Send the Mercs into Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria
Prince painted a global picture in which Iran is "at the absolute dead
center… of badness."
The Iranians, he said,
"want that nuke so that it is
again a Persian Gulf and they very much have an attitude of when Darius ran
most of the Middle East back in 1000 BC. That’s very much what the Iranians
[NOTE: Darius of Persia actually ruled from 522 BC–486 BC].
Iran, Prince charged, has a "master plan to stir up and organize a Shia
revolt through the whole region."
Prince proposed that armed private
soldiers from companies like Blackwater be deployed in countries throughout
the region to target Iranian influence, specifically in Yemen, Somalia and
"The Iranians have a very sinister hand in these places,"
"You’re not going to solve it by putting a lot of uniformed
soldiers in all these countries. It’s way too politically sensitive. The
private sector can operate there with a very, very small, very light
In addition to concerns of political expediency, Prince
suggested that using private contractors to conduct such operations would be
"The overall defense budget is going to have to be cut and
they’re going to look for ways, they’re going to have to have ways to become
more efficient," he said.
"And there’s a lot of ways that the private sector
can operate with a much smaller, much lighter footprint."
Prince also proposed using private armed contractors in the oil-rich African
nation of Nigeria.
Prince said that guerilla groups in the country are
dramatically slowing oil production and extraction and stealing oil.
"There’s more than a half million barrels a day stolen there, which is
stolen and organized by very large criminal syndicates. There’s even some
evidence it’s going to fund terrorist organizations," Prince alleged.
guerilla groups attack the pipeline, attack the pump house to knock it
offline, which makes the pressure of the pipeline go soft. they cut that
pipeline and they weld in their own patch with their own valves and they
back a barge up into it. Ten thousand barrels at a time, take that oil,
drive that 10,000 barrels out to sea and at $80 a barrel, that’s $800,000.
That’s not a bad take for organized crime."
Prince made no mention of the
nonviolent indigenous opposition to oil extraction and pollution, nor did he
mention the notorious human rights abuses connected to multinational oil
corporations in Nigeria that have sparked much of the resistance.
Blackwater and the Geneva Convention
Prince scornfully dismissed the debate on whether armed individuals working
for Blackwater could be classified as "unlawful combatants" who are
ineligible for protection under the Geneva Convention.
"You know, people ask
me that all the time, 'Aren’t you concerned that you folks aren’t covered
under the Geneva Convention in [operating] in the likes of Iraq or
Afghanistan or Pakistan?
And I say, 'Absolutely not,’ because these people,
they crawled out of the sewer and they have a 1200 AD mentality. They’re
barbarians. They don’t know where Geneva is, let alone that there was a
It is significant that Prince mentioned his company operating in Pakistan
given that Blackwater, the US government and the Pakistan government have
all denied Blackwater works in Pakistan.
Taking Down the Iraqi Shoe Thrower for the 'Flat-Footed’ Secret Service
Prince noted several high-profile attacks on world leaders in the past year,
specifically a woman pushing the Pope at Christmas mass and the attack on
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, saying there has been a pattern of
"some pretty questionable security lately."
He then proceeded to describe
the feats of his Blackwater forces in protecting dignitaries and diplomats,
claiming that one of his men took down the Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi,
who threw his shoes at President Bush in Baghdad in December 2008.
referred to al-Zaidi as the "shoe bomber:"
"A little known fact, you know when the shoe bomber in Iraq was throwing his
shoes at President Bush, in December 08, we provided diplomatic security,
but we had no responsibility for the president’s security - that’s always the
Secret Service that does that.
We happened to have a guy in the back of the
room and he saw that first shoe go and he drew his weapon, got a sight
picture, saw that it was only a shoe, he re-holstered, went forward and took
that guy down while the Secret Service was still standing there flat-footed.
I have a picture of that - I’m publishing a book, so watch for that later this
fall - in which you’ll see all the reporters looking, there’s my guy taking
the shoe thrower down. He didn’t shoot him, he just tackled him, even though
the guy was committing assault and battery on the president of the United
I asked a friend of mine who used to run the Secret Service if they
had a written report of that and he said the debrief was so bad they did not
put it in writing."
While the Secret Service was widely criticized at the time for its apparent
inaction during the incident, video of the event clearly showed another
Iraqi journalist, not security guards, initially pulling al-Zaidi to the
Almost instantly thereafter, al-Zaidi was swarmed by a gang of
various, unidentified security agents.
Blackwater’s 'Forward Operating Bases
Prince went into detail about his company’s operations in Afghanistan.
