Saturday 4th of December 2021

mercenaries...

mercenariesmercenaries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The French had their famous Foreign Legion… But these soldiers of fortune were not true mercenaries. 

 

Mercenaries are primarily concerned with making money at the expense of ethics — including professional soldiers hired to serve in a foreign army.

 

The Egyptians, the Romans employed mercenaries… Often the work of the mercenaries is “opaque” not so much on the results, but on who pays them and for what purpose. 

 

Modern politicians are in effect mercenaries. They are more at the beckon of lobbyists and “expert” staffers than at the service of the public good. We pay the bills. The greasy poles of business is well lubricated. The rorts are abundant. We know the first oldest profession. Mercenaries is the second oldest. Politicians are a mix of the two.

 

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The Second Oldest Profession: Mercenaries (Part 1: The Ancient World)

 

Max Brebner

Jun 18, 2019·5 min read

 

What does North Carolina circa 2006 and the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt have in common?

 

Both have played host to mercenaries, doing largely the same thing, millennia apart. Warfare has been a constant in our society ever since our shift from hunter-gatherers into sedimentary civilization. As long as two people have existed, someone has wanted someone else dead.

 

 

Ancient Egypt

 

Mercenaries played an important role in ancient warfare. Populations of the time period were far less dense than they are today. A single kingdom, even one as powerful as Egypt, just lacked the manpower to go on the offensive. So, leaders would hire outside muscle to bolster their numbers, do things other soldiers couldn’t, provide experienced veterans to an army.

 

 

Ancient Greece

 

The term “ancient Greece” is actually somewhat misleading. During the Classical era, there was no single entity called “Greece.” Instead, the region of “Hellas,” where the term Hellenistic comes from, was divided between kingdoms, city-states and warlords. Every place had its own culture, ideals and dogmas.

 

Greek cultures would become prolific mercenaries, working heavily for the Egyptians. During the Greco-Persian Wars, the Persian army hired Greek mercenaries for their attempted invasion of the mainland in 484 BCE.

 

 

Roman Empire

Since its foundation, the Roman Empire had need for fighting power. During their days as a tribe of cattle-rustlers, they would pay off neighboring tribes to support them in battles with the Italics, Samnites and Etruscans.

 

 Read more:

https://maxbrebner.medium.com/the-second-oldest-profession-mercenaries-part-1-the-ancient-world-c6024c9ff527

 

 

 

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from:   https://www.mic.com/articles/40307/5-of-the-world-s-most-elite-mercenary-armies

Have you ever wanted to know about the word’s elite mercenary armies? Have you been too afraid to ask because they are the world’s most elite mercenary armies? Well, never fear because we’ve complied a list of some of them right here. These private military contractors are stationed throughout the world in conflicts that governments are hesitant, or unable, to go into. 

 

 

1. Academi

You might remember them better as Blackwater. The infamous private security firm has changed its name a few times since it was embroiled in several controversies, including the wrongful death of 17 Iraqi citizens. The unprovoked shooting of the Iraqi civilians lead to a rather terse moment between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Academi has a 7,000 acre training facility in North Carolina, one of the largest in the world. They boast an impressive army of 20,000. 

 

 

Defion Internacional

This company trains private military personnel from Latin America, these mercs are paid as little as $1,000 a month. The company has been used in the past by a private U.S. firm known as Triple Canopy, which used individuals trained by Defion. These mercs were tasked with protecting the Green Zone in Iraq. The company which hired them out, Triple Canopy, was the subject of intense scrutiny due to what many called inadequate training and pay.  

 

 

Aegis Defense Services  

This company provides services for the UN, U.S., and various oil companies. They have a staff of 5,000 but perhaps they are best known for a series of videos from 2005 that showed Aegis forces firing upon Iraqi civilians. The companies website promotes their usefulness in protecting business interests in emerging markets. 

 

 

Triple Canopy

Perhaps one of the better known private security firms, Triple Canopy is made up of former U.S. Army Special Forces veterans and Delta Force personnel. The company employs over 5,000 people. In 2009 the U.S. government sued Triple Canopy for fraud regarding one of its Iraq security contract under the False Claims Act. Triple Canopy was awarded various lucrative contracts to the tune of $90 million for their protection of the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters in Iraq. Prior to the government suing Triple Canopy they released a report lauding the private security services efforts.

 

 

G4S Secure Solutions 

Seriously, this place is massive. They are the second largest private employer of people behind Walmart. Let’s let that sink in for a minute. They employee some 625,000 people. They operate in over 125 countries. They gained some notoriety for holding what many called "Animal House" style parties in Kabul, Afghanistan. There was also that little problem with having Afghan drug lords on their payroll, whoops!

 

 

 

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One outfit that has not been mentioned here is the Wagner Group (see comment below). The others are Western adventurers, the Wagner Group personnel is mostly from Russia and Ukraine. There are a few stories and “news” items that try hard to link the Wagners to Putin and the Russian government. Fair enough. The Russian government has denied any responsibility and involvement into the Wagner group’s activities, though these activities seems to be anti-West "rules-orders". We know that the Pentagon itself is also employing about 60.000 hidden “mercenaries” (not on any official lists)… So it would make sense that other countries would employ mercenaries for doing the dirty work including assassination.

 

 

Three of the main concerns are ethnicity “to blend in”, speak the lingoes of the locals to defend or attack — and who pays the bills.

 

For example it is likely that the Wagner Group in Libya is paid by Saudi Arabia or the Muslim Brotherhood. It is likely that the Wagner Group is paid by Russian nationalists in Donbass. Elsewhere, the Chinese might employ shop fronts that may or may not be profitable, that without firing a single bullet will control the way a country develops, by providing exclusive services including retail of Chinese made goods such as pots and pans.

 

Free Julian Assange Now…

 

Note: Image at top from Spooner (2014)

bbc's found tablet...

Wagner is a Russian mercenary group whose operations have spanned the globe, from front-line fighting in Syria to guarding diamond mines in the Central African Republic. But it is notoriously secretive and, as such, difficult to scrutinise. Now, the BBC has gained exclusive access to an electronic tablet left behind on a battlefield in Libya by a Wagner fighter, giving an unprecedented insight into how these operatives work.

