“What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know,” Saint Augustine.
It was only a matter of time. The timeless concept of the soldier-for-hire free radical approach in providing unaffiliated military support, to rulers and governments sourcing increased military prowess, is alive and well on the digital realm. And this is not your grandparent’s classic George Soros approach to financing policy change, or an arm of China’s Peoples’ Liberation Army utilizing “legitimate” front companies to fund defense research and maintain a semblance of morale.
As William Walker and his fellow filibusters sailed out of San Francisco Bay in 1855 with the mission to overtake the government in Nicaragua (Walker miraculously incited a coup and even temporarily consolidated power in the Central American nation, acting as the commander of the army), individuals and groups in the current and sometimes disturbing world are given the opportunity to enter the theater of wars and conflicts, a process that is accelerated by the innovative and seemingly benign concept of digital fund raising. The BBC reports that crowdfunding a personal vendetta as a global mercenary, is as real as a millennial attempting to raise money for developing an app, however thankfully not as commonplace.
Apparently, literal red neck and ardent communist Russell Bentley, who hails from the great state of Texas, has successfully secured money for his own personal rocket propelled grenade contribution and journey to assist a radical militant group in fracturing the Ukraine. Since 2014, Bentley has utilized various crowdfunding sites to actively participate in active campaigns and small battles in the war torn eastern area of the nation, near the city of Donetsk. While the majority of internet fund raising sites possess a no-tolerance policy against the furthering of violence, in reality, some humans are simply insidious cretins and bend the rules for their own personal agenda. In the case of Bentley, he was somehow was able to conjure up two grand from crowdfunding marketing efforts. The list of individuals who donated to his scheme of war games should be made public, and the mental health professionals deployed in studying these fascinatingly tragic souls.
If a maniac of a pro-Russian communist from Texas is able to operate in a resounding public forum without fear of immediate repercussion other than his trials and tribulations in battles against the Ukranian military, is this just the tip of the iceberg of the mercenary meat market which is currently a functioning part of the crowdfunding community? With the metaphor of the internet as “the wild wild west”, and the pervading aversion to monitoring an individual’s behavior, it is very disconcerting in imagining the amount of fraudulent accounts that exist on sites such as Indiegogo and Gofundme, which are actually directly linked to military efforts, espionage, or (gulp) terrorism. And I thought dating apps were scary. “Well nice to meet you Susan. You are quite tall and that is one hell of a handshake… wait a minute. What’s that ticking sound coming from your purse?” It pays to be a mercenary.
Read the full BBC article here.