Thursday, August 6, 2009

Obama's Gangstas

In Jeremy Scahill's expose of Blackwater founder Erik Prince in The Nation, two former Blackwater employees, one of whom being an executive, charged that Prince had either murdered or had ordered to be murdered one or more people who were about to cooperate with federal investigators. If true, John Doe numbers One and Two wouldn't be telling us anything shocking or surprising. What's shocking, as Scahill reminds us, is why the Obama administration is still paying these psychopaths millions of our tax dollars every year considering the mercenary outfit is the subject of several federal investigations for mass murder, tax fraud, money laundering and gun running and had been kicked out of Iraq (but only administratively, not physically) last May.

Indeed, when one looks at the alleged crimes of former SEAL Erik Prince and his thugs, one is reminded of the careers of gangsters such as Albert Anastasia, Al Capone and others. In light of such comparisons, about the only good thing that can be said about Prince's own criminal enterprise is that they never got involved with prostitution and drugs. That we know of.

The most striking difference, however, between the old Sicilian mobs and Prince's is that the mafia's activities were tempered and even governed somewhat by their Catholic faith and Old World codes of conduct. Prince, a converted Catholic himself, commits his crimes in the name of what is obviously an Old Testament God and a God that considers Muslims to be heathens who, as Ann Coulter said the day after the 9/11 attacks, deserve to be killed en masse.

All of which gives Obama even less of a reason to continue subsidizing another right wing evangelical organization after the Rev. Wright and Rev. Rick Warren incidents.

Some other reasons why the Obama White House should divorce itself from this increasingly toxic relationship with Blackwater/Xe:

  • Since the Obama White House almost immediately began doing an about-face from his campaign promises of transparency and openness in government, the last thing the American public needs to hear is it deliberately dragging its heels on any investigation and sweeping under the Oval Office rug the illegal deaths of scores of innocent Iraqis in an attempt to "move on", "forget the past" and to avoid the appearance of "partisan bickering." This is not a partisan or bipartisan debate: This a matter of humanity vs inhumanity, plain and simple.

  • Continuing to give Blackwater our business at taxpayer expense amounts to some of the most irresponsible and ill-informed earmarks in our national budget. Much of the contract money we're still shoveling at Erik Prince's cloven hooves wind up in offshore accounts so Prince doesn't have to pay his fair share of taxes. Considering that Obama's made a show of going after such companies' tax exemptions and deferments if they have offshore accounts, continuing to hand out cost-plus, no bid contracts to Blackwater makes Obama look even more like a hypocrite than he already does.

  • If we're going to make any headway with the new Iraqi government that we'd spent so many billions in dollars and so many thousands of lives to create, aggressively investigating and prosecuting Blackwater after their many crimes in Iraq would be a great way to establish some sorely-needed credibility with the Iraqi people. We need to show them that this is indeed a different administration and continuing to employ a company that has murdered so many of their people for firearms practice (not to mention violating the terms of the SOFA) is not the best way to go about repairing our credibility and moral standing abroad.

  • Last May, even the Moonie Times had to question out loud why the State Department would sign Blackwater to another contract, this one a relatively modest $22.2 million one, that would keep them in Baghdad throughout the summer when they haven't been legally entitled to work in Iraq since May. That alone can be justly interpreted by the Iraqi people as us thumbing our nose at their laws and even their very sovereignty.

  • Blackwater is a threat to our national security. Prince not only has a standing army and a fleet of jets and gunships, he also has his own little shadow CIA. Anyone who remembers their Roman history will well remember what happened with the Praetorian Guard. It would be a very dangerous naivete to assume that Blackwater wasn't part of the Fortune 500 cabal of industrialists that make up the lawless InfraGard, basically any administration's Praetorian Guard (the Praetorian Guard, don't forget, was put in place by the Emperor to crush dissent).

  • I'm amazed that no one, to my knowledge, anyway, hasn't started a national petition drive that asks Obama to kick Blackwater out of all government affairs. Considering all the ways in which the Obama administration is perpetuating or in some cases even ramping up the Bush era's initiatives and policies, this is one status quo that could theoretically cost Obama re-election. And considering what a disappointment he's been as a reformer and crusader, that's looking less and less like a bad thing.


    At August 6, 2009 at 4:45 PM, Blogger Fearguth said...

    I had the pleasure of hearing Jeremy Scahill speak at Netroots Nation in Austin, July 2008. He's a powerful writer, but he's even more impressive in person. If anyone is ever successful in driving a stake into Erik Prince's heart, it'll be Jeremy.

    At August 6, 2009 at 5:18 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

    I'd be happy just to sharpen the stake for him. I happen to look at Prince as a dishonor to the uniform of the US Navy and his SEAL patch. To me, he's a traitor, plain and simple.

    At August 6, 2009 at 8:40 PM, Blogger Marla said...

    What you said. And forgive the obvious-stating, but having a mercenary organization anywhere near a contract with the US government--you know, those people for whom the Army, the Marines, the real SEALs, the Coasties, the Rangers, the 101st Airborne (my dad's and Jimi Hendrix's former outfit), the Navy, the Air Force, et a whole lot of al. work--is like Meryl Streep hiring someone to do her acting for her. Yet more evidence that the last administration's entire raison d'etre began and ended in making themselves a conduit between the US Treasury and their pals.

    Damned if I know what Obama's excuse is, though.

    At August 7, 2009 at 1:30 AM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

    "Damned if I know what Obama's excuse is, though."

    Oh, that. That's easy!

    Obama, his Administration staff and the Democratic Leadership in Congress have been under the direct control of the Republican Party since before 1980.

    It's the ONLY explanation that fits their continual GOP asslicking behavior since Reagan was installed as Acting-President.

    At August 7, 2009 at 11:47 AM, Blogger Pryme said...

    You would think Reason #1 would be reason enough.

    You would think.


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