 

And another clue given to us in Tripoli - a “shopping list” for state-of-the-art military equipment  - suggests Wagner has probably been supported at the highest level despite the Russian government’s consistent denials that the organisation has any links to the state.It was late one night in early February when I received the call in London. It was one of my contacts in Libya with some extraordinary news - a Samsung tablet had been retrieved from a battlefield in western Libya. Russian mercenaries had been fighting there in support of Libyan renegade general Khalifa Haftar, against the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). It’s believed the tablet had been left behind when the fighters retreated in the spring of 2020. 

There had long been reports that Wagner had been operating in Libya. This surveillance footage, filmed by GNA fighters in December 2019 and shared with the BBC, is believed to show Wagner fighters.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/extra/8iaz6xit26/the-lost-tablet-and-the-secret-documents

 

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BBC's found whipping boy...

If you wonder about the article above by the BBC about Wagner's mercenary, think no more... See the government of Libya in Tripoli is corrupt but is doing what the Western world wants. The other mob, thus deemed to be rebels and terrorists want to return Libya to its former glory and be independent. This is a no-no for the boys in Washington...  So the BBC is adding to the sauce today, about one day after having exposed the Wagner's. How gauche and CONVENIENT:

 

Prosecutors in Libya have issued an arrest warrant for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, over suspected ties to Russian mercenaries.

A BBC World Service investigation has revealed links between the shadowy Wagner group's activities in Libya and war crimes committed against Libyan citizens.

Russian fighters first appeared in Libya in 2019 when they joined the forces of a rebel general, Khalifa Haftar, in attacking the UN-backed government in the capital Tripoli. The conflict ended in a ceasefire in October 2020.

The Wagner group was first identified in 2014 when it was backing pro-Russian separatists in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Since then, it has been involved in regions including Syria, Mozambique, Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

The order for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi's arrest was circulated internally to Libyan security bodies by prosecutor Mohammed Gharouda on 5 August, but was only made public after the BBC's investigation was broadcast.

Who is Saif al-Islam Gaddafi?

Gaddafi has long been suspected of having connections to Russia. 

 

Before the 2011 uprising, he was believed by some to represent the hope for gradual reform in Libya, which had been ruled by his father Muammar since 1969. 

A fluent English speaker who studied at the prestigious London School of Economics, he was long seen as one of the most influential people in the country, and a likely successor to his father.

However, once anti-government protests broke out in Libya in early 2011, Gaddafi joined the state's bloody crackdown on protesters. 

The rest of his family were eventually killed or fled the country. Gaddafi, meanwhile, was captured by rebels in late 2011 and taken to the city of Zintan, to the south-west of Tripoli. He was freed by the militia holding him six years later.

 

During his detention, he was sentenced to death in absentia by a court in Tripoli over the killing of protesters in 2011. 

He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity committed during the crackdown.

 

Although he has not been seen in public in years, Gaddafi gave an interview to the New York Times in July, in which he spoke of his plans to return to politics.

According to sources in Tripoli, he is likely to still be hiding in Zintan.

Seif and Russia

During the making of the BBC documentary into the Wagner group's operations in Libya, the BBC met Libyan intelligence officials who spoke of Gaddafi's strong links with Moscow and described him as "Russia's favourite candidate to rule Libya".

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-58191433

 

I you don't see a conspiracy to sink Libya here, you're a believer of Jesus our Lord and Saviour... 

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sahel yo-yo...

 

by Phil Butler

 

The more idiotic geo-policy analysis I read, the more I wonder where my honorary Ph.D. is. Take a recent Euronews bit concerning “bad old” Russia against “sweet little” France and the Americans in Chad, Mali, and the Sahel region overall.

Former Aspen Institute director Nicolas Tenzer now blames Russia for France’s yo-yo policies in the Sahel. Where should I begin? How about at the beginning of Tenzer’s story?

 

“Paris is resuming military cooperation with Mali a month after joint operations were suspended in the wake of the coup d’état carried out by Colonel Assimi Goïta, reputedly close to Moscow.”

 

“Reputedly,” there’s another of those wishy-washy journalist words used when the desired narrative is unsubstantiated. What if France just needs her grubby little fingers in Sahel pies? Is anyone out there dumb enough to forget France is willing to tolerate anyone or anything as long as the resources and profits continue to flow through Paris? Read this paper (PDF) on the French intervention in Mali, by Madi Ibrahim Kanti as a refresher. France has massive mining interests in Mali, not to mention her investments in neighboring Algeria, Mauritania, and Niger. Just think uranium, gold, oil,

And while propaganda channels like Foreign Policy portray Emmanuel Macron’s military pullout from Mali as some kind of post-colonial reset. But, the end of “Operation Barkhane” only marks a new era of business as usual detente. Oh, and AFRICOM operators were in Timbuktu recently carrying out an operational assessment, in case President Macron needs to airlift French commandos at a moment’s notice. Come on, hasn’t the old goose story about the spread of western democratic ideologies been put in the grave yet?

France’s adventures in Africa go far beyond high policy seas pirates like Total, Areva, and Bolloré. Few people realize that over 80 percent of France’s imports come from sub-Saharan African countries. Who do these doctors of detente in the west think they are fooling? Have none of them heard the term Françafrique? Is the word not the ultimate symbol of confiscated, perverted sovereignty propagated by the French? For those unfamiliar, let me remind you of how France works her intrigue in Africa and elsewhere via this passage from a story by novelist Boubacar Boris Diop in New African:

 

“As long as the terms of this “gentlemen’s agreement” are complied with, the African president can toss his political opponents to the sharp-toothed, flesh-hungry crocodiles frothing in his private pond, crown himself emperor, embezzle and deposit billions in Swiss accounts, all without fearing the slightest rebuke. In any case, the well-oiled engine runs only through back channels and shady networks.”

