Prince Of A Fellow

by digby

I can't say I'm shocked, but it's pretty explosive anyway:

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.

I eagerly await the pooh-poohing of this as something "out of the movies" by the erstwhile Jack Bauer fanboys.

The sad truth is that whatever we think we know about how the white house ordered the CIA to torture terrorist suspects or the military special forces to assassinate civilians, what these people did completely off the books is likely to be even worse. These military contractors are all heavily connected to the CIA and to the conservative movement. I'm sure they understood their orders very well and were extremely well compensated for carrying them out.

This may end up being one of the few paths open to finding out what really happened. These guys are civilians. But then, both the Bush and Obama administrations have used the state secrets rationale to shut down lawsuits against civilians, so it will be very interesting to see if they do the same thing here. Anybody taking bets?