Russia's 'worst-kept secret' is its dependence on mercenaries to project power - We Are The Mighty
Intel

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power

The days of the United States staring down the evil empire of the Soviet Union are long passed. Today, Russia is a Wal-Mart version of its former self, and it shows. Although it may seem like a military or strategic powerhouse, it’s ability to project real power is seriously limited. 

In the bygone Russian heyday, the communist threat loomed large. It was a threat that was enough to make the United States – the only other global superpower – limit its wars and interventions for fear of sparking another world war. 

Today, Russia’s biggest threat comes in the form of either bungled poisonings of former Soviet-era operatives and dissidents, election interference, and hacking corporate software that allowed it to collect intelligence on government email servers. 

While the SolarWinds hack was definitely threatening and potentially disastrous, it’s not really the great power struggles we’ve come to expect from an increasingly belligerent Russia. In real terms, according to the RAND Corporation, Russia isn’t really able to make a significant threat to forces on the ground… Unless you happen to be within arms reach.

In a March 2021 blog post, the RAND Corporation’s Molly Dunigan and Ben Connable wrote that Russia’s ability to project power on the ground has actually become a strategic vulnerability, and one the Biden Administration could exploit, if it chose to do so.

“It has almost no organic ability to project and sustain ground power more than a few hundred kilometers beyond its own borders. Russian strategic lift is anemic compared to Soviet-era lift. Available forces are often tied down in one of the many frozen conflicts that ring Russia’s western and southern borders,” they write. 

The conflicts they are referring to are most notably the Russian intervention in the Syrian Civil War and backing separatist rebels in Ukraine. 

Russia, they posit, depends on an army full of drafted Russians who are serving one-year enlistments, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decreed that drafted Russians will never be deployed outside of Russia. Those forces make up around half of Russia’s total ground force. 

Instead of using its drafted army to project power, Russia instead uses companies that provide military services, some might call them “mercenaries” to reach its foreign policy goals in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen, Burundi, and elsewhere. 

Russia
Russia’s Ceremonial Guard still looks polished, but the Russian military’s power is not what it once was.

Russia will contend that its use of mercenaries alongside its special operations and conventional forces allows it to compete with the United States, Dunigan and Connablle wrote, but that narrative is counterfactual. Such a force actually squared off against a force of United States special operators and Kurdish SDF fighters in Khasham, Syria in 2018. The fight did not go well for the Russians, their mercenaries, and their Syrian allies. 

500 Russian, Syrian, and Shia Militiamen with T-72 and T-55 tanks hit a base of 40 special forces troops, backed by United States Marine Corps artillery, U.S. Air Force “Spooky” gunships, and more firepower were quickly routed in Khasham, losing a quarter of the attacking force in the firefight. It wasn’t even close. 

Rather than bolstering the Russian military on the ground, the mercenaries are instead an example in the decline of the former Soviet Union’s ground force, indicative of its increasing dependence on small, special operations missions and sneaky espionage tactics. But these too are things the United States will have to learn to counter as Russia’s skills with them grow.

Intel

Russia and China aim to challenge US in space, say Space Force leaders

Recently, U.S. Space Force General David Thompson, the Vice Space Operations Chief, sat down for a virtual talk with the Association of Old Crows.

Gen. Thompson emphasized the intraservice utility of the Space Force but also of the branch’s need to create and sustain enduring relationships with the other branches, the intelligence community, and other agencies and departments within the US government.

The Space Force is responsible for capabilities and mission-sets such as navigation, orbital warfare, missile defense, satellite communications, electromagnetic operations, and GPS services, among other tasks.

“We have enduring relationships with the National Reconnaissance Office and the rest of the intelligence community,” said Thompson. “We not only need to maintain those but deepen those as well, especially because we’re now partners with them in the need to defend and protect these capabilities from threats.”

Thompson highlighted that the space in a domain where several countries—and even companies—are looking to expand their presence for economic, civil, public safety, and national security purposes. He suggested that the Space Force might be looking to partnerships where there are common interests and goals.

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
U.S. Space Force General David Thompson, Vice Space Operations Chief, speaks to representatives during an Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Leadership series event with the Association of Old Crows, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Jan. 13, 2021. (DoD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany A. Chase)

The Space Force achieved a landmark point in December when General John “Jay” Raymond officially joined the Joint Chiefs of Staff, becoming the 8th member of the highest military council of the US.

