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Our Boss Will Call Your Boss (shorthandstories.com)
175 points by howard941 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 75 comments





> If [the United States] believed in the institutions, why did the embassy prevent the contractors from facing a judge?

No single citizen in the United States respects any foreign government's judicial system. The entire nation state concept is a joke and an administrative nuance at BEST to anyone here.

The whole story is about how a random autonomous federal agency in the US was either about to cause a regime change, or help the current regime destroy documents in a fake Central Bank heist gone wrong, and people are worried whether we would waste time with an irrelevent judicial trial that we were going to undermine anyway?

haha, okay. well if it wasn't obvious before it should be obvious now from me writing it out. The US provides financial support to everyone to maintain relationships, it has nothing to do with respect for an institution.


> If [the United States] believed in the institutions, why did the embassy prevent the contractors from facing a judge?

USA almost certainly sent them, directly or indirectly (i.e., closed both ears and eyes) in an illegal operation. Illegal in a lot of ways. So why would US let them face a judge?


It was the local gov that let them off, it was them that hired the group. Being an American national doesn't mean you work for the US Gov.

Yeah I think it's more likely friends and associates in the military complex got them out of a jam.

I guess this is called "diplomacy". Eg another word for ensuring control levers on strategical geopolitical targets. It's probably safe to say every G20 country is doing similar things in various parts of the world that is of some interest to them. It would be naive to think this is a specificity of the US, it's just what you do when you can, because why wouldn't you. There's a video channel doing interviews of various serious people quite centered on geopolitical analysis which may provide some insight of some of the stakes (mostly energy, primary resources) but it's in french/about france ("thinkerview").

I'm the only one who thought to the dialog at the end of Lord of War?

Which one?

"Soon there's going to be a knock on that door and you will be called outside. In the hall there will be a man who out-ranks you. First he'll compliment you on the fine job you've done - on you making the world a safer place. That you're to receive a commendation or a promotion. And then he's going to tell you that I am to be released. You're going to protest. You'll probably threaten to resign. But in the end, I will be released.

The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I do rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of these men are the enemies of your enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss - the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year - sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So. You call me evil, but unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil."


Oh yeah. Sorry, confused the title with War Dogs.

Definitely one of my favorites! (Both movies are)


tl;dr: I'm betting: "And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss, the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year... sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So ... you call me evil. But unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil."

Context:

>Jack Valentine: Are you crazy? Or just plain delusional? I don't think you fully appreciate the seriousness of your situation! You are gonna spend the next ten years of your life going from a cell to a courtroom before you even start serving your time!

> Yuri Orlov: [Quietly] My family has disowned me. My wife and son have left me. And my brother's dead. I can assure you I appreciate the seriousness of my situation. But I promise you- I won't spend a single second in a courtroom.

> Jack Valentine: [Scoffs] You are delusional.

> Yuri Orlov: I like you, Jack. [Considers] Well, maybe not, but- I understand you. Let me tell you what's gonna happen. This way you can prepare yourself. Okay. Soon there's gonna be a knock on that door and you will be called outside. In the hall there will be a man who outranks you. First, he'll compliment you on the fine job you've done, that you're making the world a safer place, that you're to receive a commendation and a promotion. And then he's going to tell you that I am to be released. You're going to protest... you'll probably threaten to resign. But in the end, I will be released. The reason I'll be released is the same reason you think I'll be convicted. I do rub shoulders with some of the most vile, sadistic men calling themselves leaders today. But some of those men are the enemies of your enemies. And while the biggest arms dealer in the world is your boss, the President of the United States, who ships more merchandise in a day than I do in a year... sometimes it's embarrassing to have his fingerprints on the guns. Sometimes he needs a freelancer like me to supply forces he can't be seen supplying. So ... you call me evil. But unfortunately for you, I'm a necessary evil.

[Valentine now looks very grim, realizing Orlov is right. There is a knock at the door just as Yuri promised.]

> Jack Valentine: [Getting up] I would tell you to go to Hell, but I think you're already there.



It's very strange. There's really nothing to indicate what they were there to do.

All the theories about motivation make the whole operation seems kinda clumsy and weird.


