Pirate-Fighters' Curious Past

Remember that story from a few weeks back, about a group of mercenaries being given $50 million to fight Somali pirates -- the guys who attacked a cruise ship, and were sent running by a sonic blaster? Well, it gets weirder, as Kathryn Cramer has been discovering.pirates.jpgFirst, she found out that the firm, New York's Top Cat Marine Security, sure looked like a front company, sharing a single suite with NyClubScene.com, "Animal Fair" magazine, MyHealingPrayer.com, and a law firm. Then, Kathryn dug into the finances of Top Cat chief Peter Casini, who seems to have a habit of bankrupting his companies. And security didn't exactly seem like his forte. So the question was: who were the real guns-for-hire at Top Cat?The answer, Kathryn's found out, includes the former U.S. rep for Sandline International. That's the private military company that has been involved in quite a few messy little wars, from Sierra Leone to Papua New Guinea to Liberia. The company often flouted international law and U.N. restrictions to supply weapons and mercenaries to African strongmen and shady revolutionaries alike. Now, at least one of their top guys is back, under Top Cat's cover. But who hired Top Cat, in the first place?THERE'S MORE: Check out MountainRunner, which has a whole lot more on the Somalia situation.

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