“We recognize it clearly as a warfighting domain. And we also know that we, the United States, we’ve got to maintain capabilities in that domain if we are going to continue to deter great power war,” General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during the ceremony. “This is an incredibly important organization for the United States military and for the United States as a country. And it’s really important what we’re doing today, which is [to] induct you as an official member into the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

The commercial sector is another point of interest for the Space Force despite the high-risk it might entail. The ability of private companies to rapidly field and test new technology appeals to the Space Force, which often has to contend with the lengthy test, development, and acquisition timelines found in any bureaucracy.

As for what the Space Force is looking for in future recruits, Thompson said that digitally fluent and cyber-savvy candidates are essential for the Space Force to continue its contribution to the fight but also expand its capabilities.

Headquartered in Virginia, the Association of Old Crows is an international nonprofit professional organization specializing in electronic warfare, tactical information operations, and related disciplines.

In another virtual even, Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten talked about America’s near-peer competitors and their space capabilities and aspirations.

“Russia and China are building capabilities to challenge us in space because if they can challenge us in space, they understand as dependent as we are in space capabilities that they can challenge us as a nation,” said Gen. Hyten during an online event at the National Security Space Association.

Gen. Hyten added that it falls to the Pentagon to continue the education of Americans about US space capabilities but also about the dangers posed by China and Russia and how to best deal with them.

Intel

This WWII vet says killing his enemy was the saddest memory of his life

Understanding the mental cost of taking someone’s life can be nearly impossible for those people who have never experienced it. In this StoryCorps video, Joseph Robertson, an infantryman who served during the Battle of the Bulge, tries to explain to his son-in-law the guilt he has carried since he killed a German soldier approaching his position.


StoryCorps, which works nationwide to collect oral history, has a veteran specific program, Military Voices Initiative, where veterans and service members can tell their stories.

(h/t Upworthy)

MORE: The 6 scariest vehicles of WWI and WWII

AND: 21 of the US military’s most overused clichés

Intel

Researchers are making big progress in diagnosing Gulf War Syndrome

For decades after Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, doctors, scientists and the Department of Veterans Affairs have all struggled to determine what happened to the roughly 25-30% of Gulf War veterans who suffer from a mysterious mix of symptoms from a seemingly unknown cause. The condition and its host of symptoms became known as Gulf War Syndrome, or Gulf War Illness, and wasn’t immediately recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

In 1997, Congress found that the VA and Department of Defense did not listen to Gulf War veterans affected by the series of illnesses associated with Gulf War Syndrome, acknowledging there was no “silver bullet” definition or diagnosis. They also blamed the VA for writing off the condition as post-traumatic stress disorder.

gulf war syndrome symptoms
While PTSD symptoms are well-known, Gulf War Syndrome has a number of strange symptoms, including widespread pain and some heart conditions.

A Congressional committee went on to suggest a number of possible underlying causes of the condition that were present in the war zone, including depleted uranium dust and pyridostigmine bromide used to protect against chemical nerve agents. They blamed the VA for its lack of experience in environmental health and toxicology.

In that same committee meeting, the House of Representatives recommended a medical research body other than the VA or DoD look into the condition, and that’s exactly what happened. 

A body of research has been conducted that has since shed new light on Gulf War Syndrome. The VA has since recognized a number of conditions that are now “presumptive,” meaning gulf War veterans don’t need to prove they happened as a result of military service. This includes:

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Other undiagnosed conditions, such as weight loss, fatigue, unexplainable pain and some heart conditions
  • “Brain Fog”

Researchers at Georgetown University have also discovered physical evidence of the condition in the brains of Gulf War veterans. Nerve fibers connected to pain receptors in the brains of these veterans fire differently than in other humans. This means Gulf War veterans could feel pain while doing something as simple as changing a shirt. 

The same researcher who conducted that study, Dr. James Baraniuk, also found that there may be two distinct subsets of Gulf War Illness. By scanning the brains of more than 30 Gulf War veterans before and after moderate exercise, Baraniuk noted changes in two areas of the brain, each correlating to a different set of symptoms.

One group experienced changes in the area of the brain responsible for processing pain, which was consistent with their symptoms. The other group, who reported cardiovascular symptoms, specifically, increased heart rates while doing something as simple as standing up did not have significant activity in that part of the brain.

Instead, the brain of the cardiac-centric group showed decreased activity in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for fine motor control, cognition, pain, and emotion. Healthy patients showed no changes. 

“While these findings present new challenges to treating people with Gulf War illness, they also present new opportunities,” said Stuart Washington, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow and lead author on the study.

