Posts Tagged feral jundi

Industry Talk: Janus Global Operations Tasked To Clear Parts Of Mosul

Man, this is a story that is not getting the attention it needs, but is very much significant to the war effort. Janus Global is being tasked with clearing the thousands of IEDs and explosive remnants of the battle in Mosul. In the words of a US government official in reference to Mosul, it is ‘like nothing we’ve encountered’. Clearing Mosul will take in some estimates, up to ten years! Not only that, but think about the other areas that ISIS had control over in Iraq or even Syria. Weapons removal and abatement will keep this company and others like it, busy for a long time….

As to the particulars of these contracts, I have no idea if the contractors doing the clearing are using an organic security force or partnering with the host nation forces or subcontracting security. For the CMC projects during the Iraq war, security was a huge deal and it was done internally and contracted out, along with partnering with local security companies. Quite a few security contractors cycled through those projects back then and it was extremely successful in cleaning up old Ammunition Supply Points that were destroyed in the war.

I should note that this has been an incredibly dangerous assignment for this company.  Last year, a Janus Global contractor was killed clearing munitions in Ramadi and I don’t think this will be the last. Good job to the company and I wish everyone good luck as they clear these battlefields. –Matt

 

 

Janus Global Operations assists clearance of ISIS-placed booby traps and other explosive devices from Mosul, Iraq, the country’s second-largest city
By Kara Kagarise
Aug 2, 2017
Janus Global Operations (JGO) has been tasked to clear areas of Mosul, Iraq of ISIS- placed booby traps, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war in a situation a U.S. government official says is “like nothing we’ve encountered.”
JGO has been working in Iraq since April 2016 on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.  Initially, JGO helped clear Ramadi, Iraq of tens of thousands of explosive remnants of war left by ISIS as it was expelled by U.S.-supported Iraqi forces.  Earlier in 2017, having worked in Ramadi and other areas of Anbar province, JGO expanded its work for the State Department by establishing a training facility outside Erbil, in Iraq’s Kurdish region, to support operations in other areas liberated from ISIS.
The coalition against ISIS announced on July 10 that Iraqi forces regained control of Mosul, concluding a months-long effort that was supported by U.S. training and air support. The violent extremist group left behind innumerable explosive devices, as reported by the Washington Post on July 13 in an article headlined: “It could take more than a decade to clear Mosul of explosives, U.S. officials say.”
JGO’s chief executive officer said ISIS’ use of IEDs as a ‘weapons system’ broke new ground, making it much more challenging for Iraq’s displaced citizens to return home and resume their lives.  The State Department-sponsored efforts of JGO therefore utilized systematic ‘strategic clearance’ that focused on clearing critical infrastructure to rapidly enable the resumption of Mosul’s economic and civic life.
“Age, gender, religion – it makes no difference to ISIS.  Its goal is to destroy and kill. Ours is to help make the city safe for people, business, and government services to return to normal. The State Department’s office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is saving lives and restoring hope through its work, and we’re proud to be part of this effort,” said Matt Kaye, JGO’s chief executive officer.
JGO saw in Ramadi how ISIS leaves lethal devices in disguised places and in innocent-looking everyday items, and Kaye said JGO was seeing a similar tactic in Mosul, where such devices numbered into the tens of thousands. Mosul is larger than Ramadi, and ISIS had over two years to construct and hide its explosive devices.
Adding ISIS’ death traps to otherwise expected unexploded ordnance shows the scale of the task ahead.
As Stanley Brown, director of the State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, told the Washington Post: “When I look around the world, in some ways there’s nothing like Mosul that we’ve encountered. The level of contamination is not one where we’re talking weeks and months, we’re talking years and maybe decades.”
Janus Global Operations is an integrated stability operations company that focuses on ‘day after’ support for its clients, allowing them to take strategic steps almost as soon as hostilities cease, allowing citizens more rapidly to resume their lives and broader reconstruction to get underway.  Janus has thousands of employees serving clients in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.  Its services include munitions response; demining; intelligence support; logistics; life support; risk management; communications; and other services in some of the world’s most challenging and hostile environments.
Story here.

