August 21, 2010

This is a true faith-bender. Blackwater, the former Erik Prince "security company", has negotiated a $42 million settlement with the Department of State. Having taken their gulp of medicine, they will now be eligible for even more contracts with the Department of State. How does that work, exactly?

New York Times:

The violations included illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan, making unauthorized proposals to train troops in south Sudan and providing sniper training for Taiwanese police officers, according to company and government officials familiar with the deal.

The settlement, which has not yet been publicly announced, follows lengthy talks between Blackwater, now called Xe Services, and the State Department that dealt with the violations as an administrative matter, allowing the firm to avoid criminal charges.

Amazing, though not even close to the end of Blackwater/Xe's troubles. Among the other legal actions pending:

Those include the indictments of five former executives, including Blackwater’s former president, on weapons and obstruction charges; a federal investigation into evidence that Blackwater officials sought to bribe Iraqi government officials; and the arrest of two former Blackwater guards on federal murder charges stemming from the killing of two Afghans last year.

Of course, Blackwater blackguard Erik Prince is now living in Dubai. We do have an extradition agreement with Dubai, don't we?

But no worries for Blackwater. They'll still be entitled to bid for federal contracts.

In June, the State Department awarded Blackwater a $120 million contract to provide security at its regional offices in Afghanistan, while the C.I.A. renewed the firm’s $100 million security contract for its station in Kabul. At the time, the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, defended the decision, saying that the company had offered the lowest bid and had “cleaned up its act.”

Against the weight of those charges and the absurdity of those newly-awarded contracts, there is this: Roger Clemens was indicted this week for lying to Congress. Unfortunately, he can't bid for government contracts to cover his legal fees. Oh, and let's not forget this: Tom DeLay gets off, and not in a good way.

Justice isn't blind. It's absent.

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