Tag: Erik Prince

The Russian Connection: The Seychelles – Russia and The UAE

Back in January 2017, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and an informal adviser to Mr. Trump’s team during the presidential transition, had a clandestine meeting in the Seychelles with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the ruler of the United Arab Emerites (UAE). It was revealed in April that the purpose of that meeting …

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Spy vs Spy May Become Reality

It’s been fairly evident that Donald Trump loves conspiracy theories. His claims about the existence of a “deep state” of longtime government officials to undermine him and his administration has come up frequently in his statements. Of course, there is no evidence that this “deep state” even exists except in Trump’s paranoid mind. Unfortunately, he …

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The Russian Connection: Blackwater

In a recent article, the Washington Post revealed that the founder of Blackwater, a for hire mercenary group, Erik Prince, had a secret meeting in the Seychelles Islands with a Russian representative arranged by the United Arab Emerites to broker a backchannel between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting took place around Jan. …

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For Sale: Blackwater

Reuters and other news outlets are reporting that the company formerly known as Blackwater is pursing a sale of the company.

Xe Services announced its decision in a brief statement that gave few details, the agency said.

Owner and founder Erik Prince said in a statement that selling the company is a difficult decision, but constant criticism of Xe helped him make up his mind, according to the agency.

I think it isn’t so much that Prince couldn’t stand the constant criticism, but rather after Blackwater mercenaries massacred 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisoor Square in Baghdad on the September 16, 2007, he couldn’t shake public attention to his once-fly-below-the-radar operation.  

Life is cheap. If you’re brown.

Blackwater settles civil lawsuits over Iraq deaths

By MIKE BAKER, Associated Press Writer

Thu Jan 7, 4:34 pm ET

RALEIGH, N.C. – The security firm formerly known as Blackwater has reached a settlement in a series of federal lawsuits in which dozens of Iraqis accused the company of cultivating a reckless culture that allowed innocent civilians to be killed.

It was a princely settlement- $30,000 for each person wounded and $100,000 for people who were murdered.

Not all the plaintiffs appeared happy with the decision. Sami Hawas Hamoud Abu al-Iz also was wounded during the 2007 Nisoor Square incident along with his son. His mother was killed. He said the agreement came after the plaintiffs were told by their lawyers that there was a risk that they might not receive anything.

The lawsuits sought compensation for deaths and injuries. Unlike federal probes that have specifically targeted company contractors for their actions, the civil lawsuits accused the Moyock, N.C.-based company – and founder Erik Prince – of producing a climate in which it was acceptable for innocent Iraqis to die.

“Mr. Prince personally directed and permitted a heavily-armed private army … to roam the streets of Baghdad killing innocent civilians,” one of the lawsuits said.

But you know you can’t let pesky things like that affect the bottom line.  This is a free market economy, not socialism.

“This enables Xe’s new management to move the company forward free of the costs and distraction of ongoing litigation, and provides some compensation to Iraqi families,” the company said.

They hate us for our freedoms you know, like the freedom to fire Hellfire missiles from drones at anything that moves, just like wolves from a helicopter.

Faithless Heathens: Scriptural Economics of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Two of the dead, Jeremy Wise, 35, a former member of the Navy Seals from Virginia Beach, Va., and Dane Clark Paresi, 46, of Dupont, Wash., were security officers for Xe Services, the firm formerly known as Blackwater.

As long as it’s brown and furrin’.

Because we’re not cowards!

The problem is that these mooslim rag heads don’t value life like us bible believin’ ‘muricans.

WTF Is Going On???

Big Orange has been all over the Birfers and Teabaggers of late, which I’ve found fairly boring and pointless, but then, I just follow for the news and occasional good analysis. They can bitch endlessly about anything they see as threatening to their cause. Whatever that is at this point.

I have been fairly intrigued with what’s happened with Keith O’s getting quashed on his Bill-O-Baiting by GE (which owns NBC) so that Bill-O would quit exposing their corporate hijinks in retaliation for getting his itty feewings hurt by Keith. I also found it fascinating yesterday when Keith, just back from vacation, informed Kossacks that Richard Wolffe wouldn’t be his live-in ‘independent’ analyst and occasional show-sitter anymore, given that Wolffe has been exposed as a corporate PR hack. Today, however, MSNBC’s management has contradicted Keith by stating they don’t mind at all if Wolffe wants to be their live-in ‘independent’ political analyst even if he’s on the payroll of the corporations that are often making the news being analyzed. Hmmm…

Blackwater may soon be patrolling our own borders!