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Industry Talk: The Historic Implications Of Erik Prince’s Plan For Afghanistan

So folks, I have been waiting a bit to post on this because so much has been written about it and I wanted to see where it goes. Basically Erik Prince came up with a plan for Afghanistan that would have historic implications for this industry and country if implemented. Already, contractors are a part of the history of this war, with great sacrifice and from many partner nations over the last 16 years. But this….this is an entirely different level.

At this point in time, we have a standing US President that is actually considering a plan conceived by a contractor. Actually two, because Stephen A. Feinberg of Cerberus Group and owner of Dyncorp came up with a plan as well. But I will focus on the Prince plan because of how much traction it is getting. I say traction, because the media and the naysayers of this industry have been writing this off as insignificant or risible. But I say not so fast….because from what I have heard on the grapevine, this is getting much more serious consideration than what is reported.

About the plan. It is basically modeled after what the US did in post war Japan, using a viceroy to command over the effort and an army of contractors. US Special Operations would still have a presence in the country to counter the Taliban and the various jihadists. It is a long term, cost saving answer to providing presence in that country. A solution that would dramatically lessen the contractor footprint in Afghanistan according to Prince, and send most of the troops home (minus the special operations folks). Please read the plan below.

I would also suggest listening to Erik Prince talk about the plan in his media blitz, ever since November of last year. This too is historically significant. Since Prince donated to the Trump campaign, as did his sister Betsy DeVos (who is now Secretary of Education), Erik has had the ear of the President of the United States. He also speaks the language of business, which is familiar to Trump. This interaction between an Administration and a private contractor reminds me of Claire Lee Chennault and his dealings with the Roosevelt administration for the formation of the Flying Tigers in China. The Flying Tigers were the only game in town after Pearl Harbor, and they were the rock star private air force that was sticking it to the Japanese in China. Claire made Time magazine’s man of the year back then, and several movies were made about what he did with his motley crew.

Another point as to the historical significance. The war in Afghanistan has become the longest war in US history. The Erik Prince plan would effectively end US troop involvement there, and switch that involvement to a private model focused on supporting and working with Afghan troops and police to wage war and provide security. It is a plan aimed towards providing a long term presence, yet with a much smaller, less expensive and efficient footprint. It would also entail consolidated, longterm leadership in that country. Prince compared the position to more of a bankruptcy trustee. That leader would also work with Afghanistan to get them on a better financial footing. Meaning mining laws and a means to invigorate investment there. If Prince is not able to implement this plan in Afghanistan, he will definitely be able to play around with the pieces of similar process in Somalia for the FZIA contract. That will be very interesting to see how it works. Afghanistan is in a similar boat, and they need to get their finances and industry in order so they can actually pay for their wars and security.

Further more, what is really interesting here is that President Trump is questioning what we are doing in Afghanistan. We have been there for 16 years, our Secretary of Defense clearly stated that we are not winning there, and the Taliban have taken over 40 percent of the territory by force. This war has been expensive, and will continue to be expensive on the current track and also with legacy costs. It will also cost lives, and the President is right to question what are we doing there? Currently the President is seeking plans from both his military, and now significantly, private contractors. The message to his generals is pretty clear to me. Give me a good plan and right the ship, or I will go with the EP plan. To be in this position where a private contractor plan is actually competing with a military based plan, is historically significant in modern times. Even if they go with the military plan, this is quite the moment for this industry.

Having listened to most of Prince’s interviews, the best guess as to what he wants to set up is similar to what Blackwater did with the Afghan Border Patrol contract. Basically train and mentor forces. As to a Close Air Support model, that too has been done. Dyncorp had their version of air support or armed Huey gunships to cover down on the Poppy Eradication Force contract in Afghanistan. Blackwater also did paracargo resupply missions in Afghanistan using CASA 212’s back in the day. Blackwater also used Little Birds as air support for their WPS contract, and their efforts were hugely successful there.

Other models outside of Afghanistan, is what STTEP did in Nigeria. That was a training and mentorship type contract that did very well for the Nigerians against Boko Haram.  I mention all of these examples, because contractors have already performed similar functions as to what Prince is talking about both in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the modern era. A contractor mentor or trainer would not be a shock to the ANA or ANP and would actually be quite familiar to them. Hell, there are thousands of contractors in Afghanistan as I write this and they have been working hand in hand with Afghans for the entirety of the war.

