Monday, June 28, 2010

On the subject of America's Soldiers of Fortune

A Conspiracy Waiting To Happen? Erik Prince, The CIA, Tony Perkins, the ACLJ and Africa

By Daniel Vojir (about the author) Permalink

Blackwater's "Indiana Jones" May Soldier For

Right-Wing Christianity In Africa

When I was a kid, my father tried to translate the family name - Vojir - to me (from Czech): "It means a kind of paid soldier. A Hessian. A soldier of fortune." Ah, "soldier of fortune" was great way to put it, I thought. I didn't press any further. I was satisfied. Glamorous. Mysterious. Sophisticated. It was only when I was in college that I realized that the meaning was closely related to the term "mercenary." Somehow, "mercenary" isn't as glamorous.

So I sit here a "mercenary," writing about Erik Prince, today's undisputed king of mercenaries. Of Blackwater infamy. A man whose "soldiers" are feared more in Iraq and Afghanistan than any U.S. military force. A man with extremely close ties to Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. OK, I'll stop channeling Rachel Maddow, but you get my drift.

And the makings for a conspiracy just might be in this bit of news:

Jeremy Scahill, The Nation:

Sources close to Blackwater and its secretive owner Erik Prince claim that the embattled head of the world's most infamous mercenary firm is planning to move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Middle Eastern nation, a major hub for the US war industry, has no extradition treaty with the United States. In April, five of Prince's top deputies were hit with a fifteen-count indictment by a federal grand jury on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Among those indicted were Prince's longtime number-two man, former Blackwater president Gary Jackson, former vice presidents William Matthews and Ana Bundy and Prince's former legal counsel Andrew Howell.

Prince's move is like a Midwest tornado watch: the conditions are ripe for something to happen. Could it be a conscious conspiracy or just a re-grouping?

Most of the media have translated the move as a protection against prosecution for crimes, including the alleged murder of an informant inside Blackwater. This could very well be. But is it the only reason? Let's look at Erik's closest relations, friends and allies:

For starters, Erik Prince's father, Edgar Prince, used a great deal of his auto parts fortune to fund both Focus on the Family and The Family Research Council.

Elsa Prince Broekhuizen - Erik's mother - gave a whopping $450,000 to California's Prop 8 campaign. After the death of Edgar Prince, she married her pastor, Ren Broehuizen. She was also a member of the secretive Council on National Policy.* The CNP was founded by author Tim LaHaye (the Left Behind series). Elsa Prince is also a major contributor and board member of The Family Research Council. Of course, because of major contributions, the FRC runs its mass printing facility out of Holland, MI. (Prince's home).

Betsy DeVos - sister of Erik - was chairman of the Republican Party for the State of Michigan. Her husband, Jim DeVos is heir to the Amway fortune and attempted a run for Governor of Michigan. Betsy is also chairman of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. The Institute's mission is to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." Some of its members are, like Marvin Orlasky, dedicated to demonizing the beliefs of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Joseph E. Schmitz was special assistant to Attorney General Edwin Meese, then Inspector General of the Department of Defense under George H.W. Bush. Before his resignation, he recused himself from the investigation of Blackwater Worldwide in order to take a position for the Prince Group (holding company of Blackwater). Non-related tidbit: Schmitz's sister is the (in)famous Mary Kay Letourneau who was convicted of having sexual relations with a minor (then a 12-year-old boy whom she later married).

As head of the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, Prince has funded The Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Christian Freedom International, the Republican Party, The Alliance Defense Fund, Calvin College, the Haggai Institute (India), the Michigan Family Forum, the Free Congress Foundation, Gospel Communications International, and The Education Freedom Fund, and the Knights of Columbus (now considered a prime funder of anti-gay initiatives).

Add to this powerful group Jack Abramoff, the CIA, Chuck Colson, Gary Bauer, Holland Coors, Tim LaHaye, Ollie North, Dick Chaney, Ralph Reed and a bevy of Reconstructionists all paying homage to R.J. Rushdooney.**

For a more in-depth (and head-spinning) treatment of Erik Prince's associations, go to the interactive graphic at Muckety. The reader will be amazed at the political-religious-corporate web in which Prince negotiates liaisons and subterfuge.

Then there's Prince's undoubtedly nefarious relationship with the CIA:

WASHINGTON -- The CIA in 2004 hired contractors from the private security firm Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to track and assassinate senior al-Qaeda figures, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Blackwater helped with planning, training and surveillance in a program on which the Central Intelligence Agency spent several million dollars without capturing or killing any militants, the newspaper reported, quoting former and current U.S. officials.

Anchored with the CIA, extreme Religious Right institutions and a continent ripe for theocracy, Prince's residence in Dubai may be both convenient and prescient: armed support for conflicts within "emerging Christian nations" would bolster Reconstructionist evangelism, support ideologies such as criminalizing homosexuality,*** and counter any threats posed by Islam.Watch the second clip below to discern if Erik Prince is not eager to go to Africa. It was recorded on Oct. 16, 2007 during the preliminary investigations of Blackwater. Prince chooses words very carefully, so look at his demeanor and ask yourself if he really wants to be a peacekeeper as Rose tries to suggest, or a Soldier for Christ, enabling the extreme Religious Right gain a very strong foothold in Africa.

After announcing the sale of Blackwater, Erik Prince was asked what he would do for a living:

(Think Progress)

Prince said he is instead "going to teach high school." "History and economics," he said. "I may even coach wrestling. Hey, Indiana Jones taught school, too."

But not in Dubai.


News has arrived pertaining to the presence of the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice - a legal defense team formed by Pat Robertson) in Zimbabwe. The ACLJ has been instrumental in Zimbabwe's efforts to draft a new constitution. Zimbabwe is now the new Uganda.


* The Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy at Cornell University considers the Council for National Policy a leading force in the Dominionist movement. TheocracyWatch, a CRESP project, describes it as "an umbrella organization of right-wing leaders who gather regularly to plot strategy, share ideas and fund causes and candidates to advance the theocratic agenda."

**Rousas John Rushdoony (April 25, 1916 February 8, 2001) was a Calvinist philosopher, historian, and theologian and is widely credited as the father of Christian Reconstructionism and an inspiration for the modern Christian homeschool movement. His prolific writings have exerted considerable influence on the Christian right.

***Already the Republican Party 2010 Platform for the State of Texas promotes the criminalization of gays and the felony conviction of anyone who marries same-sex couples

text with video:
mediagrrl9 | June 17, 2010 | 6:56

Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater Owner Erik Prince's Rumored Move to UAE and Obama Admin's Expansion of Special Forces Operations Abroad
The Justice department has told a federal appeals court there was more than enough untainted evidence to justify a trial for the five Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in the 2007 Nissour Square massacre in Baghdad. In court papers seeking to reinstate criminal charges that were dismissed last year, the Justice department said the judge "unjustifiably drew the curtain on a meritorious prosecution." This legal development comes amidst a report that Erik Prince, the owner and founder of the the notorious private security firm, could be planing a move to the United Arab Emirates, a country that has no extradition treaty with the United States. We speak to independent journalist Jeremy Scahill.

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