About Me

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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. I am a contributor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

POLITICO-SECURITY ADVICE

Thanks to numerous high-level contacts on the continent, I have been able to accurately predict the current scenarios in Libya, Central African Republic, Mali, South Sudan and other African countries - prior to these problems manifesting themselves. 
  
I have now set-up a private consultancy to provide confidential advice to governments and corporations on political, security and investment climates in African countries.

This advice focuses on matters as diverse as national strategies and national security strategies, business strategies, market research, planning, management, market penetration and investment security.


Interested parties can contact me via my blog.

Monday, March 3, 2014

ANOTHER “EXECUTIVE OUTCOMES” SURFACES…

They seem to pop up all over the world so it was not too much of a surprise to find that another “Executive Outcomes” has surfaced  - this time in South Africa (again).

This lot call themselves the “Executive Outcomes Group” (http://www.eogroup.biz) and have even claimed the old EO logo for themselves.

I suppose I should be too surprised at this.

It is indeed strange how many folks out there are starting up companies and branding themselves as “Executive Outcomes” and either make use of the old “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” approach or simply just imply that they are “EO reborn”. I suspect this is done to claim a record and success and use the implication to get contracts.

I wish to place on record that this crowd – just like the rest of them out there – were never the real Executive Outcomes – despite using the company logo - and those who fall for their claims do so at their own peril.

What is it with these people who want to be wannabees – or do they simply not have the time to apply original thinking? EO may have closed down several years ago but I shall not allow them to pose as something they never were and are not. In fact, that is fraudulent representation.

Shame on them…

Friday, February 14, 2014

MISSING THE POINT WITH COUNTER INSURGENCY (COIN)

I thoroughly enjoy discussions on conflicts, insurgencies and wars and the countering of these actions, regardless if I agree with them or not. I know many criticise and do not agree with my viewpoints and view them as too simplistic. What I consider to be critical in the ending of a conflict, an insurgency or civil war has been very successfully applied in practise. Food for thought is, however, never bad food regardless of how it is served.

Insurgencies are not new, nor does fighting them require a “new” way of fighting. Nor do fighting insurgencies need to be long, protracted and costly affairs if the strategy is balanced. However, there seems to be a misguided belief that if we can define an insurgency precisely, we can defeat it. Whereas a definition holds value, its value is lost if the cause is not fully understood.

Ending an insurgency may not always be easy but it is certainly very possible. Contrary to the belief of some, an insurgency is not a spontaneous event but rather a threat that has been allowed to develop over a period of time. It is a political problem that has been brought about by dysfunctional or poor governance, a sense of political isolation and the suppression of hope along with a combination of anger, hatred and revenge that has impacted negatively on the populace and caused the populace immense distress. When the populace feel they have lost hope and have nothing more to lose by rising up against the government, they will do exactly that.

One of the strategic objectives of an insurgency may be to develop their planned armed struggle into a civil war to pit citizen against citizen and in so doing, collapse the Pillars of State and along with them, the established political order. This requires mobilising the quiet majority of the populace to disrupt government efforts through armed violence, civil disobedience, terrorism, violent crime, civil unrest and violent protests. Tribalism, religion, racial and ethnic tensions along with economic disparities are often used as motivators in the calls for the populace to rise up.  

If an under-threat government makes use of a foreign allied military force to assist it suppress the insurgency, the populace’s “silent majority” will generally accept this decision as long as the combined force does not target them. The foreign forces will, however, be closely watched in terms of their actions, discipline and attitude towards the populace. Uncontrolled behaviour, unlawful acts and/or attacks on civilians by the foreign forces will simply become a rallying call for the populace to join – or at the very least – support the insurgency.

Conversely, the populace may believe that the arrival of foreign forces allows them to take the law into their own hands and extract revenge against those insurgents and their supporters hiding in plain sight. Once this cycle of violence begins, it is very difficult to stop and its effects are usually long-lasting.

However, relying solely on foreign forces to ultimately defeat the armed insurgents will result in a hollow victory for the government forces as when the foreign forces leave, the insurgency will simply resurface and be characterised by more intense violence.

If a country has been invaded and occupied by a foreign force that shows little or no respect towards the government, the law enforcement agencies, the armed forces and the populace, their property, culture, traditions, political system and religion, the anger, discontent and humiliation of the subjugated will in all probability give rise to a rebellion or an insurgency in order to eject the occupiers. Added to this is the oft-imposed morality and ideology of the occupying forces that results in additional anger, confusion and discontent. It is this anger that will result in attacks on the occupying force by the populace and the local soldiers and policemen that have been “forced” to partner with the occupation forces – the so-called “green-on-blue” attacks.