 

Nicolas Tenzer has got his feet wet in social media with Twitter accounts @DeskRussie, @RevueLeBanquet, and in the now-defunct magazine THE BANQUET, the journal of the CERAP. He says the recent Mali leadership change was “A classic putsch with Russian fingerprints.”

I find it interesting that Mali’s interim President Colonel Assimi Goïta received much of his military training in America, and working with US Army Special Forces. But, I guess they did not leave any fingerprints. FBI training, no doubt. Readers may find this story about Colonel Goïta interesting, and telling. From the tone of the story by a former US military special forces operator in Mali, if Russia’s fingerprints are all over Assimi Goïta, it’s probably a good thing for the people of Mali.

Meanwhile, Mali’s people suffer more than most of the world’s people. Life expectancy in Mali is just over 50 years, and 30% to 40% of the people do not even have access to clean drinking water. On a side note, it took me exactly one minute to isolate a neo-colonial effort called the Tabakorole Gold Project in Mali. This joint investment by Marvel Gold

Limited and Altus Strategies is the telltale sign of a much bigger gold rush financed by familiar names like Rothschild and other elites who run all these piracy shows. Canadian holding companies are an old tool of the western banksters, so the maple leaf flag on a Mali gold operation is a warning buzzer.

Back to Mali and Macron, who is also one of Rothschild’s poster boys, Nicolas Tenzer says that the “restoration of Franco-Malian cooperation should not be read as an endorsement of Goïta’s regime—but rather a pragmatic response to a sharply deteriorating security situation. He goes on to say that Macron’s recent moves are intended to keep Mali and Chad from slipping into a new love affair with Moscow.

Finally, considering the fate of the people of the Sahel so far, it may be high time all Africans sought out new partners. Mali, for instance, is ranked 184th out of 188 on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index. Chad is 187th. And it’s certain neither Russia nor China is responsible for putting them there.

 

 

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

Read more: https://journal-neo.org/2021/08/12/news-from-the-sahel-france-and-the-us-still-helping-themselves/

 

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freefree

turkish mercenaries...

 

by Valery Kulikov

 

On December 24, 2021 Libya will hold general presidential and parliamentary elections.  These elections may do a great deal to restoring the authority of the Libyan state, which has been weakened by the tensions that persist despite the attempts to minimize the impact of the conflict, already several years old, between the country’s two main political powers. But both internal divisions and external factors risk impeding the successful conduct of the elections – including the presence of pro-Turkish Syrian mercenaries and militants in the west of the country. For example, on August 9 the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced that Turkey is continuing to make a show of withdrawing its mercenaries from the country – while actually bringing a similar number of militants into the country. The SOHR, citing its own sources, claims that although 130 militants from groups sponsored by Ankara have recently returned to their country, another batch of fighters has left areas controlled by extremists in the North of Syria and travelled to Libya, heading for Tripoli. Turkey adopted similar tactics in June, when it mounted a show of withdrawing 150 mercenaries. According to SOHR’s source, in this way Turkey is replacing its militants every fifteen days. Ankara is maintaining a permanent corps of “security staff” at its bases in Libya.

In view of the above situation, it is hard to overstate the importance of the Libyan authorities’ attempts to organize a political dialog and guarantee sufficient stability to allow the elections to go ahead in December. One of the goals of the Forum for Libya, which has been under way since July 28 in Geneva, was to establish a constitutional basis for the elections, but the delegates have been unable to reach agreement on the key issues, and this failure is undermining the agreed road map for the country’s reconstruction following the end of the civil war. Aguila Saleh Issa, the Speaker of Libya’s House of Representatives, has stated that if the elections do not go ahead in December there is the risk of the west of the country establishing its own government. It is no secret that a number of foreign states are trying to monopolize the Libyan talks, putting pressure on their representatives in Geneva, supporting one or other of the sides in the conflict, and expressing strong views about the holding of the elections and the selection of the candidates. By intervening in the electoral process in this way, these foreign states hope to put their preferred candidates in power and thus promote their own interests during the – potentially very profitable – post-war reconstruction of Libya.

Emad Al-Sayah, Chairman of Libya’s High National Elections Commission (HNEC) has announced that the deadline for registration of candidates is August 17. Arrangements have been made for over 2.3 million voters accredited by the HNEC to check the identity of each voter at the polling stations. He added that a voter verification system was being introduced in order to prevent falsification of the results, or irregularities such the sale of votes by voters registered on the electoral roll. The Chairman of the HNEC added that the introduction of this technology represented a major step forwards in Libya’s electoral history.

Libyan voters have been repeatedly assured that, in addition to introducing the above measures, the HNEC is coordinating its activities with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), an American NGO, which has appointed Ian Smith as its regional director, based in Tripoli. The IFES is trying to intervene in the preparations for December’s elections and aims to develop a body of electoral law and influence citizens’ political involvement by carrying out “educational events” organized by the IFES in partnership with media organizations.

The IFES has already organized elections in Sudan and taken part in training civil servants in Tunisia. In Kyrgyzstan it organizes “democracy camps”, which are, in effect, an attempt to promote US-style democracy in the county.

However, at least three countries have accused the IFES of interfering in their internal affairs. Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity, for example, attempted to put the national branch of the IFES on its list of banned NGOs, citing its lack of transparency in relation to its funding. In November 2019, in Myanmar, 20 parliamentary parties expressed concerns that the involvement of the IFES in the voting process might result in the falsification of the results. And in September 2020 Serbia’s National Assembly cancelled an agreement on cooperation with the IFES following reports that the NGO’s specialists planned to restructure Serbia’s election system so as to exclude candidates not approved by Washington from standing in the 2022 elections.

The IFES was established in 1987 by Frederick Clifton White Sr, a political consultant and campaign manager for Republican candidates. The main goal of the IFES is to promote its vision of democracy by working in partnership with civil society, state bodies and the private sector. It receives funding from the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, as well as from the US. It currently has representative offices in 45 countries.

