The Blackwater Suit You’ve Never Read About


Private military contractor Blackwater USA is currently facing multiple law suits, including one filed recently on behalf of the victims of the Nisour Square shooting, but there’s one you haven’t heard about. Filed last Friday in U.S. district court on five handwritten pages—one of them bearing a picture of what appears to be the plaintiff in a towel—the suit accuses Blackwater, among other military contractors, of a litany of abuses, ranging from murder and treason to arson and identify theft. The plaintiff is an extraordinarily litigious inmate named Jonathan Lee Riches, who’s serving a 10-year sentence at a South Carolina correctional facility on a wire fraud (and identify theft) rap.

By my count, Riches has filed no fewer than 41 suits this month alone—drafting as many as six handwritten complaints per day—and at least 106 since February 2006. In the past, he’s accused Martha Stewart of an elaborate plot to “silence” him; sought “$63,000,000,000 billion” in damages from embattled NFL star Michael Vick; and targeted Senator John McCain for “campaign finance fraud,” requesting a restraining order to prevent the presidential candidate and his children “from coming to FCI Williamsburg”—where Riches is incarcerated—”to kill me because I exposed them.”

Indeed, Riches’ court filings make for some interesting reading. A sampling from his Blackwater complaint:

Plaintiff moves for a temporary restraining order against the contract killing of my life and compels the Defendants’ to shut down overseas operations A.S.A.P., under Declaratory Injunctive relief. Plaintiff seeks peace in the world without American companies meddling in the Affairs of other Nations. Plaintiff also seeks to add me on to the 2008 Presidential Ticket, as Plaintiff plans to run as a Independent crime/corruption stopper.

Riches, who occasionally refers to himself as “Teflon Jon,” also seeks “the return of Jonathan Lee Riches’ copyrighted weapons, grenades, bow and arrows, GPS tracking, mugs and t-shirts.” in addition, he requested that the IRS look into Blackwater’s tax records—an odd coincidence considering that Henry Waxman’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform unearthed an IRS ruling yesterday that the California congressman pointed to as evidence of “significant tax evasion” on behalf of Blackwater.

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  • Dan Schulman

    Daniel Schulman is Mother Jones' deputy Washington, DC, bureau chief. Reach him at dschulman (at) motherjones.com. Dan is the New York Times best-selling author of Sons of Wichita, a biography of the Koch brothers that is now out in paperback.