Blackwater Founder's Visions of Christian Supremacy in Iraq
Article was noticed by Information Clearinghouse and posted with video of Jeremy Scahill on Countdown.
I'm quite pleased. Information Clearinghouse is a site I have been going to for great opinion editorials since I was 16 years old. If you are unfamiliar with it, do yourself a favor and add it to your bookmarks or stick it in your links on your blog.
Explosive allegations concerning Blackwater have recently become public in a bombshell of a story published by Jeremy Scahill, a man who has been on the Blackwater beat for years now.
Two individuals, a former employee and a Marine who used to work as a security operative, allege that Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, may have murdered or assisted in the murders of individuals who were helping federal authorities investigate his company.
What’s striking isn’t that Blackwater and murder is in the news. Blackwater has a history of being linked to allegations of murder (for example, the Nissour Square killings on September 16, 2007).
The most salient part of this news are the words written in a five page declaration by a former member of Blackwater’s management team, who is being referred to as “John Doe #2” because he fears he may face violent retaliation if his identity is found out.
Doe #2 alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe":
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."
That Erik Prince may have been involved in murders of people cooperating with investigations of his company isn't as important as the fact that if this is true he murdered because he felt compelled by a higher power to do so.
Jeremy Scahill, a journalist for The Nation and the man who broke this news story yesterday, discussed Prince’s Christian supremacist ideology on Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann yesterday night.
“…let`s remember that Erik Prince viewed Blackwater as a neo-crusader force and has from the beginning. This is a guy who comes from the powerhouse of the radical religious right. His father was a major bank roller and gave the seed money to Gary Bauer to start the Family Research Council, James Dobson, Focus on the Family.
And then we have his force employed in Iraq as part of a war against a Muslim nation that George Bush characterized as a crusade. What we have here, Keith, is a confirmation from insiders at Blackwater that, in fact, Erik Prince did have a neo-crusader agenda, and, most explosively, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were intending to or did cooperate in the federal government`s criminal investigation of Blackwater…”
When asked how Bush could have missed the “crusader element,” Scahill rightfully explained that Bush viewed this as a “plus” and did not miss it.
Scahill said, “These were his men, his private force in Baghdad. And the allegations that they were running around shooting Iraqis as part of a war to eliminate Islam globally, as is actually what one of these individuals said, is extremely disturbing to anyone who believes in any semblance of Constitution, law or human rights.
Robert Weitzel, in an article titled, “U.S.’s Military Crusade for Christ,” writes that “Prince envisions an evangelical “end time” role for his warriors, “Everybody carries guns, just like Jeremiah rebuilding the temple in Israel—a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other.””
Prince has served on the board of directors of Christian Freedom International, a “crusading missionary organization operating in the overwhelmingly Islamic countries of Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Prince is and has been one of many leaders who have been using forces and violence because of what they believe. When considering other crusader elements that have played a role in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the entire “war on terror,” it becomes more apparent that the U.S. is waging violence in a calculated manner similar to Islamic jihad and many are doing it for religious reasons like Islamic jihadists, aiming to advance a Christian supremacist agenda.
In 2007, Operation Stand Up planned to send “freedom packages” to soldiers and Marines in Iraq that would have contained Bibles and “the apocalyptic video game, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces,” where “Christians carry on warfare against people of other faiths.” (The Military Religious Freedom Foundation prevented the packages from being sent.)
Campus Crusade for Christ (known as “cru” on college campuses) has been providing weekly “God’s Basic Training” programs to the U.S. Air Force Academy so that “‘government paid missionaries’ can complete their training.”
Televangelist John Hagee, a pastor of a 16,000 member church with millions of viewers a week, preaches “that in order to bring about the Second Coming of Christ and the Rapture of true believers, Islam first has to be destroyed.”
In an interview on NPR, Hagee, who Americans may remember from John McCain’s presidential campaign, said on Fresh Air in September of 2006:
GROSS: Pastor Hagee, if you believe that the Bible takes precedence over Washington, D.C., I would assume maybe you'd think the Bible takes precedence over the Israeli government as well. If you use the Bible as the basis of policy, is there any room for compromise? And if you use the Bible as the basis for policy, then should Muslims be using the Quran as the basis of their policy? And again, what possible room for compromise is there at that point?
HAGEE: There's really no room for compromise between radical Islam and --
GROSS: I'm not talking about radical Islam. I'm just talking about Islam in general.
HAGEE: Well, Islam in general, those who live by the Quran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews. Now, I had an Islamic on my television show last week. His name was Walid Shoebat. He was raised as a Palestinian terrorist and at one time was -- placed a bomb and was supposed to walk into a bank. And I said, "Walid, I'm trying to understand the definition of what is a radical Islamic person, because I've read many books, many magazines and I can't come up with a good definition of what constitutes a radical Islamic." And he says these words, and I'll quote them, he said, "Anyone who truly believes the Quran is willing to kill Christians or Jews. That's waging jihad." He said, "Now, those people who are willing to go into another country and start a war will only be about 15 to 20 percent of Islam."
There are 1.3 billion people who follow the Islamic faith, so if you're saying there's only 15 percent that want to come to America or invade Israel to crush it, you're only talking about 200 million people. That's far more than Hitler and Japan and Italy and all of the axis powers in World War II had under arms. That is a massive number of people. So while we may define radical Islam as a minority, because there are so many, it is still an overpowering military potential.
Bush once thanked Hagee for “spreading the hope of God's love and the universal gift of freedom."
If you recall, in May, GQ got a hold of “briefing covers” showing that briefings from Rumsfeld and elite Pentagon strategists on progress in Iraq came illustrated by “victorious quotes from the Bible and gung-ho photographs of U.S. troops.”
Major General Glen Shaffer, the director for intelligence serving Mr Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a devout Christian dressed the briefings up with religious themes and Bush read them and accepted that what was happening in Iraq as part of his “mission from God.”
The latest news from Iraq reported by the Jerusalem Post is that Iran’s Fars news agency is claiming the CIA and Mossad have been “actively promoting Christianity in the Kurdish region of Iraq.”
The agency claims Americans and Israelis have been “offering $1,000 to any youngster willing to convert to Christianity.”
To those who have read the opening chapters of Reza Aslan’s How to Win a Cosmic War or for those familiar with the core ideas of his book, you know how dangerous it is that American foreign policy is so entangled with Christian supremacist forces in America.
Aslan argues, for the most part, that the way to win a cosmic war (how he characterizes “the war on terror”) is to not fight it. But, Christian supremacists acting based on what they believe about end times will never choose to not fight.
So long as people like Erik Prince and others with views similar to him influence foreign policy or play a role in carrying out America’s foreign policy goals and objectives, Americans can count on hearing more news of torture and abuse of Muslims, more news of murder and mass killings of Muslims, and more news proselytizing and attempts to convert Muslims.
We can count on a bloody war on Islam to continue under the guise of the "war on terror."
For additional reading on how Christian supremacist ideology is transforming the U.S. military, check out Jeff Sharlet's article from Harper's, which was published in May of this year.