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Russian nuclear missile control units have been compromised

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Ukrainian plane crash reveals US deals of US-sanctioned Serbian arms dealer

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“White substance of unknown origin”, according to the Greek authorities, can be seen at the site where the Ukrainian An-12 crashed on Saturday loaded with 11.5 tons of Serbian weapons en-route to Bangladesh with two scheduled technical landings in Amman (Jordan) and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). Photo: AP

The Serbian arms company Valir DOO which exported weapons on the ill-fated Meridian Air Cargo flight on Saturday is at the center of new shocking revelations. The Ukrainian cargo plane crashed in northern Greece, killing all eight crew members on board.

White substance of unknown origin

Following the tragedy the Greek authorities warned about “white substance of unknown origin” at the crash site. A fire brigade official told reporters that firefighters “felt their lips burning” and white dust was floating in the air. The substance has been examined and not found to be radioactive or biological material hazardous to public health, the local mayor Philippos Anastasiades informed.

The plane had been chartered to transport weapons from Nish to Bangladesh with two scheduled technical stops: in Amman (Jordan) and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). Both of them are countries bordering on war zones – Syria and Yemen.

According to the Serbian defense minister Neboisha Stefanovich, the dangerous cargo included 11.5 tons of illuminating mortar shells and mortar shells for training for the Bangladeshi army and were exported by the Serbian company Valir DOO.

Who is the real owner?

Serbian media have asked if the real owner of Valir DOO is the Serbian arms dealer Slobodan Tesic, even though his name is not listed anywhere. Tesic has been described by the U.S. Treasury Department as being “among the biggest dealers of arms and munitions in the Balkans.”

Slobodan Tesic

He has been under US sanctions since December 2017. Tesic spent nearly a decade on the United Nations (UN) Travel Ban List for violating UN sanctions against arms exports to Liberia in 2003.  In order to secure arms contracts with various countries, according to the US Treasury Department, Tesic would directly or indirectly provide bribes and financial assistance.  Tesic took potential clients on high-value vacations, paid for their children’s education at western schools or universities, and used large bribes to secure contracts.

In 2012 after the Serbian Progressive Party came to power the new government managed to remove Slobodan Tesic from the United Nations blacklist. The Minister of Foreign Affairs even accorded him with a diplomatic passport without him being a diplomat.

In 2019 The United States imposed sanctions on nine of his associates. In a statement released on December 9, the Treasury Department said that the nine “have acted or purported to act for or on behalf” of Tesic, who has been on a U.S. sanctions list and has had his assets frozen .

Coincidentally, the company Valir DOO was registered just two weeks after the new sanctions against Tesic and his team were imposed. The company’s founder and director was Stefan Cupkovic. According to information obtained from the Serbian Trade registry, he was also the representative of Elvante LTD in Serbia whose director was Goran Andric (one of the nine Serbians linked to Tesic and blacklisted by the US).

Another company represented by Stefan Cupkovic, which is indirectly linked to Slobodan Tesic, is Lusor DOO. Its address is the same as the address of Elvante LTD. According to Serbian media, the real owner of the company Lusor DOO, is a Yemeni citizen with a Serbian passport, Khaled Hamed, with close links to Slobodan Tesic.

On October 4, 2021 Tunisia issued an international arrest warrant for Slobodan Tesic on suspicion that he participated in corruption and “money laundering” activities.

The US deals

While Tesic has been under US sanctions meaning that he cannot deal with any company in the US, Valir DOO has exported 249 tons of Serbian weapons to the US in 2021 and 2022, according to US Imports data and public records. In 2020 alone the company declared 15.4 million USD annual revenue just a year since its incorporation.

From 9 November 2021 to 20 June 2022 Valir DOO exported 98.7 tons of cartridges (5,56×45 mm and 9×19 mm) by sea from Germany to the US. The buyer of all 6 shipments was the American company Erie Ordnance Depot LLC.

Another American company Nemo Arms Inc. imported 150 tons of ammunition in 2021 with the exporter being again Valir DOO. The cargo was transported by sea from Bar, Montenegro to Wilmington, US.

On 2 February 2021 Valir DOO exported 10 million pieces of 5.65x45mm bullets to the US company NEMO Arms Inc.

These cartridges are manufactured by Prvi Partizan-Serbia and they are NATO standard. Prvi Partizan is a state-run arms factory. It is listed on the company’s website among the Valir’s main partners along with four other Serbian state arms manufacturers and the Serbian ministry of defense.

Despite being under US sanctions Tesic registered a company in the US

In 2019 Slobodan Tesic registered a company in the US – Style Cupid Inc. There is no information as to what activities this company has had.

Style Cupid Inc. became inactive on 31 March of this year. According to the document the company was registered at 5519 N MILITARY TRAIL STE 1016, BOCA RATON, Florida, 33496.

The address in Florida of Style Cupid Inc. Source: Trulia Real Estate

 

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Who and how exported Bulgarian weapons to Ukraine: documents

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51,000 pcs. of RLV-HEF rounds, manufactured by the Bulgarian arms factory Arsenal, were exported to Ukraine by the Polish company Arm Techsp. Zo.O., in 2021

Documents reveal that tons of Bulgarian weapons were exported to Ukraine via Poland and the Czech Republic in 2021 and 2020. Bulgaria officially denies that Bulgarian weapons were exported to Ukraine, although the use of Bulgarian weapons was well documented on the front line in Ukraine.

Weapons originating from the Balkans are often seen in war zones including in the hands of terrorists in Syria and Yemen. Although local governments have always denied such exports documents prove otherwise.

Weapons from the Balkans have been used for years for illicit arms supplies to war zones around the world. Documents revealed that 350 diplomatic flights carried weapons to terrorists in Syria. Leaked documents also exposed a secret US Special Operations Command unit code named Task Force Smoking Gun. It had been deployed in Croatia since 2017 and tasked with diverting tons of arms and ammunition from Europe to Syria.

Bulgarian weapons in Ukraine

This 30 mm high-explosive fragmentation grenade RHV-HEF (HE FRAG) for automatic grenade launchers, manufactured by the Bulgarian military plant Arsenal, was used by the Ukrainian army during the shelling of residential buildings in Zaitsevo, Donetsk. Photo: Press office of DPR army
Source: arsenal-bg.com

By law, re-export of weapons to a third country can only take place with the permission of the exporting country, in this case Bulgaria. It is not known whether Bulgaria allowed re-export via Poland and the Czech Republic to Ukraine or whether these weapons were smuggled into Ukraine. Bulgarian officials deny that Bulgarian weapons were exported to Ukraine.

I tracked these Bulgarian weapons from Bulgaria to the front line in Ukraine, using data from the international trade database Great Export Import. Bulgarian weapons, manufactured by Arsenal, VMZ, Arcus and Emco military plants, were imported into Ukraine. The exporters were two Polish companies: Arm Techsp. Zo.O and Vismag Jacek Jakubczyk, and the Czech company Excalibur Army Spol.S R.O

Import via Poland

The Ukrainian company Dp Dzzp Spetstechnoexport imported Bulgarian weapons from Arsenal and VMZ-Sopot in 2021, 2020 and 2019, and the export was carried out by the Polish company Arm Techsp. Zo, according to information obtained from Great Export Import. The Ukrainian company Dp Dzzp Spetstechnoexport purchased 40 mm rounds RLV-HEF for grenade launchers,  manufactured by Arsenal, and 152 mm high-explosive fragmentation grenades for howitzer D-20 and 2C3, manufactured by VMZ-Sopot. The database lists eleven imports made in 2021, 2020 and 2019. Bulgaria is indicated as the manufacturer of the weapons.

According to the documents, Ukraine imported the following weapons manufactured by the Bulgarian arms factories Arsenal and VMZ-Sopot:

40 mm round RLV-HEF for grenade launchers, manufacturer Arsenal-Bulgaria
Source: arsenal-bg.com
152 mm high-explosive fragmentation grenade for howitzer D-20 and 2C3, manufacturer VMZ-Sopot.
Source: vmz.bg

Such 40 mm RLV-HEF rounds for grenade launchers, manufactured by Arsenal-Bulgaria, were discovered by DPR forces in trenches used by the Ukrainian army.

In addition to the weapons from VMZ and Arsenal, Bulgarian rounds manufactured by the Bulgarian arms factory Arcus also appeared on the front line in Ukraine.

Source: Dmitry Astrakhan

The manufacturer of VOG-17M is the Bulgarian arms factory Arcus.

Source: arcus.bg

The Ukrainian state company Ukrspetsexport purchased such 30 mm VOG-17M rounds (34,450 pcs.) in 2021 from the Polish company Vismag Jacek Jakubczyk, according to information obtained from the international database Great Export Import.

The same day, February 3, 2021, Ukrspetsexport purchased from the same Polish company Vismag Jacek Jakubczyk 1.5 million pcs. of 7,62×54 mm bullets:

On September 29, 2021, the Polish company Vismag Jacek Jakubczyk imported 40,000 pcs. of 12,7×108 mm bullets in Ukraine.

Import via the Czech Republic

On June 20, 2021, the Ukrainian state company Ukrspetsexport purchased a total of 140 pcs. of EM-120 mortars from the Czech company Excalibur Army Spol.S.R.O., according to the international trade database Great Import Export. EM-120 is manufactured by the Bulgarian arms factory Emco. Emco’s owner Emilian Gebrev denied that his company had exported weapons to Ukraine. Over the last years he has been involved in a number of international scandals, one of which was his poisoning in 2015.

On June 20, 2021, the Ukrainian state company Ukrspetsexport purchased a total of 140 pcs. of EM-120 mortars from the Czech company Excalibur Army Spol.S.R.O. These weapons are manufactured by Emco in Bulgaria.

The Krusik scandal

British NLAW, American Javelin, Bulgarian 30 mm VOG-17M manufactured by Arcus in 2020 and a Serbian 60 mm M73 mortar shell manufactured by Krusik in 2016 seized by the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) forces on the front line in Donetsk.

Serbia officially has not exported weapons to Ukraine. Documents show that these Serbian 60 mm M73 mortar shells manufactured by Krusik in 2016 were exported on papers to Poland.

Serbian president Alexander Vucic denied that Serbia knew about Serbian weapons being exported to Ukraine. According to Vucic, this particular lot of weapons (15,000 pcs.) was sold by Krusik to the private Serbian company Tehnoremont which exported the weapons to the Polish company Natan via Cyprus. However, Ukraine was not indicated as the end user of these Serbian weapons.