I should also note that Prince’s FSG company just won a contract in Somalia to basically set up a mini-Dubai there! The Free Zone Investment Authority of the South West State of Somalia to be specific. Talk about a busy guy! Between OBOR, Somalia, and meetings with the US administration for an Afghanistan plan, I would say that he is keeping busy.

Finally, I want to recommend some good podcasts and video of the EP plan. He has been busy presenting the plan in the news, at universities, and in social media/podcasts.  We will see how this develops, but no matter how it turns out, this has been historic and fascinating to watch and write about. Here are a couple of good sources below to check out to further get educated on the plan. –Matt

Erik Prince at Oxford University.  (significant, because this kind of kicked off the campaign for the EP plan)

Tucker Carlson interview.  (large conservative audience)

Podcast where Prince debates with Sean McFate. (I liked this, because Prince really dug into the history of contracting and won the debate -in my opinion)

David Isenberg’s take on the concept.

Deborah Avant article.

Sean McFate article.

Tim Lynch’s post at Free Range International here and here. (Tim wrote an excellent deal on this and is a very experienced contractor in Afghanistan)

Fox and Friends interview. (the President is said to be a big fan of this show, and this is the most recent interview Prince did)

* I will add more to this group as more good ones pop up.

The MacArthur Model for Afghanistan

Consolidate authority into one person: an American viceroy who’d lead all coalition efforts.

By Erik D. Prince
May 31, 2017
Afghanistan is an expensive disaster for America. The Pentagon has already consumed $828 billion on the war, and taxpayers will be liable for trillions more in veterans’ health-care costs for decades to come. More than 2,000 American soldiers have died there, with more than 20,000 wounded in action. For all that effort, Afghanistan is failing. The terrorist cohort consistently gains control of more territory, including key economic arteries. It’s time for President Trump to fix our approach to Afghanistan in five ways.

First, he should consolidate authority in Afghanistan with one person: an American viceroy who would lead all U.S. government and coalition efforts—including command, budget, policy, promotion and contracting—and report directly to the president. As it is, there are too many cooks in the kitchen—and the cooks change shift annually. The coalition has had 17 different military commanders in the past 15 years, which means none of them had time to develop or be held responsible for a coherent strategy.

A better approach would resemble Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s leadership of postwar Japan. Given clear multiyear authority, MacArthur made bold moves like repealing restrictive speech laws and granting property rights. Those directives moved Japan ahead by centuries. In Afghanistan, the viceroy approach would reduce rampant fraud by focusing spending on initiatives that further the central strategy, rather than handing cash to every outstretched hand from a U.S. system bereft of institutional memory.

Second, Mr. Trump should authorize his viceroy to set rules of engagement in collaboration with the elected Afghan government to make better decisions, faster. Troops fighting for their lives should not have to ask a lawyer sitting in air conditioning 500 miles away for permission to drop a bomb. Our plodding, hand wringing and overcaution have prolonged the war—and the suffering it bears upon the Afghan population. Give the leadership on the ground the authority and responsibility to finish the job.

Third, we must build the capacity of Afghanistan’s security forces the effective and proven way, instead of spending billions more pursuing the “ideal” way. The 330,000-strong Afghan army and police were set up under the guidance of U.S. military “advisers” in the mirror image of the U.S. Army. That was the wrong approach.

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Industry Talk: Simon Mann At Oxford Union

Thanks to James over at Facebook for finding this one. Oxford did a similar question and answer session with Erik Prince awhile back, and these talks are quite good. Great questions and a receptive audience.

Now onto some of the things that Simon Mann brought up that were of interest to me. For company news, he talked a little about New Century and their work in Mexico. That is something to look into. He also mentioned his new book called Kass, which is written from a woman’s point of view. Interesting…

He also talked about working with Vice in North Sudan, so I am sure we will see that video coming out soon. The really interesting bit was him and Erik Prince paling around, for Vice! Like a PMSC hang out session or something. So we will see how that goes. Another cool deal is that he is involved with a virtual reality training company.

