tv Erik Prince Al Jazeera March 8, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am +03
and all his colleagues we stand for press freedom. hello i'm maryam namazie in london just a quick look at the top stories now tens of thousands of al chariots have been protesting in the capital and around the country calling for president as he's got to think to step down this despite riot police being deployed in metro services halted by the government in an effort to stem the protest demonstrations first began when the eighty two year old president announced that he would seek a fifth time in power meanwhile a private algerian t.v. station is reporting that nine politicians from the ruling party have resigned and joined the protest how much engine has will. friday
protests for the third successive week nationwide in algeria and this time they appear to be bigger than ever. demonstrators demanding president up to as he is with the police abandon his bid for a fifth term in office in next month's election. just a day earlier eighty two year old beautifully who suffered a stroke five years ago and is in switzerland for what are described as routine medical tests urged algerians not to demonstrate and warned about the risk of chaos if they did. not protesters didn't listen. to me novels i am here today with my daughters with the country's children to take back our last algeria we want to take it back so that our children find work so that they don't flee and drown in the mediterranean sea. near the system please leave us look at the people the action is here the people are here from all social classes from the youngest to deal just everyone is saying no cheer fifth or please
leave you won't even be judged. and local media reports say that nine politicians from beautifully his ruling f l in party resigned to join the revolt. train and metro operators halted services to try and stem the tide of protesters a strategy that clearly didn't work across algeria demonstrations have been. daily for the past two weeks since beautifully could confirm he would stand for another term in office on april the eighteenth since the protests began opposition groups have been attempting to come up with a viable plan on how to remove which to flee from office in an open letter on monday the president said if he's reelected he will call for a referendum on a new constitution and another election at some point our jury is armed forces are under mounting pressure to find a solution but so far the response has been cryptic while alluding to the demonstrations algeria's army chief at the civil war of the one nine hundred ninety
s. urging protesters to be aware of history but the rallies continue with no signs of abating any time soon mohammed into and just. a power is back on a in parts of the venezuelan capital caracas but a nationwide blackout continues elsewhere with some places without electricity for around twenty two hours the government has closed schools ordered what to be suspended until business is to stay shut as it tries to fix the problem explain what it describes as extremist sectors who it says have sabotaged the country's biggest hydroelectric dam but the opposition is saying corruption and mismanagement have ruined the grid and we headed out of imagine being without electricity what that means for the hospitals what that means for the ben is real and people the writing of food which is already hard to come by this is an inefficient regime which is a product of corruption and for that reason we thought and ourselves in this situation turkey and russia will begin joint patrols of syria's northwest and the province where they have created deescalation zone it is the last major rival
stronghold in the ceasefires averted a syrian government offensive so far the truce has come on a strain though al qaeda linked fighters begin seizing towns and villages from rival anti-government groups. in spain women of all ages of walked out of work and taken to the streets of madrid for international women's day they say they're taking a stand against patriarchy and gender violence many female employees didn't turn up to work or halted domestic work or caretaking duties as part of spain's second feminist strike lots of the protesters will pople a symbolic color used by women's rights activists. those are the headlines up next on al-jazeera mehdi hassen interviews the founder of private military contractor blackwater in head to head.
may very well be one of the most controversial companies in our country's history that quality usa is being called the largest private economy in the world you're in washington convicting four former blackwater security guards in the two thousand my guest tonight is the controversial founder and former c.e.o. of blackwater erik prince you do it move along the person new york and q. bill you don't you disagree that branded a war profiteer and a super mercenary by his critics princes were made over a billion dollars out of the so-called war on terror that also highlighted the clear danger of using private contractors on the battlefield and yet now back on the scene trying to privatized the war in afghanistan but offering to replace u.s. and nato troops there with his own private security force but we're handing the war to prevent really help end it i'm in the us and i've come here to the oxford union
to go head to head with erik prince a former navy seal and the founder of but quarter i'll challenge him on war crimes in iraq his plans for a private army in afghanistan and his loyal support for president donald song. tonight i'll also be joined by sean mcfate a former private military contractor former officer in the u.s. army and author of the book the new rules of war ghaith abdul-ahad an award winning guardian journalist from iraq who's covered conflicts across the middle east and colonel tim collins a former commander in the british army and founder of new century a private military consulting company. ladies and gentlemen please welcome erik prince. prince is currently the deputy
chairman the executive director from two years services group a hong kong based security and the gist of. erik prince thank you for joining me on head to head. your back in the news with a new plan to privatize basically the u.s. led war in afghanistan but you were the founder and c.e.o. of blackwater perhaps the world's most notorious private security firm which during the iraq war became a byword for violence corruption lawlessness and yet you've never apologize for any of it. i think that's an unfair characterization of the company did exactly what the u.s. government asked us to do which was to protect diplomats reconstruction officials visiting. un or or other congressional delegations we did more than one hundred thousand missions no one under our care was ever killed or injured and people try to characterize the company as overly aggressive less than one half of one percent of all those missions resulted in a discharge of a firearm in an era when you had lots of violence in the capital i mean baghdad
really was the center of gravity of the insurgency and so we had you know forty one of our men were lost in action doing that mission so you mentioned that the u.s. government asked you to do a job and you did it you mention that you lost a man on your watch but you didn't mention is that you also killed a lot of people. you say what percentage is great let's talk about individual cases in two thousand and five blackwater guards fired seventy rounds into iraqi civilians call forcing the state department to investigate in two thousand and six according to leaked pentagon documents blackwater guards fired indiscriminately iraqi civilians killing among others and i'm going to drive it in two thousand and seven but what a guard shot and killed fourteen iraqi civilians in what's been called the square massacre or baghdad's bloody sunday that is the rec ord that a lot of people around the world remember when they hear the name blackwater sure and when you do one hundred thousand missions it's easy to take some things out of context but remember you had many thousands of insurgents actively trying to kill
