Matthew VanDyke was just a documentary-maker who fought against Gaddafi in the Libyan Revolution, who traveled to North Africa and the Middle-East by motorbike, visited Bin Laden’s home, and been taken as a prisoner of war and thankfully escaping it.
VanDyke has seen two of his close friends, James Foley and Steven Sutloff, murdered by ISIS. He has set up his own private security firm, Sons of Liberty International (SOLI), an organization that is actively fighting ISIS in Iraq, and he’s kickstarted humanitarian projects and trained hundreds of Iraqi militiamen.
It has involvement, purely voluntary, from US military veterans, with applicants from the UK and Europe, comprising of mostly US veterans and some retired high-ranking officers.
SOLI also has applicants from former Special Forces and other exceptional candidates who chose to volunteer for SOLI for the belief in the cause of helping the defenseless to defend themselves and defeat ISIS.
SOLI is not incorporated as a non-profit but operates on non-profit principles by offering its services for free to those who need them, and SOLI is funded by generous contributions from people around the world. Contributors come from over 20 countries, with the vast majority Americans.
In an interview by VICE Media, the murders of his friends and the injustices he saw were largely the inspirations behind the organization.
“Sons of Liberty International is the first military contracting firm operating on non-profit principles, providing free security consulting and training services to vulnerable populations to enable them to defend themselves against terrorists, insurgents, and oppressive regimes. We will step in where the international community has failed, reacting quickly to security crises and enabling local forces to defend their own communities.”
“SOLI is currently active in Iraq, is in negotiations with a militia in Syria, and has received requests for our assistance in three other regions of the world. We were instrumental in the creation of the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU), an Assyrian Iraqi militia based in northern Iraq. We have advised and trained them since their inception, serving as their closest advisors from December 2014 through May 2015, advising on everything from personnel decisions to their force structure, right down to the small details like the design of their insignia and what camo pattern they should be using. We have trained an entire 330 man battalion of the NPU. [We’ve also trained] their sergeants and officers in a special leadership course led by a former West Point instructor who serves as SOLI’s lead trainer. We also served as a liaison between [the NPU] and US State Department personnel in Erbil. We have also supplied them, and as recently as September 2015 were still providing them, with some funding.”
VanDyke has sworn to destroy ISIS– especially those that beheaded Foley and Sutloff.
His organization bears a striking resemblance to a fictional organization found no less in Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid series, the Outer Heaven (sans the terroristic motif), and of course, after one of Kojima’s game, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and the real life organization. VanDyke is unsurprisingly compared to the game series’ character, Big Boss.
(Appropriately edited Photo from Dodong Chickoy)