Thursday, August 6, 2009

Holy excrement, Batman! The Blackwater just keeps getting smellier and deeper.

Erik Prince, founder and CEO of Blackwater, now known as Xe. Betcha he knows something we don't know.


You know, I carved the Brightfire mercenaries in Absolved out of reports about Blackwater from returning soldiers just back from Iraq and Afghanistan and a reasonable SWAG about where that company was headed. That was February, 2008. Now I'm really beginning to hate the guy who hasn't finished that book yet. One moment while I reach over and slap him.


Good, that feels better.

Here's the latest on Blackwater and it ain't good. Even allowing for the collectivist slant of The Nation and Scahill, you normally don't see sworn statements in federal court like this -- these guys are playing a very dangerous game, but then, that may be the only thing keeping them alive.


Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder
By Jeremy Scahill

August 4, 2009

A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim 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. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges that Prince turned a profit by transporting "illegal" or "unlawful" weapons into the country on Prince's private planes. They also charge that Prince and other Blackwater executives destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents and have intentionally deceived the US State Department and other federal agencies. The identities of the two individuals were sealed out of concerns for their safety.

These allegations, and a series of other charges, are contained in sworn affidavits, given under penalty of perjury, filed late at night on August 3 in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of a seventy-page motion by lawyers for Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for alleged war crimes and other misconduct. Susan Burke, a private attorney working in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights, is suing Blackwater in five separate civil cases filed in the Washington, DC, area. They were recently consolidated before Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia for pretrial motions. Burke filed the August 3 motion in response to Blackwater's motion to dismiss the case. Blackwater asserts that Prince and the company are innocent of any wrongdoing and that they were professionally performing their duties on behalf of their employer, the US State Department.

The former employee, identified in the court documents as "John Doe #2," is a former member of Blackwater's management team, according to a source close to the case. Doe #2 alleges in a sworn declaration that, based on information provided to him by former colleagues, "it appears that Mr. Prince and 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 about the ongoing criminal conduct."

John Doe #2 says he worked at Blackwater for four years; his identity is concealed in the sworn declaration because he "fear[s] violence against me in retaliation for submitting this Declaration." He also alleges, "On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince's employ, Mr. Prince's management has personally threatened me with death and violence."

In a separate sworn statement, the former US marine who worked for Blackwater in Iraq alleges that he has "learned from my Blackwater colleagues and former colleagues that one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information about Erik Prince and Blackwater have been killed in suspicious circumstances." Identified as "John Doe #1," he says he "joined Blackwater and deployed to Iraq to guard State Department and other American government personnel." It is not clear if Doe #1 is still working with the company as he states he is "scheduled to deploy in the immediate future to Iraq." Like Doe #2, he states that he fears "violence" against him for "submitting this Declaration." No further details on the alleged murder(s) are provided.

"Mr. Prince feared, and continues to fear, that the federal authorities will detect and prosecute his various criminal deeds," states Doe #2. "On more than one occasion, Mr. Prince and his top managers gave orders to destroy emails and other documents. Many incriminating videotapes, documents and emails have been shredded and destroyed."

The Nation cannot independently verify the identities of the two individuals, their roles at Blackwater or what motivated them to provide sworn testimony in these civil cases. Both individuals state that they have previously cooperated with federal prosecutors conducting a criminal inquiry into Blackwater.

"It's a pending investigation, so we cannot comment on any matters in front of a Grand Jury or if a Grand Jury even exists on these matters," John Roth, the spokesperson for the US Attorney's office in the District of Columbia, told The Nation. "It would be a crime if we did that." Asked specifically about whether there is a criminal investigation into Prince regarding the murder allegations and other charges, Roth said: "We would not be able to comment on what we are or are not doing in regards to any possible investigation involving an uncharged individual."

The Nation repeatedly attempted to contact spokespeople for Prince or his companies at numerous email addresses and telephone numbers. When a company representative was reached by phone and asked to comment, she said, "Unfortunately no one can help you in that area." The representative then said that she would pass along The Nation's request. As this article goes to press, no company representative has responded further to The Nation.

