No one had told me about the money. It was only once I’d flown in to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, that I got the warning. Steve O’Dair was the guy who briefed me. He was a fellow private security operator, working “the circuit” as it’s called among those in the world of private military operations. Right now he was the Libyan country manager for Blue Mountain, the British private military company (PMC) that had contracted me to do the present job.
We met at the plush and glitzy Corinthian Hotel, in downtown Tripoli. With its space-age towers and golden arches the Corinthian would look more at home in Las Vegas, as opposed to Libya. Granted, there were a few bullet holes in the outer stonework, testifying to the recent fighting that had convulsed the country—fighting aimed at toppling Libya’s forty-five-year rule by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi—but otherwise the place looked pristine and gleaming.
We had a coffee and chatted a bit in the glitzy, palm-fronded lobby, and then Steve sprung the surprise on me—the thirty-thousand-dollar surprise. Blue Mountain had two dozen Libyan guards working at the American Embassy complex in Benghazi, Libya’s second city. I’d come here to put that guard force through three weeks of intensive training, to lick them into shape.
Trouble was, their wages were overdue, and the only way to get the cash to them in post-Gaddafi Libya was for someone to carry it on their person on the flight to Benghazi. As I was about to fly onward to Libya’s second city, Steve had got it into his head that I’d be up for just such a mission.
It was less than six months since the Libyan “democratic revolution” had toppled Gaddafi’s regime—the dictator having been captured, tortured, and executed by those who had seized him. Blue Mountain was one of the few PMCs licensed to operate in Libya, and the company ran Tripoli’s Palm City residential complex, one popular with international businesspeople, United Nations workers, and the world’s media reporting on the story of Libya post-Gaddafi.
It was my first time in Libya, and after seeing the news reports of the recent fighting I had expected the capital to be far more war-torn. On the cab ride from the airport to the Corinthian I’d seen a handful of government buildings that had been turned into piles of twisted metal and shattered rubble, one of which the driver had pointed out gleefully was all that remained of Gaddafi’s Tripoli palace. Each had been flattened by a NATO air strike of impressive surgical precision, and there was little wider damage.
The NATO smart bombs had gone down as they are designed to—right on target. I’d soldiered in the Balkans, across Iraq and Afghanistan, and I’d been expecting a similar level of battle damage here as I’d seen in places like Sarajevo, Baghdad, or Kabul. But apart from the occasional NATO demolition of specific targets, the impression I got was that it was business as usual in Libya’s capital city.
Yet as Steve was quick to point out, and as Blue Mountain’s boss had warned me back in Britain, the toppling of Gaddafi had ushered in no benign new regime. The scores of rebel militias that had united under one cause—that of toppling the dictator—had just as quickly become disunited once Gaddafi was gone. At its simplest, Libya post-Gaddafi had become one massive power grab, with each militia vying to seize control of whatever moneymaking means it could.
As one of the worst examples—at least as far as I was concerned, now that I’d been asked to carry a serious chunk of cash on my next flight—the so-called Zintan Brigade had taken control of the airports. A militia that was best known for capturing Saif al-Islam Gaddafi—one of the last Gaddafi family members then at large—was now running security, customs, immigration, and passport control at some of Libya’s major transport hubs.
Unsurprisingly, it had proven a recipe for insecurity and chaos, not to mention massive racketeering. My first sight of one of the Zintan mob had been upon my arrival at Tripoli International Airport. A guy dressed in gray combat-style pants, a skintight white T-shirt, and a wide-brimmed khaki jungle hat slung around his neck had been standing guard as I’d disembarked from my flight from London.
I’d noticed the Nike runners on his feet, the thick, half-length beard, and the worn AK-47 assault rifle slung over the shoulder. But most of all I’d noticed the guy’s predatory, wolflike gaze, as he’d scrutinized the new arrivals for what I had to presume was lucrative prey. And that encapsulated the problem with me being the cash mule for Blue Mountain: I’d be going through Tripoli airport carrying thirty thousand dollars, while under the scrutiny of the Zintan Brigade.
