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What is the life of a mercenary?

On a false British passport Norwegian named Tom has traveled the world - as a mercenary. It is closed from the other world, where a lot of money, a lot of violence and a lot of men, adventurous.
"When I came to the hangar at the airport in Guinea, I saw crates of weapons, who were waiting for us. I drew attention to the fact, that in some places I have been attached plate with my name. Then I thought,: it will be hot", - says Tom.

Tom is sitting on a couch at home in Trøndelag (Trøndelag) and recalls, he lived a few years ago,. On the table is a glass of Red Bull. He can not be without it - the dependence of that, previous life.
On the wall behind him - a huge mural, depicting a map of the world. world, full of exciting routes, as well as some of the corners, which are best described as hell on earth. Tom visited many of them.

For several years he traveled from one war zone to another as a mercenary - or private contractors, as it is called - and performed different tasks. Sometimes - legitimate, sometimes - in the "gray zone". Sometimes illicit.

His fascinated army
In fact, he was going to work with children and teenagers. While studying, in his spare time engaged in boxing. And on weekends moonlighting as a bouncer in Trondheim.

"Then I was drafted into the army. I liked it there. All plants are very. We rushed through the vast expanses on shestikolesnikah and snowmobiles, sometimes depicted, that we are located in the rear of the enemy ".
Interest in military affairs has grown to the extent that, he learned more science army. Tom began to read books about foreign special forces and began to dream about, to get into the SAS (British special forces - ca.. author).

When the military service came to an end, he moved to Southampton in England, to live there with his girlfriend.

"If you are working as a security guard, work you will always. But in order, who used to stand and guard the door in Trondheim, work in England - just culture shock. And the first weekend I went to a really ".
that explains, Bouncer in England, which completely snout, should as soon as possible to return to the respect. And the chief ordered him to beat someone in the next shift.

"I tried and won. And right at the sky fell. Then I became increasingly tough act. And gradually, the fight became a matter of habit ", - says Tom.
Tom liked to use force, he became more and more steep. "Conventional" fight gradually degenerated into brutal violence.
"You know everything, as a tough guy, respected for it. And I enjoyed this respect ".

Bodyguard rock stars
After a few months of work as a bouncer Tom met with the guys, who owned a security firm. Their, in particular, involved such rock band, как Oasis и Stereophonics.

"In my life I had plenty of chances. So at that time it was. They just fired one of the bosses of small, type foreman, which was carried away too cocaine. And I had the opportunity to test their strength. I had to distribute the people on duty, always be aware of, Who, It is doing what and when ".
All, who worked in the security firm, previously worked either in the special forces, or the police. To his own surprise, Tom was among those, of whom had read and who for many years have been for him a role model.
While Tom worked as a foreman guards, he was sent to guard courses. is he, in particular, I studied the police to settle conflicts, technology detention, and I went to the military training of drivers. And he was sent on a course of fire.
Gradually, he was able to try his hand as a bodyguard. I began to work closely with the brothers Liam og Noel Gallagher of «Oasis».
"I then just a dream come true. Both were pretty wild, but I behaved friendly and got along well with both ".
Whereas «Oasis» was one of the most popular rock bands in the world. As Tom was a bodyguard, in particular, keep at a distance particularly annoying fans.
"I remember, some even over the fence of the house climbed. Then we let in on them Doberman, which was Noel ", - Tom grins.

overseas mission
The owner of a security company, where Tom worked, there were several other firms. One of them got a job in Iraq, Iraqi special forces to train shooting. It was shortly after, the Americans took Baghdad during the second Gulf War.
"Here again, everything was purely by chance. chef wanted, so I went with him. Well - I packed a backpack and went. On that trip I was basically his chief errand ".
The Iraq war was just around the corner. Although President George W. Bush announced, "mission accomplished" (mission accomplished), to the world in the Iraqi capital was still far off. From his room at the hotel in the "green zone", he had seen, both fired from grenade launchers other hotels. And on the streets rode tanks.
"It was some kind of sur. I went, armed from head to toe, even though he was just some kind of servant. But the taste is felt. Taste of the wilderness ".

And such a thing, the salary, also played a role. They dress well, and is motivated for your next trip abroad.

One day the boss came to him with the request forms to receive a British passport. As Tom was a British employer, permanent place of residence and the British driver's license, he could ask the British citizenship.
"When I received the passport, had seen, that there is not my name written. As the boss is able to crank, I do not know. I asked, why is it, but he just told me, that I will now always so call, when I travel abroad ".

With the new passport, Tom was sent to Belize, South America.
"I started thinking, that this kind of adventure, but actually I'm not asking a lot of questions about, that the boss has planned for me? ".
When he arrived in the former British colony, then I met a group of British soldiers, who were going to work out in the jungle. He was supposed to go with them.
"It was terribly hard. I was really bad, flowed from all holes, but I continued to train. There were snakes, we ate snake heart, Yes, and that only was not there ", - says Tom.
But the training was only a preparation for the next stage. Tom began to suspect, that trained him not to, to better cope with the bodyguard work.