Doe #2 states in the declaration that he has also provided the information contained in his statement "in grand jury proceedings convened by the United States Department of Justice." Federal prosecutors convened a grand jury in the aftermath of the September 16, 2007, Nisour Square shootings in Baghdad, which left seventeen Iraqis dead. Five Blackwater employees are awaiting trial on several manslaughter charges and a sixth, Jeremy Ridgeway, has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempting to commit manslaughter and is cooperating with prosecutors. It is not clear whether Doe #2 testified in front of the Nisour Square grand jury or in front of a separate grand jury.

The two declarations are each five pages long and contain a series of devastating allegations concerning Erik Prince and his network of companies, which now operate under the banner of Xe Services LLC. Among those leveled by Doe #2 is that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe":

To that end, Mr. 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. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince's executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to "lay Hajiis out on cardboard." Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince's employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as "ragheads" or "hajiis."

Among the additional allegations made by Doe #1 is that "Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq." He states that he personally witnessed weapons being "pulled out" from dog food bags. Doe #2 alleges that "Prince and his employees arranged for the weapons to be polywrapped and smuggled into Iraq on Mr. Prince's private planes, which operated under the name Presidential Airlines," adding that Prince "generated substantial revenues from participating in the illegal arms trade."

Doe #2 states: "Using his various companies, [Prince] procured and distributed various weapons, including unlawful weapons such as sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers, through unlawful channels of distribution." Blackwater "was not abiding by the terms of the contract with the State Department and was deceiving the State Department," according to Doe #1.

This is not the first time an allegation has surfaced that Blackwater used dog food bags to smuggle weapons into Iraq. ABC News's Brian Ross reported in November 2008 that a "federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food." Another former Blackwater employee has also confirmed this information to The Nation.

Both individuals allege that Prince and Blackwater deployed individuals to Iraq who, in the words of Doe #1, "were not properly vetted and cleared by the State Department." Doe #2 adds that "Prince ignored the advice and pleas from certain employees, who sought to stop the unnecessary killing of innocent Iraqis." Doe #2 further states that some Blackwater officials overseas refused to deploy "unfit men" and sent them back to the US. Among the reasons cited by Doe #2 were "the men making statements about wanting to deploy to Iraq to 'kill ragheads' or achieve 'kills' or 'body counts,'" as well as "excessive drinking" and "steroid use." However, when the men returned to the US, according to Doe #2, "Prince and his executives would send them back to be deployed in Iraq with an express instruction to the concerned employees located overseas that they needed to 'stop costing the company money.'"

Doe #2 also says Prince "repeatedly ignored the assessments done by mental health professionals, and instead terminated those mental health professionals who were not willing to endorse deployments of unfit men." He says Prince and then-company president Gary Jackson "hid from Department of State the fact that they were deploying men to Iraq over the objections of mental health professionals and security professionals in the field," saying they "knew the men being deployed were not suitable candidates for carrying lethal weaponry, but did not care because deployments meant more money."

Doe #1 states that "Blackwater knew that certain of its personnel intentionally used excessive and unjustified deadly force, and in some instances used unauthorized weapons, to kill or seriously injure innocent Iraqi civilians." He concludes, "Blackwater did nothing to stop this misconduct." Doe #1 states that he "personally observed multiple incidents of Blackwater personnel intentionally using unnecessary, excessive and unjustified deadly force." He then cites several specific examples of Blackwater personnel firing at civilians, killing or "seriously" wounding them, and then failing to report the incidents to the State Department.

Doe #1 also alleges that "all of these incidents of excessive force were initially videotaped and voice recorded," but that "Immediately after the day concluded, we would watch the video in a session called a 'hot wash.' Immediately after the hotwashing, the video was erased to prevent anyone other than Blackwater personnel seeing what had actually occurred." Blackwater, he says, "did not provide the video to the State Department."

Doe #2 expands on the issue of unconventional weapons, alleging Prince "made available to his employees in Iraq various weapons not authorized by the United States contracting authorities, such as hand grenades and hand grenade launchers. Mr. Prince's employees repeatedly used this illegal weaponry in Iraq, unnecessarily killing scores of innocent Iraqis." Specifically, he alleges that Prince "obtained illegal ammunition from an American company called LeMas. This company sold ammunition designed to explode after penetrating within the human body. Mr. Prince's employees repeatedly used this illegal ammunition in Iraq to inflict maximum damage on Iraqis."