We do know that these "contractors" do sometimes carry out missions that the military wants performed, but either needs to be kept at arms length to maintain plausible deniability on the world stage, or is used to implicate some other group. There have been a few exposes on these types over the years and their stories are pretty interesting.

I'm not sure this op was clumsy though. They are probably used to operating in regions where the police force is less effective.


Are there any particularly interesting exposes that you'd recommend? I'm curious to read more about this sort of thing.

The case of Raymond Davis[0] is probably the most mind-boggling in recent memory: A private contractor with a cover story as a cultural attache at the US embassy in Pakistan sees he's being followed by a couple guys on motorbikes while driving through Lahore, thinks he's going to get assassinated by Pakistani security forces, and shoots and kills both of them. He's arrested shortly thereafter with IR cameras, magazines full of bullets, and other espionage-related gear.

The US ultimately negotiated a payment to the families of the men Davis killed and secured his release.

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Allen_Davis_incident


Yeah, but contractors could be hired by anyone, hard to really know who hired them.

This is all very weird.


USA knows. Even if State Dept or CIA didn't approve it, once caught they'd spill the beans...when told of the multiples felonies they committed and decades in Fed prison.

"That evening, the Haitian minister of justice personally intervened for the contractors’ release, according to local reports, independently confirmed. "

-- So someone high in the Government hired them.


the highest level as supposedly suggested one of the "special forces" members.

The only thing it seems we can guess is that ... yeah someone(s) high in the Haitian government wanted this hidden / involved.

Beyond that it's really really hard to know what is up here.


Wonder how many "contractors" (aka mercenaries) are hanging around the Colombia-Venezuela border right now.

Quite a few on many different sides -- Venezuela is a de-facto narcostate at this point, and they're in deep with everyone from the Mexican cartels to Islamist terror groups in North Africa. The military is getting rich off drug money while the people starve, and a starving populace can't revolt. Unless the US intervenes, there is a lot more money on the side that wants to keep Maduro in power. You're not wrong about the mercenaries, thus the side with the most money is the most likely to win.

> a starving populace can't revolt

It has nothing to do with starving. It has everything to do with having all their personal firearms confiscated by the government a few years ago.


Ordinary civilians with guns don't have a great track record in modern history. They lack logistics and organization, so they are usually just slaughtered. Admittedly it's a bit better when the army is domestic, because domestic armies have sympathizers and has less appetite for killing, but the odds are not great.

I think the examples provided by the Vietcong and Taliban would disagree. Picking the irregulars out of a city of civilians is really damn hard, and 'kill all the civilians' is not typically an acceptable solution, for better or worse. (There's some evidence from Russia that 'kill a bunch of the civilians in the area housing terrorists while going after the terrorists' reduces total casualties by removing cities as safe areas)

The viet minh and taleban were hardly ordinary civilians dusting off their rifles from their closets.

How exactly did Eastern Europe revolt during the fall of the iron curtain? The first thing that the communists did, when they sized power after WWII, was take away everyone's guns.

And yet, as soon as the USSR stopped guaranteeing the security of the Warsaw pact states, their regimes fell like dominoes.


By that point, though, the people who had guns (i.e., the military) supported the overthrow of the existing order. It certainly wouldn't have happened with their active opposition.

Elites lost the will to use violence to suppress dissent.

Back when that wasn't the case, things worked like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novocherkassk_massacre


> they're in deep with everyone from the Mexican cartels to Islamist terror groups

So basically US foreign intelligence in the 80's? :)


lol. you either mean Colombia or oil money. otherwise nothing you said make any sense.

As the oil money has dried up (thanks to mismanagement, incompetence & corruption) they’ve replaced it with drug trafficking. Because again, you don’t need much other than a large group of men with guns to make a ton of money from drugs; but you do need a relatively functional domestic economy to produce oil.

Never seen or heard of this source before... Is it credible? Had this story been reported anywhere else?

Don't mean to claim it's not, I just feel wary of believing stories that sound incredible lately....



This is no surprise.

I am of Haitian descent, my parents both immigrated to the US in the 70s and 80s and just this past holiday my aunt told me a story about how she paid hundreds of dollars for a fake passport to obtain passage in the US.

Ever since Columbus arrived Haiti has been a semi-lawless zone where something shady is probably going on facilitated by foreign powers (usually the French and Americans). The amount of corruption in this country is so great it's hard to imagine. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and if you were to cumulatively rank all Western Hemisphere countries governments we'd probably be at the bottom as well.

