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tv   Americas Guns Secret Pipeline To Syria  Al Jazeera  March 18, 2018 8:33am-9:00am +03

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one of us china relations since the one nine hundred seventy s. . the opposite with the headlines on al-jazeera coming up next here is people in power. we are witnessing around the road this whole remind me which is only looking at how to make the next profit devastating economies devastating ecosystems putting a price on the protection of nature green economy is sound good but it was all about privatized sation of nature should our environment be for sale what we're trying to do this destroyed people to stabilize the plant much more giving them a financial incentive to do that pricing the planet as this time on al jazeera. it's well known to the united states exports billions of dollars worth of homes which are loans which isn't as widely understood is that many of the guns it sends in to use in the middle east are safe here in the mission is manufactured in
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eastern europe so how do the supply routes function and waves of the weapons go in the first of a special trip cross investigation into u.s. arms giuliana rufus has been to investigate. well there were a bar. there were three i know that. you're controlling the. june two thousand and seven efraim given rolly a twenty one year old arms dealer from miami beach is negotiating
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a three hundred million dollar ammunition for the u.s. plan to go on. his albanian contact because the tributes is secretly recording the conversation he wants to prove to vote he knows that the seller has links with organized crime. the problem 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 its allies are used to. its speed is of the essence. a year after the coup with give the rolly. tribute sky is dead many believe the albanian mafia has silenced him to stop him from speaking up about a pentagon deal gone bad. tributes rise to a scandal that was supposed to change how the american government buys weapons to
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arm 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 earth . this is david 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. based. plied the pentagon with forty year old chinese ammunition that was stored in albania on board during any business with us but what works with the chinese weapons were under u.s. sanctions so they repackaged the ammo to hide its origin. in twenty eleven after new york times expose a different oh you went to jail but the cruise got away with house of mist. so you
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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 contract. well they 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.
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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 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. as it's this operation on the says that the 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 that you. the law may not 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 us 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
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rebels not two state forces. again the weapons are soviet style easy to use and so common in the region they're hard to trace if something goes wrong. when i still controlled territory expands u.s. arms supplies stepped up. i'm pleased but 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 legs on the outside. these men are highly experienced new fighters mike doherty and francis know we you know. they were in bulgaria to train on subjects so weapons that would be supplied to syrian rebels it seemed like
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a straightforward mission. but it would cause no we you his life. 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. instantly 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
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and my hand was split down here and hanging and the other hand was had a big chunk of metal and then i just remember looking up and i saw our other 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 multi-million 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 a 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
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saying that it just crashed and it wasn't we really didn't understand the scope of what we were getting into. my tells us the official investigation into what exactly 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 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 before so you cannot really know much about it so we can do things
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outside of the military that are maybe a little bit more shady and. meanwhile the convert supply of weapons from south eastern europe continues. observers have noticed that a small airport in reoccur croatia has become a major hub for the flow of arms to the booze 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 spottable 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 secret weapon shipments into syria we have set up
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a joint investigation this one was produced in serbia it's a chaotic 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 u.s. dollars what do you know about the routes how weapons from balkan countries go to the middle east they go through turkey jordan provide qatar and saudi arabia ok and 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
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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 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 whole bag. this is one of the busiest airports when it comes to players such as this one. is from the same airline hill and i have been investigating various really is pretty nuts it's just in the middle of a traffic junction. they
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are about to take off. there are weapons there they're probably. 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 fully used poorest country that's a change in food. bill barriers 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 buys for it syrian allies. what is home to state arms manufacturers that. it is also where france is know we was killed in june twenty fifteen. the ems that has been struggling to modernize and now we use fatal accident wasn't its first incident. a series of explosions rocked one of the company's plans in the time before the contract is 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
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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. 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 him no we use footsteps his training partner might 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 died 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.
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we're told to leave immediately. what is really for you to shoot with in case if you insist. we stopped to film in a nearby village instead of. 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 proof that weapons syria areon journalist illyana gate tansey ever. arrived in aleppo as fighting intensified in
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twenty sixteen. syrian government forces had almost cleared the rebels out of the city. in 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 unfold gettable. it was costing firing. day and day and 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 to kill ya know to a house that had just been vacated by the owners for a friend. this is truckers from
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a given this is the basement which was used by jihadists to saw huge quantities of weapons this weapon manufactured by 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 quote balls to queue 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 two conflict zones. many were paid for by the pentagon. at least you have any idea of who the perpetrators are among the
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papers where and use a certificates 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 tool to stop the global spread of weapons according to the documents the and. special operations command but the weapons and that up are in the hands of terrorists in syria. but she says the seller bulgaria bears responsibility to know when garia as a country is. informed that our weapons and up in warsaw and in countries which are and bargo 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
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and so we turn to the only bulgarian official prepared to speak to us it is possible to say that is the best lippert mice in the world stephan board and the chair of the co-president of the association of bulgarian defense industries. only one of this one is possible to destroy tank on plate that my vehicles 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
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country who is with a good reputation. it is impossible to say i don't like to see you sell you this it is not responsible for a boy or country that responsible for the country who make this and use it you make the do or the state who is good reputation after that say. much but 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. 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
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a positive first for the air france attack of o.t. . this is an r.p.g. seven launcher designed in one nine hundred forty s. but some of the rockets which they've acquired and sensibly through the us trying and quick 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
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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 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 is 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 could his rebel forces have been own territorial interests and a new front has opened in
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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. and more lives are taken every single day. this brand of weapons is a global problem and even more so if exporting countries avoid accountability. looks so to me it sounds ugly and scares people from america's high streets to mexico's on the world's record for this the side and who controls the other side people in power follows the smuggling route and test the ease of acquiring untraceable weapons on american soil the weapon that was designed for war and it took you about five minutes to buy it as you america's gun is mexico's cartels on
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al-jazeera congressman are you interested in stopping crime we know culture we know the problems that affect this part of the world very very well and that is something that we're trying to take to the rest of the world we have gone to places and reported on a story that it might take an international network for months to be able to do it united nations peacekeepers have their lawyers anti-riot. you are challenging the forces were challenging companies or going to places where nobody else is going. it's very difficult alison a chef or restaurant tour to buy shrimp with the confidence that what you're serving is going to be good seafood by nature is a high risk monitoring sometimes trip is released using production drugs. that are not approved for use in us the f.d.a. simply isn't testing enough on the imported market to really find all of these
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violet if residues take note at this time on al-jazeera. al-jazeera. and for you. and i'm fully back to bill with an economy stories on al-jazeera u.s. president donald trump has lashed out at the probe into alleged links between russia and these twenty sixteen election campaign and for the first time on twitter his use the name of the man leading the investigation right.


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