Blackwater founder’s latest sales pitch: mercenaries for Venezuela

  
Via:  bob-nelson  •  3 weeks ago  •  24 comments

Blackwater founder’s latest sales pitch: mercenaries for Venezuela
Erik Prince - the founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater and a prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump - has been pushing a plan to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, four sources with knowledge of the effort told Reuters.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


originalOver the last several months, the sources said, Prince has sought investment and political support for such an operation from influential Trump supporters and wealthy Venezuelan exiles. In private meetings in the United States and Europe, Prince sketched out a plan to field up to 5,000 soldiers-for-hire on behalf of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, according to two sources with direct knowledge of Prince’s pitch.

One source said Prince has conducted meetings about the issue as recently as mid-April.

White House National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis declined to comment when asked whether Prince had proposed his plan to the government and whether it would be considered. A person familiar with the administration’s thinking said the White House would not support such a plan.

Venezuela opposition officials have not discussed security operations with Prince, said Guaido spokesman Edward Rodriguez, who did not answer additional questions from Reuters. The Maduro government did not respond to a request for comment.

Some U.S. and Venezuelan security experts, told of the plan by Reuters, called it politically far-fetched and potentially dangerous because it could set off a civil war. A Venezuelan exile close to the opposition agreed but said private contractors might prove useful, in the event Maduro’s government collapses, by providing security for a new administration in the aftermath.

A spokesman for Prince, Marc Cohen, said this month that Prince “has no plans to operate or implement an operation in Venezuela” and declined to answer further questions.

Lital Leshem - the director of investor relations at Prince’s private equity firm, Frontier Resource Group - earlier confirmed Prince’s interest in Venezuela security operations.

“He does have a solution for Venezuela, just as he has a solution for many other places,” she said, declining to elaborate on his proposal.

The two sources with direct knowledge of Prince’s pitch said it calls for starting with intelligence operations and later deploying 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers-for-hire from Colombia and other Latin American nations to conduct combat and stabilization operations.

For Prince, the unlikely gambit represents the latest effort in a long campaign to privatize warfare. The wealthy son of an auto-parts tycoon has fielded private security contractors in conflict zones from Central Asia to Africa to the Middle East.

One of Prince’s key arguments, one source said, is that Venezuela needs what Prince calls a “dynamic event” to break the stalemate that has existed since January, when Guaido - the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly - declared Maduro’s 2018 re-election illegitimate and invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency.

Maduro has denounced Guaido, who has been backed by most western nations, as a U.S. puppet who is seeking to foment a coup. Key government institutions – including the military – have not shifted their loyalty to Guaido despite increasing international pressure from sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies.

Guaido has stressed that he wants a peaceful resolution, and Latin American governments recognizing his authority have urged against outside military action. Senior U.S. officials, without ruling out armed intervention, have also emphasized economic and diplomatic measures to pressure Maduro.

Prince was a pioneer in private military contracting during the Iraq war, when the U.S. government hired Blackwater primarily to provide security for State Department operations there.

In 2007, Blackwater employees shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians at Nisour Square in Baghdad, sparking international outrage. One of the Blackwater employees involved was convicted of murder in December and three others have been convicted of manslaughter.

Prince renamed the Blackwater security company and sold it in 2010, but he recently opened a company called Blackwater USA, which sells ammunition, silencers and knives. Over the past two years, he has led an unsuccessful campaign to convince the Trump administration to replace U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan with security contractors.

Since 2014, Prince has run the Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group, which has close ties to the state-owned Chinese investment company CITIC and helps Chinese firms operating in Africa with security, aviation and logistics services.

Prince donated $100,000 to a political action committee that supported Trump’s election. His sister, Betsy DeVos, is the administration’s education secretary.

Prince’s role in Trump’s campaign was highlighted in the report by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, released this month, on alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The report outlined how Prince financed an effort to authenticate purported Hillary Clinton emails and how in 2016 he met in the Seychelles islands, off east Africa, with a wealthy Russian financial official on behalf of Trump’s presidential transition team.

Prince spokesman Cohen declined to comment on the Mueller report.

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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    3 weeks ago
The two sources with direct knowledge of Prince’s pitch said it calls for starting with intelligence operations and later deploying 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers-for-hire from Colombia and other Latin American nations to conduct combat and stabilization operations.

Privatizing war.

 
 
 
evilgenius
1.1  evilgenius  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    3 weeks ago

That's his gig - he's War, Inc. It's sick and perverted.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  evilgenius @1.1    3 weeks ago

His mercenaries were guilty of multiple murders in Iraq, but US authorities prevented their prosecution.

 
 
 
evilgenius
1.1.2  evilgenius  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

Yes, I'm still pissed with that. Prince himself got away with some bullshit awhile back. I forget what it was for... anyway one day he's gonna fuck up and get his.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilgenius @1.1.2    3 weeks ago

He's a nasty dude

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.4  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1.3    3 weeks ago

Almost as bad as his sister...

(Betsy DeVos)

 
 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     3 weeks ago
The two sources with direct knowledge of Prince’s pitch said it calls for starting with intelligence operations and later deploying 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers-for-hire from Colombia and other Latin American nations to conduct combat and stabilization operations.

