Citizens United

Sounds like a wonderful thing, doesn’t it? It’s created more divisions among people than can be counted. What is it?  A PAC formed to produce propaganda, which became a Free Speech lawsuit upheld by a Supreme Court decision in 2010 and made way for “Dark Money”, or anonymous campaign contributions and effectively unlimited corporate donations.

SUMMARY OF CITIZENS UNITED V. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION March 2, 2010 2010-R-0124

Court decision opens floodgates for corporate cash Politico 01/21/2010
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right” by Jane Mayer  Presents the Issues and History of the Koch Brothers
December 12, 2018 “The U.S. Senate on Wednesday narrowly approved a resolution to overthrow a new Treasury Department policy that no longer requires some 501(c) tax-exempt nonprofits — including politically active 501(c)(4) “dark money” groups — to disclose donor names and addresses in tax returns submitted to the IRS.” Open Secrets

Wikipedia: “The Political Action Committee (PAC) Citizens United was founded in 1988 by Floyd Brown, a longtime Washington political consultant, with major funding from the Koch family (industrialists who own “the second largest privately owned company in the United States”). The group promotes corporate interests, socially conservative causes and candidates who advance their mission.

Citizens United President and Bannon’s propaganda producer David Bossie, along with Catholic, Lenin-loving Steve Bannon.  Lawrence Kadish is a wealthy real estate investor/founder of Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, whose Victory Film Group pushes Tweets that work with Breitbart New’s Anti-Muslim stories. Funded by the Koch Brothers and the Mercers.

FRIENDS: Kellyanne Conway, Newt Gingrich, Michael Reagan, nationally syndicated radio show host and chairman of Citizens United’s Faith and Family Project. The Mercers funded Citizens United in later years.

FOES: Obama, Clinton, John McCain, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

A Closer Look at Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon from Wall Street on Parade: “Three of the men associated with Citizens United, the right-wing organization that took the legal case to the U.S. Supreme Court that ushered in today’s unprecedented era of unlimited corporate money in U.S. elections, took key posts in the Donald Trump campaign beginning this past summer.

One of the men, Stephen K. Bannon, has been named by President-elect Trump to be his Senior Counselor and Chief Strategist in the White House. While Bannon is widely cited for his executive role at Breitbart News prior to joining the Trump campaign, he is also the long-tenured, right-wing filmmaker for the Citizens United organization. A number of the films made by Bannon list Lawrence Kadish as Executive Producer and Victory Film Group as an affiliated entity involved in the documentaries.

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Citizens United Case in 2010, David N. Bossie, then President of Citizens United (who also joined the Trump campaign this year) had this to say about Lawrence Kadish:

“First and foremost, I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Kadish who have been incredibly generous from the very first day of this process. We would never have been able to reach the Supreme Court without their support. I also need to thank the thousands of donors who exercised their right to free speech to support Citizens United and this defense of the First Amendment.”

What the Citizens United decision effectively did was to drown out the voice of millions of average Americans while hedge fund titans and Wall Street billionaires can now individually contribute over $3 million, $5 million, $7 million and more to Super PACs supporting pro-corporate candidates.

Kadish is a wealthy real estate investor and founding Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He has prominently backed a series of neoconservative pro-Israel groups. Kadish’s full-throttle support for Israel and his involvement in numerous Bannon films for Citizens United, suggest that the heavily distributed rumors of Bannon being anti-Semitic are peculiar charges at best.

The Victory Film Group that is associated with the Bannon/Kadish movies has a Twitter page that plants the seeds of distrust of Muslims and appears to be a form of co-branding with Breitbart News, frequently promoting news stories on the Breitbart web site. One reTweet reads: “Judge Who Ended Interrogation Of Boston Bomber Has Ties To Muslim Brotherhood.” Another reTweet states: “57 Million New Immigrants to Enter America.”

 

Positions and advocacy

Citizens United is known for its support of conservatives in politics. The group produced a television advertisement that reveals several legislative actions taken by John McCain, which aired on Fox News Channel.[5]

On October 2, 2006, in reaction to revelations of a cover-up of inappropriate communications between Republican Congressman Mark Foley and United States House of Representatives Page, Citizens United president David Bossie called on Dennis Hastert to resign over his role in covering up the scandal.[6]

The group sued New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over Schneiderman’s demand that it disclose all its donors. Citizens United lost the case.[7]

Citizens United campaigned against Michael Moore‘s 2004 film Fahrenheit 9/11, advocating for government limits on how much advertising the film received.[8] It simultaneously made advertisements attacking the film,[9] and produced a film called Celsius 41.11, meant to counter Moore’s film.[10]

Citizens United’s best known campaign centered around a documentary film it produced that was highly critical of Hillary Clinton.[11] It has also produced and screened advertisements attacking other Democrats, including Bill Clinton,[8] John Kerry,[12] and Al Gore.[11] In the 1988 US presidential election, Citizens United ran an ad that used Willie Horton to attack Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis. The ad was described as racist by commentators such as Mother Jones.[11]

The group has produced a film criticizing the United Nations.[10]

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 558 U.S. 310 (2010) is a landmark U.S. constitutional law and corporate law case dealing with regulation of campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court held (5–4) on January 21, 2010 that freedom of speech prohibits government from restricting independent political expenditures by nonprofit corporations, for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.[2][3]

In the case, the conservative non-profit organization Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts shortly before the 2008 Democratic primary election in which Clinton was running for U.S. President. This would violate a federal statute prohibiting certain electioneering communications near an election. The court found the provisions of the law that prohibited corporations and unions from making such electioneering communications to conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

However, the court upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements. The case did not affect the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties.