It's tough to see because Haiti has some potential. The northern port of Labadee is a tourist destination and other parts of the island could be too with the correct investments and stability in government. It's one of the largest nations by population and land in Central America / Caribbean and labor is so cheap that it could be a great spot for American multi-nationals to set up shop. I always wonder when Haiti will get on it's feet and experience growth like Vietnam or Bangladesh. I guess the answer is still: 'not any time soon'.


Unusual to see the IT department get involved in politics. Sloppy.

It's all fine if the US does it

Anyone have a tl;dr? I know a lot of you like to read these like thriller novels, but there's a lot to read here just to know what it's even about.

Some dudes from the US (and a Serb) flew to Haiti to do something, they were stopped and detained by police. "Our boss will call your boss" was said. Boss duly made the call. Dudes were released because of high ranking intervention.

Theoreis abound because there were a guns, several magazines (clips), and sat phones found but nobody is talking. All higher-ups/agencies involved are staying tight lipped. It seems like a professionally-run, clandestine op that was botched by a security guard that prob makes hourly pay.

The rest of the article goes on to highlight the suspicious aspects of the whole case, but the reason for it all is speculative. The most suspicious thing is how it went sour and how they were freed from orders from very high up - yet nobody can figure out what was going on.


Thanks - I'm glad I didn't spend time reading the whole thing just to see that it says "and we know nothing".

[nit] It was some dudes from the US and two Serbs (who are green card residents of the US and work for a security firm here).

Thank you!

So weird to see two Serbian (like me) contractors in all this.

Why? Sadly, Serbs (and other nationalities from the Balkans, but Serbs are a majority,) have a lot of trained and experienced "operatives".

Rember Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo and the '99 bombing? That's a lot of experience gathered in ways more useful than a regular soldier would have. Those wars were full of improvisation, asymetric warfare, lack of logistics and what not. Count in members of paramilitary and covert government agencies, people leaving the country to make a living from crime during the '90s, and a mentality that you don't have too much to lose, and you've got a nice pool of people you can hire for some funky business. Besides, those Serbs are in general good with English, look westerly (Caucasian, not raising suspicion), not overly hindered by religion, cheap...

Don't get me wrong, I'm a Serb, but this isn't anything new.


Not to mention the reputation for been seriously scary bastards (whether lived up to or not I wouldn't know).

I think slightly hyped by popular media. Kinda hard to defend with news like this. Just keep in mind not all Serbs are ruthless and dark, even if they had been impacted by war.

(Comic relief) If you encounter a Serb, don't panic, chances are he/she is not armed with anything other than kindness. "Hotyesh pivo" means "wanna have a beer" :D .


Oh I do, cultural stereotypes can be fun but you can't take them serious.

My partner is Hungarian and her stereotypes of the English where/are hilarious to me :).


Sounds like some local cops overstepped their bounds and probably messed up some kind of operation.

Lets turn that scenario around - if a group of armed military professionals from outside the USA were hanging around a bank in NYC, and when stopped, told the police that they were on a mission for their government... would the NYC cops be overstepping their bounds by not accepting that answer, and detaining them to investigate?

If the US Gov was dumb enough to hire them, then they would act in the same way.

Whatever the operation is .... if it involves looking like a bunch of bank robbers you should probabbly expect the local cops would be a problem if you run into them.

Sounds like they did their job exactly as they should, standing their ground.

interesting, did they mess up by robbing a bank instead?... or the bank robbery was the mission?, if the later, their boss "POH" gets dirty AF.

Probably some docs pertaining to Haiti's debt to Venezuela in that bank, not sure why the US would intervene but cant help but think this wouldnt be related, almost seems obvious.

The US always has some hand in Caribbean affairs. It's just part of the realities of being a small island country next to a world superpower.

All courtesy of the Monroe Doctrine. The US thinks it should control the entire hemisphere.

Also interesting for American citizens living and working overseas: if you work overseas, even for a completely foreign entity with zero US operations, you are expected to pay Uncle Sam taxes on that income. Only Liberia and the US engage in this shenanigans. It makes it hard to get ahead if you want to work overseas for awhile.


