Blackwater Founder Accused of Murder Plot
(CN) - Two former employees of Blackwater USA claim the company's founder was bent on a mission to advance Christianity in Iraq and encouraged the wanton killing of Muslims. In a statement filed in Federal Court in Virginia, one ex-employee said it appears that Blackwater founder Erik Prince "and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who had provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct."
The informants also say Prince was involved in weapon smuggling into Iraq, money laundering and obstructing the federal investigation against Blackwater by ordering documents, videos and emails to be destroyed. Using the web of companies he created, Prince was also allegedly involved in "an ongoing wife-swapping and sex ring" in North Carolina.
A statement from the successor company to Blackwater, Xe Services, said the accusations by the two former employees are "unsubstantiated and offensive."
The two men, saying they feared retaliation, filed separate sworn affidavits as "John Doe" #1 and #2 late Monday night in the Eastern District of Virginia.
"John Doe #1" said he is a former Marine who worked for Blackwater and provided security for State Department personnel in Iraq; "John Doe #2" said he was affiliated with the company for four years.
John Doe #2 claims that his former boss, Prince, "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe." He claims Prince encouraged likeminded employees to "take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis."
The second witness also said, "It appears that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who had provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct."
Susan Burke, an attorney working with the Center for Constitutional Rights, has brought five lawsuits against Blackwater, which were combined for pretrial purposes. Burke's motion against the company on Aug. 3 was an attempt to counter Blackwater's request for dismissal. A hearing was scheduled for Friday, Aug. 7, before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Prince and Blackwater have come under a great deal of scrutiny in recent years.
Following findings that contractors opened fire in a Baghdad traffic square in September 2007 and killed 17 Iraqi civilians, the State Department canceled Blackwater's contract, which led to multiple grand jury proceedings by the Justice Department.
The informants said they made the same charges against Prince and Blackwater when cooperating with federal authorities during those proceedings.
Prince has since resigned from the company, which now operates as Xe Services LLC in North Carolina.
Xe called the charges "unsubstantiated and offensive" in a statement released Tuesday. "It is obvious that Plaintiffs have chosen to slander Mr. Prince rather than raise legal arguments or actual facts that will be considered by a court of law," Xe's statement read.
Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the book, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," reported on the case for The Nation magazine online this week.
"To hear the words 'murder' and 'Blackwater' in the same sentence is not a shock to anyone who knows anything about what they've been doing in Iraq," Scahill said this week on the radio show Democracy Now!
"To read, though, Erik Prince's direct role in it and knowing that he micromanages everything in that company, these are explosive developments," Scahill said.