Erik Prince, the fanatical right-wing founder of mercenary contractor Blackwater Worldwide, murdered at least one informant who cooperated with federal investigators probing the company’s illegal operations in Iraq and may have killed more, two former employees say.
The two former employees, one an ex-Marine, say Prince was guilty of many crimes while he ran the massive "security" company that murdered civilians in Iraq and lost its contract with the State Department because of that incident and other abuses.
Prince has resigned from the company,which now operates under a new name, Xe. Xe recently obtained contracts to guard American ships from piracy.
Documents filed in U.S. District Court this week identify the two former employees only as "John Doe No. 1" and "John Doe No. 2." Lawyers for both said the identities were withheld because of threats from Prince and his associates.
Sources close to the case tell Capitol Hill Blue that more explosive revelations about Prince and his methods will emerge as the case progresses.
One of the employees said Prince sees himself as "a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe."
In a sworn affidavit, the employee says Prince "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."
The affidavits are among documents filed by lawyers representing relatives of Iraqi civilians killed in attacks by Blackwater operatives.
John Doe #2, who says he worked for Blackwater for four years, says "it appears that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct."
The two employees say Prince smuggled illegal weapons into Iraq on his private jet and sold those weapons to Iraqi insurgents for profit. Both claim they have been threatened by Prince and his associates since leaving the firm and that both live in fear of being murdered by their former employer.
John Doe #1 said he "learned from my Blackwater colleagues and former colleagues that one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information about Erik Prince and Blackwater have been killed in suspicious circumstances."
John Doe #2 said Prince, a long-time supporter of former President George W. Bush and a heavy contributor to GOP candidates, was driven by an intense hatred of Muslims and used his no-bid contracts with the U.S. Government to conduct his own holy war against Islam.
Said John Doe #2 in his sworn statement:
To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.
Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to "lay Hajiis out on cardboard." Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as "ragheads" or "hajiis."
Lawyers filed the court documents Tuesday after Prince’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit by Iraqi civilians. The plaintiff’s lawyers say they also provided the documents to the Justice Department, which has an ongoing investigation against Prince and Blackwater.
Xe issued the following statement in response to the new information:
It is obvious that Plaintiffs have chosen to slander Mr. Prince rather than raise legal arguments or actual facts that will be considered by a court of law. We are happy to engage them there. We question the judgment of anyone who relies upon anonymous declarations.
Five former Blackwater security guards entered not guilty to federal charges of manslaughter and other crimes stemming in the September 16, 2007, murder of Iraqi civilians. The trial is scheduled to start in February 2010.
Prince could not be reached for comment.