In case you thought all the recent bad news about Blackwater might be curtailing the market for private military contractors, two new reports suggest otherwise. Given the Bush Administration’s obsessive efforts to privatize our entire government, it should come as no surprise that Blackwater may be, in fact, as have so many Bush cronies, failing upward. What they have done to Iraq, they may soon have the opportunity to do on our own border.

First, the New York Times reports that the privatization of security in Iraq has been acknowledged to be a mess and a disaster. This according to an internal State Department report, and an audit by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

A State Department review of its own security practices in Iraq assails the department for poor coordination, communication, oversight and accountability involving armed security companies like Blackwater USA, according to people who have been briefed on the report. In addition to Blackwater, the State Department’s two other security contractors in Iraq are DynCorp International and Triple Canopy.

At the same time, a government audit expected to be released Tuesday says that records documenting the work of DynCorp, the State Department’s largest contractor, are in such disarray that the department cannot say “specifically what it received” for most of the $1.2 billion it has paid the company since 2004 to train the police officers in Iraq.

The review was ordered last month by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and did not include the recent massacre of seventeen Iraqi civilians by Blackwater “guards.” The FBI gets to investigate that one.

But in presenting its recommendations to Ms. Rice in a 45-minute briefing on Monday, the four-member panel found serious fault with virtually every aspect of the department’s security practices, especially in and around Baghdad, where Blackwater has responsibility.

Not much new, in that. Virtually every aspect of everything the Bush Administration has done in Iraq has been found to be at serious fault. If the words “serious fault” can somehow encapsulate mass murder, torture, and a humanitarian crisis that has created more than 4,000,000 refugees.

The report also urged the department to work with the Pentagon to develop a strict set of rules on how to deal with the families of Iraqi civilians who are killed or wounded by armed contractors, and to improve coordination between American contractors and security guards employed by agencies, like various Iraqi ministries.

Strict rules would be nice for a lot of things, in Iraq, but this borders on the surreal. Strict rules for dealing with the families of civilians who are killed and wounded?

“Oops. Sorry. Have some money, and we’ll try not to kill anyone else. Today.”

How about some strict rules in pursuance of the goal of not killing or wounding civilians? 

Blackwater: “Replicas of guns used to assassinate presidents” showcased by Erik Prince

Cross-posted on Daily Kos.

I’m going about my nightly survey of Blackwater news for today’s Four at Four and I’m reading a background story by Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Dana Hedgpeth in the Washington Post, ‘Building Blackwater‘ about how the company became so large and lucrative, and at the end of the piece there is this passage. Erik Prince, Blackwater CEO and owner, is showing the WaPo reporters, around his “7,000-acre facility in North Carolina known as Blackwater Lodge and Training Center.”

At the center’s original lodge, he proudly pointed out a stuffed bobcat, a wild turkey and a beaver that he recalled killing. The lobby of the Blackwater headquarters resembles a ski lodge with a twist: The front doors feature barrels from .50-caliber machine guns. Inside, a glass showcase displays replicas of guns used to assassinate presidents.

Holy Zarquon’s Singing Fish!

Pop! Or, how the Blackwater Hearing Was Covered by the Media

Cross-posted on Daily Kos.

This diary is an overview of yesterday’s hearing of the House Oversight Committee featuring testimony from Blackwater CEO Erik Prince and three officials from the State Department: Ambassador David Statterfield, Ambassador Richard Griffin, and Deputy Assistant Secretary William Moser. Video of the hearing is available.

This diary is also a follow up to my previous diary, BOOM! Waxman Fires a Shot Across Blackwater’s Bow!

The overview is divided into two parts: blog coverage and traditional media coverage. But first, here are my three observations that I didn’t see covered anywhere else. My observations concern the remarks of Ranking Member Tom Davis (R-VA) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).