Tag Archives | Blackwater
The April 2012 issue of Harper’s Magazine includes “The Warrior Class,” a feature by Charles Glass on the rise of private-security contractors since 9/11. The conclusion to the piece describes a series of videos shown to Glass by a source who had worked for the private-security company Blackwater (now Academi, formerly also Xe Services) in Iraq. Clips and photos from the videos are shown below, introduced by Glass’s descriptions:
The first [video], identified as “Baghdad, Iraq, May–September 2005,” showed Blackwater convoys racing through town. Suddenly, the door of a Blackwater SUV opened and a rifle fired at passing traffic. “They opened the door,” my companion said. “You should never break the seal.”
Via Media Roots:
Abby & Robbie Martin cover the Occupy Wall Street Movement: the divide and conquer tactics being used to discredit OWS, the different schools of thought and ideology within the movement and the original demands made by the U.S. Day of Rage; the Obama administration’s shocking crackdown on medical marijuana and new federal law banning medical marijuana card holders from owning firearms; Blackwater and the privatization of the armed forces: is the corporatization of the U.S. military preventing an anti-war rebellion similar to that seen in the ’60s?
WASHINGTON — Four former employees of Blackwater, the scandal-plagued security firm now called Xe, have filed a $60 million class action lawsuit claiming the firm failed to pay health and pension benefits to its employees.
Their lawyer, Scott Bloch, said Wednesday that Xe improperly classified thousands of its employees as independent contractors, allowing the company to avoid “millions of dollars in taxes, withholding and payments of benefits.”
“Blackwater made hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers and hired thousands of former veterans of military service and police officers,” said Bloch in a statement.
“It is a grave injustice to them who were mistreated and left without any health insurance or other benefits for their families, and left to fend for themselves in paying into Social Security and Medicare,” he said.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Washington, and hopes to recover Social Security, unemployment insurance, health and other benefits for the four plaintiffs, all of whom were injured while working for Blackwater.
The game designers have opted to have your gun fire automatically when it hovers long enough over an enemy target. Kotaku Australia reviews the first-person-shooter Blackwater video game, out soon for Xbox Kinect and endorsed by founder Erik Prince:
This week was the first time we heard of publisher 505 Games’ Blackwater, an FPS that would cast you in the role of Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries.
The topic seemed thorny – the mercenary company, now renamed Xe Services, has been at the center of a multiple of controversies and the subject of highly critical Congressional hearings. Blackwater has been linked to the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians, and the alcohol-fueled fatal shooting of a security guard in the employ of the country’s vice president. According to 505, the game was designed in consultation with former mercenary agents, and with Erik Prince, the founder and former head of the hot-button security contractor.
The New York Times exposes Erik Prince’s latest meddling in the Middle East:
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Late one night last November, a plane carrying dozens of Colombian men touched down in this glittering seaside capital. Whisked through customs by an Emirati intelligence officer, the group boarded an unmarked bus and drove roughly 20 miles to a windswept military complex in the desert sand.
The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom.
Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.
There’s an unlikely story circulating on various underground news sites claiming that the controversial biotech company Monsanto has acquired infamous mercenary outfit Blackwater (now trading as Xe Services). The report apparently first appeared in La Jornada, one of Mexico City’s leading daily newspapers, described by Noam Chomsky as “the one independent newspaper in the whole hemisphere.” Pravda has translated the original Spanish text written by Silvia Ribeiro into English. From my reading of the Jeremy Scahill article that seems to form the basis of the report, the most you can deduce is that Monsanto hired the creeps at Blackwater to do dirty work for them, but the rumor keeps circulating, so could there be a grain of truth somewhere in this story?:
A report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation (Blackwater’s Black Ops, 9/15/2010) revealed that the largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (now called Xe Services) clandestine intelligence services was sold to the multinational Monsanto.
In one of the better pieces of investigative reporting seen in the New York Times of late, James Risen and Mark Mazzetti reveal the continuing close relationship between the U.S. Government and the disgraced mercenary group Blackwater (now re-named Xe, but they’re not fooling anyone):
Blackwater Worldwide created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq, according to Congressional investigators and former Blackwater officials.
While it is not clear how many of those businesses won contracts, at least three had deals with the United States military or the Central Intelligence Agency, according to former government and company officials. Since 2001, the intelligence agency has awarded up to $600 million in classified contracts to Blackwater and its affiliates, according to a United States government official.
The Senate Armed Services Committee this week released a chart that identified 31 affiliates of Blackwater, now known as Xe Services.
A leaked recording of secretive Blackwater founder Erik Prince giving a private talk reveals that if it’s up to him, the company’s role in 21st-century history is just beginning. Prince wants to have Blackwater (now Xe) mercenaries embedded in Islamic countries around the globe and leading the war on drugs. The Nation reports:
Despite Prince’s attempts to shield his speeches from public scrutiny, The Nation magazine has obtained an audio recording of a recent, private speech delivered by Prince to a friendly audience. The speech, which Prince attempted to keep from public consumption, provides a stunning glimpse into his views and future plans and reveals details of previously undisclosed activities of Blackwater.
In the speech, Prince proposed that the US government deploy armed private contractors to fight “terrorists” in Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia, specifically to target Iranian influence. He expressed disdain for the Geneva Convention and described Blackwater’s secretive operations at four Forward Operating Bases he controls in Afghanistan.
Art imitating life? Not quite … Spencer Ackerman reports on the Washington Independent:
On Feb. 23, I broke a story about how the Senate Armed Services Committee determined that Blackwater employees in Afghanistan signed for hundreds of AK-47s and pistols using the name “Eric Cartman,” evidently a reference to the popular South Park character.
On March 17 — which Dave Weigel tells me is the season premiere — South Park will show Eric Cartman signing for the guns.