From its activities, it appears that the IFES, under cover of supporting the holding of democratic elections, has already obtained control over the holding of the constitutional referendum in Libya, in effect appointing itself as a kind of general consultant and gaining full access to all sections of the HNEC, including those dealing with classified matters. However, its attempts to manipulate domestic political processes in Egypt, Myanmar, Serbia and a number of other countries clearly demonstrate that the goal of the IFES is to lobby on behalf of US interests, rather than to promote democracy. It is therefore entirely possible that Washington, acting through the IFES, may exclude from the elections any presidential or parliamentary candidates that do not meet with its approval, just as it tried to do in Serbia.

Given that the situation in Libya has greatly deteriorated over the last decade, the reconstruction of the country will demand a huge amount of resources and effort. During the last ten years Libya has been split up, entire cities and provinces have been left to fend for themselves, and its infrastructure and economical and social ties have collapsed. The government and political forces that insisted on their right to power have done nothing for the people. As a result it has discredited the very idea of a Libyan state. And if the Libyans are able to hold national elections then this will be a great step forwards. But that will only be possible if political forces or NGOs such as the IFES refrain from obstructing the Libyan people’s chosen path towards democracy and imposing solutions that favor the interests of some other country.

 

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

Read more:

https://journal-neo.org/2021/08/15/a-political-test-for-the-new-libya/

 

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Of course these things do not impact us... except on the price of petrol ... But what's a few cents here and there, we won't notice, will we? Meanwhile, should the vote go against the US/UN appointees, we will declare it rigged and unconstitutional or whatever — and should the votes go in favour of the US/UN appointees, we will declare the elections fair and juste. Easy.

 

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money's mercenaries...

 

By Kit Klarenberg, an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. Follow him on Twitter @KitKlarenberg

 

Senior British spy veterans have long been attractive recruits for companies with something to hide. After all, why wouldn’t a former spook use their influence and knowledge in the very best interests of their new employer?

The UK government’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments last week approved US banking giant Goldman Sachs’ hiring of Alex Younger, the head of MI6 from November 2014 to September 2020, as a paid adviser.

In its decision, the committee noted that Younger had “access to a range of particularly sensitive information” that “could offer Goldman Sachs and its clients an unfair advantage in providing advice” as it “might appear as though he can offer the inside track on at-risk investments and the most profitable companies or areas to invest in”. It also observed there was a risk that “it could be perceived his network and influence might assist Goldman Sachs unfairly”.

Yet, despite these billowing red flags, it was concluded that Younger having been bound by the Official Secrets Act meant there was no risk Goldman Sachs would profit from privileged information, and written assurances were sufficient to ensure he wouldn’t use his elite insider access to lobby Whitehall for his new employer’s benefit.

 

It’s not the first time a UK intelligence chief has entered the financial sector. Almost immediately after standing down in 2013, MI5’s former director general, Jonathan Evans, joined the board of HSBC, after US regulators fined the bank $1.9 billion for serving as “a conduit for Mexican drug money and sanctions-busting.” A direct intervention from Whitehall prevented HSBC staff, and the bank itself, from being prosecuted outright.

Evans’s appointment was purportedly an attempt by HSBC to clean up its act – although it’s been reported that the bank continued to provide services to alleged fraudsters, drug traffickers, Ponzi schemes, shell companies tied to stolen government funds and other criminal elements thereafter. This exposure came two years after Evans stepped downfrom his post due to conflict-of-interest concerns stemming from his concurrent role as chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the body that advises the UK government on ethical practice.

Evans was a supremely bizarre choice indeed to counsel on ethics and adherence to the law, given his MI5 career. He was appointed the agency’s counter-terror lead 10 days before the 9/11 attacks, before becoming deputy director general in 2005, then its outright chief two years later. During this period, the UK’s domestic and foreign intelligence services became heavily involved in Washington’s extraordinary-rendition programme, via which Islamist terror suspects were abducted, extradited overseas, and interrogated under torture. 

A 2018 report issued by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee found that, between 2001 and 2010, MI5 and MI6 were involved in 53 rendition operations – including three that they funded – and had, on 559 occasions, attempted to extract information from detainees whom they knew or had good reason to suspect had been tortured. The committee stressed that its findings should “not be taken to be a definitive account,” as “the terms and conditions were such that we would be unable to conduct an authoritative inquiry and produce a credible report”.

Nonetheless, a trove of documents discovered in abandoned Libyan government offices following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 shed significant light on the complicity of senior UK intelligence operatives in rendition and torture. Among the papers was a fax allegedly sent in March 2004 by MI6’s then-counter terror chief Mark Allen to his counterpart in Tripoli, regarding Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife Fatima Boudchar, who had been kidnapped by MI6 in Malaysia earlier that year and transported to Libya.

"I congratulate you on the safe arrival of [Belhaj]. This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over recent years,” the fax reads. “Amusingly, we got a request from the Americans to channel requests for information from [Belhaj] through the Americans. I have no intention of doing any such thing. The intelligence about [Belhaj] was British … I feel I have the right to deal with you direct on this.”

 

Belhaj went on to endure six years of abuse in government torture chambers. Other documents discovered show that UK intelligence officers provided interrogators with questions to ask him, but, despite the Metropolitan Police amassing 28,000 pages of documentation on Allen’s rendition role, in 2014, it was decided not to charge him, on the basis of insufficient evidence.

Alen resigned not long after he sent that incriminating fax, having lost out to John Scarlett in his bid to lead the agency, and, in October, was appointed to BP as special adviser on Libyan oil contracts. In 2009, the company signed a $15 billion deal with Tripoli – the same year John Sawers became MI6 chief. In May 2015, six months after resigning, Sawers joined BP’s board.

Not long before that, the UK multinational signed a $12 billion deal for an oil and gas project in the West Nile Delta. The project was announced in 2010, but put on hold – first, due to protests and occupations by local residents, then disagreements with Egypt’s newly elected government of Mohamed Morsi over its terms, which granted BP direct ownership of the resources and 100% of any profits derived.

