America's booming new export: Mercenaries
Who says we don't make anything in America anymore?
The U.S. has long been the leading merchant of death in the world, but we've evolved from just selling the guns and bombs to exporting the trigger-fingers as well. We've become a one-stop-shop for death.
For months in war-torn Yemen, some of America’s most highly trained soldiers worked on a mercenary mission of murky legality to kill prominent clerics and Islamist political figures... Many experts insist that Al-Islah, one of whose members won the Nobel Peace Prize, is no terror group. They say it's a legitimate political party that threatens the UAE not through violence but by speaking out against its ambitions in Yemen.
...The explosion, one of the leaders of the expedition explained, was supposed to “kill everybody in that office.”
What followed was the "unsolved assassinations" of two dozen of Al-Islah's leaders.
The assassins included a former Navy Seal who was still in the Navy Reserve, a special forces sergeant, and a former CIA agent. They were hired by Spear Operations Group, incorporated in Delaware and founded by Abraham Golan.
“There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen,” he told BuzzFeed News. “I was running it. We did it. It was sanctioned by the UAE within the coalition.”
While assassinating people as a hired killer violates all sorts of laws overseas, it surprisingly does not violate U.S. law.
Shooting and blowing up Islamic clerics not your thing. That's OK.
America also exports hackers.
She had joined Project Raven, a clandestine team that included more than a dozen former U.S. intelligence operatives recruited to help the United Arab Emirates engage in surveillance of other governments, militants and human rights activists critical of the monarchy.
Stroud and her team, working from a converted mansion in Abu Dhabi known internally as “the Villa,” would use methods learned from a decade in the U.S intelligence community to help the UAE hack into the phones and computers of its enemies.
Stroud had been recruited by a Maryland cyber security contractor to help the Emiratis launch hacking operations, and for three years, she thrived in the job. But in 2016, the Emiratis moved Project Raven to a UAE cyber security firm named DarkMatter. Before long, Stroud and other Americans involved in the effort say they saw the mission cross a red line: targeting fellow Americans for surveillance.
“I am working for a foreign intelligence agency who is targeting U.S. persons,” she told Reuters. “I am officially the bad kind of spy.”
...Stroud said she is cooperating with that investigation. No charges have been filed and it is possible none will emerge from the inquiry.
So you can actually be a hacker/spy for a foreign government who targets U.S. citizens, and get away without being charged. But Edward Snowden is looking at the espionage act.
What's wrong with this picture?
After she realized that American citizens were being targeted, Stroud was fired for asking too many questions and sent home.
While Stroud had an attack of conscience, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, has no such burdens.
Hong Kong-listed security firm Frontier Services Group (FSG), which is founded by Erik Prince, has signed a preliminary deal with the Chinese authorities.
...The deal between FSG and Beijing would see training camps being run in the north-western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where up to a million Uighurs are reportedly held in indoctrination camps that have drawn condemnation in Washington and abroad.
If you are seeing a pattern here, well, it's anything but new.
Mercenaries are the bad guys. That's why the word "mercenary" is usually an insult.
Today the U.N. Secretary-General took notice.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday that reports suggest there has been "a surge in the use of mercenaries," who are not only fighting in wars and illegally exploiting natural resources but are now "feeding off" transnational organized crime, terrorism and violent extremism.
The U.N. chief called for much broader support for regional and international conventions against the use of mercenaries and said those compacts need to be updated.
Looks like someone at the U.N. didn't get the memo. Mercenary work is capitalism.
The Secretary-General is trying to stomp on our export business (i.e. transnational organized crime, terrorism and violent extremism).
We might just have to "liberate" the U.N. if they don't learn their place.