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Invitation to a Beheading
August 4, 2009 6:38 PM   Subscribe

In the wake of allegations from ex-employees at Blackwater/Xe, founder Erik Prince is now under investigation for murdering federal informants.

The federal investigation has strictly concealed the identities of the informants, as one ex-employee reports, "On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince's employ, Mr. Prince's management has personally threatened me with death and violence." The allegations from John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 (PDF) include incidents of sex trafficking, egregious treatment of Iraqi civilians (public beheadings, child prostitution, rewarding soldiers with the highest body counts), and dismissing negative mental health evaluations of Blackwater soldiers. Prince, says John Doe #2, allegedly sees himself as "a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe." [Previously]
posted by zoomorphic (125 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
And we're supposed to be surprised by this?
posted by dunkadunc at 6:46 PM on August 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


I hope they put that motherfucker away forever. Companies like Blackwater shouldn't even be legal, let alone receive contracts paid with my tax dollars.
posted by Caduceus at 6:47 PM on August 4, 2009 [40 favorites]


Is this the same John Doe from the nytimes?
posted by pwally at 6:48 PM on August 4, 2009


Wow. I'm torn. I really, really want this not to be true, because it's just too fucked up for words. But, everything I've ever read about this scrap of human detritus tells me that it is. So, if that is the case, I hope it all comes out, because the last thing Neo-Rome needs are more Praetorians.
posted by absalom at 6:49 PM on August 4, 2009


He has an allegorical surname. He has the corporation with a mysterious name. Could Erik Prince become any more like a James Bond villain?
posted by jonp72 at 6:50 PM on August 4, 2009 [22 favorites]


Who could have predicted that these mercenaries would kill people for money?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:52 PM on August 4, 2009 [106 favorites]


And we're supposed to be surprised by this?

I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he'd been under investigation for defrauding the government or something, but murder!? Yes, I have to say I'm a little surprised. If they convict him I hope he's extradited to Iraq to stand trial for Nisour Square shootings.
posted by delmoi at 6:53 PM on August 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


What would be ideal is if Prince becomes an informant against the Republicans he conspired with. That would help get the war crimes tribunal going.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:53 PM on August 4, 2009 [19 favorites]


I bet the former administration would be shocked, shocked!, to learn things like this were going on.
posted by ryoshu at 6:55 PM on August 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Delmoi, think about how thin the line is for these guys already. They recruit employees who want to kill people. They get paid to kill people. They have gotten away with killing hundreds (thousands?) based only on their own judgment, without investigation or inquiry, for a decade. They are "untouchable."

So this would be a very small step, really.

I predict you will hear some variation on "murder is just a word" raised in their defense.
posted by rokusan at 7:01 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."
Funny how you when you think you're above the law you start to think that way. If these allegations are true I hope he gets thrown to the lions.
posted by furtive at 7:04 PM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Anyone see the last season of 24?
posted by nosila at 7:04 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by furtive If these allegations are true I hope he gets thrown to the lions.

Since his crimes were against the people of Iraq, I'd be satisfied with turning him over to the Iraqis and let them mete out their own brand of justice.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:11 PM on August 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


What would be ideal is if Prince becomes an informant against the Republicans he conspired with.

You're getting way too close to a "surely this..." here. But think about it: if someone highly placed in a conspiracy to kill informers BECAME an informer? No amount of protection on earth could keep him alive until the next news cycle...
posted by wendell at 7:11 PM on August 4, 2009


I'm not usually one for "eye for an eye" type punishments, but if these allegations are proven true, I would like it if Prince and his lackeys who helped him in this evil (and evil it is, the word "crime" doesn't really cover it) are dropped off in downtown Baghdad in US Flag diapers with the words "Fuck Allah!" tattooed in Arabic on their backs. It may not be justice, but I have a hard time feeling like these guys deserve any.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:11 PM on August 4, 2009


And we're supposed to be surprised by this?

What's your point?
posted by Bookhouse at 7:15 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


John does 1 and 2 should team up with Anonymous.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 7:16 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, on top of everything else, the Bush administration funded a(n alleged) Christianist terrorist organization?
posted by dirigibleman at 7:16 PM on August 4, 2009 [17 favorites]


The private sector is more efficient!
posted by spiderskull at 7:29 PM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Somewhere Ayn Rand is smilinggrimacing approval.
posted by DU at 7:33 PM on August 4, 2009


Jesus christ. There is no hell deep enough, or hot enough, for guys like this.
posted by rtha at 7:34 PM on August 4, 2009


Ugh. I wish I was the slightest bit surprised. Even worse, I almost can't muster up an appropriate level of outrage. I seem to have used it all up over the past 8 years.
posted by elizardbits at 7:37 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even though I already held Blackwater in very low regard, this is still truly shocking. Selling weapons in Iraq, at the highest levels of the company? That's some treasonous shit. I wonder if Prince ends up rolling on high level government employees -- nothing would surprise me at this point.
posted by Edgewise at 7:39 PM on August 4, 2009


I can only hope this brings the shit down on his head that Prince deserves. Seriously this guy belongs in the category "the worst of the worst". Send him and his goons to the inside of Gitmo.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:43 PM on August 4, 2009


This would be funny except it's really, really, not. Not only do we have to go fuck up a country, we had to go do it in this hamfisted, surreal way, like our whole strategy was that we read a Trevanian novel once and totally liked guns.

Well, allegedly anyway.
posted by 31d1 at 7:43 PM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm not usually one for "eye for an eye" type punishments, but if these allegations are proven true, I would like it if Prince and his lackeys who helped him in this evil (and evil it is, the word "crime" doesn't really cover it) are dropped off in downtown Baghdad in US Flag diapers with the words "Fuck Allah!" tattooed in Arabic on their backs.

What do you think would happen then? A pack of feral Arabs would tear them apart with their teeth?
posted by stammer at 7:43 PM on August 4, 2009 [23 favorites]


With my current level of Despair going, I'm almost certain Prince will end up exceeding rich off this somehow.
posted by The Whelk at 7:52 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


So. Are we going to continue to look forward and not back? I'd like to see more than a "no comment" from the Justice Dept. on this.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:57 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Surely this ..." is what sprang to mind first, but I very much doubt that these guys would live long enough to implicate someone in the previous administration in any serious way.