Blackwater has gone through an intricate rebranding process in the twelve years it has been in business, changing its name and logo several times. Prince also has created more than a dozen affiliate companies, some of which are registered offshore and whose operations are shrouded in secrecy. According to Doe #2, "Prince created and operated this web of companies in order to obscure wrongdoing, fraud and other crimes."

"For example, Mr. Prince transferred funds from one company (Blackwater) to another (Greystone) whenever necessary to avoid detection of his money laundering and tax evasion schemes." He added: "Mr. Prince contributed his personal wealth to fund the operations of the Prince companies whenever he deemed such funding necessary. Likewise, Mr. Prince took funds out of the Prince companies and placed the funds in his personal accounts at will."

Briefed on the substance of these allegations by The Nation, Congressman Dennis Kucinich replied, "If these allegations are true, Blackwater has been a criminal enterprise defrauding taxpayers and murdering innocent civilians." Kucinich is on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and has been investigating Prince and Blackwater since 2004.

"Blackwater is a law unto itself, both internationally and domestically. The question is why they operated with impunity. In addition to Blackwater, we should be questioning their patrons in the previous administration who funded and employed this organization. Blackwater wouldn't exist without federal patronage; these allegations should be thoroughly investigated," Kucinich said.

A hearing before Judge Ellis in the civil cases against Blackwater is scheduled for August 7.


pdxr13 said...

The combination of really-really-big money (at the top, and pretty-big money all the way down to the dogface "contract soldier" bleeding for it) and a religious war (in the mind of Prince), is anyone surprised that some bad actors got involved?

I'm really interested in the "Semi-Automatic Machine guns". Do they mean AR-15's or SKS's, or something more-special like an M-240B with single-shot capability?

I wonder how deeply hidden the John Doe #1 and #2 are hidden? Do they get to wear WPP logo-hats and T-shirts?


Phelps said...

I'm all for keeping these clowns on a short leash, but this report is so badly reported that I'm wary of believing it. I mean, "sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers?" There's just SOOO much wrong with that statement that if it was actually in the court filings, it should be dumped for that reason alone. And "hand grenade and hand grenade launchers"? What the hell is a hand grenade launcher? Are they talking about attachments to make hand grenades into rifle launched grenades or what?

Where there is that much fear mongering and scary buzz words stuff in, I just can't find it credible.

Phelps said...

Oh, and where can I get some of these evil body exploding bullets? I just can't get enough done with these regular old expanding bullets, I need me some illegal mythical HE small arms.

Stephen said...

Please help me understand what your problem with Blackwater is.

I'm not trying to be adversarial, I'm just very confused.

Per the reading I've done, the soldiers of Blackwater are former spec ops. I wouldn't think they would be any different than the conventional military we have over there in that regard.
They are American citizens, so not "mercenary" in the technical sense, which is a foreign soldier who fights for whichever side pays the most.
These guys have gone in and seriously kicked butt in Iraq while the conventional military sits back and bows to the UN.

Again, I'm very confused, trying to think through a position on this. I do not wish to be insulting to anyone, and I apologize ahead of time if I have.


ParaPacem said...

What a load of crap. The Doe twins must be secret operators for Code Pink, trained in observation techniques by John "Dirtbag" Murtha.

And I'm with Phelps on this point - I WANT me some o' them essplodin' bullets that inflict "maximum damage!" Why stop with just plain killin' the enemy with a FMJ or a JHP, if you can not only kill them but explode them to?

Tuck in your trouser legs and pick up an E-tool... this stuff is deep!

ParaPacem said...

PS - Phelps - a 'hand grenade launcher' is a human arm; everyone knows that Blackwater has perfected the cloning of independently operating body parts. Hundreds of contraband human arms, operated by thought projection, were shipped into Iraq and the Stan, to inflict maximum injury of insurgents.

Anonymous said...

There is SO much about these alligations that is unverified. And some that's downright stupid. Where's any proof? Documents, pictures (that don't look like they've been photoshopped or otherwise compromised).

All there is, are two individuals (unknown), making statements through a questionable media source. Against a company that can't reveal its business.

I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing was a fabrication by either the media and/or one or two disgruntled (former?) employees.

