Espionage Files: Mercenary Armies of the CIA

cia

Top 18 Secret Mercenary Armies of the CIA

(click on above link to be re-directed)

Being a History and Intelligence buff, I found this article fascinating.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

Ancient History: 10 Forgotten Conquerors

In Shelley’s famous poem Ozymandias, a broken statue lies in the empty desert, its pedestal hollowly boasting, “My name is Ozymandias, king of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

The conquerors on this list boasted that they had “all the lands at [my] feet” or promised to make “Egypt taste the taste of my fingers!” But in the end, they, too, have been largely forgotten. Look upon their works and despair.

10. Lugalzagesi

L1

 

Civilization was born in ancient Sumeria, in the rich lands between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. But by 2330 BC, the region was in an uproar and ancient cities lay in ruins. The culprit was Lugalzagesi, the king of Umma. Before inheriting the throne, Lugalzagesi was a priest of the goddess Nisaba and he has been labeled an “ecstatic” and a “bone fide berserk” by historians seeking to explain the unprecedented destruction he unleashed.

Shortly after inheriting the throne of Umma, Lugalzagesi also became king of Uruk, probably through marriage. He then launched a series of frenzied campaigns against the kingdom of Lagash, eventually conquering the city itself. A priest of Lagash reported that he “set fire to the [temples] . . . he plundered the palace of Tirash, he plundered the Abzubanda temple, he plundered the chapels of Enlil and Utu.”

In another inscription, the defeated king of Lagash bitterly cursed the conqueror: “The leader of Umma, having sacked Lagash, has committed a sin against Ningirsu. The hand which he has raised against him will be cut off! May Nisaba, the god of Lugalzagesi, ruler of Umma, make him bear the sin.”

But the conquest of Lagash only increased Lugalzagesi’s strength. Before long, he was ruler of all Sumeria, lord of primeval cities like Ur, Zabala, and Nippur. His armies raided from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean: “Enlil, king of all lands, gave to Lugalzagesi the kingship of the nation, directed all eyes of the land toward him, put all the lands at his feet . . . from east to west, Enlil permitted him no rival.”

Enlil must have changed his mind. Lugalzagesi’s conquests soon brought him into conflict with a minor ruler named Sargon. In a stunning upset, Sargon’s well-drilled troops defeated the primitive armies of Sumeria. Lugalzagesi was paraded in chains through Nippur and was soon all but forgotten, while Sargon of Akkad went on to found the first great empire in history.

9. Modu Chanyu

L2

 

The horse was first domesticated on the great Eurasian Steppe, the seemingly endless ocean of grass that runs from Mongolia to Eastern Europe. Every so often, the nomadic horsemen of the plains would unite under some great ruler and erupt on the civilized world. Some of these conquerors remain famous—-Attila, Genghis, Timur the Lame—-but Modu Chanyu, who was one of the earliest, is now almost forgotten in the West.

Modu’s father was king of the Xiongnu, a people who lived in what is now Mongolia. The king preferred Modu’s brother, so Modu had him killed and took power anyway. According to the Chinese historian Sima Qian, Modu invited his bodyguards for some archery practice and told them to use his favorite horse as a target. When some objected, Modu immediately executed them. Then, he told them to use his wife as a target. Again, some objected, and Modu killed them on the spot. Finally, he told the survivors that their new target was his father. They shot him without hesitation.

After murdering his siblings, Modu launched lightning campaigns against the Donghu and Yuezhi, forming a sprawling empire that stretched across the eastern steppes. In 200 BC, he lured the Chinese Emperor Gaozu into an ambush and forced him to sign a humiliating treaty. The Chinese had to pay tribute and Gaozu agreed to give his daughter as a concubine to Modu (he sent some other girl and lied that she was his daughter instead).

In a way, Gaozu was lucky—-the king of Yuezhi had his skull turned into a drinking cup by Modu’s son. Modu himself died in 174 BC, as the ruler of an empire that rivaled Alexander the Great’s in size.

8. Cyaxares

L3

 

For centuries, the mighty Assyrian Empire dominated the ancient Middle East. Its influence even extended to the lands of the Medes, in what is now Iran. The Medes had mixed feelings about this and a nobleman named Phraortes led a revolt around 653 BC. But the bowmen of Assyria were justly feared, and the rebellion was crushed. Phraortes was executed and his grieving son Cyaxares swore to finish what his father had started.

This was no mean task, particularly considering that the Scythians had invaded Media in the meantime. But Cyaxares quietly submitted to Scythian rule until he was able to lure their leaders to a banquet. Once the Scythians were drunk, Cyaxares had them slaughtered. Next, he united the Medes into one kingdom under his command. He reformed the Mede army with new weapons and a focus on horsemen, which the Assyrians lacked.