At about 18:30 in the video below, he gets a really interesting question from the audience about leadership and discipline in the PMSC world. It was very cool to hear him talk about that element of Executive Outcomes, and what the problems were, and what worked. Unit cohesion is gold for a PMSC, and especially for the kinds of operations EO was involved with. Definitely check that out.

For some lessons learned about his coup attempt and imprisonment in Equatorial Guinea, he really emphasized timing. Meaning the operation was in limbo and open for an entire year before implemented. That is a lot of time for leaks to get out. He said he was pressing to do the operation quickly to minimize leaks, and his higher ups just didn’t get that. He also mentioned regret for not calling a halt to the whole thing in time. They certainly paid the price in prison…

Finally, he mentioned China, which is something I have been writing about here. That eventually, China would probably want to use their own PMSC’s and not western PMSC’s. At this time, they are dependent on western PMSC’s to accomplish OBOR projects, because these companies have so much experience with operations. China does have security companies, and eventually they will get to the same level as western companies. It is a matter of time, and especially with so much money on the line with development.

Great talk and we will see whom else Oxford Union can grab for a good chat. –Matt

 

 

 

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China: OBOR, Africa And China’s Growing PMSC Industry

Members of the Ever Victorious Army, a mercenary army in China, during China’s Taiping Revolution. Led by American Frederick Townsend Ward and later Charles Gordon.

Every once in awhile, someone writes a good article on the state of some of these foreign markets that I really don’t have a good grasp of. For example, I do not speak Chinese, I do not work in the PMSC market in China, and I have had no interaction with Chinese contractors here at the blog or on Facebook. That’s not to say that they are not reading the blog or my FB stuff, but still, it is extremely difficult to get a good read on what is going on with that industry.

So I have to depend upon open source stuff that comes out, and try to put the pieces together. I also use my background as an armed security contractor to sift through what is interesting and what is not. With that said, I found these two articles below, to be very interesting.

The first talks about some key incidents that have fueled some movement in the Chinese PMSC market. In South Sudan last summer, there was a typical African ‘wild fire’ that broke out between the warring political factions there, and Chinese companies and their personnel were trapped. A PMSC named DeWe was called upon to rescue these folks, and their operation lasted over 50 hours. Here is a quote.

On the evening of July 8, the streets of the South Sudanese capital of Juba were raked with gunfire as an uneasy truce between warring political factions broke down. Inside the offices of DeWe Security, a Chinese private security firm, phones started ringing. Panicked Chinese oil workers employed by the China National Petroleum Corp, the main client of DeWe (pronounced DeWei) in South Sudan, were calling an emergency number to say they were in harm’s way and awaiting instructions. For Kong Wei, head of DeWe’s Juba office and a veteran of the People’s Liberation Army who retired five years ago, it was the start of a 50 hour-marathon without sleep as he and his colleagues executed an evacuation plan. “Bullets and shells flew over our compound all day and night”, says Mr Kong. The contractors soon realized that their tin-roofed cinder-block building couldn’t stop bullets ” just one of the many lessons they would learn.
In all, 330 Chinese civilians, stranded at 10 locations across the city, were instructed to hunker down until the airport could reopen. Some moved into shrapnel-proof metal containers. It was only on the fourth day of the fighting, once the government had blasted the rebels out of Juba, that the trapped workers were evacuated to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

I have no idea how many CNPC personnel were killed or if they all made it out alive, but the point being is that this was a major security nightmare, and it sounds like they were not that prepared for such an event. Chinese companies are not that responsible in that regard, and they are also going about it security in a very naive kind of way. For example, you should not be doing security in places like Iraq without a gun. Nor should you be providing security on boats without weapons. It’s just stupid and I continue to see this learning curve–they fear an liability of arming folks, then a bloody incident occurs where folks are killed and the security failed in protecting everyone, and then you get the backlash from the families of the deceased and from your citizens back home. Then eventually, they come to the logical point of arming their security. Remember, your threats out there could care less about your views on weapons and they will exploit your weaknesses if unarmed.

It kills me when this lesson had to be learned in the beginning stages of the Marsec industry when piracy was peaking, and unarmed guards were actually jumping ship as ‘armed’ pirates had their way with the client and their vessel. Well, the Chinese are learning this as well.

