American Mesopotamian Organization's Betrayal of the NPU in Iraq




Update: AMO has finally admitted that they signed a contract with disgraced contractor Jamie Smith in 2014, and that the donations by Assyrian-Americans were lost on training for the NPU that was never provided by Smith's company. Watch the video below for this shocking admission by David William Lazar after months of his denials and deception of journalists who were attempting to uncover the truth about this scandal that was first exposed on this webpage several months earlier:


- False accusations made by AMO (David William Lazar) and Restore Nineveh Now (Jeff Gardner) against Matthew VanDyke and Sons of Liberty International

- AMO's coverup of the Jamie Smith Contract (the reason that VanDyke and SOLI are being targeted by David William Lazar and Jeff Gardner)

- AMO's interference in the training of NPU soldiers (including life-saving medical training)

- AMO's attempts to control NPU

- AMO and Restore Nineveh Now's fraudulent press releases and manipulation of journalists


1. False attacks made by David Lazar of the American Mesopotamian Organization (AMO) and Jeff Gardner of Restore Nineveh Now against Matthew VanDyke and Sons of Liberty International (SOLI)

AMO and its subsidiary, Restore Nineveh Now (RNN) have been waging a disinformation campaign against Matthew VanDyke and Sons of Liberty International (SOLI), which includes lying to the press during interviews, making false claims in social media, and disseminating false information to the Assyrian community and general public.

  • AMO falsely claims that the NPU "severed all ties" with Matthew VanDyke and SOLI. They began making these accusations in social media, fraudulent press releases, and by lying to journalists from AFP and other news outlets beginning in February, 2015

The truth: SOLI, under Matthew VanDyke's leadership, worked with the NPU from December. 2014 to May, 2014, has an excellent relationship with NPU leaders, and has conducted all of the training of the NPU in three separate training programs from December, 2014 to May, 2015. Additionally, SOLI continued to support the NPU through September, 2015, sending funds for the NPU in July and September, 2015.

Matthew VanDyke discussing SOLI's leadership training with the General of the NPU. May 9, 2015. Iraq.

NPU document proving the great working relationship between SOLI and the NPU


In May, 2015 SOLI conducted a leadership training for the NPU, which was the third training program for the NPU. Matthew VanDyke was present and assisted with the training, which was reported by journalists for New York Times Magazine (read article here) and Maxim (read article here). Maxim also produced a short documentary film about Sons of Liberty International training the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU):


Maxim Magazine's short documentary film about Matthew VanDyke and Sons of Liberty International training the NPU at ADM's building in Dohuk, Iraq in May, 2015

The proof: Numerous newspaper articles and television reports about SOLI training the NPU, photographs and videos of SOLI training the NPU, photographs of Matthew VanDyke at all three training programs, magazine articles in the New York Times Magazine and Maxim Magazine featuring reporting SOLI training the NPU, and a Maxim Magazine short documentary film about Matthew VanDyke and SOLI training the NPU.

Gevara Zaya of the NPU Leadership Committee, who has worked with VanDyke on all three SOLI training programs, thanked SOLI for its “excellent training." - BusinessWire, May 20, 2015

  • AMO falsely claims that Matthew VanDyke trained Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria

This bizarre accusation was invented by AMO, and it is impossible that VanDyke and SOLI trained Jabhat al-Nusra for numerous reasons:

  • SOLI did not exist and did not conduct training until 2014. It is well-documented that Matthew VanDyke has not been in Syria since 2013
  • Jabhat al-Nusra kidnapped two of Matthew VanDyke's friends, journalists James Foley and John Cantlie, who were later transferred to ISIS where James Foley was beheaded. It is highly offensive and hurtful that AMO would claim that VanDyke assisted Jabhat al-Nusra
  • During his time in Syria VanDyke was almost always in the presence of journalists, none of whom ever reported that he had any association with Jabhat al-Nusra and none of whom have ever claimed that he did
  • VanDyke would have been arrested by the US government if he had provided any training or assistance to Jabhat al-Nusra, a designated terrorist organization. Other Americans, like Eric Harroun, have been arrested for suspected association with Jabhat al-Nusra
  • Jabhat al-Nusra would never have accepted training from an American Christian who has been routinely accused by jihadists of working for the CIA

The proof: There are zero reports of Matthew VanDyke working with Jabhat al-Nusra, VanDyke would have been arrested by the US government had he ever worked with Jabhat al-Nusra, and it is unconscionable that VanDyke would ever work with the terrorist organization responsible for the kidnapping of his friends James Foley and John Cantlie

2. AMO's coverup of the Jamie Smith contract

David William Lazar admitting that Assyrian-American donations were wasted on a contract with Jamie Smith

In August, 2014 David Lazar of AMO signed a contract with notorious security contractor Jamie Smith, formerly of Blackwater, on the recommendation of Dr. Walid Phares, a former Lebanese militiaman-turned-professor. Dr Phares and Smith worked together on Syria issues, as revealed in leaked Stratfor emails on Wikileaks.