The scandal that Serbian arms were being trafficked to war zones broke in September 2019 after I published an investigation into who was arming ISIS terrorists in Yemen. Documents from the Serbian arms factory Krusik revealed that Serbian weapons manufactured by Krusik and sold to Saudi Arabia had ended up with Islamic State terrorists in Yemen.  Three days after the story was published, on 18 September, Serbian prosecutors arrested the Krusik whistleblower Alexander Obradovich.

Instead of investigating the arms trafficking to terrorists in Yemen, the Serbian prosecutors launched an investigation into the leak from Krusik and charged the whistleblower Alexander Obradovich with revealing trade secrets. His arrest caused a wave of protests in Serbia and he was released from prison under house arrest. Yet Alexander Obradovich is under investigation for exposing arms trafficking and corruption in Serbia and the court case against him has not been dropped while those who traffic arms go free. The full 3-part investigation into who has armed terrorists you can read here:

Islamic State weapons in Yemen traced back to US Government: Serbia files (part 1)

US Task Force Smoking Gun smuggles weapons to Syria: Serbia files (part 2)

Leaked arms dealers’ passports reveal who supplies terrorists in Yemen: Serbia files (Part 3)

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Documents expose US biological experiments on allied soldiers in Ukraine and Georgia

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The US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) program in the Republic of Georgia. Photo: Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia

While the US is planning to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe to “protect its allies against Russia”, internal documents show what American “protection” in practical terms means.

The Pentagon has conducted biological experiments with a potentially lethal outcome on 4,400 soldiers in Ukraine and 1,000 soldiers in Georgia. According to leaked documents, all volunteer deaths should be reported within 24 h (in Ukraine) and 48 h (in Georgia).

Both countries are considered the most loyal US partners in the region with a number of Pentagon programs being implemented in their territory. One of them is the $2.5 billion Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Biological engagement program which includes research on bio agents, deadly viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria being studied on the local population.

Project GG-21: “All volunteer deaths will be promptly reported”

The Pentagon has launched a 5-year long project with a possible extension of up to 3 years code-named GG-21: “Arthropod-borne and zoonotic infections among military personnel in Georgia”. According to the project’s description, blood samples will be obtained from 1,000 military recruits at the time of their military registration physical exam at the Georgian military hospital located in Gori.

The samples will be tested for antibodies against fourteen pathogens:

  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Brucella
  • CCHF virus
  • Coxiella burnetii
  • Francisella tularensis
  • Hantavirus
  • Rickettsia species
  • TBE virus
  • Bartonella species
  • Borrelia species
  • Ehlrichia species
  • Leptospira species
  • Salmonella typhi
  • WNV

The amount of blood draw will be 10 ml. Samples will be stored indefinitely at the NCDC (Lugar Center) or USAMRU-G and aliquots might be sent to WRAIR headquarters in US for future research studies. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is the largest biomedical research facility administered by the U.S. Department of Defense. The results of the blood testing will not be provided to the study participants.

Such a procedure cannot cause death. However, according to the project report, “all volunteer deaths will be promptly reported (usually within 48 h of the PI being notified)” to the Georgian Military Hospital and WRAIR.

According to the GG-21 project report, “all volunteer deaths will be promptly reported” to the Georgian military hospital and WRAIR, USA.

The soldiers’ blood samples will be stored and further tested at the Lugar Center, a $180 million Pentagon-funded facility in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

The Lugar Center has become notorious in the last years for controversial activitieslaboratory incidents and scandals surrounding the US drug giant Gilead’s Hepatitis C program in Georgia which has resulted in at least 248 deaths of patients. The cause of death in the majority of cases has been listed as unknown, internal documents have shown.

The Georgian project GG-21 has been funded by DTRA and implemented by American military scientists from a special US Army unit code-named USAMRU-G who operate in the Lugar Center. They have been given diplomatic immunity in Georgia to research bacteria, viruses and toxins without being diplomats. This unit is subordinate to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).

The Lugar Center is the $180 million Pentagon-funded biolaboratory in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.
A diplomatic car with a registration plate of the US Embassy to Tbilisi in the car park of the Lugar Center. US scientists working at the Pentagon laboratory in Georgia drive diplomatic vehicles as they have been given diplomatic immunity. Photos: Dilyana Gaytandzhieva

Documents obtained from the US Federal contracts registry show that USAMRU-G is expanding its activities to other US allies in the region and is “establishing expeditionary capabilities” in Georgia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Latvia and any future locations. The next USAMRU-G project involving biological tests on soldiers is due to start in March of this year at the Bulgarian Military Hospital in Sofia.

Project UP-8: All deaths of study participants should be reported within 24 h

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has funded a similar project involving soldiers in Ukraine code-named UP-8: The spread of  Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus and hantaviruses in Ukraine and the potential need for differential diagnosis in patients with suspected leptospirosis. The project started in 2017 and was extended few times until 2020, internal documents show.

According to the project’s description, blood samples will be collected from 4,400 healthy soldiers in Lviv, Kharkov, Odesa and Kyiv. 4,000 of these samples will be tested for antibodies against hantaviruses, and 400 of them – for the presence of antibodies against Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus. The results of the blood testing will not be provided to the study participants.

There is no information as to what other procedures will be performed except that “serious incidents, including deaths should be reported within 24 hours. All deaths of study subjects that are suspected or known to be related to the research procedures should be brought to the attention of the bioethics committees in the USA and Ukraine.”

Blood samples from 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers will be tested for hantaviruses. Another 400 blood samples will be tested for CCHF under the DTRA-sponsored Ukrainian Project UP-8.
Project UP-8: “Serious incidents, including deaths should be reported within 24 hours. All deaths of study subjects that are suspected or known to be related to the research procedures should be brought to the attention of the bioethics committees in the USA and Ukraine.” Source: ukr-leaks.org

DTRA has allocated $80 million for biological research in Ukraine as of 30 July 2020, according to information obtained from the US Federal contracts registry. Tasked with the program is the US company Black &Veatch Special Projects Corp.

Another DTRA contractor operating in Ukraine is CH2M Hill. The American company has been awarded a $22.8 million contract (2020-2023) for the reconstruction and equipment of two biolaboratories:  the State Scientific Research Institute of Laboratory Diagnostics and Veterinary-Sanitary Expertise (Kyiv ILD) and the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection Regional Diagnostic Laboratory (Odesa RDL).

US personnel are indemnified for deaths and injuries to the local population

The DTRA activities in Georgia and Ukraine fall under the protection of special bilateral agreements. According to these agreements, Georgia and Ukraine shall hold harmless, bring no legal proceedings and indemnify the United States and its personnel, contractors and contractors’ personnel, for damage to property, or death or injury to any persons in Georgia and Ukraine, arising out of activities under this Agreement. If DTRA-sponsored scientists cause deaths or injuries to the local population they cannot be held to account.

Furthermore, according to the US-Ukraine Agreement, claims by third parties for deaths and injuries in Ukraine, arising out of the acts or omissions of any employees of the United States related to work under this Agreement, shall be the responsibility of Ukraine.

I am an independent journalist and do not work for governments or corporations. If you want to support my work, please go to the Donation page or Become Volunteer. Thank you! If you want to follow me on Telegram, please subscribe to Arms Watch Telegram channel using the link: https://t.me/armswatch

Potential pandemic bird flu modified to be more dangerous in new risky NIH research

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), putting his protective suit. Photo: NIH

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has continued funding risky gain-of-function research (GoF) on potential pandemic pathogens, newly disclosed information reveals. The US government medical research agency has funded scientists to study avian influenza (bird flu) which does not transmit among humans. However, the NIH projects aim to make avian influenza viruses able to transmit among mammals and assess their pandemic potential as a possible threat to humans.

Gain-of-function (GOF) studies improve the ability of a pathogen to cause disease by increasing its virulence and transmissibility. These dangerous experiments have not been terminated even though COVID-19 has been suspected to be the result of such NIH-funded GoF research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Instead of terminating all GoF research since the pandemic started NIH and its sub agency – the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), have continued their financial support for the following GoF studies: Transmissibility of Avian Influenza Viruses in Mammals (NIAID support ended in August 2021); Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) (NIAID support ended in March 2021). The third one: Mimicking evolution to define mechanisms of airborne transmission of H7N9 viruses, started on 2nd September 2021 and is ongoing.

Project 4R01AI069274-09 – Total funding: $605,206

H5N1, a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, does not transmit among mammals. The researchers aim to make the virus able to transmit in order to assess its pandemic potential.

According to the project’s description, “no sustained human-to-human transmission has yet been reported. Several attempts in the past to select transmissible H5 viruses (which typically do not transmit among mammals) were not successful”. That is why the researchers “plan to passage non-transmissible viruses of different genetic backgrounds in ferrets (an established influenza virus transmission model) to select transmissible mutants”. Selected mutations will be characterized for their biological effects and the potential of H5N1 to transmit in mammals.

Project 272201400008C-0-0-1 – Total funding: $7,336,466

The project includes studies on animal influenza viruses with pandemic potential. No further information has been provided.

Project 1R21AI144135-01 – Total funding: $226,169

Source: NIAID

According to the description provided for Project 1R21AI144135-01: “The Asian lineage H7N9 avian influenza viruses (AIV)… have not spread in humans; however, there is a high potential for these viruses to evolve to transmit via the airborne route and cause a pandemic… Viruses carrying the H7N9 HA and NA on the A/PR8 vaccine backbone will be generated. Mutations will be introduced into the HA and NA gene segments…we will evaluate the replication kinetics of recombinant H7N9-A/PR8 viruses for their growth in primary human airway epithelial cells. Primary human cells will include nasal, tracheal, bronchial, and small airway epithelial cells.” The researchers want to make the virus able to transmit via the airborne route in order to assess the pandemic potential of H7N9 viruses.

These last NIH-funded experiments are just a small part of many controversial lab studies approved by the agency. One of them was the risky bat coronavirus research in China which is under investigation in the US for a possible link to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite repeated denials from NIAID director Dr. Antony Fauci including before Congress, NIH finally acknowledged last year that US did fund GoF research on bat coronaviruses in Wuhan from where the pandemic started and spread across the world. The $3.7 million grant was awarded to the US non-profit organization EcoHealth Alliance. In a  letter to U.S. House of Representatives NIH states that EcoHealth Alliance violated Terms and Conditions of NIH grant AI110964 and failed to report all its activities in China. According to the NIH letter, a “limited experiment” was conducted in order to test if “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.”