In 614 BC, the Medes attacked, sacking the Assyrian stronghold at Ashur. Over the next two years, they ground closer to the Assyrian capital Ninevah, which fell in 612. Cyaxares had avenged his father and destroyed the greatest empire of the day. The Median Empire seemed destined to dominate the ancient world—-and it might have, had Cyaxares’s successor not had the misfortune to cross an young man called Cyrus, the leader of an obscure tribe called the Persians.

Read the Remainder at ListVerse

Military History: 10 Notorious Death Squads

In 1984, George Orwell gave his readers a shocking glimpse into the mind of authoritarianism when he put these words in the mouth of state torturer O’Brien: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” This image of complete state control (which Orwell lifted from Jack London’s 1908 dystopian novel The Iron Heel) has haunted readers for decades, especially considering that the history of the 20th and 21st centuries has been one of violence and terrorism. Death squads, or extralegal and paramilitary units tasked with carrying out extrajudicial executions, embody the eternal boot of tyranny like no other organizations on Earth.

Although most death squads, both government-funded and private, came to international attention during World War II and the subsequent Cold War, they have existed in one form or another for centuries. Nations as diverse as Russia, Egypt, and Brazil have all utilized death squads at one time or another, and today, death squads can still be found in those nations rotten with corruption, social strife, and deep political divisions. While death squads have been legitimized under the slogan of, “Sometimes bad things need to be done in order to keep worse things from happening,” their sole purpose is to kill and kill again.

10. The Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance

AA1
Beginning in 1943, Argentina fell under the spell of Peronism. Founded by army colonel and one-time labor minister Juan Peron, Peronism remains the guiding philosophy of Argentina’s Justicialist Party. While today, there are both left- and right-wing Peronist factions, during the first age of the movement, Peron voiced a strong populist message that embraced nationalism and promoted the interests of urban workers. As such, before being ousted in a military coup in 1955, President Peron was an incredibly popular and charismatic leader who enjoyed widespread support from both trade unionists and the lower- and upper-middle classes.

By the 1970s, however, Peronism had devolved into various squabbling factions. Making matters worse was general instability in the form of multiple coups which were rocking South America, thereby threatening Peronist power in Argentina. Right-wing Peronists tried to solve this instability by eliminating what they considered to be their internal enemies—left-wing Peronists and Marxists. In 1973, the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance was formed in secret in order to counteract growing leftism in Argentina. During the administration of President Isabel Peron (1974–1976), the “Triple A” death squad was particularly active and worked closely with the Argentine military and police.

Before being disbanded by a military coup in 1976, the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance is believed to have carried out anywhere between 428 and 1,000 assassinations. Later investigations in the 1980s and 1990s established that the Triple A death squad recruited its members from the army, the police forces, and the various trade unions of Argentina. On top of that, the group enjoyed healthy funding from sympathetic senators and government ministers. Even though the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance was officially outlawed by the military junta that came to power in 1976, said junta had many of the same political enemies as Triple A and continued to use the group’s methods against its opponents.

9. Esquadrao Da Morte

AA2

 

Referenced in the 1973 US film Magnum Force, the second Dirty Harry movie about a rogue death squad within the San Francisco Police Department, Brazil’s Esquadrao da Morte, or “Death Squad,” was first formed in 1964 following the successful coup that inaugurated the Brazilian military dictatorship. Until 1985, Brazil’s military government oversaw sweeping campaigns to establish order inside the country. What this often meant was that the Brazilian authorities conducted extralegal assaults and kidnappings aimed at their Marxist opponents. While Brazil enjoyed economic success under the military government, it also witnessed approximately 500 deaths and disappearances. Most of these victims were either leftists or those whom the government deemed enemies of the state.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the first death squads were formed in the country’s southeast in order to combat rising crime rates. Unlike later Latin American death squads, Brazil’s Esquadrao da Morte was not a single, collective organization. Several death squads existed at once and were primarily directed by professional police officers. While political opponents were sometimes targeted, Brazilian death squads in the 1970s tended to focus more on torturing and executing drug dealers, gangsters, kidnappers, and murderers.

One infamous death squad was headed by Detective Milton Le Cocq de Oliveira. Based in Rio de Janeiro, Le Cocq’s team consisted of handpicked officers who were instructed to never accept money for assassinations or to kill unarmed citizens. Despite this, Le Cocq’s group, which was noted for its bravery, became a death squad hell-bent on eradicating the many bandits that controlled Rio’s sprawling slums.

