who is now Blackwater's Vice President of Special Programs."
Recent Cofer Black start-up and merger, Total Intelligence Solutions, LLC, is a merger of three companies, The Black Group, The Terrorism Research Center, Inc. and Technical Defense. TIS very well may fall outside the legal corporate domain of Blackwater, however two of the top executives at TIS, Cofer Black and Enrique Prado still hold positions at Blackwater, and Robert Richer recently left his position at Blackwater to take on responsibilities at TIS. As well, it should be noted that one of the three companies merged to create TIS, The Terrorism Research Center, is owned by Blackwater founder Erik Prince.
Posted by Mr. Prince, a resident of the Canyon Oaks neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2009 at 11:36 pm
Colombian "seasoned counter insurgency troops"
The Colombian news magazine Semana and the Financial Times of London reported in September 2006 that "35 Colombians—mostly seasoned counter insurgency troops—alleged in a letter to Blackwater that recruiters had promised them salaries of $4,000 a month," Bill Sizemore wrote in The Virginian-Pilot. "They said it was only when they were given their contracts barely hours before leaving Bogota that they learned they would be paid $34 a day, or about $1,000 a month."
"American contractors can earn $10,000 a month or more working for Blackwater and its competitors in Iraq," Sizemore wrote.
In July 2005, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) was concerned "that U.S. government contractors [were] hiring thousands of impoverished former military personnel, with no public scrutiny, little accountability and large hidden costs to taxpayers," Sonni Efron wrote in the Los Angeles Times.
"The United States has spent more than $4 billion since 2000 on Plan Colombia, a counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics program that includes training and support for the Colombian police and military. Last month, Congress moved toward approval of an additional $734.5 million in aid to the Andean region in 2006, most of it for Colombia. 'We're training foreign nationals - who then take that training and market it to private companies, who pay them three or four times as much as we're paying soldiers,' Schakowsky said. 'American taxpayers are paying for the training of those Colombian soldiers,' she said. 'When they leave to take more lucrative jobs, perhaps with an American military contractor, they take that training with them. So then we're paying to train that person's replacement. And then we're paying the bill to the private military contractors',"
Posted by Allen, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Aug 20, 2009 at 11:50 pm
The same individuals will just be wearing new uniforms, working for Triple Canopy, the firm that won the State Department’s contract after Iraqi officials refused to renew Blackwater’s operating license, according to American diplomats, private security industry officials and Iraqi officials. Blackwater — viewed in Iraq as a symbol of American violence and impunity — lost the contract after being accused of excessive force in several instances, particularly an apparently unprovoked shooting in downtown Baghdad in 2007 in which 17 civilians were killed.
Despite the torrent of public criticism against Blackwater, American officials say they are relieved that the old guards will stay on. Otherwise, Triple Canopy, they say, would not be able to field enough qualified guards, with the proper security clearances, before the new contract goes into effect in May.
“There is just no other way to do it,” said one Western diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to discuss the issue publicly.
Critics of Blackwater said they worried that the same people might perpetuate what they believed was a corporate culture that disregarded Iraqis’ lives.
“They’re really all still there, and it’s back to business as usual,” said Susan Burke, an American lawyer who has filed three civil rights lawsuits against Blackwater on behalf of Iraqi civilians alleged to be victims of it.
An unresolved question is whether Blackwater, recently renamed Xe (pronounced zee), or any affiliated company will profit from the deal. Speculation inside the industry and the Iraqi government has focused on whether Triple Canopy might hire as a subcontractor a company called the Falcon Group, identified in a lawsuit brought by Ms. Burke as a Blackwater affiliate.
Posted by Pathetic Prince, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Aug 21, 2009 at 12:16 am
The affidavits by the two witnesses, who did not want to be identified in the court documents filed Monday for fear of retaliatory "violence," paint a menacing portrait of Prince, who recently resigned from his company.
"First, he views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe. ... Second, Mr. Prince is motivated by greed," says John Doe No. 2. "He sought every opportunity to deploy men to Iraq in order to earn more money from the United States government."