Moving around with large bundles of cash wasn’t so uncommon in the world of private security operations. It stands to reason that in many war zones or postconflict countries the rule of law has broken down, and the banking system with it. In such situations the only way to pay a local guard force is invariably in cash dollars.
In the past I’d carried a lot more than the thirty thousand Steve had asked me to take. Presuming it was in one-hundred-dollar bills, it would make a bundle less than an inch thick. I could slip it inside an envelope and carry it on my person, or I could conceal it inside one of the books in my hand luggage. I was plowing through the memoirs of Britain’s iconic wartime leader, Winston Churchill, and one of those tomes could easily hide thirty thousand in hundred-dollar bills. Like that it would be all but undetectable and shouldn’t prove a major drama.
Or so I thought.
It was Mohammed, one of Blue Mountain’s local drivers, who came to take me to the airport. Shortly after I finished chatting with Steve I slipped into the rear of Mohammed’s smart American Mustang, and we set off to catch my flight. Mohammed spoke excellent English and we got down to business right away.
“So, Mohammed, where’s the cash?” I was expecting him to pass me an envelope.
Instead he jerked a thumb at the vehicle’s rear. “In the back, my friend.”
I glanced around, but all I could see was a large plastic travel bag lying on the floor.
“Where in the back?” I asked.
“There in the bag, where d’you think?”
He eyed me in the rearview mirror, irritably, like I was the one being difficult. “You haven’t seen it? The bag lying at your feet.”
I reached forward and unzipped it. Maybe there was an envelope of cash lying on top of a load of other Blue Mountain equipment. But no. The bag was stuffed to the brim with what I recognized immediately as the local currency—Libyan dinar. Unfortunately, thirty thousand dollars’ worth of Libyan dinar fills your average travel bag to bursting—just like this one was now.
It was my turn to eye Mohammed. “Libyan dinar. No one said it was thirty thousand dollars in jingly money. What the hell am I supposed to do with that?”
Mohammed laughed, like it was all a big joke. “No problem! No problem, my friend.”
“No problem. How d’you suggest I get this lot past the Zintan Brigade?”
Mohammed waved his hand dismissively. “No problem. It will be fine.”
It was easy for him to say that, when he wasn’t the one tasked to carry it. Thirty thousand dollars in whatever currency was the equivalent of several years’ wages for someone like Mohammed, or one of the Zintan Brigade fighters. I’d heard the horror stories about what was going down at Libya’s airports under their control. Two weeks earlier a private security guy had tried going through the airport with one hundred thousand dollars in cash. They’d pulled him aside and taken the money, and he’d been lucky to escape with his life.
The Zintan Brigade hailed from the Zintan region of Libya, being a loose coalition of some twenty tribal groups. They’d been brought into the capital by the Tripoli Brigade in some kind of trade-off: Zintan got the airports while the Tripoli Brigade got all the government offices. But at night the city was alive with gunfire as the rival militias fought each other in what amounted to turf wars. To a Westerner they all looked the same: Zintan, Tripoli, whatever—they all wore a hodgepodge of military equipment, plus tight T-shirts, and carried the ubiquitous AK-47. But somehow they knew how to distinguish between each other at a glance, which had to come in useful when engaging in firefights.
I glared at the bag stuffed full of dinar lying at my feet. Mohammed was prattling on about this and that, as if the small matter of a giant travel bag bulging with cash wasn’t an issue. There was no way that I could refuse to carry the money. I knew how badly we needed it at the Benghazi Embassy, and more to the point I had a huge amount invested personally in the job I was tasked with doing here.
I’d taken the Benghazi contract for several reasons, the most crucial of which was Lewis. For the first time in thirty-seven years—the last twenty of which I’d spent soldiering in the world’s trouble spots—I had someone else depending on me now: my son. Lewis had only just turned one. He was the most important thing in my life and the best thing that had ever happened to me. Of course, his mother and my ...
