Private Military Mogul Erik Prince Scheduled to Speak at UC Berkeley as Part of Right-Wing ‘Free Speech Week’
Publicists for Milo Yiannopoulos said today that the founder of several controversial private military corporations, Erik Prince, is scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley as part of a “Free Speech Week” on September 26.
Prince is best known as the founder of Academi, a company that provides armed guards to governments and corporate clients, and also trains military and police agencies around the world. Previously known as Blackwater, Academi’s armed soldiers were deployed during the Iraq War in the mid-2000s. Several of the company’s employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007 and were later found guilty of the crime.
Prince resigned as CEO of Blackwater in 2009, but the company has gone on to win contracts worth hundreds of millions dollars with the U.S. State Department and CIA for security and other militarized services.
Long an advocate of privatizing warfare and using contractors as soldiers, Prince now operates Frontier Services Group, a Hong Kong-based security company that primarily guards Chinese corporations that operate in Africa.
Earlier this year, Prince advocated for privatizing the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Through former White House advisor Stephen Bannon, the Trump administration has reportedly drawn on Prince’s advice concerning contracts in the war torn country. Bannon is also scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley
For the Milo “Free Speech Week,” Prince is scheduled to speak along with several anti-Islamic conservatives, including David Horowitz and Pamela Geller.
Emails to a United Kingdom media relations company that represents Prince seeking confirmation that he’ll be speaking in two weeks at UC Berkeley were not immediately returned.
But AMW Public Relations, the New York publicity firm representing Yiannopoulos confirmed that Prince is scheduled to take part in the week long event.
Berkeley police expect there to be protests during the “Free Speech Week’s” events, and in response, on Tuesday, the Berkeley City Council voted to allow police to use pepper spray during crowd control situations.