The decision was highly controversial when announced and remains a subject of much discussion today.[4]

Citizens United and the Trump Administration

In 2016 the Donald Trump presidential campaign enlisted Citizens United president David Bossie as deputy campaign manager.[13] During the campaign, Bossie made regular television appearances on behalf of the Trump campaign.[14] Bossie is a close friend and longtime acquaintance of Trump administration officials Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway,[15] having introduced Bannon to Trump in 2011.[16]

Citizens United Productions

Citizens United Productions, headed by president David Bossie, has released 25 feature-length documentaries. The following is a list of films produced by Citizens United Productions.

Seb Gorka, National Security Adviser

National Security Aide until resignation August 25, 2017. Deputy Assistant to Trump/Chief Strategist and on the Strategic Initiatives Group

White House aide Sebastian Gorka ousted from post Politico By ANNIE KARNI and JOSH DAWSEY 08/25/2017

 “Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president who was closely aligned with former chief strategist Steve Bannon, was ousted from the White House, officials said Friday.”Politico

Resignation Letter on The Federalist, which broke the news.


American Oversight HATCH ACT: Nonpartisan ethics watchdog group American Oversight today asked the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to investigate whether White House adviser Sebastian Gorka violated the Hatch Act by posting political tweets from President Trump’s recent campaign rally in Ohio. July 28, 2017


American Oversight Failure to Disclose Membership in a Nazi group on Security Clearance Forms “On March 16, the Forward reported that Mr. Gorka may be a member of Vitézi Rend, citing interviews with current members of the group. If substantiated, this affiliation would raise a number of serious questions warranting congressional investigation – including whether Mr. Gorka may have violated federal law if he failed to disclose his membership in the group when he was being vetted for a security clearance.”  March 16, 2017


What Is Vitézi Rend, The Ally Of The Nazis That Sebastian Gorka ‘Joined’ Fast Forward The group’s mission emphasized not only loyalty to Hungary and nationalist ideas, but also an ideology of racial superiority. One of the original aims of the Vitézi Rend was to “ensure such might to the Hungarian race, which with tremendous power strikes every subversive state and anti-national movement,” [Admiral Miklos] Horthy said in a speech to new members in 1921. The Quisling group to which Gorka, 46, purportedly belongs is a reconstitution of the original group on the State Department list, which was banned in Hungary until the fall of Communism in 1989.”

DHS hires Gorka’s wife for top advisory role  The Hill

“Former Breitbart writer/ Seb Gorka’s wife Katherine Gorka is leaving her position as press secretary for Customs and Border Protection, just about two months to the day after her appointment – administration sources” @ahauslohner Abigail Hauslohner 9:59 AM · Aug 20, 2019

The Gorka That Matters Isn’t Leaving The Trump Administration Sebastian Gorka is out at the White House, but his wife, Katharine, remains a force in government, wielding more power than her husband ever did.  Buzzfeed


Seb Gorka Getty Images

Trump and Bannon ‘Personally Intervened’ to Save Seb Gorka  The Daily Beast May 5, 2017  “Gorka and Bannon are close. They worked together at Breitbart News—the far-right Trump-boosting outlet that Bannon once ran as a “dictator,” according to former employees—where Gorka served as national security editor even as he was also a paid consultant for the Trump campaign.”

Sebastian Gorka gets paid a lot of money to do not much of anything  June 30, 2017  Death and Taxes

Sebastian Gorka accidentally included a Jezebel writer in a White House email April 6, 2017 Death And Taxes: The Jezebel writer stated: “He’s clearly sensitive… about any indication that he’s not honest about his résumé. But Gorka’s refusal to provide comment on basic matters of public interest like what he was doing in the army only raises doubts. I had the same experience previously, when I asked about his describing himself as an expert witness in the Boston bombing case, despite not having testified, and when I contacted the White House to ask about his being detained for carrying ammunition through an airport in 2004. The first time, neither Gorka nor the White House ever responded to my inquiries; the second, Gorka accidentally included me in a reply-all email, instructing White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer not to comment.”

“The Strategic Initiatives Group is run by assistant to the president Christopher Liddell, and includes deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka, who has worked closely with Bannon while writing for Breitbart, the website he used to run. Gorka is a controversial character himself, author of a book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, that argues the enemy is not, as the Obama administration saw it, “violent extremism,” but instead “the global jihadi movement, a modern totalitarian ideology rooted in the doctrines and martial history of Islam,” according to promotional material for the book. Gorka also faced a criminal charge for trying to take a gun through airport security, according to The Wall Street Journal. The White House could not be immediately reached for comment on the status of the case.