David Lazar signing the contract with Smith's new company, Gray Solutions, displayed a shocking lack of judgment, as it appears that he did no research on Jamie Smith before signing away a large sum ($150,000 to train just over 100 NPU soldiers, according to sources within the NPU) of the Assyrian-American community's funds on the contract. A simple Google search of the words "Jamie Smith" and contractor reveals numerous articles about Smith's problematic history and problems with the law. Had David Lazar done proper research he would have discovered some of what journalists Ace Atkins and Michael Fechter revealed in their expose of Jamie Smith two months later, titled The Spy Who Scammed Us. Atkins and Fechter revealed that Jamie Smith was banned from US government contracts for having defrauded a couple out of $12 million, a crime for which he was found guilty in a civil judgment. Smith has also been accused of cheating the US Air Force on a $7 million contract. Jamie Smith later left (some say fled) the country, eventually resurfacing in the United States with a new contracting company (Gray Solutions), despite still being under the ban from US government contracts.

Understandably, David Lazar and AMO had cause for panic after the expose on Jamie Smith was published several weeks after they had signed the contract with Smith. As David Lazar would tell Matthew VanDyke during a phonecall in January, 2015, they could not cancel the contract without losing the money. Yet Jamie Smith never provided any training for the NPU.

When SOLI began providing free training to the NPU, this created a major problem for AMO and Restore Nineveh Now. Donors were likely to start asking why money had been donated to hire Jamie Smith's company to train just part of the NPU for a large amount of money, when SOLI was now training the entire NPU force of 330+ soldiers for free.

AMO quickly began taking numerous steps to try to sever SOLI's good relationship with the NPU and end the NPU's ability to receive free training. Jeff Gardner of Restore Nineveh Now was sent to the NPU training camp at Chamchamal during SOLI's battalion training program in early 2015. He was accompanied by Jamie Smith and Jamie Smith's attorney, F. Miles Adler. Jeff Gardner told the SOLI trainers that they could no longer work with SOLI. Smith made a cash payment to the trainers and indicated that they were going to go after VanDyke. Jeff Gardner assured the trainers that more money would be paid to them, and AMO has subsequently admitted that they have paid the former SOLI trainers.

NPU's military leadership told VanDyke upon his return to the camp that there had been a very noticeable change in the trainers behavior following the visit by Gardner, Smith, and Smith's attorney. These changes included attitude problems, threats to quit the training, suspensions of training, and showing up late for training. Although this may have been the result of the confusion and damaged morale of the trainers caused by Gardner and Smith showing up at the camp and telling them they couldn't work for SOLI, it appears also quite likely that Jeff Gardner may have encouraged a work slowdown in an attempt to sabotage the NPU's training so they could later claim that they needed to pay Jamie Smith to train the NPU again and thereby attempt to justify their contract with Smith to donors. In doing so, they showed a callous disregard for the training of the NPU and the lives of NPU soldiers who would be protecting the Nineveh Plain from ISIS.

After AMO's representative Jeff Gardner and Jamie Smith had paid SOLI's trainers, AMO pressured the NPU leadership to ban VanDyke from entering the training camp, and to issue a press release that VanDyke and SOLI had never worked with NPU. The NPU leadership, loyal to VanDyke and SOLI due to their strong working relationship and gratefullness for the services they had provided the NPU, refused to be part of AMO's scheme. NPU leadership welcomed VanDyke to the training camp at Chamchamal in February when he returned from a fundraising trip to the United States. VanDyke immediately asserted control over the training, accepted the apology of the lead trainer for his role in the problems, restored any loss of faith in SOLI caused by the misbehavior of the trainers, and resumed advising NPU leadership as they discussed future training with SOLI.

Matthew VanDyke of SOLI with NPU leadership in Iraq at the NPU military training graduation ceremony

After the completion of SOLI's training of the NPU, AMO went on a public disinformation campaign against Matthew VanDyke and SOLI. This included numerous social media posts claiming that VanDyke and SOLI had nothing to do with training the NPU, as well as an Assyrian television channel appearance by David Lazar in which he made the same ridiculous claims.

AMO and Restore Nineveh Now also released two blatantly fraudulent press releases claiming that NPU leadership had severed ties with Matthew VanDyke, and falsely claiming that AMO owned the trademarks to the NPU name and logo. AMO also lied to the media about this, and unfortunately some media reported it without doing any fact checking to see if it was true.

Those journalists who did attempt to investigate why AMO was going after SOLI, some of whom had learned of the Jamie Smith contract, were stonewalled by AMO, with Davld Lazar lying to them claiming it was a NPU decision (NPU was actually in daily contact with VanDyke during this time, as VanDyke continued to advise NPU and discussed future training of the NPU with NPU leadership).

In the most notorious incident, journalist Jonathan Krohn of AFP was viciously attacked in social media by David Lazar who falsely accused Krohn of being a spy working for Iran. These outlandish accusations began after Krohn had asked David Lazar about what connection Dr. Walid Phares had to AMO and NPU; Lazar believed he needed to discredit Krohn before the journalist might discover the Jamie Smith contract while investigating the connection to Dr. Walid Phares.

