I seem to have uncovered a strange little black ops organization that's spying in Haiti and elsewhere. Not long ago, they were also looking to drum up some business in the US in the Homeland Security market. I got a few tips from whistleblowers. But all of the most substantial information has come from one of their own employees who wrote me a number of long letters.
This post covers a lot of ground, ranging from a mysterious company owned by US ex-pats placing spies disguised as journalists in the audience of Haitian presidential debates, to CAG arranging for the detention of people who wrote to me to ask for information about CAG and complain about CAG's involvement in human rights violations in Haiti. So bear with me. This is my second post about CAG, and part of an ongoing series on Top Cat Marine Security. [UPDATE 1/27: The company operates in Haiti under the name "Groupe de Consultation et Conseillers." (Thanx, Reuther!)]
A while back, when I was writing about the would-be pirate hunters, Top Cat Marine Security, I got a query from someone in Haiti asking what I knew about a company called Consultants Advisory Group and if I had any idea of why they were following Top Cat Marine Security's sales leads. I looked into the matter of CAG, resulting in the post Consultants Advisory Group™ (CAG): A Security Company Born Every Minute? CAG had a domain name registered a week earlier (just about the time the US State Department issued Top Cat a cease and desist order) and CAG was using Melbourne IT's domain privacy service beloved of spammers and scammers. So I toasted them a bit to see what they had to say for themselves.
A CAG representative, Valerie Sendecki, obediently appeared to try to discuss matters, requesting that we settle this as "ladies." The resulting exchange was pretty strange, but the general upshot was that CAG, ostensibly staffed with ex-military and ex-"agency" personnel, wished to remain unknown and inasmuch as it was known, it wished to be known as a "management consulting" company. It was founded by US ex-patriates and is registered in Panama. And, very specifically, CAG did not wish to be seen as either a private military company or as a security company. They claimed to be management consultants.
Well. All right then. Management consulting.
So time goes by. I hear nothing further from my initial correspondent, Jordan Sage Thomas, who initially queried me about CAG. In her second and last note to me, she said that she had dropped CAG for her list of potential vendors, whatever that meant. And so I thought that was that.
Then, on January 10th, I got a note which read:
Dr Sage requested I send to you this MINUSTAH document concerning the use of Mercenaries by the UN in Haiti. The TopCat Blancs are killing poor Haitians fleeing by sea from UN oppression in Cite-Soliel. The US spies called CAG are undermining the election process to prevent the popular election of Rene Preval and the return of President Aristide.
Dr Sage is afraid that Comandante <Comander??> Sendecki of the US Navy is going to harm her for exposing this dispised behavior. She has been reassigned to Jeremie and has no acess to internet. This is her response to the abuse. She advices you to be very careful as they having eyes many and wishes you the best of luck.
It came with an attachment in PowerPoint, which I will get to presently. But first, I want to be very clear that neither Valerie Sendecki nor CAG are in the employ of any aspect of the US government inasmuch as I have been able to check. I talked to some people who talked to some people and no one, I mean NO ONE, knows who the heck these people are. But to be very specific, Sendecki is not in the US Navy.
(I wonder how people got that impression. Has CAG represented themselves as having current ties to the US military?)
But, OK, is the UN using mercenaries to kill civilians in Haiti? I don't know. But there were recent news reports of civilians killed in Haiti by the UN. (Here is what Amnesty International has to say about that.) And what did Puello specifically say CAG was up to? "The US spies called CAG are undermining the election process to prevent the popular election of Rene Preval . . ." So the key claims are, then, that (a) CAG is spying (and that the company is what might be called a private intelligence company), and (b) that CAG is attempting to undermine the upcoming election.
(Both Valerie Sendecki and Mariely Puello agree that CAG is run by US citizens.)
Also, Puello claimed that "Dr. Sage" was concerned for her own personal safety. So I called the number at the bottom of Puello's letter and got a cheerful woman in the Dominican Republic who spoke only Spanish. I tried Jordan Sage's email address, writing only to ask whether Sage was able to receive email at that address.
Instead of a reply from Jordan Sage, I got a sinister message from Sendecki explaining that the phone line I'd called had been tapped (and giving the reverse look-up for my number to prove the point); that the two email addresses I had -- Jordan Sage's and Mariely Puello's -- were now under CAG's control. This sounded ominous, and so I asked Sendecki about the fate of my correspondents. She replied:
Sage and Puello were taken into custody by lawful authorities in Haiti and the DR. Sage had diplomatic immunity so she has already been released and expelled from Haiti. She's against democracy but of course she headed straight to the Miami from here. Puello was detained for questioning by Dominican authorities and her status is unclear. Both "ladies" agreed to give full access to their accounts and phones in order to fully confirm the extent of their treachery rather than be subject to further legal consequences.
On January 13th, I asked Sendecki for documentation to support her version of what had happened to these people:
I would appreciate some documentation that these individuals were (a) lawfully detained, and (b) that Dr. Sage was in fact released, (c) the exact location and circumstances of Mariely Puello's detention with contact info and (d) that both of these individuals are in fact alive and in good condition.
I'm sure you will understand the reason for this.
As of today, January 18th, I still have not heard back from Sendecki, presumably because she is unwilling to provide the documentation I requested.
I spent a little while looking up the precise definitions of verbs like "arrest," "detain," "abduct," and "kidnap." The most value-neutral of these words is detain, in that the term does not address the lawfulness of the act. However the distinction between an arrest, on the one hand, and a kidnapping or abduction, on the other has to do with whether the detention takes place under lawful authority. So what I'm trying to establish is that CAG are not simply affiliated with kidnappers.