The other thing that needs to be brought up when talking about China, is their economic policy. OBOR or One Belt One Road is a Silk Road 2.0 type economic policy that China is currently trying to implement. It is said to be worth well over a trillion dollars. What is also driving OBOR is China has a manufacturing surplus, and it needs more trading partners and routes bad. Especially when they are now dealing with a Trump administration that has not been that favorable towards China.

As for the PMSC element of OBOR, Erik Prince and FSG just recently announced strategic alignment with OBOR. In one of the press releases, FSG mentioned that they were setting up two FOBs in Yunnan and Xinjiang province. China has some issues in these regions, and they have been clamping down on muslim extremists big time in places like Xinjiang or Yunnan. (on a side note, Xinjiang is Frontier in english…which makes you think that FSG was formed all along to deal with Xinjiang. It explains why they would bring on Prince, who is well known to jihadists)

Another point to bring up with OBOR is that the land component of this strategy has muslim extremists to contend with. TIP is one group of concern, and their members are getting more operational experience in places like Syria. They will be coming home, and that knowledge will be coming with them. Also, as China’s dealings with their muslim populations has been known to be extreme. But because journalists are really not able to cover that very well, I have no idea how bad the relationship really is. My guess is that it is bad, and the fear of a population being sympathetic to extremists is legitimate. So if OBOR is directed at building roads, pipelines and power lines in these areas, they will probably have issues. Here is a quote I found from one article that talked about actual numbers.

For China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative, Islamic risk is also a prominent political danger. According to the broadest definition, OBOR involves 64 countries, 33 of which are Muslim countries, accounting for more than half the total. Among the remaining 31 non-Muslim countries, 10 countries have obvious existing Muslim unrest and are at risk of terror attacks. In total, 44 countries have Islamic risk, making up 69 percent of the total number of countries along OBOR.For example, Pakistan, China’s iron-core brother, is a country with serious Islamic extremism. From 2012 to 2013, violent terrorist incidents in Pakistan caused 11,590 deaths, which included 6,008 civilians, 1,408 policemen and 4,174 militants.

So there is OBOR and then there is also their expansion in Africa and their dealings in the middle east. I have written about that stuff in the past, and that is not new. But OBOR is something else, as far as scope and cost, and we will see how that works out.
Another deal that was mentioned in the articles below, from an industry news angle, is the growth of Chinese PMSC’s and the fact that they are unionizing. The first quote is about growth and it sounds like DeWe is making it’s moves. Also, it is interesting to know that HXZA has the monopoly on Chinese MarSec.

DeWe’s profile rose dramatically last summer when Chinese Poly-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings hired it to manage security at a $4bn LNG project in Ethiopia” the largest project that the Chinese private security industry has been asked to protect. Some other companies appear to have friends in high places. HXZA, for example, has a near-monopoly on security for Cosco Holding and China Shipping Container Lines, China’s two largest state-owned shipping groups. “They clearly have very solid relations to the state, considering how loyal their customer base is. And they are not that cheap,” says one foreign private contractor.

That LNG project in Ethiopia is huge! Here is a quick snippet of what that involves.

Development of the Hilala and Calub gas fields in southeastern Ethiopia may finally be getting underway, more than 40 years after their discovery.Project developers laid the foundation stone in early March for a $4 billion project to export gas from the fields to China. The project, which is being funded and developed by Chinese joint venture Poly-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings, involves the construction of a 700 km gas pipeline to transport up to 12 billion cubic metres of gas per year from the Ogaden Basin to the port of Damerjog in Djibouti, where the Hong Kong-based independent will build a 3 mtpa LNG export plant. The plan is to eventually expand the plant’s capacity to 10 mtpa.Construction should start in August and is expected to take three years to complete, a PR representative for the Djibouti government told Natural Gas Daily.

The reason why they need robust security for this operation is because of groups like Ogaden National Liberation Front. These folks attacked a Chinese assets in Ethiopia before, and no doubt, they will make things difficult for them again.
The final quote that was interesting as well, was this deal on numbers of PMSC’s and the fact that most are not armed. That is a bad combination, and I they are going to have quite a few incidents in the future if this is the attitude.