The violent coup led by security services chief General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi – which was seemingly supported by UK intelligence – terminated all talk of better terms for Cairo, and led to the imposition of stringent anti-protest laws, which effectively ended all public obstruction to the delta initiative. Today, BP has projects in Egypt worth around $30 billion, covering 55,000 square kilometres (21,235 square miles) of the country – an area roughly the size of Croatia. 

The failure of mainstream journalists to ask serious questions about BP may result from the UK government’s deployment of the D-notice system to suppress damaging disclosures. In May 2007, the Daily Mail published an incendiary exposé based on the testimony of a senior staffer in charge of securing lucrative contracts in Azerbaijan, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. They alleged that, to the tune of millions, a company credit card had been used to procure drugs and prostitutes for government officials, and bankroll debauched, champagne-fuelled parties.

The source also claimed they had been persuaded to work for MI6 by John Scarlett, then-head of station in Moscow, and that the agency and BP had worked closely together to win business in the region and “influence the political complexion of governments”.

The story was retracted without explanation within hours of publication, allegedly by direct Whitehall government decree. Conversely, there was mild media interest in a 2017 bribery scandal in Nigeria that implicated staff at rival energy giant Shell, among them two ex-MI6 operatives. An insider has alleged the company employs so many former spies that it amounts to an internal MI6 network.

Clearly, senior intelligence veterans are extremely attractive recruits for companies with a lot to hide and that wish to shield themselves from scrutiny and/or prosecution – and promises spooks won’t exploit their influence and experience for the benefit of their new employers aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Given the sheer number of controversies and scandals in which Goldman Sachs has been embroiled over the years, the bank clearly needs all the help it can get to ensure it remainstoo big to jail.”

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/532103-goldman-sachs-mi6-spy/

 

See also:

https://www.rt.com/uk/321733-intelligence-revolving-door-scarlett/

 

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devils on the US payroll...

Has he US created their new mercernaries to upset the Taliban and carry on with mucking the place? This is a fair question asked by Alex Rubinstein...

 

 

Did the US Support the Growth of ISIS-K?

 

By Alex Rubinstein

 

 

The list of governments, former government officials, and organizations in the region that have accused the US of supporting ISIS-K is expansive and includes the Russian government, the Iranian government, Syrian government media, Hezbollah, an Iraqi state-sponsored military outfit and even former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who called the group a “tool” of the United States as journalist Ben Norton recently noted, characterizing Karzai as “a former US puppet who later turned against the US, and knows many of its secrets.”

So what exactly is ISIS-K and what is it’s history? After ISIS’s Afghanistan variant became a household name overnight following a suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport that killed more than 170 people and wounded more than 200, the group’s history demands renewed scrutiny.

Back in May, I tweeted that “I must not be the only one expecting a so-called ‘rise of ISIS’ in Afghanistan in the near future…”

I wrote this because mass-casualty terrorist attacks are repeatedly used as justification by the United States for continuing its occupations of foreign countries: the “counterterrorism mission,” or the “terrorist threat.” And it has been a long time since the Taliban has taken credit for any such acts.

In fact, all the way back in August 2016 — a little over five years ago — Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Iranian media that “In cooperation with the nation, [the Taliban] has prevented the terrorist group from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan.”

 

The strongest argument in favor of a US withdrawal put forward by the Biden Administration is that the United States completed its counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan. The attack by “ISIS-K” on the Kabul airport collapses this argument, and so it benefits those who would prefer to see Afghanistan permanently occupied by the US.

It’s also not the actions of a calculating terrorist group: why commit mass violence at such a critical juncture? Why do it when all eyes are on Afghanistan and many in the Pentagon, in NATO, are looking for any excuse to invade again?

CNN’s Clarissa Ward was even able to interview a “senior ISIS-K commander” two weeks before the attack who made these points. The “commander” told CNN that the group was “lying low and waiting for its moment to strike.”

While the US-backed government was still in power in Kabul, the ISIS-K “commander” told Ward that “it's no problem for him to get through checkpoints and come right into the capital.” He even let the CNN crew film his entrance into the city.

In the absurd interview, CNN sat in a hotel room with the supposed ISIS-K leader and protected his identity. Ward asked him comically upfront questions like “are you interested, ultimately, in carrying out international attacks?”

In response to a question about their plans for expansion in Afghanistan following a US withdrawal, the “commander” said “instead of currently operating, we have turned to recruiting only, to utilize the opportunity and to do our recruitment. But when the foreigners and people of the world leave Afghanistan, we can restart our operations.”

What changed?

This is not to say definitively that the ISIS-K attack was a false flag, but there are many holes in the narrative that demand scrutiny. It is worth noting here that the US is in charge of security at the airport until August 31, while the Taliban controls the surrounding area.

Moreover, the United States had advanced knowledge of the attack. “Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising US citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time,” read an August 25 security alert on the US Embassy in Afghanistan website. “US citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.”

Britain and Australia issued similar warnings of a “high threat of a terrorist attack” and a “very high threat of a terrorist attack” respectively.

The following day, a suicide bomber blew himself up and killed scores of people. Additionally, US forces reportedly gunned down a large number of people as well. “Many we spoke to, including eyewitnesses, said significant numbers of those killed were shot dead by US forces in the panic after the blast,” tweeted BBC correspondent Secunder Kermani, who reported from the area.

The very next day after the attack, the United State Central Command announced that “US military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS-K planner. The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan.”

In short, the US knew an attack was coming, the attack happened, and then within 24 hours the US announced that they killed the perpetrator, saying“initial indications are that we killed the target.”

NYT Live Update from 40mins ago: following the failure to act on intelligence and prevent 'ISIS-K' from carrying out a suicide bombing that the US had advanced knowledge of, US forces in Afghanistan are conducting "controlled demolitions" in CIA bases in the country    pic.twitter.com/B37fHB67bh

— Alex Rubinstein   August 28, 2021

 

Then on Saturday, US forces demolished a CIA base in the country.