I also wonder what mental gymnsatics the freepers must be going through to justify Prince's actions to themselves.
posted by nonspecialist at 7:57 PM on August 4, 2009


The child prostitution/pedophilia angle about Blackwater is kneecapping gold. Oh killing Iraqis is one thing, but the child thing? That is where you get the wounding. Christian crusader with a thing for child sex ring? If you are to strike a prince or king, do make it a killing blow.
posted by jadepearl at 7:58 PM on August 4, 2009 [8 favorites]


Saxon Kane: "I'm not usually one for "eye for an eye" type punishments, but if these allegations are proven true, I would like it if Prince and his lackeys who helped him in this evil (and evil it is, the word "crime" doesn't really cover it) are dropped off in downtown Baghdad in US Flag diapers with the words "Fuck Allah!" tattooed in Arabic on their backs. It may not be justice, but I have a hard time feeling like these guys deserve any."

This might not be the hooting hollywood style festival of venganza you'd like -- the guy's an ex-SEAL after all.
posted by boo_radley at 8:01 PM on August 4, 2009


Prediction: absolutely nothing will come of this.
posted by aramaic at 8:01 PM on August 4, 2009 [13 favorites]


I'm surprised. Usually the leaders of mercenary armies are such upstanding fellows.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:02 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


I also wonder what mental gymnsatics the freepers must be going through to justify Prince's actions to themselves.

I would assume they might focus on the fact that people go "under investigation," all the time, that the entire of the investigation is centered around two anonymous sources, and the only outfits really reporting it are Mother Jones and The Nation.

Also, a smaller minority probably suggest that shooting Iraqis is probably not illegal anyway, or shouldn't be.
posted by absalom at 8:02 PM on August 4, 2009


Saxon Kane with the words "Fuck Allah!" tattooed in Arabic on their backs. It may not be justice, but I have a hard time feeling like these guys deserve any.
No, it's not justice, and it's egregiously arrogant and racist towards the Iraqis. If you want them staked out on a bull-ants' nest (and I for one would be happy for that to happen), stake them out on the bull-ants' nest yourself; don't drop them on ordinary Iraqi civilians and expect their "crazy Arabic culture" to motivate them to do it for you.

Justice would be capturing these men and interrogating them, offering immunity to low and mid-level employees one at a time in exchange for further information of use in the interrogation and prosecution of the higher-ups; and at the same time, use similar methods to investigate the politicians and bureaucrats that their organization has corrupted, such as, oh, pretty much the former Bush Administration. The same as is done to break (other forms of) organized crime.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:03 PM on August 4, 2009 [22 favorites]


This is what Shock and Awe looks like. This is what you wanted, America. Deep down inside, this is what many still want. Anything we say about him, we're really just saying about our neighbors, parents, siblings, and coworkers. This is America. Love it or leave it.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:10 PM on August 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


Fundies of all stripes scare the crap out of me. This is one of the reasons why.
posted by kldickson at 8:10 PM on August 4, 2009


Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military
The rest of that Easter was spent under siege. Insurgents held off Bravo Company, which was called in to rescue the men in the compound. Ammunition ran low. A helicopter tried to drop more but missed. As dusk fell, the men prepared four Bradley Fighting Vehicles for a “run and gun” to draw fire away from the compound. Humphrey headed down from the roof to get a briefing. He found his lieutenant, John D. DeGiulio, with a couple of sergeants. They were snickering like schoolboys. They had commissioned the Special Forces interpreter, an Iraqi from Texas, to paint a legend across their Bradley’s armor, in giant red Arabic script.

“What’s it mean?” asked Humphrey.

“Jesus killed Mohammed,” one of the men told him. The soldiers guffawed. JESUS KILLED MOHAMMED was about to cruise into the Iraqi night.

The Bradley, a tracked “tank killer” armed with a cannon and missiles—to most eyes, indistinguishable from a tank itself—rolled out. The Iraqi interpreter took to the roof, bullhorn in hand. The sun was setting. Humphrey heard the keen of the call to prayer, then the crackle of the bullhorn with the interpreter answering—in Arabic, then in English for the troops, insulting the prophet. Humphrey’s men loved it. “They were young guys, you know?” says Humphrey. “They were scared.” A Special Forces officer stood next to the interpreter—“a big, tall, blond, grinning type,” says Humphrey.

“Jesus kill Mohammed!” chanted the interpreter. “Jesus kill Mohammed!”

A head emerged from a window to answer, somebody fired on the roof, and the Special Forces man directed a response from an MK-19 grenade launcher. “Boom,” remembers Humphrey. The head and the window and the wall around it disappeared.
posted by orthogonality at 8:17 PM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is what Shock and Awe looks like. This is what you wanted, America. Deep down inside, this is what many still want. Anything we say about him, we're really just saying about our neighbors, parents, siblings, and coworkers. This is America. Love it or leave it.

No. This is what people drunk on power look like, people who have a fucked up moral compass, and in no way represent your average American no matter how much you want to vilify human nature. This isn't America. These are a few people who checked their humanity at the door.
posted by spiderskull at 8:20 PM on August 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


And we're supposed to be surprised by this

Surprised he's actually being investigated? Yeah, I think we are. I certainly am.
posted by pompomtom at 8:20 PM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


So, on top of everything else, the Bush administration funded a(n alleged) Christianist terrorist organization?

The Bush administration itself was, for all intents a purposes, a Christianist terrorist organization.

Cleverly disguised as the US Government, of course.
posted by Avenger at 8:20 PM on August 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


And we're supposed to be surprised by this?

Yeah, yeah we are. It's easy to be all cynical and jaded at the other end of the Intertubes reading another article about some Iraq war fuckup. But dammit, it's still my country, and I still care about what it did. And I still want justice. If we've employed some mercenaries who were sex traffic and murdering people to justify their Crusade, yeah, I am surprised. And I want the fuck to be brought to justice.