“About 3,200 Chinese employees of private security groups were based abroad last year”, says Liu Xinping, deputy director of the China Overseas Security and Defense Research Centre. “That compares with 2,600 Chinese troops deployed under UN mandates” China’s only foreign military deployments in conflict zones. Yet with a few exceptions the security contractors are usually unarmed. DeWe’s Chinese staff did not carry weapons during the fighting in Juba but led teams of armed locals. 7m Tonnes of oil destined for China said to be shut in by violence overseas each year Beijing is extremely cautious about the industry, partly due to the abuses of the type that have periodically plunged US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq into crisis. In 2010, supervisors at a Chinese-owned coal mine in Zambia fired into a crowd of workers demanding higher pay, injuring 11 and triggering an anti-China backlash.
Two years later, a supervisor was killed at the site during a dispute over wages. One security company manager, who asked to remain anonymous, says all contracts they sign with Chinese state companies prohibit employees from carrying weapons.
“The government doesn’t want Blackwater,” he says.

They may not want the liability attached to arming their PMSC’s, but the threats out there could care less. They are armed, and to think anything other than an armed security professional will be able to stop these folks, is wishful thinking. It also does not match up with reality. China needs to take a hard look at what is happening worldwide, and know that it is a very dangerous world. If they care about their workers and countrymen, they should do the responsible thing and arm their security. Lives depend upon it.

This brings up another interesting point. Western PMSC’s have a distinct advantage when it comes to the armed security contractor game. Firearms are very much a part of the US culture. To not be armed is odd, if performing security functions. Plus, the US has a constitution that protects the rights of gun owners and our freedom of speech. In China, not so much. lol Matter of fact, these so-called Chinese PMSC’s, are really not private per se. They are state sponsored companies, and tightly controlled. They do not want these folks armed, because honestly, China has had a horrible time of uprisings in it’s history. Some of the most bloodiest rebellions and uprisings in the history of mankind, have happened in China. So they are very wary of losing any control or monopoly on the use of force. But their PMSC industry is going forward, and they are getting lethal because that is reality if they want to operate in places like Africa or the Middle East.

The question I always like to ask with this stuff, is where is the industry at, and where is it going in places like China? Hopefully this information helps the readership a little, and I will keep my eye out for any new movement with this stuff. –Matt

Chinese private security goes global

February 26, 2017

By Charles Clover

On the evening of July 8, the streets of the South Sudanese capital of Juba were raked with gunfire as an uneasy truce between warring political factions broke down. Inside the offices of DeWe Security, a Chinese private security firm, phones started ringing. Panicked Chinese oil workers employed by the China National Petroleum Corp, the main client of DeWe (pronounced DeWei) in South Sudan, were calling an emergency number to say they were in harm’s way and awaiting instructions.  For Kong Wei, head of DeWe’s Juba office and a veteran of the People’s Liberation Army who retired five years ago, it was the start of a 50 hour-marathon without sleep as he and his colleagues executed an evacuation plan. “Bullets and shells flew over our compound all day and night”, says Mr Kong. The contractors soon realized that their tin-roofed cinder-block building couldn’t stop bullets ” just one of the many lessons they would learn.
In all, 330 Chinese civilians, stranded at 10 locations across the city, were instructed to hunker down until the airport could reopen. Some moved into shrapnel-proof metal containers. It was only on the fourth day of the fighting, once the government had blasted the rebels out of Juba, that the trapped workers were evacuated to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

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Film: My Review Of The Somali Project

 

I finally got a chance to watch The Somali Project, which was originally called The Project. This documentary was purchased by The Vladar Company and the film is now available to buy or rent. With that said, I was able to rent the film through youtube, and it is fantastic! When you rent it, you get the film for 48 hours. You also have the choice to rent a High Definition version, and that is what I went with.

Now I had read about the film and how it did at the Tribeca Film festival, I blogged about it, and I watched the trailer. But I never got a chance to watch the whole thing. Here on the blog, I have also written about the Puntland Maritime Protection Force and about piracy off the coast of Somalia during the peak years of that problem. It was a horrible deal, with hundreds of folks taken hostage and just rotting away off the coast of Somalia in captured ships. My interest in the matter was getting armed guards on boats, so that these pirates would have friction at sea. On land, the PMPF was the answer to attacking the source of piracy.