These facts give us more questions than answers. Why was the US unable to prevent the attack? Giving the military and intelligence community the benefit of doubt that they didn’t know who was going to attack and therefore could not have prevented it, how did they figure it out so quickly after the attack? If it was the CIA, which is more than likely, who provided this information, why is the military destroying CIA infrastructure that could plausibly play a role in helping to figure such things out? This is an especially troubling question considering that less than a few hours before the New York Times reported that US troops destroyed a CIA base, President Biden said that military commanders informed him that another attack on the airport is “highly likely” in the next 24-26 hours.



Long Running Accusations of Support

Researcher and commentator Hadi Nasrallah noted on Friday that the leader of the Middle East resistance group Hezbollah “said that the US have been using helicopters to save ISIS terrorists from complete annihilation in Iraq and transporting them to Afghanistan to keep them as insurgents in Central Asia against Russia, China and Iran.”

Hezbollah is not the first player in the area to make the accusation of the US setting up a ratline via helicopter flights to Afghanistan for ISIS: Russia and Iran, which borders Afghanistan, have been for some time.

As Hadi Nasrallah noted, Syra and Iraq have said more or less the same, with Syrian state media SANA saying in 2017 reporting that “US helicopters transported between 40 and 75 ISIS militants from Hasakah, North Syria to an ‘unknown area.’”

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah just said that the US have been using helicopters to save ISIS terrorists from complete annihilation in Iraq and transporting them to Afghanistan to keep them as insurgents in Central Asia against Russia, China and Iran.

Thus the beginning of ISIS-K.

— Hadi Nasrallah    August 27, 2021

 

As Hadi Nasrallah pointed out, “the same thing was reported for years in Iraq by the [Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces] along with reports that US helicopters dropped aid for ISIS.”

Back in 2017 and 2018, Iranian and Russian officials had questions of their own. Chief of Iranian General Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri accused the US of “relocating members of the Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group to Afghanistan after their defeats in Iraq and Syria” in early February of 2018.

“The Americans point to (the existence) of tensions in the southwest Asia region as an excuse for their presence in the region,” Major General Baqeri told reporters.

The following month, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the longtime foreign minister of Iran who departed from the post earlier this year, said “we see intelligence, as well as eyewitness accounts, that Daesh fighters, terrorists, were airlifted from battle zones, rescued from battle zones, including recently from the prison of Haska [Meyna].”

Iran and Russia have “consistently allege[d]” that unmarked helicopters were flying into regions of Afghanistan where ISIS had a foothold. But as Javad Zarif pointed out in March 2018, “this time, it wasn't unmarked helicopters. They were American helicopters, taking Daesh out of Haska prison. Where did they take them? Now, we don't know where they took them, but we see the outcome. We see more and more violence in Pakistan, more and more violence in Afghanistan, taking a sectarian flavor.”

As the US government propaganda outlet Voice of America wrote at the time in 2018, “the terrorist group uses Nangarhar as its main base to launch attacks elsewhere in Afghanistan.” This is the same province the US struck with an unmanned drone the day following the attack on the airport.

As Voice of America noted, the National Security Advisor of the recently-collapsed Afghanistan government offered Russian and Iranian delegates “joint investigations into allegations of unmarked helicopters flying IS[IS] fighters to battle zones in the country.”

In February 2018, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov implored the US to answer the question.

“We still expecting from our American colleagues an answer to the repeatedly raised questions, questions that arose on the basis of public statements made by the leaders of some Afghan provinces, that unidentified helicopters, most likely helicopters to which NATO in one way or another is related, fly to the areas where the insurgents are based, and no one has been able to explain the reasons for these flights yet,” Lavrov said. “In general [the United States] tries to avoid answers to these legitimate questions.”

 



Later that month, Lavrov had more to say on the issue: “According to our data, the IS[IS] presence in northern and eastern Afghanistan is rather serious. There are already thousands of gunmen.”

"We are alarmed as, unfortunately, the US and NATO military in Afghanistan makes every effort to silence and deny [ISIS’s presence in Afghanistan]," he added.

These mysterious dead-of-night helicopter flights even raised the eyebrows of the fallen US puppet government. All the way back in May 2017, a local official in the Sar-e-Pul province said two military helicopters landed in the dead of night. 

“According to the report we have received from the 2nd Battalion of the Afghan National Army, which fights on the first line of the battle in Sar-e-Pul, two military helicopters landed in a stronghold of the enemy at 8pm last Thursday,” Mohammad Zahir Wahdat, the governor of the province, told Afghan media.

Following Lavrov’s comments in 2018, General John Nicholson, the commander of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, said that Russia was exaggerating the threat of ISIS in Afghanistan. “We see a narrative that's being used that grossly exaggerates the number of Isis [Islamic State group] fighters here," Gen. Nicholson told the BBC. "This narrative then is used as a justification for the Russians to legitimize the actions of the Taliban.

This talking point was reinforced by Navy Captain Tom Gresbeck, the public affairs director of NATO’s Afghanistan mission, who said that US forces have “no evidence of any significant migration of IS-K foreign fighters. We see local fighters who switch allegiances to join ISIS for various reasons, but the Russian narrative grossly exaggerates the numbers of ISIS fighters that are in the country.”

It appears that this week, the United States may be forced to eat its words.

 

author's website.


Alex Rubinstein is an independent reporter on Substack. You can subscribe to get free articles from him delivered to your inbox here, and if you want to support his journalism, which is never put behind a paywall, you can give a one-time donation to him through PayPal here or sustain his reporting through Patreon here.

 

Read more: http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/september/01/did-the-us-support-the-growth-of-isis-k/

 

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"deliberate lack of control"...

 After 20 years, Pentagon still lacks control over hired guns  

A new GAO report finds gaping holes in oversight in the military’s unwieldy private security contractor biz.

 

by 

 

One might reasonably assume that in the over 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, the Pentagon would have finally managed to figure out how to exercise effective supervision and control over its private military contractors. 

You know, the hired guns in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, many of whom bubbled up to our consciousness with notorious war scandals in places like Fallujah and Nisour Square. In other words, the government should have established some sort of oversight strategy by now. 

