Ex-Green Beret behind Venezuela raid suspected of plagiarism

Ex-Green Beret behind Venezuela raid suspected of plagiarism

MIAMI — The former Green Beret behind a failed military incursion in Venezuela can add another infraction to his growing list of potential screw ups — cut and paste plagiarism.

The website for Jordan Goudreau’s Silvercorp USA appears to have lifted entire passages from the website of the Department of Homeland Security and as well as one run by a crisis management firm. There are also pages found on the website, without active hyperlinks, with wording nearly identical to online texts from inspirational speaker Tony Robbins, a more-established competitor in the private security industry and the fine print of online educational website MasterClass.

Goudreau has claimed responsibility for a failed military incursion Sunday to capture socialist leader Nicolás Maduro that resulted in the detention in Venezuela of two of his former special forces colleagues. The Trump administration has denied any responsibility for the armed raid.

Goudreau has said he was hired last year by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, something the U.S.-backed Venezuelan lawmaker has denied. An Associated Press investigation found that last year Goudreau helped train a team of Venezuelan military deserters in Colombia to carry out a raid.

“When a crisis arises, the first thing people often look for is a leader: the person who knows how to solve the problem and will take the necessary steps to do so,” reads the homepage of SilvercorpUSA.com, which features images of Goudreau firing machine-guns in battle, running shirtless up a pyramid and flying on a private jet.

Except for the substituted word Silvercorp, the five-sentence blurb is identical to a passage on the website of Tucker/Hall, a Jacksonville, Florida-based PR firm that specializes in crisis management.

A section of the website promoting his firm’s expertise on “Natural Disaster Mitigation” lifts three sentences verbatim from the Homeland Security website.

Goudreau’s apparent intellectual property theft was first detected by an anonymous social media sleuth who published his findings under the handle @Z3dster on Twitter. “That #SilvercorpUSA site is special,” the person wrote.

“If anyone was doing business with him, this should’ve raised some serious red flags,” @Z3dster said in an interview on what he said was a burner phone, after first being reached via a direct message on Twitter. He declined to provide his real name or location but said he is a system administrator with a degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Z3dster achieved renown in 2017 for discovering former Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort may have used the online password “Bond007.”

Goudreau hung up when contacted by phone on Thursday. David Volk, whose Melbourne, Florida-based law firm represented Goudreau in his past dealings with Guaidó aides in Miami, declined to comment or even confirm whether he represents the special forces veteran with three Bronze Stars.

“Please stop contacting our office,” Volk said in a response to an AP email.

Befitting Goudreau’s own James Bond-like aura, he had a gmail account ending with “007” that Z3dster found. A friend of Goudreau confirmed that the account belongs to the ex-Green Beret. A photo icon associated with that account matches one of a U.S. combat soldier peering through a long-lens camera in mountainous terrain that has appeared on Silvercorp’s website, according to Z3dster.

The friend, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said he believes Goudreau designed the website himself. The domain was registered in February 2018 by a former business partner. A copy of the site was downloaded by AP on April 12, indicating the plagiarized passages existed before Goudreau was at the centre of a major U.S. foreign policy crisis.

In one sloppy mistake on the Silvercorp website, Goudreau appears to have even copied the small print of MasterClass, leaving a trail of 37 citations of the popular educational website in the privacy terms of his website. The link to the privacy terms was not active.

“Anyone embarking on a personal journey toward higher achievement and deeper fulfilment needs a strong core, a foundation on which to build their new life,” reads a sentence on the “Ask Jordan” section of the Silvercorp website that is identical to an “Ask Tony” on Robbins’ website. The section remains on the Silvercorp website but is no longer active.

Sean McFarte, a former U.S. Army paratrooper who worked as a private military contractor, said Goudreau’s behaviour should raise serious concerns about the lack of enforcement of U.S. laws requiring Americans who conduct private military training abroad to obtain U.S. government licensing.

“Charlatans and amateurs have always haunted the mercenary business,” said McFarte, who is the author of “The New Rules of War” on the foreign policy implications of privatized warfare. “But Goudreau finds the new bottom. Silvercorp is literally ’the gang that can’t shoot straight.’ ”

___

AP Technology Writer Frank Bajak in Boston contributed to this report.

___

Joshua Goodman on Twitter: @APJoshGoodman

Joshua Goodman, The Associated Press

Venezuela

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Photo submitted/ Millet In Bloom
Town of Millet declared Best Blooming Community

The Town of Millet is being recognized for their efforts to meet the challenges of 2020.

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s Municipal Affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Province and rural municipalities agree on a plan to support Alberta’s energy industry

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

Paved path to the accessible dock at Agur Lake Camp. Photo submitted/ Debbie Schneider.
B.C. Camp extremely grateful for a Calmar Business’ generous donation

B.C.’s only fully accessible campground floored by a Calmar Business’ generosity.

Executive Director of Agape Kate Halas (left) receives $1000 from Sgt. Eric Christensen (right) on behalf of Agape. Photo/ Shaela Dansereau.
Former Wetaskiwin Peace Officer wins provincial award; gives back to Wetaskiwin community

Eric Christensen has won the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers Award of Excellence.

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

robbery
UPDATE: Suspect identified in early morning shooting

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Big boost for Alberta college agriculture research

The $2-million agreement to benefit Lethbridge College’s applied research team

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Canadian couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

(The Canadian Perss)
Banff wolves have lower survival rate due to hunting, trapping outside park boundary

Researchers looked at 72 radio-collared wolves in the national park from 1987 to August 2019

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Miramar Regional Park in Miramar, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is still hopeful about the Keystone pipeline if there’s a change in government in the U.S. next month, saying Alberta has been engaging with American officials from both sides of the aisle. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Carolyn Kaster
Alberta premier says he’s still hopeful about Keystone, even if Biden elected

The Alberta government has agreed to invest about US$1.1 billion as equity in the project

Most Read