This is much bigger than Dr. Fauci – it involves the entire US government: US Congressman

Following the release of a House Intelligence Committee report stating that “significant circumstantial evidence” supports the lab leak hypothesis, Rep. Mike Gallagher urged members of Congress and members of the media to more closely scrutinize additional US funding streams that sent taxpayer dollars to EcoHealth Alliance. According to the congressman, “If you start to do basic research, it quickly becomes apparent that this is much bigger than Dr. Fauci – it involves the entire US government”.

EcoHealth Alliance has received $112.1 million in total in US government funding since 2003, according to information obtained from the US federal contracts registry. Among its main sponsors are NIH through NIAID and the Pentagon through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The projects’ objectives are discovery and assessment of viruses with pandemic potential mainly in Africa and Asia.

NIH grants:

Pentagon grants:

Source: govtribe.com

Coronavirus research in controversial Pentagon biolab in Georgia

EcoHealth Alliance has implemented a number of military biological research programs for the Pentagon. In 2017 the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) tasked EcoHealth Alliance with a $6.5 million project to collect and isolate coronaviruses in 5,000 bats in Western Asia. The duration of the program is 5 years (2017-2022) with the Lugar Center, the Pentagon biolaboratory in the Republic of Georgia, being the local laboratory for this genetic research.

The project’s objectives are: 1. Capture and non-lethally sample 5,000 bats; 2. Collect 20,000 samples (i.e. oral, rectal swabs and/or feces, and blood) and screen for CoVs using consensus PCR at regional labs in Georgia and Jordan. According to the project presentation, Eco Health Alliance already sampled 270 bats of 9 species in three Western Asian countries: 90 individual bats in Turkey (Aug 2018), Georgia (Sept 2018), and Jordan (Oct 2018).

EcoHealth Alliance and Georgian scientists processing bats for a $6.5 million Pentagon project in Western Asia (photo: Facebook, Kendra Phelps, Eco Health Alliance, October 2018)

The Lugar Center which is the partner laboratory for this research is a $180 million Pentagon biolaboratory in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. It has been operated by a special US Army Unit – USAMRU-G, whose personnel have been given diplomatic immunity to research viruses without being diplomats.

The Lugar Center is the $180 million Pentagon-funded biolaboratory in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.
A diplomatic car with a registration plate of the US Embassy to Tbilisi in the car park of the Lugar Center. US scientists working at the Pentagon laboratory in Georgia drive diplomatic vehicles as they have been given diplomatic immunity. Photos: Dilyana Gaytandzhieva

The Lugar Center has become notorious in the last years for controversial activitieslaboratory incidents and scandals surrounding the US drug giant Gilead’s Hepatitis C program in Georgia which has resulted in at least 248 deaths of patients. The cause of death in the majority of cases has been listed as unknown, internal documents have shown.

There is no public information about the results of the research performed by EcoHealth Alliance at the Lugar Center for the Pentagon neither what viruses have been discovered and what genome experiments have been performed.

$5,000 for bat on the black market

The State Security Committee of South Ossetia raised awareness about the EcoHealth Alliance bat research project in neighboring Georgia after a Georgian national Khvicha Mgebrishvili was detained on 3 July 2020 near the village of Adzisar in the Tskhinvali region of South Ossetia for violating the state border. During the interrogation by South Ossetian KGB border officers, he explained that he was interested in a colony of bats in the villages of Artseu and Grom in the Tskhinvali region. According to Mgebrishvili, he intended to capture the so-called “Bat cocoons” and sell them in Georgia for $5,000 each. These species are listed in the Red Book and hunting them is punishable by prison in South Ossetia.

Local authorities accused neighboring Georgia of suspicious activities stating that “the Lugar Center for Public Health Research has shown increased interest in the population of South Ossetian bats since 2012”. As always the Lugar Center and the US Embassy in Tbilisi denied all allegations as fake news and a conspiracy theory.

In response to all scandals surrounding the Lugar Center and the growing distrust among Georgians the US Embassy in Tbilisi has launched a propaganda campaign to educate the local population with animated movies on social media and Georgian TV channels. All information concerning the Lugar Center apart from the official government narrative has been branded as “fake news”, “disinformation” and “conspiracy theories”. The Lugar Center has been given by Western media as an example in the fight against the novel coronavirus even though COVID-ravaged Georgia ranks seventh in the world among the countries with the highest number of deaths per million as of this month.

I am an independent journalist and do not work for governments or corporations. If you want to support my work, please go to the Donation page or Become Volunteer. Thank you! If you want to follow me on Telegram, please subscribe to Arms Watch Telegram channel using the link: https://t.me/armswatch

UK Defence ministry document reveals Skripals blood samples could have been manipulated

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Incredible transformation: Yulia Skripal (left) following the alleged poisoning with the deadliest known nerve agent Novichok. Yulia and her father Sergei Skripal (right) before the alleged nerve agent poisoning.

New evidence has emerged of gross violations during the UK investigation into the alleged poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on 4th March 2018. The new revelations put into question the main evidence that the Skripals were poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok.

The blood samples taken from the Skripals could have been tampered with so that they test positive for Novichok, newly disclosed information obtained from the UK Ministry of Defence reveals. Furthermore, documents show that Russia was not the only country in the world that could be linked to the nerve agent Novichok.

The US had covered up its own Novichok program masked as research on fourth generation nerve agents (FGAs) and muzzled the Organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW) a decade before the Skripals attack.

Breach of chain of custody

Newly disclosed information obtained from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) under the Freedom of Information Act questions the integrity of the main evidence that the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, namely their blood samples. The ministry is in charge of the British military laboratory DSTL Porton Down which analyzed the Skripals blood samples and reportedly identified Novichok.

“Our searches have failed to locate any information that provides the exact time that the samples were collected”, the ministry states. The information held by MOD therefore indicates that the samples were collected at some point between 16:15 on 4 March 2018 and 18:45 on 5 March 2018 (the approximate time according to MOD when the samples arrived at DSTL Porton Down). Even the time of arrival at Porton Down is indicated as “approximate”.

The lack of this information is gross violation and breach of the chain of custody. The UK NHS protocol requires that a request form accompany all specimens sent to the laboratory and clearly state the exact (not approximate) date and time of collection. This newly disclosed information questions the whole Skripals Novichok poisoning story. The fact that the chain of custody of these blood samples was broken directly suggests that they could have been manipulated and tampered with.

According to the UK Defence Ministry document, there is no information as to when exactly (date and time) the blood samples were collected. Hence, these samples are inadmissible evidence in court as without a proper chain of custody the samples could have been manipulated and contaminated with Novichok.

A British toxicologist with extensive knowledge in the field of organophosphate pesticide analysis who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons has reviewed the MOD document: “It is inconceivable that with such a high visibility case the obvious significance of any and all biological samples, normal and expected sample logging and documentation did not take place. The person drawing the sample, in any clinical or forensic setting knows that the date and time must be recorded, and the donor positively identified. In a criminal case, evidence gleaned from these samples would be thrown out as inadmissible. Custody seals can be broken and re-applied. In a normal blood draw, the donor would sign the seal which is placed over the vials. In this case, with the donors apparently unconscious, then the phlebotomist would do the signing, and be able to later verify his/her signature on the seal. As we don’t know when, or possibly where the samples were taken, it would be difficult to prove that the seals were in fact the original seals. This lack of protocol is either very sloppy or clandestine.”

What is Chain of Custody and why is it important

The chain of custody is the most critical process of evidence documentation. Chain of Custody (CoC), in legal contexts, refers to the system of controls governing the collection, processing and storage of samples. These controls reduce the potential for samples to be accidentally or maliciously tampered with.

A template of Chain of Custody (CoC) form includes detailed information about each person handling the sample(s) from the time of collection to its receipt by the analyst. This essential information is missing in the Skripals case. Even the time of arrival at Porton Down is “approximate” not exact, according to the UK MoD document.

The chain of custody can be broken if:

  1. a custody form is labeled incorrectly or is missing information such as exact date and time of collection, transfer and receipt
  2. if a transfer of evidence takes an unreasonable amount of time, or
  3. if there is reason to believe the evidence was tampered with

Although even one of the above conditions is enough for the chain of custody to be broken, in the Skripals case all three are present:

  1. According to MoD, there is no information as to when the samples were collected and the time when they arrived at Porton Down is approximate (not exact)
  2. The blood samples arrived at Porton Down 25 hours after the Skripals were admitted to hospital, according to MoD. For reference, the distance between the Salisbury district hospital and Porton Down is only 13 km or an 18-minute drive which means that the transfer of evidence took an unreasonable amount of time.
Porton Down is located 13 km from the Salisbury District Hospital.
Source: Google Map

3. There are four reasons to believe the samples were tampered with since:

3.1. None of the people who were in direct contact with the Skripas tested positive for Novichok. According to the UK government, the nerve agent had been sprayed on the door handle of the Skripals house.  Yulia and her father Sergei touched the door handle and few hours later the two collapsed simultaneously on a bench in Salisbury. Meanwhile, few minutes after they had reportedly been poisoned by touching the door handle, the Skripals handed bread to three children to feed ducks. One of the children even ate the bread. This was documented by CCTV footage which the police showed to their parents. Despite the direct contact, no one of the children developed any symptoms of poisoning and their blood tests showed no traces of Novichok.

3.2. We have been told that Novichok is the deadliest nerve agent ever developed. However, none of the alleged “Kremlin targets” (the Skripals and Alexei Navalny) died and all made full recovery without any damage to their health or permanent harm. How is it possible that the deadliest nerve agent in the world has caused no harm to any of the targeted victims and they all fully recovered?

3.3. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with the drug Fentanyl, not the Novichok nerve agent, the initial report on the incident reveals. After I published this report on my Twitter account the information was immediately redacted and the drug Fentanyl was deleted from the original version.

3.4 Porton Down, which received and analyzed the blood samples, had already had Novichok prior to the alleged Skripals poisoning, according to current British prime minister and at the time foreign secretary Boris Johnson. Although the UK Government publicly lied that only Russia could have been the source of the Novichok nerve agent, as it turns out, Porton Down could have also been the source of the Novichok agent identified coincidentally exactly by Porton Down in the Skripals blood samples.

