By Frank Whalen
Recently, a major Wall Street holding company has received a fair amount of attention for its acquisition of several American firearms companies. With the Second Amendment carefully watched and guarded by patriotic citizens, many are curious about a possible subversive agenda being put into motion.
Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity investment company, owns the Freedom Group, which has been buying up the gunmakers. Cerberus is one of the largest equity firms in the United States and was founded by American businessman Steve Feinberg. In Greek mythology, Cerberus was a three-headed watchdog with a serpent tail and lion claws that guarded the lower gates of the underworld.
In the category of firearms manufacturers, Cerberus, via the Freedom Group, has acquired Remington Arms, Bushmaster Firearms, DPMS Panther Arms, Marlin Firearms, as well as Cobb Manufacturing and Advanced Armament Corporation. These companies now make up the Freedom Group.
According to a Nov. 26 investigative report by Natasha Singer, “Freedom Group’s rise has been so swift it has become the subject of wild speculation and grassy-knoll conspiracy theories. In the realm of consumer rifles and shotguns—long guns, in the trade—it is unrivaled in size and reach.”
Mark Eliason, vice president of sales and marketing at Windham Weaponry, is quoted as saying that at the retail outlet Cabela’s, “roughly 20 percent of the long guns for sale are made by Freedom Group companies.” Also, about a third of all ammunition comes from the Freedom Group, Eliason said.
Allegations of a conspiracy stem not only from the stealthy purchases of firearm companies, but also relate to the supposed connection to George Soros, the politically active and decidedly left-leaning billionaire speculator. However, the Soros connection appears to be debunked by no less than the National Rifle Association itself, which stated: “At no time has George Soros ever been a part of the ownership group of Freedom Group or Cerberus, and as a privately traded corporation, there is no possibility that he will be in the future.” Odds are, the Soros angle was floated to distract from Cerberus founder Feinberg’s own political involvement as a prolific donor to the Republican Party and related organizations.
As Michael Collins Piper reported for AFP in 2006, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Vice President Dan Quayle have ties to Cerberus Global Investments, a New York-based holding company.
Piper said: “Rumsfeld’s friends at Cerberus are directly involved in establishing the U.S. military presence in the beleaguered country of Iraq.” Since that time, Cerberus has expanded its investments, acquiring the private military contractor DynCorp in 2010.
DynCorp has had a litany of lawsuits and scandals levied against it, including allegations of misconduct, mismanagement of money, drug abuse, kidnapping, child prostitution and more. A 2003 article in Mother Jones quoted Peter Singer, a foreign-policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, as saying, “DynCorp personnel have a local reputation for being both arrogant and far too willing to get ‘wet’ [i.e. commit pay-for-hire assignations], going out on frequent combat missions and engaging in firefights.”
Cerberus is also involved with various companies in the field of pharmaceuticals, paper products, retail services, transportation, staffing services, television stations and financial services. In addition, they have worked with Chrysler and General Motor’s GMAC financing.
With a presidential election looming within the next year, these types of industry consolidations can lead to financially influencing those who hold the reins of political power in America. If Cerberus’s connection to Bush-era names of the past is any indication, the Republicans may have some heavy political maneuvers planned for 2012.
Frank Whalen has been a hardhitting radio talk show host for the past 18 years, and has worked as a consultant for the popular men’s magazine Maxim. For more news and views from Frank Whalen—and to listen to his radio show online—please visit www.frankwhalenlive.com.