The ability of an insurgent group to attack across numerous spheres of the state gives them a flexibility the government has allowed them to have – by creating a condition of dissatisfaction that can be exploited. This is in part due to a lack of a coherent realistic national strategy and a poor, unstructured and unaligned national security strategy and its various components, coupled to poor governance and neglect of the populace. Add to this a lack of credible intelligence and the means to act/react on intelligence and the insurgents are given the initiative whilst the security forces fall into the trap of becoming reactive.

By exploiting both the mainstream and social media for disinformation and propaganda purposes, insurgents create the perception that they are more successful and stronger than they really are. It also gives them an instrument for reaching other fence-sitting or neutral members of the populace. Every action and success is aimed at showing their determination and even minor tactical successes are proclaimed to be major tactical victories. This can, along with the collateral damage caused by the security forces, harness both local and international support and sympathy for their cause.

International support such as funding, weapons, training and sanctuaries and sympathy – along with unvetted NGOs and “charity organisations” -  especially when the insurgents are acting as a proxy force on behalf of a foreign government or sponsor whose intentions are the placement of a puppet government, can result in sanctions on an international level. These sanctions are aimed are weakening the government whilst strengthening the insurgents. Apart from the wholesale death and destruction of innocents and their property, the international support has a tendency to escalate out of control and bring additional governments into the conflict to support one side or the other.

The first-line of defence against an insurgency is – apart from good governance – aggressive, pro-active intelligence gathering coupled to coordinated law enforcement actions. Sadly, many governments choose to ignore the wall as the writing becomes more obvious, especially if it does not match their perception of reality.

When the armed forces are called on to provide counter insurgency support to the law enforcement agencies, it is usually an indication of failure by government and the intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The mission of the armed forces ought to be the creation of a climate in which government can govern and the law enforcement agencies can again begin enforcing the law.

When an insurgency or conflict has entered into the armed or military phase, the Trinity of Gravity needs to be identified, isolated, attacked and neutralised, allowing the government to regain control. 

I believe the concept of using the armed forces to establish control over the entire Trinity of Gravity is both flawed and wishful thinking as soldiers are neither trained to govern nor enforce the law – nor are they trained to be diplomats. The bottom line is that if the armed forces do not take effective control of the insurgents, the insurgents will simply take control of the populace – at the expense of everyone including the armed forces.


Preventing and/or defeating an insurgency, therefore, begins with the display of political will by the government coupled to ever-improving delivery of government services, the continued gathering of intelligence and the enforcement of law in all its facets – and not with the armed forces trying to play politics and govern.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS

Several “experts” on Executive Outcomes (EO) have again recently surfaced and are working hard at continuing their disinformation campaign against the company – despite the company having closed its doors many years ago.

I am still amazed at how those who call so loudly for peace work so hard at trying to prevent it. But I also know the aim is a feeble attempt to discredit me in the hopes that African governments will cease talking to me. As mentioned before, war is bad for business and the longer the flames can be fuelled in Africa, the more money is to be made by some who claim they want a “peaceful Africa”. Their way of achieving this “peaceful Africa” is by dispensing bad advice, selling obsolete and/or irrelevant equipment and by supporting both sides of a conflict.

When it became known that STTEP had been contracted to train a Special Operations Group (SOG) for the Ugandan armed forces (UPDF), all hell seemed to break loose again. Back were those who felt that I and whatever company I was now part of had to be stopped. To achieve this, the lines had to be blurred between EO and STTEP and create the perception that it is the same company.

Tweets were generated and sent forth, articles appeared condemning both the Texas philanthropist and the UPDF along with the journalist who wrote the story. Shock and horror was expressed that the truth was written and those who wanted to stop the LRA’s slaughter were visited by the FBI. STTEP and myself became the ”bad guys” and again it seemed a repeat of EO days. STTEP must be stopped and it appears the instructions went forth: do not let the truth get in the way of a good lie.

So it was that a blog posting penned by Assistant Professor Chris Blattman appeared condemning efforts to stop the LRA. (See my postings on this matter as well as his posting http://chrisblattman.com/2013/10/30/is-the-newyorker-publishing-puff-profiles-of-mercenaries-executive-outcomes-now-its-joseph-kony-related) I entered into correspondence with Blattman who admitted he did not do any research. We agreed to disagree on stopping conflicts and the senseless slaughter of civilians in African war zones. 