Can you say, "Stephen Glass?" I knew you could.

B Woodman

Dutchman6 said...

S Boyd says:

"These guys have gone in and seriously kicked butt in Iraq while the conventional military sits back and bows to the UN."

"That's a F-CKING lie!" to quote my son in advance. If you had been over there and seen them up close, you'd know it was and would admit it (if, that is, you weren't being paid by them, then or now -- they DO have an instant Internet response team to deal with bad publicity).

Blackwater was real good at killing the wrong people, stirring up an AO, bugging out (or more often were ORDERED out) and leaving American soldiers to get killed in the blowback.

They are private contractors who kill people for money. They have rigged it (so far) that, although they are carried on the QDR list of forces, they are NOT beholden to the laws of war.

I will admit the possibility that these two birds may not be entirely kosher, but going on the record under oath in a federal court is usually a mark of sincerity (unless you're ATF).

The whole religious aspect I think is exaggerated, but killing somebody to protect his own economic ass? Sure, Prince is capable of that. Up close and personal.

Let's just say that this (and my son's experiences) are not the only knowledge I have of Blackwater.

Mike Vanderboegh

Dutchman6 said...

PS: And after eight years of George W. Bush I am disinclined to accept professed patriotism and avowed Christian beliefs as evidence of simon-pure integrity and good intentions.

They're mercenaries, and if they got a big contract to kill you, me and all our friends, the company would do it. They might have some quits, but they'd find replacements on any American big city street.

It's all about the dollars, right?

Chris K. said...

I trust Eric Prince and Blackwater/XE more than I trust ATF,FBI,CIA,NSA.

ParaPacem said...

Sounds kinda like the shadow army headed up by Jon Voight on last season's "24."

But I still want me some of those exploding bullets ;o)

Anonymous said...

"They're mercenaries, and if they got a big contract to kill you, me and all our friends, the company would do it. They might have some quits, but they'd find replacements on any American big city street."


Those who protect bureaucrats are NOT your friend.

What is so hard to understnad here?

They WERE -former- Spec Ops.

They sold out for the money.

Classic merc definition.

Dutchman6 said...

Chris K. sez:

"I trust Eric Prince and Blackwater/XE more than I trust ATF,FBI,CIA,NSA."

Good for you. As for me, I trust Blackwater LESS than the three letters that I've been opposing most of the last twenty years. What does that tell you?

You might as well try to figure out who was the good guy in the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

JeffKnox said...

I'm not a particular fan of these hired guns, but this article and the allegations it contains are really shaky. It looks like all of the substantive allegations are based on hearsay and the rest is mostly name-calling.
Hmmm, guys going into a war zone talking smack about killing their less-than-human enemies... SpecOps types who get out to chase the big bucks and jump back into the sandbox being a bit over-macho and over-aggressive... Such operatives wanting, and getting, the most effective tools for accomplishing their mission... It doesn't sound good on paper, but we all know how such things come together in the real world. Anyone who's been in the service has dealt with the fire-breathing, "I wanna kill somethin," mooks and anyone who's been in tough situations knows that such guys are both a serious liability and a great asset. They are liabilities because if they're not kept on a very short leash they will start stuff that doesn't need starting, but they're assets because when the SHtF, they're usually really good at ending it expeditiously too.
My limited knowledge of Blackwater suggests to me that the leadership did not effectively control their assets - through training, discipline, and supervision - and the result was often predictably violent. I can easily see sloppy handling leading to unnecessary violence leading to excuses and cover-up leading to more violence and stupidity. I can also see money in the amounts involved here leading to extraordinary efforts to suppress criticism, cover-up criminal activity, and conceal all sorts of aspects of operations.
So, where does that leave us?
With a hyped-up report from a leftist publication selectively quoting anonymous "operatives" talking mostly about things other "operatives" have related to them and using terminology which no one with basic knowledge of military weaponry would ever use, all in support of a group of Iraqi's suing Blackwater.
I balked when they said "John Doe #2 alleges in a sworn declaration that, based on information provided to him by former colleagues..." and they completely lost me when they quoted his testimony saying, "...unlawful weapons such as sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers..."
Blackwater might be smelly, they've clearly made some serious personnel and operational decisions, and they definitely deserve close scrutiny, but this article is no smoking gun.
Maybe Mike knows more about this outfit than the rest of us do, but without something more to go on, I go back to the past couple of posts about "Boogie-men."