If I'm not surprised by it, then I'm just a tax-paying cog in the machine that enables it.
posted by Nelson at 8:22 PM on August 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Get real. This guy was a bazillionaire before earning his filthy war luker. He talked mom into selling the family business so he could gather all his old Navy Seal buddies to staff his on private "security" company. Just in time to help give Iraqi some Freedom GWBush-style.

Glory be to Jeebus, he runs one of the largest, most secretive private mercenary organizations on the planet. The dude has secondary lasers mounted on the primary lasers that he has mounted on the sharks guarding his island lair on 6,000 acres in the Great Dismal Swamp.

Do you think he might have a couple of sets of escape plans? I'll bet a nut he disappears forever to his alternative secret island lair to trade faces with John Travolta.

Doesn't matter anyway, from what I've seen the rich are only truly held accountable when they fuck over the rich.
posted by HyperBlue at 8:22 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


BitterOldPunk I'm surprised. Usually the leaders of mercenary armies are such upstanding fellows.

You have a good point, but I would argue that Blackwater's generally despicable behavior has nothing to do with their status as mercenaries as such, and everything to do with the ideological motivations and political agenda of their directors and employers.

If I were a better student of European history I could give you some examples of mercenary companies that behaved honorably--I'm sure they existed--and examples abound of volunteer armies, conscripts and levies that have behaved at least as badly as Blackwater's soldiers have. The major problem with mercenaries historically is power balance, ie if the king had better soldiers he wouldn't need to hire mercenaries, which implies that the mercenaries are probably better than the king's own army (unless hired as expendables to save using "real soldiers", which mercenaries are unlikely to go along with willingly). The best use of mercenaries, it seems to me, is to make up numbers.

Arguably modern national standing volunteer armies, from the perspective of 19th Century European generals, wouldn't differ much from mercenary companies themselves, since few if any soldiers are in the army against their will and most have joined up for money.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:25 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


This guy was a crypto-fascist Eschaton-loving shitheel before this. He runs a mercenary army that was so evil they had to change their fucking name.

Their is not a hole deep enough for him or his customers.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:27 PM on August 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


aeschenkarnos, you left out AND THEN, WE TURN THEM OVER TO THE IRAQI SUPREME COURT. that would be true justice
posted by liza at 8:27 PM on August 4, 2009


I also wonder what mental gymnsatics the freepers must be going through to justify Prince's actions to themselves.
What? They don't need "mental gymnastics".

They'll just say "This is ACORN's fault." Or Obama's, or Pelosi's, or Soros'. And that it's a damn shame that President Bush didn't preemptively pardon this patriot for whatever it is that he certainly didn't do.

No gymnastics necessary. Just straight to 100% absurdity. That's their MO.
posted by Flunkie at 8:28 PM on August 4, 2009


Their There
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:28 PM on August 4, 2009


What a smarmy, ugly fucker that dude is.

He looks similar to one of those douchebags who parties every night at the frat house and is rolling in Mommy and Daddy's cash and is a member of the College Republicans and calls girls 'bitches' and 'hos' and date rapes girls.

If he went to college, which I am almost suspecting he didn't, he had to have been one of those morons.
posted by kldickson at 8:29 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know...I just became pro-waterboarding after reading this. WOW!
posted by hal_c_on at 8:32 PM on August 4, 2009


What? They don't need "mental gymnastics".

I can already tell you what the Republican response to these allegations are without even bothering to look. They're that predictable.

1) These allegations are completely false, the product of the liberal conspiracy that controls the media, the education establishment and the government.

2) "President" B. Hussein Obama is concocting these ridiculous charges to distract the American public from his socialistic takeover of the US Healthcare Industry.

3) Even if they were true, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. The world is a dangerous place, and we are only free because rough men stand ready to inflict great violence on our behalf.

4) God bless America.
posted by Avenger at 8:35 PM on August 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


If I'm not surprised by it, then I'm just a tax-paying cog in the machine that enables it.

No offense, but being shocked, shocked to find that gambling's murder's going on in here doesn't change anything.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:39 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


5) Regardless of what was done in Iraq, the surge worked and we were victorious, and it is a better place now than it ever was under Saddam Hussein.
posted by mek at 8:39 PM on August 4, 2009


Bush hired them. Does he have any sort of legal liability for this?
posted by kldickson at 8:41 PM on August 4, 2009


Only a child could be shocked by any of this. Smuggling weapons, racism, rape, slaughter--this is what war is. This is war.

The military proper is shielded by flags and history. Mercenaries get bitten a little. I wouldn't worry about them, though, because mercenaries always get paid in advance.
posted by Nahum Tate at 8:43 PM on August 4, 2009


This is what you wanted, America. Deep down inside, this is what many still want. Anything we say about him, we're really just saying about our neighbors, parents, siblings, and coworkers.

This is true, and the defensive responders should read it again, carefully. We DO all have neighbors, parents, siblings, and coworkers who would be exactly like these guys, if given guns and sent overseas to "kill brown people". And that is the deeper problem with America today.


This is America. Love it or leave it.

But... I'd add "or fucking FIX IT" to the end of that.

Maybe I am hopelessly optimistic.
posted by rokusan at 8:45 PM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wish I believed in hell.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 8:52 PM on August 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Frankly, it amazes me sometimes that people can be stupid and fucked up enough to do that shit to other people.

I don't understand what drives a person to want to traffic children or dehumanize another human being simply because they're of a different ethnicity or rape someone or do something else equally horrifying.

I can read all the articles about psychological profiling of these sociopaths that I want to read, but I will never understand them.