Présentation de l'éditeur
September 11, 2012: Hundreds of fanatics from Al Qaeda’s Shariah Brigade descend on the American Embassy compound in Benghazi, Libya, in a meticulously timed, flawlessly staged nighttime assault that resulted in the brutal murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens. In its sheer audacity alone, the attack was a shattering pronouncement that America’s enemies will take every opportunity to spill innocent blood for their cause.
But why was the Embassy such a vulnerable target? Who was responsible for safeguarding the ambassador and why couldn’t they come to his aid? How could the terrorists’ plan be allowed to succeed in an era when our foreign agencies should be more protected than ever before?
While fundamental questions like these have gone unanswered by the Obama administration, the outrage of so many Americans at Ambassador Stevens’s death has only deepened in the year since the Benghazi siege.
At last, the events surrounding that dark and desperate night come to light in a gripping, moment-by-moment narrative from the only man in a position to tell the full story. Sergeant Morgan Jones, who headed the Embassy’s security detail for six months in 2012, goes behind the scenes to reveal:
• The Embassy’s secret access that no one but Jones knew about—and that allowed him entry as the savage firefight raged on
• Jones’s discovery of the murdered ambassador’s body and his confirmation that the killing was indeed targeted and sadistically brutal
• The State Department’s rotation system that left Embassy security sorely understaffed with a small, new team in place on the night of the attack
• The enemies’ undetected reconnaissance and how they crafted a seamless assault that simultaneously cut off any possible outside assistance
• How the Embassy’s key armed security detail was made up of a local militia closely allied to Al Qaeda
• How those Americans serving at the Embassy repeatedly asked for more U.S. forces, more firepower and physical defenses, but were repeatedly denied such protection
. . . and more fascinating military and strategic detail, rendered in “you are there” authenticity. The Embassy House is a must-read for those seeking answers that authors and journalists have been unable to provide— because, unlike Sergeant Morgan Jones, they were not eyewitnesses to this shattering event in the terror wars.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
35 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
This book is an absolute FRAUD8 novembre 2013
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I wish there was an option for no stars. Dylan Davies AKA 'Rambo', AKA 'Morgan Jones' has just been exposed for making the entire book up out of thin air. This man should be ashamed of himself. However, once the book is moved to the $0.99 rack it will make a great gag gift :/
21 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Don't Waste Your Money8 novembre 2013
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The author has admitted lying to CBS news for its Benghazi story for 60 Minutes. This book is fiction in sum and total.
32 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The book is full of Lies8 novembre 2013
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book if full of Lies. Dylan Davies created this rambo story in his mind and tried to pass it off as fact. Lied to the FBI to feign his heroics (I wonder if that's a criminal offense) Another James Frey
What kind of low life scum bag profits off of the death of an ambassador. Dylan Davies.
Don't waste your money on lies.
38 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Money for nothing, but not mine!5 novembre 2013
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Morgan Jones' real name is Dylan Davies, and he is proven to be a liar. His 60 Minutes interview w/Lara Logan was a performance. He was NOT EVEN THERE THE NIGHT OF THE ATTACK, by his own admission. He filed a report with his employer stating that he was at his beach-side condo that night, not being able to get to the embassy. It's all out for public scrutiny, just look it up. I do not bother with opportunistic, wanna be "authors." I'm sure the ones(gop-ers) who neither care about facts or truth will lick this up. Myself, I haven't the stomach or heart to help this faux author prosper off the deaths of others.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Simon & Schuster has pulled this book from the market. Return yours for a refund.8 novembre 2013
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Simon & Schuster has pulled this book from the market "in light of information that has been brought to our attention" of the parent company since publication.
It is looking more and more as if "Morgan Jones" perpetrated a fraud on Simon & Schuster. If it is true, given the magnitude of the fraud, the man is a criminal and should be tried, convicted, and executed.