Reasonable perhaps. But wrong, according to a July 29 report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which said:

The Department of Defense (DOD) has been unable to comprehensively identify private security contractor (PSC) contracts and personnel supporting contingency, humanitarian, peace-keeping, or other similar operations. 

That is GAO’s genteel way of saying the government still doesn’t have very good visibility into PSC activities. 

A more forthright view was expressed by Peter Singer, senior fellow at the New America Foundation and longtime analyst of the private military contracting industry, who tweeted, “it is 2021 and the Pentagon still isn’t equipped to manage the private military contractors it has been hiring for over 2 decades and led to lives and billions of dollars lost in Iraq+Afghanistan.” 

This is not just an accounting problem. It is a matter of risking a repeat of past debacles. A Bloomberg article noted, 

The Pentagon must improve its tracking and accounting of private security contractors operating alongside military and U.S. civilian agencies or risk a repeat of a 2007 massacre of Iraqi citizens that stained the American counterinsurgency effort, according to Congress’s watchdog agency.

“If the department does not improve its means of identifying, recording, tracking, and assessing its use of PSC contracts and personnel, the associated negative strategic impacts the U.S. government experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan are at risk of reoccurring.” 

Unfortunately, this problem is not new. The U.S. government has had difficulty keeping track of its hired guns since it first started using them in Afghanistan and Iraq. As Tina Won Sherman, the lead analyst for the report, said in a GAO podcast:

…we’ve reported for several years that the Department of Defense lacks complete information about the number of contractors it employs. So it’s not entirely surprising that the department doesn’t have a full picture of its private security contractors, including how many it has, how much they cost, where they’re located, the types of operations they are supporting, and whether or not they are armed… One of the reasons for this is that the department doesn’t have a consistent definition for private security services. So job titles such as security guard and police patrol officer fall under that umbrella, while other job titles such as police detective or sheriff’s patrol officers do not. 

And if you don’t know who the players are you can’t punish them when they do something wrong. As the GAO acknowledged in a footnote, “Army and Air Force contracting officials we spoke with said they could not recall any instance of a PSC company being suspended or disbarred.” And it’s not as if PSCs haven’t done things that merit punishment. One has only to look at the numerous reports published by the Special Inspector Generals for Iraq and Afghanistan Reconstruction to find examples.

Or, another GAO report, released August 4 on human trafficking among foreign workers employed on contracts, which found that “The U.S. government has a zero tolerance policy for human trafficking, as established in a presidential directive, but trafficking in persons (TIP) of foreign workers on U.S. government contracts overseas persists.” 

Another, even worse, problem comes down to properly resourcing those doing oversight. This has a long history and was officially acknowledged in the 2007 Gansler Commission report

Consider that for decades the private security contracting industry has been declaring that it is a heavily regulated industry, with numerous military regulations and directives it must follow. This is true, but only partly. What they neglect to add is that the Pentagon doesn’t fully fund enough well-trained contract officers or contracting officer representatives to enforce it all. As Sherman noted:

Since 2009, the department has updated and clarified roles and responsibilities for overseeing private security contractors.

It’s also worked with standard setting organizations to ensure that the principles that private security companies are to follow align with and respect humanitarian law. However, we learned that despite these steps, the department does not fully monitor the roles and responsibilities by various oversight entities and also doesn’t ensure that those standards and principles to respect humanitarian law are being adhered to. This is important for the department in order to minimize the likelihood of such incidents from occurring again.

Part of the reason the Pentagon does not “fully monitor” its private contractors is that it doesn’t have anyone in charge. As GAO noted in its summary, “DoD lacks a single senior-level position assigned to fully monitor whether DoD and various entities are carrying out their respective PSC oversight roles and functions. Without assigning this position, DOD increases the risk of incidents that its framework aims to prevent.”

In short, nobody is minding the store. As the GAO report stated:

For example, the director of a certification body that has certified over 40 PSC companies said that in cases where there is an incident involving a DOD PSC company that could affect its certification status, they do not have a contact at the department to make DOD aware of the issue. This official noted that until recently there was an official at DOD that helped them resolve PSC-related issues, but that this official is no longer at the department and has not been replaced. Similarly, in June 2020 officials from the PSC industry association said that they have contacted DOD multiple times about their member companies’ questions and concerns related to complying with DOD’s PSC contracts but did not receive an adequate response from the department.

The Pentagon used to have an Armed Contingency Contractor Policy and Programs office, headed by retired Army officer Chris Mayer. But he left that post in September 2019 and was not replaced.

Currently, the Principal Director of the Defense Pricing and Contracting (DPC) office is the advisor to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment on all matters pertaining to contingency contracting policy.

The GAO is well known for being polite to those organizations it reports on. Nevertheless, its conclusion here is unmistakably blunt and dire.

While the department is due credit for its efforts at improving 
PSC management, it may have fallen short and may risk losing the gains it has made over the past decade without continued attention to its PSC program. DOD needs to better identify and track its PSC personnel if the risk it faces is to be adequately identified and dealt with before the next Nisour Square.

In short, after 20 years the Pentagon still hasn’t managed to even create an effective scorecard for its PSC players. The Defense Department has better procedures for tracking a missing rifle than it does for tracking contractors carrying guns. Given the history of private military contractors in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, this is simply unacceptable.

 

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https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/08/06/after-20-years-pentagon-still-lacks-control-over-hired-guns/

 

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russian PMC against terrorists...

Once again in an ecstatic anti-Russian frenzy, the collective West is waging an information war against Russian private military companies (PMCs). Europe has been particularly active in combatting Russian PMCs: on September 24, the defense ministers of the 13 countries involved with the European Intervention Initiative issued a relevant statement. An uptick in such jabs is apparently fueled by France amid the failure of its neocolonial policies in Africa and the Mali government’s decision to replace French soldiers by inviting the representatives of Russian PMCs in order to fight regional terrorism.

An irreconcilable European stance towards Russian PMC Wagner in Africa was hammered out by Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist when representatives of the member states of the European Intervention Initiative (EI2) met in Stockholm. It is noteworthy that the attack on the Russian PMCs was backed up also by Ukraine, which is not a part of EI2.