I really am ashamed that these people are human beings.
posted by kldickson at 8:55 PM on August 4, 2009


liza you left out AND THEN, WE TURN THEM OVER TO THE IRAQI SUPREME COURT. that would be true justice

I left that out on purpose, it'd be letting the victims try the criminals. While the Iraqi government as representatives of the Iraqi people must be represented in any trial as victims and witnesses, I don't believe the current Iraqi government counts as an independent and well-constituted nation-state that has power over its people and control of its borders independently of the occupying US armed forces, nor has it existed as such during the course of Blackwater's criminal activity, nor is it sufficiently independent and unbiased to justly try them. Don't forget that the current Iraqi government was installed with the aid of Blackwater.

These men's crimes are multi-national and supra-national. They acted as servants of the (former) US Government, and to try them without also trying their masters is incomplete. To try any criminal, the court needs to have power over the criminal, and the Iraqi courts simply do not have power over (former) US Government officials. Even if the current US Government were to agree to completely and totally cooperate with the Iraqi courts.

This is exactly what the International Criminal Court is for, and this case is the most salient example yet of why the USA should sign on to that treaty, hand over these criminals, and submit to the ICC's jurisdiction.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:56 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Er, I will never understand the people, I mean . I understand the articles .
posted by kldickson at 8:57 PM on August 4, 2009


I can already tell you what the Republican response to these allegations are without even bothering to look. They're that predictable.

Caring what the fucking freepers "think" is what got you/us into this mess in the first place, and will not in any way help you/us get out of it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:59 PM on August 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Related? Mercenaries training US local police a new trend
posted by ryoshu at 9:05 PM on August 4, 2009


Prediction: This doesn't turn out to be even on the same planet as true. Breathless expose by someone that heard it from a friend, who heard it from a buddy.

Meanwhile, Blackwater's real excesses will be lost, covered up and forgotten.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:13 PM on August 4, 2009


http://www.xecompany.com:

- Cryptic title, like a cursed word from ancient sorcery
- Slender, creepy, coal-black, sun-glared logo -- like a negative eclipse
- Not one, but two Ominous Zeppelins
- Conspicuous nationalism
- Response to ethics allegations on the front page

Oh yeah. This company is going places.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:24 PM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


CPB, it is an affadavit submitted to a court, on penalty of perjury, containing accounts by two separate informants who are ex-employees. "Hearsay" doesn't exactly cover it.

Maybe you should RTFA.
posted by mek at 9:29 PM on August 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


it'd be letting the victims try the criminals.

So what you're saying is, if you rip off a state owned liqueur store, the state shouldn't prosecute you? I'm pretty sure "the victims trying the criminals" is the whole idea of criminal justice, since in theory it's "society" that is victimized by crimes, and the U.S. or state government is often the direct victim anyway.
posted by delmoi at 9:39 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I asked their PR department whether Xe is short for xenophobic or xenocidal.

No response yet.
posted by rokusan at 9:44 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


rokusan: They recruit employees who want to kill people. They get paid to kill people. They have gotten away with killing hundreds (thousands?) based only on their own judgment, without investigation or inquiry, for a decade. They are "untouchable." So this would be a very small step, really.

This.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:47 PM on August 4, 2009



This is America. Love it or leave it.

But... I'd add "or fucking FIX IT" to the end of that.


There is also the Old Yeller option. Some diseases can't be cured.
posted by prak at 9:56 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


CPB, it is an affadavit submitted to a court, on penalty of perjury, containing accounts by two separate informants who are ex-employees. "Hearsay" doesn't exactly cover it.

With all due respect, you don't know what the FUCK you're talking about. Perjury? Shut the fuck up. It's not perjury if you believe it to be true. I can make a sworn statement that you killed the Wicked Witch of the West, and it doesn't mean anything if I truly believe it and didn't intend to lie.

Goddamn tornado-riding, house-dropping, singing-and-dancing farm moppet...

Statements of interpretation of fact are not perjury because people often make inaccurate statements unwittingly and not deliberately. Individuals may have honest but mistaken beliefs about certain facts or their recollection may be inaccurate.

Jesus. Perjury. Read up a bit, will you? And notice I said "Breathless expose by someone that heard it from a friend, who heard it from a buddy." I didn't say he was lying. Just wrong.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:09 PM on August 4, 2009


If he changes his name to avoid bad publicity (like he changed Blackwater's), can we start referring to him as "The Douchebag Formerly Known as Prince"?

Not to be confused with the douchebag currently known as Prince.
posted by armage at 10:13 PM on August 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


If I were a better student of European history I could give you some examples of mercenary companies that behaved honorably

Any number of Swiss pikemen, probably - or even the Swiss Guard (though you might find them to be Christian supremacists as well... I dunno).
posted by pompomtom at 10:16 PM on August 4, 2009


Oh fine...

Surely this >>>HGURK<<<
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:29 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


In the wake of allegations from ex-employees at Blackwater/Xe, founder Erik Prince is now under investigation for murdering federal informants.

Wrong. This FPP is incorrect. We have no evidence that "Erik Prince is now under criminal investigation for murdering federal informants. There is no such fact contained in the article.

In fact, this FPP is actionable libel.

I'm no Erik Prince lover, mind you, but here are the facts:

These allegations, and a series of other charges, are contained in sworn affidavits, given under penalty of perjury, filed late at night on August 3 in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of a seventy-page motion by lawyers for Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for alleged war crimes and other misconduct.

Its a civil suit by Iraqis against Blackwater guards and the Blackwater company. The allegations are made, but there is no evidence of a federal criminal investigation into any murders at all. The word "Investigation" in this context means a criminal investigation, period. Full stop. These documents are being produced as part of the discovery process used when two parties sue one another civilly.

The Nation cannot independently verify the identities of the two individuals, their roles at Blackwater or what motivated them to provide sworn testimony in these civil cases. Both individuals state that they have previously cooperated with federal prosecutors conducting a criminal inquiry into Blackwater.

"It's a pending investigation, so we cannot comment on any matters in front of a Grand Jury or if a Grand Jury even exists on these matters," John Roth, the spokesperson for the US Attorney's office in the District of Columbia, told The Nation. "It would be a crime if we did that." Asked specifically about whether there is a criminal investigation into Prince regarding the murder allegations and other charges, Roth said: "We would not be able to comment on what we are or are not doing in regards to any possible investigation involving an uncharged individual."