 

Sebastian Gorka Likely to Be Out of White House Role, Officials Say NY Times  “Mr. Gorka, a former editor at Breitbart News, a right-wing website, is a friend of Stephen K. Bannon, the onetime Breitbart chairman who is now Mr. Trump’s chief strategist. Mr. Gorka memorably declared that “the alpha males are back” as an assertion of the distance between the Obama administration and the current one. He has been accused of having links to far-right groups in Europe, and critics of his hard-line views on Islam have accused him of Islamophobia. Mr. Gorka, a vocal defender of the administration’s efforts to temporarily ban travel from some predominantly Muslim countries, has said violence is a fundamental part of Islam and emanates from the language of the Quran. He rejects scholars’ assessment that Islamic militancy is an outgrowth of poverty, poor governance and war.”

White House Weighs Kicking Out Sebastian Gorka The president admires Sebastian Gorka for his fiery TV performances, but his ties to far-right organizations are making him more liability than asset, administration sources say. The Daily Beast April 28, 2017

Bannon, Gorka, and Flynn share a like-minded view on the perils of Islamic terrorism, with Gorka giving his first interview in his new role on Tuesday to The Counter-Jihad Report, a blog run by controversial activist Leslie Burt.

“We are at war with global jihadism,” he said. “The fact is, we know that ISIS has declared in English, in its publications, in its videos, ‘We will use the refugee streams and mass migrations to insert our jihadis into your cultures,’” he said, explaining the weekend executive order as a necessary evil to protect Americans from ISIS infiltration. ”  The Daily Beast January 31, 2017

“Two senior administration officials said Trump and Bannon had shot down an attempt to eject Gorka from his government job, even after dozens of congress members called for his firing after video surfaced of Gorka endorsing radical nationalist group Jobbik’s violent, anti-Semitic Hungarian Guard militia.

There was pressure on the administration to do something about Gorka, a dubiously qualified counterterrorism official, after he had worn a pin associated with World War II-era Nazi collaborators to inaugural festivities.

Gorka’s views on Islam have also been widely characterized as extreme. He refused to admit it is a religion in several recent interviews, suggesting an affinity with the fringe, far-right belief Islam is not a religion at all but a totalitarian ideology.” MIC.com

“The U.K.’s defense ministry is pushing back on claims made by White House adviser Sebastian Gorka regarding his military record with the Territorial Army, the country’s reserves, as a language specialist. Gorka, who is Hungarian born, has claimed in the past that his reserve unit was charged to prevent terror attacks, and that he worked in Northern Ireland—both of which were questioned by the U.K.’s defense ministry, according to BuzzFeed News. The website also reported that these doubts about Gorka’s military record contributed to his security clearance to work in the Hungarian Parliament being denied. The ministry concluded that it would be highly unlikely.” The Daily Beast May 2, 2017

Ezra Cohen-Watnick

Former White House National Security Council

Ezra’s Wife, Rebecca Miller, has worked for Ketchum PR “trying to make Russia look better”Schoenblog  

Senior director Ezra Cohen-Watnick out at National Security Council

“A White House official said ezra cohen-watnick, who was hired during the brief tenure of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, “has left the National Security Council [NSC].”

Cohen-Watnick’s departure is the latest in a string of exits from the National Security Council under H.R. McMaster, who has reportedly sought to purge Flynn appointees.

Another Flynn hire, retired Army intelligence officer Derek Harvey, was ousted from the NSC last week. He had been working as a senior Middle East adviser.

Cohen-Watnick’s removal is the second significant personnel change at the White House since Retired Gen. John Kelly took over as chief of staff.

A few hours after Kelly was sworn in on Monday, the White House announced the departure of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.” The Hill


He’s a 30-year-old Jewish, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Iran, Neocon Frank Gaffney fan /intern, trained spy and recruiter, Russian advocate via his Putin PR agent wife, and disliked within the DIA for being a “leaker”. Ret. Gen. Michael T. Flynn brought Ezra Cohen-Watnick to the White House. Flynn was disliked in the DIA, and fired. Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. promoted anti-Clinton conspiracy theories, Benghazi, Pizzagate, Podesta and led the “Lock Her Up!” chants.

Flynn’s replacement after failing to disclose conversations with Sergey Kislyak, H.R. McMaster, tried to fire him first thing, but his appeal to Kushner and Bannon influenced Trump and forced McMaster to work with him –NY Times. This has people asking why, “with apparently only a single, allegedly trouble-filled, junior-level tour of duty with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Afghanistan on his résumé, managed to secure one of the most consequential jobs in the White House: coordinating all of the U.S. intelligence community’s operations with the Oval Office and Congress. In less than a year, Cohen-Watnick had been raised from the equivalent rank of an army captain to a three-star general.” Newsweek  April 13, 2017  

When McMaster replaced Flynn, he tried to fire Ezra, but Kushner and Bannon persuaded Trump to reinstate himNY Times

Ezra Cohen-Watnick: Inside the rise of Trump’s invisible man in the White House  “White House National Security Council official at the center of a bizarre backdoor maneuver to provide House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes with top-secret documents on government surveillance. Cohen-Watnick reportedly retrieved the documents from a classified CIA terminal in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House and gave them to Nunes, a California Republican who had been a member of Trump’s transition team. They were intended to prove that former President Barack Obama was “wire tapping” Trump during the 2016 campaign. The documents did no such thing, other members of the panel concluded after studying them. What they actually showed is that U.S. intelligence agencies did have Trump’s associates on their radar—but only because they were tracking Russian agents.” Newsweek  April 13, 2017   


Russiagate Diversion

2 White House Officials Helped Give Nunes Intelligence Reports  NY Times  March 30, 2017

“A pair of White House officials helped provide Representative Devin Nunes of California, a Republican and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, with the intelligence reports that showed that President Trump and his associates were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.