Stephen said...

I'm very willing to acknowledge that I've been fed a load of crap.

Most of the information I've read came from Scahill's book on Blackwater.

I understand that your son was/is in the military.

As to bowing to the UN, I feel like our guys want to go in there kill the bad guys and get home, but some screwed up person somewhere decided to mix politics and military, thus resulting in more of our guys getting killed in the process.

Thanks for explaining your position, this really helps.

Chris K. said...

I'm not suggesting that Blackwater is Lilly white. Just that "mercenary" isn't a bad thing. Are you familiar with the company Executive Outcomes?
They did some stand up work in Africa before being neutered by the ANC in SA.
Is Blackwater EO? No, but just because something is done for a profit that used to be the purview of a nation state doesn't make them evil incarnate either.
You'll have to excuse my reading of these "allegations" with a health dose of skepticism.

Word verification for this post: MESSES

Anonymous said...

There are too many things in this that don't add up, as many have pointed out. Hand grenade launchers? Sawed-off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers? No one familiar with weapons would use such terms.

BW does deserve your contempt, and many of them are undoubtedly murdering scum, but THIS report smacks of BS and maybe, set up.

Perhaps BW has dirt on our illustrious Prez, or highly-placed officials? Or, someone wants to take over BW to provide the seed for someone's Civilian Security Force? Maybe Prince refuses to cooperate with a Prez who is sympathetic to Islam and has a Muslim background? Who knows, but there are too many lib buzz words in this report for me to buy it. "Racist"? "Christian crusader"?

There is something else going on here...could just be a bunch of scum-sucking lawyers trying to make a buck... or maybe not.

PS--going on the record in federal court means precisely squat. "I did not have sex with that woman." Lying under oath has no meaning and bears no penalty if you have the protection of highly placed officials. In fact, if you are lying on behalf of those officials or money powers in order to further their agenda, perjury bears rich fruit.

tom said...

Phelps and ParaPacem

Hand Grenade Launchers:

TM 31-210
Improvised Munitions Handbook

section IV No. 5.

From the same TM:
Another design.

And another design.

Been done before. Plausible they were doing it again.

Unlikely but not implausible.

Handy book too.

I've got exploding bullet designs with diagrams and casting/machinist/assembly drawings in one of my books on old Eley cartridges. Plausible to make, also been done before. Why do you think one of the Geneva conventions banned "dum-dums and exploding bullets"? Interesting side note: The US wasn't a signatory to that particular Geneva convention and Generally sorta follow it in the same way .50 cal on up are supposed to only be used as anti-material rounds, not anti-personnel.

I don't know how they ever came up with any of that Geneva BS anyway other than maybe having rules about agreed ways to exchange prisoners and POW treatment. Can't shoot somebody with a 20mm cannon round but you can shoot at the dude firing for effect with a 155 battery's rolling barrages?????

Geneva Convention stuff mostly makes little to no more sense than UN resolutions IMHO.

Boomer Lad

tom said...

On further review, obviously this reporter doesn't have their head screwed on quite right, but if I was a "contractor" working in Iraq (and I get regular offers to go there and work for Strategic Global Staffing aka Halliburton being a parts swapper for a lot of money in exchange for being really bored with nothing to do but do really boring parts swapping work) and I had access to hand grenades in the course of my work...well spud guns are amusing...hand grenade launchers based on the spud gun principal like in the Improvised TM would probably be pretty entertaining on days off, just for something different to play around with rather than swapping out melted M-240 barrels and the like.

Just a thought. I mean, as a civ contractor in Iraq you have a lot more leeway in homebrew tinkering without having to fill out a lot of forms and mail samples of things to the BATmen to have them certified under penalty of prison if you do it wrong.

