Keith Olbermann: Blackwater – Murder, Inc.
Child Prostitution, Illegal Weapons & Murder!
US security firm faces fresh allegations
Since the revelation earlier this week of allegations by two former employees of security firm Blackwater that its owner was complicit in murder in order to cover up the deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians, explosive charges have continued to emerge.
Perhaps the most shocking of those charges — quoted by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Thursday from the employees’ sworn declarations — is that Blackwater was guilty of using child prostitutes at its compound in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and that owner Erik Prince knew of this activity and did nothing to stop it.
The declarations describe Blackwater as “having young girls provide oral sex to Enterprise members in the ‘Blackwater Man Camp’ in exchange for one American dollar.” They add even though Prince frequently visited this camp, he “failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men.”
One of the statements also charges that “Prince’s North Carolina operations had an ongoing wife-swapping and sex ring, which was participated in by many of Mr. Prince’s top executives.”
According to the two former employees, Blackwater supervisors in Iraq sometimes sent men back to the United States for wanting to “kill ragheads,” excessive drinking, steroid use, or failure to follow weapon safety procedures, but “Mr. Prince and his executives would send them back” with a reprimand to the supervisor for costing the firm money. Blackwater even fired “those mental health professionals who were not willing to endorse deployments of unfit men.”
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Just days before two former Blackwater employees alleged in sworn statements filed in federal court that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” 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.
“They are still there, but we are transitioning them out,” a State Department official told The Nation. According to the State Department, the $20 million represents an increase on an aviation contract that predates the Obama administration.
Despite its scandal-plagued track record, Blackwater (which has rebranded itself as Xe) continues to have a presence in Iraq, trains Afghan forces on US contracts and provides government-funded training for military and law enforcement inside the United States. 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.” Much of this money stems from existing contracts from the Bush era that have been continued by the Obama administration. While Obama certainly inherited a mess when it came to Blackwater’s entrenchment in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has continued the widespread use of armed private contractors in both countries. Blackwater’s role may be slowly shrinking, but its work is continuing through companies such as DynCorp and Triple Canopy.