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Rampant drug use, random gunfire at Blackwater’s Baghdad parties: claim

By enquirewithin, Sep 29, 2010 | Updated: Sep 29, 2010 | | |
Rating:
5/5,
  1. enquirewithin
    Blackwater founder threatened to 'come after' lawyer pursuing allegations: claim

    Blackwater employees in Baghdad held wild parties featuring large amounts of cocaine and hash, where armed personnel would sometimes fire randomly at nearby buildings housing Iraqi civilians, says a former contractor for the security company.

    Howard Lowry, a Texas businessman who worked in Iraq from 2003 to 2009, made the allegations in testimony he gave in a whistleblower trial aimed at Xe Services, the company formerly known as Blackwater.

    "I feel that numerous families of individuals of Blackwater employees that have been killed on the job are not getting the true story," Lowry said in the deposition, which was obtained by The Nation's Jeremy Scahill.

    Scahill reports that Lowry alleges he bought at least 100 AK47 machine guns for Blackwater guards on Baghdad's black market, as well as large quantities of steroids.
    Lowry says some of the steroids he purchased went to guards protecting L. Paul Bremer, the man the Bush administration appointed to run Iraq's provisional government following the invasion in 2003.

    "The use of steroids and human growth hormone, testosterone, were pretty endemic to them and almost company-wide," Lowry said.

    "Not only did I purchase the pharmaceuticals, but I was also given money and asked to acquire syringes and other forms or modes of injection as well," Lowry stated in his deposition. He alleges the drugs were purchased with Blackwater money.

    Lowry described Blackwater guards' parties at Baghdad's al-Hamra Hotel as a "frat party gone wild." He says he saw copious amounts of cocaine and hashish at the events.

    "One of the suites would be absolutely packed with gentlemen running around with either no clothes on, no shirt on. It was like a frat party gone wild. Drug use was rampant. There was cocaine all on the tables. There were blocks of hash, and you could smell it in the air...walking up to the door," Lowry said in his deposition.

    On occasion, Blackwater personnel at these parties would go out on the balcony with machine guns and "would just spray the building next door, which housed Iraqi civilians," Lowry alleges.

    Lowry made his claims as part of a civil lawsuit against Blackwater alleging that company founder Erik Prince and companies he controlled defrauded the US government.

    The suit, brought forward by former Blackwater employees Brad and Melan Davis, alleges that Prince and companies he controlled defrauded the US State Department and the US Department of Homeland Security via "false records, statements, claims, and omissions," according to court documents.

    The plaintiffs "allege that Blackwater tried to bill the US government for a prostitute for its men in Afghanistan and for strippers in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," according to Scahill.

    Scahill reports that Prince threatened to "come after" the head lawyer for the plaintiffs, Susan Burke, after Burke questioned Prince for seven hours this summer at his new home in Abu Dhabi.

    Prince is now reportedly trying to suppress the testimony he gave to Burke:

    Soon thereafter, Prince's lawyers declared the entirety of the transcript of Prince's deposition to be confidential material and asserted that it should be sealed. Prince's attorneys filed papers in the case asking the judge to allow Prince and his lawyers to classify any information or documents Prince provides or any information or documents Burke obtains from Prince or Blackwater as "confidential" and therefore barred from public dissemination. Prince's lawyers have also asked that all documents they provide in the case be destroyed or returned within 120 days of the conclusion of the case.
    On September 22, Burke filed a motion opposing the gag order and what she sees as Prince's attempt to "seal everything." In her motion, Burke reveals that she provided the US State Department with a transcript of the deposition for review of potentially classified material. A State Department contracting official wrote, “As contracting officer I do not require any redactions to the subject transcript of the Erk Prince deposition before it is made publicly available.”

    This is not the first allegation of criminal wrongdoing by Blackwater guards in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year, in another lawsuit, it was alleged that Blackwater guards pimped out underage girls, and Prince himself “may have murdered or facilitated the murder” of people aiding in the investigation into the Nisour Square massacre, in which Blackwater guards are alleged to have killed 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007.

    -- With reporting from AFP

    By Daniel Tencer
    Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 -- 6:11 pm[/I]
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/09/rampant-drug-random-gunfire-blackwater/

Comments

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    US Businessman: Blackwater Paid Me to Buy Steroids and Weapons on Black Market for its Shooters

    A Texas businessman who has worked extensively in Iraq claims that Blackwater paid him to purchase steroids and other drugs for its operatives in Baghdad, as well as more than 100 AK47s and massive amounts of ammunition on Baghdad's black market. Howard Lowry, who worked in Iraq from 2003-2009, also claims that he personally attended Blackwater parties where company personnel had large amounts of cocaine and blocks of hashish and would run around naked. At some of these parties, Lowry alleges, Blackwater operatives would randomly fire automatic weapons from their balconies into buildings full of Iraqi civilians. Lowry described the events as a "frat party gone wild" where "drug use was rampant." Lowry says he was told by Blackwater personnel that some of the men using the steroids he purchased were on the security detail of L. Paul Bremer, the original head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Lowry also claims that Blackwater's owner, Erik Prince, tried to enlist his help to win contracts for Blackwater with the Iraqi government using an off-shore security company, Greystone, which Prince owns. The purpose, Lowry says, was to conceal Greystone's relationship to Blackwater.