Russian presence in Mali resulted in a backlash from Côte d’Ivoire, a country closest to Mali and, as of yet, one of the few French strongholds in Francophone Africa. The President of Ivory Coast delivered an ultimatum: If Mali hires PMC Wagner it should not count on its neighbors’ support.

A separate statement to this effect was made by the British Foreign Office launching another anti-Russian fake information campaign against the Russian PMC.

Meanwhile those countries where PMC Wagner has shown its worth strongly disagree with the point made by the West. The Russian PMC, for instance, is fondly remembered in Syria: while the US military and US-based PMCs were stealing local oil under the pretext of another “peacekeeping mission”, it was taking part in liberating Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor and clearing residential areas of mines allowing thousands of refugees to return home. In addition to Syria, this point was proved in Libya, then the Central African Republic and finally Mali. In Libya and Syria, Russian PMCs were guarding various facilities and institutions, the perimeter and facilities entrusted to them by authorities were totally secure.

The Central African Republic, which had been “sponsored” by France for many years, struggled in vain to defeat local gangs until at CAR authorities’ initiative Russian instructors were invited. The latter trained government forces to effectively stamp out crime which resulted in a swift victory over almost all the militants. The same thing will happen in Mali where Russian specialists recently arrived.

The more positive examples of the Russian PMCs activities in Africa, the stronger Russia’s influence will be there. The West clearly takes a particularly dim view of such development. This is especially true for France which never managed to eliminate criminals and extremists in Mali. As for the Western accusations regarding Russian state involvement in expanding PMC presence in different countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made it clear that the agreement between Mali’s authorities and the Russian PMCs had been outside Moscow’s remit. In other words, this is a private deal. The PMC is doing its job without violating Russian interests. As for the West, it blatantly violates the right to self-determination and independent policy by interfering in the decision-making process of a particular state and dictating it with whom it should cooperate and develop ties.

Some sort of security vacuum in Africa has been a long-standing reality, with various foreign PMCs trying to fill it. Thus, Chinese PMCs have been guarding Chinese industrial facilities in Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Sudan. A few years ago, during the unrest in South Sudan that endangered the lives of Chinese working with an oil company, personnel of a Chinese private security company DeWe showed a high level of professionalism rescuing 330 Chinese citizens under insurgent fire. Moreover, it is interesting that Chinese contractors are mostly unarmed. At least, for now.

Chinese PMCs are also present in Afghanistan and Iraq, countries that are not just “hot spots”, but “incandescent spots” while about five million Chinese work in 16,000 companies around the globe, including in regions where military conflicts never cease. In South Sudan, for instance, the civil war has been raging for decades. The number of Chinese private security contractors abroad has exceeded 3,000 people, a figure destined to grow since their services are much cheaper than those of American or British organizations.

As for “security vacuum” in Africa, not only Russia and China are trying to fill it, but also Turkey, Israel, the UAE, the UK, Saudi Arabia (PMC Al-Khaleej in particular), and other actors who are competent in this field of expertise. However, when other countries are mentioned in this context, the “collective West” keeps a consensual silence. Due to geopolitical reasons it is Russian influence in Africa that causes the greatest pushback in the West.

Meanwhile, the “collective West” is fueling anti-Russian frenzy against the Russian PMC while sweeping under the rug numerous crimes committed by Western PMCs. This is true, for instance, for an American PMC called Academi that has been staging coups d’etat and eliminating national leaders deemed undesirable.

It is no secret that the US State Department supervises many terrorist groups both via its own channels and those of American PMCs. From the very beginning of the US presence in Afghanistan numerous American PMCs were given a free reign in the country. One of the largest is considered to be DynCorp, its strength with technical personnel included may reach 15,000 employees. DуnCorp mercenaries are infamous for their blatant criminal activities. In Bosnia, as it turned out, they were involved in the systematic executions (as the investigation showed, they did that just for fun) of local civilian population while in complicity with Albanians they organized trafficking of underage girls in view of selling them into sexual slavery in Europe. As early as in the late 90s, an aircraft mechanic Ben Johnson, who worked for this PMC in Bosnia, accused the corporation’s employees of pedophilia and child trafficking. In Afghanistan, this PMC patronized drug trafficking and “distinguished itself” by executing unarmed civilians. Subsequently a story broke about DynCorp employees who were training Afghan police forces: allegedly, they took drugs on regular basis and were engaged in child prostitution.

It is worth noting that such PMC practices are common all over the world. PMC services are in high demand in the US (Blackwater employees, for example, are notorious for killing civilians during some operations), France, Poland, the UK and a number of other countries.

However, the reports about the continued engagement of American private military companies in openly disruptive anti-government operations circulating in the American media do not seem to bother anyone. Thus, The Washington Post previously reported that the Venezuelan opposition attempted to hire a US-based PMC to set a stage for a coup in Caracas and overthrow the legitimate Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. Time magazine reported that notorious PMC Blackwater founder Eric Prince planned to recruit veterans of combat operations in the Donbass to create a new PMC. His purpose was obviously not to perform security functions, but to escalate hostilities in this area. It had been also reported that mercenaries from Academi PMC, formerly known as Blackwater, were taking part in the fighting in the Donbass on the side of Kyiv.

Meanwhile, unlike their foreign counterparts, Wagner fighters do not have a notorious record similar to the controversies plaguing both Blakwater and a number of other Western PMCs. Experts with a venerable Nigerian publication The Guardian highlighted the phenomenon of PMC Wagner pointing out that an increased traction it had gained in global media is explained by the fact that Russian personnel are considered as professionals who are capable to solve almost any tasks. They have proven themselves as an effective asset against terrorists and all kinds of armed radical groups, the article says.

For the Russian fighters on the battlefield such words as “honor”, “dignity” and “courage” are not meaningless: they are fighting international terrorism both to prevent it from spreading and to protect Russia at a distant frontier.

 

 

Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

Read more: https://journal-neo.org/2021/10/18/why-is-the-west-annoyed-only-by-russian-pmcs/

 

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