No journalist has done more to expose the crimes, misdeeds and profiteering of the military contractor formerly known as Blackwater (now Xe Services) than The Nation‘s Jeremy Scahill. Despite a change in the White House and conclusive evidence that the company’s hired guns massacred innocent Iraqis in the 2007 Nisour Square shootings, Blackwater is still at it–the company recently inked a $20 million contract renewal with the State Department to provide “security services” in Iraq through September 3. Thankfully, Scahill is still at it too.
On August 4 on The Nation‘s website, Scahill broke an explosive story about a series of accusations two former employees made against Blackwater founder Erik Prince in sworn statements introduced into federal court. Among these allegations are that 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”; that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe”; and that he “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.” The men are identified in court papers as John Doe No. 1 and John Doe No. 2; their identities have been sealed because, as Doe No. 2 puts it, “Mr. Prince’s management has personally threatened me with death and violence.” The statements were submitted to the Eastern District of Virginia District Court by attorney Susan Burke, who, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, is suing Blackwater on behalf of its Iraqi victims and their families.
Scahill’s article and subsequent appearances on Countdown With Keith Olbermann, among other outlets, captured the attention of VoteVets.org, which called on Congress to “investigate the allegations contained in the sworn declarations.” Vocal critics of private military contractors in Congress are eager to do just that. Representative Dennis Kucinich told Scahill, “In addition to Blackwater, we should be questioning their patrons in the previous administration who funded and employed this organization.” And Representative Jan Schakowsky wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her “not to award further contracts to Xe and its affiliates and to review all existing contracts with this company.”