americans and not just american servicemen but the most newsworthy americans their diplomats and with the state department as you would be i'm mentioning weren't insurgents you killed your men killed a mother and son on their way to an appointment a sense as i mean it kills a nine year old boy sadly head sadly the insurgents don't wear uniforms they would drive ambulances filled with explosives they would drive so you remember those they were sure to get insurgents. a car bomb doesn't give you much time to decide there was no call bowman missile square in two thousand and seven actually right. before mr square event there was there we all are still square there was no collarbone scuse me less than five minutes before that event happened there was a large car bomb that went off where there was a protective team of ours protecting us the idea official and sadly that that car bomb went off the team decided to move through their. and a support team went to block the traffic circle so that. the fleeing team could move through smoothly and not be ambushed when the when the intelligence provided
by the state department the u.s. government says be on the lookout for a white kiya in all the other cars in the traffic circle stop except for a white kiya sadly sometimes the guys have a split second to make that the smallest black what to say the white kids thought of as you well know because you've discussed this far more than i have all of the eyewitnesses say that there was no white kid heading towards you the us colonel who turned up on the day said that there was no enemy activity involved he said it was a criminal event and an excessive shooting a us court of law in december prosecuted one of your men for first degree murder for killing his mother and. three others to hold on let me finish three other men were prosecuted for manslaughter four of your men murder and manslaughter in the iraqi courts u.s. courts that's right they prosecuted them four times and they finally got a conviction the first time it was thrown out for prosecutorial misconduct they found the guilty you know the first time it was thrown out for prosecutorial misconduct the second time it was overturned the third time it was a mistrial the federal government finally got them in a d.c. circuit in a d.c.
jury on the fourth time that you see jury not a legitimate jury i would say a jury of your peers does not really compare to the rest of america no that's ok ok so some juries are legitimate some not like so-called judges that language before but they were prosecuted for murder amounts would you have any regrets for the people who died a nine year old boy shot in the head was an insurgent of course we did of course we we hired as a company we hired the prosecutor that prosecuted saddam to go find each of these families to pay salacious to make amends as best as possible to reach out to them did i personally know i haven't no i haven't found all of them but we certainly apologize to the ones that had contact with and it's not just these killings and the these killings that are documented it goes beyond just god as you know but what about billions of dollars in u.s. government contracts and billions more than a billion dollars in new. government contracts to an area for over twelve years and yet a scathing u.s. state department investigation found that blackwater quote was over billing the state department and manipulating personal records its guards were partying
drinking and even crashed an armored car and saw themselves as quote above the law pretty damning the u.s. state department saying this but the company they're giving contracts to over billing and manipulating we never paid any fines for anything like that that's a fact you paid fines for a lot of things the only thing we paid a fine for it was a elation and i gave an example of the otoh if you say the only thing you paid a fine for you paid seven point five million dollars fine and twenty twelve to settle seventeen criminal charges you paid a full million dollar settlement are a department in two thousand and ten for illegal arms sales. two thousand and twelve it already sold the business i sold it in two thousand and ten but the cases go back beyond two thousand and ten the criminal charges raided all sorts of things that went back years including south sudan you broke u.s. sanctions to try and sell weapons to south sudan knowing going to there's no weapons in south sudan there was a proposal on the naval you never put a proposal on table to salvage his government one hundred million dollars actually the issue there was a satellite phone so you did put
a proposal on the table to salvage his government no wonder what the state department complained about then that was back in two thousand and five was a point in actual a very dangerous satellite phone the same thing you can buy and he threw dutifully we can argue about the fines let's just deal with this report the u.s. state department said you were manipulating personal records over billing the state department and your gods were partying drinking and even crashed an armored car a state department investigation in two thousand and seven. look we employed thousands of people and i would never say that the men were perfect we didn't employ angels we employed veterans who volunteered to serve their country again in a very dangerous place and like i said forty one of them paid the ultimate cost and hundreds more were seriously wounded it's amazing that when you say we didn't employ angels we employed veterans but right now you want to do it all again that's the problem is it not. well here's the thing after after seventeen years of war where the united states is spending more than the entire you gave the budget defense budget just this year and still losing in afghanistan i think it's time to
look at a different way i want to talk about afghanistan but just before we get to your afghan plan i just want to get to what drives you when you kind of come up with these plans to do private security especially at these muslim majority countries because you yourself have referred to the people your men were fighting in iraq as barbarians who crawled out of the sewer you say in your memoir these were the chanting barbarians american troops have been sent to liberate sure if you people that think it's ok to drive a car bomb into the middle of a square in the middle market place while to attempt to kill an american and in doing so they kill dozens and dozens of civilians absolutely that's barbaric which is true i think if you've read charity called whatever you want but you said these were the chanting barbarians american troops have been sent to liberate you weren't sent to liberate terrorists sounds like you talk about iraq e s. . certainly look this morning there was for you remember the decision this is. the u.s. decision to go to. liberate iraq from saddam hussein who did
a lot more horrid things than we can even speak of here that was certainly the intent i certainly had no role in that policy decision ok but you don't you don't believe iraq is above areas of you know but i believe that terrorists that car bombs in the city square certainly are ok you're proposing now to privatized the u.s. led war in afghanistan you suggested replacing almost fifty thousand nato troops and private contractors with two thousand u.s. special operators and six thousand contractors and you want to cut spending there you think by thirty billion dollars which sounds great and i think one thing we can definitely grown as we both think the afghan war is not going well and has been a bit of a failure but given one hundred forty thousand nato troops couldn't control that country would defeat the taliban back in twenty eleven what on earth makes you think that a few thousand contractors are going to do it now under your command because after nine eleven we take you back in the five days after nine eleven happened when president bush had a war cabinet meeting up at camp david the pentagon the best thing that the most
expensive military in the world came with was a missile and some bombing strikes and then a conventional invasion via pakistan the following april ok so literally while the headquarters of the pentagon is still smoldering the best the u.s. military came with was the most conventional and most cumbersome approach it was the cia that said money authorities the right people who were going after the taliban and that worked ok less than one hundred special operators cia case officers paramilitary guys in s.f. guys backed by air power. and they smash the taliban and they are all people's own but that's fine you topple them you have control of the country because more than six thousand people sure wrecked but then the united states repeated the soviet battle plan so it's not i would even battle plan six thousand people can do one hundred forty thousand couldn't sure i'm not an expert on mouth but that seems we did well here's the thing you have fifteen thousand u.s. troops there now there's about seven thousand nato and another thirty thousand contractors so i'm not advocating a privatization i'm advocating a rationalization at a significant cost savings the way the u.s.
