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April 4, 2017


As many of my followers know, I live part of the year here in southwest Florida and part of the year in southwestern Michigan just north of Grand Rapids, staying there until early October of each year before vacating those premises for another winter here. When north I live within an hour of Holland, Michigan, the city where Erik Prince and his sister Betsy Prince were born and raised, children of a very wealthy industrialist and who, unsurprisingly, became right wing Republicans as adults.

Erik, a former Navy Seal and his sister Betsy Prince DeVos (the wife of billionaire Amway owner Richard DeVos (who is quite properly known among family and associates as “Rich” DeVos), are respectively, the owner of the old Blackwater organization and Secretary of Education. Both are products of private schools and neither of them has ever attended public schools, though Betsy has become a leading critic of public education and was rewarded by Trump with her appointment as Secretary of Education, apparently with a view toward having her attend to the destruction of public education in this country during his tenure, a good choice given her success in the destruction of public education in Michigan.

Erik, who ran a private army in Iraq known as Blackwater during the second Bush invasion, did what regular members of the army and marines could not since his operations were not subject to the same degree of accountability as those conducted by our military. Blackwater was essentially a corporate and private Hessian operation which contracted with the State Department to do what they did (along with many other things not included in such contracts), including contracts to protect diplomats the world over for millions of dollars, protection that used to be provided by Marines at far lower costs. Blackwater was a mercenary grouping since renamed because of its bad press and as noted earlier headed by a rich gung ho ex-Navy Seal, Erik Prince, who now claims residence in Hong Kong.

War or the threat of it has been good for business for Erik, but following the 2007 Nisour Square slaughter of Iraqi civilians and other such atrocities by Blackwater “employees” after which he testified before Congress and Blackwater paid damages to the some of the families of those slaughtered at Nisour Square and had three of its killer employees sent to prison, he changed the name of Blackwater and decided to take up residence about 10,000 miles from Washington, D.C., away from TV cameras and prying news people, and I haven’t heard much about him until yesterday, as will be seen.

His private army business and protection of diplomats are, at bottom, successful attempts at privatization, efforts we used to have our military perform at far lower costs. It appears that the millions he and his sister have donated to Republican politicians ranging from Newt Gingrich through Donald Trump have been good investments. She is now in a position to destroy public education and he is now in a position to privatize wars without military accountability while guarding diplomats around the world under contract with the State Department, and all without personal liability to either Betsy or Erik. For a fuller accounting of what this man has done in our name, I recommend reading a book first published by Jeremy Scahill in 2007 entitled “Blackwater, The Rise Of The World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”

The foregoing is prologue. What this essay is really and finally about is the newly-discovered secret meeting of Erik Prince with a confidant of Putin in the Seychelles Islands, which necessarily raises the suspicion that Trump is using Prince as a back channel communication line with Putin. I believe I am more than suspicious of what transpired at this secret meeting for good reason since Prince was a member of Trump’s transition team and what, by the way, is a person who profits from war mongering doing on a presidential transition team in the first place? Is this a harbinger of things to come as Trump chooses war to cover his governing and other inadequacies as the rest of us are constrained to “rally around the flag?” Whose flag? That of the war mongering and war profiteers (see Cheney and Halliburton in Iraq #2)? How much influence can campaign contributions from war mongering supporters command in making even foreign policy a subject of outsourcing and privatization?

The American people have a right to know the representations made and what was talked about at that secret conference (which the White House, of course, claims to know nothing about), and to that end, I am of the strong opinion that all three committees which are investigating Trump’s Russian connections bring Prince before their respective committees, put him under oath, and ask him why he was in the Seychelles to meet with Putin’s representative, what they talked about, and who authorized and/or ordered him to attend the meeting, among about a thousand other questions.

Given that neither Trump nor Prince is well known for telling the truth, there may be more here than meets the eye. We may ultimately get to know the truth and if in the course of things Prince is subsequently found to have been lying under oath, he is subject to prosecution for the felony of perjury, assuming that our attorney general (Sessions, a man who himself has had suspicious communications with Russians) keeps his word and remains in recusal status in all matters Russian.

Since we have allowed the foxes into the henhouse on their promise to leave the hens alone, it behooves us to keep a sharp eye out for their conduct and to be sure that they are protecting the chickens rather than eating them. We can start with a subpoena of the transcript (if one exists) of what Prince and his Putin confidant talked about in the Seychelles, followed by Prince’s testimony before the investigating committees under oath. It is time to see if the foxes are keeping their word to us or should be expelled from the henhouse, and given this incident along with many others with pro-Russian overtones where the plot is not only thickened but congealed, I’m thinking expulsion.      GERALD       E




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