Russiagate Open Thread: Meanwhile, What News of the Prince of Amway?

Erik Prince, brother of Betsy deVos, founder of Blackwater (now Academi), testified before the US House of Representatives Select Committe on Intelligence on November 30th. A 105-page transcript of his testimony has been released, and is providing much fodder for specialists…



Prince briefed top Trump administration officials directly, talked up his plan publicly on the DC circuit, and published op-eds about it. He patterned the strategy he’s pitching on the historical model of the old British East India Company, which had its own army and colonized much of Britain’s empire in India. “An East India Company approach,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “would use cheaper private solutions to fill the gaps that plague the Afghan security forces, including reliable logistics and aviation support.”

But the details have never been made public. Here is the never-before-published slide presentation for his pitch, which a source familiar with the matter said was prepared for the Trump administration.

One surprising element is the commercial promise Prince envisions: that the US will get access to Afghanistan’s rich deposits of minerals such as lithium, used in batteries; uranium; magnesite; and “rare earth elements,” critical metals used in high technology from defense to electronics. One slide estimates the value of mineral deposits in Helmand province alone at $1 trillion…

Prince currently runs a Chinese security and logistics company, as BuzzFeed News has previously reported. Still, in his pitch to America’s policymakers, he plays the US against China. One slide, devoted to “market manipulation in rare earth elements,” presents China as dominating the market for the valuable minerals.

Ironically, the statement from Prince’s spokesman that said Prince’s Chinese company, Frontier Services Group, would participate in the Afghanistan plan, and “would provide logistics support to the extractive firms with secure transportation and camp support.”…

Bad ideas never die, they just encycst themselves in the GOP groupmind…

33 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Actually it’s now Constellis. Constellis owns Academi, as well as Triple Canopy, and about a dozen other defense and intel contractors. Basically they’ve created a consortium like super defense contracting company.

  2. 2
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Christ, what an asshole!

  3. 3
    dr. bloor says:

    Erik Prince’s singular strength seems to be pissing off people who have the resources to not deal with his bullshit. His gray matter is going to be a wonderful sight to behold.

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    That proposal slide deck is terrible.

  5. 5
    Jay S says:

    @Adam L Silverman: somehow I got it into my head that they were bought out by a Chinese outfit. Or perhaps they were just renting out to one?

  6. 6
    mike in dc says:

    Prince does not strike me as a man who will die of natural causes, in hospice surrounded by loved ones.

  7. 7
    Jay S says:

    How did I miss this

    Prince currently runs a Chinese security and logistics company, as BuzzFeed News has previously reported.

    @Jay S: Got the ownership backwards I see.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Jay S says:

    @mike in dc: Actually Prince strikes me as a survivor after bringing ruin to everyone around him.

  10. 10
    mike in dc says:

    Elise Jordan‏
    Verified account
    Follow @Elise_Jordan

    Erik Prince has been in the news a lot lately. In his book, he explains the kind of man he is: the kind who impregnates his children’s nanny while his wife is dying of cancer. …

  11. 11

    Not Erik Prince (although all this will probably be shown to connect up at some future date), but

    An executive at a leading Russian social media company made several overtures to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 — including days before the November election — urging the candidate to create a page on the website to appeal to Russian Americans and Russians.

    This is one place where the Trumpies showed some good judgment. Or maybe their incompetence prevented them from being able to set up a page on VKontakte.

    The executive at Vkontakte, or VK, Russia’s equivalent to Facebook, emailed Donald Trump Jr. and social media director Dan Scavino in January and again in November of last year, offering to help promote Trump’s campaign to its nearly 100 million users, according to people familiar with the messages.

    “It will be the top news in Russia,” Konstantin Sidorkov, who serves as VK’s director of partnership marketing, wrote on Nov. 5, 2016.

    While Scavino expressed interest in learning more at one point, it is unclear whether the campaign pursued the idea. An attorney for Trump Jr. said his client forwarded a pitch about the concept to Scavino early in the year and could not recall any further discussion about it.

  12. 12
    ThresherK says:

    @mike in dc: Don’t give Newt any ideas.

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay S: No. Prince is currently fronting a PRC funded security and logistics company. Constellis, which includes Academi, has, as far as I know, nothing to do with Prince. I’m sure some of the senior Academi folks may be leftovers, but as far as I know Prince doesn’t have a stake in them.

  14. 14
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mike in dc: Here you go:

    Also, Elise Jordan was Michael Hastings wife.

  15. 15
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    how fast can campaign commercials be cut and how much do they cost?

    The Reagan Battalion‏Verified account @ ReaganBattalion
    Video: Roy Moore: Putin may be right, America is the focus of modern evil in the world.

  16. 16

    ETA: I see Jim beat me to it.

  17. 17
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Josh Barro‏Verified account @ jbarro
    Very good @Lawrence opening monologue tonight, ripping into Senate Democrats for sticking by Bob Menendez.

    This was good, O’Donnell was quietly pissed. He used to fill in for Franken on the radio show.

