Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One:  Erik Prince: The Rich Kid Who Bought An Army

Part One: Erik Prince: The Rich Kid Who Bought An Army

Tue, 25 Sep 2018 10:00

Part One: Erik Prince: The Rich Kid Who Bought An Army

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Hey there. I'm Scott rank, host of the podcast history unplugged. Now, it really is a dream come true to get paid to talk about history without all the stress while still being able to make a living. And I did it with Spreaker from iheart. Not only did they make it super easy to monetize my podcast, but ad revenue is 3 to four times higher with spreaker than with any other host I've worked with. So if you want to turn your passion into a podcast and give this a try, that's get paid to talk about the things you love. Hey, it's Roy Wood, junior, host of The Daily Show podcast beyond the scenes and we are back for season 2. Beyond the scenes is the podcast where we take the topics and segments that were on The Daily Show and give them a little more love. This season, we're bringing back more Daily Show writers, producers and correspondents, more experts, giving us some extra knowledge you can't get anywhere else. Don't miss it. Listen to beyond the scenes on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. This podcast is brought to Now our friends at JBL understand the power of tuning in to the real U. From true wireless headphones to pulsing potty boxes, you can dare to vibe your way with the wide and colorful range of JBL products. Catch your favorite podcasts like this one unfiltered the JBL podcast on the Go. Play your music whenever, wherever and live in the moment your moment. Be unfiltered at JBL. Com. Hello, Internet, and welcome back. I am Robert Evans, and this is behind the ******** the show where we tell you everything you don't know about the worst people in history. Today, our subject is a little guy named Eric Prince Miles. What do you know about Eric Prince? I know they started Blackwater, OK? I know he's the brother of Betsy de Vos, right? And I just know about like. Generally, Blackwater is evil and there's some ******* involved. But aside from that, I just know Eric Prince equals Blackwater equals military contractors, equals war crimes. OK, yeah, that's a good. That's a good basic, basic line. Well, Eric was born on June 6th, 1969. D-Day, yes. But 1969, yeah. So summer day of the summer of love. I don't know why I'm obsessed with D-Day. It's a good it's a good day. Yeah. It was Private Ryan, actually. Yeah. Born in Holland, MI, his father was Edgar Prince, an entrepreneur who built a billion dollar company, The Prince Machine Corporation, from the ground up. His company built like a type of illuminated mirror that's common in cars today. So his family got super rich weight off. What do you mean, illuminated like a like a backlit mirror? Yeah, exactly. So that, like, you can see it in the mirror at night or whatever. And they're living off that invention, basically. That's how his family got rich, right? So his dad was like a legitimate started making $0.40 an hour. And like created a business, got super rich and then, you know, with his money decided he should do some good in the world. But his version of Good was founding the Family Research Council. You know what the Family Research Council does the I know they were spreading some kind of really bad misinformation back in the day, back in the now too, 01 of their staffers wrote in 1999 that gaining access to children was a long term goal of the homosexual movement. So it's that kind of like anytime there's family. You mean facts? Yeah, I really. I shout out to the Family Research Council for their wow. So that was his version, OK. That he wanted to spread. That's what he wanted to do with his money. Bull ******* conspiracy. OK, yeah. Eric's mother, Elsa, donated $75,000 to a campaign to stop same sex marriage in 2004. Clearly worked. It's Elsa. And Edgar also formed the Prince Foundation so that they could use their family's wealth to advance general right wing causes like abstinence only education. State sponsored prayer in the fight against abortion. In order to get around restrictions on lobbying, the Princess reclassified their lobbying as prayer warrior networks. So basically they said, like we're not lobbying politicians, we're asking them to pray over certain issues. So we're not saying vote against abortion, we're saying pray against abortion, and that's different. So we can spend our money with less restrictions. So they, oh, were they were registered as lobbyists before? Yeah. And there's more restrictions on how lobbyists can spin you, right. So they were like, we're not lobbyists, we're prayer warriors. So they just kind of do that thing where a lot of people with dark money groups just become 501C fours. Yeah, it was something like that. Like those nonprofits that don't have to disclose any of their origins of their money so they can do whatever. Yeah. Yeah. They found a shady way to make themselves less accountable with the billions or millions of dollars that they were spending on garbage. You obviously heard that Eric's sister is Betsy DeVos. Yeah, it's probably won't surprise you to know that he grew up religious, conservative, and rich. No, he donated $15,000 to the Republican Party when he was 19. I'm sorry. He $15,000. Yeah, when he was nine. So he's a normal guy. Yeah, I know. For a second I I forgot that you said he grew up rich and I was like, what ******* job did you have in high school that he had that much money, but you're rich. So his job was being a rich kid or, you know, his parents just used him to make as much of a Max out donation to the party. They love to do that. Just like get the kids to donate and we can give you a lot more money, right? Donate a lot of money? Yeah. Suddenly a 19 year old has $15,000. Yeah, but he was, he was, he was, you know, a normal down to Earth kid. Like most people. He got his pilots license before he got his drivers. License you know that that old canard? He attended a Christian high school in Holland, but but Holland, MI, not the cool Holland, the Netherlands. Yeah, he went to the Naval Academy, but according to one of his professors, he did not think it was conservative enough. So he left to attend Hillsdale College that the military wasn't conservative. The Naval Academy is a bastion of left wing nut jobs. Yeah, hippies with long hair like that. Almost seems like he's trying to impress someone by being like, oh, the Navy wasn't conservative enough for me, so I had to leave like that. Well, Eric denies that. That's why he left the Navy. One of his professors is the one saying he was ****** *** because we, the Navy professors, weren't conservative enough for him. Oh, got you that. Yeah, right. He didn't want people to expand his way of thinking. Yeah. Yeah, that's what it seems like. So, do you know anything about Hillsdale College? No, I don't know anything about the college. Hillsdale College is, like, one of the rightest. Leading colleges in the country, they basically worship the economic theories of Eine Rand for some sort of color on what the schools like. In 2015 their school chaplain sent this e-mail out to students and faculty. Hey friends! Just to give you a heads up, ugly things are happening in the Supreme Court right now. Justice Anthony Kennedy is seen as the quote swing vote, and if that is the case, he will have the power to legalize same sex marriage all caps nationwide. Yeah. I do not even think we can imagine the effects this would have in our nation, the church and families. So we are praying for God to give the justices and the courts wisdom, courage and discernment for evil to be revealed and destroyed and for a heart of love and sound mind. So we want to destroy the gaze with a heart full of love. I love when conservatives like sort of like, you know, sound the war drums of, like, the gays might be able to have rights and like, I'm always curious how they play. That out in their head, like that leads to exactly what like, I really want to know if they have a very clear vision of what that looks like when, you know, the LGBTQ community has like an disturbed rights like, do they think, I don't know. I mean it always seems like very aggressive what they think will happen if we let gays marry, then we could wind up with a country where, like, I don't know, the President sleeps with **** stars and pays them $130,000. And that would be just would be a post morality America. Yeah, exactly. Where