Major Beijing BRI Security Fiasco Emerging
By F. William Engdahl
4 January 2018
A major security fiasco involving a major China state company and a Hong Kong-based corporate security company is emerging. It could potentially open up the massive Eurasian project of China, its Belt, Road Initiative (BRI), to major covert sabotage directed out of Langley Virginia CIA headquarters and carried out by a “Trojan Horse” the Chinese have hired to train their personnel to protect the high-speed Eurasian rail and deep water ports infrastructure from sabotage and terror attacks. The Hong Kong company is owned by Erik Prince, notorious founder of Blackwater Security . .
At the same time Prince is being paid by the Chinese to protect their BRI, he is reportedly plotting with Trump and CIA chief Mike Pompeo to form a “private CIA, completely off the books” that would do black operations in many of the Eurasian countries linked to the BRI. This is shaping up as a major security fiasco for China’s BRI if left uncorrected.
In early December a new element of Erik Prince’s dubious role as a “private” security consultant came to light. Media reports indicated that Prince is quietly proposing to President Trump personally and to Trump CIA head Mike Pompeo, to create a top secret global private CIA, “off-the-books” that would carry out dirty tricks, assassinations and other black operations independent of the official CIA. According to the reports, Prince is proposing the project together with his longtime associate, CIA veteran John R. Maguire, who also has worked as a consultant to Prince’s Hong Kong Frontier Services Group, about which more below.
They would reportedly create the “off-the-books” parallel CIA together with convicted Iran-Contra operative, Col. Oliver North, and would get US government funding to create a private mercenary force in both Pakistan, Afghanistan and send covert “private” destabilization agents into Iran and even North Korea among other proposed operations.
If we combine this Prince plan with his recent proposal for a privatized Afghan “exit strategy” we begin to see an ominous picture that will ensure chaos and anarchy in a key country of the future China Belt, Road Initiative, the so-called New Economic Silk Road.
The Prince private Afghan war plan
The same Erik Prince has recently presented a plan for a private Prince-created mercenary force to go into Afghanistan, a country his Blackwater was hired after 2002 by the CIA to operate in. On December 7, Prince unveiled what he termed his plan for an Afghan “exit strategy” after 17 years and more than $714 billion dollars of US taxpayer money. Prince proposes his private company be mandated to grab invaluable mining resources in Afghanistan’s Helmland Province and use the resources to pay for a continued US military role in the country. Prince proposes plundering huge reserves of lithium, uranium, phosphorus, and other rare earth elements worth $1 trillion in Helmand Province alone.
According to a report in the US Military Times, Prince has submitted a business proposal offering a “turn-key composite air wing” to help the Afghan air force fight against the Taliban and other militant groups. Prince’s private security company would reportedly provide and operate a fleet of fixed-wing planes, attack helicopters and drones capable of providing close-air support to maneuvering ground forces. Notable is the fact that Helmland Province is also home to the world’s largest opium cultivation, a crop whose volume exploded after the 2001 US invasion. Ahmed Wali Karzai, the warlord brother of the former US-selected President reportedly received regular payment from the CIA while he oversaw the control of Helmland opium and heroin.
Erik Prince would use his Hong Kong private security company, Frontier Services Group, the China-focused private military corporation Prince controls, according to these reports, to “provide logistics support to the extractive firms with secure transportation and camp support.” Now it begins to get really serious, as a potential security fiasco for China’s development of the BRI looms.
The well-connected Prince
Erik Prince became notorious as head of one of the more savage US private mercenary armies during the US occupation of Iraq in the 1990s. Blackwater became notorious in Iraq for the Nisour Square massacre in September 2007, when Blackwater mercenaries working for the US Government opened fire in a crowded square in Baghdad, killing 17 Iraqi civilians including children and seriously wounding 20 more. Three guards were convicted of 14 manslaughter charges, and another of murder, in a US court. After that, in 2010 he sold the company and regrouped eventually under the name Academi. Academi was also reportedly involved in the 2013-14 CIA-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine that toppled the elected Yanukovich government, involved in training private paramilitary forces tied to Ukraine neo-nazi groups.