The investigation into Blackwater could be about anything--and there is oh so much to investigate. But it is a federal crime to reveal grand jury information, and this mere blanket denial means zero. Its boilerplate.

These are the confirmable facts. Let's get them right no matter who the asshole is.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:53 PM on August 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


With all due respect, you don't know what the FUCK you're talking about.

Because you do.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:58 PM on August 4, 2009


Blackwater is a company that's in the business of killing for profit. Of course they'd murder people to protect their bottom line.
posted by empath at 11:17 PM on August 4, 2009


Come, come, come. Hasn't he suffered enough already?
posted by Forrest Greene at 11:53 PM on August 4, 2009


delmoi So what you're saying is, if you rip off a state owned liqueur store, the state shouldn't prosecute you? I'm pretty sure "the victims trying the criminals" is the whole idea of criminal justice, since in theory it's "society" that is victimized by crimes, and the U.S. or state government is often the direct victim anyway.

Not exactly. The circumstances where the state itself is a direct victim of a crime are rare and remarkable. Robbing a state-owned liquor store, or even killing a state employee in the course of their duties, doesn't really compare.

If you rob a liquor store owned by a judge, or kill a judge's family member, that judge shouldn't oversee your trial; that's well-established in civilized societies and has been for centuries. The problem arises where it's the state or nation itself, not just an individual judge or prosecutor acting with its authority, that should be recused for bias.

I'd raise the same argument for prosecution of Osama bin Laden for the September 11 crimes. Where a state or nation as a whole entity is the direct victim of a crime, committed by citizens of other states or nations, especially at the nominal behest of those other states or nations, the victim state should not be trying or prosecuting the criminals. It should be heavily involved in the pre-trial process of capturing the criminals and gathering the evidence, but it should not have the exclusive right to determine the outcome. That right should rest in an unbiased international body: the ICC.

Of course I'm fully aware that international "law" in general at present is about the most bloody and brutal capacity to exercise raw power without regard to reciprocity, fairness, rationality or justice, and in the end, just like their crimes, their punishment will be about relative state power and political (un-)favoritism than any real application of valid law. I don't like that, I don't approve of it, and I would prefer to see the ICC try Prince, Cheney et al, rather than see the US Government, whatever passes for a government in Iraq, or a coalition of both do it.

Now I don't mean to be prissy about it: in preference to them getting away with their crimes I would happily see these men booted out a helicopter, grabbed by a maddened crowd, and staked out on a bull ants' nest. I'd applaud it as appropriate revenge. But I wouldn't kid myself that it was justice. I wouldn't kid myself that the Iraqis and/or Americans trying them would be justice either.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:01 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


aeschenkarnos: You are using some very vague terminology here. What is a "state"? if robbing a state owned liquor store doesn't count as a "crime against the state", then why does shooting up a square full of people?

I Would define a "state" as "the people living in society, and the government they elect". Under that definition, almost any crime would be a crime against the state (which is why it's "United States vs. Whoever" or "State of Florida vs. someone"

Now you might define "state" as "the government", in which case it seems like robbing a state owned Liquor store would certainly crime, or shooting a government worker, whatever. Of course in the U.S the judiciary is separate from the executive, as is the case in Iraq. But backwater didn't even commit a crime against the Iraqi government, or anyone related to the judges.

If someone shot up a square full of people here in the U.S, no one would have a problem with prosecuting them here. There's no reason why the Iraqi government shouldn't do the same thing for the same crime.

Anyway, I was only saying they should be extradited if they were convicted here.
posted by delmoi at 12:52 AM on August 5, 2009


You know, it seems that those of us with functional moral compasses are at a severe disadvantage. The Religiously Insane get to shoot doctors and believe they're saving babies and going to heaven. And I don't think I could ever bring myself to kidnap this dude and torture him to death, no matter how much he actually deserves it. (Regardless of whether he's personally responsible for coverup murders.)

There's also a defrocked gynecologist in Australia whose genitals I'd like to blast off with a pistol, on general principle. Sadly, that's wrong too.

I'm with one of the above posters. I really, desperately wish that I believed in hell. Or at the very least, cruel and unusual punishment.
posted by Netzapper at 1:11 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, it seems that those of us with functional moral compasses are at a severe disadvantage.

One story the guys told me, the story I believe, was from his days in Turkey. There was a gang of Hungarians that wanted their own mob. They realized that to be in power, you didn't need guns or money or even numbers. You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn't.
posted by rokusan at 2:43 AM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Excellent post.
This is just on of the fruits of Cheney's work during the 70's at the DoD privatizing America's Defense forces.
War for profit, individuals and innocent lives don't matter - that is where the Republican Party has been for years.
The Democrats aren't much better but at least they are slightly better. Obama is supporting Bush's state secrets policies that are unconstitutional.
posted by hooptycritter at 3:40 AM on August 5, 2009


delmoi If someone shot up a square full of people here in the U.S, no one would have a problem with prosecuting them here. There's no reason why the Iraqi government shouldn't do the same thing for the same crime.

I suppose what I'm getting at is that what these men have done is more akin to war than to crime. To what extent can individuals conduct war, or nations commit crimes?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:16 AM on August 5, 2009


I think we should sic The Smoking Gun on this motherfucking gang of thugs.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:47 AM on August 5, 2009


Also, I always thought of "war crime" as a redundant expression.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:47 AM on August 5, 2009


I emailed the Nation article to a non-mefite friend of mine. this is how he responded:
First of all this article is based on statements filed in a civil suit...you know...like divorce proceedings. I imagine it wouldn't b too hard to drum up some former/current employees of a controversial global security firm with a gripe and have a class-acton lawyer construct a provocative sworn statement in deposition:

"To your knowledge is Mr prince a christian?"
"Does mr prince pursue engagements as if it were a crusade?"
"Did u ever recall mr prince or employees using the terms hajiis or ragheads?"
"Do u understand that these terms are a derogatory description of iraqis?"
"How would u describe mr princes pursuit of the iraqi engagement?". etc....

