Friday, August 21, 2009


Over the last month there have been some pretty stunning revelations about military contracting company Blackwater—now called Xe . . . obviously they have a failed screenwriter concocting these names for them—and the depth of their involvement with the C.I.A. First, the Nation published this chilling article by Jeremy Scahill (who published a book on the company in 2006), detailing claims “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.” That article also explores Prince’s anti-Muslim (or should that be pro-genocide?) beliefs and how, according to a former employee, “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.” Oh, and there was also some gun smuggling, which almost seems like an innocent lark in light of the first two allegations.

Now the New York Times has published two articles revealing the close dealings the C.I.A. had with these murderous sociopaths. The first looked at Blackwater’s role in an assassination program and the second their involvement in putting bombs on unpiloted drone planes (in other words: the other assassination program). That article also contained the alarming news that Blackwater has a secret division whose
operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.

Scahill has a follow-up article which includes this quote from Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky: “Erik Prince operated at the highest and most secret level of the government. Clearly Prince was more trusted than the US Congress because Vice President Cheney made the decision not to brief Congress. This shows that there was absolutely no space whatsoever between the Bush administration and Blackwater.”

I’m sure as time goes by more and more crazy lefty conspiracy theories from the Bush era will be proven to be true. For example, Tom Ridge apparently acknowledges in a forthcoming book that the Bush administration manipulated the terror threat level for political reasons. But what’s insane about these Blackwater revelations is that the U.S. government continues to pay the company millions of dollars. The Obama administration argues these payments are simply continuations of Bush-era contracts, but seriously, is there really no legal means to break a contract with a company that has committed war crimes? And how do the various facts in this paragraph from an earlier Scahill article work out exactly?
[On August 1] the Obama administration extended a contract with Blackwater for more than $20 million for “security services” in Iraq, according to federal contract data obtained by The Nation. The State Department contract is scheduled to run through September 3. In May, the State Department announced it was not renewing Blackwater’s Iraq contract, and the Iraqi government has refused to issue the company an operating license.

1 comment:

  1. Just to bring this post in line with my usual concerns: this Blackwater shit makes me nostalgic for the days when we actually had Congressional hearings when government corruption reached this level of obvious. I mean sure, Bush I pardoned everyone convicted as a result of the Iran-Contra affair and Bush II hired a bunch of them for his administration, but still. Surely I can't be the first person to sigh ruefully over the nominative connection between Whitewater, which resulted in a pointless 8 year investigation, and Blackwater, which probably won't.