has been deploying there they send a unit for seven or eight months they spend the first two or three months getting to know the area and then a couple of months they're very productive in the last month they're ready to pack up and they lift and shipped in they go home ok and then you rinse and repeat you do that again and we've done thirty plus rotations of troops like that you know and as you have no continuity instead i would take the same special forces veterans that have been working there from the u.s. from nato and the usa are not angels. these are the same people the u.s. military and nato has been spending sending there for the last seventeen years but the difference is as a contractor they can go in attached to the same unit and live in the same valley and live and work and train and fight with those guys with afghan counterparts month after month for years so they have that continuity is that second resume the afghan government they don't like your plan they say it's a nonstarter they said under no circumstances will we allow the war to become a quote private for profit business to form afghan president hamid karzai said even when the opposes your proposal i think you would say differently if you asked him
now i literally asked his office on friday and they said the dead against it. live talk to other people i've talked to other people his office who disagree with. the current government here's a change their position is well. under no circumstance i doubt very much that ashraf ghani will win in the next election but you're waiting for a change of president to get your plan. here's the thing if they don't do a plan like this if there is not a skeletal structure support supporting the afghan forces the next president's going to wind up like knowledgeable that did. the problem is the way you pitched it is giving was helpful to tell the afghans we're going to be quote the east india company which violently ruled india on behalf of the british empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth century was it wise to talk about having a viceroy in charge of the country i mean you know hiding the fact that this is a colonialist project when you use language but here's the thing the united states has no one person that's in charge of afghan policy there's nobody that the president can turn to and say why is afghanistan after this and. yeah sure that
doesn't help he doesn't control the military his intro the intelligence funding he doesn't control but if i agree with do you think you know wanting someone a vice or in charge of east india company is going to go down well with brown folks . look for two hundred fifty years that security model largely worked of mostly local forces with a few professional mentors only acting as a structure support but the difference is i'm not there as a colonial power these these these mentors are right the contractors and special forces veterans are serving as adjunct in the afghan forces accountable to the afghan ministry of defense and of course the president if they're flying aircraft we actually found to see the aircraft where the contractor never makes the weapons release decision it is always the afghan but he flies the plane. safety pilot ok in two thousand and four in afghanistan a blackwater pilot flying a plane with u.s. soldiers on board flew the plane into the side of a mountain he crashed the plane into the mountain killing six passengers on board
including three u.s. soldiers the captain's last words blackwater employee flying the plane his last words were i swear to god they wouldn't pay me if they knew how much fun this was you were paying him eric prince he'd only been in the country two weeks have you your employees learned any lessons from that horrific incident before you go back into afghanistan sure we operated fifty six aircraft there safely for many many years we flew tens of thousands of missions safely the difficult thing is when the your customer asks you or tasks you to change your route so that the colonel on board could go view an enemy area on the way to as a deviation from the planned navigation accidents happen that's right it's a dangerous and yes there's no guns in the safety board and the u.s. military both said the blackwater provided is sufficient oversight and guidance to the pilots involved in the crash the widow of that colonel says that there was a gross lack of judgment in managing this company who was managing the company at that time in two thousand full that just sold them the former operations officer of the former operations officer sixty the most elite helicopter you know in the world
so yeah people that definitely understand aviation were in charge of the u.s. military the national transportation safety board criticized your company's role in the accident and they reinstated this and we were flying missions again within five days of that incident gray needed a very good job bush administration that's got nothing to do with the culpability that your company had for the deaths of those u.s. soldiers they didn't die at the hands of the taliban they died at the hands of blackwater they died at the hands of an accident made by a pilot flying in a very difficult area i mean blackwater executives were e-mailing each other at the time the e-mail came out said by necessity the initial group hired to support the afghanistan operation did not meet the criteria identified in e-mail traffic and had some background and experience shortfalls overlooked in favor of getting the requisite number of personnel. old to start up the contract you're saying internally your own company's admitting to each other these guys on experience but you need to get the contract up and running is this what you want to replicate in afghanistan now the pilots flying the mission that day had come from alaska they or they were literally high country bush policies are not people that are flying in
the over the swamps of florida they were flying on when you were executives e-mailing each other saying that we have experienced shortfalls but we need to get the contract up and running what were they saying that because the transportation because the army material command was demanding the missions to support the missions here's the family's fault no no no no trying to serve a customer in a very difficult place we flew tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of missions after that safely and no incidents ok let's go to our panel here in the oxford union sean mcfate is a former private military contractor former officer in the u.s. army a professor at georgetown author of the book the new rules of war surely you've said u.s. generals of loft at eric's plan for afghanistan you've called it unworkable and even magical thinking why blackwater if this was a job interview i would not give you the contract because blackwater was simply a body guard shop in iraq you've never raised or deployed a military like you're advertising now i have in places and it takes hold it's