Intel

Air Force builds up Alaskan F-35 fleet in ‘great power competition’ Arctic pivot

April 2021 marks one year since the Air Force’s first two F-35A Lightning II advanced stealth fighters arrived at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. Twenty-five of the Air Force’s fifth-generation fighters are now at Eielson, part of the service’s overall plan to turn Alaska into a “fifth-gen powerhouse,” according to an Air Force press release.

“We have come a long way since the arrival of the first aircraft in April 2020 to now,” Air Force Maj. Jarod DiGeorge of the 354th Fighter Wing said in the release. “Flying 24 sorties in one day barely eight months after first wheels down at Eielson. We are currently on track to achieve initial combat capability this spring and full combat capability next winter.”

Former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James issued a 2016 “record of decision,” effectively establishing Eielson as the home for the service’s Alaska-based F-35s. Additionally, the measure reactivated the 354th Fighter Wing and placed it at Eielson. The wing is slated to receive 54 F-35As in total and is on track to reach full capacity by March 2022.

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A US Air Force F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing flies over Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Dec. 18, 2020. Thirty-five F-35As, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and KC-135 Stratotankers conducted an “Elephant Walk” formation showcasing the air assets located in interior Alaska. US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kaylee Dubois/Released.

A strong deterrent in Alaska is quickly becoming a focal point of a renewed “great power competition” between China, Russia, and the US. In January 2018, Beijing’s so-called Polar Silk Road Arctic strategy declared China to be a “near-Arctic state” — even though China’s nearest territory to the Arctic is some 900 miles away. Additionally, Moscow and Beijing have agreed to connect the Northern Sea Route, claimed by Russia, with China’s Maritime Silk Road.

By 2022, Alaska will be one of most heavily defended airspaces on earth. When Eielson’s F-35 fleet is at full strength, Alaska will have more of America’s advanced, fifth-generation fighters than any other US state.

“America cannot afford to fall behind as other nations devote resources to the Arctic region to secure their national interests. America’s very real interests in the Arctic will only increase in the years to come,” authors Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis wrote in a March 2020 report for The Heritage Foundation.

As Eielson AFB gets more F-35As, it gets closer to being fully combat capable. “It allows our aircrew to be able to train realistically without limitations and to accomplish their specific airborne requirements to be fully proficient in the mission and fly at a combat mission ready rate,” DiGeorge said. “Each and every aircraft we receive is also a projection of the wing’s airpower and furthers our ability to strike in a moment’s notice.”

Intel

Inside the Marine Corps’ new recon sniper course- a visual journey

Yesterday, Coffee or Die Magazine broke the story that the Marines have developed a new course to train snipers for the Corps’ elite Reconnaissance units.

That means we can now reveal that Coffee or Die staffers have been embedded with the Marines of Reconnaissance Training Company on Camp Pendleton off and on for the past month as they train 10 students in the first-ever Reconnaissance Sniper Course. We are following this first class of Recon Snipers all the way through the pilot course, which concludes March 19.

As always, we’re committed to what we do best, which is put boots on the ground to produce detailed multimedia coverage of these types of historical developments and, in this case, provide our readers an intimate view of how some of our most elite warriors are trained.

We have a lot more coverage on the Recon Sniper Course coming, but for now, here’s a taste of some of our best photos so far.

Read Next: How PIGs Become HOGs — A Visual Journey in Marine Corps Scout Sniper Training

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A student in the Reconnaissance Sniper Course trains with the .50-caliber M107 Special Application Scoped Rifle (SASR) during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
Students in the Reconnaissance Sniper Course get a briefing during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A Reconnaissance Sniper Course student engages targets with the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) during marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 25. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
Through their extensive training, Recon Marines earn the Combatant Diver insignia and the Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A student in the Reconnaissance Sniper Course fires the .50-caliber M107 Special Application Scoped Rifle (SASR) during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 10. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
Reconnaissance Sniper Course students collected spent .50-caliber shell casings after firing the M107 Special Application Scoped Rifle (SASR) during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A student in the Reconnaissance Sniper Course fires the .50-caliber M107 Special Application Scoped Rifle (SASR) during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
Reconnaissance Sniper Course students on the range with .50-caliber M107 Special Application Scoped Rifles during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A Reconnaissance Sniper Course student during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
Reconnaissance Sniper Course students during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A Reconnaissance Sniper Course student carries his rifle during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
RSC students carry equipment while running to the starting point for a stalk during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A student takes instructions from an RSC instructor while gathering vegetation from the surrounding environment to improve his camouflage, or “veg up,” during the early phase of stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A Reconnaissance Sniper Course student during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A student prepares for stalking training at the RSC, Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
RSC students carry equipment while running to the starting point for a stalk during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
A student during stalking training at the RSC, Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
An RSC student watches an instructor while gathering vegetation from the surrounding environment to improve his camouflage, or “veg up,” during the early phase of stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

Intel

The insane Israeli special op that gave the US terror intel

President Trump caught a lot of flak for sharing intel with the Russians last year. Specifically, in May when he shared classified info from Israel with Russian envoys Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov.