Expatriates can take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion up to about $105K. For US citizens with higher foreign incomes it's totally fair to require them to pay some income taxes. They still benefit from being citizens even when they're not physically present in the country. And if they don't like it they can just pay a small fee to renounce their citizenship.

I disagree with having to effectively pay twice. I've lived overseas for a total of 8 years and the tax rules suck. I'm back in the US now, but when I did work overseas, taxes were fairly complex. My UK family and friends didn't pay taxes to the crown when they worked here. My South African friends don't pay to SA and they work here. It's really not fair if you think about it. People from other countries still enjoy the benefits of their respective citizenships while in other places, yet don't suffer the indignity of the double dip.

My wife if a US citizen and we are living abroad right now. Not sure what benefits you are talking about that warrants paying a tax while abroad.

As one example, in most cases, overseas citizens are still eligible to receive social security benefits.

which are... none? I don't mean to be cynical sorry, but social benefits are US citizen subject that warrant such high taxes while living abroad?

We live in NL and definitely don't get/need any benefits from the US.


Being able to vote. Consular services. The American military keeping the peace worldwide. You can quibble over the value of these services, but there are logical reasons why countries may want to tax overseas citizens who retain citizenship.

These may be true, but yet other countries don't do this.

I once worked with an American guy who served 5 years in the French Foreign Legion. This poor guy played hell when he returned to the US after an almost 5.5 year absence. The Legion gave him a new name during his service and French citizenship upon completion of his tour, and when he returned to the US, he said they treated him like a pariah. The IRS audited him, yet did not assess him any levies. It was a nightmare for him that took over 6 months to sort out--with help from a tax attorney.


Consular services in many countries are a joke, even for citizens, with bored bureaucrats taking out their frustrations on people who frequently have no other recourse. The state department is nothing like what is depicted in movies and on TV.

> And if they don't like it they can just pay a small fee to renounce their citizenship.

"Because I don't want to pay US taxes" is one of the few reasons your application to renounce your citizenship can be denied.

You would need to lie on a federal form, which for some people is not a "small fee".


Mostly the problem is a) you still need to file taxes, which is complicated even further by being overseas, and b) the US imposes substantial reporting requirements on any foreign bank which serviees its citizens, which leads to a lot of banks simply refusing service to them. When people are willing to spend $2000 (it may be small to those making over $105k, but most people renouncing their US citizenship after moving overseas are not making that much) and give up their citizenship over something which is basically just paperwork, it's got to be pretty bad.

Unlike every other country on planet earth, which doesn’t tax non-residents yet still manages to support their citizens?

It’s a money-grab, pure and simple.


But this can catch accidental dual citizens eg Boris Jonson got a separate tax demand from the IRS when he was selling his mums house and presumably after HMRC had had its death duties.

interesting, so I assume if I google "venezuela and haiti bilateral deals" we can get "[1] Both leaders [POV and POH] also reaffirmed their governments’ commitment to the PetroCaribe program, an initiative created by former President Hugo Chavez Frias which sees Venezuela export oil to Haiti and other Caribbean and Central American nations at 40 percent of the market cost, with the remainder payable via 25-year low interest loans." https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13522 (didn't OSINT the source)

Like this one?


Wowzers. Yep, and there it is.

I see the connection, but I guess I'm missing something. Why would the US want those documents?


That was a great read. I was looking for more recent background regarding Qatar's involvement. What befuddled me is why the US needs to be involved with Haiti selling its debt to Qatar? Is that out of comfort, necessity, or something else? I can see the US playing the role of a broker. However, the powers-that-be in Haiti must want to stay aligned with Venezuela instead of the US/Qatar if they do not want to sell the debt to Qatar.

"What befuddled me is why the US needs to be involved with Haiti selling its debt to Qatar?" Lookup Russia's interest in Cuba in previous years, and the US interest in that. The US would be interested in thr Haiti/Qatar link for the same reasons, which is basically proximity.

I am aware of the Russia/Cuba/US love triangle. It's only recently that the US has become part of the equation. I imagine Russia is helping Qatar with its construction for the upcoming World Cup. Just did some preliminary googling and it seems Qatar now owns a major percentage of Rosneft (energy co.), along with purchasing arms from Russia. All that being said, the situation of US foreign relations is truly sad.



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