The revelation on Thursday that White House officials disclosed the reports, which Mr. Nunes then discussed with Mr. Trump, is likely to fuel criticism that the intelligence chairman has been too eager to do the biddingof the Trump administration while his committee is supposed to be conducting an independent investigation of Russia’s meddling in the presidential election.

The officials who detailed the newly disclosed White House role said that this month, shortly after Mr. Trump claimed on Twitter that he was wiretapped during the campaign on the orders of President Barack Obama, Mr. Cohen-Watnick began reviewing highly classified reports detailing the intercepted communications of foreign officials.

There were conflicting accounts of what prompted Mr. Cohen-Watnick to dig into the intelligence. One official with direct knowledge of the events said Mr. Cohen-Watnick began combing through intelligence reports this month in an effort to find evidence that would justify Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts about wiretapping.

But another person who was briefed on the events said Mr. Cohen-Watnick came upon the information as he was reviewing how widely intelligence reports on intercepts were shared within the American spy agencies. He then alerted the N.S.C. general counsel, but the official said Mr. Cohen-Watnick was not the person who showed the reports to Mr. Nunes.

That person and a third official said it was then Mr. Ellis who allowed Mr. Nunes to view the material.”NY Times


“Ezra Cohen-Watnick’s unlikely journey from Chevy Chase’s liberal cocoon to backroom shenanigans in the Trump White House was less a straight shot than a dotted line. It may well have begun with Frank Gaffney, a former Ronald Reagan administration official who has emerged as a leading conspiracy theorist and believes that Muslim militants have infiltrated the U.S. government and even the Republican Party. At Bethesda–Chevy Chase High, Cohen-Watnick was close to Gaffney’s daughter. As the years went by, he gravitated to Gaffney associates, who eventually took him into the White House…In 2007, he helped organize a campus “Terrorism Awareness Week” (originally called “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week”) in concert with David Horowitz, a close Gaffney ally whose crusade against “liberal elites” on campus has been supported by top Trump aides Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. At some point, a close family friend recalls, asking for anonymity in exchange for talking about personal matters, Gaffney offered the budding young hawk internships at his D.C. think tank, the Center for Security Policy. (Gaffney tells Newsweek in a brief telephone interview that he barely recalls Cohen-Watnick from as a high schooler and has had no contact with him since.) …In 2012, he was accepted into a training program with the Defense Clandestine Service, the undercover overseas spying arm of the DIA. It was there that he met a mutual friend of Gaffney, General Michael Flynn…

Cohen-Watnick’s DIA career did not go well, except in one regard: his bond with Flynn.

In 2013, the DIA assigned Cohen-Watnick to “the Farm,” the CIA training facility outside Williamsburg, Virginia, to learn the rudiments of recruiting and managing foreign spies, according to two intelligence sources. During his time there, his reputation among his classmates “was poor,” says a former CIA employee. “He was not a team player and would also ‘leak’ denigrating information about his fellow trainees…(Didn’t want to go to the Middle East, but)…Two sources tell Newsweek he was eventually assigned to Afghanistan, with the rank of GS-12, equivalent to a captain in the army…Flynn was already creating turmoil at the DIA with his impulsive management style and fervid embrace of conspiracy theories, such as his conviction that Iran was behind the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. “Flynn facts,” his aides snickered, according to a profile in The New Yorker. Years earlier, he had co-authored a widely publicized paper excoriating the conduct of U.S. intelligence operations in Afghanistan, and he was particularly critical of the CIA for its support of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s notoriously corrupt brother Ahmed Wali Karzai

In 2014, Obama fired Flynn, and since then administration officials have dumped on him in the press. But the surprise election of Trump in November 2016 gave Flynn a chance for redemption—and revenge. With his rising prominence in the Trump campaign, Flynn’s adversaries recycled stories about his DIA ouster, but now there were also questions about Kremlin-financed trips to Moscow and ties to Turkish lobbyists. And Flynn was swimming in ever deeper conspiracy waters, now with activists who alleged that the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooter did not act alone, and that Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta was involved in a pedophile ring run beneath a Washington, D.C., family restaurant. Cohen-Watnick joined him in the so-called “Pizzagate” fray, tweeting about “Podesta’s obsession with the occult.” In another tweet, he referenced “the disgusting and potentially criminal behavior of the Clinton crime syndicate.”