To the point of the weapons "smuggling", if I was going to iraq as a security individual and my preferred self-protection device wasn't on the diplomatic corps' goody list I would reach for the Purina bag too. I absolutely can't object to security guys who lived day in and out in baghdad wanting silencers, explosive rounds and sawed-offs.

Some of the other stuff seemed confusing. If your job is to kill people and people are constantly trying to kill you. Your whole purpose is to be in harms way so what does it mean to be mentally fit or unfit? From a more practical point - suppose u are a middle level US state official about 20 levels down from the Secretary and you are on a mission to Anbar to negotiate with Sunni tribesmen. Would u prefer ur security detail to include you and ur trusty M16 or you, ur M16 and two illegally equipped unfit guys who shoot first and deal with the manslaughter charges afterwards.

It will be interesting to see how all this pans out.
I thought it was an interesting perspective
posted by Stu-Pendous at 5:49 AM on August 5, 2009


With all due respect, you don't know what the FUCK you're talking about. Perjury? Shut the fuck up.

Watch out. CPB is gansta. He'll punch a bitch. (Also, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting shouldn't be fucked with, either.)
posted by octobersurprise at 6:13 AM on August 5, 2009


I thought it was an interesting perspective
posted by Stu-Pendous at 5:49 AM on August 5


"From a more practical point - suppose u are a middle level US state official about 20 levels down from the Secretary and you are on a mission to Anbar to negotiate with Sunni tribesmen. Would u prefer ur security detail to include you and ur trusty M16 or you, ur M16 and two illegally equipped unfit guys who shoot first and deal with the manslaughter charges afterwards."

Yes; I too am in interested in the opinions of Billy the Amazing Typing Lemur. Thank you for sharing
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:16 AM on August 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


Its a civil suit by Iraqis against Blackwater guards and the Blackwater company. The allegations are made, but there is no evidence of a federal criminal investigation into any murders at all

Repeated for emphasis.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:24 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


The child prostitution/pedophilia angle about Blackwater is kneecapping gold

And yet, not unheard of in the contracting circles.

Visit your local search engine of choice and look up Dyncorp.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:30 AM on August 5, 2009


"Billy the Amazing Typing Lemur"

Hey there, us lemurs can type marginally better than that.

Do civil suits fall under Double Jeopardy's purview? That is, if this trial goes through (even the best outcome of which entails no jail), does that mean that a criminal prosecution (however unlikely) could then not happen?
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:01 AM on August 5, 2009


First of all this article is based on statements filed in a civil suit...you know...like divorce proceedings.

Or like OJ Simpson's unlawful death lawsuit.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:11 AM on August 5, 2009


wrongful death lawsuit.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:13 AM on August 5, 2009


A quick Googling revealed no articles on this outside of The Nation (and pickups by blogs and Huff Po). This won't get any traction until it's outside of the partisan rags. It's akin to the National Review doing hard hitting journalism on Obama being a natural born kenyan.

I'm not saying this is not true...but I'd like to see better, idealogically independent corroboration.
posted by prodigalsun at 7:42 AM on August 5, 2009


Blackwater asserts that Prince and the company are innocent of any wrongdoing and that they were professionally performing their duties on behalf of their employer, the US State Department.

We swear we didn't do it. But if we did, we were justified.
posted by Clay201 at 8:02 AM on August 5, 2009


"idealogically independent corroboration"

Facts is facts, regardless of who publishes them. If the National Review can prove (really prove) Obama was truly born in Kenya (heh), does that make it less true because a right-wing rag published it?

If these allegations are true, just because The Nation publishes them they don't cease to become untrue.
posted by John of Michigan at 8:07 AM on August 5, 2009


Ah, shit. I mean, "cease to become true."

John of Michigan regrets the error.
posted by John of Michigan at 8:07 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another charge via http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5335.htm

The bullet is so controversial that if Thomas, a former SEAL, had been on active duty, he would have been court-martialed for using it.
...
When military officials in the United States got wind that Thomas had used the round, he quickly found himself in the midst of an online debate in which an unnamed officer, who mistakenly assumed Thomas was in the service, threatened him with a court martial for using the nonstandard ammo.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2009


There comes a point where it becomes a bad movie script;

- Fielding illegal weapons? Sure.
- Covering up illegal activities? Makes sense.
- Sending out mentally unfit agents? Uh... Ok.
- Agents murdering civilians? Uh... well, that's not so ok.
- Beheadings? What?
- Founder believes he is a Christian crusader? Seriously, you're joking at this point, right?
- Founder implicated in murder? Now you've gotta be just making stuff up.
- Child prostitution? Oh for fuck's sake!

If they filmed this as a summer blockbuster, no one would believe it. It's just too evil.

In a strange way, I almost hope a lot of this is just made up. I really don't want to believe that such detestable events could be so directly tied to our highest offices. That we would willingly pay people huge sums of money without making sure that they were always acting beyond reproach.

The thing is, I won't be even remotely surprised when my hopes are dashed and all of this is real. And at that point, I hope they invent new kinds of hells for everyone involved.
posted by quin at 9:13 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


So how is this going to affect the Discovery Channel's Future Weapons show?
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on August 5, 2009


I thought it was an interesting perspective
posted by Stu-Pendous at 5:49 AM on August 5

Yes; I too am in interested in the opinions of Billy the Amazing Typing Lemur. Thank you for sharing
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:16 AM on August 5


Hey now, kooks can indeed be quite fascinating to watch from a distance...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 AM on August 5, 2009


I really don't want to believe that such detestable events could be so directly tied to our highest offices.

They called Nixon's the "Imperial Presidency." They had no idea.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:14 AM on August 5, 2009


He looks similar to one of those douchebags who parties every night at the frat house and is rolling in Mommy and Daddy's cash and is a member of the College Republicans and calls girls 'bitches' and 'hos' and date rapes girls.

