If at first you don’t privatize, try, try again

If at first you don’t privatize, try, try again

erik prince

by David Isenberg

Question: What does a man worth billions of dollars want? Answer: More billions. Now such a description could apply to more than a few people in the fields of finance, investing and technology, but in this case it applies to Erik Prince, the Energizer Bunny of the private military and security contracting (PMSC) industry. Despite past rebuffs, he just keeps going, and going, and going.

Prince, founder of the Blackwater private security company was in the news this past summer, with his plan to turn the U.S. war in Afghanistan over to the private sector, which I previously wrote about here and here.

Although it was not widely appreciated then, Prince was doing an excellent imitation of Milo Minderbinder, the legendary fictional war profiteer in Joseph Heller’s famed Catch-22 novel. Minderbinder essentially believed that all wars should be conducted by private enterprise—so long as the governments pick up the expenses. For him, the main business of the American public should be his business. Continue reading

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Erickson Helicopters, Inc., December 11, 2017

B-415176.3,B-415176.5, Erickson Helicopters, Inc., December 11, 2017

DOCUMENT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
The decision issued on the date below was subject to a GAO Protective Order. This redacted version has been approved for public release.

Decision

Matter of:  Erickson Helicopters, Inc.

File:  B-415176.3; B-415176.5

Date:  December 11, 2017 Continue reading

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Ex-Blackwater Chief’s Plan to Chase ‘Fool’s Gold’ in Afghanistan

Dealmaker-in-chief Donald Trump is reportedly mulling a proposal to exploit Afghanistan’s $1 trillion in mineral deposits to boost the U.S. high-tech manufacturing industry and counter China’s dominance of rare earth elements (REE) despite the fact the entire endeavor lacks a sound economic basis and will likely destabilize the country even further. Cynics have dared to suggest that the White House is looking at the Afghan resource imperialism plan as a way for Trump to justify his decision to escalate the war. Then again, that would at least make sense.

The venture is part of a larger strategy to privatize the war pitched by Erik Prince – founder of the security contractor formerly known as Blackwater. The details of the plan, leaked and published by BuzzFeed last week, seem to support a strategy that he earlier described as being based on the British East India Company model, as if to make the neocolonial imagery even more vivid. Continue reading

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Erik Prince to Partner With Mozambique Hidden-Debt Companies

  • Prince plans joint venture to develop Mozambique fishing
  • Three companies at center of multibillion-dollar loan scandal
Erik PrincePhotographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Blackwater Security founder Erik Prince will partner with at least one of the state-owned Mozambican companies at the center of a hidden-loan scandal that resulted in the country defaulting on its debt this year.

Prince, chairman of Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group, is forming a joint venture with tuna-fishing company Ematum, and may extend this to assisting the southeast African nation with maritime security, he told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Maputo. Ematum Chairman Antonio do Rosario said Tuesday Prince will also partner with maritime security company ProIndicus, and Mozambique Asset Management, or MAM. Continue reading

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Video: Saudi army and Sudanese mercenaries in Yemen

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:50 PM) – Video footage has surfaced showing armed forces from Saudi Arabia fighting alongside Sudanese hired mercenaries in the Midi region of western Yemen.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly offering ever-increasing prices for hired guns to fight its war against Yemen, as the Saudi armed forces have shown a severe lack of experience in fighting the urban warfare and irregular style of conflict that has become typical for the conflict in Yemen.

The Ansarullah movement, also known as the Houthis, have shown an aptitude for guerilla warfare, which has resulted in heavy casualties and high loss of military material by the technologically highly advanced Saudi army. This has led Riyadh to increase its reliance on foreign mercenaries, many of whom come from Sudan.

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No, American Taxpayers Should Not Be Forced To Fund Misconduct Overseas

No, American Taxpayers Should Not Be Forced To Fund Misconduct Overseas

Photo of Drew Johnson

Drew Johnson
Senior Fellow, National Center for Public Policy Research

As the State Department faces intensifying scrutiny over cuts to staff, high turnover and low morale, a troubling new report shows the effects of a lack of financial prioritization at Foggy Bottom. In particular, it appears the Department is failing to properly vet incumbent private contractors for billion dollar projects, despite their histories of misconduct. Even with staffing shortages and other deficits, there is no excuse for irresponsible spending — Americans taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund misconduct overseas.

According to a report, two recent beneficiaries of State Department largesse are contractors Aegis and Triple Canopy. This year alone, these two companies have been awarded nearly $3 billion of $10 billion allocated for a new worldwide diplomatic security program. Continue reading

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The industry of inequality: why the world is obsessed with private security

New Guardian research shows private security workers outnumber public police officers for the majority of the world – in a business that now dwarfs what is spent trying to end global poverty

Guards from the private security company Prosegur after the Paraguay-based firm was targeted in a multimillion-dollar raid in April.
Guards from the private security company Prosegur after the Paraguay-based firm was targeted in a multimillion-dollar raid in April. Photograph: Reuters

At least half the world’s population lives in countries where there are more private security workers than public police officers, according to a new Guardian analysis. Continue reading

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CBP has to hire 5,000 new Border Patrol agents. It’s paying a private company $297 million to help.

With a mandate from President Donald Trump to hire 5,000 new Border Patrol agents, Customs and Border Protection awarded a $297 million contract to a private company to help recruit and hire the new agents and other workers.

The contract with a division of Accenture, an international professional services corporation with $35 billion in revenues in 2017, comes at a time when the Border Patrol is struggling to meet minimum staffing levels mandated by Congress and is losing more agents per year than it hires. Continue reading

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Inside the corporate investigations busines

Inside the corporate investigations business

The corporate investigations industry is by its very nature a secretive business, but it has recently and reluctantly come out of the shadows.

Last year a private spy, Christopher Steele, was forced to flee his home, following the leak of a dossier he had compiled on President Donald Trump. The former MI6 Russia hand had started his own security firm, Orbis Intelligence and had compiled an account of collusion between the Kremlin and Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump has repeatedly denied any such collusion. Steele, for his part, was recently reported as saying that he believed 70-90% of what was in the dossier was accurate. Then, in early December 2017, the Intercept reported that President Trump is considering creating a global network of private spies, due to his much-vaunted distrust of the Central Intelligence Agency and the larger US intelligence network. The industry is in demand. Continue reading

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Leaked Documents Expose How Corporations Use Spies to Subvert People’s Movements Worldwide

by

Leaked Documents Expose How Corporations Use Spies to Subvert People’s Movements Worldwide

Given what “these companies have gotten away with,” concluded Naomi Klein, it is “no wonder they fear our power.”

 Anti-war demonstrators rally in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations September 19, 2006 in New York City. (Photo: Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

That governments deploy undercover law enforcement officers to infiltrate, gather information on, and subvert protest movements has long been common knowledge. Less well-known, however, is the extent to which some of the world’s most profitable businesses have hired private spies to keep tabs on political movements they perceive as a threat to their power and profits. Continue reading

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