In January, Cohen-Watnick swept into office with Flynn and other associates from Gaffney’s circle, including Bannon, Conway and Sebastian Gorka, another anti-Muslim hard-liner with ties to a Hungarian Nazi party. Meanwhile, Cohen-Watnick was getting married to a woman who, like Flynn and several other Trump aides, had ties to Russia. Rebecca Miller, four years younger than Cohen-Watnick, had worked on the Russian account in the D.C. office of Ketchum, the global powerhouse lobbying and public relations firm, according to her mother, Victoria Fraser, head of Washington University’s Department of Medicine in St. Louis. During a 2014 event at the State Historical Society of Missouri, Fraser said her daughter’s “big challenges right now are, Ketchum is responsible for providing PR and marketing to try to make Russia look better, which is particularly difficult when they’re invading other countries and when Putin is somewhat out of control.” Ketchum took a public relations blow when ProPublica reported that it had “placed pro-Russia op-eds in American publications by businesspeople and others without disclosing the role of the Russian government.” The following year, it drew flak for placing an op-ed purporting to be written by Russian President Vladimir Putin in The New York Times arguing that Syrian rebels, not President Bashar al-Assad, were responsible for chemical attacks on civilians. According to a Ketchum spokesperson, Miller’s work on the Russia account ended in September 2012. The company severed its ties with the Russian Federation in March 2015.

Cohen-Watnick and his wife have been reluctant to acknowledge anything about their professional lives or their history together. On November 11, 2016, the Ohr Kodesh Congregation, a conservative synagogue in Chevy Chase, held a kiddush, or small social ceremony, in honor of their “upcoming marriage.”…

Cohen-Watnick’s principal credentials seem to be ideological. “He’s a 30-year-old version of Michael Flynn, from an affection for the Russians to hatred of Iran,” a senior former intelligence official who has worked with him asserted. And right from the start, he wore his enmity for the CIA like a badge of honor, the official says.

“There’s no question that during the transition that he was airing his antipathy to the CIA,” the senior former intelligence official who worked with Cohen-Watnick says. “I got the impression he had an ax to grind, and this was an opportunity to demonstrate who was in charge.” He also “was very clear that he was entitled…, that he had access…and a voice in policy meetings.

“He made it very clear,” the former official adds, “that he was speaking on behalf of Flynn.” Adding to his value, says a former high-ranking Defense Department intelligence official: “His parents knew Jared Kushner,” the Trump son-in-law and confidante who was emerging as a major force in the administration. “Flynn saw that as extremely valuable.”

Flynn would soon be gone from the White House, sunk by his undisclosed conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. But his departure failed to end Cohen-Watnick’s tenure. When Flynn’s successor as national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, tried to get rid of him, Cohen-Watnick went straight to Bannon and Kushner, who in turn persuaded Trump to tell McMaster to back off, according to reports.

Since Flynn’s departure, Cohen-Watnick has moved to tame the CIA by taking away its primacy in covert action operations, handing some to the Pentagon, and pulling the decisions on who does what and when inside the NSC. “He was looking to get the military into the space where CIA operated,” says a former intelligence official who worked with Cohen-Watnick during the transition. And taking the fight to Iran—“tightening the pressure points,” as this person puts it—is high on his agenda.

All of which portends trouble, former national security officials say, pointing to calamities that befell previous administrations that politicized the intelligence process. The George W. Bush White House put pressure on the CIA to report that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And it found ideological bedmates in the Pentagon to produce WMD reports to help gin up the case—false, as it turned out—to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Decades earlier, an attempt by officials in the Reagan White House to get around congressionally prohibited aid to anti-communist Contra guerrillas fighting to overthrow the leftist Nicaraguan government ended in disaster.” Newsweek  April 13, 2017    Additionally, there are no public records of their marriage.

“Ezra interned at his think tank…Frank Gaffney was in the Reagan Administration and promoted the Star Wars Program, has worked for and closely associated with the Neocon Project For The New American Century, all of whose founders had prominent roles in the George W. Bush administration and were the architects of the 9/11 Middle East Imperialist spread of Democracy with Zionist ideology.” …More about Frank Gaffney in the Washington Report’s Neocon Superhawk Frank Gaffney Earns His Wings In Port Flap, September 1, 2009

THE BUSH-ERA NEOCONS

Erik Prince

Erik Prince

Notorious Mercinary” Erik Prince founded Blackwater Security and made headlines during the Iraq war with his company’s abuses and “conviction of killing Iraqi citizens, including children, in the notorious 2007 Nisour Square gun battle.” Bloomberg He is brother to Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, the their father, Edgar Prince’s auto parts manufacturing The Prince Corporation sold in 1996 to Johnson Controls for $1.35 billion. They grew up in Holland, MI, and their father “was a major contributor to the Family Research Council, whose mission is to “advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview”.[4]  Critics argue that the organization advocates against LGBT rights, abortion, divorce, embryonic stem-cell research, and pornography.[5][6]” Prince  which joined Trump’s campaign as a major financial backer in August 2016.

He’s under investigation for money laundering and involvement with Chinese intelligence in a Lybian deal with current corporation FSB, which supplies African and conflict-zone aviation, evacuation and paramilitary support. China is heavily invested in Africa for its mining and natural resources. Prince sought to secretly rebuild his private CIA and special operations enterprise by setting up foreign shell companies and offering paramilitary services. He is currently or planning to train the People’s Liberation Army using former US Special Ops trainers, on behalf of the Chinese government in Africa, while Bannon and Trump say the US is heading towards a trade or real war with China.