Those we trained in the SOG went on to prove beyond any doubt that they were stopping the LRA. This was, however, to be short-lived as soon after STTEP was forced to leave Uganda, the SOG was sent to Mogadishu. What an absolute waste of money: Men trained in jungle warfare with donor funds were sent to conduct urban operations!

Then, one of the blog readers (Mike Da Silva) pointed me back to Blattman’s blog and in particular to a response on his condemnation of EO/STTEP/the philanthropist and the journalist.

The comment to Blattman’s post by Kambale Mawa reads as follows:

You sir, have no idea what you are talking about.

For goodness sake,  ….. You have as much life experience as a potatoe. You have seen nothing of the world but HBO and MTV, and heard of your cohort’s accolade.

You sir killed my family. You came and cut my father’s hands off, smashed his foot with a truck, and laughed about it. Then while he we were tied to posts my sisters and mother was raped repeated till they bled to death. Then they were burned alive.

You did that sir. I was there and watched you do it. Maybe you had a different face, and skin color – but might as well been you. It was your and your buddies’ words that let the beasts loose. You think you know better.

I will never forget those years I spent in slavery because of you and your ilk. Every day I wake up and do not look into the mirror. I scare little children on the street. You did that to me.

When EO was here, we were safe. They came through; they were real *gentlemen*. You sir, do not have the right to even mention their names without prostrating. Narcissism is an illness. You should have that looked at as it spreads.

I recall many letters written to me/EO in days past by the victims caught in the conflicts thanking us and writing about their plight, the torture they had to endure, the hunger, the constant smell of death and fear, the boiling and eating of new-born babies and the many, many harrowing experiences they had to live through. I shall never forget when I showed this to some local and foreign journalists how they told me that such letters were “not in the public interest”! The truth was of no consequence – their lies, however, were.

Despite Kambale Mawa’s comment being written years after the fact, it is encouraging to know that people we tried to help still remember those few who turned the tide in Angola and Sierra Leone. Many countries I travel to have heard about EO and STTEP. I am warmly welcomed and constantly thanked for the work the men of EO did – and what STTEP is doing - for Africa.

Those who are so keen to condemn EO, STTEP and myself ought to visit the areas we have worked in and discover the truth for themselves – not make it up to suit the agendas of those who pay them.


Maybe then they will tell it like it is. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

THE ART OF LYING (VERY) BADLY

I was hoping to start 2014 with a posting on conflict and the dangers of a blinkered approach to counter-insurgency. Instead, I have to waste my time and focus on another liar posing as a journalist.

My thanks to Jana for pointing me to this new “exposé” on Executive Outcomes by Pauli Poisuo. See http://iissonline.net/10-frightening-facts-about-private-military-companies/

Whereas I have great respect for David Isenberg, I was rather disappointed that he allowed his blog to be used as a disinformation vehicle by an apparent under-control “free-lance writer” to blatantly lie his way onto his blog. But, it is a truism that the more a lie gets spun, the more believable it becomes.

I cannot comment on what was written about the other PMCs but I believe I am somewhat informed to comment on his piece about EO.

Ironically, ever since myself/STTEP were blacklisted by the US DoS, a flurry of “new” stories on EO have surfaced. These “stories” are all rehashed and regurgitated elements of the disinformation campaign that was run against EO by numerous governments. Some of these articles were written by intellectuals and others by liars who obviously find their pockets swelling with someone else’s money.

Is this mere coincidence – or not? Could it be that some folks are very concerned that there may be a positive intervention in some conflicts and that it will ruin their foreign policies and deny them the resources that do not belong to them? Could it also be coincidence that an African government was “warned” we are planning a coup against them? I suspect not. Possibly the revival of the EO disinformation campaign is to lend credence to STTEP being blacklisted. Who knows?

