Blackwater founder sets up shop in Iraq 12 years after his company was kicked out for killing civilians

news
Blackwater founder Erik Prince arrives for a closed meeting with members of the House Intelligence Committee, Nov. 30, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince's new company is reportedly operating in Iraq, a country from which his former company was banned for killing civilians.


A subsidiary of Frontier Services Group (FSG), a security and logistics company Prince founded in Hong Kong, has set up shop in Basra, Iraq, BuzzFeed News reported Saturday, citing official documents. The subsidiary, the Dubai-based Frontier Logistics Consultancy DMCC, has officially registered as a foreign company with Iraq's Ministry of Trade, an official document from last year shows.

In March, Prince told Al Jazeera that he hoped to see FSG supporting oil operations in countries like Iraq. Their subsidiary is operating out of Basra, which is located in the oil-rich southern region.

Prince, a former Navy SEAL, founded FSG with Chinese funding in 2014 after resigning as the CEO of the infamous private military company Blackwater in 2009. Blackwater, which already had a bad reputation for suspected misconduct and fraud, was banned from Iraq in 2007 after contractors opened fire on unarmed civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square. The team killed 14 Iraqi civilians.

With support from CITIC, a Chinese state-owned investment group, Prince founded FSG. And, like Blackwater, Prince's new company is no stranger to controversy.

Not only have critics targeted Prince for training Chinese security forces in support of Chinese strategic initiatives, but earlier this year, he was sharply criticized for FSG's decision to build a training base in Xinjiang Province, where Beijing has been accused of violating human rights in a sweeping crackdown on the local Muslim Uighur minority.

Xinjiang is a key stop on the China-centric trade initiative Washington has sought to throttle, perceiving it as a Chinese influence operation.

"I am a businessman, not a politician, but I am also a proud American who would never do anything against my country's national interest," Prince, brother of the Education Secretary Betsy Devos, previously told Bloomberg. He has also denied any involvement in FSG's plans for Xinjiang.

Prince stepped down as the chairman of FSG in December of last year to make way for new Chinese leadership, but the businessman maintains a position on the board. At this time, it is unclear to what degree he may or may not have been involved in FSG's decisions to operate in Iraq.

Either way, critics are concerned. "This should sound alarm bells for the Iraqi government, who expelled Blackwater from Iraq for deadly behavior," Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat and critic of Prince and his dealings, told BuzzFeed News.

FSG reportedly did not provide comment when questioned about its activities in Iraq. The company has not officially acknowledged operations in Iraq.

More from Business Insider:

U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

Read More Show Less
Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

Read More Show Less
Indiana National Guard

The Indiana National Guard soldier who was killed on Thursday in a training accident at Fort Hood has been identified as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Andrew Michael St. John, of Greenwood, Indiana.

Read More Show Less

QUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) - The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war.

Read More Show Less