THE TESTIMONY OF ERIK PRINCE ON NOVEMBER 30, 2017, BEFORE THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

January 11, 2016, The Seychelles Meeting, arranged by the UAE Crown Prince. Afterwards, Erik Prince met with Kirill Dmitriev, per the Testimony.  Note: Prince was invited to testify by Kush Patel, major force behind the “Nunes Memo” The Atlantic.  Patel and Presley went to London in search of Christopher Steele, and in early November before the Prince testimony, Patel circulated an internal memo “urging Nunes to hold top officials at the Justice Department and the FBI in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents related to the Obama administration’s alleged use of the dossier to surveil Trump associates during the transition period, one of the sources told me. That memo was first reported by Fox News in November.” The Atlantic

PODCAST: Privatizing the War in Afghanistan  Recommended Reading:

New York Times: Trump Aides Recruited Businessmen to Devise Options for Afghanistan — “President Trump’s advisers recruited two businessmen who profited from military contracting to devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, reflecting the Trump administration’s struggle to define its strategy for dealing with a war now 16 years old.”

The Atlantic: The ‘Blackwater 2.0’ Plan for Afghanistan — “Here’s a crazy idea floating around Washington these days, outlandish even by today’s outlandish standards: The United States should hire a mercenary army to “fix” Afghanistan, a country where we’ve been at war since 2001, spending billions along the way. The big idea here is that they could extricate U.S. soldiers from this quagmire, and somehow solve it.”

Wall Street Journal: The MacArthur Model for Afghanistan — “Afghanistan is an expensive disaster for America. The Pentagon has already consumed $828 billion on the war, and taxpayers will be liable for trillions more in veterans’ health-care costs for decades to come. More than 2,000 American soldiers have died there, with more than 20,000 wounded in action. For all that effort, Afghanistan is failing. The terrorist cohort consistently gains control of more territory, including key economic arteries. It’s time for President Trump to fix our approach to Afghanistan in five ways.”

FYI: Fellow Mercer associate Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Assistant to the President Christopher Liddell, and Sebastian Gorka, Former Breitbart writer and current Deputy Assistant to Trump and National Security Aide, formed an additional advisory group to potentially supersede the NSC called the Strategic Initiatives Group in January 2017. Reed Cordish also joined the SIG. Per reports, Robert Mercer has the largest private arsenal in the United States. Steve Bannon and other devotees of “The Fourth Turning”, want a huge war as a cleansing process, after which an idealized, structured society emerges (See his film “Generation Zero” on the Steve Bannon page).

ERIK PRINCE IN THE HOT SEAT

Blackwater’s Founder Is Under Investigation for Money Laundering, Ties to Chinese Intel, and Brokering Mercenary Services The Intercept

“He’s a rogue chairman,” said one of Prince’s close associates, who has monitored his attempts to sell mercenary forces in Africa. That source, who has extensive knowledge of Prince’s activities and travel schedule, said that Prince was operating a “secret skunkworks program” while parading around war and crisis zones as FSG’s founder and chairman. “Erik wants to be a real, no-shit mercenary,” said the source. “He’s off the rails exposing many U.S. citizens to criminal liabilities. Erik hides in the shadows … and uses [FSG] for legitimacy….“Erik is always pressing the limits as to what is possible,” said the close associate of Prince’s. In 2010, Prince sold most of his equity in the companies that fell under the Blackwater umbrella. Claiming that left-wing activists, Democratic politicians, and lawsuits had destroyed his companies, he left the United States and became a resident of Abu Dhabi. The remnant of his network was renamed Academi LLC. Federal prosecutors eventually attempted to prosecute Prince’s former companies, culminating in a 2012 deferred prosecution agreement to settle a lengthy list of U.S. legal and regulatory violations committed from 2005 through 2008 when Prince was in charge, including ITAR violations.” ITAR is International Traffic in Arms Regulations, issued by the State Department’s (currently under Rex Tillerson) Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.” The Intercept

Blackwater Founder Said to Have Advised Trump Team  Bloomberg By Keri Geiger and Michael Riley
April 18, 2017 “During the Iraq war, Blackwater landed more than $1 billion worth of government contracts to provide personal protection for visiting officials and assist with military operations and, according to Prince’s memoir, carry out covert operations for the Central Intelligence Agency.  Click here for more on Erik Prince’s work in Iraq”  Bloomberg