8. Thailand’s Anti-Drug Police

AA3

 

Starting in February 2003, Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra began a “war on drugs” that officially targeted drug trafficking and the gangs in charge of distributing drugs all throughout Thailand. Given that Thailand has experienced an upsurge in drug use and abuse, along with salacious stories about drug dealers giving homemade methamphetamine to children, it’s not surprising that the government would pursue a hard-line policy against drugs. That being said, human rights groups across the world quickly began to criticize the campaign as an unlawful attack on Thai citizens. In particular, Human Rights Watch published a finding that claimed that in the first three months of Prime Minister Shinawatra’s campaign, 2,800 extrajudicial killingshad taken place. Four years later, another study found that more than half of those killed during the drug war had no connection to drug trafficking at all.

Similar charges against the Thai “war on drugs” were argued by Amnesty International in 2003. The group asserted that a “shoot-to-kill” policy was encouraged by high-ranking officials in the Thai government, which resulted in 600 deaths in a three-week period alone. Most of these deaths were connected to Thailand’s police forces, especially those given the responsibility of cracking down on the country’s drug problem.

Ultimately, Shinawatra’s drug war concluded with the military coup of 2006. In the aftermath, the new military government decided to look into charging Prime Minister Shinawatra with various offenses, but by 2008, a new drug war was already underway in order to tackle yet another explosion in illegal drug trafficking.

Read the Remainder at ListVerse

Ancient History: 10 Little Known Facts About The Anglo-Saxons

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

It can be argued that no people are more important in English history than the Anglo-Saxons. This loose confederation of Germanic tribes not only gave Britain its language, but also its first and most enduring literary hero—the Geat warrior-king Beowulf. The Anglo-Saxons also bequeathed a culture of dispersed power and widespread liberty, which is still evident all throughout the Anglophone world.

Despite this incredible legacy, there are certain facts about the Anglo-Saxons that many people overlook today. The following ten items are but a mere sampling of this forgotten history.

10. They May Have Built An ‘Apartheid’ Society

AS1

In 2006, a team of scientists from the Royal Society published a paper outlining their theory as to why modern England has such a high number of Germanic male-line ancestors. Specifically, their research concluded that in England today, between 50 and 100 percent of the country’s gene pool contains Germanic Y chromosomes. After an exhaustive study, the team argued that this genetic dominance was achieved by a relatively small number of pagan migrants from what are today Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands. More importantly, these Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, who initially numbered somewhere between 10,000 and 200,000 immigrants between the fifth and seventh centuries AD, successfully outbred the native Romano-British population and established an “apartheid” society, wherein theycontrolled economic life.

Two years after the study made waves in the UK press, it was challenged by John Pattison of the University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes. According to Dr. Pattison, the idea that a small number of elite Germanic warriors managed to wipe out their British competition underplays the fact that Germanic tribes and native Britons had been intermarrying for generations prior to the invasions of the fifth century. Ancient chroniclers believed this to be true. Julius Caesar mentions in The Conquest of Gaul that Belgic tribes, who may have been both Celtic and Germanic, lived in Celtic Britain. Therefore, an apartheid-like society was not necessary, as fifth-century Britain may have already contained a large population of Celto-Germanic people.

9. Anglo-Saxon Culture Was Nearly Eradicated

Partial view of a Viking male reenactor with long blond hair under a metal helmet dressed in full warrior armour and battle gear with raised weapon yelling a victory cry in battle in the historic location where Vikings once assembled annually to recite and discuss laws, Pingvellir, Iceland

Before they were defeated by the Normans following the Battle of Hastings in 1066, another group of Vikings (the Danes) nearly killed off Anglo-Saxon culture. Beginning in the ninth century, after years of raids along the coasts, Danish Vikings began to settling in Britain and establish small, but powerful, communities. In 851, a Danish army stayed the winter at their quarters in Thanet, while later, a force of some 350 ships attacked Canterbury and London before being defeated by a West Saxon army.

This early defeat did not deter the Danes, for they continued to pour into the island. They became farmers and fearsome warriors, which in turn earned them political power. By the late ninth century, Danish law held sway in 14 shires, most of which were located in the North and East. Under Danelaw, a powerful Anglo-Norse culture pushed Anglo-Saxon culture to the brink of extinction.

For their part, the Anglo-Saxons, who were thoroughly Christian by this point, viewed the mostly pagan Danes as a separate race of demons controlled by Satan himself. Although both groups were culturally and genetically similar to one another, this religious differences helped to perpetuate a cycle of violence that would last well into the 11th century.

8. Anglo-Saxon Rulers Oversaw A Pogrom

AS3
Although the term is most closely associated with European horrors from the 20th century, pogroms, the organized mass slaughter of certain ethnic or religious groups, were not uncommon in the ancient world. In fact, on November 13, 1002, Anglo-Saxon England itself was the scene of a brutal campaign of ethnic terror.

