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Jeremy Scahill reports that the reclusive Blackwater owner, Erik Prince, has travel plans on his horizon.
Sources close to Blackwater and its secretive owner Erik Prince claim that the embattled head of the world’s most infamous mercenary firm is planning to move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Middle Eastern nation, a major hub for the US war industry, has no extradition treaty with the United States. In April, five of Prince’s top deputies were hit with a 15-count indictment by a federal Grand Jury on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Among those indicted were Prince’s longtime number two man, former Blackwater president Gary Jackson, former vice presidents William Matthews and Ana Bundy, and Prince’s former legal counsel Andrew Howell.
The Blackwater/Erik Prince saga took yet another dramatic turn last week, when Prince abruptly announced that he was putting his company up for sale. While Prince has not personally been charged with any crimes, federal investigators and several Congressional committees clearly have his company and inner circle in their sights. The Nation learned of Prince’s alleged plans to move to the UAE from three separate sources. One Blackwater source told The Nation that Prince intends to sell his company quickly, saying the “sale is going to be a fast move within a couple of months.”
The report of a move to Dubai makes a lot of sense in context. Prince may be trying to liquidate major holdings so he can move his money offshore, too, in advance of possible claims by victims of Blackwater violence. I discuss the legal issues, including extradition, deeper into Scahill’s article.
The question is now pretty simple: what is the Justice Department going to do about all of this? If they really are preparing a case against him, they’re going to look like chumps if they let him skip the jurisdiction before they have a chance to act. On the other hand, there are no clear signs yet that Prince has been advised he is a target in any of the pending federal investigations, so he has as much right to pull up stakes and move to an overseas tax shelter as the next massively wealthy auto-parts heir.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”