a lot more sophisticated than just mentors in the field it doesn't quite require up to political leadership in kabul and they've already had message that they don't support this this is a dead deal in my opinion well and that you're mistaken because we built the entire afghan border police it was fifteen thousand people we did all the recruiting the training the vetting and we actually had mentors that went the field with them and the success rate of these units when our guys were allowed to go with them effectively is training wheels their success rate went very very high and it worked ok so you know i guess i'm the only guy that can say i've had fifty six of my own aircraft in country doing that kind of work for the u.s. military ok how does an award winning journalist. from iraq you've covered conflicts in iraq afghanistan yemen and beyond gate how do the iraqi people remember blackwater and erik prince in your view i mean it's amazing to kind of sit here and listen to eric and speak of a block or so in the services they did in iraq because the word blackwater is
synonymous with the worst of the american occupation of iraq that is not a single iraqi that i know i mean i'm one of those barbarians that was liberated by a country but there is not a single who would you just mention the word black was as to who would not say corruption violence and i'm not talking only about the kind of massacre but i'm talking about the whole ten years of the existence of these muslims and i think part of the fear of the american project and out of was due to the using of the continent is a major problem that you could concede that even if your plan is a good one you shouldn't be the one doing it given the legacy you've left behind with certainly here is the thing your math is a little skewed because the us didn't invade iraq till two thousand and three i sold the company in two thousand and ten so that's certainly not ten years the company and the company traveling what we we tracked all the vehicles where everybody was moving ok and there is dozens and dozens of times that it was brought
up there was a blackwater event here blackwater went there and we didn't have people within two hundred kilometers of that location the sad thing is blackwater became likely next it became winded you know why because you became this because what we were the largest one doing you know because you were very worthwhile mission is the reason i mean you gave the world i mean in iraq now or in yemen or any of these places they don't use the word contract or something they use black water in yemen in wherever in somalia they don't use mercenaries ok if you've been in afghanistan region it's all over if you're reporting do you think afghans will welcome this plan eric is putting on the table. i've met administrator in office wills high security officials of the count of one of them stray sions opposition and some of your own friends in afghanistan and all agree on one thing it's not going to work and i agree with you totally the seventeen years have been total waste the fall of the you know copy. of the soviet plan this is something we agree on however we're not
getting government officials are not talking to the minister you're talking to all the letter you're mistaken i meet with dozens of afghan officials both in and out of the government from all over the country be they go tariq goes back. and the warlords write all the people that are going to be voting in the afghan allies so we're going to get american to go on was in one more level we need to come in colonel tim collins is here tim you once commanded british troops during iraq you gave that famous speech that a lot of us remember in two thousand and four you quit the army and founded new century a private ministry consulting company how would you evaluate what happened on his watch what's the hold it a different thing i think what we have to remember and indeed i've discussed this with that many times with the u.s. state department the u.s. military asked for services they encouraged they were enthusiastic to a point of hysteria that blackwater go into these missions when it went wrong they ran a mile and so you have to look at those people and say at
a point where there was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff were visiting the facility and encouraging more and more of these services to be privatized and that all it and when things went wrong they turned their back on you saying the prince about what was scapegoated by the u.s. goes well i think that as a result of the rather expensive court case that you've been through i think that was the conclusion in the end is that the criticism i as a contractor would level is that blackwater and the organization probably grew too fast there was people who went initially. we were of the highest delta force seal team six thousand was one sixty some of the people who were coming in at the end of nowhere near and it's a question of who supervising them because the people when we look at them who were in court and convicted we're not of the quality we're not of the hue how did they get there how do they get there while we're hearing paul quality circle towards the
end of your beard in iraq well because there's literally not enough delta force or seal team six or even seals for that matter to do that mission you go to marine infantry or army infantry the one fair characterization that i will say is. blackwater did two types of missions you worked for the state department they dictated you must drive a polished waxed suburban a big issue would be armored eleven thousand pounds lights and sirens down the road and when you drive the same route every day that the state department tells you to it's very easy for the enemy to set up an ambush you keep saying engagement ambushes just to be clear for the audience one study found that you black hole to open fire first in eighty four percent of the shootings is a little defensive because you're the first ok but it's not just a matter of the enemy opening fire with a firearm to attack they open fire with a trigger switch and they drive up to you and destroy you me literally but there's also you know a million strong as it's nine year old children taken away to work whether it's
hamas in palestine in pakistan afghanistan or iraq bad guys like ambulances with explosives and kill innocent people not in the cases i cited we're going to take a break in part two we're going to talk to erik prince about some of his work in china and his relationship with the trumpet ministration and we're going to hear from our very patient audience here in the oxford union join us for part two. hundred and sixty is the. nation started a band in street. brass band was so popular it gave birth to an entire musical genre. a century and
a half later the sound still present. today. the people's music and al just a of a. i know i'm on the top stories now tens of thousands of algerians have been protesting in the capital and around the country calling for president abdul aziz bits of feet to step down riot police have been deployed and the metro has been closed by the government an effort to stem the protests and algerian t.v. station says nine politicians quit the ruling party and join the protests. the power is back on in parts of the venezuelan capital caracas but the nationwide blackout continues elsewhere with some places about electricity for more than twenty two hours the government has closed schools ordered working else to be
