August 8th, 2012
(HigginsBlog) – The US mercenary firm firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to pay a pocket change fine of $7.5 million to avoid criminal charges for war crimes.
Security contractors in Baghdad. Photo: courtesy of Robert Young Pelton.
The notorious mercenary firm formerly known as Blackwater and then XE services, among other names has just paid a $7.5 million fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement that let’s them get off the hook for a wide range of criminal activities – from smuggling arms to providing weapons to a foreign head of state to supplying mercenary forces to government under US sanctions – as long as they don’t get caught again within the next 3 years.
The firm which has now been bought up by Wall Street banks who have secretly built the world’s largest private army has been in the news for repeated scandals and outright war crimes only to change their name and continue their criminal activities under a shell of umbrella corporations.
Most recently, they made news for being deployed by Disney to crackdown on protestors in Anaheim who are trying to get justice for a wave of police brutality that has included police killing of two unarmed men on separate occasions.
During the BP spill they were deployed to help cover up the disaster and keep the press out of areas declared off-limits by Obama’s media blackout. (The coverup was so bad in fact that even CNN’s Anderson Cooper went literally went live on National Television and gave an epic rant about the constitution was suspended under Obama’s order).
There were even reports the firm was spraying BP’s toxic dispersant at night to cover up how much was actually sprayed into the Gulf and independent scientists being threaten by the thugs for reporting they detected the substance in people’s swimming pools.
More recently, the firm has been outed for training to terrorist rebels in Syria which was revealed to have been ordered by US officials and who can forget how the firm was filmed driving through Baghdad and shooting random civilians.
Their list of crimes really goes on and one, which is why the saying is “Under Obama your safer committing a war crime than reporting one.
Depending on how you look at it, the world’s most notorious mercenary firm just got away with misleading the government about arming and training foreign governments — or the company agreed to pay millions, only to defer a potential prosecution on those charges.
The firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to fork over $7.5 million to the Justice Department $7.5 million to avoid going to court on 17 criminal charges. It’s not exactly a bank-breaker for the company, now known as Academi LLC.
On Tuesday, Academi and the Justice Department entered into a “Deferred Prosecution Agreement” that allows Academi to spend the next 36 months convincing the government that its extra-legal extracurricular activities are all in the past, a vestige of the firm’s former owners.
[...]As far back as 2005, Blackwater pursued a deal with the proto-government in what would later be the independent nation of South Sudan. One problem: the company did so without a necessary State Department license. The proposed deal began after unnamed U.S. officials approached Blackwater with an ultimately-unfruitful proposal to do business in South Sudan. The idea was that the mercenaries would train the South Sudanese army; serve as bodyguards of South Sudan’s president; place a “HUMINT (human intelligence) collection team” in the country; secure the ruling officials’ communications; and deliver “a full range of data collections and monitoring technology.”
The problem was that South Sudan wasn’t yet independent; and the Sudanese government that it fought for independence was under U.S. sanctions. Meetings with State Department officials in 2005 to carve out geographical exemptions to the sanctions, allowing Blackwater to do business, were unsuccessful. According to the statement of facts, Blackwater employees shipped satellite phones to South Sudanese contacts after marking the boxes “Not For Sale,” apparently to elide the sanctions.
In 2006, an internal Blackwater email about the South Sudanese deal instructed, “Remember, the money has to come from a Ugandan government account, and we have to have a Ugandan security forces contact info [sic] to get this finished.” The company looked forward to a huge payday. South Sudanese officials didn’t just want to buy a security sector from Blackwater, they wanted the company to construct and protect an oil pipeline that could net the firm $15 billion.
Then come the gun charges. A Blackwater employee failed to register two Steyr machine guns with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, opting to register them with a North Carolina county sheriff. Then the employee parlayed that into a deal for the company to purchase AK-47s for the sheriff’s office after a “terrorist threat” analysis recommended the sheriff buy them.
More bizarrely, in 2005, the King of Jordan visited Blackwater’s Moyock, N.C. headquarters, where Blackwater employees presented him with the mercenary version of a fruit basket: an assortment of Glocks, along with a Remington shotgun and a Bushmaster M4 rifle. Blackwater forgot to report to the government that it had given weapons to the head of a foreign country, which is illegal.
Two employees who worked for Academi under its current management are suing the company for wrongful termination after they blew the whistle on a third employee’s attempts to fake the results of a gun test for Afghan security forces.
Source: Higgins Blog