Founder of security firm saw himself as a Christian Crusader whose task was to eliminate Muslims, former employees allege
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Two former employees of Blackwater have accused the private US security firm and its founder of killing Iraqis for fun, smuggling weapons and deceiving the State Department.
The men, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation — one claimed that Blackwater management threatened to kill him — also claimed they had learnt that at least one person who has or planned to speak out against the US firm and its founder Erik Prince was “killed in mysterious circumstances”.
The claims were made in sworn statements filed in a court in Virginia earlier this week as part of a civil lawsuit by families of several Iraqis allegedly killed by Blackwater guards.
The ex-Blackwater workers, a former Marine identified as John Doe No 1 and another man identified as John Doe No 2, are American citizens.
John Doe No 2 makes a series of accusations against Mr Prince. He says the Blackwater Worldwide boss “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe”, according to his declaration posted, along with a series of other legal documents, on the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) website.
“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.”
He adds that "on several occasions after my departure from Mr Prince's employ, Mr Prince's management has personally threatened me with death or violence. In addition, based on information provided to me by former colleagues it appears that Mr Prince and his employees murdered or had murdered one or more persons who have provided information or were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct."
Susan Burke, a private lawyer working with the CCR, is acting against Blackwater in five separate civil cases. She filed the documents in opposing a motion by Blackwater to dismiss the cases.
“The plaintiffs are challenging Mr Prince’s callous scheme to kill, repeatedly, innocent Iraqis,” Ms Burke’s motion reads.
The two men allege that Blackwater smuggled weapons into Iraq either on Mr Prince’s private planes or concealed in bags of dog food.
They say that some of the weapons were illegal. John Doe No 2 lists hand grenades and hand grenade launchers. John Doe No 1 names an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon, known as a “saw”.
He also recounts three incidents in which he says he witnessed Blackwater guards needlessly kill or injure Iraqi civilians.
In one case, John Doe No 1 says the convoy he was in pulled over to fix a flat tyre on a vehicle. A civilian car with two people inside drove by. He says that one of the other Blackwater employees began firing into the car. “From my vantage point, it was clear that XXX was clearly injuring and likely killing the passenger and likely injuring the driver as well.”
John Doe No 1 also alleges that the State Department was kept in the dark or deliberately misled about such incidents.
John Doe No 2 claims that "going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game".
Blackwater, which is based in North Carolina, had a multimillion-dollar contract to protect the US Embassy in Baghdad and other State Department officials.
Washington did not renew the contract after it expired in May. The Iraqi Government was highly critical of Blackwater after the shooting in September 2007 of 17 civilians, which did severe damage to the reputation of foreign private security companies in the country.
Blackwater, recently renamed Xe, issued a statement yesterday saying it would respond "to the anonymous, unsubstantiated and offensive assertions put forward by the plaintiffs", in a brief to be filed on August 17, according to CNN’s website. A comment was not available from the company. A hearing on the case is due on August 28.
In: Iraq, News, Middle East
Tags: Blackwater, boss, guards, accused, of, murder, killing, Iraqis, for, fun, Erik, Prince, Xe, eliminate, Muslims, Christian, Crusader,
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