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: yours is easier to click

    trump was gross with WWII survivors. brilliant

  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I just saw the clip. What a putz!

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: It has to be seen to be believed. It was just horrible:

  21. 21
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Prince and Drumpf sure act as if Drumpf owes Prince a big, big favor.

    Hmmm. I wonder what it could be ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  22. 22
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Today, our entire nation pauses to remember Pearl Harbor and the brave warriors who, on that day, stood tall and fought for America,”

    not a bone spur among them!

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The whole “have you ever heard the call ‘remember Pearl Harbor’ before? Have you ever heard that?” Was just nuts. First off that wasn’t the call. Secondly WTF? And I don’t mean water treatment facility!

  24. 24
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Meh. Evangelicals have been saying that for years. Remember Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell saying that 9/11 happened because we were too liberal for al-Qaeda?

  25. 25
    mike in dc says:

    There would be bedlam if Mueller actually did this. I’d kinda like him to, actually–get a sealed indictment, send the report, wait to see if the House acts, if they do nothing, file the indictment and formally request 45 to present himself at court.

  26. 26
    mike in dc says:

    @Adam L Silverman: “Boy, that Bataan March was some walk, huh? Wow, 60 miles. I’ll bet your feet hurt!”

  27. 27
    rikyrah says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Lawrence on the historical context of Sen. Franken’s resignation

  28. 28
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    That company’s had quite a lot of names in 20 years. Is there some reason it has trouble keeping its good name?

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Amir Khalid: It doesn’t have a good name. The time period it had one didn’t last.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: @Cheryl Rofer: That’s okay, Doug Jones just suppressed the African American vote in Alabama!

    The above photo is not a stock photo or an image created by The Root’s art department. It is an actual flyer circulating around from the Doug Jones for Senate Committee in his run against Elmer Fudd wannabe and schoolgirl aficionado Roy Moore for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat, and it has upset black voters across Alabama.

    Someone, probably a white man, thought that the image would resonate with black people and motivate them to get out the vote. It’s as if black people were considering voting for the child molester until some brilliant strategist posited, “What if he were black, though?” The flyer is reductive in its oversimplification of the black mind as only caring about black issues. While it might not be racist, it is certainly racist adjacent.

    It is also the Democratic Party.

    Part of the reason the Democratic Party has been marginalized as a party that only exists on the coasts and in urban areas is white-mannery like this. While the policies of the party may be more progressive and black-friendly, the Democratic leadership is often as prejudiced and shortsighted as its Republican counterparts, and next week’s Senate election is the perfect example.

    The Democratic Party is trash. It is the reason Hillary Clinton lost. It is the reason Donald Trump is president. It is the reason I might be represented in the U.S. Senate by a grown man who probably went to see Twilight in the theaters and stood by the candy counter asking teenage girls if they wanted a sugar daddy.

    Until the stories surfaced about Roy Moore’s predilection for prepubescent ponytail wearers, the Democratic Party had wholly abandoned Alabama. It treated minorities and Democratic-leaning whites in the South like every black character in horror movies: necessary casualties left behind for the greater good.

    The party only campaigns in already-Democratic strongholds for the scant few electoral votes during presidential elections, and the rest of the time it ignores them completely.

    On the rare occasions when the Democratic Party does address black voters, it only talks about the “black issues”: policing, mass incarceration, civil rights, etc. For the party leadership, black people aren’t whole people who have the same concerns about taxes, job creation, education initiatives, international policy and economics as other voters. They are simply bodies collected in the coffers of the party’s ineffective longing for power.

    Now that Dems think Doug Jones has a decent chance to pick up a Senate seat, they have turned to Alabama’s black electorate as if they were in the state the entire time. Furthermore, the only argument they have made in their efforts to convince black voters to vote for Jones is that one thing he did for black people that one time. Every solicitation is the same: “Remember when he convicted the racists who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church? See? He’s down!”

    Edward Bowser, a Birmingham resident, said it best:

    Maybe it’s because, like most reasonable, thoughtful Alabamians, I really want Jones to win—and believe me, scandal or not, his victory is far from guaranteed. This state is redder than the bottom of Cardi B’s shoes, after all. But Jones’ campaign has done such a poor job speaking to the black community that my passion has fizzled. Severely. And this isn’t a new predicament. WashPo and other news outlets might now just be picking up on the trend, but black voters have long been discouraged.

    I appreciate what Doug Jones did in prosecuting KKK members in the deaths of four innocent girls. But when that’s the one and only message of black interest coming from your campaign, it shows an extreme disconnect.

    More at the link!

  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The sole bright side was that he didn’t do that shit over here.

    Secret Service or not, He probably would have had trouble making it back to his plane in one piece.

  32. 32
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Nice to see Sen Franken was pushed onto his sword for this.


  33. 33
    trnc says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Why should the Carlyle Group have all the fun? Plenty of Republican crime families to go around, amirite?

Comments are closed.