Blackwater has been in the country since at least April 2002, when the
company was hired by the CIA on a covert contract to provide the Agency with
security. Since then, Blackwater has won hundreds of millions of dollars in
security, counter-narcotics and training contracts for the State Department,
Defense Department and the CIA.
The company protects US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and other senior US officials, guards CIA personnel and trains
the Afghan border police.
"We built four bases and we staffed them and we
run them," Prince said, referring to them as Forward Operating Bases (FOBs).
He described them as being in the north, south, east and west of
"Spin Boldak in the south, which is the major drug
trans-shipment area, in the east at a place called FOB Lonestar, which is
right at the foothills of Tora Bora mountain. In fact if you ski off Tora
Bora mountain, you can ski down to our firebase," Prince said, adding that
Blackwater also has a base near Herat and another location.
FOB Lonestar is
approximately 15 miles from the Pakistan border.
"Who else has built a
[Forward Operating Base] along the main infiltration route for the Taliban
and the last known location for Osama bin Laden?" Prince said earlier this
Blackwater’s War on Drugs
Prince described a Narcotics Interdiction Unit Blackwater started in
Afghanistan five years ago that remains active.
"It is about a 200 person
strike force to go after the big narcotics traffickers, the big cache
sites," Prince said.
"That unit’s had great success. They’ve taken more than
$3.5 billion worth of heroin out of circulation. We’re not going after the
farmers, but we’re going after the traffickers."
He described an operation
in July 2009 where Blackwater forces actually called in NATO air strikes on
a target during a mission:
"A year ago, July, they did the largest hashish bust in counter-narcotics
history, down in the south-east. They went down, they hit five targets that
our intel guys put together and they wound up with about 12,000 pounds of
heroin. While they were down there, they said, 'You know, these other three
sites look good, we should go check them out.’
Sure enough they did and they
found a cache - 262,000 kilograms of hash, which equates to more than a
billion dollars street value. And it was an industrialized hash operation,
it was much of the hash crop in Helmand province. It was palletized, they’d
dug ditches out in the desert, covered it with tarps and the bags of powder
were big bags with a brand name on it for the hash brand, palletized, ready
to go into containers down to Karachi [Pakistan] and then out to Europe or
elsewhere in the world.
That raid alone took about $60 million out of the
Taliban’s coffers. So, those were good days. When the guys found it, they
didn’t have enough ammo, enough explosives, to blow it, they couldn’t burn
it all, so they had to call in multiple air strikes.
Of course, you know,
each of the NATO countries that came and did the air strikes took credit for
finding and destroying the cache."
December 30, 2009 CIA Bombing in Khost
Prince also addressed the deadly suicide bombing on December 30 at the CIA
station at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan.
personnel, including two Blackwater operatives, were killed in the bombing,
which was carried out by a Jordanian double-agent.
Prince was asked by an
audience member about the "failure" to prevent that attack. The questioner
did not mention that Blackwater was responsible for the security of the CIA
officials that day, nor did Prince discuss Blackwater’s role that day.
is what Prince said:
"You know what? It is a tragedy that those guys were killed but if you put
it in perspective, the CIA has lost extremely few people since 9/11. We’ve
lost two or three in Afghanistan, before that two or three in Iraq and, I
believe, one guy in Somalia - a landmine.
So when you compare what Bill
Donovan and the OSS did to the Germans and the Japanese, the Italians during
World War II - and they lost hundreds and hundreds of people doing very
difficult, very dangerous work - it is a tragedy when you lose people, but it
is a cost of doing that work.
It is essential, you’ve got to take risks.
that case, they had what appeared to be a very hot asset who had very
relevant, very actionable intelligence and he turned out to be a bad guy…
That’s what the intelligence business is, you can’t be assured success all
the time. You’ve got to be willing to take risks.
Those are calculated risks
but sometimes it goes badly. I hope the Agency doesn’t draw back and say,
'Oh, we have to retrench and not do that anymore,’ all the rest. No. We need
you to double down, go after them harder. That is a cost of doing business.
They are there to kill us."
Prince to Some NATO Countries in Afghanistan - 'Go
Prince spoke disparagingly of some unnamed NATO countries with troops in
Afghanistan, saying they do not have the will for the fight.
"Some of them
do and a lot of them don’t," he said. "It is such a patchwork of different
international commitments as to what some can do and what some can’t. A lot
of them should just pack it in and go home."
Canada, however, received
praise from Prince.
"The Canadians have lost per capita more than America
has in Afghanistan. They are fighting and they are doing it and so if you
see a Canadian thank them for that. The politicians at home take heavies for
doing that," Prince said.
He did not mention the fact that his company was
hired by the Canadian government to train its forces.