Whereas I will not take Poisuo’s article to pieces, sentence by sentence, I will (again) state the following:

1    1.  EO had – and still has – more friends in Africa than many foreign governments as Africans governments know we never lied to them and we earned their trust. They also know that we had no hidden agendas. (Of note is that Poisuo contradicts himself by stating that EO “has been sighted in most African war zones, where it is said to hold high influence”). Besides, EO has been closed for almost two decades – a fact that appears to have escaped Poisuo in totality
2   2. EO never invaded an African country and injected itself as part of an occupation force. Instead, it was invited into countries by those governments that found themselves abandoned by their so-called friends and under siege. When the insurgents and rebels were destroyed and defeated, EO left as contractually agreed to prior to it entering the country.
   3. Poisuo uses the disingenuous comment of “shady dealings”. Why not list these “shady dealings” or does he too believe in the power of innuendo?
4   4. Any military strategist with two brain cells knows that to end an insurgency, the insurgents must be denied access to funding – funding that is used to purchase weapons and ammunition. This is part of the concept known as the Trinity of Gravity. To deny insurgents internal funding, they need to be removed from those areas where they get their funding – illegally I may add -  ie diamond fields, drug crops, etc. That is not rocket science but common sense.

Even more disingenuous are Poisuo’s comments: “The company is notorious for targeting the client country’s mineral-rich regions, often regaining and securing control of gold, oil and diamond regions before paying attention to other matters. Some whisper they don’t always get around to returning these possessions to the country”.

It would do him well to do some research on Africa. He may possibly then discover that many African countries have immense mineral resources and that these resources are one of the primary reasons for conflict. It would also do his credibility well to list – and not hint at - where EO holds all these mines he writes about. I for one would be happy to know where they are as I would love to know why I am not receiving any profits. Then of course, he could list examples of when the company failed to pay “attention to other matters”.

Also, why does he not tell everyone who reads his piece on just “who” is whispering that “they don’t always get around to returning these possessions to the country”. Surely, if a private company took possession of a country’s natural resources, the government would not merely whisper about it – instead they would shout it out to the world and do something about it.

The reality of it all is (I have mentioned this ad nauseum)  that EO was the only PMC that ended conflicts, never involved itself in the internal politics of its clients, never involved itself in crime of any nature, never raped and murdered civilians, never committed acts against its clients, never attempted to steal the resources of a client, never betrayed its clients despite massive pressure to do so and never backed both sides of the conflicts. Apparently, ending conflicts in Africa was definitely not a positive move as far as some governments were concerned.

It is also well known that I turned down a US$ 20 million bribe to close EO and leave Angola in 1993 to enable the rebels to win the war. I refused despite being threatened that it would be to my disadvantage to not accept the bribe and that I would live to regret it.

Unfortunately, people such as Poisuo are too lazy to do any research. Instead they feed off the lies of others and then use someone else’s blog to do their dirty work. This is one reason why so many journalists are not trusted. Research integrity is something they know very little about – or have any interest in.  

African governments have come to realise that there is a reason why a defunct company is still being targeted and STTEP blacklisted: Peace in Africa is bad for business and foreign policies…


In short, Pauli Poisuo is nothing but a liar – and a bad one at that. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

LAST POST FOR 2013


2013 was a year filled with adrenalin rushes, expectations, waiting, laughter, happiness, satisfaction, highs and lows, cheap airlines, rundown airports, meetings, proposals, headshaking, briefings, presentations, bad food, terrible water, long hours, little sleep and some blood, sweat and tears is nearing its end.

Like so many people, I also had my share of sadness this past year. Fortunately, I have also been able to meet with some really good folks north of our border and I truly enjoy that part of my work.

There has been much to laugh about and equally much to shake our heads about as well. Unfortunately, some not-so-good folks have been disrupting both my blog and my LinkedIn Account. As they say – small things amuse small minds. Sadly though, there are no tablets for stupidity. Trials and tribulations will always be there but it is not the fire we walk through that counts but rather how we walk through it.

Thank you to everyone who read and contributed to the blog throughout the year. Your comments are always appreciated and highly valued as they give me insight and allow me to broaden my own knowledge base.

To everyone who is far from home at this time, and to those who are deployed in the conflict zones around the world, beit as soldiers, sailors, airmen, law enforcement officers, spooks or PMC contractors, keep your heads down, your eyes peeled, your weapons close at hand, stay safe and be ready to do what needs to be done.

Let us also remember those who will not be able to be share this time with those they hold dear as well as those who have lost friends and loved ones. They should never be forgotten. Nor should the sacrifices they have made ever be forgotten.

I would also like to wish each and every visitor to the blog a blessed festive season. To those who celebrate the meaning of Christmas, I wish you and your families a blessed, happy and joyous festive season.