suspended and told businesses to stay shut it's blaming sabotage of the country's biggest hydroelectric dam but critics say mismanagement and corruption has ruined the power grid. imagine being without electricity what that means for the hospitals what that means for the better is really people the rhodium of food which is already hard to come by this is an inefficient regime which is a product of corruption and for that reason we thought ourselves in this situation turkey and russia will begin joint patrols of syria's northwest and live province where they've created the escalations it is the last major rebel stronghold in the ceasefires of a to syrian government offensive in eastern syria the united nations says more than sixty thousand people are now crammed into a camp after evacuating from my cells last shrinking pockets of territory the u.s. backed syrian democratic forces say i still defeat in the village of whose is imminent and is trying to pressure i still fight as to surrender. doctors in
madagascar play in a shortage of vaccines for the struggle to contain the west measles outbreak for decades in one thousand people have died in the last five months most of them children and experts fear the disease will spread. mexican police are investigating a truck crash in which at least twenty five central american migrants died many more were injured the truck overturned in the southern mexican state of chop us a widely used entry point for migrants arriving from guatemala and in spain women of all ages of want out of work and on to the streets of madrid for international women's day taking a stand against patriarchy and gender violence many of the protesters pople is symbolic used by women's rights activists. i'll be back with a news hour in twenty five minutes time after the second half of head to head.
welcome back there watching you head to head on al-jazeera english my guest today is erik prince the founder former c.e.o. of blackwater also a big supporter of and donor to president donald trump erik i want to talk to you about your relationship with present moment but before i do just very briefly your currently executive deputy chairman of frontier services group f s g a hong kong based security logistics firm that you found it why is f s g opening a training center for security guards in of all places province in china where up to a million muslim we are being held in basically concentration camps right now there's a lot of mis reporting on that the company is not opening any training facility up there that was actually discussed at a board meeting the reporting got it wrong the only there was some kind of memorandum signed for construction services now training the company doesn't do any training of any police or security forces why did i say that at all why did your company say it was establishing training facilities it was going to sign him or you
for construction without a press release march the second with your name on it for contract not my name we are going names on the press release your name is on the press to me several times and it says i've got the press release. china establishing training facilities and buying security equipment in vehicles. again it was for construction services to straining the facility if you look at the actual translation from mandarin to english it was structured services the only other is we don't need only is your company's english press release we really only training service is the only thank you that. is for people like bank of china employees or china airlines employees because they travel the world and they go to dangerous places it's how you are where any people injured no suppressors was wrong there is the company has zero footprint in china so if you're not establishing the training facility it said it was establishing a march the second twenty in english language press release. the board has discussed this twice and there is not one dollar or r. and b.
allocated for anything like that ok and you've got nothing to do with what's going on with the weaker muslims and zero ok but you do have a lot to do with the chinese government so for someone who sees himself as a great american patriot veteran navy seal america first donald trump support isn't all that you do so much security business with the chinese government which is seen by many including by president trump as a major geopolitical adversary of the united states and that way it is not a conflict again the company doesn't do any security perceval it does some training for people to avoid being a victim of a terror of terrorism is that it's there is no blackwater sorry no no. you're right there is no no official employee that's armed doing that kind of secure you are working in china you're hong kong based the majority of your shirt if you really really come to me as a chinese owned is it not it's well it's retail investors everything from mutual funds in the currency chinese own yes or no i don't know if it's a majority but there's a lot of chinese ownership sure how much your company or the executives deputy trade know it's publicly listed it's all publicly disclosed tell us the fact is the
company does grocery delivery trucking all through southern africa we do medivac we're the biggest medivac provider but there's no conflict between working for the chinese and working for the u.s. as you want to do now in afghanistan you don't mean there's a conflict there a lot of american patriot acts veteran look america is a big trading partner of china and helping china connected logistics lines for better trade i think countries that trade together tend to not fight together ok but against sure it is a form of private military contract to form officer in the u.s. army professor at georgetown university author of the book the new rules of war short is there a conflict of interest it is a concern do you think in washington d.c. where you are based yes there is a big interest so last year the national defense strategy which is the pentagon's strategy for the world shifted the first time in years away from counterterrorism counterinsurgency into the threats of russia and china and we all know that china. uses its economic instruments of power to you know it's to look at they did to sri
lanka they took over a port as if they were a mafia don so it's not just economic trade there's also a darker aspect to it and many in washington see you as one of their sort of weapons of war and you're a chinese weapon of will absolutely not and because we're not doing any kind of training building their tactical what about the leverage shown the ability and about the economic leverage the fact is what does the company do now it does trucking in transportation from southern africa you can deliver groceries from cape town all the way up to the d.r. see we medivac we fly people all over the continent and we do significant air operations out of malta supporting hopefully oil operations in countries like iraq or pakistan or the hydro dams look at countries around the world with china shows up a lot of money a lot of people to do infrastructure projects the russians are showing up with muscle and weapons the united states is largely missed the boat the one positive change the trump administration has made is that change the law changed last