The film starts off with the families of hostages who were from places like India. Heart wrenching to say the least. Basically these hostages were tortured, and treated horribly and their captors were negotiating with the companies that owned these captured vessels. Some companies paid the ransom, and others did not. Some companies just gave up on the whole deal and just left their employees/contractors to rot. Either way, there were multiple ships parked off the coast of Somalia that were captured and being held by pirates and no one was doing any rescues.

Next in the film, we see an individual named Roger Carstens who paid a visit to the PMPF camp in Somalia and accompanied the PMPF on their first mission. He was an observer that worked for The New America Foundation at the time. He was also prior special forces according to his LinkedIn profile and he provided a lot of the commentary in this film.

Now for the main stars of this film–Erik Prince was the idea guy, and EO veteran Roelf Van Heerden was the commanding officer of this operation. Erik had several cameos in this film and discussed some of the ideas behind ‘The Project” as it was called. Roelf was the CO of the entire operation, and his fellow South African mentors/trainers were heavily involved in training these Somalis. And what a process that was. It was also interesting to see a Somali American that was a member of the PMPF.

They did a great job in the film showing exactly how difficult it was to train these guys. We are talking about folks who don’t even know how to put shoe laces in boots, or what basic hygiene was or any of that stuff. The trainers mentioned how much of a challenge this really was. They were taking a very rough product and trying to make soldiers out of them. It was a challenge that any contractor or military guy that has been in this position, can appreciate.

We also get to see how well the PMPF camp was constructed. Within that camp, you get to see all the equipment they had, to include air assets. Here is what they had according to wikipedia and Defence Web.

The Puntland Maritime Police Force possesses both maritime and land security capacities. The force has three Ayres Thrush low-wing aircraft fitted with armored cockpits and engines to protect the crew and aircraft from hostile ground fire. It also operates an Antonov An-26 transport aircraft and a Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopter.

For naval capabilities, it operates three rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), which are armed with 12.7 mm DShK heavy machine guns.

I really like the use of the An-26 for paracargo operations. For long range operations on the ground, they were using this aircraft to drop fuel and supplies.

When they finished training their first batch of PMPF forces, they then went on to conduct their first operation, complete with air support. And this is where the film gets interesting… They go into detail about what exactly happened during the incident where one of the SA mentors was killed. His name was Lodewyk Pietersen and I do remember writing about this when it happened. This film shows exactly what went down, and how something like that could happen. Basically a nephew of a pirate, whom infiltrated the PMPF, instigated a mutiny of sorts, and executed this SA mentor as a means of putting a halt to the mission. The pirates knew that if they could kill a mentor, that the operation would stop and the Puntland government would want everyone to stop and get back. Which is what happened and I wrote about that as well. Roger Carstens mentioned that the pirates identified the ‘center of gravity’ of the PMPF, which were the mentors, and effectively attacked it.

What happens next though, is what I was impressed with. The contract at that point was buried and folks went home–except for a few volunteers that stayed behind. Roelf was one of them, and he continued to lead the PMPF in further operations. He and his team were definitely involved in combat, and definitely used their air assets. The film goes on to talk about all the rescue missions and raids that this team went on, and thanks to the leadership of Roelf, they were able to successfully free hostages! I talked about one of those operations awhile back (MV Iceberg) and it was impressive. Roelf was instrumental in keeping that unit operational and effective, and Roger Carstens was impressed with Roelf’s performance out there. Especially against such great adversity. ‘This is Africa’, the saying goes, and these men were definitely dealing with some African friction. lol

Other characters in the film included interviews with UN folks, and South Africans like Lafras Luitingh, another Executive Outcomes veteran.

Overall, this film is excellent and it is worth your time to watch. It puts into perspective what these men were up against for this contract and I have a lot of respect for what they did. This film brings attention to the complexities of modern warfare and what private industry can accomplish. It also brings attention to the sacrifice and hard work of those whom are on the ground, doing the job that no one else was willing to do or wanted to do. These men were absolutely responsible for the rescue of multiple hostages taken by pirates, and they definitely had an impact on the overall piracy problem of the time.

The results speak for themselves–piracy is at an all time low thanks to what has been done on land and at sea by private companies. It is a success story, and one that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. –Matt

 

Rent or Buy at Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo, Google, or Youtube, take your pick.

