Donald Trump advisors include officials from private military and intelligence industry

The Republican frontunner has for weeks suggested he listened only to his own advice

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The Independent US

Two members of America’s controversial private military and intelligence industry are among the people advising Donald Trump on foreign policy. Another advisor is an expert on the international oil and energy markets.

After weeks of suggesting that he listened only to himself on international affairs, Mr Trump revealed some of the people whose input he had sought. He said the team of advisors was chaired by Republican senator Jeff Sessions.

“Walid Phares, who you probably know. PhD, adviser to the House of Representatives. He’s a counter-terrorism expert,“ Mr Trump told the Washington Post

The Republican frontunner has for weeks suggested he listened only to his own advice

“Carter Page, PhD. George Papadopoulos. He’s an oil and energy consultant. Excellent guy. The honourable Joe Schmitz, [was] inspector general at the Department of Defence. General Keith Kellogg. And I have quite a few more. But that’s a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do. But that’s pretty representative group.”

The newspaper said Mr Kellogg, a former Army lieutenant general, is an executive vice president at Virginia-based CACI International, a Virginia-based intelligence and information technology consulting firm. The company found itself at the centre of controversy in 2004 when its members were accused of partaking in torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. 

The company denied the allegations and no charges were ever brought. A lawsuit brought by more than 250 former Iraqi prisoners faltered when the company claimed immunity, because it was contracted by the US military. 

Mr Schmitz served as inspector general at the Department of Defence during the early years of George W Bush's administration. He also worked for Blackwater, the private military and security contractor that provided services to the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Blackwater received notoriety in 2007, when a group of its employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians and injured 20 in Nisour Square, Baghdad. Four of the operatives were later convicted in a US court.

Mr Papadopoulos directs an international energy center at the London Centre of International Law Practice. He previously advised the presidential campaign of Ben Carson and worked as a research fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington.

Mr Phares has an academic background, teaching at the National Defence University and Daniel Morgan Academy in Washington, and has advised members of Congress as well as appeared as a television analyst on terrorism and the Middle East.

Mr Page, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and now the managing partner of Global Energy Capital, is a longtime energy-industry executive who rose through the ranks at Merrill Lynch.