october for opec the overseas private investment corporation the only part of the u.s. government that actually makes money and now they're shifted a huge budget away from the state department of opec so that it is managed and it allows more investment also a little bit of trade with china which might put you into different comes at the same time let me ask little tim collins this question is here you are a famous officer in the british army now you're chairman of your own private security consultancy new century how do you respond to critics who say when you run these private for profit companies you're only loyal to yourselves or to your bottom lines you're not loyal to a national government and that's a problem that's that makes you conflicted what's your response to people who say that well in the day there's a thing called international law nobody does anything on that side and if they do and then the the must be held accountable the difficulty is the only people who will subject to a law themselves to be regulated all the good guys there are meshing reactivity. all over the world the reality is that many people in this room don't realize that
many governments in the world particularly in pakistan india around the middle east maintain people who they pay and deploy as contractors and these are people who are committing atrocities they would be regulators ok so let me put that point very briefly sean very briefly what's your sponsors point about regulation do you think companies like erik's as regulated as they should be well i'm a little bit more skeptical about the power of international law in general about mercenaries because the thing about you know who's going to go into yemen and arrest all those mercenary at the u.n. and if so the mercenaries can shoot back right they can kill your law enforcement and i'm not suggesting that erik's that would be eric's plan but eric as part of a broader trend of the rise of mercenaries what word is this and you know private wars wars without states that's of and what if the us partakes in this area let me ask you this you're a big supporter of donald trump you've been questioned by special counsel robert
muller over the russia gate investigation he looked at your laptop and your phones i believe you also testified to congress in november twenty seventh and you told congress under oath that you played quote no official or really unofficial role in the trump campaign what you didn't tell congress is that on august third twenty sixteen you were at a meeting during the campaign at trump tower with don junior trump son which stephen miller then a campaign advisor to trump with george nader a former blackwater colleague of yours who acts as a back channel to the saudis there moralities you're supposed to be convicted paedophile and also joel zemo an israeli expert on social media manipulation how come you didn't mention that meeting to congress given it's so relevant to their investigation. i did as part of the part of the investigations i certainly disclosed in the ne meetings the very new i don't in the congressional testimony you gave to the house we went through you didn't mention anything about august twenty sixth meeting in trump tower they specifically asked you what context you have and you didn't answer that. i don't believe i was asked that question you
asked whether any communicate for communications or contact with the campaign you said apart from writing papers putting up yard signs know what you said i've got the transcript of the conversation here. i mean i might have been i think i was at trump headquarters or the campaign headquarters probably twenty sixteen usable and israeli do a back channel to the emirates on the saudis don't junior steven miller over there to talk about iran policy through that about iran policy i don't think that's something important to disclose to the house intelligence committee while you're under oath he did you didn't we just went through the testimony there's no mention of the trump tower meeting because twenty sixteen were not i don't know if they got the transcript wrong. or they got the transcript wrong so we could i don't know i remember i remember certainly does dismiss it with you because we know that robert muller he hasn't been able to stablish collusion yet but he has got a lot of guys for lying to the authorities and not telling the whole truth is that a problem now even if you accidentally didn't tell them that could come back and
haunt you fully cooperated i haven't heard anybody i haven't heard from anybody in more than nine months i mean i mean members of congress after they discover this media have talked about certain witnesses not telling the truth but you believe you told congress about this meeting even if not in the transcript just to be clear i believe so ok you had another meeting which they did talk to you about in the seychelles on eleventh jahnu twenty seventeen a week before trump's inauguration where good old george nader was there again on behalf of the amorality s. as was top russian oligarch cheryl dimitri of a close ally of law to me putin's the emirate of the stall that meeting as a as a way of creating a back channel between putin's guy dimitry of and trumps you didn't they. i don't think so i was there to talk to the iraqis about somalia and some of the other problem areas that we did help with before was also about iraq you know and it was so how did you end up with a with a russian oligarch who runs the russian direct investment fund and is seen by the admiralty as the messenger to putin they call him well i say recall the
immoralities were investors in that fund and any fund manager fun any fund manager tends to travel to where their lp their investors need them to be but what we chatting about with the russian dude. i've talked about in testimony and that's all i meant to say but it was just a kind of accidental meeting. yes even though georgia nader your fund raising like i've said before it lasted one beer which doesn't take me very long. so you flew halfway around the world to a secret meeting in the seychelles to have one beer with. i was there to see the arriving leader. that's not what george nader seems to be telling the mother focus right now is i worry you the native country that you are a former colleague i think it's amazing for you to try to view into the miller testimony that it's my impression to i mean ok that's that's what that's what's being reported ok. i want to bring in you mentioned iran interesting enough to bring in very briefly before we move on and i know the audience are waiting ghaith abdul-ahad is an award winning guardian journalist from iraq you've covered
conflicts across the middle east when you hear about the amorality s. and trump and the saudis and the israelis what is that all about i mean mentioned iran is this all about iran i mean of course we're living kind of people say it's a cold war it's not a cold war game or between their morality so does the israelis and the iranians on the other side and what the minorities are doing for example in yemen and i think you work with iraqis and you advise them at one point they are actually implementing you are of i understand plans so if you see the morality war in the air and it is tens of thousands of most reasonable forces with skeleton troops from the immoralities a war that is being followed so viciously with no accountability whatsoever within the big arch of fighting the iranians who did it exist in yemen have you advocated using private private contractors to take on iran to the trumpet ministration you know you have people have accused of advocate in the past you've talked about using private contracts to confront iran no you see no role for blackwater s.g.