 

 

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Year In Review: 2016 Google Analytics Report For Feral Jundi

It is that time again where I like to go back over the prior year and highlight where the blog is at, and talk about some of the interesting data that came out of Google Analytics.

Overall my traffic on the blog was less than it was for 2015. This is understandable because I have taken most of my interaction with the readership over to Facebook. That, and I am doing a lot of contracting overseas still.

The way I have been using the blog now is to write about stuff that is unique that is not being talked about out there. Typically I find myself seeking stories and sharing them on all of my social media spots, and not really creating any new content. I get fast feedback at my Facebook profile and can quickly comment and interact with the readership. This is important to me if I want good intuition/Fingerspitzejngefühl/coup d’oeil on this industry. It is how I stay ‘oriented‘.

On a technical note, I have a Facebook profile and a Facebook page. The page actually has analytics for it, but I am not active on it at all. I do most of my activity on the Feral Jundi profile page. Hopefully Facebook will create a profile analytics tool that is built in so I don’t have to hunt around for a tool. There is stuff out there, but nothing I am interested in yet. So most of my analytics will come from Google Analytics. So lets begin.

My overall stats for the blog for 2016 is 83,436 visits and 109,102 page views. That brings my total life time visits to 1,733,575 and page view total at 2,610,379 (January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2016). My first post for the blog was on January 22, 2008! It seems like yesterday that I was just firing this thing up and digging into all of the particulars of the industry.

The health of the website is alright. This is the second theme that I have used, and I continue to use Bluehost as my host and WordPress as my blogging platform. Over the years, quite a few links of websites have expired and I have had to remove them. Or images have expired, so I had to remove traces of that in order for the posts to work well and look appealing. But all in all, the site is doing pretty well considering it’s age. I would like to find a new theme, but nothing has really jumped out at me. If folks have any suggestions, let me know.

Now for some data. Here are the top countries that have visited the blog last year. One change is that more Russians are visiting. I have been writing about Russian contractors here and at FB, so that is a factor.

The next graphic is devices. No surprises there, but it does emphasize how information is consumed. Mobile devices do matter. Guys and gals read this stuff while sitting at a doctor’s office or at the bus station or wherever. So it pays to have a website that is friendly for those devices.

As for how folks find Feral Jundi, here are the top channels or paths. Organic search means they found me through a search engine like Google.

Under that Social portion, I wanted to highlight where folks are coming from in that world. No surprises there, and this is why I use Facebook. I do attempt to create some activity on Twitter and Linkedin, but really, the action is at FB. I also fired up an Instagram account last year, but I really wasn’t that active. I might try to post more photos there, but that kind of thing really doesn’t interest me.

Now into the content world. What were the top posts of the website? I did not do a lot of posting last year and it seems like my older posts have dominated. The Job Tips article has been very popular over the years. The only post this last year that registered in the top ten was the War Dogs movie post. People probably wanted to look up the company called AEY Inc to see what I had to say about the company after watching the movie.

As for Social Media referrals, as you can see Facebook is the winner. Google Images is another good one because I will make a poster or set up a graphic for a post, and it will pop up in Google Images. Folks will click on that and find the blog that way.

One interesting side note is that Feral Jundi is actually getting referenced in Wikipedia. I do not have a Wikipedia page for the site, but folks are using FJ as a source or reference. One advantage of running this blog for so long is that my content has not disappeared or shifted. I am hoping that links to posts on this blog remain healthy and informative to any future readers and researchers. Like I mentioned above, if you see anything that needs correcting let me know.

Some other data that I will just write about is demographics. My readers were mostly male, but females were very much represented. I am still not sure how Google is able to ascertain that?

For age groups, the top readers were millennials. That makes sense because they are young, more active on the internet, and looking for work (hence why Job Tips is so popular). Also veterans in their late twenties or early thirties that are getting out of the military are looking for work and seeking answers to questions about this industry.

I do get a lot of emails still, and it is a pleasure to help out where I can. Emails come from all over the world and I am always intrigued by what pops up in the mail box. Unfortunately I am not able to easily access those emails while I am away on contracts, but I do eventually get to them.

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