Blackwater – I mean, “Xe” – is back in the news, more than six months after the mercenary firm was kicked out of Iraq by the Iraqi government for using “excessive force.” Baghdad gave Blackwater the boot for the company’s apparent role in the killings of 17 civilians in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square on Sept. 16, 2007. In that incident, Blackwater guards reportedly opened fire on a crowd after coming under attack.
According to affidavits filed in federal court on Monday, the company’s founder Erik Prince and his staff were engaged in a fantastic litany of crimes, almost too fantastic to be believed. At the top of the list: Prince and his proteges “murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities” regarding the Nisoor Square killings. The affidavits, part of a civil lawsuit stemming from Blackwater’s alleged abuses in Iraq, were signed by “John Doe #1â€³ and “John Doe #2,” both of whom claim to be current or former Blackwater employees. John Doe #2 wrote that he “fear[s] violence against me in retaliation for submitting this declaration.”
The affidavits also allege that Blackwater illegally smuggled weapons into Iraq, sometimes in bags of dog food – an allegation we’ve heard before. More broadly, “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. … Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game,” according to the statements.The Nation broke the story of the new accusations, calling them “devastating.” Blackwater had re-branded itself as “Xe” earlier this year, in a bid to shed its bad image.
Blackwater’s got loads of legal troubles. Five employees await trial in the U.S. on charges stemming from the Nisoor shootings. The company has also faced accusations from crew members aboard its warship McArthur, which was outfitted to fight pirates but has yet to win a contract. Three McArthur crewmen reported harassment, reprisals and physical abuse at the hands of drunken superiors.
Iraqis, in particular, are adamant that Blackwater face justice. “Iraqis might think at least a little differently of America if the killers are put in prison,” said Iraqis Farid Walid, who was wounded in the Nisoor Square incident.