The Navalny case

The chain of custody can be broken if a transfer of evidence takes an unreasonable amount of time. Such is the case with another alleged nerve agent victim – Alexey Navalny. His biological samples were collected in a German hospital and were delayed by 5 days before being transferred to OPCW designated laboratories, an OPCW document reveals.

Alexey Navalny fell sick during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow on 20th August 2020 and was taken to a hospital in Omsk following an emergency landing. The Russian hospital identified no poison in his blood and attributed his condition to metabolic disorder. At the request of Navalny’s wife Yulia, Russia allowed the patient to be transported for medical treatment in Germany two days later. Germany announced that Russia had poisoned Navalny with Novichock and requested assistance from OPCW.  The following timeline of events as described by OPCW clearly shows that the biomedical samples taken from Navalny were inexplicably delayed by 5 days (working days according to the calendar) before being transferred to OPCW designated laboratories:

According to the OPCW report, biomedical samples were taken from Navalny on 6th September. On 11th of September OPCW received a request from Germany (5 working days after the samples were collected) and sent them to OPCW designated labs for analyses. According to recently declassified correspondence between Germany and OPCW about the Navalny alleged poisoning, “the samples’ transmission to OPCW reference laboratories should only take place after the consent by Germany”. Although the samples had already been collected, Germany delayed its permission by 5 days (working days according to the calendar.) There is no explanation as to why Germany delayed its permission for so many days.

Like the UK, Germany also possessed Novichok prior to the Navalny alleged poisoning. The sample was obtained in the 1990s, according to German media. In a joint report, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the weekly Die Zeit and broadcasters NDR and WDR said Germany’s BND spy agency had secured the sample of the Novichok nerve agent from a Russian scientist. The German media report said the BND had informed the U.S. and British intelligence agencies about the case following the analysis, and small amounts of the poison were later produced in several NATO member states. One of these NATO member states was the US.

Documents reveal how US covered up its own Novichok program as research on FGAs

The US Army produced Novichok A-234 (the same nerve agent identified in the Skripals blood samples) in 1998 and in 2002 launched a special Novichok research program masked as research on Fourth generation agents (FGAs), documents reveal.

Dennis Rohrbaugh from the US Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command’s Edgewood Research Development and Engineering Center added the mass spectrometry profile of the Novichok nerve agent A-234 to the 1998-2001 version (NIST 98) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Mass Spectral Library. The Biochemical facility at Edgewood was making, synthesizing and analysing A-234 for some 20 years before the Skripal attack in Salisbury.

The compound with formula C8H18FN2O2P (Novichok A-234) and the name of the Edgewood chemist who submitted the entry to the 1998 NIST database: Source: NIST98

The NIST edition released after the 1998 version had the spectrum removed. According to information obtained from NIST, the entry was withdrawn at the request of a US government department. The spectrum file still exists in the archive but not in any library since 1998.

In 2001 DoD reported to the US Congress that Russian scientists had been publicizing information on a new generation of agents, sometimes referred to as “Novichoks.” A special group composed of senior intelligence officials and scientists, the Chemical and Biological Agents Action Group (CBAAG), was established to address the Fourth Generation Agents (FGAs) threat. At that point only three generations of nerve agents were known. Novichoks are the new fourth generation of nerve agents (FGAs), according to a 2019 DoD report on Forth Generation agents also known as A-series or Novichok nerve agents.

The report states that “No illicit use or manufacture of an FGA or other nerve agent is known to have occurred in the United States”. Source: Fourth Generation Agents: Reference Guide, January 2019

Pentagon papers show exactly the opposite. The US did manufacture FGAs, according to the 2002 DoD Annual report to Congress.

In 2002 the Pentagon launched two programs: TC2 and TC3 involving research on Fourth Generation Agents (FGAs).  Among the 2002 targets the document lists:

  • Initiate a program of synthesis, toxicology, screening, and characterization of new threat materials (to include Fourth Generation Agents (FGAs) identified as urgent needs while continuing assessment of long term needs;
  • Confirm cardiac pathology seen after exposure to FGAs;
  • Perform advanced assessment of medical countermeasures in guinea pigs by evaluation of physiological and histopathological parameters. Evaluate bioscavenger pretreatment as medical countermeasure against FGAs in guinea pigs. Conduct advanced assessment (pharmacokinetic and bioavailability) studies of lead medical countermeasures to FGAs in higher animal species for human efficacy estimation.
  • Develop surrogate markers in guinea pigs for alternative medical countermeasures for FGA exposure. Develop downselection criteria for choice of the best of the candidates for improved medical countermeasures to FGA exposure.

Source: DoD Chemical and Biological Defense Program – FY 2001-2003 Performance Plan 2002, Volume II, April 2002

US muzzled OPCW Advisory Board Chairman on next generation agents: diplomatic cable

In February 2006, the then chairman of the OPCW scientific advisory board, the Czech Jiri Matousek stated that Novichoks were being developed in Edgewood Research Development and Engineering Center. A diplomatic cable dated 28th February 2006 reveals that the US delegation lied to OPCW that Edgewood was not developing Novichok. Furthermore, a US diplomat forced the Czech Republic to instruct Jiri Matousek not to publicly discuss next generation agents in the future, according to a secret diplomatic cable, entitled: Czechs muzzle Advisory Board chairman on Next Generation Agents (28th March 2006).

Source: WikiLeaks

Clinton to US diplomats: Avoid discussion on Fourth Generation Agents

secret cable dated 26 March 2009 from a US delegate to OPCW reported that at a meeting of the OPCW Data Validation Group in The Hague, “representatives of several countries (Finland, Netherlands, UK) had begun discussing the Mirzayanov book on the margins of the meeting”. Few months earlier a former Soviet scientist, who defected to the US, Vil Mirzayanov published a book revealing publicly the chemical formula of a number of Novichok nerve agents. The US delegate requested further guidance. The cable was addressed to the CIA, the National Security Council, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State.

In a subsequent cable dated 3 April 2009  then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton instructed the US delegation to the Australia Group (informal association of 42 nations that works to prevent the export of chemical and biological weapons) to:

– Avoid any substantive discussion of the Mirazayanov book “State Secrets: An Insider’s View of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program” or so-called ‘Fourth Generation Agents.’

– If AG participants raise the issue of Vils Mirazayonov’s book “State Secrets: An Insider’s View of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program,” the Del should:

– Report any instances in which the book is raised

– Not start or provoke conversations about the book or engage substantively if it comes up in conversation

– Express a lack of familiarity with the issue

– Quietly discourage substantive discussions by suggesting that the issue is best left to experts in capitals

These diplomatic cables show that the US research on Fourth Generation Agents (Novichok) spanned for at least a decade and was kept secret for unknown reasons. In 2012 the Pentagon outsourced much of its nerve agent research to the UK military lab Dstl Porton Down involving tests with nerve agents on animals. Given that Porton Down had Novichok samples at its disposal prior to the Skripals attack, it is highly likely that Novichok was one of the tested nerve agents.

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Leaked arms dealers’ passports reveal who supplies terrorists in Yemen: Serbia files (Part 3)

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The scanned passport of a US private contractor who transported 20,000 pcs. of 122 mm Grad rockets from Serbia to Saudi Arabia (Source: Leaked documents from the Serbian arms factory Krusik)

Leaked documents including scanned passports of US, Saudi and UAE arms dealers and government officials expose for the first time an international weapons shipment network for arming militants in Yemen, including Islamic State terrorists in Yemen.

Recently I anonymously received explosive documents from the Serbian state-owned arms manufacturer Krusik, including e-mails, internal memos, contracts, photos, delivery schedules, and packing lists with lot numbers of weapons and their buyers. Among the leaked documents I also received scanned passports of arms dealers and government officials from the US, Saudi Arabia and UAE. They visited the Serbian arms factory to purchase weapons (mortar shells and rockets) on behalf of the US Government, Saudi Defence Ministry and UAE Army.  Some of these weapons, however, have ended up with terrorists in Yemen.

Tracing Islamic State weapons in Yemen back to their suppliers

Serbian mortar shells manufactured by the Serbian state-owned arms factory Krusik can often be seen in the hands of Islamic State terrorists in their propaganda videos in Yemen.

I traced back two particular lots of Serbian mortar shells whose identification marks were clearly visible. I used the documents that were leaked to me from the Serbian arms factory Krusik to find out who had originally ordered and purchased these lots of weapons.

This still image taken from an Islamic State video in Yemen shows mortar shells 82 mm M74 HE lot 04/18 from the Serbian arms factory Krusik along with mortar shells from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The two letters KV mean that those mortar shells were manufactured by the Serbian arms factory Krusik (K stands for Krusik and V – for Valjevo, the town where the factory is located). The following digits 04/18 mean that the mortar shells are lot 04, produced in 2018.

The packing list of 10,500 pcs. of 82 mm M74 HE mortar shells KV lot 04/18. The consignor is Jugoimport SDPR, Serbia and the consignee is the American company Alliant Techsystems LLC.

According to the documents, such 82 mm M74HE mortar shells KV lot 04/18 which appear in the Islamic State video in Yemen were purchased by the American company Alliant Techsystems LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of ATK Orbital, USA) on behalf of the US Government.  The end user indicated is the Afghan Army. However, weapons from this particular lot appear with Islamic State terrorists in Yemen.

This photo published on 8 August 2019 by Islamic State media in Yemen shows Serbian mortar shells 81 mm M72 HE KV Lot 01/18 in Zaaj Area of Qevh, Bayda, Yemen. The mark on the shells means lot 01, manufactured in 2018 by Krusik, Serbia.

These mortar shells 81 mm M72 HE KV Lot 01/18 were purchased by the Saudi Ministry of Defence, according to documents from the manufacturer Krusik. The exporter was the Serbian private company GIM, represented by the Serbian interior minister Nebojsa Stefanivic’s father – Branko Stefanovic. Besides being interior minister, his son Nebojsa Stefanivic is also the vice prime minister of Serbia.

As of 1 June 2018 Krusik manufactured a total of 11,880 pcs. of 81 mm M72 HE mortar shells Lot 01/18, as those in the Islamic State photo in Yemen. The exporter was the Serbian arms company GIM.
A total of 15,000 pcs. of 81 mm M72 HE mortar shells which GIM purchased from Krusik were exported to Saudi Arabia in 2018.

