Friday, September 24, 2010

Rampant drug use, random gunfire at Blackwater's Baghdad parties.

From Raw Story:
Blackwater employees in Baghdad held wild parties featuring large amounts of cocaine and hash, where armed personnel would sometimes fire randomly at nearby buildings housing Iraqi civilians, says a former contractor for the security company.

Howard Lowry, a Texas businessman who worked in Iraq from 2003 to 2009, made the allegations in testimony he gave in a whistleblower trial aimed at Xe Services, the company formerly known as Blackwater.

"I feel that numerous families of individuals of Blackwater employees that have been killed on the job are not getting the true story," Lowry said in the deposition, which was obtained by The Nation's Jeremy Scahill.

Scahill reports that Lowry alleges he bought at least 100 AK47 machine guns for Blackwater guards on Baghdad's black market, as well as large quantities of steroids.

Lowry says some of the steroids he purchased went to guards protecting L. Paul Bremer, the man the Bush administration appointed to run Iraq's provisional government following the invasion in 2003.

"The use of steroids and human growth hormone, testosterone, were pretty endemic to them and almost company-wide," Lowry said.

"Not only did I purchase the pharmaceuticals, but I was also given money and asked to acquire syringes and other forms or modes of injection as well," Lowry stated in his deposition. He alleges the drugs were purchased with Blackwater money.

Lowry described Blackwater guards' parties at Baghdad's al-Hamra Hotel as a "frat party gone wild." He says he saw copious amounts of cocaine and hashish at the events.

"One of the suites would be absolutely packed with gentlemen running around with either no clothes on, no shirt on. It was like a frat party gone wild. Drug use was rampant. There was cocaine all on the tables. There were blocks of hash, and you could smell it in the air...walking up to the door," Lowry said in his deposition.

On occasion, Blackwater personnel at these parties would go out on the balcony with machine guns and "would just spray the building next door, which housed Iraqi civilians," Lowry alleges.

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