Prince also described how his private air force (which he recently sold)
bailed out a US military unit in trouble in Afghanistan.
Prince, the unit was fighting the Taliban and was running out of ammo and
needed an emergency re-supply.
"Because of, probably some procedure written
by a lawyer back in Washington, the Air Force was not permitted to drop in
an uncertified drop zone… even to the unit that was running out of ammo,"
"So they called and asked if our guys would do it and, of
course, they said, 'Yes.’ And the cool part of the story is the Army guys
put their DZ mark in the drop zone, a big orange panel, on the hood of their
hummer and our guys put the first bundle on the hood of that hummer.
don’t always get that close, but that time a little too close."
- Teaching Afghans to Use Toilets
Prince said his forces train 1300 Afghans every six weeks and described his
pride in attending "graduations" of Blackwater-trained Afghans, saying that
in six weeks they radically transform the trainees.
"You take these
officers, these Afghans and it’s the first time in their life they’ve ever
been part of something that’s first class, that works. The instructors know
what they’re talking about, they’re fed, the water works, there’s ammunition
for their guns. Everything works," Prince said.
"The first few days of
training, we have to do 'Intro to Toilet Use’ because a lot of these guys
have never even seen a flushed toilet before."
"We manage to
take folks with a tribal mentality and, just like the Marine Corps does more
effectively than anyone else, they take kids from disparate lifestyles
across the United States and you throw them into Paris Island and you make
We try that same mentality there by pushing these guys very
hard and, it’s funny, I wish I had video to show you of the hilarious
If you take someone that’s 25 years old and they’ve never
done a jumping jack in their life - some of the convoluted motions they do
it’s comical. But the transformation from day one to the end of that
program, they’re very proud and they’re very capable."
Prince said that when
he was in Afghanistan late last year,
"I met with a bunch of generals and
they said the Afghans that we train are the most effective fighting force in
Prince also discussed the Afghan women he says work with Blackwater.
of the women we’ve had, it’s amazing," Prince said.
"They come in in the
morning and they have the burqa on and they transition to their cammies
(camouflage uniforms) and I think they enjoy the baton work," he said,
adding, "They’ve been hand-cuffing a little too much on the men."
Hurricane Katrina and Humanitarian Mercenaries
Erik Prince spoke at length about Blackwater’s deployment in 2005 in New
Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, bragging that his forces "rescued 128
people, sent thousands of meals in there and it worked."
Prince boasted of
his company’s rapid response, saying,
"We surged 145 guys in 36 hours from
our facility five states away and we beat the Louisiana National Guard to
What Prince failed to mention was that at the time of the
disaster, at least 35% of the Louisiana National Guard was deployed in Iraq.
One National Guard soldier in New Orleans at the time spoke to Reuters,
"They (the Bush administration) care more about Iraq and Afghanistan
than here… We are doing the best we can with the resources we have, but
almost all of our guys are in Iraq."
Much of the National Guard’s equipment
was in Iraq at the time, including high water vehicles, Humvees, refuelers
Prince also said that he had a plan to create a massive humanitarian vessel
that, with the generous support of major corporations, could have responded
to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis across the globe.
thought, man, the military has perfected how to move men and equipment into
combat, why can’t we do that for the humanitarian side?" Prince said.
ship Prince wanted to use for these missions was an 800 foot container
vessel capable of shipping,
"1700 containers, which would have lined up six
and a half miles of humanitarian assistance with another 250 vehicles"
"We could have gotten almost all those boxes donated. It would have
been boxes that would have had generator sets from Caterpillar, grain from
ADM [Archer Daniels Midland], anti-biotics from pharmaceutical companies,
all the stuff you need to do massive humanitarian assistance," Prince said,
adding that it "would have had turnkey fuel support, food, surgical,
portable surgical hospitals, beds cots, blankets, all the above."
says he was going to do the work for free,
"on spec," but "instead we got
attacked politically and ended up paying tens of millions of dollars in
lawyer bills the last few years. It’s an unfortunate misuse of resources
because a boat like that sure would have been handy for the Haitian people
Outing Erik Prince
Prince also addressed what he described as his outing as a CIA asset working
on sensitive US government programs. He has previously blamed Congressional
Democrats and the news media for naming him as working on the US
The US intelligence apparatus,
"depends heavily on
Americans that are not employed by the government to facilitate greater
success and access for the intelligence community," Prince said.
unprecedented to have people outed by name, especially ones that were
running highly classified programs.
And as much as the left got animated
about Valerie Plame, outing people by name for other very very sensitive
programs was unprecedented and definitely threw me under the bus."