Potential Blackwater buyer has questionable track record in Iraq
The owner of Xe Services, the company formerly known as Blackwater, is writing a book that will allege officials in the Clinton and Obama administrations “approved of his most sensitive and controversial operations,” says a report in the Washington Post.
The Post‘s Jeff Stein cites two unnamed sources who say Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, is hurrying to sell his company before he can go public with a book that takes aim at the Democratic Party.
One of the sources told Stein that Prince and his friends “think this will destroy the Democratic Party in the elections.”
The source, who is described as having a “business relationship with Xe,” said Prince had “given his people three weeks to complete the sale of the company and the book will be released then,” in time for the November elections.
But the other source told Stein that Prince likely only has parts of the book written, and has only shopped individual chapters to publishers.
Jeremy Scahill, a reporter at The Nation and author Blackwater, Tweeted on Friday that “there are definitely some nervous Democrats re: Erik Prince’s book. They include leading members of Congress.”
Commenting on the allegations at FireDogLake, blogger Marcy Wheeler wonders whether Prince’s revelations would actually cast Democrats in a negative light.
“If Prince were to reveal that Clinton asked Blackwater to assassinate Osama bin Laden before 9/11 … Wouldn’t that suggest, first of all, that Blackwater failed to accomplish the task? And wouldn’t it suggest, secondly, that Clinton was more of a bad-ass about bin Laden than the Bushies up until the time when it was too late?”
Wheeler argues that revelations about the Obama administration’s use of Blackwater’s services would have little political impact, since “the response to Obama’s targeting of an American citizen for assassination has been a giant, collective yawn,” and the public already knows Obama continues to use Blackwater.
Prince reportedly moved to the United Arab Emirates last month, a move many observers attributed to the political and legal pressures dogging Blackwater in the US. Last month, Xe Services was ordered to pay $42 million for violating US export rules.
And the company has been dogged for three years by the legacy of the Nisour Square massacre, in which Blackwater guards are said to have shot 17 civilians in a Baghdad square in 2007. Charges against five Blackwater guards in that incident were dropped by a US federal court late last year. But two Blackwater guards have been indicted for murder over an incident in Afghanistan that left two civilians dead.
Stein’s article asserts that the likely buyer of Xe Services will be Parsons Corporation, a California-based engineering and business management company.
Wheeler points out that Parsons has had its own questionable track record as a government contractor. She links to a Washington Post report about a Parsons-built police academy in Iraq whose construction was so poor it rained feces from the ceiling in the student barracks.
Prosecutor spills details about Bill Barr’s ‘unprecedented, unnecessary and unexplained’ efforts to oust him
Geoffrey Berman, the man who until recently served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told members of Congress on Thursday about Attorney General Bill Barr's "unprecedented, unnecessary and unexplained" efforts to oust him.
In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Berman explained how Barr contacted him and repeatedly pressed him to step down from his position at SDNY to take another high-profile position within the government.
Berman, however, told Barr that he wanted to stay at his current job until a replacement was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the United States Senate.
Seoul mayor found dead after ‘#MeToo allegations’
Seoul's outspoken mayor Park Won-soon, long seen as a potential South Korean presidential candidate, was found dead, police said Friday. He was 64.
A former Seoul City employee filed a police complaint -- allegedly involving sexual harassment -- against him on Wednesday.
Park's body was found on a mountain in northern Seoul, police said, hours after hundreds of officers started searching for him.
If Park does prove to have killed himself he would be the highest-profile South Korean politician to do so since former president Roh Moo-hyun, who jumped off a cliff in 2009 after being questioned over corruption allegations involving family members.