The controversial Blackwater founder says he is setting up two bases in China, but his company says “this does not involve armed personnel.”
Erik Prince — founder of the private military company Blackwater, financial backer of President Donald Trump, brother to the new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and frequent Breitbart radio guest of White House power broker Stephen Bannon — has been offering his military expertise to support Chinese government objectives and setting up two Blackwater-style training camps in China, according to sources and his own company statements.
The move could put him at odds with Trump, who has often taken a hard line against China, and could also risk violating US law, which prohibits the export of military services or equipment to China.
Former associates of the 47-year-old Prince told BuzzFeed News that the controversial businessman envisions using the bases to train and deploy an army of Chinese retired soldiers who can protect Chinese corporate and government strategic interests around the world, without having to involve the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
For years, China has groomed landlocked Yunnan province in its southwest to be the country’s strategic bridgehead into Southeast Asia, building highways and rail lines to its borders with Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar to one day weave them into a regional, and eventually, transcontinental transport network.
As China pushes ahead with president Xi Jinping’s ambitious $1 trillion One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative—which reimagines a historic trade network as an overland Silk Road Economic “Belt” and a Maritime Silk “Road”—protecting Chinese business executives and other personnel and their rapidly growing investments in the region is more important than ever.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has evidence showing that a meeting in the Seychelles last year between the founder of a private security company and a Russian official was intended to set up a back channel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a witness cooperating with Mueller has told investigators that the meeting was set up in advance, apparently contradicting what Erik Prince, the founder of the security contractor formerly known as Blackwater, has told lawmakers about the meeting.
Prince had previously told lawmakers and the press that his meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian official close with Russian President Vladimir Putin, happened by chance and was not set up ahead of time.
But the witness, a Lebanese-American businessman named George Nader, has testified before a grand jury that the meeting, which took place shortly before President Trump’s inauguration, was, in fact, a planned effort.
They will help shape how Ocasio-Cortez works as an activist hoping to refashion the Democratic Party, while she also tries to serve as a more typical member building coalitions and moving legislation.
“It needs to be pointed out how insanely greedy” it is to be a billionaire, Riffle said. “We have to comprehend the scale of $1 billion — just the amount of money we’re talking about. Five million dollars is a lifetime’s fortune; you can live off the interest of that and still be in the top 1 percent. Five million dollars, times 100, is still only halfway to $1 billion.
“It’s a systemic failure on society’s part. On one part of the city, we have people with helipads and yachts that they park inside of yachts, and on the other side we have thousands of people who are homeless and children without health care or food. Those things should not exist simultaneously in a society.”