Actually, I knew one of those douchebags who looked exactly like this guy. He would show up at hippie/punk kid parties and go around taunting people as "liberal pussies" hoping someone would punch him. He also had a penchant for taking advantage of drunk girls, had a painkiller problem, and ended up being a prominent figure in College Republicans and Student Government at UMaine. Smug fucking bastards.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:24 AM on August 5, 2009


...I would argue that Blackwater's generally despicable behavior has nothing to do with their status as mercenaries as such, and everything to do with the ideological motivations and political agenda of their directors and employers...

The best use of mercenaries, it seems to me, is to make up numbers...

Arguably modern national standing volunteer armies, from the perspective of 19th Century European generals, wouldn't differ much from mercenary companies themselves, since few if any soldiers are in the army against their will and most have joined up for money.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:25 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]

But really part of the reason these mercenaries are hired is to get around restrictions placed on regular military personnel. See rough ashlar's point above, and also Stu-Pendous' lemur friend. Our soldiers are supposed to kill people under defined rules of engagement etc. We hire Blackwater types because they can do things so immoral and screwed up that we won't allow our soldiers to do them.
posted by zoinks at 10:51 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


(I mean the lemur's last point about who visiting officials and others want to have providing security for them.)
posted by zoinks at 10:52 AM on August 5, 2009


I hate that I can more easily identify this with fiction than with reality. This is a Nelson DeMille novel if I ever read one.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:58 AM on August 5, 2009


Facts is facts, regardless of who publishes them. If the National Review can prove (really prove) Obama was truly born in Kenya (heh), does that make it less true because a right-wing rag published it?

It's not less true exactly, but it wouldn't be a verified and/or trustworthy fact until it appears in a reputable source.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:30 AM on August 5, 2009


Jericho is supposed to be a rebuke of people like Erik Prince, not a guidebook.
posted by oaf at 11:33 AM on August 5, 2009


Do civil suits fall under Double Jeopardy's purview? That is, if this trial goes through (even the best outcome of which entails no jail), does that mean that a criminal prosecution (however unlikely) could then not happen?

No. Double jeopardy attaches when a jury is seated for the first time in a criminal trial.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:36 AM on August 5, 2009


A quick Googling revealed no articles on this outside of The Nation (and pickups by blogs and Huff Po)....I'm not saying this is not true...but I'd like to see better, idealogically independent corroboration.

A quick Googling will also reveal that we are talking about Erik Prince, Dark Overlord of a private military industrial regime constricted by only the most nebulous US laws, descendant of fundamentalist Catholic right-wing millionaires who fund everything from anti-gay marriage acts like Prop 8 to splinter liberal parties in attempt to seat Rick Santorum. Until Prince got in trouble for overbilling (re: for unsanctioned killings) the US government for work in Iraq, he was a man less photographed than Thomas Pynchon.

Jeremy Scahill has more or less carved a career out of relentlessly tracking a vastly powerful, fantastically wealthy megalomaniac who has used said power and money to stay out of the spotlight and rebuff press conferences, interviews, and, apparently, federal inquiry. I'd prefer for all newspapers to be as invested in tamping this fucker down as Scahill, but I have a feeling old print magazines like The Nation will pioneer this story years before the National Review gets on the wagon.
posted by zoomorphic at 12:06 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


From Exhibit H: unlawful weapons such as sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers

John Doe #2 is definitely not ex-military. Sounds like he's mis-describing a shotgun?
posted by ryanrs at 12:15 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


That Information Clearinhouse article is kind of chilly:

"He said he feels qualified to assess a bullet’s effects, having trained as a special-operations medic and having shot people with various types of ammo..."
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:22 PM on August 5, 2009


And now you can read internal emails from reporters covering this story.

They don't believe it, either. Money quote: "There isn't even a small piece of solid evidence to support this stuff."

I would be careful about how seriously I took this stuff.....The allegations are anonymous and part of a lawsuit that frankly is pretty shaky with some wilder stuff re: child prostitution etc.
Norfolk wrote it because its in their yard, but their story was pretty lukewarm. This is not the same as someone publically saying this stuff happened.
They are prone to threats but its been essentially junior HS boy cheft puffing, no sense they would ever do this or that the talk of christian crusades... they shot a lot in iraq but if there were lots of intentional killings we'd know about it.

...

The allegations of killing potential whistleblowers is another red flag on this. victim(s ) are unnamed and it's not as if there are a ton of potential candidates. BW didnt lose but a handful there and most are known issues — fallujah and chopper shoot downs/crashes.

So we have unnamed accusers, no names or circumstances for alleged victims etc. , lawyers who have been really pushing the limits of credibility and Jeremy Scahill who has made a career out of sensationalizing.... worth digging at, but there isn't even a small piece of solid evidence to support this stuff. Eric is Catholic and surely religious but the guys he put in the field were no more interested in religion than anyone else, and prob less so.

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:25 PM on August 5, 2009


These guys are supposed to be professionals? I'm sorry. If I were running an insular and secretive mercenary organization performing contract services in that part of the world, I'd terminate any employee referring to possible hostile targets in racially derogatory ways. I'd also refuse to hire anyone who was either getting his jollies killing folks or who was dumb enough to talk about that kind of thing. Lastly, I'd definitely terminate anyone who made death threats to former "employees" of my newly legitimized murder cartel.

I guess this is what happens when a bunch of chickenhawks go shopping for mercs--they end up hiring a bunch of fucking amateurs.
posted by Hylas at 1:06 PM on August 5, 2009


Whoa, Blackwater's only 12 years old? They got hooked in quickly.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:17 PM on August 5, 2009


The bullet is so controversial that if Thomas, a former SEAL, had been on active duty, he would have been court-martialed for using it.

The Hague Convention, Declaration III forbids the use of expanding bullets. The hollow points cops use are banned, too. It's a war crime, so it makes sense that military types would get worked up about it. But in my mind, it's really more of a war misdemeanor than a war felony.