Blackwater guys might get bored too. I think they're dirtier than most merc outfits, but that's the nature of the beast with "contractors". I've a number of friends that were Scouts in Rhodesia and after the world elevated Mugwumabe to King, they went merc or became poachers. Most of them are reformed now. You learn a particular, but not very useful in the civilian world skill set and you don't want to write a book about your adventures or go back to school, there's a strong incentive to stick with what you know. Same reason we're getting all these militarized "us against them" law enforcement back from the sandbox. The Chiefs want "us against them" employees and we've just trained a gaggle of them of late and a lot of them decide to not re-up eventually and go merc or LEO. It's what they know. I don't see how one would expect it to happen any other way.

Anonymous said...

"Doe #2 states: "Using his various companies, [Prince] procured and distributed various weapons, including unlawful weapons such as sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers..."

The two fakes that Xe hired to bamboozle the opposition are doing an outstanding job of making them look like complete and total idiots.

I mean, really...I stopped reading after that quote, and I normally read every single word of every article you deem important enough to post.

Hell, these also could be two Blackwater backoffice techies with delusions of grandeur and fancy (and genuine!) Blackwater ID cards that show they worked for the company.

They're reading from a script given to them by their new left-wing agitprop bosses, which explains the bizarre weapons terminology that was probably taken verbatim from a HCI newspaper style manual.

Mike, you're being taken here, hook, line and sinker.

That being said, there were problems with Blackwater near the end of their Iraq contract.

Magpul Dynamics instructor Travis Haley worked for them, and was filmed in a famous rooftop sniping video that's all over on youtube.

He said himself he left the company after realizing that their professional standards were going by the wayside, and that they were hiring people that weren't up to the job.

I don't doubt that some panicky, inexperienced contractors did light up some hapless Iraqis in that shootout. I also don't doubt in the least that some of the folks killed were also armed tangos that provoked a massacre beyond their wildest fantasies.

I'm gong to give Erik Prince the full benefit of a doubt here. The allegations in this article simply aren't credible.

Anonymous said...

"sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers"

I *must* have one of these. Just reading those adjectives working together towards a common antecedent gave me a woody

Gary Baumgarten said...

Harper's Magazine contributing editor Scott Horton will be my guest Monday Aug 10 at 5 PM NY time on News Talk Online on to discuss the allegations against Blackwater.

Please go to my blog, to join in the conversation then.



Anonymous said...

++ armed_and_christian said...++

"sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers" -

hey - just wait until you see the NEWEST stuff -
"compact, concealable sawed off selective fire automatic assault submachine guns with silenced armor piercing hand grenade launchers"

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading when I saw "The Nation." It's a crazy lunatic-fringe-of-the-lunatic-fringe left-wing fishwrapper that is politically somewhere between Pol Pot and the planet Neptune. Think of "The Daily Worker" but with better graphic design.

"unlawful weapons such as sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers..." just means that they use the Official HCI Manual of Style when discussing anything that has anything to do with (gasp!) firearms, because they are Nasty, Dirty, Evil, and Should Be Banned.

I am no great fan of Blackwater, but The Nation's credibility with me is somewhere between that of Libyan state media and the Obama administration. Its signal-to-noise ratio is essentially zero and the net information content of a given issue will be, barring extremely unusual circumstances, either null or negative.

They have a hard-on for Eric Prince because they think, possibly accurately, possibly inaccurately, that he is a defender of Western Civilization, which they hate because they're still pissed at Daddy for not buying them a pony when they were nine years old. They are not yet ballsy enough to organize bus trips to airports for agitators to spit on returning vets and call them "baby killers" like they were doing forty years ago, because they know they overplayed their hand back then and the loathsome taxpayer hick √ľntermenschen from Flyover Country got sufficiently upset to pull their noses away from the boob tube for a few years and elect Reagan. So they had some intern type up a wild-eyed breathless screed about Evil Assault Weapons Oh No instead, because they're nothing but a bunch of cowardly hippie maggots. But give President 0 a couple more years, and they'll be thinking they're nine feet tall, bulletproof, and invisible again, mark my words.

Unknown said...

Scahill's book on Blackwater isn't bad as long as you cross out every use of the word "mercenary" and every single adjective.

As for the LeMas exploding ammo- Back before people cross-sectioned his ammo and realized he was selling ordinary hunting bullets from Nosler and Hornady loaded in tactical calibers, he used Blackwater as leverage to try selling his "super blended metal exploding rounds". The whole LeMas ammo story can be found as a archive topic on, suffice it to say it was all bull.