GIM signed four contracts with Saudi Arabia for the delivery of 517,000 pcs. of mortar shells from Krusik (one contract – in 2016, and three contracts – in 2018 respectively). The exporter from Serbia was GIM and the importers in Saudi Arabia were two private companies: Rinad Al Jazira, Saudi Arabia and Larkmont Holdings LTD, an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands. The end user was the Ministry of Defence of Saudi Arabia.

The Government of Saudi Arabia declares that the weapons which Rinad Al Jazira purchased from GIM are for the use of the Saudi Ministry of Defence and will not be re-exported without the consent of the Serbian Government. However, the same 81 mm HE mortar shells appear in Islamic State photos in Yemen.

The Serbian vice prime minister’s father Branko Stefanovic mediated the arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

A GIM letter dated 27 April 2017 to Krusik lists the names of three GIM representatives and three Raniad Al Jazira employees who visited the arms factory in order to inspect and accept the ordered weapons. Among the GIM representatives was Branko Stefanovic.

The Serbian vice prime minister’s father Branko Stefanovic mediated the deal between Krusik and Saudi Arabia as representative of the Serbian private company GIM.

In a letter to Arms Watch GIM denied that Branko Stefanovic is a representative of GIM despite the fact that he is listed as such in the company’s document to Krusik (read the full response of GIM below). However, Serbian President Alexandar Vucic confirmed that Branko Stefanovic worked for GIM. According to the Serbian President “he was just an ordinary employee”.

The offshore deal

GIM also sold Serbian weapons manufactured by Krusik to the Saudi Defence Ministry via an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands, Larkmont Holdings LTD, according to leaked e-mails from GIM to Krusik.

There is no information about the owner of Larkmont Holdings LTD, British Virgin Islands. However, indirect links suggest Saudi ownership. According to the Cyprus Trade Registry, the offshore company is a shareholder in a local company, Milvards Limited, along with a Saudi national, Yousef Alotaibi. The company provides security services, general merchandise, and more.

 

Corruption

GIM purchased weapons from the Serbian state-owned company Krusik at a much lower price than other Krusik’s customers, which raises questions as to whether the state-owned company was defrauded by these deals. Not only did these weapons end up with Islamic State in Yemen, but they were also purchased by GIM (the company represented by the Serbian vice prime minister’s father) at a much lower price than the price initially offered by Krusik, as internal documents reveal.

Furthermore, the price which GIM pays per piece of mortar shell is much lower than the price per piece of the same item which the state-owned company Jugoimport SDPR, for instance, pays.

Comparison between the price per piece at which Krusik sold mortar shells to the private company GIM and to the state-owned Jugoimport SDPR. The private company enjoys special privileges, buying state weapons at lower prices.

According to the leaked documents, the state-owned arms manufacturer Krusik has been defrauded of hundreds of thousands of dollars intentionally for the benefit of the private arms company GIM.

Diplomatic fights with weapons

The weapons were exported from GIM to Saudi Arabia directly on Silk Way Airlines flights, or by sea from the port of Burgas in Bulgaria to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Silk Way Airlines, which the Saudi Ministry of Defence commissioned to transport the Serbian weapons on diplomatic flights, is an Azeri state-run company. Diplomatic notes, which were leaked to me in 2017, revealed that Silk Way Airlines carried out 350 diplomatic flights with weapons for terrorists in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Africa. The flights were chartered by the Pentagon, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Diplomatic flights are exempt from inspections and air bills. The same air company, Silk Way Airlines, was chartered by the Pentagon to transport Serbian mortar shells to Afghanistan on 8 May 2018. Such weapons from the same lot as those transported to Afghanistan appeared in a recent Islamic State video in Yemen.

On 10 March 2019 GIM re-exported Serbian weapons from the port of Burgas, in Bulgaria, to Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, on the ship Bow Diamond, sailing under the flag of Gibraltar.

On 28 June 2019 the Swiss cargo vessel Thorco Basilisk sailed from the port of Burgas, Bulgaria to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, carrying 21 containers with 43,000 pcs. of Serbian mortar shells.

Private contractors

Documents reveal that the Saudi Defense Ministry has commissioned private contractors from the USA and UAE (all of whom are American nationals), to purchase and transport the Serbian weapons. Such private contractors are often used by secret services for covert operations involving illegal activities abroad. According to leaked documents, private contractors from the USA and UAE were tasked with the delivery of 20,000 pcs. of Grad rockets from Serbia to Saudi Arabia in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The end user is not indicated in the contract. Furthermore, the Saudi army does not use such rockets.

In 2016 the Serbian company Krupnik signed a $ 69.72 million contract with the arms manufacturer Krusik for the delivery of 20,000 pcs. of 122 mm Grad rockets to Saudi Arabia. Krupnik and Krusik signed another three contracts for the delivery of 9,000 pcs. of 120 mm M87P2, ILL mortar shells, 7,600 pcs. of 82 mm M74P1(white phosphorus) mortar shells, and 85,000 pcs. of 82 mm M74 HE mortar shells to Saudi Arabia.

The private contractors are not mentioned in any of the documents about these exports. However, leaked letters from the exporter Krupnik to the manufacturer Krusik reveal that these rockets and mortar shells (including white phosphorus) were taken from the factory by private contractors. Leaked passports reveal the identities of the people involved. The exact role of these private contractors is not specified in any of the documents. However, their nationality (USA, Bulgaria, Romania) suggests an international joint operation.

On 17 April 2017, representatives of the Serbian exporter Krupnik visited the arms factory for final inspection of the ordered weapons along with a delegation of nine foreigners: two Saudis from the Ministry of Defense of Saudi Arabia, two Americans from Heptagon Global Trading, UAE, one American national from Armytrans Ltd., USA, one American from Tradewinds Logistics Group, USA, one Bulgarian and two Romanians, also from Tradewinds Logistics Group, USA.

On 10 and 11 December 2018 the same foreigners visited Krusik again to take the rest of the ordered weapons, along with four other Saudi officials from the Defense Ministry of Saudi Arabia.

The American national Paul McKeon Miller Evans, who visited Krusik to inspect the Saudi-purchased weapons as representative of Armytrans, USA in 2017, was listed as project manager at Heptagon Global Trading, UAE, during his second visit in 2018.

Helmut G. Mertins

Another American national, Helmut G. Mertins, who visited Krusik as director of Heptagon Global Trading, UAE, appears to have been involved in deals on the Balkans for at least 10 years. Photos published on Facebook in 2009 show him posing next to a Silk Way Airlines plane at Plovdiv Airport in Bulgaria.

Helmut G. Mertins posing in front of a Silk Way Airlines plane at Plovdiv Airport in Bulgaria in 2009 (source: Facebook)

Armytrans USA, Heptagon Global Trading UAE, and Tradewinds Logistics USA, whose employees visited Krusik to inspect and accept the Saudi-purchased weapons, are not party to the contract with the Serbian arms factory. However, these companies accepted and transported the weapons out of Serbia. The common element are their American employees.

Furthermore, Heptagon Global Trading and Tradewinds Logistics are directly linked in the United States. Heptagon Global Trading, UAE, has a branch in Texas, USA, whose director is Justine Hargrove. The same name is listed as the chairman of the Tradewinds Logistics branch in Florida. Both companies – Heptagon Global Trading and Tradewinds Logistics,  share the same address – 10687 Gaskins Way, Suite 105, Manassas  20109 VA, United States (see the document library below). However, there are no public records about their owners. Tradewinds Logistics is registered as an offshore company in Delaware, USA. According to the company’s website, Tradewinds Logistics provides secure transport, secure inland escort and the majority of its staff hold US Security clearance, meaning that they perform work for the US Government.

The company manages DOD Supply Chain Operations in Saudi Arabia and seeks to hire a senior program manager for deployment in the Gulf region.

According to leaked documents, the American contractors transported 11,000 pcs. of Serbian Grad rockets in 2017 and 2018, and 9,000 pcs. of Grad rockets in 2019. The weapons were exported on truck from Serbia to the port of Burgas in Bulgaria from where they were re-exported by sea to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

2,000 pcs. of Serbian Grad rockets from Krusik were exported from Burgas to Jeddah on 16 July 2019 on the general cargo vessel Jork, sailing under the flag of Antigua Barbuda.

The general cargo vessel  Jork transits the Bosphorus en-route from Burgas to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 17 July 2019 (Source: Yörük Işık )

Saudi Arabia has purchased a total of 1,286,462 pcs. of ammunition from the Serbian arms factory Krusik since 2017.

These exports are just a small part of a covert international weapons shipment network for arming militants in the Middle East. I have published documents and evidence linking these exports directly to Islamic State terrorists in Yemen. I have also published the names and passports of arms dealers and government officials from the US and Saudi Arabia because they must be interrogated and those who arm terrorists must be held to account.

If you have any information about these people, or other illicit arms deals, please, contact me here, and help us to stop the arming of terrorists and to save lives.

More leaked documents you can read here:

Islamic State weapons in Yemen traced back to US Government: Serbia files (part 1)

US Task Force Smoking Gun smuggles weapons to Syria: Serbia files (part 2)

US Task Force Smoking Gun smuggles weapons to Syria: Serbia files (part 2)

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US Task Force Smoking Gun has transported hundreds of tons of weapons from Europe to Syria via Qatar on Pentagon-commissioned Kalitta Air flights from Rijeka Airport in Croatia.

New leaked documents expose for the first time a secret US Special Operations Command unit code named Task Force Smoking Gun. It has been deployed in Croatia since 2017 and tasked with diverting tons of arms and ammunition from Europe to Syria.

Recently I anonymously received explosive documents about arms deals between the US Government and the Serbian state owned-arms manufacturer Krusik, including contracts, e-mails, internal memos, photos, delivery schedules, and packing lists of weapons with lot numbers and their buyers. Among the leaked documents I also received scanned passports of arms dealers and government officials from the US. They have visited Krusik to buy weapons for the Pentagon Train and Equip program for militants in Syria.

Task Force Smoking Gun

The Pentagon deployed Task Force Smoking Gun to Croatia in 2017 in support of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Train and Equip program in Syria. According to leaked e-mails, Task Force Smoking Gun has been operating an arms depot in the Croatian city of Podhum near Rijeka Airport from where Pentagon-commissioned American carriers (Atlas Air and Kalitta Air) have transported the military cargo to the US air base Al Udeid in Qatar.

