ABOVE: Matthew VanDyke
A guy named Matthew VanDyke announced this on Facebook:
I have been in #Iraq helping to raise and train a Christian army to fight #ISIS. Sons of Liberty International (SOLI), my new company that provides free military consulting and training to local forces fighting terrorists and oppressive regimes, has been consulting and training the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU) in Iraq. In December I took a US Army veteran with me to Iraq to open a covert training facility north of Mosul, and SOLI began training Christian fighters.
Oh, surely, you say, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, he must have a State Department license before he provides defense services in Iraq, right? No one would just go on Facebook and announce to the entire world that he’s training soldiers in Iraq without getting a license first, would they?
So, a reporter at Mother Jones asks VanDyke just that:
VanDyke told Mother Jones that initially “nobody was sanctioning it.” He added, “Part of the whole purpose of SOLI is to step in where governments had failed, so going and asking permission from the governments that have already failed is not particularly productive.”
Later, after telling Mother Jones “repeatedly” that no one in the State Department had the slightest idea he was training soldiers in Iraq, VanDyke seems to have changed his story. According to Mother Jones:
He subsequently stated in an email that “Sons of Liberty International complied with US registration requirements prior to signing a contract with the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU), as required by U.S. law.”
Well, there you have it, yet another undocumented benefit of registration: once registered with DDTC, you can provide military training in the foreign country of your choosing. (DISCLAIMER: Professional scofflaw on closed course. Do not try this on your own. Serious legal injury, including criminal prosecution, could result.)