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tv   Americas Guns Secret Pipeline To Syria  Al Jazeera  March 15, 2018 1:32am-2:01am +03

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walkouts lasted seventeen minutes in memory of the seventeen killed at parkland high school in florida exactly a month ago. the u.n. says more than three hundred civilians have managed to leave rebel held eastern ghouta in syria despite ongoing as strikes the syrian civil defense says russian planes dropped cluster bombs on residential areas in the city of kufa. air raids in shelling by government allied forces also targeted neighboring towns at least thirteen civilians were killed the prime minister of survive says he'll resign if the country's president agrees to give his party the right to choose the next leader of fico has been under pressure to stand down following mass protests prompted by the murder of a journalist involved in the panama papers and government corruption cases and at least two people have been killed in antigovernment protests in guinea the demonstrators were shot during clashes with the police in the capital conakry thousands of people have been protesting against the government's handling of
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a teachers' strike calling for highest salaries you're up to date with all of our top stories that's it for myself in the team here in london people in power starts now. we understand the differences and the similarities of coulter's across the world. so no matter where you call home al-jazeera will bring you the news and current affairs that matter to . al-jazeera. it's well known to the united states exports billions of dollars worth of arms to its allies which isn't as widely understood is that many of the guns it sends into pools in the middle east sixty remissions manufactured in eastern europe so how do the supply routes function and waves of the weapons go in the first of
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a special two concentrates to go into u.s. arms sales giuliana rufus as being to investigate. the. while there were. there were three i know that. you're controlling the. june two thousand and seven efraim given rowley a twenty one year old arms dealer from miami beach is negotiating a three hundred million dollar ammunition for the u.s. plan to go on. his albanian contact because the tributes is secretly recording the
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conversation he wants to prove knows that the seller has links with organized crime . the problem is i don't have a choice the u.s. government or. the united states needs weapons for its allies in the wars in afghanistan and iraq. the guns must be kalashnikovs and other soviet style weapons it's what it allies are used to. speed is of the essence. a year after the coup with gives a rolly. tribute sky is dead many believe the albanian mafia silenced him to stop him from speaking up about a pentagon deal gone bad. tributes because desk gave rise to a scandal that was supposed to change how the american government lies weapons to its allies overseas but the question is has it we set out to investigate just how these weapons find their way into some of the most fragile states on.
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this is david peck who's he used to be did rowley's business partner the story of how the two young amateurs from miami beach turned into international brokers it was so incredible that it became a hollywood blockbuster the. face of. night the pentagon was forty year old chinese ammunition that was stored in albania aboard really a business review a scope of what works with the chinese weapons when the u.s. sanctions so they repackage the ammo to hide its origin. in twenty eleven after new york times expose a different oh you went to jail but the crews got away with house of mist. so you guys didn't really have a background in that you were just two young guys in their twenty's why did you get contracts to supply arms and you mean why did they give us the contracts. well they
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gave us the contracts probably because we were very very competitive we were what they called the best value to the government. who says the wood oaks movie failed to tell the whole story he insists the pentagon you all along that he and his partner was supplying sent to chinese ammunition. his claim supported by documents that surfaced in court. they kept on taking deliveries i think like three deliveries a week of full aircraft loads of ammunition for like four or five months after they found out it was chinese. who says the pentagon was happy with the arrangements until the media got hold of the story how important was it for the u.s. army to get quick supplies operational necessity is a term that the military used when they wanted to say that they got to get this
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done one way or another and that meant that they were willing to overlook certain procedures and rules and safeguards that the administration had put in place. says it's this operational necessity that drives the u.s. government to employ private companies it allows them to be one step removed because a lot of these suppliers in central europe and the east. i mean i have great reputations they may have supplied other people you know that have committed atrocities if they only deal with us companies who go out and then do their own deals and then the u.s. government could wash their hands and say well we didn't know where it was coming from fast forward to twenty fifteen. americans supporting another war in the middle east but in syria it's supplying arms to rebels not two state forces . again the weapons are soviet style easy to use and so common in the region
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they're hard to trace if something goes wrong. when i still controlled territory expands u.s. arms supplies stepped up. i'm pleased that congress has now voted to support a key element of our strategy a plan to train and equip the opposition in syria so they can help push back these terrorists this is exclusive footage of what one of the pentagon secretive projects looked like. again the u.s. government uses private companies to arm and train its allies we're going to examine the outside. these men are highly experienced new fighters mike dougherty and francis no we. aren't they were in bulgaria to train on subject sell weapons that would be supplied to syrian rebels it seemed like a straightforward mission. but it would cause no we you his life.