is Hillsdale college? It's in Michigan, so he's not leaving. He's in Michigan, boy. Well, at least he was a Michigan boy, right? So he's all about his comfort zone. Yeah. At this point in his life, that's kind of where Eric is. And yeah, so in in 1990, he gets a sweet job becoming an intern in George HW Bush's White House, which you think would be like this kid's dream job, you know, Super Conservative president not to work for him. Yeah, exactly. Eric gets ****** *** that George HW Bush's administration. Not conservative enough quote. I saw a lot of things. I didn't agree with homosexual groups being invited in the budget agreement, the Clean Air Act. I mean, that's what the **** I understand. What that means is, is that like his sort of like, you know, big government philosophy? Is that what he's sort of put? Yeah. You know, the Clean Air Act is anti business because it wants people to be able to breathe and like, right, it's better for business if people can't breathe. I mean, that's basic capitalism. Yeah. Christ professed his love for capitalism. Hated air. Hated air because he didn't need it. Christ. Yeah, exactly. So why should anyone else like that's I'm trying to be more like Christ and not breathe air. Hmm. Toughen your lungs up, right? Walk on some water. After his time as an intern, Eric got a gig as a volunteer firefighter fighter. So that's nice. Until in 1992, he joined the Navy Seals. He was apparently good at his job. He was deployed to Bosnia, Haiti, in the Middle East. But tragically for Eric, his service came during a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity, and he never saw combat. Oh, he didn't? No, that's the ********* kind of Navy SEAL. Yeah, like, you don't even have a ******* good story at a bar when someone's. Like, yeah, man. Would you see? Have you seen GI Jane? I went to Haiti. You did some ****** ** **** in Haiti? No. We kind of did a lot of push-ups. Yeah. We kind of just moving potable water around, but yeah. Oh my. Wow. That really? That must have been heartbreaking for him because he seems like somebody who really wants to know. Yeah. Like a war ***** right? No, but he's he just. I mean, basically, if you're a Navy SEAL and you don't fight, you're just a really good swimmer, right? Yeah. And, like, future fitness instructor. Yeah. And I'm sure. In in fairness to Eric, he's, I'm sure he's a great swimmer. Oh yeah, this this dude can tear up an Olympic pool. No matter what your politics are, your your body and your your your physical fitness is at another level as a Navy SEAL. Yeah, and and yeah, I have the body of just a harbor seal. So. So Eric leaves the Navy seals early in 1995 because his dad dies of a heart attack, and he's got a deal with that, deal with the family money. They sell the company and they make like, 1.3 billion get split up between him and the rest of his family members. He gets hit with a second tragedy when his wife gets breast cancer. She was able to have two kids, but she died not that long after. But Eric, you know, settle down to a quiet life of being incredibly wealthy. And he started A6000 acre training facility for security operators. He named this base Blackwater. It was a place where, you know, you could go if you were a military unit or a police unit of SWAT team and do training. They had like a fake high school there so that you could practice like dealing with the Columbine situation where they had like recorded screening or perpetrating one. This is a crisis actor conspiracy theory thinking. Drop on us, miles, like Robert, when you're on my podcast we'll talk about crisis acting. It's called inside the crisis Actors Studio. This is talking about the craziest conspiracies, and everyone's a gracious act. No, I'm not. No, I don't mean to cast aspersions on that person, but yeah. Wait, so black. Oh. So in a way, he was just kind of like, I want to create, like, the gym for cops and military people to beef up their it's not an unreasonable thing to do. Like people whose are in SWAT teams and whatever need, like, fake schools to practice, because that's the thing they might have to do. So he's providing that. So far, relatively reasonable. But over the next couple of years, Prince shifted Blackwater. Training facility to a company that also provided security personnel for the US government. One of Blackwater's first contracts was actually in China guarding North Korean defectors that the government was afraid the Chinese would abduct to send back to North Korea. So they didn't want to put U.S. soldiers or CIA guys on these guys because that could be a diplomatic incident. So they have private security to get them out of the country and stuff that they were extracting them from China. Yeah, that's what I understand was sort of the situation at that point. So again, not an unreasonable. And the government always needs a couple of kind of deniable assets. Of course, that stuff with so pretty low level, low key, that's kind of what he's moving into, but it's not it's not total darkness yet, but I'm starting to see the sun start to go down. Yeah, definitely setting. Right. We're we're we're past 4:00 PM here, so, you know, 911 happens after that. And I'm sorry, what was 911? Oh, I feel like we should stop and pull a Wikipedia page up. Can we pull something up? All that? Yes. OK, I'm on board. Also, jet fuel can't melt steel beams. Yeah, you say that a lot. Hey, look, what happened to building 7? That's my question. Anyway, so 911 goes great for Eric Prince. He's on the Bill O'Reilly show not that long after. And he notes that his phone is ringing off the hook. He attempts to join the CIA, but he fails to pass their polygraph test. Whoa. Yeah. What? Do you know what kind of stuff they ask you about? No, I mean, I know in. General polygraph test. But I don't know what the CIA was asking him. Well, clearly it's not, must not be good to be hooked up to a truth machine and tell lies to the CIA. Although polygraph tests have been kind of, they're people say they're dubious. Little bit, right. They're supposed to be pretty sketchy. I don't, I don't know. I'm not here to defend what's going on. But yes, right. Yes. He tries to get into the CIA, and the CIA is like, you're a little too shady for us. We're going to go continue to smuggle crack into the inner cities. Exactly. Yeah. So Eric isn't going to let the little thing like the CIA stop him from living out his dream of walking around with guns in foreign countries. He forms Blackwater security consulting and he moves his company into the business of selling mercenaries to the government. His hope was that Blackwater would quote due for national security apparatus what FedEx did for the Postal Service. Hold on, let me process this that what that he wants to do for the national security apparatus? What FedEx did for the Postal Service. Wow. Like let me take a little burden off you and also do it in a. Crazy aggressive way. I want to be the FedEx of shooting people. Yeah, right, exactly. Like, look, of course the US didn't kill those people, you know, just US contractors did. OK. OK. Yeah. So where we're going? Yeah, he's a visionary. He's starting to see the vision. So 2001 Blackwater has a total of about $730,000 in federal contracts. Right. So kind of small beans at this point. In 2004, less than a year into the Iraq war, they had $48 million in contracts. By 2007, they'd made more than a billion dollars. And federal contracts by 2007? Yeah. Wait, when did it start again? I'm sorry, 2001 is when he started, and then by 2007, he turned that into a billion dollars. So pretty good rate of return. Yeah. How do I invest in Blackwater? You probably don't get into right now. Yeah. Yeah. 2001 was the time. Yeah. No, 2000 was the day I got was the August of 2001. September 10th was really the time you wanted. It was the money in the mercenaries. Yeah. So after the invasion of Iraq, Eric volunteers to provide the government with hundreds and eventually thousands of contractors, has been carried guns and guarded high value government officials and convoys since they were private civilians who regularly got into gunfights and war zones for money. Some people call Blackwaters contractors mercenaries. This makes Eric very angry. Here's a quote from a Newsweek article titled Profile Blackwater's Erik Prince quote. That's a slanderous term, an inflammatory word. They used to malign us, says Prince. Mercenaries, he says, are professional soldiers who work for a foreign government. Blackwater's men are Americans working for the