To those who do not celebrate Christmas for whatever reason – along with my Muslim friends - I wish you all a time of happiness and peace with your families and friends.

I would also like to wish each and every one of you – and your loved ones - a great 2014. May the coming year be filled with good health, happiness and safety.

‘Till next year.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

FUTURE CONFLICTS AND WARS IN AFRICA


The future conflicts and wars in Africa will seldom, if ever comprise large conventional forces pitted against one another.

Whereas conventional engagements will occur in primarily government-versus-government actions, they will be on a much smaller scale than witnessed in the past decades. Mobility, manoeuvre, surprise, speed and firepower will still remain of critical importance yet these operations will be hampered by a lack of intelligence, unreliable air support and inadequate logistics coupled to challenging terrain and varying climatic conditions.

The presence of the local population and other non-combatants has always – and will always – add a very real and unavoidable complexity to the battlefield. Whereas the government forces will attempt to co-opt and win over the support of the population, the enemy will attempt to take control over the population to force and maintain their support.

However, when the populace believe and feel they have been forgotten, failed and neglected or oppressed by their government, their support for an insurgency or an invading enemy will be more energised. This in itself ought to be cause for alarm to African governments.

In the early stages of an internal uprising or revolution, there is often a common popular belief that the coming conflict will provide the populace with “freedom” and “a better life”, hence their tentative support for the insurgency or revolution. As the conflict escalates, the enemy will take steps to protect their gains by tightening their control over the populace. This can result in the populace being subject to physical abuse, torture, executions, forced labour and recruitment. Any attempt by the populace to rid themselves of this yoke of control will result in vicious and swift retribution from the enemy.

Regardless, the populace – along with refugees - will form an integral part of the battlefield and will play a large role in the plans of both the government and the enemy as they will become both the prize and the victim of the opposing forces.

The future conflicts and wars in Africa will comprise a host of different threats, groups and forces utilising both urban and rural terrain. They will be driven by different actions and motivators employing both unconventional and limited conventional methods. These actions and motivators will cover the spectrum of general civil disobedience, violent and non-violent protests, political anxiety and isolation, violent criminal activities, insurgencies, proxy wars, state-sponsored cross-border actions, religious differences, terrorism, tribal and ethnic anger and xenophobia, territorial and resource greed along with poverty and hunger and so forth.

Attacks on tourist areas, shopping malls, business enterprises, hotels, resource mining and production areas, industrial areas, airports and harbours, isolated farms and villages, energy-supply systems, transport networks, government buildings and communication systems will become prime enemy targets. These attacks will be aimed at eroding the economy, over-stretching the security forces, creating negative national and international perceptions and sapping the will of the populace whilst creating a sense of panic.

Enemy successes will be widely proclaimed using the mainstream and social media networks to market their successes, however limited, and instil a sense of despondency and fear in the populace. Marketing of successes will also be aimed at showing the inability of the government forces to successfully counter or stop the enemy.  

When unconventional enemy forces sense defeat, they will withdraw and call for a “cease fire” and “negotiations” – a tactic aimed at gaining time, replenishing losses and creating the impression that they want peace. This tactic was and has been used in Angola, Sierra Leone, DRC, CAR, Nigeria, Mali, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Mozambique and so forth. However, peace is the very last objective they have in mind, especially when the enemy forces are acting as proxy forces on behalf of foreign sponsors to secure foreign interests. Governments will heed these calls for negotiations and unconditional ceasefires at their own peril.

Whereas both the armed forces and the law enforcement agencies will play a significant role in defeating these groups and forces in the field, they will need to be correctly trained and equipped and have access to actionable intelligence. Without intelligence, the enemy will always retain the initiative and government forces will remain unbalanced and blind to enemy plans, trends and shifts and thus remain reactive as opposed to proactive.

To ensure success, government forces will require political, military and populace will along with resolute leadership to defeat the enemy. Furthermore, African armies will need to break-away from their current organisational structures and reshape themselves to take the battle to the enemy and rapidly respond to enemy plans, actions and threats. Current structures prohibit rapid, proactive actions.

African governments will, additionally, need to reassess the manner in which governance is applied and maximise their use of the Pillars of State to identify, locate and neutralise these threats. It is at the political level that serious actions will need to be coordinated and integrated with the other Pillars.

Unless governments begin serious preparations to protect and defend themselves, their territory and the populace, they will be ill-prepared to face the coming conflicts and wars – and they are coming.