NOTORIOUS MERCENARY ERIK PRINCE IS ADVISING TRUMP FROM THE SHADOWS  The Intercept  January 17, 2017  “Prince has long fantasized that he is the rightful heir to the legacy of “Wild Bill” Donovan and his Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA. After 9/11, Prince worked with the CIA on a secret assassination program, in addition to offering former SEALs and other retired special operators to the State Department and other agencies for personal security…The Trump presidency could result in Prince working for both Beijing and the White House. The Blackwater founder has also endorsed some of Trump’s overtures to Russia, saying: “Think about it: If FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, can deal with Stalin to defeat German fascism in World War II, certainly the United States of America could work with Putin to defeat Islamic fascism. We don’t have to agree with the Russians on everything, or even on a lot, but we can at least agree that crushing ISIS in the Middle East is a very good idea.” Prince described Democrats as “anti-Catholic, anti-Evangelical,” saying the DNC hacks and leaks revealed “the disregard, the disdain they have for the average American voter and citizen.” Prince has a close relationship with Breitbart News and Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior counselor and chief strategist. Prince has appeared frequently — and almost exclusively — on Breitbart Radio. Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, is Trump’s nominee for education secretary and she has all but vowed to embark on a crusade to push a privatization and religious agenda in education that mirrors her brother’s in military and CIA affairs. Prince has long been a contributor to the campaign of fellow Christian warrior Mike Pence, and he contributed $100,000 to the pro-Trump Super PAC Make America Number 1. Prince’s mother, Elsa, pitched in another $50,000. That organization, run by Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire hedge funder Robert Mercer, was one of the strongest bankrollers of Trump’s campaign. According to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in December Prince attended the annual “Villains and Heroes” costume ball hosted by Mercer. Dowd wrote that Palantir founder Peter Thiel showed her “a picture on his phone of him posing with Erik Prince, who founded the private military company Blackwater, and Mr. Trump — who had no costume — but joke[d] that it was ‘N.S.F.I.’ (Not Safe for the Internet).” The Intercept

Betsy DeVos’s Brother, The Founder of Blackwater, Is Setting Up A Private Army For China, Sources Say

The controversial Blackwater founder says he is setting up two bases in China, but his company says “this does not involve armed personnel.Aram Roston “In December (2016), Frontier Services Group, of which Prince is chairman, issued a press release that outlined plans to open “a forward operating base in China’s Yunnan province” and another in the troubled Xinjiang region, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority. When Frontier later told its board it was shifting into security services — largely to assist China’s international development policy — the development disgusted two American executives at Prince’s Hong Kong company. Gregg Smith, the former CEO of Frontier, said he was ready to quit last March if Erik Prince was not removed from the company. Then, at a board meeting late that month, he said a company official made clear that Frontier would be providing security services in support of Chinese government objectives. “That was the final straw,” he told BuzzFeed News. Retired US Admiral William Fallon, a Frontier board member, was at the same board meeting. He resigned too when he heard that the firm was providing security services. “That wasn’t what I signed up for,” he said in an interview. Former executives said that Frontier’s “forward operating bases” will be training former People’s Liberation Army soldiers to work as discreet non-uniformed soldiers for hire. The former associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Prince “is making Frontier Services a full-on private military company.” President Donald Trump has talked tough about China. To be sure, he recently reaffirmed that the United States will formally recognize only mainland China and not Taiwan, a crucial point for Beijing. But Trump has installed a sharply anti-China critic as the head of his National Trade Council. Before winning the presidency, Trump called China an “enemy.” Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, who interviewed Prince on Breitbart frequently, predicted last year that the US will be at war with China “in the South China Sea in five to 10 years.” And even if no hot war breaks out, many experts believe Trump is gearing up for a trade war with the country that manufactures much of the world’s goods (including some Trump brand products.) During the campaign, Prince donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory Committee, which supported both Trump’s election bid and the Republican Party. Jeremy Scahill, a journalist who has long covered Prince, recently wrote that the businessman is advising the Trump Administration. Just four days before the election, Prince gave an interview to Breitbart radio, part of the media empire that Bannon used to run, in which Prince pushed an unfounded theory that the NYPD had been about to announce arrest warrants in the Clinton investigation but was blocked by the Justice Department, and that Hillary Clinton had been to a “sex island” with a convicted pedophile “at least six times.” Prince’s bizarre claims were prominently displayed on Breitbart’s website leading up to the election and were widely distributed on right wing websites.” Buzzfeed

New Super-PAC Launches for Donors Who Won’t Back Trump But Loathe Clinton

Supported by former Ted Cruz backer Robert Mercer, a new player enters the fray. Bloomberg By Joshua Green and Zachary Mider 

June 21, 2016: The Robert Mercer-led Super-Pac “Make America Number One” aka “Defeat Crooked Hillary PAC” with Kellyanne Conway, president of Keep the Promise PAC, led by long-time Clinton hater David Bossie, president of Citizens United, made headlines appealing to Republican donors who don’t like Trump after their candidate Cruz dropped out. Bloomberg

INVOLVEMENT WITH TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM

“Blackwater Founder said to Have Advised Trump Team” Bloomberg “In one informal discussion in late November, Prince spoke openly with two members of Trump’s transition team on a train bound from New York to Washington. He boarded the same Acela as Kellyanne Conway and they sat together. Joining the conversation at one point was Kevin Harrington, a longtime associate of Trump adviser Peter Thiel who is now on the National Security Council. They discussed, in broad terms, major changes the incoming administration envisioned for the intelligence community, as recounted by a person on the train who overheard their conversation. A longtime critic of government defense and security policies, Prince advocated a restructuring of security agencies as well as a thorough rethink of costly defense programs, even if it meant canceling existing major contracts in favor of smaller ones, said a person familiar with the matter. Prince is no longer talking to those in the administration, said the person close to him, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were intended to remain private. His influence waned after Flynn was ousted as National Security Adviser in February over concerns about his own disclosures and conversations with the Russian ambassador. And Prince has no relationship with Flynn’s successor, General H. R. McMaster.”

