Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Will the Real Prince of Darkness Please Stand Up?

Erik D. Prince
Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and Erik D. Prince, (D for darkness, perhaps) are all supreme candidates for this diabolical title ... I should probably rename this blog searching for the antichrist.

Dick Cheney, the mastermind behind the privatization of the military bureaucracy, and possibly the puppet master in the Bush Administration, surely makes him a contender for this epithetical title. His efforts resulted in radically transforming the US military and national security infrastructure from the public sector to the private. How is that a bad thing? In a nutshell, he runs the risk of making profit motive the primary impetus behind national security which is potentially very dangerous to any nation's security, particularly intelligence.

However, as far as devils go, look at that face above...those eyes...something about this picture reminds me of The Final Conflict. I don't know, maybe it's his resemblance to Sam Neill, the actor who portrayed Damien Thorn, 20 years ago. Then, combine the names Erik D. Prince, son of Edgar D. Prince, with the name of Mr. Prince's company, Blackwater, and the name of the swamp Mr. Prince's company emerged, Great Dismal Swamp, and it sounds more and more like something out of Edgar Allan Poe's imagination. Well, let's see if Mr. Prince qualifies under the standards I've imposed in my last post on the Antichrist - level of insidiousness and and the extent of his power and influence - for the exalted designation of "Antichrist". I guess blogging about the Antichrist only reinforced my insanity...oh well.

As far as the insidious factor, or how far this man will go to avoid the radar, Mr. Prince lives his life in the shadows. All his executives must sign confidentiality agreements, prohibiting them from talking about Mr. Prince once they leave the company. Reclusive and secretive, Mr. Prince does not like his photo taken and often uses his hands to shield himself from photographers. Is there anything in devil doctrine that precludes photographs from being taken?

The book, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," by Jeremy Scahill, is convinced Mr. Prince is a "neo-crusader", a "Theocon" with a Christian-supremacist agenda. Mr. Prince's idea of Christianity is severely skewed to the point of no return...the polar opposite of what he says he is so dedicated too.

"I saw a lot of things I didn't agree with -- homosexual groups being invited in, the budget agreement, the Clean Air Act, those kinds of bills." -- Erik Prince on his internship in the White House under President George H. W. Bush
Blackwater Worldwide, a privately owned company, has made over $1 billion from its security contracts alone and is only part of Mr. Prince's global business empire. The Prince Group LLC formed Total Intelligence Solutions as its intelligence gathering and analyzing part of the business...in other words, it's the CIA for hire. Graystone Limited (promotional video) is an international company Mr. Prince acquired in 2004, and this company has managed to avoid the radar completely. Aside from the tax benefits of incorporating in the Barbados, Mr. Prince chose that spot to "better position the company for international contracts." It's primarily responsible for marketing its services to foreign governments and as Mr. Prince increasingly, recruits more and more of his foot soldiers from third world countries - "discount soldiers"
"They're going to pay these people a lot less, and they're not going to respect the same type of employee and labor rights that U.S. nationals would require," -- Erica Razook, an Amnesty International lawyer whose work focuses on private-security contractors.
- and aggressively pursues business from foreign governments Greystone has become Prince's primary recruiter of "foreign military muscle".

Isn't that comforting, considering Mr. Prince's involvement in the intelligence industry? Remember, this is all for profit and the oversight of these companies is non-existent. There is nothing to prevent the use of "intelligence" to help a client who may be highly profitable to the Prince Group. I'm sure Mr. Prince's alleged patriotism is easily thwarted for profit.
"I think it's extraordinarily dangerous when a nation begins to outsource its monopoly on the use of force ... in support of its foreign policy or national security objectives. The billions of dollars being doled out to these companies, he says, "makes of them a very powerful interest group within the American body politic and an interest group that is, in fact, armed. And the question will arise at some time: to whom do they owe their loyalty?" -- Joe Wilson, who served as the last US ambassador to Iraq before the 1991 Gulf war
The evidence more than supports Mr. Prince's desire to keep everyone in the dark. When testifying about the 17 Iraqi civilians gunned down by Blackwater operatives in the city of Baghdad, even after it was brought up that "we the people" pay 90% of his salary, he refused to disclose his earnings.

However, just this week, President Bush signed into law, as part of the Defense Supplemental Spending Bill, Representative Murphy’s legislation that includes a provision to increase the transparency of government contracts with private defense firms. It requires companies doing more than $25 million of business with the government to disclose who their top executives are and how much they are paid (subtract 10 points from Mr. Bush's Antichrist score).