The weapons originate from Serbia. The buyers are four American companies which have been contracted by the US Government to supply non US standard weapons (weapons not in use by the US Army) – Sierra Four Industries, Orbital ATK, Global Ordnance, and UDC.

Leaked passports reveal which US Government officials and private contractors have ordered, inspected and accepted the weapons. The same names have been listed by the Pentagon as recipients of a US Central Command award in recognition of their support to the Syrian Train and Equip program – the US program for arming militants in Syria (see the document libraries below).

The British broker

 “We have received the attached list of items for the US Government. The request is for USG Special Operations Command, end user Iraqi Ministry of Defence (via Kuwait)”, writes a British arms dealer, Lynn Timckle, director of the UK-based Imber Enterprises Limited in a leaked e-mail to the Serbian arms manufacturer Krusik. The e-mail dated 21 January 2016 includes the US Government list of weapons that need to be purchased from arms factories across Eastern Europe.

Lynn Timckle asks Krusik to make an offer of its ability to deliver mortar shells as soon as possible. Krusik offers 2,450 pcs. of mortar shells 60 mm M73 HE, 23,000 pcs. of mortar shells 82 mm M74 HE, and 27,000 pcs. of mortar shells 120 mm M62P8 HE.

Imber Enterprises was established on March 2011 by Lynn Timcke predominantly to supply defence products and provide support services to Governments and Ministries worldwide, including Eastern European weapons, according to information provided by ADS (the British defense industry organisation which member is Imber Enterprises).

The leaked correspondence between Krusik and the British broker reveals that the buyer is an American company, Sierra Four Industries, but the payment for these weapons will not be made by the American company, but by a British company which has no role in the deal other than to pay – Charles Kendall & Partners Ltd., UK. Krusik explains that it will need permission from the Serbian Finance Ministry. Furthermore, Krusik expresses its concern about another legal obligation – the draft End User Certificate states that the weapons will be delivered to Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, and according to that it should be clearly stated that the weapons will be used in Romania as well as the precise use of these weapons.

Nevertheless, none of these concerns are taken into consideration. Instead, the president of Sierra Four Industries Robert Grimmer sends an e-mail confirming that the money will be transferred to Krusik by his British financial partner Charles Kendall & Partners Ltd., UK without further explanation as to why the buyer is the US Government, through its contractor Sierra Four Industries, USA, but the payment comes from a private company in the UK.

Inflated price

Another interesting detail in the leaked documents is the price of the deal. According to the Agreement between Krusik and Sierra Four Industries, the price is $7,842,910. A further check in the US Federal Contracts Registry, however, shows that the price under this contract is much higher – $12,417,458 (or $4,5 million higher than the price in the contract with Krusik) which raises serious questions as to where the money has gone.

According to the leaked e-mails, the weapons were shipped on trucks from Serbia to the US arms depot in Podhum, Croatia, not in Romania or Kuwait as the British broker initially states. The address indicated on the labels of the boxes is the address of the Croatian state-owned military company Agency Alan’s warehouse (Grobnik Processing Site) in Podhum, some 30 km from Rijeka Airport. Agency Alan itself has a $17.6 m contract with the Pentagon for the delivery of non-US standard weapons (2017-2018).

Zachariah Franklin whose name and USSOCOM e-mail is indicated on the labels of the mortar shells boxes, from Krusik to Croatia, is Chief Ammunition NCO, 1st Special Forces Command at the United States Army. According to his Linkedin account, in 2017 and 2018 (when the shipments to Croatia took place) he served as Ammunition Logistics NCO in 528th Sustainment Brigade. It supports US Army special operations forces around the world. However, he has not listed his deployment to Croatia as officer from the USSOCOM Task Force Smoking Gun meaning that the information about his work for Task Force Smoking Gun is classified.

The Pentagon hides flights using the same flight numbers

Two American air companies – Atlas Air and Kalitta Air, have been chartered by the Pentagon to transport weapons from Rijeka Airport to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. Flight logs of seven flights in 2018 operated by Atlas Air and Kalitta Air from Rijeka Airport to Al Udeid Air Base show that all these flights were assigned a Camber call sign (a military call sign used for US Transportation Command flights). The previous flights to Rijeka were assigned a civil call sign meaning that the planes were loaded with military cargo in Rijeka as the next flight from Rijeka to Al Udeid Military Air Base was with the Camber call sign.

Some of the flights have the same flight number (CMB514 or CMB515) despite being performed by different planes and in different months. Tracking these flights using planes tracking websites is practically impossible as the search results show only the last flight with the number CMB514 or CMB515, and there is no history of the rest of the flights which were also assigned the same flight number.

Diplomatic flights with weapons and narcotics

Atlas Air and Kalitta Air are prime Pentagon contractors, according to information obtained from the US Government contracting website. Atlas Air was awarded an indefinite delivery contract HTC71118DC005 (2018-2023) with a potential value of  $227,9 m to transport hazardous, sensitive (including narcotics), refrigerated/cold chain (perishable), life and death, oversized, general cargo or unusual shipments.

Kalitta Air was awarded an indefinite delivery contract HTC71115DR047 (2015-2018) with a potential value of $266 m to move DoD and other US Government cargo with diplomatic clearance.

 $1 million per flight from the US taxpayers’ money

Court documents reveal that one of the air companies with flights to Al Udeid Air Base – Kalitta Air received $1 million per flight under US government contracts. In November 2016 a former employee of Kalitta Air filed a complaint against the company on the grounds that the employees did not receive the compensation (the so called hazard pay) which the Pentagon paid to Kalitta for operations in war zones.  According to the court documents, “Kalitta contracts with the U.S. Transportation Command to pick up and deliver cargo to the U.S. armed forces in various locations including areas that have been designated “combat zones” by the President of the United States. In addition to the pay Kalitta receives of approximately $1,000,000 per flight plus fuel costs, Kalitta also receives $27,000 per flight for “hazard pay,” which Kalitta is required to pay to the employees on flights into dangerous combat zones. Kalitta does not pay the $27,000 in hazard pay to its employees.”

Leaked passports of US Government officials

One American national has been a frequent visitor at the firing range of the Serbian arms manufacturer Krusik since 2017. His name and passport appears regularly in the leaked e-mails – Ronald Wheeler. He is a DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency) inspector and his job is to approve the weapons for acceptance by the private US contractors on behalf of the US Government.

Two other American nationals have also visited Krusik on several occasions – James Hamfeldt and Christopher Ratliff. Ratliff travelled under an official passport according to the leaked e-mails (passports used by US Government officials on government missions abroad). James Hamfeldt is a representative of the Pentagon contractor Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of Orbital ATK, USA). Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC has been awarded a $262.6 m contract (2016-2021) W52P1J16D0058 to deliver non US standard weapons to the Pentagon.

In 2017 James Hamfeldt and Christopher Ratliff received an award from the US Central Command for their participation in the program for armament of militants in Syria and Iraq with non US-standard weapons.

Source: www.pica.army.mil, June 9, 2017

Serbian mortar shells manufactured by Krusik can often be seen in the hands of militants in Syria, including in propaganda videos published by Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda in Syria renamed to Fath Al Sham Front). On 3 March 2019 Serbian mortar shells from Krusik were discovered in Al Houla, Syria, hidden in an underground warehouse used by armed groups in the area.

Croatia – the Pentagon arms hub

98,160 pcs. of mortar shells from Krusik purchased by Pentagon contractors were exported to Croatia and stored in the USSOCOM arms depot in Grobnik in just two months – November 2017 and January 2018.

67,960 pcs. of 82 mm Mortar HE were exported on trucks from Serbia to Grobnik, Croatia under contracts with the US companies Global Ordnance and Sierra Four Industries in November 2017. Part of the weapons were packed in air craft pallets meaning that their final destination was not Croatia. The end user indicated was the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). However, none of the US Army commands use non US-standard weapons meaning that the weapons were smuggled to a third party.

Global Ordnance sent to Krusik the USSOCOM revised shipping plan for arms exports to Grobnik Processing site in Podhum, Croatia.
A total of 67,960 pcs. of 82 mm Mortar HE were imported to Croatia by Global Ordnance and Sierra Four Industries in November 2017.

 

Alliant Techsystems Operations (ATK) along with two other Pentagon contractors – UDC (USA) and Global Ordnance (USA), delivered a further 30,200 pcs. of Serbian mortar shells to the USSOCOM Task Force Smoking Gun depot in January 2018. The exporter was the Serbian state-owned company Jugoimport SDPR and the manufacturer – Krusik. A leaked internal memo between Jugoimport and Krusik reveals a very tight delivery schedule in 2018. The US contractors explain that the Croatian depot is over packed.

Below is the translation in English of an e-mail dated December 21, 2017 which Jugoimport-SDPR sent to Krusik:

ATK – planned December delivery of mortar shells 82mm Ill (6,000 pieces), 120mm Ill (2,000 pieces) and 60mm HE (3,000 pieces) postponed to the beginning of 2018. Delivery delay is caused by limited storage capacities in Croatia.

UDC – Delivery of 60mm HE (10,000 pieces) according to our foreign partner’s schedule is planned for the end of January 2018. The delivery of goods will depend on the storage capacities in Croatia, which our foreign partner cannot influence.

Global Ordnance – The first delivery of mortar shells 120mm HE (the first lot of 7,500 pieces) is planned for 15 January 2018, also due to the exhausted storage capacities in Croatia, caused by poor weather conditions for the dispatch of goods to the final destination.

The foreign partner is working intensively on the delivery of 82 mm mortar shells (1,700 pieces) where transit licenses are expected for the final destination in Germany. However, it is to be expected that this delivery will be completed in January 2018.

Also, please inform us when the second lot of 7,500 pieces of mortar shells 120mm HE for Global Ordnance will be ready for testing and acceptance.

End User – Unknown

Alliant Techsystems Operations (ATK) has purchased 198,906 pcs. of mortar shells from Krusik and 11,880,000 pcs. of 7.62×54 mm R Ball from another Serbian arms manufacturer Prvi Partizan under  contracts with the Serbian state-owned company Jugoimport-SDPR. The delivery orders have been funded by the Department of the Army under the US federal contract W52P1J-16-D-0058.