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friends know we you is survived by his wife and two young children. yes i'm giuliana she has agreed to meet us. we're joined by mike doherty knew we was training. he was present when no we was killed. i was about five or six feet away and as he approached the launcher he literally raised the round and as soon as you started to slide it in and it detonated. and that's when everything just went white for me. died instantly it read all the shots errantly i was thrown into a concrete wall and you know the blast effect threw me back down against the ground and my hand was split down here and hanging in the other hand was had a big chunk of metal and then i just remember looking up and i saw our other
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colleague and his hand was hanging and his arm was use shattered or just tore up i started to to flip myself over to crawl and i start crawling towards and then i passed. the multimillion dollar pentagon contract to train and equip it was received by a company called purple shovel but it seemed to be insufficiently prepared for the task. and mike say there were problems right from the start the awarding of the contract happened very quick and there were a lot of things that we we questioned why are we not doing medical why are we not doing threat brief some things like that it felt very rushed i remember francis saying it's just rushed and it wasn't we really didn't understand the scope of what we were getting into. mike tells us the official investigation into what exactly
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happened in bulgaria seems to have stalled. it's still not clear what caused the missile launcher to malfunction. did the u.s. government's urgency to supply weapons i mean safety procedures were ignored once more there was until i would say over a year later that we learned that the ammunition was over thirty years old and over the last thirty to forty years where was a stored what were the conditions during that storage and were they doing the right things to ensure that it was properly taken care of and that we don't know my can as suing the company i was requested to travel to an interview was declined the company continues to receive u.s. government contracts it seems like the government just wants to put layers over this contract for so you cannot really know much about it so we can do things outside of the military that are maybe a little bit more shady and. meanwhile
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the good supply of weapons from south eastern europe continues. observers have noticed that a small airport in riyadh croatia has become a major hub for the flow of arms to the moves of the middle east. we have come here to find out what type of weapons are sourced by the us government and how they are transported. because for. rocket launchers you can spot a ball garion rather missiles you can spot mortar shells. yelena is a member of the balkan investigative reporting network together with the organized crime and corruption reporting project they have spent two years tracking the pentagon's secret weapon shipments into syria we have set up a joint investigation this one was produced in serbia it's a chaotic
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a machine gun and up in the syrian battleground the us government publishes information about federal contracts online. yelena and her colleagues have used this database to calculate the u.s. government's expenditure on soviet style weapons. since two thousand and fifteen until two thousand and twenty two pending will spend or two point two billion us dollars what do you know about the routes how weapons from balkan countries go to the middle east they go through turkey jordan. qatar and saudi arabia so that's all u.s. allies u.s. allies exactly exactly yelena had been investigating a plane they departed from reactor airport five days earlier which she believes carried weapons to the middle east. you can see tongue fight where there are the words that this plane took several times and you can see places such as r r ion
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gotta exactly and also it has flights number mark which is very specific for the planes that are actually transporting military goods. this is footage of the plane yelena tracked it has been loaded with crates at least twenty u.s. military flights have left this airport in the past six months. and when we arrive at the airport we to see a plane cool greg. this is one of the busiest airports when it comes to players such as this one. is from the same airline and i have been investigating various really is pretty nuts it's just in the middle of a traffic junction. they are about to take all. their weapons there their problem.
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there is this huge fights that are happening it's running it all they need was there the. flight data proves that the majority of these companies planes from reoccur go to keep u.s. bases in the middle east. from their weapons can be funneled to syria. this ng the largest pentagon supply of weapons for syrian rebels is bulgaria to the e use poorest country that's a change in fortune. big areas arms factories fell quiet after the end of the cold war but the wars in iraq afghanistan and syria brought new demand. factories where we opened a new production lines added to supply weapons to the world's most fragile regions .
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we have come to bulgaria to find out more about the weapons the us government by syrian allies. what is home to state arms manufacturers that. it is also where france is no we was killed in june twenty fifteen. that has been struggling to modernize and the fatal accident was in its first incident. a series of explosions rocked one of the company's plans in the time before the contract as a rival there were no casualties but production shut down for over two months. when we contacted v.m. set to find out more if management declined to speak to us. two leading trade unionists did agree to meet but did not want to go on camera not just the workers are refusing to talk to us but even the local t.v.