in any relation to iran now ok just to check before going to with what i've got asked one question last question you are part of a group of high profile trump supporters including steve bannon sheriff david clarke and others who are planning on raising private money to build a wall along the us mexico border you can have a go fund me page what i don't get though is i'm. pretty sure i heard donald trump say that mexico would be paying for the war. don't discount mexico actually paying for the wall i think most of us have but yet more and more news on that look there's a lot of places where it's federal land and they go fund me individual effort is not possible but there's a lot of places where u.s. ranchers or u.s. landowners own land right up to the border they are sick of their farms effectively being massive transit spots for drug and criminal activity and so they would welcome that the guy who started that is a triple amputee a military veteran who started it and he's raised more than twenty million dollars
and the cost per the you for the loss of the people for money when many when trump told us more than a hundred times people have counted that mexico would pay for the wall so why do we need you in this guy and go fund me page from lied to will because again don't discount mexico actually paying for part of the road. there are things that may happen that mexico end up paying he want is entitled to the will hurt can say hey mexico is going to pay for paul to the wall part very explicitly if mexico will pay for the wall the last chapter is not written on that mark my words you will pay for the wall so then why are you fundraising. you want it both ways there is going to raise money because people are frustrated they're sick of the president can't get mexico to pay for the wall two years into his presidency after claiming there it is a national security issue when you have thousands of people crossing the border with a lot of drugs look america has a huge opium and you know the majority of the next come through legal points of entry i'm talking about the funding trumps in mexico and from the wall did he lie
to people when he said what used to be a bipartisan issue the democrats have made items that are they didn't lie to us when he said mexico to pay for the well given your now trying to get americans to pay i don't believe the president has lied and like i said the last chapter of mexico paying for the wall is not done yet ok mark my word i will wait for them ok but in the meantime americans are going to pay for it through your fund raising let's go to our audience who's been waiting very patiently i'm going to go to the front here and i'm going to the back gentleman here with the band. being originally iraq and having spent some time in iraq i've seen how iraqis still shudder at the name blackwater reminded of the endless aggression the use of weapons as call homes or even the use of tear gas as call traffic control do you not think that blackwater has a role to play in perpetuating violence in iraq as well as laying the foundation for the creation of al qaeda in isis there's one hundred ten thousand iraqi civilians have died after blackwater and involvement in iraq blackwater was not the problem in iraq a very sick tarion government dominated by iranian units that have been pounding on
the sunni's and now pounding on the kurds is probably the thing that led to the drop of basis but even if that's part of it most military experts including u.s. military experts agree that high profile incidents whether it's abu ghraib did help act as a recruiting sergeant for groups like isis that didn't exist before the u.s. invaded iraq so something like the missile square massacre that is still remembered in baghdad may well have done helped people say you know what i'm going to go join an insurgent group that's how american street of private contractors shoot nine year old kids in the street shoot mothers with their children i think massive unemployment and an iraqi government that is you know when i'm not disputing that i'm agreeing with you i'm not saying but you discount them in iraq you sitting at home seeing the missile square massacre didn't think you know what i might as well go join the insurgency this is how americans treat as innocent people no that's not you know look there is a justice a process that served there is actually accountability lots of investigation for
that but like i said that's what i always want to ask that you don't answer the question as if iraq you sitting at home sees the missile square massacre you don't think that might incite him to join in a surge in there of course bad news travels fast and irritates people really about news is what this gentleman suggesting but we did not create one hundred ten thousand iraqi civilians that were murdered ok. xabi and the iranians said let's go back to the audience gentlemen here in the red tide. i'd like to ask what you think some of president trump's greatest for and policy achievements have been thus far and what he should focus on for the next two years to secure reelection. well you know the president he campaigned against endless wars and the pentagon look there is a real military industrial complex but he's trying to stop that he is trying to remove or reduce the u.s. presence in afghanistan and in syria he's been getting the north koreans to the table and if you can actually go she an end to the korean war it will be
a magnificent first step and i think if that's if that's the case then the u.s. should be willing to pull all troops out of south korea and the u.s. presence in korea which we've been we've had for seventy seven years you're not a fan of iran is going to briefly should you negotiate with iran to why is it that iran is the evil regime nobody should talk to them but north korea i send them love letters he sends me love letters. to my knowledge i think there certainly is still back channel negotiations with the iranians as well but you know they continue to do. you know questionable things in syria ok let's go to let's go to the lady here in the gentleman there. hi this is also with regards to the august third meeting of the sixteen you said that you mentioned it in your testimony to the house intelligence committee i have the transcript right here of the testimony on the thirtieth of november two thousand and sixteen you did and i could read from it if we don't have time for you to revise so why didn't you why you why are you saying
you did when you could have another go answering this question why didn't you mention it in your test and there was nothing to hide not all the discussion that there was transcribed and that's a fact ok your answers to the questions suggest that there was no involvement that they asked you for example have you had any me any meetings of the u.a.e. delegation prior to the official meeting and the august third meeting was prior to state our meeting george another is a representative of the m.p. that was one like i said not everything was transcribed from that discussion you weren't there. you've been very kind of i admire you be very forthcoming to on this issue you're very don't want to say much are you worried are you worried about milo no not at all now ok. let's go back to the audience let's go to the gentleman there . i was caught up in this was going back to move till covering this story at the time was me and as you know we saw people getting killed money on drugs it was in good mood we discussed this with you before but just going back one listens have