    Lowry made his statements in a deposition on September 10 as part of a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two former Blackwater employees. The suit was filed in 2008 by former employees Brad and Melan Davis. They allege that Blackwater tried to bill the US government for a prostitute for its men in Afghanistan and for strippers in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The lawsuit claims that Prince personally benefitted from alleged fraud. The Nation obtained Lowry's deposition from publicly available court filings.

    Blackwater, Lowry alleges, paid for the steroids using company funds and the purchases were coordinated by Blackwater's Iraq country manager. "Not only did I purchase the pharmaceuticals," Lowry said in his deposition, "but I was also given money and asked to acquire syringes and other forms or modes of injection as well." Lowry said that Blackwater used him to purchase the drugs and other devices because, unlike Blackwater personnel, he could move freely and discreetly around Baghdad. Lowry says he personally witnessed several Blackwater operatives injecting themselves with steroids.

    "One of the suites would be absolutely packed with gentlemen running around with either no clothes on, no shirt on. It was like a frat party gone wild. Drug use was rampant. There was cocaine all on the tables. There were blocks of hash, and you could smell it in the air...walking up to the door."
    --Howard Lowry, a businessman who claims he bought steroids and weapons for Blackwater.


    Lowry says in the deposition that he was a close friend of Jerry Zovko, one of the four Blackwater men killed in the infamous ambush in Fallujah, Iraq in March 2004. Zovko, Lowry says, "provided me tremendous insight into the company and confirmed that the use of steroids and human growth hormone, testosterone, were pretty endemic to them and almost companywide." Lowry said that it was a "wide-ranging problem, and this included individuals that were on [L. Paul] Bremer's personal detail." Bremer was guarded by Blackwater when he ran the CPA from 2003-2004. Lowry says he would purchase the drugs for Blackwater "by the case," adding, "It was as large a quantity as I could get, which was usually a case." He said that the "volume I was being asked to purchase on a daily basis was going up substantially as time went on."

    Lowry also claims that he purchased a wide variety of weapons, ammunition and armor for Blackwater on the black market in Baghdad. "I purchased no less than a hundred AK47s for Blackwater personnel to keep them safe," Lowry says. Such purchases, he says he believed, were necessary because Blackwater was not adequately arming its personnel.

    Lowry also describes instances of Blackwater personnel firing randomly at Iraqi pedestrians and into buildings for no apparent reason. He details one night where several Blackwater operatives were at his hotel drinking until 5am. When they left, Lowry says, they fired their weapons at random as they drove off. Lowry describes parties that he says some Blackwater personnel would throw at the al Hamra hotel in Baghdad that he says were like "a frat party" with rampant drug use:

    One of the suites would be absolutely packed with gentlemen running around with either no clothes on, no shirt on. It was like a frat party gone wild. Drug use was rampant. There was cocaine all on the tables. There were blocks of hash, and you could smell it in the air…walking up to the door.

    Lowry described one party where "there was a pile of cocaine that one Blackwater person had estimated to be over an ounce of coke." Lowry said, "to me, considering the job that these gentlemen are doing…at that time [they] were protecting the US ambassador, Ambassador Bremer, seemed a little bit out—well, beyond out of control. And these parties were a weekly ritual." Lowry alleges that at these parties on several occasions Blackwater personnel would pull out AK47s and go out onto the balcony and "would just spray the building next door, which housed Iraqi civilians."

    Lowry also says that he had several meetings with Erik Prince where Prince asked him for assistance in winning contracts with the Iraqi government for an off-shore company Prince owns called Greystone. It is registered in Barbados. Lowry, who says he knew the Iraqi Interior and Defense Ministers "very well," claims Prince wanted to offer the Iraqi government Greystone's training and security services. Lowry says that Prince stated "very clearly" to him that Greystone was "set up to deflect any liability, future liability, that he may have with respect to any weapons sales or any bodily harm or anything else, contract issues with both the US and the Iraqi governments." Lowry claims the Iraqis were aware of Greystone's connection to Blackwater and "detested" the companies.