Since expanding bullets cannot be used in war, the military uses bullets that are designed to tumble on impact. The tumbling produces similar wounding effects without running afoul of any treaties. But this tumbling behavior is pretty unreliable with current M4 rifles. The M4 has a really short barrel and doesn't have the muzzle velocity to induce tumbling except at close range. So I guess I can understand why the mercenaries were looking for something better. Fired from an M4, 5.56 ball ammo does sort of suck.

Fuck, am I really defending Blackwater? I guess I am. Fuck. But the tone of that article was pretty over the top.
posted by ryanrs at 1:18 PM on August 5, 2009


“Breathless expose by someone that heard it from a friend, who heard it from a buddy."
Well, this specific thing being true in every detail or not…

The Numidians in Egypt, the Hessians, Dom Pedro and Colonel Cotter, the Kisangani Mutinies – except for very rare instances (the Varangians maybe, and the Swiss Guard) using mercs always, even if they act honorably for a while, eventually, goes to shit.

It’s Machiavelli 101. A mercenary unit that fails is no good, but one that succeeds can be even more dangerous. Why do they need you if they’ve got more firepower than you have? They’re one shot types of things. Any reasonable government casts them to the wind. Keep them in a war too long and they get stronger and stronger and stronger. Pretty soon your policy follows them whether they’re proactively entering the politics or determining order of battle.

But I’m beyond not surprised. Not necessarily this, but something like this was inevitable. Even the most professional, loyal, merc outfits eventually become corrupt if you keep them too close to power or don’t disband them. Hell even the Varangians engaged in piracy sometimes.
What, because we’re the U.S. we’re immune to the same pitfalls every other government in history that has employed mercs for too long succumbed to?

That said – as to the specifics, child prostitution wouldn’t surprise me. Sounds horrific but human trafficking is what, #2 on the hit list of clandestine fund raising? It's pretty high up there as a black market currency as well. Any war zone will have a large underground economy.
(off the cuff, in Vietnam you had sexual and cleaning services in exchange for military scrip or in exchange for stuff bought by troops using their ration cards. It’s driven by the big clamp warfare puts on logistics more than any design. And hell, you’ve got other companies working that – tobacco companies for example run their own products on the black market. Not saying it's right, just saying that it's plausible that Blackwater could have been engaged in this by design if not being done by their reps, which is also perfectly possible - if unproven.)

But drugs are on top. There’s more funding for policing and stopping the drug trade than there is for human trafficking. Plus, for a merc company, people are disposable and dead people are easier to explain than a pallet of heroin. It’s not a complicated picture.
What is concerning is that child prostitution is so often emphasized over other forms of human trafficking that those forms go overlooked. So they could well be engaged in slaving. So if, say, the child prostitution isn’t proven, that doesn’t mean they’re not doing anything wrong. And weapon selling is pretty ubiquitous in a war zone. Dunno what use a “sawed off machine gun” would be, nor how one would put a silencer on such a thing.

“The bullet is so controversial that if Thomas, a former SEAL, had been on active duty, he would have been court-martialed for using it.”
Oh, c’mon. Wasn’t so long ago snipers were controversial. The crossbow was outlawed for years.

“Blackwater's generally despicable behavior has nothing to do with their status as mercenaries as such, and everything to do with the ideological motivations and political agenda of their directors and employers...”
Unquestionably. The problem, in the U.S. especially, has been profit in warfighting.

From the nation piece: “Blackwater is a law unto itself, both internationally and domestically. The question is why they operated with impunity….”

Sounds like Kucinich at least has skimmed Machiavelli.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:25 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nicaragua
posted by Meatbomb at 2:30 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


"sawed off machineguns with silencers" = variant of an M4 carbine (like a Mark 18 CQBR for example) with a suppressor.

They mean "sawed off" in the sense of "shorter than normal". Nothing exciting or weird about it.

The bullet (if I remember right) was what is now known as the Mark 262 Model 0, a slightly heavier variant of the normal 5.56mm NATO M855 round. It doesn't penetrate as well but apparently works a lot better in short barrel carbines as the M-4 doesn't like M855. Quite a few special forces folks were complaining as all the stock was being bought up by PMC guys as they had more readies available. As you can see by the name it's been given Navy nomenclature so that means it's in service. Exploding rounds and "expanding rounds" may be illegal but I'll bet you dollars to donuts that guys who have to shoot other guys for a living (be they private or state funded) want guns that work and bullets that stop the enemy.

Ironmouth had this thread way back otherwise. I know people who work for British PMCs. I know folks who serve in the Army too and they are not bloodthirsty murderers one and all. There are enough ex-servicemen here on Mefi that know this too. I'd like to say I am shocked at how many people jumped on the "what a bunch of fucking bastards" bandwagon but it's Metafilter and that's just how we roll nowadays.
posted by longbaugh at 1:02 PM on August 6, 2009


"sawed off machineguns with silencers" = variant of an M4 carbine (like a Mark 18 CQBR for example) with a suppressor.

That's how I read it as well. I just hated the fact that in the original article it included the "semi-automatic" description. Was it semi-auto or a machine gun? And if it was selectable, why bother mentioning it at all? That's pretty standard fare for most battlefield rifles.

That one thing, minor though it was, was enough to make me question some of the other statements, if only because it's the kind of phrasing that someone unfamiliar with firearms uses when they want to make something related to guns sound more scary.
posted by quin at 1:15 PM on August 6, 2009


I was actually picturing someone sawing off a .50 machinegun barrel. Heh. So ok, same way you call the M4 'shorty' or whatnot. Still...ones a carbine the others an assault rifle, not a machinegun.
I gotta go with quin, does sound like they were trying to make it sound scary. I mean of course you've got a suppressor on a cqb firearm, how the hell is it an 'unlawful' weapon? In distribution, sure, but in and of itself, no.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:44 PM on August 6, 2009


Yeah, Meatbomb I can't believe I forgot Walker
posted by Smedleyman at 3:58 PM on August 6, 2009


Then there is the "international affiliate" Greystone which had an interesting guest list at their inaugural event.
posted by adamvasco at 10:39 AM on August 7, 2009


US Still Paying Blackwater Millions.
posted by adamvasco at 2:41 AM on August 11, 2009




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