War Criminal of the Week: Erik Prince, the Great Escape Artist
By Nancy Mancias
“I interned with the Bush administration for six months. I saw a lot of things I didn’t agree with — homosexual groups being invited in, the budget agreement, the Clean Air Act, those kind of bills. I think the administration has been indifferent to a lot of conservative concerns.” -22-year old Erik Prince told Grand Rapids Press
Former Navy Seal Erik Prince founded Blackwater in 1997 with greedy money he inherited from his father and purchased land in North Carolina to house the company and its training facilities. Blackwater is a private military security firm who is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department’s three private security contractors.
Roughly a year after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the bodies of Blackwater employees were dragged through the streets of Iraq and hung upside down and burnt for the world to see. The horrid images and stories neglected to mention Blackwater’s killing role in the U.S. led occupation of Iraq with the security firm having a heavy involvement in torture and interrogations of Iraqi detainees to combat and covert operations against Iraqi “insurgents” with little to no oversight. In 2007, Blackwater security was involved in the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad.
As the occupation continued, Iraq became infested with rogue military contractors. Eventually the Iraqi government notified the U.S. that it would not renew Blackwater’s license to operate in the country.
Blackwater changed its company name to Xe. Eric Prince resigned as CEO and placed the company and training facility up for sale. Prince, Blackwater and former Blackwater employees have been the center of controversial lawsuits.
Peace groups across the U.S. have been protesting Blackwater/Xe’s trying to hold them accountable for their bloody presence in Iraq by staging a guerilla theater reenactment of the Nisour Square killings outside of the training facilities, passing a city ordinance in San Diego to prevent the building of a Blackwater training facility and peacefully delivering a letter to Prince’s Virginia home urging him not to flee the U.S. to Abu Dhabi.
While he escapes from the United States, Prince leaves behind a trail of blood and needs to be brought to justice and held accountable for the wrongful killing of innocent Iraqis and wasteful spending of U.S. taxpayers money.