Given the evidence Ms. Sendecki has furnished me with, it's pretty clear that CAG has the skill set to do spying. The question is whether that is their core competency, or just a sideline. So let's have a look inside that PowerPoint document I mentioned earlier. It is seven screens long. It seems to document the following items of interest:
- There are "Topcat" patrol boats off Cite Soleil, and
- CAG provided "covert surveillance" in the form of operatives disguised as reporters who had color-coded press passes for "a public debate between representatives of presidential candidates . . . in Fort Liberte."
CAG has claimed in the past that they do not sell Top Cat boats, but only recommend their purchase. Are these "Topcat patrols" boats supplied by Top Cat Marine Security? Is so, who was the purchaser? And who was the seller? Did Top Cat Marine Security export these boats to Haiti? As discussed in a previous post on Top Cat, Top Cat Marine Security is not registered with the US Department of State to export items on the munitions list, as these boats are. And what is being done with these boats? Mariely Puello claims, "The TopCat Blancs are killing poor Haitians fleeing by sea." To the best of my ability to check, I established that CAG is not under contract to the UN. Just who is manning those boats?
And then we return to the subject of CAG, which looks more and more like a low-end private intelligence company. What are we to make of the idea of a private intelligence company stocking the crowd at a presidential debate with secret agents disguised as reporters? This would seem to support Puello's claim that their purpose is to undermine the election.
What is CAG, really, and who are they working for? I'd like to know.
Note that the PowerPoint document makes it appear that the United Nations seems to support the concept of CAG posing as press to spy on innocent people. I wonder what the UN really thinks. I doubt they are in the habit of deploying private spooks disguised as reporters.
The document user info on the original of the PowerPoint document displays Author as "pkf" (perhaps short for "Peace Keeping Forces"?) and Company as "UN."
On December 15th, Valerie Sendecki wrote to me:
I wish we could talk about this over a fine cup of Haitian coffee so
that you could enjoy the beautiful from the Hotel Montana. It's
To the best of my knowledge, she's still registered there.
On January 7th, The Globe and Mail reported: UN commander kills himself in Haiti
The Brazilian commander of UN peacekeepers in Haiti was found dead on the balcony of his hotel room Saturday after shooting himself in the head, authorities said, in a blow to the 9,000-strong force and efforts to restore democracy in Haiti.
UN officials and Haitian police swarmed the upscale Hotel Montana where Lt.-Gen. Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar was slumped on a tile floor against the balcony, blood staining his white T-shirt.
Anyone know if this room -- the Presidential Suite -- was his room? [1/20 Update: I'm told by someone who stayed in the hotel during this general time period that the Presidential Suite was occupied by someone else, and so presumably Gen. Bacellar stayed in a different suite; apparently the hotel has a number of fine suites.]
UPDATE, January 19th: I have published an edition of the collected letters of Valerie Sendecki in pdf. Click HERE to download.
UPDATE: CAG's website's got a new look and an address in Panama: Sun Tower, 7th Floor, Panama City, Republic of Panama.
Now, they don't give a suite number for the Tampa location, but Suite 101 at that address has an awful lot of other businesses using it, suggesting that there may be a message center at that address. The Sun Tower in Panama City just happens to be the location of Panama Offshore Services, Inc., "Best source for Panama Corporation, Foundations & Offshore Accounts"! But it is actually possible that CAG has real offices at these locations. Can one of my Panama City readers take a stroll over to the Sun Tower and have a look?
So. Is this Panama office a place? Or just a state of mind?
UPDATE 1/25/06: I have an unconfirmed report that one of the two people Sendecki claimed had been "arrested" is OK. More later.
UPDATE 1/28/06: I received an email from a caginternational.com email address last night reiterating their refusal to answer any of my question or answer question from anyone associated with me (and if you're reading this, that probably means you, too), and requesting that I never contact them again. The signature on the email reads:
CONSULTANTS ADVISORY GROUP (CAG)
Groupe de Consultation et Conseillers
I gather that its author's full name is Jay Fullerton. There exists a Jay Fullerton who published an article entitled "TTP for the Special Forces Battalion S2 at JRTC and NTC - tips for Joint Readiness Training Center and National Training Center" in 2001 in the Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin whose bio reads:
Major Jay Fullerton is the S2 and Senior Special Operations Forces (SOF) Intelligence Observer/Controller at the Special Operations Training Detachment, Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana. His previous assignments include Platoon Leader and Company XO, 102d Military Intelligence Battalion, 2d Infantry Division; Assistant S2, 3-327th Infantry and S1, 311th MI Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); and S2 and MI Detachment Commander, 3d Battalion, 3d Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
(See also my two more recent posts: Consultants Advisory Group™ (CAG): Was the Company Registered in Panama by Rogelio Cruz Rios? and The Consultants Advisory Group™ (CAG) Web Site in History.)
UPDATE 1/28/06: I'm told by two different people that UN officials in Haiti claim that the PowerPoint document I received was "doctored." I had to change the file name to upload it to the Internet, since Typepad would not upload a document with spaces in the file name. The original file name was U2 -29 DEC 05 PM.ppt. (Copies available for inspection via email.) Other than changing the file name, I did nothing to it.
So. What, specifically, is doctored about it? (That part hasn't made it through the grape vine yet.) Can I please see an official statement in writing about the document? Anyone? MINUSTAH never answered my email. [UPDATE: see A Response to MINUSTAH's David Wimhurst.]
UPDATE 1/30/06: It appears a representative from CAG was all over the blogosphere this morning disavowing the contents of the Collected Letters of Valerie Sendecki. I stand by their authenticity.