Soldiers in the "gray zone"
Private military industry has become a business, bringing billions. As a result of the war on terror was not enough soldiers, but the industry itself has been receiving more and more orders. these companies, как Blackwater, earned on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan billions. US authorities have been, beyond all doubt, the largest employer for these companies.
FROM 1991 by 2006 G. G. the number of private contractors, working for the American government, has tripled. It was the most fruitful 2008 year, when, According to the US armed forces, Iraq was 160 thousands of mercenaries, and in Afghanistan - 70 thousand. They worked for Americans. And there were those, who has worked on other countries.
Norwegian authorities do not know, how many Norwegians are employed in this sector.
"The armed forces do not collect information about, what our former employees after, their service, we ended, we have no idea about it. And if the former Norwegian soldiers are engaged in activities or perform acts, that do not meet Norwegian law, the case of police and prosecutors, "- says a spokesperson for Chief of the Norwegian Armed Forces, Colonel Halvorsen Sven (Sven Halvorsen).
From a legal point of view, the work of a mercenary is not contrary to the law. But people involved in the fighting are not legally, it is also not immune to legitimate military action. It means, mercenaries, who are armed and are there, where a military conflict occurs, They may use force only when, when it comes to self-defense.

And mercenaries believe civilians.
Although the number of mercenaries, eg, in Iraq and Afghanistan, significantly reduced, this is still a very lucrative business.
"Active piracy causes, that there is a market for marine contractors, are engaged in security, protect merchant ships in the seas, wherein act pirates. There is a private military company, operating in Africa. South African society has played a central role in the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria 2015 year ", - says Halvorsen.
The Norwegian authorities say, they are not going to use the services of private contractors for military purposes or for the protection of prisoners.

Baptism of fire
When Tom came back from Belize to Southampton, security company moved. Tom has a new office in the basement.
"When I go down, I see the map of Africa and a number of his name. It turned, that the chief of the people gathered, which was supposed to go to Sierra Leone ".
All those, with whom Tom had to go, were mercenaries.
First they went to Guinea. Before a hangar at the airport was a box with arms, box to box. Some rifles and pistols were attached to his name labels.
"Then I thought,: it will be hot. But no questions asked. Then we went from Guinea to Sierra Leone. We did not have a clear idea of, that will have to do there ".
A little later Tom realized, that they were in the country illegally.
Since the early 90-ies of Sierra Leone was gripped by a bloody civil war. Thousands have been killed, Millions were forced to flee. Government troops and militia of the war with rebels, referred to as "Joint revolutionary front" (CALL). For private companies, who took advantage of this opportunity to earn money on the war, it was a real Eldorado.

Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq
"There were more private contractors, than UN troops. Besides, "Blue helmets" not particularly eager to, which was the worst ", - says Tom.
The work was very different. They protected the people from the government, diplomats and those, who had to travel around the country.
And they trained militia, which supported the government forces.
Tom and his colleagues lived in a village a few miles from Freetown, when trained volunteers. The small village with dugouts and a few crumbling stone buildings.
Civilians in the village there are few. Most were killed or, or fled.
"Although rebel soldiers were on the" right side ", people were not particularly pleasant. Abducted women enemy, raped. Then do not kill, but they cut off their breasts, that, if women would then children, they could not feed them ".
That seen with my own eyes, as people cut off the hands and feet. In addition, many of the soldiers of the rebels were very superstitious.
"The worst thing was, when they cut the women shameful lips. They have them then dried and pounded into powder. And then sniffed the powder, mixing it with black powder and cocaine or amphetamine. they believed, that this mixture will make them invincible ".
Once Tom witnessed, the two rebel camp raped a woman the most monstrous way. Colleagues warned him, that it never interfered in that, but then it all went dark eyes.
"I killed both. I was a real breakdown, I stood crumbled and one of them, while colleagues grabbed my hand and did not stop ".
Other colleagues surrounded Tom, to protect it from other insurgents, which literally rattle their sabers. Friends shoved him into a car and taken to another camp.
"In the camp, it was almost the same, but there's no one I did not get ".

The Middle East
After, Tom returned home from Sierra Leone, he was again waiting for work bouncers, bodyguard and guards foreman. But from time to time there and assignments abroad. Time from time they became more and more difficult. He visited the Balkans, provides security on ships in the Indian Ocean, and also worked in the Middle East.
"I increasingly began to fly to Iraq and the Middle East. Officially, the war in Iraq was over, but in fact she's lasted the full ".
Tasks from a private contractor were different. for example, accompany people or materials from one city to another. Or just be a bodyguard.
But the Americans were looking for many of the representatives of the former regime of Saddam, who went into hiding. Reward for their capture was promised. This meant, that private firms could try their luck.
"If we worked for an oil company, you could send people there again, what we really need to have been there. It means, What do you want, who was not on duty, could podhalturit. And no one can stop us from looking for people, which would have taken Americans ".
Thus, private companies could earn in Iraq is incredibly a lot of money. Because as a reward for the capture could reach several million dollars.
"We could drive our cars, And there were two helicopters, who flew in front of us and we go down on the roof of the snipers. After, as we passed, they were collected and lowered on a new roof in the course of our movement. Can you imagine, How much did it cost: use two helicopters for the job ", - says Tom.
And while working in Iraq was extremely dangerous, Tom was not afraid. Through training, he was able to throw the fear, and conscience.
"We traveled a lot convoy between Baghdad and Tikrit. There are usually rebels took up positions on either side of the road a kilometer away, and all the time we fired. But I was not scared. I have, probably, something in the genes, it turns me on ", - says Tom.
In such transport tasks are usually traveled in armored vehicles.

