Erik Prince is the billionaire mercenary who behind the private military contracting empire of Blackwater and their many war crimes. He's also the brother of US education secretary Betsy Devos (who in turn is married to the guy who pioneered pyramid schemes) and has served as a kind of "shadow advisor" to Trump, including an effort to privatize the entire war in Afghanistan and an alleged secret trip to the Seychelles to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He's basically Destro from GI JOE, but in real life, and somehow more evil (and without the shiny head).
The Intercept had previously reported that the Trump Administration had considered using Prince's black-ops services to counter the made-up threat of the "Deep State." Now the New York Times has confirmed that this happened, in a way that's both shadier than I would've expected and somehow still not all that surprising:
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One of the former spies, an ex-MI6 officer named Richard Seddon, helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers’ unions in the nation. Mr. Seddon directed an undercover operative to secretly tape the union’s local leaders and try to gather information that could be made public to damage the organization, documents show.
Using a different alias the next year, the same undercover operative infiltrated the congressional campaign of Abigail Spanberger, then a former C.I.A. officer who went on to win an important House seat in Virginia as a Democrat.
Corinthian Colleges, Inc. was yet another for-profit university that screwed over hundreds of thousands of people with pyramid schemes that promised a higher education at the end of some labyrinthine maze. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2015, and the U.S. government ruled that any students with outstanding debts should have those debts cancelled.
That was before Betsy DeVos became the U.S. Secretary of Education.
DeVos, the wife of pyramid scheme pioneer Dick DeVos and brother of famed mercenary Blackwater founder Erik Prince, was unsurprisingly unforgiving of the students who were conned by Corinthian. She stonewalled more than 100,000 loan forgiveness applications and continued pursuing debt payments from screwed-over students who couldn't pay them back. In 2018, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim finally told her to knock it off (legally).
Spoiler alert: she didn't listen.
So they landed back in court earlier this week on Monday, October 7, 2019. Judge Kim was (understandably) quite irate at having her court order violated sixteen thousand times by Devos's department. While the issue is still not completely resolved, the judge did threaten the possibility of tossing someone behind bars. From Bloomberg:
"I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions," U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim told lawyers for the Education Department at a hearing Monday in San Francisco. "I'm not sending anyone to jail yet but it’s good to know I have that ability."
"At best it is gross negligence, at worst it’s an intentional flouting of my order."
I'm not holding my breath for DeVos to actually spend any time in jail or prison, of course. Read the rest