The proof: Numerous journalists are aware of the Jamie Smith contract and attempted to acquire documents and on-the-record comments from those who know about it and Matthew VanDyke is in possession of numerous text conversations with NPU leadership about the Jamie Smith contract.

For more on Jamie Smith:

The Spy Who Scammed Us

CIA Vets Smell B.S. in Super-Spy Memoir

3. AMO's interference in the training of the NPU (including life-saving medical training)

As mentioned previously, AMO and a discredited contractor they had hired, Jamie Smith, both made payments to SOLI's trainers after Matthew VanDyke had returned to the United States to attempt fundraising for the NPU. Following these payments by AMO and Jamie Smith, the NPU leadership noticed a marked downturn in the trainers' behavior, which included attitude problems, suspensions of training, threats to quit training, and showing up late for training. (All of these trainers are permanently banned from ever working for SOLI again as a result of their misconduct and lack of professionalism).

After months of AMO claiming that the NPU would no longer work with VanDyke and SOLI, it was revealed in May, 2015 that AMO had been lying to the public and that the NPU had been working with VanDyke and SOLI the entire time. This revelation was undeniable - SOLI conducted its third training program for the NPU in May, 2015, a leadership training course for NPU's sergeants and officers.

AMO then pressured the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), an Iraqi political party that had started the NPU, to stop allowing their facility in Dohuk to be used for training the NPU. The result of AMO's actions was that the NPU leadership did not have the opportunity for additional practice and training due to the lack of a facility in which to train. This critical training included combat medical training that saves lives. The leadership training program was completed early, which greatly disappointed the NPU leadership and soldiers who had been very pleased with the leadership training and Matthew VanDyke's hands-on participation in it alongside his new lead trainer, a former West Point instructor.

AMO's continued interference and sabotage of NPU training has already caused damage that will likely result in the deaths of NPU soldiers in combat. An assessment by former military personnel working for SOLI has determined that the NPU needs a full-time training program for the next several months to be adequately prepared to fight against ISIS and defend the Nineveh Plain from terrorists.

David Lazar and AMO must immediately cease and desist from further interference with NPU training, or the result will be significantly greater NPU casualties in combat.

4. AMO's attempts to control NPU

AMO believes that as a source of funding for the NPU, that they control and speak for the NPU. They have issued multiple false statements on behalf of the NPU, which the NPU leadership has asked them not to do in the future. Jeff Gardner of AMO's subsidiary Restore Nineveh Now told Matthew VanDyke during a telephone call in February, 2015 that "they're the ones who pay for this" and therefore they controlled the NPU. AMO has repeatedly threatend to cut off the NPU's funding if they work with SOLI, making it clear that NPU leadership had to choose AMO or SOLI, but not both. They repeatedly chose SOLI.

NPU leadership, to their credit, has resisted AMO's pressure and attempts to control the NPU, and continued to work with SOLI despite AMO's threats.

The NPU leadership is an honorable and courageous team of Assyrians who are on the front lines against ISIS, and they are attempting to resist AMO's attempts to control them. They need the public's support in this effort to remain independent and free to act in the best interests of suffering Assyrians on the ground in Iraq.

5. AMO's false press releases and manipulation of journalists

(This was previously discussed in the section titled "Coverup of the contract with Jamie Smith")

AMO and RNN continue to lie to and manipulate journalists, which has included contacting producers of television programs and trying to scare them into not having Matthew VanDyke on their programs, and having some of SOLI's former trainers (who have been banned from working for SOLI due to extreme behaviorial issues and breaches of SOLI policy) whom they and Jamie Smith have paid money to feed false information to journalists in an attempt to damage VanDyke's reputation.

In summary:

- David Lazar of AMO and Jeff Gardner of AMO's subsidiary, Restore Nineveh Now, have repeatedly lied to the Assyrian community with statements about the NPU, SOLI, and Matthew VanDyke that have been proven false (especially regarding the NPU-SOLI relationship and AMO's false claims of owning the trademarks to NPU). David Lazar of AMO and Jeff Gardner of Restore Nineveh Now arrogantly continue to lie to the public despite having been discredited, as if David Lazar thinks that the Assyrian community is easily manipulated and will believe what they are told.

- AMO committed a large percentage of the money donated by the Assyrian-American community on an unnecessary contract for training with Jamie Smith. That waste of funds, and contracting with Jamie Smith who is banned from US government contracts because of his history of fraud, shows an incredible lack of judgment and leadership ability by David Lazar. Most chairmen would resign after such a deplorable decision.

- AMO's continued interference in the training of the NPU, most recently by preventing NPU officers from getting combat medical and other training that can save lives, will result in greater casualties of NPU soldiers when they are deployed for combat.

- AMO's attempts to prevent the NPU from benefitting from the free advising and training provided by SOLI means that donated funds will be wasted on contracts like that with Jamie Smith instead of being used to purchase body armor, medical kits, vehicles, and other essential, life-saving equipment that the NPU really needs. Furthermore, SOLI offered to provide much of this equipment to the NPU for free, but AMO's continued interference in the SOLI-NPU relationship has made it impossible. AMO's actions have clearly resulted in the NPU receiving far less training and equipment than they would receive otherwise.

Updates to this page coming soon...