20,000 pcs. of mortar shells purchased by Alliant Techsystems (ATK) have no end user indicated. It is only stated in the contract: “for the US Government’s purposes”. Furthermore, the US Army is not the end user as it does not use non-US standard weapons. According to the contract with Jugoimport SDPR, there are: 3,000 pcs. of 60mm M73 HE Mortar, 5,000 pcs. of 60mm M67 ILL Mortar, 5,000 pcs. of 82mm M67 ILL Mortar, 7,000 pcs. of 120mm M87P1 ILL Mortar, which have been exported without the real end user being indicated in the documents.

960 pcs. of mortar shells 82mm M67, ILL were shipped by Alliant Techsystems (ATK) in January of this year to the US Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center in Iraq. According to e-mails and photos of the boxes with weapons, the only information provided is: Customer – the Republic of Iraq. However, there is no information as to who exactly the end user of the mortar shells is.

 

Mortar shells boxes ready for export to the US Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center.

The US company UDC delivered 10,000 pcs. of mortar shells 60 mm M73 HE under a $39 million US federal contract H9222216G0009-0006 in 2018 to the USSOCOM Task Force Smoking Gun arms depot in Croatia. The end user of the weapons is not indicated.

US government contractor: “Remove our name from the labels”

Leaked e-mails between Jugoimport and Krusik reveal a very special US client performing work for the US Government – Mil Spec Industries. The US contractor produces special chemicals and supplies the US Army, according to the company’s website.  In 2017 Mil Spec Industries signed a contract with Jugoimport SDPR for the purchase of 100 pcs. of inert mortar shells 60 mm from the Serbian state-owned manufacturer Krusik at the price of $8,450. According to the contract with Krusik, the end user is the US Government (Vlada SAD in Serbian in the original document). Why would the US Government need 100 pcs. of Serbian inert mortar shells which are non-US standard and therefore cannot be used for training by the US Army?

The end user is the US Government (Vlada SAD in Serbian)

The following correspondence between Jugoimport SDPR and Krusik raises even further questions – the US client did not want its name to be written anywhere.

In an e-mail dated 22 January 2018 Jugoimport instructed Krusik to delete the name of its client Mil Spec Industries from the labels.

The name Mil Spec Industries must be removed from the labels of the mortar shells boxes, according to correspondence between Jugoimport SDPR and Krusik.

Krusik followed the instructions and the name of the US client was deleted.

More leaked documents you can read here:

Islamic State weapons in Yemen traced back to US Government: Serbia files (part 1)

Leaked arms dealers’ passports reveal who supplies terrorists in Yemen: Serbia files (Part 3)

Islamic State weapons in Yemen traced back to US Government: Serbia files (part 1)

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This still image taken from the Islamic State video in Yemen shows mortar shells 82 mm M74 HE lot 04/18 from the Serbian arms factory Krusik along with mortar shells from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

While US President Donald Trump boasts about the defeat of Islamic State in Syria, US government-purchased weapons appear in the hands of Islamic State terrorists in Yemen.

Recently I anonymously received explosive documents from the Serbian state-owned arms companies Krusik and Jugoimport SDPR, including e-mails, internal memos, contracts, photos, delivery schedules, and packing lists with lot numbers of weapons and their buyers. Among the leaked documents I also received scanned passports of arms dealers and government officials from the US, Saudi Arabia and UAE. They have been involved in the trafficking of at least 3 million pieces of Serbian weapons (mortar shells and rockets) to Yemen and Syria in the last three years.

Tracking the lot number of these Serbian weapons I was able to identify and trace mortar shells in the hands of Islamic State terrorists in Yemen back to their buyer – the US Government.

These documents expose the biggest lie in the US foreign policy – officially fighting terrorism while secretly supporting it.

The Pentagon has deployed US Special forces in Yemen. Ironically, in Yemen the US and the Islamic State terrorists have a common enemy – the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who control the country’s north (photo: social media)

What is at stake in Yemen? The war in Yemen is a proxy war for control over one of the poorest countries in the world. It has led, according to UN, to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 24 million people (close to 80 % of the population) being in urgent need of protection and assistance. That includes two million children under-five who are starving to death. It is a war between Iran, on the one hand, and the US, Saudi Arabia and UAE, on the other hand. The Islamic State, however, also plays a significant role in this armed conflict. The terrorist group in Yemen fights mainly against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who control Northern Yemen.

End user – the Islamic State

On 27 July 2019 the Islamic State group released a propaganda video featuring its branch in Yemen. The video shows barbaric scenes of atrocities including shocking scenes of beheadings of people kept in captivity by the Islamic State in Yemen. One 5-second frame shows weapons purchased by the US government in the hands of the terrorists. Here is how I discovered that. The mark on the mortar shells is clearly visible – 82 mm M74 HE KV lot 04/18. The two letters KV mean that those mortar shells were manufactured by the Serbian arms factory Krusik (K stands for Krusik and V – for Valjevo, the town where the factory is located). The following digits 04/18 mean that the mortar shells are lot 04, produced in 2018.

As I had already had documents about arms exports from Krusik I was able to trace back this particular lot 04/18. According to the documents, such 82 mm M74HE mortar shells KV lot 04/18 which appear in the Islamic State video in Yemen were purchased by the American company Alliant Techsystems LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of ATK Orbital, USA) on behalf of the US Government.  The exporter was the Serbian state-owned company Jugoimport SDPR. The packing list of the weapons for their export was signed on 12 February 2018. They were purchased under the contract MP00135498 between Jugoimports SDPR and Alliant Techsystems LLC, USA. The quantity of the weapons was 10,500 pcs.

The packing list of 10,500 pcs. of 82 mm M74 HE mortar shells KV lot 04/18. The consignor is Jugoimport SDPR, Serbia and the consignee is the American company Alliant Techsystems LLC.

According to the contract MP00135498, signed on 20 January 2017, the American company Alliant Techsystems LLC purchased a total of 105,150 pcs. of 82 mm mortar shells “for the needs of the US Government” (za potrebe VLADA SAD in Serbian in the original documents). The exporter was Jugoimport SDPR, Serbia and the manufacturer – Krusik, Serbia. Both Serbian companies are state-owned and under the control of the Serbian government. The price of the deal indicated in the contract is $8,043,975.

The shipping address in the contract is LCAAP Receiving 25201 East 78 Highway, Independence MO 64056. This is the address of Lake City Army Ammunition Plant – a U.S. government-owned facility in north-eastern Independence, Missouri. However, in the attached documents the shipping address is changed to: Afghan National Army Ammo depot 22 Bankers, Pol-e-Charki, Afghanistan, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A CJ4). This is a lead US DoD Agency which tracks shipment delivery from issue to end user and coordinates the delivery to the ammunition depot in Kabul.

Furthermore, the documents show that Alliant Techsystems LLC purchased the Serbian weapons under a US federal contract W52P1J16D0058-0007. According to the US federal contracts registry, this is a $50,426,847 contract between Alliant Techsystems LLC and the US Department of the Army for the delivery of non US standard weapons to Afghanistan in 2017-2018.

Under the cover of NATO Operation Resolute Support

After I identified who had purchased this particular lot 04/18 in the Islamic State video in Yemen, I tracked how and when it was exported.

On 3 April 2018 Jugoimport SDPR (the exporter) sent an e-mail to Krusik (the arms manufacturer) to confirm a shipment on a Silk Way West Airlines flight 7L9632 on 15 April 2018 to the destination Belgrade-Kabul-Baku.  Jugoimport SDPR sent three packing lists so that Krusik prepare the shipment. The three packing lists were for the lots 04/18., 06/18, and 07/18 (10,500 pcs., 2,406 pcs., and 2,920 pcs. of mortar shells 82 mm M74 HE respectively). Alliant Techsystems LLC is indicated as the consignee of the weapons.

The next day (4 April 2018) Jugoimport SDPR sent a second e-mail informing Krusik that the plan had been changed. The shipment that was planned for export on the flight on 15 May 2018 must be prepared for export on a flight on 8 May 2018 (lots 04/18., 06/18, and 07/18). The other shipment that was planned for export on the flight on 8 May 2018 must be prepared for export on the flight on 15 May 2018 (8,500 pcs. of mortar shells 82 mm HE lot 05/18). Why the cargo was exchanged, Jugoimport SDPR did not clarify.

On 17 April 2018 Jugoimport SDPR sent to Krusik the Alliant Techsystems LLC (ATK) approved delivery plan. The air company that was chartered to transport the weapons was Silk Way using a special NAG military call sign. This is a military call sign given by NATO for the operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan (see the document library below). Resolute Support is a NATO-led train, advise and assist mission in Afghanistan meaning that the weapons were supplied under the cover of this program.

The mortar shells featured in the Islamic State video in Yemen (lot 04/18, 10,500 pcs.) were shipped on a Silk Way flight Belgrade-Kabul booked for 8 May 2018. The end user indicated is the Afghan National Army (ANA). The same flight transported also 2,406 pcs. (lot 06/18) and 2,920 pcs. (lot 07/18) of 82 mm mortar shells with an end user the Afghan National Police (ANP).

Boeing 747-83QF with registration VQ-BBM operated by Silk Way West Airlines takes off from Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport en-route to Kabul, Afghanistan on 8 May 2018 carrying the Serbian 10,500 pcs. of 82 mm mortar shells lot 04/18 manufactured by Krusik and purchased by Alliant Techsystems USA (photo credit: Dejan Milinkovic)

A total of 40,236 pcs. of 82 mm mortar shells HE were transported on four Silk Way flights in May 2018 with the end user being the Afghan National Police. All of them were purchased by Alliant Techsystems LLC (ATK) on behalf of the US Department of the Army under a $81.5 million US federal contract W52P1J16D0058-0006.

According to the US Federal contracts registry, the contract W52P1J16D0058-0006 is for the delivery of non US standard ammunition and mortar weapon systems. The country of origin is Bulgaria meaning that Bulgarian weapons were also purchased under the same Pentagon contract.

In the delivery plan which Alliant Techsystems LLC provided to Jugoimport and Krusik some of the Serbian mortar shells were re-exported via Burgas Airport in Bulgaria on three Silk Way flights on 25 April, 18 May and 29 May 2018. Coincidentally, Bulgarian AR-SF rifles also appear in the hands of Islamic State terrorists in Yemen in the same video as the Serbian mortar shells from Krusik. This particular type of rifle is manufactured by the Bulgarian arms factory Arsenal.

A Bulgarian AR-SF rifle in the hands of an Islamic State terrorist in Yemen. This still image is taken from the same video featuring the Serbian mortar shells from Krusik.

