Straight From the “Please Stop Punching Yourself in the Face” Files

Blackwater.  The name itself conjures up murky, muddy murderously opaque machinations.  I guess that’s why they “rebranded” (one of my least favorite words in the English language) last year and decided on the innocuous, nondescript, nonsensical Xe Services; that and maybe all of the extra-judicial killings, investigations, indictments etc. etc. the outfit formerly known as “Blackwater” always seemed to be mixed up in.   Jeremy Scahill’s excellent book on Blackwater is perhaps one of the scariest I’ve ever read and should be required reading for anyone attempting to completely understand America during the Bush era.

So it was with great incredulity that I noticed a New York Times headline this past Friday that screamed “Blackwater Reaches $42 Million Settlement with the U.S.” The article, written by James Risen (author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration),  details the “export control” violations Blackwater was guilty of in accruing such massive fines.  They are specifically:

illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan, making unauthorized proposals to train troops in south Sudan and providing sniper training for Taiwanese police officers, according to company and government officials familiar with the deal.

Risen goes on to note that:

The settlement with the State Department does not resolve other legal troubles still facing Blackwater and its former executives and other personnel. Those include the indictments of five former executives, including Blackwater’s former president, on weapons and obstruction charges; a federal investigation into evidence that Blackwater officials sought to bribe Iraqi government officials; and the arrest of two former Blackwater guards on federal murder charges stemming from the killing of two Afghans last year.

What a list!

What I’d love to know is why truth and justice, red-blooded, God-fearing, America loving patriots like Blackwater founder Erik Prince absolutely never seem to abide by, and operate within the boundaries of, the laws and statutes our nation was founded on.  It literally seems like prosecutors and investigators would have a harder time uncovering legal activities undertaken by Blackwater.  I understand the concept of “the fog of war” and the fact the very act of providing security in warzones is fraught with gray areas and ever-shifting rules of engagement, but Blackwater has always been infamous for it’s “cowboy tactics and the use of excessive force.” Come to think of it “cowboy tactics and the use of excessive force” could actually be the subtitle of the entire nightmarish Bush experience.  Prince is a perfect example of the corrupt, hyper-American, hypocritical ‘christian’ type which flourished in the last decade making millions (on top of those he inherited) off of murder and mayhem, in the guise of protecting average Americans from the evil, bloodcrazed Muslims hiding under our beds.

Well no more!  In another astonishing Times article by Risen, Erik Prince is so tired of your ungrateful, heathen ass taking his unselfish, lawful and Christlike efforts to protect you for granted that he is taking his ball and going home…to Abu Dhabi!!

No, really.

According to Risen, current and former colleagues of Mr. Prince said:

“he was bitter about the legal scrutiny and negative publicity his company had received.

‘He needs a break from America,’ said one colleague, speaking only on the condition of anonymity about Mr. Prince’s long-rumored move.”

I’ve been writing fiction for years and I wish I had the creativity and satirical flair to make something like that up.  I don’t know what’s more scary about this guy: how hypocritical and pathetic he is? Or how dangerous?

Which brings me full-circle to the initial impetus behind this post-which is the fact that despite all the indictments, investigations and fines Blackwater/Xe has accumulated, Risen reports that the State Department “dealt with the violations as an administrative matter, allowing the firm to avoid criminal charges” and, more importantly, that “by paying fines rather than facing criminal charges on the export violations, Blackwater will be able to continue to obtain government contracts”(emphasis mine).   That is inexplicable.  I cannot understand why the State Department under President Obama would countenance funneling yet more money to these corrupt fanatics.  Maybe their logic is that you need corrupt fanatics to fight the corrupt fanatics in Karzai’s Afghanistan.  Regardless it is starting to really reflect poorly on us citizens that we sit in silence as the outrages pile up and ever-more scarce, hard to come by dollars keep reaching the pockets of men like Erik Prince who run companies like Blackwater/Xe that have demonstrated time again their blatant disregard for our laws and the sanctity of innocent lives, which their appalling charade as men of god makes even more galling and despicable.

Late update (via Sam Stein at Huffington Post):

Apparently unnamed private “security companies” are using American Tax dollars to engage in “mafia like” activities according to Hamid Karzai who made these statements this morning on ABC’s “This Week” in an effort to “appeal” directly to the American tax payer.  Karzai went on to say he wants these companies out of the country by the end of the year.

How depraved, dangerous and corrupt do you have to be to wear out your welcome in Afghanistan?

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