In 2010 Prince’s company, despite scandals, received another $100 million to do work for the CIA. In 2009 it was revealed that Erik Prince was part of a CIA task force commissioned to kill terrorists. He even was hired to provide security to the Langley, Virginia CIA headquarters.
Interesting to note as well are Erik Prince’s ties to the Donald Trump Administration. His sister, billionaire Betsy DeVos, wife of the heir of the AmWay fortune, is Trump Administration Secretary of Education. According to one former US senior official, Prince had advised the Trump transition team before January 20 on matters related to intelligence and defense, “including weighing in on candidates for the Defense and State departments.” Erik Prince is close friend of vice President Mike Pence, who as Vice President cast a rare tie-breaking vote in the Senate that allowed Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, to become Education Secretary. Prince is also close with billionaire hedge fund operator Robert Mercer, a key financier of Trump’s election.
These close connections Prince is reportedly using to promote his private CIA that would report only to Pompeo and Trump, outside the traditional intelligence chain-of-command.
Prince and the China Silk Road Security
A Chinese government newspaper revealed in early 2017 that Prince’s Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group (FSG) will build two operational bases in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Xinjiang and Yunnan provinces are at the heart or geographical pivot of China’s vast, developing One Bridge, One Road high-speed rail, port and energy pipeline infrastructure undertaking. Erik Prince is chairman and principal operating executive of Frontier Services Group.
In an interview with the London Financial Times, Prince described his work with China stating, “We’re not serving Chinese foreign policy goals, we’re helping increase trade.” FSG is a logistics company, we are not a security company. None of our people have been or will be armed. But security management is certainly part of the logistics process.” FSG’s largest investor is CITIC, an investment fund owned and controlled by the People’s Republic of China. CITIC owns 20% of Frontier Services Group.
In an interview in the Chinese state Global Times paper, Prince announced his FSG has been hired to build two of what the company calls “operational bases.” Prince stated in the interview with Global Times, “The Northwest corridor includes the countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Southwest corridor includes Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia,” adding that, “the planned new facility in China’s Yunnan Province will allow FSG to be able to better serve companies in the Southwest corridor. Subsequently, FSG will be opening a training facility in Xinjiang to serve businesses in the Northwest corridor.”
The FSG base in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, will be in the heart of the sensitive region long a target of CIA-instigated Uyghur terrorism. Xinjiang is home to the CIA-fostered East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) of Al Qaeda, active among Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Xinjiang itself is the cross-roads of most major international oil and gas pipelines into China from Kazakhstan, Russia and elsewhere. The second “operational base” will be in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, where Kunming is the strategic hub of the entire Myanmar oil and gas pipelines and deep-water port to the Indian Ocean as well as the crossroads of the vast One Road, One Road high-speed rail.
Prince and Chia’s Potential Fiasco
If we step back a moment and put all the pieces on the table we see the outlines of a looming security fiasco if not worse for the ambitious and game-changing Eurasian Belt, Road Initiative.
Blackwater founder and notorious CIA-funded mercenary Erik Prince has managed to convince the Chinese government to finance and hire his Hong Kong Frontier Services Group to do security training and operations along the two major arteries or corridors of the new Silk Road: Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, where Kunming is the strategic hub of the entire Myanmar oil and gas pipelines and including a deep sea port on Maday Island in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State, heart of recent, suspiciously-timed political unrest involving the Myanmar security forces and Rohingya Muslims.
Then the same Erik Prince quietly lobbies US President Trump and CIA Director Pompeo to hire, “off the books,” his private network of former CIA and US special forces mercenaries to carry out covert operations in Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan and other places strategic to the BRI development. Moreover, Prince lobbies the Afghan and US governments to let his private mercenary air force carry out “anti-terrorist” bombings and other military operations in Afghanistan to be paid by the vast unexploited rare earth and other minerals in Afghanistan’s Helmland Province, home to the world’s largest opium cultivation, using Prince’s Hong Kong Frontier Services Group allegedly to police the operation of mineral exploitation. All this suggests that China and its CITIC are being quietly set up for a colossal security fiasco along major nodes of their Belt, Road Initiative project.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”