Oh, and it does stink.
This is being treated as some kind of smoking gun blockbuster revelation. In January, Erik Prince, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ brother and founder of Blackwater, reportedly met with “a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin.” The Washington Post breathlessly reported this as a “secret meeting” in the Seychelles arranged by the United Arab Emirates.
They reported that the purpose of the meeting was “part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump.” This is all, of course, backed up by unnamed “U.S., European, and Arab officials.” (That means, nobody on record, ICYDK.)
These “officials” were really busy feeding this story to an all-too-willing WaPo, and now it’s been picked up by the usual suspects (NBC News, Slate, et al). It’s like leaving a stinking pile of garbage on a hot New York City street. The flies will gather and feast.
Let’s break it down.
Prince, a former Navy SEAL, founded Blackwater, the security firm, in 1997. Blackwater is synonymous with atrocities in the Iraq War, having four of its employees convicted by U.S. courts for killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. The company renamed itself XE Services in 2009, and sold to a group of private investors in 2011 who renamed it Academi.
Prince has not been involved in day-to-day management of the company since 2009 when he resigned as CEO. The company has always had close ties to high-profile military and GOP figures. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft currently serves on its board of directors along with Red McCombs, a Texas businessman and well-known Trump donor.
The WaPo story makes a big deal of the fact that Prince is a Trump donor. My reaction to that is simple: Well duh! They also bring up that Prince was “seen in the Trump transition offices in New York in December.” Trump Tower in December was like a circus and a reception line filled with visitors. Prince is a well-known supporter, donor, and brother to DeVos–of course he’d visit.
Prince had no role in the Trump transition. WaPo would have us believe that Betsy DeVos, whom Trump announced as his pick for Education on Nov. 23, asked her brother to be a go-between for the Trump campaign and the Russians. Or maybe that Prince, who appeared on radio interviews with Steve Bannon, and was acquianted with Michael Flynn, agreed to set up this “back channel.” Am I reading a major newspaper or Alex Jones’ Infowars here?
This is simply garbage reporting. It’s nearly as bad as Buzzfeed’s publishing of the “Russian dossier” and golden showers.
Read this little nugget for the key to unlock a planned attack from inside the Obama-infested DOJ.
U.S. officials said the FBI has been scrutinizing the Seychelles meeting as part of a broader probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and alleged contacts between associates of Putin and Trump.
Yep, the FBI looked at the meeting, and now it’s been anonymously leaked to the press. When has that happened before? (Don’t answer that.)
The Seychelles encounter, which one official said spanned two days, adds to an expanding web of connections between Russia and Americans with ties to Trump — contacts that the White House has been reluctant to acknowledge or explain until they have been exposed by news organizations.
Can’t you just smell the intrigue dripping from that sentence?
The meeting was reportedly set up by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
Officials said Zayed and his brother, the UAE’s national security adviser, coordinated the Seychelles meeting with Russian government officials with the goal of establishing an unofficial back channel between Trump and Putin.
Again with “officials.” Are they the same “U.S. officials” who reported on the FBI investigation? Are they Arab officials? Are they Russians? All we know is that they are unnamed. The “officials” story isn’t backed up by the UAE ambassador in Washington either.
The Seychelles sit in the middle of the Indian Ocean, about 750 miles northeast of Madagascar. Nobody there knows anything either.
Government officials in the Seychelles said they were not aware of any meetings between Trump and Putin associates in the country around Jan. 11. But they said luxury resorts on the island are ideal for clandestine gatherings like the one described by the U.S., European and Arab officials.
“I wouldn’t be surprised at all,” said Barry Faure, the Seychelles secretary of state for foreign affairs. “The Seychelles is the kind of place where you can have a good time away from the eyes of the media. That’s even printed in our tourism marketing. But I guess this time you smelled something.
Oh, I smell something all right. It’s what leaks from the bottom of a rusted garbage can on a hot day.
And the connection with UAE? How about the fact that Erik Prince now primarily resides in Abu Dhabi, and works for Zayed? In the WaPo story, one paragraph mentioned the fact that Prince “has had lucrative contracts” with UAE. In 2015, the New York Times reported that Prince was hired by Zayed to assemble an 800-member “foreign legion” for the Emirates. Apparently the Obama administration was just peachy with that deal.
“The gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official who knew of the operation. “They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.”
This entire ball of speculation and guilt-by-association accusation by nameless “officials” is likely nothing more than some inside leaker’s attempt to make something out of nothing. WaPo can’t even prove that a meeting even took place. They don’t have a single solitary named source who was willing to go on the record about this.
Either it never happened, or it’s not what they are reporting it to be, or everyone is so scared of being disappeared by Putin or Prince that they can’t possibly reveal themselves. I’ll bet on the first two options, and a healthy dose of confirmation bias. This story stinks like yesterday’s diapers left in the sun under a layer of spoiled hamburger.