Canceled speaker condemns college for stopping event

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Prince

BELOIT - Blackwater paramilitary founder Erik Prince said Wednesday night legal action could be taken against Beloit College after his controversial lecture was canceled by the institution.

Prince cited infringement of his right to free speech during a private event held at Hotel Goodwin after the college blocked the event.

Prince was set to speak publicly on national security challenges facing the U.S. at a lecture event Wednesday sponsored by the Beloit chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), a national student group that promotes conservative ideas on campuses across the country. After the cancellation, the Goodwin event saw around 50 people listen to Prince, who spoke briefly before taking questions from attendees.

Prince said he was disappointed in Beloit College for failing to let his lecture come to fruition.

"It's sad the president and the administration of this college lacked the moral courage to enforce free speech and to defend free speech," Prince said after the private event. "Fortunately, President Trump will defend free speech and I think the college will be hearing from the court soon on this because enough is enough."

In an exclusive interview with the Beloit Daily News before Wednesday's canceled talk, Prince, the founder of the controversial private security company Blackwater, said he believes the best path for the country's protracted military involvement in Afghanistan is reshaping the conflict by implementing a private security apparatus in the country, an initiative he first announced publicly in 2017.

Prince, a former Navy Seal, said he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in May of 2017 for an audience of one: President Donald Trump.

During the interview, Prince said, "I am told he read it at the (Resolute desk) and I am told he called in his national security advisor who is a 3-star Army officer, and he said 'I don't like your plan, do this.' Of course that probably didn't start things off on the right foot with Gen. H.R. McMaster, but the Pentagon has a hard time accepting any outside paradigm. They have been lurching along on the same path for 17 years (in Afghanistan)."

When asked about any updates to the plan, Prince added, "All I know is that the president has continued to voice displeasure with the current trajectory and I don't think any politician wants to go into the next election cycle having repeated largely the same failed policy of the previous 17 years. There's a change coming and I take a calm view to it all because the Afghans, I believe, have come to support it. I have talked to a lot of Afghan politicians and opposition, former chiefs of defense and intelligence services, and it would keep the Afghan security apparatus upright and more capable then they are now and it's an accountable way to do it."

"I think it's very important for the United States and civilizations East and West that we not abandon Afghanistan, that it doesn't become a terror super state," Prince said.

Prince also denounced the barbaric white nationalist killing of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15.

"Whether it's idiot white supremacists doing awful things or idiot Islamic extremists doing terrible things, both of those are certainly a threat to peace and stability everywhere and both of them should be ended as quickly as possible. I think mental illness plays into both of those types of extremism," he said. "That evil idea that someone is going to strap explosives onto themselves and blow people up at a market or an Australian who takes a semi-automatic weapon and goes and shoots up a mosque thinking he's doing his cause a favor, evil is evil. Where the line of mental illness and evil stop, I am not qualified to say, but they are both really, really bad."

He declined to comment in-depth on the developments regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 general election, including his testimony given to the House Intelligence Committee in November of 2017. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on March 10 Prince was not truthful in a recent interview about his testimony with Al Jazeera's Mehdi Hasan on March 14 in which Prince claimed the committee got his transcript wrong in regards to not disclosing a meeting held with a Russian banker in the Seychelles islands. Prince has not been subpoenaed or criminally charged related to the Mueller investigation that saw an official summary released by U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

"As I suspected all along, there was no collusion and the myth has fallen flat," Prince said.

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