“We are trying to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service”
Speculations regarding who the new owner of the world’s largest private defense contractor is have been swirling for years now since the company previously known as Blackwater Worldwide, but recently renamed Academi, was sold in 2010 to a small group of private investors.
Americans have conjectured whether the new owner could possibly be the world’s leading agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto.
“Some believe that increased public opposition to GMO (genetically-modified organism) products could have sparked the Monsanto security contract, which was designed to protect its products,” according to a June 2 article by Global Dispatch.
The private military company previously known as Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide, has changed its name several times due public scrutiny after the company was exposed for murdering 17 innocent Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad of September 2007.
Erik D. Prince, founder of Blackwater, was raised in a “conservative Dutch-immigrant enclave” in Holland, Michigan. Erik’s father Edgar Prince was an innovator serving the automotive industry, starting his own business in 1965.
Men’s Journal reports that Edgar Prince achieved great wealth when he invented a “breakthrough product: a lighted sun visor with a mirror, first introduced in the 1973 Cadillac.” He also introduced the first built-in garage door opener and the first vehicular digital compass and thermometer.
Erik traveled the world with his father vising many historical sites such as the German concentration camp Dachau, however the most influential event he witnessed was the Rwandan genocide, in which half a million people where massacred by another tribe in East Africa in 1994.
In a speech given during a Tulip Luncheon in his hometown, Prince referred to the Rwandan genocide and told the audience, “It really bothered me. It made me realize you can’t sit back and pontificate. You have to act.”
Erik, a graduate from a “privately funded libertarian school in southern Michigan,” went on to serve a low-level internship in the White House under George H.W. Bush but soon left to work for Ronald Reagan’s “former speechwriter and ex-freedom fighter against the Soviets in Afghanistan,” Dana Rohrabacher.
Erik eventually joined the Navy SEALs where he worked for eight years before returning to civilian life after his wife died of cancer in 2003.
After Erik’s father passed away he inherited $1.35 billion, however, in stead of basking idly in luxury, with the help of veteran Navy SEAL Al Clark he invested his own money and opened the Blackwater Lodge and Training Center in 1998.
Prince’s motivation to help save lives ironically led him to a career of training military combatants to kill. The private company is notorious for providing training to military and law enforcement organizations both in and outside of the U.S.
After founding the company, Prince purchased 7,000 acres of land in the swamplands along the North Carolina/Virginia border where he built a private training facility for the purpose of training men to kill.
According to Men’s Journal, he invited “members of the military, FBI, local law enforcement, and even the CIA to visit and play ‘Blackwater.’”
“We are trying to do for the national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service,” said Prince.
Prince’s companies have performed intelligence services and counterterrorism training for the Canadian military, the Netherlands police, the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and several other US military bases.
According to Jeremy Scahill’s report titled Blackwater’s Black Ops published in The Nation magazine in 2010, Scahill ties the private defense companies’ work to several multinational corporations such as Monsanto, Chevron, Walt Disney and the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. The work done by Blackwater was contracted by two companies both owned by Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC).
Joseph Cofer Black, a former CIA official who led the Office of Counterterrorism for the U.S. State Department until 2004, is now chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions.
Black, harboring a reputation of being particularly vicious, according to a report from the Political Blind Spot, initiated contact with Monsanto in 2008 in an attempt to establish a working relationship with the company. If proceeded, the relationship would entail providing intelligence services to the biotech giant through infiltration of animal rights activists, anti-GM activists and other potential oppositions.
The Political Blind Spot writes when Monsanto’s security manager for global issues Kevin Wilson was contacted by Scahill, he initially declined to comment, but later confirmed to The Nation that they did in fact hire Total Intelligence in 2008-09. Wilson says they hired the company to keep track of “public disclosure” of its opponents. He also made it a point to maintain that Total Intelligence was a “totally separate entity from Blackwater.”
According to Scahill, documents obtained by The Nation revealed that “Total Intelligence, sought to become the ‘intel arm’ of Monsanto by offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.”
In an email sent from Black to other Blackwater executives, Black discussed how Blackwater “could have our person(s) actually join [activist] group(s) legally.” He also acknowledged that they would be paid by Monsanto’s “generation protection budget.”
Scahill says Black estimated that the potential payments to Total Intelligence could range from $100,000-$500,000. According to The Nation’s documents, Monsanto paid the company $127,000 in 2008 and $105,000 in 2009.
On September 3, 2010, the New York Times published a report stating, “Blackwater Worldwide has created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company was named under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq.”
“While it’s not clear how many of those businesses won contracts, at least three had deals with the U.S. military or the CIA. Since 2001, the intelligence agency has awarded up to $600 million in classified contracts to Blackwater and its affiliates,” said government officials.
According to a report by Dealbook, under the pressure of civil lawsuits, criminal charges and Congressional investigations surrounding the accusations of murder and bribery, Prince sold the company to a group of LA investors with whom he had close ties with in late 2010.
Five former senior Blackwater executives, including its former president, were facing weapon charges along with threats from the State Department that the government-awarded contracts were coming to an end.
Dealbrook reported, “The sale is intended to help shake the stigma associated with its ownership under Mr. Prince.”
Despite stepping down as the founder, Prince maintains a financial interest in the company’s future.
Jason DeYonker of Forté Capital Advisors, a participating lead investor in the deal, was a close family friend of Prince and actually managed the family’s money from 1998-2002.
Dealbrook’s source said, “The exact terms of the deal could not be learned, but people involved in the talks said the transaction was worth about $200 million,” and was subsequently financed by Bank of America.
Reports claim the new owners’ objective is to convert the company from a private security service into a military training organization in hopes of obtaining new contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen in an effort to train local forces.
Upon sale of the company, Prince has since left the country and relocated to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. But according to Scahill, “He doesn’t seem to be leaving the shadowy world of security and intelligence behind.”
Prince said he moved to the nation because of its “great proximity to potential opportunities across the entire Middle East, and great logistics.” He added, “It has a friendly business climate, low to no taxes, free trade and no out of control trial lawyers or labor unions. It’s pro-business and opportunity.”
Scahill adds, “It also has no extradition treaty with the United States.”
While it can’t yet be definitively confirmed who exactly bought the world’s largest private contractor, it is however clear that global corporations are secretly hiring independent contractors to act as mechanisms for security and defense.