On that date, the English king Aethelred the Unready, whose brother had been murdered years before inside Corfe Castle, issued orders that every Danish settler in England was to be killed. In what would come to be known as the St. Brice’s Day Massacre, Anglo-Saxon citizens attacked their Danish neighbors in droves, especially in Southern England, where Danelaw was weakest. Although the number of deaths has never been determined, it’s likely that hundreds if not thousands of Danish individuals were massacred. In one instance, Anglo-Saxon villagers burned several Danish families alive after setting fire to St. Frideswide’s Church. Two years later, in 1004, King Aethelred issued another order calling for “a just extermination” of all English Danes.

King Aethelred’s actions earned him the everlasting hatred of the Danish crown. By 1013, King Sweyn I of Denmark had been named king of England after Aethelred had fled to Normandy. Less than a year later, Sweyn was dead, and Aethelred’s advisers were seeking his return as king. However, thanks to the bad blood and enmity caused by King Aethelred, Canute, King Sweyn’s son, was busy destroying the Anglo-Saxon countryside in a pogrom of his own.

Read the Remainder at ListVerse

Military History: 10 Amazing Military Deception Operations

Deception operations have been employed in warfare throughout history, with the earliest mentions being in works like Virgil’s Aeneid describing the Trojan Horse during the Trojan War. The Greeks invented smokescreens for use during the Peloponnesian War, and there are countless other examples of deception tactics that have both worked and failed. This list comprises some of the more important uses of deception that successfully tricked the enemy throughout the history of warfare.

10. Maskirovka
Russia, Battle Of Kursk, World War II

A1

 

Maskirovka is a broad military doctrine of Soviet deception developed throughout the early 20th century. Its primary focus is denial, deception, and surprise. The practice utilizes several means of fooling the enemy, ideally suggesting to them that a smaller force is awaiting them “over the hill.”

It was most successfully employed at the Battle of Kursk during World War II, when a relatively large force of Germans unwittingly attacked what they believed to be a small force of Russian troops, which actually numbered more than four times their own. The Russian forces were able to achieve this, in part, by spreading rumors throughout their own ranks as to their capabilities and strength, which spread to the Germans through their counterintelligence collection means. Ammunition and supplies were moved only under the cover of darkness, while camouflage was utilized to conceal anything of military value. Additionally, the Soviets employed fake airfields, which enticed the Germans to bomb dummy aircraft, further confusing their assessment of the Soviet military strength and capabilities.

Prior to the battle, the Germans underestimated the Russians’ strength, thinking that they had fewer than 1,500 tanks and 400,000 men ready to fight. Unfortunately for German intelligence, the Russians’ deception worked, and they confronted more than 1.3 million fighting men, more than twice the estimated number of tanks, and nearly 3,000 aircraft. The resulting battle destroyed the German offensive and earned the Soviets their first victory against the Germans along the Eastern Front. For the remainder of the war, the Germans would be on the defensive all the way to Berlin.

The doctrine is still being used, most recently in the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the taking of Eastern Ukraine.

9. Bluffing
England, Battle Of Fishguard, War Of The First Coalition

B1
In 1797, during what has been called “The Last Invasion of Britain,” French Revolutionary forces crossed the North Sea and faced the British at the Battle of Fishguard, which wasn’t really a battle at all. Having previously landed successfully a few miles west of Fishguard with nearly 20 boatloads of troops, 47 barrels of powder, and 50 tons of cartridges and grenades, the French were ready to take the town.

France’s Commodore Castagnier sent a single French ship to reconnoiter the bay while flying the British colors. As soon as the ship was spotted by the British, they fired a single blank from a 9-lb gun. While the port had eight of these large cannons, they were severely understocked and had only three rounds. The French ship immediately hoisted the French colors and fled the bay. The British may have fired the cannon to signal the ship in some way, but regardless of their intention, they caused the French to reconsider their target and turn away from Fishguard. Had they not fired the initial blank to bluff the French scout ship, the port would likely have been taken.

8. Trojan Coffin
The Normans, Castle Siege

C1

 

Many stories of the fabled 11th-century Norwegian King Harald Hardrada have been told throughout the years, detailing his bravery and ingenuity at combat. During his conquest on the road to becoming the king of Norway, Harald laid siege to an unnamed castle by camping outside and establishing his men for the upcoming battle. He also had erected a small tent a ways outside the main camp, where he lay sick and possibly dying. Before any battle took place, it was reported that the great king had perished from his illness, and his men ventured toward the castle to tell the news of their commander’s demise. They addressed a large gathering of priests and requested that they allow their fallen commander to be buried within the city.

The priests believed that they would receive rich gifts for accommodating the bereaved fighting men and acquiesced. They formed a large procession and took Harald’s ornate coffin into their castle, along with a small group of his men. Once they’d crossed the threshold and entered the castle grounds, Harald’s men immediately barred the gate, called the remaining men to battle, and the good King Harald himself leaped from the coffin and declared that everyone be killed. The castle was taken, and Harald’s legendary exploits continued toward the conquest of England.

Read the Remainder at ListVerse