you from me. if done things differently then if you knew what you know i'm sure i wouldn't have i wouldn't ever do security for the state department again it just wasn't worth it it wasn't worth the damage or the horror of the company if we were going to do it i would have insisted like we did for any n.-g. o. work that we did is that we have cameras because the camera serves as a third party neutral observer because it's very easy to second guess something that happens you know days ago or weeks or months ago but it's very different and you have to make a split second oh so you're saying cameras that the implication being that you don't accept you did anything wrong that i had there been cameras your men would be vindicated if that was not what you're saying to be explicit about look because they've been found guilty in american courts and in the courts you don't like but they've been found guilty in american courts after the fourth time of trying ok they've been found guilty in american court and we had numerous other incidents where there was
a shooting and we were accused and when it was all square and we believe young men did anything wrong and when law enforcement authorities viewed the tapes. there was no preview believe in this square human did anything wrong so very simple question in hindsight sure if it's an innocent civilian every innocent civilian that's killed is a tragedy is a horror and we try very hard to avoid that that's why forty when forty one men died doing that mission shielding other people from enemy bullets who are trying to kill them and slaughter them or hang them to burn they're going to some more questions lady with a hand up do it for my friend to come to you yes i was a u.s. television journalist in iraq during and after the invasion i saw blackwater people humiliate and terrorize iraqis they were hostile to journalists and they were hostile to n.g.o.s why should you get a contract to do the same thing in afghanistan thank you thank you thank you. how did you know that they were
black or personnel they very very clearly walking around not just driving cars walking around they were blackwater as journalists we knew who blackwater was let us know they were not soldiers they were blackwater it was everything literally i'm sorry there was hundreds and hundreds of companies employing u.s. nato and other country veterans difference between the between blackwater and nato i'm sorry by saying i don't think you're that sharp that you can tell the difference between a polish guy a french guy or you do your that sharp to tell the difference well thank you thank you very much i did time to do that thank you very very retract if you're going to agree before this gets out i will carry on with that i carry on with your audience will go to the judge with the tide in the suit. so i've got to be in war since i was in one fighting twenty international terrorist
groups since two thousand and fourteen the afghan national security forces have been doing this by themselves so how do you justify that you'll get a contract and go and do the war in afghanistan given that you're making money out of this business and you don't ever want to conclude this business there and one point please do us a favor and have a bold line between the centers of the democracy is totally up to the people of afghanistan to decide who is their next president thank you are you ready for. you after yourself and you believe the afghans don't want nothing like that's definitely not going to do with the first question about this you have a self-interest in perpetuating the conflict because you get paid here's the thing the of the sixty two billion dollars right now the u.s. spends five billion dollars supporting the afghan security forces fifty seven billion is the cost of u.s. presence there that's going away ok the support for the afghan security forces the airlift the medivac which is wholly inadequate right now because afghan soldiers
are dying at a rate of thirty and forty per day if there is not a skill to support supply provided to them how many cars i'm sorry ashraf ghani himself said the afghan forces will collapse in less than six months i say it's more like six weeks ok so there has to be some kind of capability to keep the afghan security forces operate and able to function so that afghanistan can actually have a free election and they should be totally free to choose their next leader i agree let me ask you this despite all the things you and black would have been accused of some of which we've discussed tonight but this much more you said in two thousand and seven quote i sleep the sleep of the just i'm not feeling guilty just wondering is that still the case today you still have no regrets no guilt no ruined sleep at all over all those innocent lives taken by blackwater employees. look the fact is the company did what it was asked to it was asked to protect protect we saved thousands and thousands of people we saved many many wounded u.s. soldiers well beyond the scope of the contract. ok we did what we're asked any any
injury any civilian that's injured in a car crash or actually having one nine year old children shot and then correct and still since long after blackwater was involved one hundred ten thousand iraqi civilians have been killed in that same conflict you know by isis so by incompetence over there when i have george bush on the show last about his sleep i'm asking about the people your guys killed does it keep you awake at night we were asked to do a job and we performed very very well we'll have to leave it there thanks to our audience here in the oxford union thanks to our panel of experts who've come tonight and thanks to erik prince for joining me on head to head that's our show head to head will be back next week.
hello again a welcome back to international weather forecasts were here across australia we are still seeing some clouds anywhere cross some of the western part of australia all the way down here towards tasmania this is all due to a frontal boundary right there that is really going to be staying in place but we are going to be seeing a shift of that front as we go towards the next couple days that is going to bring some rain not only to melbourne but also to sydney as we go towards saturday up towards brits been it is going to be a warm day here on saturday getting a little bit warmer as we go towards sunday and up to its queensland we do expect to see some clouds in your forecast for the temperature there in townsville at about thirty degrees much of the north and south island of new zealand is going to be mostly cloudy the rain is going to be out of the way but we don't expect to see too much in terms of sun for much of that area trace church here on saturday
nineteen degrees few getting a little bit cooler by the time we get towards sunday and then very quickly across parts of japan well across much of the area it is going to be sunny for saturday we think but as we go towards the rest of the weekend we are going to be seeing some more rain coming in from the south tokyo here on saturday fifteen degrees there but as we go towards sunday there we go sprain coming into parts of osaka with fourteen degrees in seoul more rain in your forecast with a temperature of thirteen. africa's most populous nation the bloodiest economy has a youth unemployment problem in a bit to control the internet of the future some say a kind of digital ion go to this folder we bring you the stories to the shaping the economic world we live in. counting the cost on al-jazeera. as women's rights in the gaming acceptance process the world we ask what's the status of
global gender equality and how can progress be made executive director of un women. talks town jazeera. this is al-jazeera. hello i'm maryanne demasi this is the news hour live from london coming up. hundred ninety five detained during the biggest protests yet calling for algeria is ailing president to resign. electricity is restored in parts of crackers but much of the.