But one day it all went wrong, how to.
"We drove quite trivial cargo - timber - from Baghdad to some village. I was in one of the support vehicles. At that time I was a member of the so-called counter-attack team (counter attack team). This meant, what, If the column was attacked, we would have to stop and defeat the attackers, and the rest of the colony would continue the movement ".
The column was ambushed. The driver of one of the trucks accompany panic, and his car was rolling from side to side. He rode in the car, where was Tom, and it is at high speed flew into the ditch. And although the car was armored, he was just boiled.
The remaining column continued movement, and Tom and nine of his colleagues were, to fight with the enemy, who had been in hiding and shooting at them.
"I remember, I have a hell of a sick back. But I continued to sit in the car and shot through the door, which opened as a result of an accident. I shot and shot, all shops, that were on my body, opustely. And then the bullets in the gun and left ".
One of my colleagues dragged Tom out of the car and shoved into a single machine, which has been on the move. before, than to dart off, They threw two grenades in a car accident victim in, To make sure, that none of the equipment that was there did not get the rebels.
"I was taken to a German field hospital, they should look, I have a back. But I especially on this account to bother, I was given some painkillers, and soon I left the hospital. And more about the back did not think ".
After the event, Tom and other colleagues traveled to Abu Dhabi, to "let off steam".
"There were girls, wine and song. And then back ".

But life in a war zone gradually became affect Tome. Many of his friends were killed, others have found another job.
"Before, How to go home, I was close to suicide. I took on the most dangerous missions. Such, when you do not expect, that someone will come back alive. A professional job was becoming less and less ".

Tom went home, Norway.
He had a girl, and then they gave birth to twins. But despite the fact, that he had children, from the former he was not ready to give up lifestyle.
Living in a war zone has left its mark. He does not feel any feelings to the other - with the exception of his two children.
Tom was in some vague world, It was the 'work'

on criminal biker club. He was repeatedly attracted the use of violence.

"There's so strange to. Once I spent six months in prison in prison, because it represents a danger to other prisoners. At the same time, I had two children, who came to visit me and were everything to me. But overall I was very calm ".

Six months later, Tom came out of prison. but back, which he injured in an accident in Iraq, It bothered him more. He underwent six operations, but the pain is not gone. He became disabled.

"I sat there and felt, I should do something. Use their ability. Looked at once the film "Machine Gun Preacher" (Machine Gun Preacher). As a result, I began to look for humanitarian organizations, which could require my help ".

Tom found the organization, which helps children in Africa. And now responsible for the safety of its employees, when they are "in the field". All on a voluntary basis.

"We came to the place, that the organization has chosen to help. And to me, the children rushed, human 800. And then with me something happened. It seemed to me to compensate for all the evil, What I've done, all life, what is in my conscience. It was karma ".

Especially good relations with Tom developed with children - former soldiers. He has always attracted those, with whom others did not want to deal.

"It seems to me, I'm looking for a balance. In the years, When I was not so, I have caused grief to many. I killed parents with children, I kill children, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. And in order to understand himself, in my head, I need to get rid of karma. I believe in it", - says Tom.

He turns.

Today, he is engaged to chairwoman of the humanitarian organization, which works. Thanks to her humanitarian work and Tom again looks at life with optimism. They are expecting a baby, and life slowly, but surely becoming a "normal".

Until recently sverhkrutogo mercenary turned into accommodating the father. The store villagers sometimes look askance at him. not because, it looks like something scary, but because, which allows children to paint his nails with varnish and decorate the face of cosmetics.

Carmen is also gradually getting better.

"I regret, so I used to live, in the sense, I might do something different, think about the family, house, etc.. d. But at the same time it is life, I have lived, made me so, I am now. Karma on the right track. I obviously did not end up in the black, but, anyway, I begin to take equilibrium ".

This is the story of Tom. Much of, What you just read, check on the accuracy of the impossible, and besides, he avoids calling colleagues by name, that his story did not implicate others. Nevertheless, this story provides a glimpse into the world, part of which becomes more and more people, receiving more and more tasks and taking on more tasks, who previously, usually, Perform routine soldiers.

People, which are many times in a legal "gray zone".

NRK was associated with some of the former colleagues of Tom, people from the same field of activity. We also talked to his psychiatrist, to which he goes after returning home to Norway. All confirm the accuracy of its history.

And we have seen photos, then made, when he worked as a bodyguard at the "Oasis". But in the material they used it was not possible due to the commitments signed by him.

A source: Jorgen Pettersen, NRK, Norway

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