So, why not hire private contractors, especially when our military is stretched so thin in various places around the world?

Jeremy Scahill eloquently answers this question and I will do my best to paraphrase. He basically says, when it becomes a necessity to hire an army of people to fight a war, it’s not a reflection of the will of “we the people”. If this were truly a war of national defense, people would willingly sign up, and the government would impose a draft. In this situation, however, imposing a draft would almost certainly put an end to this war as it would surely serve as the fuel needed to fire "we the people" up.

180,000 private contractors are in Iraq right now working for "for profit" war corporations. There are only 150,000 US soldiers. There are 630 corporations on the US government payroll in Iraq. 40% of the money being spent on the occupation in Iraq goes directly to these corporations.

This administration has circumvented the democratic process in order to keep a draft off the table. They have replaced a system of negotiation or international diplomacy or coalition of willing nations with a coalition of corporations. This not only violates democratic principles in the United States, it violates the sovereignty of nations around the world because they are hiring people from countries who are against the war.

On of the gravest matters regarding this issue is that the contractors have not been held to the same standards as the military. They are not held accountable under any system of law whatsoever. 70 soldiers have been court marshaled on murder related charges alone since the beginning of the Iraq war. Not one armed contractor has been prosecuted for any crime under any legal system.

Our soldiers are lucky if they're earning $40,000/year. Their families are at home saving their own money to buy body armor, meanwhile these contractors are making six figures and have much better equipment than our soldiers, manufactured by one of the companies that make up the Prince global empire. In addition, our soldiers often pay the price for the misconduct of the contractors, as they are above the law.

The Bush Administration has no interest in prosecuting contractor crimes in Iraq. It would be bad for business as this occupation couldn't function without the private contractors. The US has banned Iraq from prosecuting contractors in Iraqi courts and President Bush does not recognize international law, not to mention, there are serious question as to whether military or civilian law would apply to these contractors in the US. In fact, the Bush Administration offered the Blackwater contractors involved, "Limited-use" immunity, meaning they were promised they would not be prosecuted for anything they said in interviews with the authorities as long as their statements were true.

Consider this. Blackwater operatives just showed up on the streets of New Orleans after Hurricaine Katrina hit, "wielding M4 assault rifles, pistols strapped to their legs, flak jackets, dressed in all khaki" as one observer described them, with no government contractor authorization at all. Granted, one week later they had a government contract to protect FEMA, however, it's kind of scary to think a military unit like that can transcend the government's authority so easily. Blackwater made $70 million dollars from Katrina, that's $240,000 per day, and they billed US taxpayers $950 per person, per day. With that kind of power and apparent ability to transcend the law, it's hard not to wonder about the possibility that Blackwater could turn its massive firepower and army of mercenaries against US citizens.
It works like this: Blackwater, for example, will win a U.S. government contract; it will then subcontract with itself—that is, with Greystone—to do the job. From there, Greystone looks to its network of international affiliates, firms like Pizarro's Grupo T├íctico in Chile or ID Systems in Colombia, which maintain informal relationships with what are known in the trade as "briefcase recruiters"—individuals with connections to the local paramilitary scene. These men find the recruits and funnel them back up the chain until, finally, they are deployed alongside U.S. forces in Iraq. The practice also serves as a convenient firewall, shielding U.S.-based companies from direct liability for the actions of their subcontractors. "If a court is looking at these issues, where the contract is signed is a factor. There is a lot there that would take it out of a U.S. court's control." -- Erica Razook
With the exception of congressman Henry Waxman, Democratic Congressman from California, almost no one in the Congress has done anything to effectively take on these individuals or this company. Although Obama has a very good understanding of what's going on and has even authored legislation to combat the problems outsourcing security causes, he will not sign the Sanders-Schakowsky bill, Stop Outsourcing Security Act, which seeks to ban the use of these companies in U.S. war zones and make all of the diplomatic security agents full-time employees of the U.S. government, meaning an accountability structure would be in place.

At any rate, just as President Bush is anti Christ, Mr. Prince is a Prince of darkness and anti Christ to boot. As for the "Antichrist" or "Prince of Darkness", the search continues, however, I'm leaning toward Mr. Prince right now.

1 comments:

steroids rock,  11:03  

The men you mention are merely symbols or products of a malignant narcissistic sociopathology that is inherent in our power structure. They are no more evil than any of us who buy into the system we have set up in order to ensure that white men reign supreme.

George Bush, Dick Cheney and Erik Prince are each and every one of us on steroids.

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