A leaked e-mail between Jugoimport and Krusik dated 15 March 2018 reveal that the weapons exported on papers to the Afghan National Police (lots 06/18, 07/18 and 08/18) under the Pentagon contract W52P1J16D0058-0006 were shipped to storage depot 22 Bunkers, Pol-e Charki, Kabul. The weapons (lot 04/18) in the video of the Islamic State in Yemen were also shipped to that address but with an end user the Afghan National Army.

The same storage depot 22 Bunkers, Pol-e Charki was investigated by the US Senate committee following revelations that private US contractors from Blackwater had smuggled hundreds of weapons intended for use by the Afghan Police.

350 diplomatic flights carry weapons for terrorists

Silk Way Airlines which the US Government commissioned to transport the weapons from Serbia and Bulgaria is an Azeri state-run company. Diplomatic notes which were leaked to me in 2017 revealed that Silk Way Airlines carried out 350 diplomatic flights with weapons for terrorists in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Africa. The flights were chartered by the Pentagon, Saudi Arabia and UAE. The weapons were secretly offloaded in Baku, Incirlik Air Base, Prince Sultan Air Base, etc. where the planes stopped for technical landings after which they continued empty to their final destination. The new leaked documents prove that this international weapons shipment network has never ended and continue to this date.

More leaked documents you can read here:

US Task Force Smoking Gun smuggles weapons to Syria: Serbia files (part 2)

Leaked arms dealers’ passports reveal who supplies terrorists in Yemen: Serbia files (Part 3)

US fuels Syrian war with new arms supplies to Al Qaeda terrorists

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A militant from the terrorist group HTS fires a US-made BGM-71 TOW missile in the city of Jarjanaz, Syria (Telegram @new_militarycolumnist)

The Pentagon is buying $2.8 billion worth of weapons for conflict zones around the world. Most of the weapons are destined for Syria.

A number of propaganda videos published by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (formerly known as Al Nusra Front – the Al Qaeda branch in Syria) show the terrorists already being supplied with sophisticated American TOW anti-tank missiles.

TOW missiles

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorists formerly known as Al Nusra Front (the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria) fire an American TOW anti-tank missile at Syrian Arab Army soldiers in Idlib province, killing eight of them. Source: Hayat Tahrir al-Sham propaganda video

The US has designated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) as a terrorist organization. However, US missiles appear on the front line in Syria being used by the same group designated as terrorist organisation.

A US-made TOW missile system seized by Syrian troops during their offensive in Urum al-Kubra in the de-escalation zone of Idlib. The province is under the control of the terrorist group HTS. (Telegram)

These TOW weapon systems were delivered by Raytheon Company to the US Marine Corps under a $1.4 billion contract (2012-2019).  Part of them were later shipped to Syria.

While the US State Department has listed Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” and announced a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture, the Jolani terrorist group has been well equipped with US-made missiles in Syria. A number of confidential leaks over the last years have already exposed the leading role of the US in arming militants in Syria.

Abu Mohammad al-Julani, commander of Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS)
Propaganda footage published by Ibba news agency, linked to the terrorist organisation HTS, shows HTS militants being trained to operate American BGM-71 TOW weapon systems, Kornet and Konkurs anti-tank systems in the Syrian province of Idlib (Telegram @new_militarycolumnist)

Non-standard weapons

Documents obtained from the US Federal contracts registry reveal that the US Army Contracting Command (ACC) Picatinny Arsenal has contracted eight American companies to procure non-US standard weapons from 2020 to 2025. According to the Pentagon solicitation W15QKN-19-R-0049 “Non-standard Weapons, Parts and Accessories”, the deliveries will include “theaters of conflict”.

Pentagon contractors

The US companies, tasked with the non-US standard weapons supplies, are: TLG Worldwide, LLC, Multinational Defense Services LLC, Greystone CS3 LLC, Global Ordnance LLC, UDC USA, Inc., Culmen International, LLC, Blane International Group, Inc., Sierra Four Industries Corp. The potential value of the eight contracts is $350 million for 5 year-period – from 2020 to 2025.

According to the US Federal Procurement Data System, the eight companies have already received orders with an estimated value of $25 million each or $200 million combined under the 5 year-long Pentagon program for non-US standard weapons supplies. These are foreign weapons which are not compatible with the US military standard, hence cannot be used by the US army and will be delivered as military aid to third parties.

Contract 1: Sierra Four Industries – W15QKN20D0013
Contract 2: Culmen International, LLC – W15QKN20D0014
Contract 3: Multinational Defense Services LLC – W15QKN20D0015
Contract 4: UDC USA, Inc. – W15QKN20D0016
Contract 5: Global Ordnance LLC – W15QKN20D0017
Contract 6: Blane International Group, Inc. – W15QKN20D0018
Contract 7: Greystone CS3 LLC – W15QKN20D0019
Contract 8: TLG Worldwide, LLC – W15QKN21D0011

Models and country of origin of the weapons

According to the weapon descriptions, these non-US standard weapons must originate from Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania. The Pentagon solicitation W15QKN19R0049 specifies that “shipping instructions for consignee (ship-to) will be furnished prior to the scheduled delivery date for items required under this requisition”.

The US contractors must procure the following items from these particular factories in Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania:

New Production Arsenal, Bulgaria model AR-M1 Rifle

New Production Zastava, Serbia model M84 Machine Gun

New Production U.M. Cugir, Romania 12.7mm machine gun similar to DShK(M)

New Production Carfil, Romania AG7S

New Production Arsenal, Bulgaria model ATGL-H 

Weapon descriptions of items manufactured in Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania (Source: W15QKN19R0049 Solicitation, US Army Contracting Command (ACC) Picatinny Arsenal)

The contractors working under the program are not permitted to publish or otherwise publicly release specifics of contract information such as quantities of items or destinations. The contractors are also not permitted to publish or otherwise publicly release identifiable images or identities of Government personnel involved in the program without specific authorization. This includes marketing material as well as posting to social media.

End User Certificates

The Pentagon solicitation describes the following “delivery scenarios”:

15,000 pcs. each 7.62x39mm AK/AKM style rifles are to be delivered to Podhum, Croatia. The US Government intends to provide a CAT 1 End User Certificate (EUC) signed by the USG for this requirement. Acceptable condition for this requirement is surplus condition or better. These items are required urgently.

Category 1 End User Certificate (EUC) is issued by the US Government to third parties different from governments for “defense purposes”. This practically means that the US can supply weapons to militants not states under the pretext “for defense”.

60 pcs. each 7.62x54R MG-1M machine guns from Arsenal, Bulgaria are to be delivered to Anniston Army Depot, AL, USA. The US Government intends to use these items for defense purposes including transfer by means of grant aid, International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs, Foreign Military Sales (FMS), and other security assistance and armaments cooperation authorities, to the Government of Burkina Faso. Proposals should include a discussion of the appropriate End User Certificate and signatory to use in order to effect the export of these goods from Bulgaria to the USA given the US Government intended use for defense purposes. Acceptable condition for this requirement is items must be new production, produced after contract award.

Interestingly, although the weapons are intended for “defense purposes” for the Government of Burkina Faso, the weapons are to be delivered to Anniston Army Depot, AL, USA.

16 pcs. each Romanian made, new production, 12.7x108mm machine guns similar to DShK(M) with accessories to be delivered to Aden Adde/Mogadishu International Airport (MGQ), Somalia with a final destination of the UN Support Office for AMISOM UNSOS. The US Government intends to provide a Category 3 End User Certificate signed by the Government of Somalia for this requirement. Acceptable condition for this requirement is items must be new production, produced after contract award.

350 pcs. each RPG-7 launchers are to be delivered to Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. The USG intends to provide a Category 3 End User Certificate signed by the Government of Afghanistan for this requirement. Acceptable condition for this requirement is items must be new production, produced after contract award.

100 pcs. each SPG-9 launchers are to be delivered to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The US Government intends to provide a Category 3 End User Certificate signed by the Government of Iraq for this requirement. Acceptable condition for this requirement is New Old Stock condition or better. These items are required urgently.

Category 3 End User Certificate is issued by the US Government “to provide the item to allies engaged together with the United States in armed conflict with a common enemy”. Interestingly, although the weapons are to be exported with an End User Certificate signed by the Government of Iraq their destination is not Iraq but the US military Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

Source: W15QKN19R0049, US Army Contracting Command (ACC) Picatinny Arsenal

Task Force Smoking Gun

Why is the Pentagon planning to ship 15,000 pcs. of AK47 style rifles (from Bulgaria and Serbia) to a depot in Podhum, Croatia although Croatia is not the end user of these rifles?

The Pentagon has deployed a secret US Special Operations Command unit code named Task Force Smoking Gun in Croatia since 2017 in support of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Train and Equip program in Syria. According to leaked e-mails, published by Arms Watch in 2019, Task Force Smoking Gun has been operating an arms depot in the Croatian city of Podhum near Rijeka Airport from where Pentagon-commissioned American carriers (Atlas Air and Kalitta Air) have transported the military cargo to the US air base Al Udeid in Qatar.

US Task Force Smoking Gun has transported hundreds of tons of weapons from Europe to Syria via Qatar on Pentagon-commissioned Kalitta Air flights from Rijeka Airport in Croatia.

According to the 2019 leaked documents, published by Arms Watch, the weapons which Task Force Smoking Gun diverted to Syria, originated from Serbia. The buyers were four American companies which had been contracted by the US Government to supply non US standard weapons (weapons not in use by the US Army) – Sierra Four Industries, Orbital ATK, Global Ordnance, and UDC.

Leaked passports revealed which US Government officials and private contractors had ordered, inspected and accepted the weapons. The same names have been listed by the Pentagon as recipients of a US Central Command award in recognition of their support to the Syrian Train and Equip program – the US program for arming militants in Syria.

The new 2020 Pentagon contracts for Bulgarian and Serbian rifles, destined for Podhum, Croatia, have been awarded to the same US companies: Sierra Four Industries, Global Ordnance, and UDC, which have already been exposed for illegal arms supplies to Syria.

Al Qaeda in Syria

The main active military group in Syria currently is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib. The terrorist group was previously known as Al Nusra Front – the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria but renamed itself to HTS in order to receive freely military aid from Western countries. This raises questions as to whether Al Qaeda will be the consignee of these weapons in Syria.

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