April 3, 2017, The Washington Post “Blackwater founder held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel”   “Prince is best known as the founder of Blackwater, a security firm that became a symbol of U.S. abuses in Iraq after a series of incidents, including one in 2007 in which the company’s guards were accused — and later criminally convicted — of killing civilians in a crowded Iraqi square. Prince sold the firm, which was subsequently re-branded, but has continued building a private paramilitary empire with contracts across the Middle East and Asia. He now heads a Hong Kong-based company known as the Frontier Services Group……The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.  The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions. Though Prince had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition team, he presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking Emiratis involved in setting up his meeting with the Putin confidant, according to the officials, who did not identify the Russian. Prince was an avid supporter of Trump. After the Republican convention, he contributed $250,000 to Trump’s campaign, the national party and a pro-Trump super PAC led by GOP mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, records show. He has ties to people in Trump’s circle, including Stephen K. Bannon, now serving as the president’s chief strategist and senior counselor. Prince’s sister Betsy DeVos serves as education secretary in the Trump administration. And Prince was seen in the Trump transition offices in New York in December.  ” Washington Post Continued

Erik Prince in the Hot Seat  March 24, 2016 “Erik Prince, founder of the now-defunct mercenary firm Blackwater and current chairman of Frontier Services Group, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies for attempting to broker military services to foreign governments and possible money laundering, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the case. What began as an investigation into Prince’s attempts to sell defense services in Libya and other countries in Africa has widened to a probe of allegations that Prince received assistance from Chinese intelligence to set up an account for his Libya operations through the Bank of China. The Justice Department, which declined to comment for this article, is also seeking to uncover the precise nature of Prince’s relationship with Chinese intelligence. Despite the provenance of FSG’s funding and Prince’s history of bad publicity, Prince was able to recruit an impressive line-up of former U.S. military and intelligence officers to run the company. Key to Prince’s ability to retain such personnel, given FSG’s ties to China, has been the firm’s strictly circumscribed mission, which does not include military-related services. FSG is a publicly traded aviation and logistics firm specializing in shipping in Africa and elsewhere. The company also conducts high-risk evacuations from conflict zones. Prince has described his work with FSG as being “on the side of peace and economic development” and helping Chinese businesses to work safely in Africa. Behind the back of corporate leadership at FSG, Prince was living a double life. Working with a small cadre of loyalists — including a former South African commando, a former Australian air force pilot, and a lawyer with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Israel — Prince sought to secretly rebuild his private CIA and special operations enterprise by setting up foreign shell companies and offering paramilitary services, according to documents reviewed by The Intercept and interviews with several people familiar with Prince’s business proposals. Several of the proposals for private security services in African nations examined by The Intercept contained metadata in the digital files showing Prince and his inner circle editing and revising various drafts. Since 2014, Prince has traveled to at least half a dozen countries to offer various versions of a private military force, secretly meeting with a string of African officials. Among the countries where Prince pitched a plan to deploy paramilitary assets is Libya, which is currently subject to an array of U.S. and United Nations financial and defense restrictions…The Libyan proposal, reviewed by The Intercept, was code-named Operation Lima. It offered the Libyans an array of military equipment and services — including weaponized vehicles, helicopters, boats, and surveillance airplanes — to help stabilize eastern Libya. The ground force, according to a person involved with the plan, would consist of a troop of former Australian special operations commandos...By May 2015, Prince had rebranded himself and claimed a legitimate public reputation as FSG’s chairman. Without the approval of FSG’s management, he returned to Libya offering a freshly repackaged proposal. Prince’s private force would operate in Libya for the stated purpose of stopping the flow of refugees to Europe…One person involved in Prince’s plan said the anti-migration force was seen as a vehicle for Prince to build a “backdoor” for so-called kinetic, or lethal, operations in Libya — a form of mercenary mission-creep. “During the day, you do interdiction of migrants — not kinetic,” said the person involved in the plan. “But those routes are used by weapons smugglers and drug traffickers at night. Insurgents too. Erik’s guys can then be offered to the Libyans to help with their other problems. That’s how you get kinetic.” By then, the U.S. government was already investigating Prince for possible weapons deals in Africa, according to the former senior U.S. intelligence official and the former intelligence official briefed on the matter. In the course of the surveillance operation for that investigation, U.S. intercepts revealed Prince appearing to discuss efforts to open bank accounts in China to help his Libyan associates. “Money laundering for Libyan officials using a Chinese bank — that is the issue that pushed it over the edge” for the Justice Department, said the second former intelligence official. The U.S. spies monitoring Prince soon discovered that he had traveled to the Chinese-controlled peninsula of Macau in an effort to open a bank account, according to two people familiar with the investigation.Later, Prince traveled to Beijing, where he met with Chinese agents from the Ministry of State Security. In January (2016), Prince returned to Macau and opened an account at the Bank of China, according to several sources, including the second former intelligence official and the source with close connections to Macau’s banking community. “It was not a personal account,” said the former U.S. intelligence official briefed on the investigation. “He was doing it for the purpose of what is considered now — in the investigation — money laundering on behalf of the Libyans.” The Intercept