There's a very strange story that's developing in Australia, and I don't mean the one about its gold reserves, which I blogged about yesterday. As far as I know, there's absolutely no known connection between the yesterday's story and today's, other than in my always highly speculative intuitions and high octane habits of speculation. We'll get back to that, of course.
The story was noticed by Mr. J.D., who in addition to passing along the original story, did a little digging and came up with... well, you'll see.
The original story concerns the apparently quite "unusual" funding for an offshore prison. Here's the original story:
This prison is located, conveniently enough, on an island, and perhaps one senses a bit of irony that what was once a (very large continent-sized) island penal colony is now engaged in establishing prisons on islands, in this case, Manus Island. However, it's the funding of this prison that is causing something of a political scandal for the Australian federal government. In fact, this is so bizarre that when I read it, my jaw dropped, because this is the stuff that one only reads about as taking place in banana republics, like the USA:
More than $420 million over nearly two years is going to a relatively unknown company, the Paladin Group, that was registered to a beach shack on Kangaroo Island and a PO box in Singapore.
Let that one sink in: Australian tax payers saw $420 in Australian dollars being sent to a company registered in a beach shack and to a post office box. You just can't make this stuff up. Or maybe you can, if you're writing scripts for a Hollywood "B" movie. It has all the hallmarks of the murkier backgrounds of Watergate, and the befuddling fact that after Nixon's landslide 1972 win, money from the far east still kept pouring into the Committee to RE-Elect the President (very aptly named CREEP). But wait, there's more: apparently the contracts for the prison island that went to the beach shack and the post office box in Singapore were let without any competition:
The contracts were awarded in a "limited" tender process, meaning there may not have been any other applicants.
Officials are allowed to use that sort of process in specific situations, such as when only one company is capable of doing a job, but Senator Watt said it seemed odd."We know that in early January this year the company was awarded a $109 million contract extension and that was at a time when one of the company's directors was banned from entry to Papua New Guinea, where the contracts operate," he said.
"And at the same time, or shortly after, one of their other directors was charged with money laundering and fraud offences in Papua New Guinea."
The Paladin contract came to light in a story by the Australian Financial Review last week. (Emphasis added)
So, you can throw money laundering into the mix. And while you're at it, you can also throw into the mix the idea that the island is also for "asylum seekers". So is it a kind of asylum-prison? Who knows.
But wait... it gets even better, because the title of the article indicates that one of these non-competitive contracts was awarded to something called the Paladin Group, and just for good measure, the Australian Financial Review mentioned as much.
Now, for those of you who might have happened to read a recent book called The Skorzeny Papers, you might recognize that name, "Paladin Group," but in case you haven't read that book, here's the Wikipedia article about it:
And just to drive the point home a bit, here's what (most of) that article says:
The Paladin Group was a far-right organization founded in 1970 in Spain by former Waffen-SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny. It conceived itself as the military arm of the anti-Communist struggle during and after the Cold War. It was a private security contractor, the group's purpose was to recruit and operate security contractors to prevent the spread of communism worldwide.
The Paladin Group was created in 1970 in the Albufereta neighborhood of Alacant, Spain, by former SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny and former US Colonel James Sanders. A former special operations officer, Skorzeny had become a member of the ODESSA network after the war, helping to smuggle Nazi war criminals out of Allied Europe to Spain, South America and other friendly destinations so they could avoid prosecution for war crimes. Skorzeny himself resided after the war in Spain, protected by the Spanish government.
Skorzeny envisioned the Paladin Group as "an international directorship of strategic assault personnel [that would] straddle the watershed between paramilitary operations carried out by troops in uniforms and the political warfare which is conducted by civilian agents".
In addition to recruiting many former SS members, the Group also recruited from the ranks of various right-wing and nationalist organizations, including the French Nationalist OAS, the SAC, and from military units such as the French Foreign Legion. The hands-on manager of the Group was Dr. Gerhard Hartmut von Schubert, formerly of Dr. Joseph Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry, who had trained security personnel in Argentina and Egypt after World War II. Under his guidance, Paladin provided support to the PFLP-EO led by Wadie Haddad at the same time as the Mossad. The Group's other clients included the South African Bureau of State Security. They also worked for the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 and the Spanish Security Main Direction, who recruited some Paladin operatives to wage clandestine war against ETA. The Group also helped Augusto Pinochet’s Regime fight against Communist insurgents after getting the dealing through Stefano Delle Chiaie of The Italian Neo-Fascist Organization known as National Vanguard (Italy) and to have provided personnel for José López Rega's notorious Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance death squad, however, this was never confirmed.
The Paladin Group was also allegedly allied with a number of other right-wing governments, including Salazar’s Portugal, and some of the Italian neo-fascists involved in the years of lead era attacks of the 1970s and 1980s. The Paladin Group also held offices in Zurich, Switzerland.[2
Uhm... ok... so assuming we're dealing with the same Paladin Group, what's it mean? What's the high octane speculation? Well, as the Wikipedia article notes, the group was concerned with "security", and hence one can imagine it dealing with things like island prisons for "asylum seekers." So that's a little "contextual" point that it might be one and the same group. But if it is, then the implications are profoundly disturbing, for it means essentially that a "private" and "international" group of "mercenaries" founded by a Nazi and Hitler's "favorite commando", is still around, and still doing business with the same old multi-million-dollar Skorzeny gusto. And let's face it, getting lots of money from the Australian government for an island prison or island asylum shelter or whatever the heck it is, is a rather handy way to accomplish several objectives all at once, objectives like money laundering, pr human trafficking with the asylum seekers or prisoners or whatever they are. One has also a nice supply of people to train to be mercenaries (we'll offer you a cushy job and train you, all you have to do is do what we tell you, assassinate a few people, no questions asked), or worse, to use as human targets for the mercenaries you're training, and additionally, a nice supply of people for human trafficking and a variety of other horrendous purposes.
Now, I warned at the beginning of this article that there's absolutely no known connection between this story, and yesterday's story about Australia's "gold problems." But I cannot help but wonder if there might be some sort of connection. Sure, I know, it's crazy. But I can't help but go back to something I uncovered in the course of writing Covert Wars and Breakaway Civilziations, and that is that in the markets of criminal activity, the code for "drugs" was "gold." I can't help but wonder if that code has now expanded, such that "gold" is now the code not just for drugs, but for any illicit market, like human trafficking, organ harvesting, and so on. Even if not, I come away from this story with the horrendous intuition that if there was any group that could organize and be a significant part in such a despicable international trade, it would be Nazis...
In this case, I hope I'm completely wrong, and that this is some other Paladin Group.
See you on the flip side...