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station what we do know is that the workers that are on the huge amount of pressure if v.m.s. that fails to complete an order their bonuses are cut was growing international demand for weapons the pressure is on to supply as false as the company can produce . we follow in the we use footsteps his training partner mike doherty had told us the fatal ammunition was thirty years old and we want to see if we can find out more. vs average where the training took place is just over there it's where no real die but we can stop because it's a militarized zone. instead we have to the warehouse where the ems that stores its ammunition. it's where the big explosions took place. we're told to leave immediately this. is really for you to shoot if you insist. we stopped to film in
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a nearby village instead to its. local residents here where fact it by the explosions was so big that some houses in this village had to be evacuated. the local police arrived within minutes. they order us to follow them to the station where we are question and threatened with prosecution. it is clear that the authorities don't like any questions about bulgaria's arms exports. but one person did manage to prove their v.m. said weapons syria garion journalist illyana gate tansey ever. arrived in aleppo as fighting intensified in twenty sixteen. syrian government forces had almost cleared the rebels out of the city. in
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a desperate bid to defend their positions opposition forces responded with a barrage of artillery and rocket propelled grenades. and the syrian regime retaliated with air strikes. hundreds of civilians were killed in the crossfire. the suffering biljana witnessed was unforgettable. it was constant firing. day and day night. one of the rockets cell phone next to us over a mother that shouts there were big heads in front of me. a local journalist took billionaire to a house that have just been vacated by the owners for a friend. this is truck is from a given this is the basement which was used by jihadists to thaw huge quantities software pounds this weapon manufactured by
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a man with a country of origin. when local people realise that i came from bulgaria the first question i got was this why are sending quibbles to q us here in the. after publishing his story an anonymous source directed illyana to a large online stash of hacked documents. taken together they proved that hundreds of flights had transported weapons from balkan states such as well gary and serbia to conflict zones. many were paid for by the pentagon. at least you have any idea of who the perpetrators are among the papers where and use a certificate a kind of contract between buyer and seller the buyers must confirm they will not transfer the weapons without informing the seller they are vital truly to stop the
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global spread of weapons according to the documents the and. special operations command but the weapons and that up are in the hands of jihadists in syria. but she says the seller bulgaria bears responsibility to know when bogey area as a country is. in fault that's our weapons and up in the wall souls and in countries which are on that embargo we should stop immediately exports. since their discovery the documents have been verified by international experts. so what is bulgaria's position on these exports. the government declined to come and so we turn to the only bulgarian official prepared to speak to us it is possible to say that is the best sleep with mice in the world stephan board and the
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chair of the co president of the association of bulgarian defense industries. only one of this one is possible to destroy on the later my because most of its members export arms to the middle east and he shows us some of the nice defense products they have to develop for private and government clients. we want to know if bulgaria is at fault when the u.s. special operations command or so-called passes the weapons on. as a member of the e.u. bulgaria is required to stick to the arms control treaties many of the contracts are fulfilled with the americans putting so as end user but it is known that the weapons are going to syria if you receive and use it for their country who is with a good reputation. it is impossible to say i don't like to see you so who does
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it is not responsible for a boy or country that responsible for the country who make this and you said you make the do you or the state who is good reputation after that or say. much but i have a job on. the hill is growing evidence that this flow of weapons is having unintended consequences. analyst have found heavy machine guns rockets and even missile systems from bulgaria and romania in the hands of ice. it is now estimated that over a third of all weapons used by the group in syria and iraq women a fact chip in eastern europe. so are u.s. arms exports inadvertently empowering the terrorists.
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in london a group called conflict armament research carried out detailed analysis into how isel has obtained its weapons. allowed i'm james bevan is the executive director. the vast majority of weapons a marked kalashnikov almost always on the left hand side of the receiver and they have a serial number. seven spends much of his time in the middle east documenting recovered weapons. most have been captured by iceland battles from their enemies including weapons taken from rebel groups equipped by the us. to date conflict armament research has used serial numbers to trace forty thousand items. is qana transfers have introduced weapons which they didn't previously have access to and that's a positive first for the air france attack of a city. this is an r.p.g. seven launcher designed in one nine hundred forty s.
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but some of the rockets which they've acquired this tends to be through the u.s. train and equip program of the tandem rockets which basically converts the nineteen forties weapon system into something that can defeat a modern tank so weapon that was supplied by the us government may well end up being pointed at us soldiers yes absolutely serious blowback there are serious buy back but not all of weapons were captured in battle a significant number were handed to iceland by friendly fighters from u.s. equipped groups says the missile from an anti tank guided weapon system its transfer history is production in bug area gets transferred across to one of the syrian opposition forces is then diverted to islamic state we pick it up less than two months after i left the factory door once more it's a weapon manufactured in bulgaria by v.m.s. that bought by the pentagon by a private contractor if you supply weapons to non-state actors you have very little
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control over what happens to those weapons particularly in a situation like syria. our request to the u.s. department of defense for an interview was declined but we did get a statement saying america's partner forces are vetted and that the final use of the weapons this checked. meanwhile u.s. support for rebel groups in syria continues. and to defeat eisel america has chosen a new ally the president authorized the department offense to equip kurdish elements of the syrian democratic forces as necessary to ensure a clear victory over isis in iraq and syria. but kurdish rebel forces have their own territorial interests and a new front has opened in a region already fractured by war. in a recent escalation to u.s. allies turkey and the kurds have been pointing guns at one another.
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and more lives are taken every single day. this bread of weapons is a global problem and even more so if exporting countries avoid accountability. in syria thousands have disappeared without a trace. forcibly taken from their families when the most terrible thing the syrians just reading this has been the invisible weapon of the syrian dictatorship of a mother sometimes a call to the other two guys to continue to be sure to talk to. the disappeared of syria but this time on al-jazeera.
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