A secretive unit of international veterans went on its first anti-ISIL mission last fall. Hours later, a Canadian was dead

A secretive unit of international veterans went on its first anti-ISIL mission last fall. Hours later, a Canadian was dead

 Stewart Bell | April 29, 2016 1:35 PM ET

More from Stewart Bell | @StewartBellNP

Peter "Servan" Theodorou's all-Western fighting group in Syria.

.

WHEATLEY, Ont. — On a recent Saturday, Steve Krsnik made his way to the old manse where Valerie Carder lives with her dog, beside a family cemetery on Lake Erie, in a part of southwestern Ontario where farms sprout giant wind turbines.

Krsnik was slimmed down after ten months in Syria, the last four as a sniper in a secretive international fighting unit called the 223.

Commanded by a former U.S. Marine from New York known as Servan Amriki, Kurdish for “American Warrior,” the unit’s official name was the Martyr Bagok unit, in honor of Ash “Bagok” Johnston, the first Western volunteer to die in the fight against ISIL. But informally they were just the 223, after February 23, 2015 — the day the Australian was killed. Continue reading

Posted in Canada, Casualties | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Psychologist Whose Lawyers Say He Didn’t Design CIA Torture Program Wrote A Book Bragging That He Did

Psychologist Whose Lawyers Say He Didn’t Design CIA Torture Program Wrote A Book Bragging That He Did

James Mitchell’s upcoming book promises “a dramatic firsthand account.”

04/29/2016 05:01 am ET

WASHINGTON — James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, two psychologists whose firm made at least $81 million designing torture techniques for the CIA, “did not create or establish the CIA enhanced interrogation program,” their lawyers have argued. It’s a strange claim — especially now that promotional material for Mitchell’s forthcoming book calls him the “creator of the CIA’s controversial Enhanced Interrogation Program” and brags that the book offers “a dramatic firsthand account of the design, implementation, flaws and aftermath of the program.” Continue reading

Posted in Fraud/Waste/Abuse, Intelligence | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Fox News National Security “Expert” Pleads Guilty to Being a Complete Fraud

Fox News National Security “Expert” Pleads Guilty to Being a Complete Fraud 

screen_shot_20160429_at_12.45.12_pm

The text should have read “Wayne Simmons: NOT a former CIA operative.” Fox News regrets the error.

Screenshot/Fox News

In October 2015, a frequent Fox News guest named Wayne Simmons was charged with fraud for misrepresenting himself as a former CIA operative and using this fake biography to try to obtain work as a defense contractor. (Simmons, who appeared on Fox at least 76 times, also identified himself as a national-security veteran on TV, as you can see above.) Simmons subsequently argued in a highly entertaining New York Times Magazine article that the reason there’s no record of his work for the CIA is that it had simply been too top-secret to document. The Times mag article presented a number of reasons to be skeptical of this claim, and it now appears that Simmons has given up the fight, at least legally, and pleaded guilty to a number of crimes. From a Department of Justice press release:

“Wayne Simmons is a convicted felon with no military or intelligence experience,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone.”

Posted in Fraud/Waste/Abuse | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tracking rendition aircraft as a way to understand CIA secret detention and torture in Europe

The International Journal of Human Rights

Volume 20, Issue 1, 2016

Tracking rendition aircraft as a way to understand CIA secret detention and torture in Europe

 Sam Raphaela*, Crofton Blackb, Ruth Blakeleyc & Steve Kostasd

pages 78-103

© 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.

Abstract

We examine how the tracking of rendition aircraft has provided a much fuller understanding of the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation programme. In particular, we show how this illuminated the role played by European states. Through various investigative methods, new rendition aircraft were identified, significant amounts of flight data were gathered, and data on all known and suspected rendition flights were collated into one public, searchable database. We show that examining logistical elements of covert programmes can prove fruitful for security and human rights research. Furthermore, we demonstrate the benefits of close academic–practitioner collaboration in the field of human rights.

Continue reading

Posted in Academic, Fraud/Waste/Abuse, Intelligence | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Towards the use of the private military companies in the United Nations Peacekeeping operations

Posted in Academic, United Nations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Neo-liberalism, privatization and the outsourcing of migration management: a five-country comparison

Posted in Academic, Outsourcing/Privatization | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Private Military Companies (PMCs) and International Criminal Law: Are PMCs the New Perpetrators of International Crimes?

Posted in Academic | Tagged | Leave a comment

Accountability for Armed Contractors

FLETCHER SECURITY REVIEW

The Security Studies Journal of the Fletcher School, Tufts University

Article from Vol.2 No.1: Money & War

Accountability for Armed Contractors

Dr. Ian Ralby  12 January 2015

On 16 September 2007, the accountability of private armed contractors became a global concern.  A team of armed guards from the US company Blackwater Worldwide, operating on a US State Department contract, opened fire that day in Baghdad’s Nisor Square, killing seventeen Iraqi civilians and injuring an additional twenty.  It took more than seven years before four of the individuals responsible were ultimately convicted of either first degree murder or voluntary manslaughter by a jury in a U.S. Federal District Court.  A fifth member of the Blackwater team had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.[1]  The initial lack of consequences and the slow speed of justice provided the watchful world with strong evidence that armed contractors operate in a zone of legal twilight, devoid of accountability. Continue reading

Posted in Academic, Control | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Imperatives of quick anti – piracy response in Nigerian waters

Imperatives of quick anti – piracy response in Nigerian waters

By Anthony Nwachukwu On 14/04/2016 06:45:27 AM

Imperatives of quick anti - piracy response in Nigerian waters

Of recent, the spate of piracy on and off the Nigerian coastal waters has been on the increase and should worry the Nigerian Navy, which is saddled with protecting the nation’s territorial waters, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), which has responsibility for safety of life at sea, among others.
Coming at a time the nation’s maritime economy is taking a huge hit following the deliberate government policies at growing local production by stemming importation of items said to have close substitutes while also saving foreign exchange for other needs, the Federal Government must be mindful of the consequences of foot-dragging in tackling this menace.

Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Maritime, Piracy | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Security for Sale! On Selling What Cannot be Bought

Security for Sale! On Selling What Cannot be Bought

Erik Thumbnail

by

Erik de Lange

Essentially, all things security are nowadays up for sale. From spy gadgets to state-of-the-art optometric surveillance systems, a large and booming market facilitates trade in trinkets and innovative machines. Services of security are readily available too, especially for consumers with somewhat deeper pockets. Armed guards, operators of body scans, and bag searchers are all hired out by competing companies. As fans of the Danish hijacking drama Kapringen know, even negotiations with perpetrators of security threats can be outsourced to specialized entrepreneurs. If we flip the page on security as a ‘social contract’ between citizen and state, we thus find that security can also be a commercial contract between partners in business. These commercial contracts can be held to light, we should study their ‘genre’ as a historic marker and wonder what security provision by private companies says about our twenty-first century – but we would have to do so in a manner that is historically specific. Continue reading

Posted in Academic, Europe, Maritime | Tagged , , | Leave a comment