 

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
President Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

(White House Photo)

Keep in mind that sharing classified information is something the President of the United States can do whenever he wants. It’s not illegal, but it could hurt our chances of other countries sharing intel in the future.

What Trump shared was information regarding a new ISIS weapon and the Saudi bomb maker who developed it — laptop computer bombs that are undetectable at airport security.

Vanity Fair detailed how Sayeret Matkal forces — elite Israeli counter-terror troops — flew undetected across Jordan and then north into Syria. The helicopters dropped the troops and Syrian Army jeeps a few miles away from their target. They then drove on toward their objective.

 

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
Sayeret Matkal commandos in training.

(IDF Photo)

Related: This Israeli special forces unit is their version of Navy SEALs

According to latest intel, hey were on their way to a meeting house of an ISIS cell. The Israelis wanted to ensure it was tapped so they could hear every word. An operative in the field guaranteed them valuable information would come from there. At first it sounded like the bug was a bust — no one was saying anything.

Then it happened. The ISIS troops started talking about how to build the laptop weapon that couldn’t be detected at airports. The bombs would cause airplanes to fall from the sky in huge fireballs. Once the Mossad had the info, they quickly shared it with other potential targets, namely the United States.

Al-Qaeda’s chief bomb maker in Yemen and Saudi Arabian national Ibrahim al-Asiri was thought to be the mastermind behind the weapon. 

 

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power
Ibrahim al-Asiri.

Now Read: 6 miraculous operations of the Israel Defense Forces

That’s what President Trump shared with the Russian Foreign Minister.

Only the Mossad knows what happened to Israel’s inside man in Syria as a result of his location being leaked. An Israeli official told Vanity Fair that, “whatever happened to him, it’s a hell of price to pay for a president’s mistake.”

Intel

This 92-year-old WWII vet gets to fly her favorite plane again after 70 years

Joy Lofthouse was one of the women who pushed the envelope of what women did in World War II. She was a pilot for the British Air Transport Auxiliary, shuttling fighters between air bases, factories, and maintenance facilities.


Now, 70 years after she last flew a Spitfire, she’s back in the cockpit. Check out the video below:

NOW: Stunning footage shows pilot’s eye view from inside a Blue Angel cockpit

OR: Navy turns seawater into fuel and nobody cares

Intel

This is why Pacific Partnership is a big deal

Recently, the Navy announced that the expeditionary fast transport USNS Brunswick (T EPF 6) completed Pacific Partnership 2018 in Thailand. If you’re out of the know, you may be asking yourself why this operation is such a big deal. Well, believe it or not, this annual exercise has been going on for a dozen years now and it’s an essential part of being ready for the worst.


After the 2004 tsunami ravaged Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and several other neighboring countries in one of history’s worst-ever natural disasters, the United States deployed relief ships to provide humanitarian aid. This generated generated a lot of good will among affected nations and their allies. This matters a great deal — when you have a reservoir of good will among a population, you’re much less likely to find yourself embroiled in war.

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power

USNS Mercy (T AH 19) taking part in Pacific Partnership 2018.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey L. Adams)

At the time, the United States had a pair of hospital ships, USNS Mercy (T AH 19) and USNS Comfort (T AH 20), that hadn’t seen much use. Although these ships are slated for replacement, they still house much more advanced medical facilities than most countries can offer. Those aboard USNS Mercy rendered care for 108,000 patients between 2004 and 2005.

After supplying aid in the wake of a terrible disaster, the Navy began to make annual deployments. The Navy has also used the big-deck amphibious assault ships of the Tarawa and Wasp classes in these deployments.

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power

A Navy corpsman gives a tour of the medical facilities on board USNS Mercy (T AH 19) during Pacific Partnership 2015.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mayra A. Conde)

During Pacific Partnership, not only does the Navy provide a lot of medical aid, they host disaster relief training exercises with partner nations, like Thailand. As the old saying goes, “you fight like you train.” The same can be said of providing disaster relief.

