Mark Mazzetti gleans another detail in the “executive assassination ring” that Leon Panetta finally found out about earlier this summer and promptly informed Congress of: the always upstanding, peace-loving organization Blackwater was involved, having been hired by the CIA to help in some unclear capacity. As Mazzetti points out, hiring a private organization to participate in a covert killing program adds yet another layer of bureacracy and legal protections that makes accountability all the harder. This is especially true of Blackwater, given its byzantine structure and secretive leader, Erik Prince.
[digg-reddit-me]Scott Horton apparently reported on several declarations filed in Federal Court in Eastern Virginia that included explosive allegations regarding the military contractor Blackwater and its owner Erik Prince. Andrew Sullivan linked to him – but between Sullivan’s linking and my clicking on Sullivan’s link, the article was taken down. A search of The Daily Beast for Scott Horton’s article turns up nothing except a link to Jeremy Scahill of The Nation‘s recent piece on the same subject. Andrew Sullivan had excerpted this summary of the charges contained in the Declarations on his blog:
- Both men requested anonymity to avoid mortal threats. “It appears that Mr. Prince or his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities,” said John Doe #1. John Doe #2 says he received personal threats after leaving Blackwater.
- Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.” He “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.”
- Blackwater “employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms of Iraqis and other Arabs, such as ‘ragheads’ or ‘hajis.’”
- Blackwater deployed to Iraq individuals who (a) made “statements about wanting to… ‘kill ragheads’ or achieve ‘kills’ or ‘body counts,’” (b) drank excessively, (c) used steroids, and (d) failed to follow safety and other instructions governing the use of lethal weapons. Mental-health professionals who raised concerns about deployment of such individuals were fired.
- Prince obtained “illegal ammunition… designed to explode after penetrating within the human body” and smuggled it into Iraq for use.
- Prince distributed other illegal weapons for use in Iraq.
- Prince was aware of the use of prostitutes, “including child prostitutes,” at Blackwater’s “Man Camp” in Iraq, which he visited.
The actual declarations can be found here – John Doe 1 (pdf) – and here – John Doe 2 (pdf). These papers were part of opposition to a motion – the complete set of which can be found here. (Beware – it’s a few hundred pages of pdfs). I have emailed Scott Horton to see if he has any comment/explanation for why his article is no longer up on the Daily Beast.
Edit: The Daily Beast still has not gotten back to me. Mr. Horton replied telling me that he was looking into why his article was taken down himself.
[Image by John Rohan licensed under Creative Commons.]