To many the years from 1988 to 1991 represents a period in time where things were looking brighter. The world seemed to be on course for peace and. 

The tearing down of the Berlin Wall which coincided roughly with the exit of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan were just some of the events that spurred on the hope for a better future. 1988 was also the year that saw the end of the bloody war between Iraq and Iran, and 1990 was the year that an agreement was made that ended the civil war in Lebanon. 

The western world looked on in excitement as East Germans danced on top of the wall in 1989 and drove their Trabants and Wartburgs across the border to reunite with their families and friends in West Germany. 

We also looked to the Middle East with excitement to see the different parties, groups, fractions, tribes, families and paramilitary troops reach and sign peace treaties and agreements. The world really seemed to be en route for a bright future.

Just not in Africa. It isn’t often that we Europeans or Americans notice anything that happens in Africa. We do remember Apartheid and Nelson Mandela but most of the time the rest of Africa goes unnoticed by most.

People who are interested in following the developments on the continent do however know very well that there have been a lot of wars and civil wars going on for decades. This goes for Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia but countries like Sudan and South Sudan have also been in conflict and wars for a long time. This periode in time was no different. 

So even though 1990 was the year that Nelson Mandela was given his freedom by President De Klerk – who also legalized the ANC as a political party – Africa as a continent is so much bigger than South Africa and there was plenty of room for unrest. 

It was in Africa that I once again found The Dane, but not until as late as 2012 when I stumbled upon some newly released CIA documents. 

Alongside the wars and conflicts Africa is also a politica melting pot. Politics, clans, families, tradition, religion and tribes are mixed with all kinds of monetary interests. There doesn’t seem to be the same way of seeing everything as black or white like we are raised and manipulated to believe. Somehow there isn’t the same need to view the world in the same dualistic manner.

In the same way Nelson Mandela could fight to help the poor – especially against the apartheid, place himself on the ecocnomical right in politics, be loved by the entire world and at the same time call himselv borther in arms with both Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi. In the western world we are too caught up in our own propaganda to even begin to understand how that is possible.

The same form of chaos or melting together of things was going on in Sudan in the early 1990’ies. The USA were there along with the Russians and Iranians and some interesting people like Osama Bin Laden – and maybe Carlos The Jackal who was arrested there in 1994.  

The wars in the countries on the African east coast next to the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea have been going on for years. It could be that it was a natural way to go for a mercenary like The Dane or it could be that he followed some personal connections. He could also have stayed informed with the latest developments in the area and noticed that the USA had changed sides in the Middle East and that he would have to find a new way to fight them. 

Whatever motive he had, I see the document as clear evidence of his existence and the fact that he did go on to become a mercenary. The released CIA document describes rumors of a man who calls himself The Dane and who is also known as Ach Qi – which does sound like Ac Qui as he called himself in the diary.

The released document from the CIA that places The Dane in Sudan in 1990 or 1991
The released document from the CIA that places The Dane in Sudan in 1990 or 1991 – click to read

The document is dated the 10th of April 1992 (the date format is tricky for a European and I at first thought it was the 4th of October). This means that The Dane must have been in Sudan earlier that year or maybe in 1990. 

The time of the events is interesting because this was also when Osama Bin Laden was making his first moves and attempts at creating the network that was later to be known as Al Qaeda. Some of the reports from the investigation of the first attack on the Twin Towers in 1998 describe meetings between Osama and Sheik Nomani who was an envoy from Iran. Considering that the war between Iran and Iraq for a great part was a war between Sunni and Shia muslims, it was an interesting setup since Iran and Al Qaeda also represented these opposing sides. 

The meetings were the first steps in creating the new big enemy to the USA now that they didn’t have the Soviet Union anymore. Sudan became the cradle of the work to unite in a new front against the USA which was to be known as the Great Satan. UIran and Al Qaeda started a collaboration that was going to last for many years. At this early stage this was a covert collaboration and most of us didn’t really hear about Al Qaeda until the 9/11 attack in 2001.

It is hard to tell what they actually worked on or which roles they had towards each other but I am certain that this is a point in time where The Dane had to make some significant decisions about his own allegiance. 

There is a difference between being a mercenary and a terrorist – or at least that’s my opinion. It might be naive but I do believe that there is a difference between killing civilians and soldiers. So did The Dane pick a side to follow the money or to stay true to his ideals? Or did he choose a different path and is it all a question of getting revenge and killing Americans for him? 

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