This exercise is not entirely a one-way street, however. During Pacific Partnership, in exchange for advanced training, the Navy gets a lot of knowledge about the terrain and personnel are given the opportunity to build relationships with their local counterparts.

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power

Big-deck amphibious ships, like USS Essex (LHD 2), have also been used in Pacific Partnership deployments.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam Brock)

The operation isn’t exclusively for governments. Representatives from various non-governmental organizations also take part. These aren’t the normal passengers on Navy vessels, and having them aboard allows the Navy to practice operating as part of grand-scale, disaster-relief efforts.

At the end of the day, Pacific Partnership is one of the U.S. Military’s greatest chances to practice responding to a disaster. The fact that it generates good will and gets some nice press is just a bonus.

Intel

The crisis in Ukraine was the opening of Cold War 2.0

The crisis in Ukraine, centered on Russia’s annexation of Crimea and their backing of separatists in Ukraine’s east, is a complicated mess. The U.S. and NATO tell one story while Russia tells another. Numerous international incidents have already occurred including the downing of a civilian jetliner, confrontations between Navy ships and Russian jets, and a surge in military exercises by both NATO and Russia, usually near shared borders.


On the season finale of Vice, co-founder Shane Smith and correspondent Simon Ostrovsky lay out the growing crisis in a clear and organized manner, making it easier to get a handle on what’s going on. They talk to experts on both sides of the conflict and in a range of positions, from a separatist commander in Eastern Ukraine to President Obama to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the Russian military and its current expansion.

The documentary covers all the arenas where the conflict is playing out including economic sanctions, active fighting in Eastern Ukraine, information wars across the internet, and military build-ups. Most importantly, it makes these developments and the follow-on consequences easy to understand.

The episode premiers tonight on HBO at 11 p.m. A sneak peek is below, and a preview is on Vice’s website.

NOW: Emotional video shows the pain for Russians as their government hides its war in Ukraine

OR:This crucial 1942 naval battle was captured on film by a Hollywood director

Intel

This ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ actor went to Syria to fight ISIS

A former “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor has left Hollywood to battle the Islamic State in Syria, despite having no previous military experience.


English-born Michael Enright, 51, said in a filmed interview with the Gulf-based AlAlan TV network that the extremist organization is “a stain on humanity,” and one that he personally hopes to destroy.

The actor has also stated that his decision to serve was triggered by a desire to right what he considers a national wrong, referring to the execution of American journalist James Foley by a member of ISIS who is believed to be British.

Enright fights alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which has become a pivotal player in the American led alliance against ISIS.

The Telegraph writes:

Mr. Enright is one of dozens of foreign fighters have travelled to the self-styled Kurdish enclave of Rojava to join the fight. Most have a military background. Many have been recruited via Facebook, and some have funded their airfare on crowd funding websites.

Check out the AlAlan TV video below for the full interview:

Intel

The most radioactive places on earth

Nuclear energy is clean and efficient when everything works. The U.S. powers aircraft carriers, submarines, and even cities with it, but there are obvious down sides: Disasters can lead to death, destruction, and poisonous radiation.


Nuclear accidents are graded from zero to seven, zero being no safety issues and seven being extremely hazardous to health and the environment. Two examples of major nuclear incidents include the 1986 disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine and Fukushima, Japan in 2011.

Although no occurrence of this magnitude has happened in the United States, the Department of Energy has been tasked with cleaning up over 100 nuclear sites within its borders, according to this TestTube video.

Watch:

Intel

The USMC used hot babes, a Corvette, and the beach in the best recruiting spot ever

The U.S. Marine Corps bills itself as the “few and the proud,” but in the 1970s it was the “few and the proud who drive Corvettes and hang out at the beach with babes.”


At least that’s the message from this 30-second U.S. Marine Corps Reserve recruiting commercial from the decade of disco.

“Sure the United States Marine Reserve teaches you a lot,” the narrator of the video says, “like how to take a beachhead.” Except what’s depicted onscreen is a buff Marine running out of the ocean to his girlfriend tanning on the beach.

And well, he continues, “some Marines even get to drive tanks.” The ‘tank’ that’s depicted: A Chevy Corvette.

Talk about clever marketing. I think I want to re-enlist in the Reserves now.

Watch:

NOW: The 8 most iconic Marine Corps recruiting slogans

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