    Lawyers representing the self-exiled Blackwater owner have asked a federal judge in Virginia for a protective order against the tenacious lawyer who took Lowry's deposition. For years, attorney Susan Burke has pursued Prince and Blackwater with a string of civil lawsuits. In August, Burke flew to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where Prince and his family have relocated, to conduct a seven-hour deposition of Prince in connection to the whistleblower claim she filed on behalf of the former Blackwater employees. After the deposition ended on August 23, according to Burke, Prince threatened to "come after" her.

    Soon thereafter, Prince's lawyers declared the entirety of the transcript of Prince's deposition to be confidential material and asserted that it should be sealed. Prince's attorneys filed papers in the case asking the judge to allow Prince and his lawyers to classify any information or documents Prince provides or any information or documents Burke obtains from Prince or Blackwater as "confidential" and therefore barred from public dissemination. Prince's lawyers have also asked that all documents they provide in the case be destroyed or returned within 120 days of the conclusion of the case.

    Prince's lawyers have alleged that Burke intends to use the media to embarrass Prince and to litigate her case outside of court and have asked for a "gag order" against her and the other attorneys litigating the case. Burke, in her court filing, points out that the actions of Prince and his companies have generated tremendous publicity and attention. Burke writes:

    Defendant Prince and his companies create the media stir by their own actions. Indeed, their misconduct has led to a series of indictments, charging letters from the State Department, and criminal trials. Indeed, Defendant Prince seeks publicity that serves his own ends. He voluntarily participated in a Vanity Fair interview, pressing his view that anyone who criticizes his misconduct must have a "political agenda." Defendant Prince voluntarily cooperated with a book about his life, called Master of War. In the book, he voluntarily revealed, among other things, that he fathered a child out of wedlock and cheated on his wife who was dying of cancer.

    On September 22, Burke filed a motion opposing the gag order and what she sees as Prince's attempt to "seal everything." In her motion, Burke reveals that she provided the US State Department with a transcript of the deposition for review of potentially classified material. A State Department contracting official wrote, "As contracting officer I do not require any redactions to the subject transcript of the Erk Prince deposition before it is made publicly available."

    In arguing against a gag order, Burke writes that media coverage results in witnesses coming forward who will "be helpful in showing the jury that [her clients'] claims of widespread fraud and misconduct have merit." To support her argument, Burke cited Howard Lowry, whom she says contacted her after seeing media reports on Prince and Blackwater.

    Lowry says he contacted Burke "because I believe there is a tremendous lack of moral and business ethics on behalf of the owner of the company and, I believe, companywide." He added, "Because of that, I feel that numerous families of individuals of Blackwater employees that have been killed on the job are not getting the true story."


    Jeremy Scahill
    The Nation
    http://www.thenation.com/blog/15497...teroids-and-weapons-black-market-its-shooters
  2. enquirewithin
    Scahill is the expert on these scum. What do you expect from mercenaries. That's what the US tax payer's money is being spent on.
  3. dyingtomorrow
    I can't help myself ...

    Okay, while I morally condemn them ...

    Juicing up, going around with AKs spraying shit, doing coke ... *trails off into confessatory laugh* that sounds like a lot of fun ...
  4. enquirewithin
    You wouldn't find it much fun if they were in your street!
  5. Euthanatos93420
    While I can't disagree with dyingtommorow it comes down to context. Sure it'd be a lot of fun. But if you're having your fun at the expense of others that's where the line is drawn. All of that could be done without subjecting innocent people to violence.

    The scary part is when we wake up and stop paying these assholes...who will be the one to hire them?

    They need to be brought in on war crime charges.
  6. El Calico Loco
    Sigh...self-absorbed little boys with big muscles and big guns. They suffer from the empathy/maturity equivalent of Down's Syndrome.


    ECL
  7. Euthanatos93420
    Yeah I don't think so. I have a very good friend with down syndrome. I've never met anyone besides myself with such a vivid and powerful imagination. I believe it's quite a social misperception to think that they are less somehow just because we don't understand how their mind works. They are in fact, excessively creative and empathetic. The converse to this overactive right side/underactive left is the autistic spectrum. Swim lacks empathy (and quite possibly maturity) due to residing on the 'high end' (asperger's) and doesn't act like this.

    No what these people suffer from is the self-cycling delusions of narcissistic social vampirism, AKA Jock Syndrome.
  8. El Calico Loco
    You misunderstand me. Psychopathy is to empathy what Down's Syndrome is to IQ. Retarded kids have relatively normal empathy and imagination - perhaps even enhanced - while being terrible at math. Psychopaths have normal logical reasoning skills, but are trapped at the emotional maturity and narcissism of a 2-year-old. These clowns are the latter.


    ECL
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