August 06, 2009

The Nation Claims Blackwater's Founder Prince Committed Murder... with This?

Jeremy Scahill reports in a stunning article in The Nation that Blackwater founder Eric Prince committed murder to cover up a multitude of crimes committed by his companies. Scahill relies heavily on the allegations from two "John Doe" declarations. Doe #1 is reputedly a former Marine that worked for Blackwater as a security contractor, but the most damning claims from Doe #2,who claims to have been a Blackwater executive for four years.

The problem is, his most damning testimony hinges upon claims that don't even make sense.

If you're going to allege weapon smuggling,try something that sounds more credible than imaginary weapons, such as "sawed-off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers," or non-existent exploding bullets.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 6, 2009 11:04 AM

So, massive libel suit coming in hot off the tip of a "sawed-off semi-automatic machine gun"?

Posted by: ECM at August 6, 2009 02:16 PM

ECM, the story is based upon sworn testimony and testimony statements provided to the Justice Department by the "John Does". That's not libel.

Posted by: Lipiwitz at August 6, 2009 06:20 PM

lipiwitz ... So sworn testimony can't be libelous ? Really ? Are you sure ? Because I think a lie is a lie is a lie and is libel no matter when or where you make it ... In fact lying in sworn testimony is exactly why libel laws exist so that you can go after someone in civil court after they commit perjury.

Jeff Carlson

Posted by: Jeff Carlson at August 6, 2009 09:04 PM

There is no such thing as a sawed-off semi-automatic machine gun with silencer. For one thing, Who in his right mind would screw up a perfectly good firearm to yield an unreliable weapon. With a shortened barrel, the piston operated mechanism with a modified gas circuit, or even a blowback system would not be reliable.

A machine gun is by definition a full auto assault rifle or crew served weapon.

The AR-15 (for example) is a semiauto rifle that fires one shot per trigger pull. I know, because I own and shoot one.

There are Exploding bullets, but try to find any in calibers less than 20 MM. Not a shoulder fired round for sure...recoil would kill you.

Posted by: Marc at August 6, 2009 09:44 PM

Yes Mr. Carlson. When you print something that is patently false, that's libel. When you say something that is patently false, that's slander. When you say something patently false under sworn oath providing testimony, that's perjury and/or providing false testimony which happens to be a felony. Libel and slander are subject to civil litigation.

The Nation magazine are writing articles based on sworn testimony and statements of testimony provided by the 2 "John Does" and therefore not subject to libel laws. If the 2 "John Does" are providing false testimony to the Justice Department than they will face felony charges of perjury or providing false testimony.

Your average "John Doe" does not walk into the Justice Department and provide such damning testimony under false pretenses. These are some humdinger charges being alleged and warrant a serious investigation. A previous raid onto the Blackwater compound has already yielded a cache of illegal firearms so there is a history of this kind of conduct and much worse.

What angers me is why is this company still on the government payroll?

Posted by: Lipiwitz at August 7, 2009 12:54 AM

Not to belabor the point, but all actual contemporary machine guns rely on gas operation systems which are dependent on a careful mating of barrel length, ammunition power and ammunition design in order to function. Reduce the barrel length beyond that designed into a given weapon, you commonly have a very heavy, unwieldy and expensive single shot firearm because the gas pressure equation is upset.

Add a suppressor (there is no such thing as a silencer and actual operators know this and use the correct terminology) and the amount of gas required to operate the system is also upset, the result again being a single shot 25 pound gun. It should also be remembered that there is no market for suppressors for machine guns (as opposed to specialized submachine guns such as the H&K MP5SD) because such weapons are not suitable for suppressor use; it's just not the way they're designed because it's not the way they are employed.

Also, in order for a suppressor to be even marginally effective, ammunition of greatly reduced power must be used in order to keep the bullets from breaking the sound barrier. This not only reduces the range and power of the ammunition to the point that a machine gun would be utterly useless for its intended military purpose, but again, even if one was foolish enough to cobble a suppressor onto a given machine gun, the gas pressure issues would, once again, produce the world's most difficult to use single shot firearm.

While it would be theoretically possible to construct a suppressed machine gun with a short barrel and semi-automatic action (ignoring the fact that this alone would render the machine gun a very complex semi-automatic rifle firing from an open bolt which would make it almost impossible to shoot accurately), it would have none of the advantages of a machinegun, and none of the advantages of a suppressed weapon because it would be useless in the roles for which both types of weapons are employed, to say nothing of the fact that its ammunition would be inferior in every respect to that of common assault rifles, and even some pistols.

Posted by: MikeMcDaniel at August 7, 2009 01:42 AM

Actually, Lippy, I think you will find that where as that raid was trumpeted as "yielding a cache of illegal firearms", in the end nothing came of it. Which would indicate that as usual the batfe was lying through its press releases

And maybe they are still on the government payroll because:
1. They do the job better and cheaper then the competition.
2. They haven't done anything illegal in spite of the fantasies/wishes of the lefties picking their teeth with obie's pubic hairs.

Posted by: emdfl at August 7, 2009 09:24 AM

Lipiwitz, I'm very familiar with the raid at NC range armory you're referring to, having spoken to both Blackwater and the McClatchy/N&O reporter that covered the story in the most detail.

The raid was because the local Sheriff's Dept. kept their SWAT/ERT weapons there because they did not have a proper armory of their own to secure the weapons.

Yes, it was more than likely technically illegal, but it most certainly wasn't weapons smuggling, as all guns were registered to the Department, and all were accounted for.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 7, 2009 09:30 AM

Harper's Magazine contributing editor Scott Horton will be my guest Monday Aug 10 at 5 PM NY time on News Talk Online on to discuss the allegations against Blackwater.

Please go to my blog, to join in the conversation then.



Posted by: Gary Baumgarten at August 7, 2009 03:10 PM

CY and emdfl - I researched this and you're both right. The weapons were seized but nothing came from it.

I say let the Justice Department do there job. These are some serious and I mean SERIOUS claims being made by people who were on the inside and worked for them. Undoubtedly, these claims deserve an investigation.

Posted by: Lipiwitz at August 8, 2009 12:27 AM

I think it should also be noted that, at least as reported in the Nation article, the allegations contained in these affidavits are all hearsay, i.e. even the unidentified affiants are not claiming that they had first-hand knowledge, but rather say that they heard these things from other people. And even the author of the Nation article acknowledges that they do not know the identity of the affiants and cannot confirm what positions, if any, they held at Blackwater.

Posted by: Zara at August 8, 2009 03:01 PM