He could recruit from  the drug gangs of South and Central America....What a frickin' brilliant plan..Perfect representatives of America..../s

Photo of Mr. Prince's gun for hire.

512

512

 
 
 
livefreeordie
3  livefreeordie    3 weeks ago

Sounds like a good plan to me.  The sooner they get Maduro out the sooner Venezuela can try and return to normalcy 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  livefreeordie @3    3 weeks ago
Sounds like a good plan to me.

Why does that not surprise me?

 
 
 
livefreeordie
3.1.1  livefreeordie  replied to  Bob Nelson @3.1    3 weeks ago

So it’s acceptable to you that a Marxist dictator has turned a once prosperous nation into a hellhole?

its acceptable to you that that this Marxist dictator jails or murders journalists and political opponents for speaking out?

It’s acceptable to you that that people are starving and lack basic necessities?

i watched this on Viceland (no conservative programming) 3 years ago when things were merely bad.   Women couldn’t even find tampons in the stores

https://www.viceland.com/en_us/video/no-tampons-in-venezuela-states-of-undress-venezuela-scene/570d81c54144e3591082073e

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1.2  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  livefreeordie @3.1.1    3 weeks ago

No.

No.

No.

Nor do I think it would be a good idea to srart a new Forever War in Latin America, before finishing the one in the Middle East.

 
 
 
Kavika
3.1.3  Kavika   replied to  livefreeordie @3.1.1    3 weeks ago

Perhaps we could re invade Cuba, since it went so well the last time. Hell, we could turn Prince loose on half the countries in the world if we use your criteria. 

Prince and his so called army of mercenaries may face a really rough time. Guaido's high stakes gamble to get the military to turn on Muduro looks like a failure. 

 
 
 
Ender
4  Ender    3 weeks ago
For Prince, the unlikely gambit represents the latest effort in a long campaign to privatize warfare. The wealthy son of an auto-parts tycoon has fielded private security contractors in conflict zones from Central Asia to Africa to the Middle East.

Why this is allowed to exist I don't understand. We should not allow a company to engage in warfare of their choosing. It should be illegal.

 
 
 
XDm9mm
4.1  XDm9mm  replied to  Ender @4    3 weeks ago
Why this is allowed to exist I don't understand. We should not allow a company to engage in warfare of their choosing. It should be illegal.

It's nothing but a proposal.   And mercenaries have existed for, well, since we started as a species.  

Nations have quite often "hired" armies to do combat for them.

 
 
 
Tessylo
4.1.1  Tessylo  replied to  XDm9mm @4.1    3 weeks ago

Murderers/ thugs for hire 

 
 
 
Tessylo
4.1.2  Tessylo  replied to  XDm9mm @4.1    3 weeks ago

Did you ever work as a mercenary?

Inquiring minds would love to know.

 
 
 
luther28
4.1.3  luther28  replied to  XDm9mm @4.1    3 weeks ago
Nations have quite often "hired" armies to do combat for them.

This is true, but it did not seem to work out very well for the Roman Empire (along with others). Just seems to be something wrong with basically a murder for hire concept.

We have more than enough problems of our own that we seem unable to solve, give Venezuela the chance to solve theirs without others sticking their beaks in it. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
4.1.4  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  luther28 @4.1.3    3 weeks ago
did not seem to work out very well for the Roman Empire

Worked pretty well for several centuries, actually.

 
 
 
luther28
4.1.5  luther28  replied to  Bob Nelson @4.1.4    3 weeks ago

Always seems to fail in the end though:)

 
 
 
livefreeordie
4.2  livefreeordie  replied to  Ender @4    3 weeks ago

It’s allowed to exist because our Constitution specifically authorizes it and has been our practice since our founding 

Article 1, Section 8

Letters of marque are expressly granted in the Constitution (Article I section 8): “The Congress shall have the power…to declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal.” Letters of marque are essentially permits for private individuals to use force against enemies of the state on its behalf. In the early eighteenth century, these letters began to function as a way to supplement national navies. “Privateers” were given letters of marque permitting them to capture and plunder enemy ships; an admiralty court adjudicated on the legality of the capture.

 
 
 
luther28
5  luther28    3 weeks ago

Military spending: 20 companies profiting the most from war - USA Today

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/02/21/...profiting...war.../39092315/
Feb 21, 2019 - Military spending: 20 companies profiting the most from war .... last decade, became the second largest arms-producing country, overtaking the ... The United States is home to five of the world's 10 largest defense contractors, ...
Well war is a huge profit center, always has been since ancient times. They just do not discuss that aspect of it.
 
 
 
Bob Nelson
5.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  luther28 @5    3 weeks ago

We are by far the world's biggest arms seller. Now, apparently, we're also going to rent out mercenaries.

Business is business.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  luther28 @5    3 weeks ago
Well war is a huge profit center, always has been since ancient times. They just do not discuss that aspect of it.

Well, of course not. War involves killing people and destroying things. It's hard to reconcile making huge profits from those aspects

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
5.2.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.2    3 weeks ago

Why? Big Business makes huge profits from raping the planet, from poisoning our drinking water, from screwing dying patients, ...

There are literally no depths to which capitalism will not willingly go, to make money.

 
 
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