American government. OK, semantics, man. Yeah. OK. OK. Yeah, so that's this is Eric's point of view on the mercenaries he's providing to the US government. They're not mercenaries because they're American, and so is the government. You're still a sell sword, though. Yeah, you know, I mean, selling your ability to kill people for money, right? Yeah. And in a way, it's like ******** cuz. Like, it's like you couldn't even make the real team. Like, it'd be like an actual military personnel. It's like, I guess I'll do the mall cop version of. Being a cop, which is a Blackwater guy. Yeah. It's like one of the things that's respectable about the military is like, oh, you know, you know, you're not making that much money like you get. There's got to be some degree of, like something you want to do or like there's some degree of idealism as opposed to like, not making a quarter of 1,000,000 bucks a year to go shoot people. Yeah, because you can, you can argue that someone in the military, like they're sort of North Star is being patriotic or being nationalistic or whatever. Yeah. Versus like, yeah, your Blackwater, like, I'm here for the check and to be and I get to shoot people for a lot more money than I did when it was. Not honorable, but I'm making eight times as much money to do the same job, and I don't have to follow the rules because a lot of their guys are our ex military, right? Yes. Right, absolutely. So guy can't just be like, hey, I'm here to I'm here for the Blackwater tryouts. We'll get to that a little bit, OK? So in actuality, because you just saying, you know, his men are Americans working for the American government and actuality, many of princes employees in Iraq were from Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries collectively known as not America. A State Department investigation found that these, quote third World nationals were often forced to live in a horrifying conditions, three people to a tiny room with no better air conditioning. So this actually speaks to a big misconception. When we think of black water, we think of like, big burly mercenaries with beards and machine guns. They have those guys. That's a big part of what they do. But they also and all of the contracting companies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the people they provide are like poorly paid foreigners from Southeast Asia or the Middle East to like run the kitchens and drive trucks and convoys to transport food and ammunition. And so, like, those guys are doing horribly dangerous jobs, and a lot of them die. But if they die, the US government doesn't have to say anyone died. So it's like, 06 Bangladeshis died driving MRE's to troops in this base. Nobody needs to know. No, U.S. soldiers died. Yeah, no Americans died. So that's a lot of what Princess doing. So. And even then, he's even hiring people in, like, not combat roles necessarily, but just to do sort of other leg work. Yeah, but they're going to get shot and they're not in armored vehicles right there. Yeah, you know? Yeah, it's it's really messed up. So Blackwater's arms contractors, who were the guys who made the company famous, were good at protecting their clients. They never lost a client in Iraq, but they were bad at the winning hearts and minds thing, right? So one of their favorite tactics was to drive on the opposite side of the road as fast as they could and shoot above any vehicle that didn't drive away fast enough, which they said protected their convoys, and which Iraqis said was ******* terrifying. They drove in the opposite direction of traffic and shot above the cars that were coming towards them if anyone got. Too close. They would shoot above them, just like, get the **** out of the way. Yeah, I know. I'm driving on the wrong side of the road. This is Blackwater. Now, in a little bit of fairness to Blackwater, so, like, one of the traffic is really bad. So you do. Well, it's not, it's not entirely unheard of in Iraq to direct traffic with guns. When I was there last time, I kind of made friends with a guy, an Iraqi army guy who was directing traffic at this checkpoint in Mosul. And whenever he'd get into an argument with somebody, he would shoot next to their head with his M16. And I was like, what are you? That's seems really messed up. And it was like, yeah, well, yeah. But like, I'm, I'm doing this 12 hours a day and if I yell at everybody, I'm not going to have a voice. And I got to be out here all the time so it's just easier to shoot next to him. Just bucking shots like that, yeah, he said he spent about 180 rounds a day doing that. Just like pop pop of rather than talking. Yeah, I'll just squeeze off 180 shots. Well, just one or two at a time, yeah. Yeah. But I mean, a lot of people are coming. Yeah, but Blackwater, you know, it's the driving on the opposite side of the road thing. That's that's the most controversial thing. So here's what one Baghdad housewife told a French journalist about them. Uh, they sail off the roads and drive on the wrong side. They simply kill that Newsweek profile. And Eric quoted an advisor for the coalition forces who had traveled with both Blackwater guys as her guards and American soldiers as her guards. And she said that Blackwater guys had explained their attitude towards the Iraqis, as our mission is to protect the principle at all costs. If that means ******* off the Iraqis. Too bad. So right in September of 2006, the Blackwater convoy, driving down the wrong side of the road, struck an Iraqi car and sent it careening into a telephone pole. The car caught fire, Blackwire drove off without rendering aid and the driver died. The only time that happened, that's just a time that happened. Yeah, right there. Just always driving on the other side of the road super fast, shooting at people, right. They're like, you don't even know what the right side of the road is. We just know the Blackwater side. Yeah. Here's another quote from a Baghdad traffic cop. They're impolite and do not respect people. They bump other people's cars to frighten them and shout at anyone who approaches them. Two weeks ago, guards of a convoy opened fire randomly and that led to the killing of two policemen. So, yeah, another journalist who spent a lot of time with them, Robert Young Pelton. Noted that they used their machine guns like car horns. So, wow, Eric, you've got to you've got a great group of employees here. It's funny because I only just know of, like, isolated incidents here or there or that I was familiar with, like, during the Iraq war about hearing about Blackwater and that kind of **** they did. But like, when you when you really start to like, as you're revealing it to me now, realize, like, they're like frat Bros in a war zone. It's great that you bring up frat Bros. We've got a break for commercials, but once we come back, we're going to talk about. Blackwater's drunken shenanigans in Iraq, and then we're going to move on to Eric Prince's new job in China. So all that after some ads. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one meant mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying one or for a family and at Mint. Family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. 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Stories of family secrets that emerge from dark, hidden places, as they so often must. Inside every secret is a truth, and you know what they say. The truth will set us free. Listen and subscribe to family secrets on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. You were mirabar matte courage already runs in your blood. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. Sisters of the Underground is a new scripted series about fearless women exploring the life and legacy of the Mirabal sisters, Dominican women who were brave enough to challenge decades of oppression. Together, they led their country toward a revolution against Rafael Trujillo, the brutal dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic for 30 years. Please, please help us has blood on his hands from executive producers Dania Ramirez and Eva Longoria. That's me comes the powerful retelling of this all too relevant narrative. Listen to sisters of the underground as part of Michael Toura podcast network, available on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. And we're back, and we're about to talk about the frat bro aspect of Blackwater's history. I just feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it coming. I do want to note, I found a lot of these quotes in a really good Brookings Institute article called The Dark Truth about Blackwater. So if you're looking for more info on these folks, that's a good source. In 2004, Blackwater won an exciting new contract to help deliver kitchen equipment in Fallujah. They were eager to impress the Emirati company that hired them, and they rushed the delivery. Now, I don't know if Prince was eager to impress this company, but he was the guy running the whole company at this time. So somebody from Blackwater topside said get this kitchen equipment to its source as quick as possible. And the people whose job it is to determine how to do things, we're like, OK, well, we need at least six armed men, and they should all be in armored vehicles. And whoever was in charge of the mission was like, Nah, we'll have four guys and we'll drive normal cars. Eyes in VW bus. Yeah. And they were supposed to let the US Marines who were in charge of Fallujah at the time know that they were going to be there in case they needed back up. It's good thing to let the Marines know that someone might be operating, that they need help. They didn't. So these four guys get ambushed and killed and a quote, enraged mob drags their burned bodies through the streets and hangs their corpses from a bridge. I remember. Yeah, you do. Yeah. That whole incident sparked the battle of Fallujah, which is one of the bloodiest fights of the entire Iraq war. Around 1000 or so, civilians died? It's hard to say. Along with 95 U.S. soldiers. Wow. The kitchen equipment was never delivered. Yeah, someone's got a nice kitchen though. Somebody's got a great kitchen or it all got burnt. I don't think Blackwater impressed the company. No, not at all, I guess. And they really did try and do their FedEx thing where they also were. They're like, yeah, we'll get there in record time because they'll be so understaffed. Well, you know, I I've lost count of how many times I've ordered something through FedEx and their employees been ambushed and hung from a bridge and sparked a brutal month long siege. City. Yeah. That's why I don't order from crate&barrel. And yeah, yeah, they use FedEx. Yeah. Yeah. It's just too many deaths. It's messy. Yeah, it really is. Yeah. Tragic. So the high profile murder of four employees did not exactly lower Blackwater's tempo in regards to flipping out at any Iraqis who came near them. In 2005, the Brigadier General responsible for security in Baghdad noted that in two months, contractors were involved in 12 shootings that resulted in at least six civilian deaths on Christmas Eve, 2006. A Blackwater. Employee got ********* and started wandering around the Green Zone. He staggered up to the Iraqi vice president's house, got into an argument with his bodyguards, and shot one of them to death. What the next? This brave patriot ran back to a checkpoint, guarded by another group of contractors, and told them he'd been in a firefight with Iraqis. He was clearly drunk and waving a gun around. They disarmed him and tried to question him, but he was just way too hammered to be questioned. So Blackwater fired the man, flew him home and paid $15,000 to the family of the dead guard. It was a tragic incident, but not they assured a sign that their employees were a bunch of irresponsibly violent Cowboys. Holy ****. How is that not an indication that there are a bunch of irresponsible Cowboys? Hey, you know what? The guy, he got fired and, you know, it took him $10,000 to that family. I mean, I get it. That in Iraq, that could be a lot of money. So that's like that that that maybe that's the going rate that Blackwater deems is like, you know, consolation pay. But. Well this gets into a really messed up area, but like the initial amount the US government suggested they give the family was 250,000 but then other people within the government. So this isn't Blackwater. We're like well if we give that much money to the family that did originally broke, well no people are going to get their relatives killed to get money from us. That was their fear. Not that that ever happened because I don't know that it like but of course it's like how all people think when you're talking about destitute communities. Like we're going to find a way to take advantage of this. They learned out. Yeah and they'll self murder and you know frame. Yeah, they're their kids murdered for cash, right? Holy ****. And that was the government. That's not black, right? I mean, the murders on Blackwater. Absolutely. But, you know, you'll be happy to know that the employee, he was fired. He was sent back to the US and it took him two months to get another job at a private security firm and wind up in Kuwait with a gun. Jesus. Right back. You can only fail up. Yeah. Yeah. Or at least laterally. And now I think he's Ryan Zinke. Right. The interior secretary. In August of 2007, the State Department decided they should investigate Blackwater because of everything. Yeah, naturally. Right. That I've said so far. Yeah, they they came up with a bunch of fun incidents. Once they started asking around, one of the things they found is that several Blackwater employees had gotten hammered as **** and stolen $180,000 armored vehicle and driven it to a party where they accidentally crashed it into a concrete wall. Wow. What the ****? It's so weird to, like, hear this, right? Because, like, on one side it's just, like, deeply troubling, evil, tragic **** that they do. And the other side is not that it's funny, but it's so reckless that you can't believe that. Well, I guess you can, because I've never, you know, I feel like all the things we hear about how the United States operates outside of this country is just in a very sort of haphazard way or irresponsible way. So yes, OK, go on. Let this. Uncomfortable laughter. Continue. So the investigation did find that Blackwater had been cutting corners. They regularly reduced the number of their men guarding high profile people without actually charging for fewer guards. Automatic weapons were found stored in private residences, which not supposed to do. Blackwater employees were found to drink, heavily partied with prostitutes, and regularly failed to qualify on their weapons. They were also found to carry weapons like grenade launchers that they were not certified to use. What? Wait, so? They're drunk as **** and then they're like, yo, where did you get that M203 grenade launcher? They're like, hey, I just, I bought on eBay. Oh, man, you could use it over here in 203. I think we're talking about, like, the automatic grenade launchers that you mount on the top of a vehicle, right? Like big, like sort of murder cannons. Yeah. OK. I don't. I think it's called like an MK. I don't look someone. I've seen him shoot a couple of times. They're definitely fun looking, but, you know, maybe qualify. So how are they getting it, though, do you know, like, are they? Self supplying it and they're just simply like you're actually not supposed to be. Yeah, the Blackwater has is able to, as one of these companies, they're able to buy that sort of equipment to use in these war zones. It's just that there are certain standards that like the military has for anyone who's going to be using that **** in a war zone. Like if you're carrying that weapon and you're a marine or whatnot, you've done certain things. Clearly these guys are required to qualify on those weapons too. If they're going to carry him in war zones and they're not, Blackwater is basically not holding its people to the same standard as the military, right? And they're treating it like, yo, I just put rims on my dad's ******* navigator. Let's take it out for a spin. Except this time it's a it's a rocket launcher and you're in a war zone. Exactly. OK, yeah. So in response to this, so the State Department, you know, does this investigation and finds out Blackwater's ******* up all over the place. The State Department investigator, you know, sitting down and talking to the guy Eric Prince appointed to run Blackwater's operations in Iraq. And this conversation turns heated and the Blackwater guy threatens to murder the State Department investigator and says, quote, no one could or would do anything. About it as we were in Iraq. That's the State Department guy recalling the conversation. It's basically like, I'm going to murder you if you don't stop investigating Blackwater. And we're in Iraq, so nobody's going to give a **** right in space. No one can hear you scream in Iraq. I can murder, you know, undisturbed and no one. And you know I can't because you just investigated