Daniel Schulman

Senior Editor

Based in DC, Dan covers politics and national security. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, the Village Voice, the Columbia Journalism Review, and other publications. He is the author of the new Koch brothers biography, Sons of Wichita (Grand Central Publishing). Email him at dschulman (at) motherjones.com.

Get my RSS |

AP: Ex-Blackwater Pres Faces Possible Indictment

| Tue Mar. 23, 2010 11:58 AM EDT

The AP is reporting that the Justice Department may be preparing to indict a trio of ex-Blackwater officials on weapons charges, including the company's former president, Gary Jackson. The potential charges are connected to a June 2008 raid on the company's North Carolina compound by federal agents, who seized nearly two dozen automatic weapons from Blackwater's armory. The guns, which included 17 Romanian AK-47s, had been purchased by Blackwater but were technically owned by the local sheriff's office, which had inked an agreement with the company to store the weapons.

The AP reports:

Multiple law enforcement officials familiar with the case said investigators are trying to determine if Blackwater obtained the official letterhead of a local sheriff to create a false justification for buying the guns. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Federal law prohibits private parties from buying fully automatic weapons registered after 1986, but does let law enforcement agencies have them.

Reports of weapons-related improprieties have dogged Blackwater for years. In the past, federal investigators have probed whether the company had illegally smuggled guns (and silencers) into Iraq that wound up in the hands of a Kurdish group designated by the US as a terrorist organization. In court documents, two former Blackwater employees also alleged that the company had smuggled contraband weapons, sometimes hiding them in bags of dog food. Last month, a Senate committee revealed that personnel working for a Blackwater-subsidiary in Afghanistan had aquired hundreds of AK-47s and other weapons they were unauthorized to have from an armory that's meant to equip the Afghan National Police. In one case, a Blackwater contractor signed for a trove of guns using the alias Eric Cartman, an apparent reference to the South Park character.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Blackwater's South Park Debut

| Wed Mar. 10, 2010 8:31 AM EST

It wasn't a matter of if this would happen, but when. In a promo for the upcoming season of South Park, Eric Cartman strolls into an armory: "Yes, I would like 500-AK-47s please," he says to an official sitting behind a desk.

"500 AK-47s?" the official responds. "OK, but you're going to have to sign for those."

"Not a problem," Cartman says.

Apparently, this was more or less the scene that took place in a weapons depot outside of Kabul in September 2008 when some Blackwater wisenheimer signed for 211 AKs he was unauthorized to have using the alias Eric Cartman.

"It makes perfect sense. It's the name I would use," South Park co-creator Trey Parker told the Huffington Post a couple weeks ago. "Our first reaction to any story is 'How do we put this into the show?' and the second reaction is 'Did Cartman do that?'"

Tune in March 17 for the season 14 premier to see if Cartman makes Blackwater respect his authoritah.

(H/T Danger Room, Attackerman)

Levin Demands Blackwater/Raytheon Probe

| Thu Mar. 4, 2010 12:18 PM EST

Last week, Fred Roitz, a top executive at Xe Services (formerly Blackwater), made a stunning admission. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said Raytheon had requested that Blackwater create a shell company in order to win a $25 million subcontract to train Afghan troops. In Roitz's telling, Raytheon apparently wanted to do business with Blackwater, yet didn't want to be associated with its controversial brand. Blackwater obliged, creating a subsidiary called Paravant that was separate from its parent company in name alone. Armed services committee member Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) called the subsidiary a "classic example of a cover corporation." Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) described the creation of Paravant as "deception" and said "there's clearly an effort to coverup that Blackwater was the real contractor here."

Now Levin wants a Justice Department investigation into Blackwater and Raytheon. Specifically he wants to know whether representatives of the companies "made false or misleading statements in their submission of a contract proposal to the U.S. Army."

Wed Jan. 11, 2012 12:49 AM EST
Sun Jan. 8, 2012 11:56 AM EST
Sat Jan. 7, 2012 11:22 AM EST
Tue Jul. 12, 2011 8:45 AM EDT
Tue May. 17, 2011 11:33 AM EDT
Tue Oct. 19, 2010 11:22 AM EDT
Fri Sep. 10, 2010 10:55 AM EDT
Fri Aug. 13, 2010 7:36 AM EDT
Thu Aug. 5, 2010 8:02 AM EDT
Mon Jul. 26, 2010 5:05 PM EDT
Wed Jun. 23, 2010 11:46 AM EDT
Tue Jun. 22, 2010 10:16 AM EDT
Fri Jun. 18, 2010 12:53 PM EDT
Fri Jun. 18, 2010 6:00 AM EDT
Wed Jun. 16, 2010 8:00 AM EDT
Tue Jun. 15, 2010 10:58 AM EDT
Mon Jun. 14, 2010 12:51 PM EDT
Wed Jun. 9, 2010 3:13 PM EDT
Tue Jun. 8, 2010 1:49 PM EDT
Wed May. 26, 2010 3:18 PM EDT
Fri May. 14, 2010 12:25 PM EDT
Fri May. 14, 2010 6:15 AM EDT
Thu May. 6, 2010 4:47 PM EDT
Wed May. 5, 2010 2:00 PM EDT
Wed Apr. 21, 2010 11:07 AM EDT
Sat Apr. 10, 2010 9:23 AM EDT
Fri Apr. 9, 2010 10:33 AM EDT
Thu Apr. 8, 2010 1:57 PM EDT
Thu Apr. 1, 2010 12:44 PM EDT
Thu Apr. 1, 2010 10:15 AM EDT
Fri Mar. 26, 2010 11:42 AM EDT
Thu Mar. 25, 2010 12:29 PM EDT
Tue Mar. 23, 2010 4:47 PM EDT
Tue Mar. 23, 2010 11:58 AM EDT
Wed Mar. 10, 2010 8:31 AM EST
Thu Mar. 4, 2010 12:18 PM EST
Wed Mar. 3, 2010 5:38 PM EST
Wed Mar. 3, 2010 10:45 AM EST
Thu Feb. 25, 2010 3:00 PM EST
Thu Feb. 25, 2010 2:28 PM EST
Wed Feb. 24, 2010 6:10 PM EST