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Former Navy SEAL arrested on weapons charges in Haiti says he was doing security work tied to Haiti's president
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a now-deleted post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
Osman was one of five Americans, two Serbs, and one Haitian who were stopped at a Port-au-Prince police checkpoint on Sunday while riding in two vehicles without license plates, according to police. When questioned, police said the men — who were carrying AR-15 rifles, pistols, various knives, satellite phones, and other tactical gear — claimed they were on a "government mission" before being taken into custody.
Osman was identified along with Christopher McKinley (who also goes by Christopher Heben), 49, also a former Navy SEAL; Kent Kroeker, 52, a former Marine Corps pilot; Talon Burton, 52, a former Army military policeman and State Department security guard; and Dustin Porte, 42, the president of a business headquartered in Louisiana called Patriot Group Services, Inc.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton assets.rbl.ms
Three others in the group were Vlade Jankvic, 41, and Danilo Bajagic, 37, both Serbian nationals; and Michael Estera, 39, a Haitian citizen.
Seven of the eight men were released from police custody and put on a plane back to the U.S. on Wednesday, where they were greeted by law enforcement officers on the ground in Miami (Estera was not allowed to leave Haiti).
A State Department spokesperson said their return was "coordinated with Haitian authorities" but declined to comment further.
"Sometimes life is stranger than fiction and filled with crazy adventures. I am alive and back home. We all are," Osman said in the post. "It's now known that I do security work and have done it for years. My days of doing any out of the U.S. is officially over because I'm plastered all over media around the world."
Osman went on to say the people of Haiti were "really good to us" and thanked the U.S. government, State Department, U.S. Embassy in Haiti, and others who "stepped in to save us."
The U.S. Embassy in Haiti did not respond to emailed questions from Task & Purpose.
The men being escorted off the plane by law enforcement in Miami was captured by Carel Pedre, a Haitian media personality, who was on American Airlines flight 1059 and posted a video of the incident on Twitter.
"The pilot said government officials were coming in," Pedre told Task & Purpose. "They had navy blue uniforms with what looked like the Homeland Security badge on their shoulders."
But which law enforcement agency actually took them off the plane remains a mystery. Task & Purpose contacted The City of Miami Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, the FBI, TSA, and the U.S. Marshal's Service, and all denied they had any involvement. A spokesperson for Customs and Border Patrol did not respond.
Federal sources told The Miami Herald the men would not be charged.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of Florida declined to comment.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea said on Sunday they will postpone upcoming military drills in an effort to bolster a stalled peace push with North Korea, even as Washington denied the move amounted to another concession to Pyongyang.
The drills, known as the Combined Flying Training Event, would have simulated air combat scenarios and involved an undisclosed number of warplanes from both the United States and South Korea.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.