all the times my companies murdered people here without any kind of repercussion. Yeah, you would expect all of this to have some consequences, but the US military, well. Government mainly was kind of in a bind when it came to Blackwater and other contractors. So in 2007, there were at least 160,000 contractors in Iraq. This means they equaled, and perhaps since they weren't required to disclose their true numbers, perhaps exceeded the numbers of the US military in the country. So Eric Prince's pitch at the start of the whole fighting thing, which the Bush administration had bought hook, line and sinker, was that contractors would allow the government to vastly increase their presence in the country without paying a political price for it. So Bush. And say we only need 160,000 troops to keep Iraq safe. But thanks to contractors, they've got 300,000 plus guys in country. The government also left contractors and needed them because their deaths were easy to ignore. By 2007, at least 1000 contractors had been killed and 13,000 wounded. Nine per day were dying at the height of the surge. Many of those people were the Third World nationals we talked about earlier, probably because we don't actually know how many contractors died. It could be even higher and we don't know where any of them. Came from because none of that is required to be reported to anybody and none of those deaths go on the official tallies of US losses in the War on Terror. So the government knows Blackwater is ******* up and they're ruining the hearts and minds thing, which is a critical part of beating an insurgency. But also they can't function the way that they've come used to functioning in Iraq without these guys because they're most of the effort now, right? Right, right. Yeah. And so, so a lot of these people here saying who are like the third World nationals, are they coming? Of any kind of military training most of them aren't doing, I mean so most of those people are getting are getting killed in sort of non combat roles. Exactly. Whenever you've got the military occupation, like when the US military in Iraq, there's 160,000 service members in Iraq. Most of them aren't kicking indoors and getting into gunfights. Most of them are maintaining vehicles and doing you know, built putting up communications equipment and all that stuff. It's the same with the contractors. Most of them are driving trucks, are cooking for people or maintaining building spaces. What do you think that how does that percentage you think or what's the ratio to like I'm going to guess. Most of the people dying or driving trucks. Wow. Because there's constant streams of trucks all throughout the country, right? And those guys, yeah, those trucks aren't armored. Right, because **** it. We don't have to do anything because they're third world nationals who are just a digit on a paper or spreadsheet. If they die, it doesn't hurt us politically. Bush isn't being asked to account for dead, you know? Foreign national contractors. How many Bangladeshis were killed? So yeah, exactly. No, I don't ******* know. You're not gonna fool me again. Yeah, so despite the rough patches, the first four years of the Iraq war went pretty well for Eric Prince. It is possible that some of this went to his head in mid 2007. He gathered a bunch of contractors at Blackwater's headquarters in North Carolina. And of man, did they swear an oath of allegiance. OK, I think the text of the oath said a lot about, you know, swearing to fight the War on Terror and, you know, loyalty to the principles of America and stuff, but a former employee, an actual Blackwater armed contractor told the New York Times. Kind of felt like pledging allegiance to Eric. That's how a lot of us interpreted it. Wow. Yeah, he, I mean, he has such a weird origin story, too. Like to now watch it starting off as like rich kid who for whatever reason was like, I mean, I don't know, whatever reason probably. His upbringing was Hyper conservative and now turned into like this sort of demigod mini little dictator in his own little fiefdom army thing. Yeah. So a couple of weeks after he has them all pledged loyalty, disaster strikes when Blackwater employees freak out and start firing machine guns and grenade launchers into a crowd at Baghdad's Nisour Square. They killed at least 17 people, wounded dozens more, and one of the people they killed was a 9 year old boy. He was like burnt to the bodies of his parents in a car. It was horrible. Blackwater's immediate response to the massacre was to take down their website and refuse all interviews. The company spokesperson sent out an e-mail in English only to Americans that said the civilians, reportedly. Fired upon by Blackwater professionals were in fact armed enemies. This contrast with the opinion of the US military, who found no evidence of insurgent activity in the square that day. But that's just the military, right? What do they know about insurgents there? Let the contractors do the real work. That's insane. And so their account to defend themselves for slaughtering a bunch of innocence, was that like, is it? Was there any like, like in the reporting of it? Like anything that someone could even perceive to be as a threat? Or do people just think like they're so unprofessional? They got spooked and just fired on a bunch of civilians. I can tell you that when you hang out in crowded Iraqi cities, especially when there's a lot of unrest, you're going to hear gunfire regularly. My guess from what I've read is that somewhere else in the city there was some shooting or maybe even a ******* backfiring car. There might have been a bomb that went off somewhere else in the city and these guys got spooked. Oh right. And they said maybe they saw a guy who looked shady and they heard a sound that was shady and at the same time, and people just started firing. And maybe a couple of the bullets ricocheted, passed and that made him keep firing, right? Like it's it's. Hard to say, but the military says there's no evidence that they were under fire at all, that there was any insurgent activity. After releasing the statement, Blackwater put their website back up. They made no mention of the massacre and continued to sell Blackwater branded T-shirts, baseball caps and baby clothes. Your strategy? Sort of like, literally kind of putting their fingers in their ears by taking their website down and like, we'll just wait for this to pass, but let's make sure we're getting the merch out there too. Merch out there? I mean, I've ordered some of the baby clothes for Jack, I feel like. It's a good gift, I think. I mean, he I think Jack is wearing the the Blackwater hoodie. You got Jack loves black. He's he's big into contractor wear. I mean, if Jack I think he should really be thinking about in terms of if his own powerful ascension, he should have a private army too. Everyone needs a private army. Nobody's disagreeing with that. We're talking about Jack O'Brien. Jack O'Brien. You haven't. If you know about this podcast, you know what universe you're in. The only Jack there is is Jack O'Brien, Blackwater enthusiast. We could keep talking about Blackwater for several podcasts. There's so much that I just didn't even include. But the Eric Prince story is much bigger and Dumber than that, and so we have to move on. OK, so that was a an amuse bouche for the main of main course. Well, there's just there's just a lot to cover here. So, you know, after after that whole massacre thing, some people go to jail, although their convictions were overturned last year. What? Yeah, again, that's a lot of stories here, but Prince changed the company's name to X. From Blackwater to avoid the bad press, right? And then he sold the company in like 2010. It's now called Academy with an I because I don't. I don't really know why Blackwater is no longer Blackwater. Prince was no longer with Blackwater. He was still devoted to the company, and one of the last things he did was work with the games developer to make a Blackwater video game. According to Prince, the game's purpose was to, quote, give players the chance to experience what it is like to be on a Blackwater team, on a mission without being dropped into a real combat situation. We already have games for that. Yeah. They're every other video. Yeah, exactly. If you just want to kill people randomly and whatever. OK. It was like a connect motion game. I haven't actually played. It was no. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. It was a connect motion video game. Yeah. Blackwater ******* your Blackwater guy. It was apparently very bad. All of the reviews I've read are terrible. Yeah, because I can't imagine, like, people I found a lot. Like people who are sort of like, in the very conservative side of things, they tend to not have the best taste in creatives that they work with. So I'm sure they probably just found some kid who's like, you know, like they went to Infinity Ward. Who made like Call of Duty and were like, hey, we need you for the new Blackwater game? They didn't pull all the stops out for this. Are the gestures. Like, anyway, I'll have to. I'll have to read some. I've got a couple. There's a quote from IGN that could double his review for the actual company Blackwater. They said it employs nothing but bad ideas, and it fails to do anything exciting with any of them. Another reviewer from Giant Bomb noted that the game presents Blackwater employees as, quote, a bunch of selfless, good-natured, totally not mercenaries who save hostages and deliver food and totally don't kill civilians. How could they, when there are literally no civilians? Anywhere in this game. No margin for error in that one. Yeah, kill them all. Yeah. So I know what you're thinking. Isn't it sad that poor Eric Prince had to give up on his dreams of having his own private armies? Well, don't worry. Eric does not give up on his dreams. He's not that kind of man. After selling Blackwater, he relocated to Dubai. The Emirati police ponied up $529 million for him to create an 800 man foreign fighting force because, you know, they have internal revolts to suppress. The Emirates are filled with crowded labor camps. That's who builds all those. Right off the bat. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Slave, straight slave. Slave labor from Southeast Asia at best, 1/2 step up from abject slavery. Right. And there's a lot of unrest there. So the UAE was like, Eric Prince, would you make us an army of foreign soldiers that we can use to brutally suppress? Right. Yeah. I need something to quell the revolts that are impending with your professional killer groups. OK. Eric Prince was just the guy to make that happen. Whole operation was almost certainly illegal. American citizens are not allowed to train foreign soldiers without permission from the State Department. During his last year in charge of Blackwater, the company had paid a $42 million fine for illegally training troops in Jordan. So this is like a pattern with Eric. Prince is illegally training foreign troops in order to sidestep any problems. This time, Prince just pretended he wasn't involved. He adopted the code name Kingfish, so no one would know that he was committing blatant international crimes. Wait, what do you mean the code name? Like he just like on transmission. The documents. They would never the words Eric Prince wouldn't show up. There was a company like RS2 or something like that was the name of the company doing the training, and Prince was connected to them and own them, but like didn't like. It's one of those. Like when you've got enough lawyers and stuff, you can figure out the layers of it's. There's been some great journalists, particularly with the Intercept, who have spent years sort of unpeeling the onion of Eric Princess. So it's showing. Yeah. Like sort of the mechanics of his plausible deniability machine, basically. Yeah, exactly. But Kingfish is what he goes by at this time, so of course, yeah. Yeah. Not no longer Prince fish. Yeah. He's become king. He's a kingfish. Yeah. So rather than hiring U.S. special forces veterans, which, remember, is what he promised to do and why he said that he wasn't a mercenary warlord, because he was right. Because I hire American people. Right. He opted to bring in soldiers from Colombia because they were cheaper. The project immediately encountered. Problems when it turned out that many of these soldiers had never even fired a weapon, Prince initially hoped that this battalion would be the first of many. But after numerous problems, the force was reduced in size to 580 men. Men who actually served in the battalion reported being locked indoors all day and being incredibly bored. The boredom was only broken up by occasional trips paid for by the company to divide the **** prostitutes? Wow. Otherwise they're just like the room slave kill Squad just had to hang out in a room until it was processed. They would do some running and training, but then they were locked in a room. Holy ****. But every now and then they got some prostitutes, so that's sweet stuff. OK, well, OK, Eric Prince, this, this all seems aboveboard, so yeah, I mean, at this point, Eric Prince's first Army had committed numerous war crimes, and his 2nd Army seemed to be on its way to fizzling out. So in 2014, Eric Prince decided to take a break from making armies to try a bold new business strategy, making his own Air Force. Whoa, what the ****? So that year, Eric Prince gets cozies up with an investment firm called the Acidic Group and founded a company named Frontier Logistics Group. Now, CITIC Group is an investment company that is owned by the Chinese government. So this meant Eric Prince was either in business with or straight up working for China now. Wow. So he doesn't, he does not give a ****. I think he's a patriot in any way, or he's just like pure reptilian brain. Like, I'm just going to do what I want. I know nothing else. But for me to obtain what I want. I am sure he would consider himself a patriot and have a justification. What kind of mental gymnastics do you think he's doing to say like, oh, I made a, you know, like a kill squad for the UAE. And now I'm making a weird private Chinese Air Force. The UAE are sort of allies of the United States. He's not making an Air Force for China. We're about to get into that. He's just so the frontier. Logistics Group is supposed to be just a logistics company. The people you call, if you're a corporation, you're like, we've got a bunch of diamonds in this country and we need them shipped here. Can you help us arrange that or we've got sick executives in central Africa. Can you get a medevac? We're building an oil field in this country to help us figure out how to set it up and organize so that, like, that's a perfectly legitimate business. Somebody needs to do that work if you're like in that industry. Here's a quote describing the airplane he has built. In addition to surveillance and laser targeting equipment, airborne had outfitted the plane with bulletproof cockpit. Windows and Armored engine block, anti explosive mesh for the fuel tank and specialized wiring that could control rockets and bombs. The company also installed pods for mounting 2 high-powered 23 millimeter chain guns, straight Vulcan cannon and that thing. So to maintain secrecy, Prince does his best to keep his name out of this project. So the people at airborne other than like a couple of their top people don't know Miss Eric Prince. He's referred to in all of their papers as EP, but he purchased or bought a state as EP. He I mean yeah. Essentially, that's the only name he's known by in any of the public or not even public, and even the documents the engineers see. So the engineers see that someone with a code name EP is ordering them to build a military aircraft. That doesn't seem weird to them initially because they've done some contracts that are secret for like the German government and the Swiss government. So they think, OK, this is probably a government thing because we've done this kind of work. Our bosses assure us it's on the up and up. We're not breaking any laws. But they knew they were getting into bed with Eric Prince though, right? The a couple of people at the top of the company. The people actually building the plane think they're working for, like, the German Government. But yeah. But I. I guess, I guess, yeah. To buy a 25% stake in a company. Like, obviously, the people at the top are going to know, oh, I see who this person is. So, yeah. One day, near the end of finishing this plane, Eric Prince comes by the hanger to inspect it. And one of these engineers recognizes him and knows who he is. And it's like, oh, **** we're building a military aircraft for Eric Prince. And so these guys go to their bosses and they're like, we're pretty sure we're committing an international crime. They're making this fit, right? Right? But the management assures them things will be fine if they keep their mouth shut. It's funny. Everything will be fine if you keep your mouth shut. It's not say anything not