Monday, August 30, 2010

Where does a good Christian mercenary go?

Especially when your own government is breathing down your neck?

Why, Abu Dhabi of course.
Blackwater private security firm founder Erik Prince was questioned on Monday in Abu Dhabi in connection with a fraud lawsuit filed by former employees that seeks millions of dollars in damages.

"Mr Prince did appear for his deposition" or questioning under oath, Susan Burke, the lawyer who questioned him, told AFP.

Burke represents two former Blackwater employees who filed the lawsuit in a US district court in Virginia, alleging that Prince and companies he controlled defrauded the US government.

"We had to go to court to compel the deposition," Burke said.

Court documents show that Prince was ordered to appear for the deposition in the United Arab Emirates after it emerged that he planned to move to the Gulf country.

Burke said it was too early to say exactly how much money the lawsuit is seeking. "My analysis is that by the time we reach the jury, we will be seeking hundreds of millions of dollars."

So, what is it that Prince is alleged to have done which will likely cost him a small fraction of the fortune he accumulated peddling war?

Prince and the companies allegedly inflated expenses, faked records of how many staff they employed and billed the government for "worthless services" in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which hit Gulf of Mexico states in 2005.

Brad Davis also said in a statement that he "personally observed three incidents (in Iraq) in which Blackwater personnel intentionally used excessive and unjustified force... to kill or seriously injure Iraqi civilians," and also witnessed possible weapons smuggling, court records show.

Melan Davis alleged that Blackwater billed the US government for strippers in Louisiana and for travel expenses and monthly salary for a prostitute in Afghanistan, according to court records.

So, why would George Bush's good buddie, someone who donated tons of money to Focus on The Family, the Family Research Council, The Alliance Defense Fund and the Republican Party, suddenly decide to take up residence in a Gulf Emirate?

Good question. For the answer one might want to ask Victor Bout, the global arms dealer who has acquired the moniker "Merchant of Death". No less than Prince managed to weave himself into the Bush administration, Bout is alleged to have operated a one-stop illegal arms shop while being sheltered by his old Soviet friends in the Russian government. And, like Prince, Bout used to hang out in Abu Dhabi.

Coincidence, I know.

The question now is whether Prince, (who's corporate executives have already been indicted), will find it convenient to return to the U.S. to face a legal challenge. But even more interesting will be to see if Victor Bout, who has just been extradited to the U.S., will actually make it to U.S. soil without his pals in Moscow arranging a convenient but fatal accident.

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