illegal. Yeah, it's everything we find. If you could keep your mouth shut, you don't tell anyone. We won't get in trouble for building a bomber. The plane you're talking about that they retrofitted. You said it's a crop. Crop dusting. Is it a prop, like a propeller plane, or is it a jet engine? It's got, like, engines and stuff. It doesn't look like a prop plane. OK, because in my mind, a crop dusting plane is like, you know, like the old propeller plane. Like a like a right brother. No, it's like a nice crop dusting. Gotcha. But they had a bunch of. Problems because, like, it wasn't made to have thousands of pounds of armor, right? They had to build. So, like, the things that bombs hang on, on a plane are called pylons. And they're either, like, made for US munitions or Warsaw Pact, you know, Russian munitions. And so these guys even designed pylons that could fit both because Eric didn't know what kind of bombs he was going to be able to get where I can get that stock from. Yeah. So, like, this is the kind of thing he has made. And before the planes even finished, Eric goes out to a bunch of prospective clients, mainly people that we would call warlords or dictators. And tries to sell them on his sexy new murder engine. He told his partners in Frontier, including the CEO, that they were not running a security company. You know, again, they just thought they were buying surveillance planes. So nobody knows but Eric Prince and a couple of his close people. What he's doing. Yeah, for for the other people. They just think, oh, we've got a surveillance plane. And he's like, I've got something that can do it all, baby. Yeah. OK, so that's that's the situation. Nobody but Prince knows that he's planning to put missiles on this plane and use it to murder dissidents. So Hemming his own Air Force to track back a bit has been a goal of Eric since at least 2008, when he purchased an unarmed attack aircraft that he later released to the Pentagon to use in Afghanistan to test it out, to see if it would be good for the Afghan Air Force. In Iraq, he tried and failed to sell a contract providing close air support to the CIA. Also in Iraq, Blackwater had a feat of tiny helicopters. Prince would have men with machine guns hang off them and shoot at people. Those helicopters came to be known by the Iraqis as little birds. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. But those are unarmored. Helicopter. Unarmed helicopter. But what's that? That's a specific kind of helicopter, though. The little bird. Right. And maybe, you know, it's not like a hue or the other ones, but it looks a little bit like a Huey but even tinier. Yeah. Right. Right. I just think of it because I know, like, I read a lot about, like, Somalia 93 kind of stuff. And that was like, those are like, a lot of the other guys were in, like, those little bird helicopters. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Those little one from the video games. I always hop in. Yeah. Yeah. So Prince had never gotten to order his own private military aircraft to bomb insurgents and that's. It was his dream. And in 2014, it seemed like it was finally going to come true. So the Austrians finished this thing and they take it on the practice flight and it dozens of problems pop up because of course you're supposed to put armaments on a crop duster. So they fix whatever they can. But Prince rushes them and says, basically, I need this thing in two days. I've already promised it to somebody and it needs to be ready. God, what the **** is wrong with this guy? So during the planes first flight, it's grounded for a faulty fuel pump that's eventually fixed and the plane makes it to Juba. South Sudan, where it was expected to help with the Civil war, unfortunately for Eric Prince, but thankfully for humanity, some random guy in Greece took picture. You know, there's there's this random guy in Greece who's hobby is taking pictures of planes that take off from the right. He's just one of those nerds, and he takes a picture of this thing as it lifts off from Greece because that's how they were getting it into Sudan was taking off from, like they were taking off from Greece. And the plane was registered in San Marino, which is a tiny micro state in, like northern Italy, right in that area. So this thing takes off. This guy uploads a picture. It gets back to the authorities in San Marino, who realized that the plane that Eric Prince had registered bore no resemblance to the plane on that runway, which is clearly a military aircraft. All right. He's like, hi, I want to register my nice little processor plane. It's a hobby plane. Nothing to see here. Right. And they're like, those are missile pylons on the bottom. No, no, no. Those are fun holders. So credit to the government of San Marino. They pull his registration. The plane had to be flown to another hanger. In a different E African nation, and it's probably still there right now. The whole project fell apart and Eric Prince never got to bomb anyone. Yeah, he really is like a tortured guy with a war ***** who never got to get his war penis off. Yeah, basically, yeah. And credit to airborne Technologies, was one of the engineers who worked on the plane that leaked this story to the Intercept, or at least leaked a big part of it to the Intercept was like, this is ****** **. I'm, I'm OK. Making a plane for the German government. I really don't want to make one for this guy. God, that must have been such a moment, though, too. He realized it's Eric Prince. Yeah. Looks him up on his phone and he's like, yeah. Get a movie like he's holding it up next to him, just like going back and forth. It's it's the guy. Yeah, this isn't going to be good for my resume. OK, so they they've clearly say you made a kill jet. Yeah, but is there any trial or like, so does anyone get in trouble? Did anyone have to like, release a statement or anything? Like, no, as far as I understand at this point, airborne denies making a fighter jet. FLG denies that the fighter jet was made with their money. Prince just doesn't talk about it. Like the reason we know about this is the Intercept report and they have everything if you go read EP exposed. They have like advertising documents he built for this attack craft. Like you can see like, yeah, you can see his marketing materials. It's very well documented. He's like, this could be yours for if they were just making it up for some reason. All of these companies would have sued them to ****. But nothing's happened. Like that's the way it went. Nothing has happened. The plane is still sitting in a hangar somewhere in East Africa. As far as we know, it was never used, right. So that's that's exactly where the situation any like conspiracy or? Logic to why we think like he has never had to answer for that like cause clearly that those are international crimes. If he's creating an armed aircraft that that's that's probably in violation of many laws. Well, because what they have is the picture, which is why San Marino pulled his registration. But they don't have like you don't have hard documented evidence outside of like what the journalists put up about how it was made or about exactly who ordered it. Like Prince doesn't have his name tied to it in legal documents. These are allegations. In a news report that has a significant amount of backing to it. But also, it's not like he was caught bombing civilians in Sudan, right? Got stopped before that point. So it's just sort of fizzled out. It's like being called like, a homemade gun or something. Yeah. Well, it's like Prince didn't get in trouble when, like, when he was found illegally training troops for a foreign country, right? Company got a $42 million loss. Like had to pay $42 million in fines, but he didn't get charged anything. And then they consider that an operating cost. Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, they they made billions, right? Point. What's 42 million? Yeah. What's 42 million? It's like when you sue Purdue Pharmaceuticals for, you know, marketing illegally and hiding, like, the truth about the painkillers they were selling, like they pay 1 1/2% of the profits that they've made refines and they're like, yeah, it's fine. Whatever cost of doing business right, like this is it's not like Eric Prince was flying a jet and dropping bombs on people himself. He had shell companies set up through all this, and the plane never actually got to drop anything. So he's in. He's in the clear. Right. And it's it's murky enough that. People can just point fingers at thin air and no one really has to take the. But like the back, you can see the plane and you can trace its registration back and you can like it's can I see a picture of the plane? Yeah, picture. It's all pretty well documented. If you go to EP exposed on the intercept, it'll be there. Well, I wonder if too, if because the government has done so much business with him, it's like better to be like, dude, we don't even need to dig that whole part up. It's possible that if the government filed a case against him, he would win in court because he's a billionaire with a lot of lawyers and he's. I mean he, it's not like he just like did this haphazard, he said. Yeah, he knows every step of the way. How does this have to be structured to minimize my risk? How does this like, what do we do to to? Reduce my exposure. So Eric Prince is still keeping busy today. His current project involves working with the Chinese Government co-owner of his company, to set up a forward operating base in the Yunnan province of China as part of the Chinese Government Initiative to help remake the Silk Road Princess. Quote about the matter is we're not helping to serve Chinese foreign policy goals, we're helping to increase trade. It is possible that's true. The base is stated goal is to quote, provide logistics and unarmed security training services to facilitate Chinese trade throughout Southeast Asia. So I'm sure that's all on the up and up and this mercenary. Or lured won't try to hide committing war crimes in the guise of a legitimate business venture with the same company twice in a row. So his other hobby right now is trying to convince the US government to hand the war in Afghanistan over to an army of private contractors. Right. I remember this. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. About 6000 mercenaries ought to be enough to really get Afghanistan under control in five. 6000. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This thing in the ****. And to make sure nothing terrible happens, these guys, they're not going to be lawless out there. They're gonna be commanded by someone Prince think should be put in charge of the Afghanistan effort. And he calls the guy a viceroy. So that's a good idea. Like, we should go back to that. Yeah, I love that. Yeah. Back when viceroys went. That's really one. That's the time we all missed. The world was great. Yeah. So that's that's that's it. Yeah. Simple, man. So far the Pentagon hasn't bitten. And in fact, all of like, like, Mattis and all of the generals in the world are like, **** no, right. Yeah. They're like, I've been around these ********. Like, yeah, they can't even drive on the right side of the road. Yeah, but if I know Eric, a little thing like, you know, complete lack of interest isn't going to stop him from trying. Clearly he's going to keep plugging away that keep making that bong in his room. Yeah, even with his mom asks. No, he's got a he's got an act of life. You know, several days before the 2016 election, Prince showed up on Breitbart Radio to claim that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton laundered money and regularly visited a quote, sex island with, quote, underage sex slaves. And in January of 2017, Prince met with a guy named Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian businessman with strong ties to Vladimir Putin. They met in Seychelles, right seashell seashells. Yeah, and he claimed that the trip was just for business purposes and had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. But earlier this year, George Nader, a guy who helped organize the meeting, told a grand jury that it was, quote, an effort to establish a back channel between the incoming administration and the Kremlin. It's also worth noting that Prince donated about 250,000 to the Trump campaign and group supporting Trump during the election. A representative isn't Nader. He represents interests like the UAE too, doesn't he? Probably, I think because that that was like the connection because now that makes sense to me when you're saying that he created a mercenary army with them, that they've already done business and but also he's like an easy go between. And Prince was also regularly in contact with Steve Bannon throughout the transition, where while he's having this meeting with Karl Dimitri, Love the conspiracy about the sex island, because it goes back to sort of this bizarre form of what a conservative thinks is like. You know, the most evil ****. It's like a sex island. I mean, if Hillary Clinton had a sex island, she would not have lost the election. No, she would. There would have been some flavor in that pudding there would absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, that's not. That is someone who I don't even think has been to an island even though a restaurant called Islands. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, that's where we are right now. The whole incident is of extreme interest to Robert Mueller because it might be proof that Kushner was trying to establish a back channel and a legal back channel to Russia. So. We'll be hearing more about Eric Prince in the future, probably before the time this podcast drops. Possibly. Yeah. I again, it's crazy. I mean, it's not crazy to me, right? Because we've we see people like this all the time, but like that. This is the guy who has constantly just been trying to make his secret little play army and do all the fun stuff that he maybe was never able to do. He he's clearly like haunted, you know, from his like, familial life. I'm also curious to know what that what that upbringing was like. Like, that household must have been a lot of fun. Yeah, kid. And there's no, there's nothing that I would call, like, trustworthy information out about, like, what that upbringing was like. Like, like a lot of these guys, you know, were able to talk a little bit about, like, the abuse that Saddam Hussein endured. I don't know what I don't know. It's possible he had great parents who were just crazy, far right? Nut jobs. And so Prince grew up because maybe he's just a happy guy being a billionaire nut job, right? Also, he's a billionaire now. It's like worth 2 1/2 billion dollars. Wow. So this is all worked out great for Prince. It's and is there is there? You think the closest he would come to any kind of liability legally would be through the probe? The Russia probe. I mean, at this point, aside from the litany of so many international crimes and never gotten in trouble me in a meaningful way, I have trouble believing that anything is going to happen that puts this guy away. Being a rich white guy is the best **** ever. It's like getting the. A suit like the star in Mario? Yeah, you know. Yeah, he's he's, yeah, he's always got that flashing and vulnerability thing on him. I mean, most of the people talk about in this podcast have been dead for a while, right? But Eric is still alive, and, yeah, I'd I'd be down with him spending the rest of his life in prison like that. Be great. That'd be the bee's knees. But he'll probably just keep on making more armies. And I got a feeling one of these days he's going to get his own Air Force, right? Oh, God. I mean, I I believe it. Yeah, yeah. Kill problem? Who knows? Probably Russia or something weird. You're just going to have a dream and a hope and billions of dollars. In a rich, white family that's heavily connected to the US president, yeah, that's all you need and you can do any anything. Guys don't go to college. Miles, yes. Thank you so much for your help today. You've been wonderful. Thank you for illuminating this for me. Yeah. You got some plugs you wanna plug in the plug zone? Do I want to plug anything? Yes, I do. There's a little podcast I do every day with Jack O'Brien called the Daily Zeitgeist. But you probably knew that, right? Because everybody knows the most famous podcast out there. Not really. But please listen to that. We talk about the news and have fun and we always have a funny comedians and just try and make the news of the day bearable. And you can follow me on social media and. You know all that. Twitter, Instagram at miles of Grey and you can find us on all of the various social media platforms as ******** pod or at, our home on the worldwide Internet piece. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your cohost for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. For four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white. And disappear into the vegetation. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts.