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.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

THE NEW YORK TIMES “CORRECTION” AND OTHER THINGS

Having been away for a couple of days, Matt (www.feraljundi.com) alerted me to the fact that the New York Times had finally responded to my letter accusing them of lying about Executive Outcomes in an article they had published.

The New York Times printed a correction on 18 May and although not apologising for the deception, wrote the following:

An article on Sunday about the creation of a mercenary battalion in the United Arab Emirates misstated the past work of Executive Outcomes, a former South African mercenary firm whose veterans have been recruited for the new battalion. Executive Outcomes was hired by several African governments during the 1990s to put down rebellions and protect oil and diamond reserves; it did not stage coup attempts. (Some former Executive Outcomes employees participated in a 2004 coup attempt against the government of Equatorial Guinea, several years after the company itself shut down.)

Ironically, it seems that the New York Times considers the murder, rape and mutilation of innocent civilians by foreign-backed insurgents as mere “rebellions”. Of course, they also felt it very necessary to, in their correction, mention that some ex-EO men were involved in Simon Mann’s poorly planned coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea whilst not mentioning any other company’s ex-employees. But it appears as though every time a South African is involved, it should be blamed on EO.

Whereas I am not entirely satisfied with the correction without an apology, I shall be discussing the matter with my legal council before deciding what action to take next.

I note that there are several comments pending approval on my blog. I apologise for not yet publishing and responding to them – I shall do so as soon as I have caught up on my backlog of administration.

On request of several readers of the blog, I have finally opened a Twitter account. I am still trying to master this new element of social media but until such time as I can, I shall remain a twit.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

NEW YORK TIMES PEDDLES LIES IN ARTICLE

They say if you tell a lie enough times, it eventually becomes “the truth”.

The New York Times have certainly tried to keep up with that adage, prompting me to write to them a few minutes ago.

My letter read as follows:

Pretoria,

South Africa

15th May 2011

Dear Editor,

It was with interest that I read your article headlined Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder dated 14 May 2011 by your journalists Mark Mazzetti and Emily B Hager.

As the founder and chairman of the now defunct Executive Outcomes, I found it of even greater interest that they state in their article as fact that Executive Outcomes was “a South African company notorious for staging coup attempts...in Africa”.

Indeed, the only fact in their reference to Executive Outcomes is that it was a South African company.

Had your journalists done even the most basic of research, they would have discovered that:

1. Executive Outcomes was intimately involved in drafting the South African government’s legislation on foreign military companies

2. Executive Outcomes had a licence from the South African government to conduct its business

3. Executive Outcomes only accepted contracts from legitimate, internationally recognised governments. This included South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Sierra Leone and Indonesia to name a few

4. The South African media apologised to me for allowing themselves to be used to perpetuate disinformation on both myself and my company.

The book Executive Outcomes: Against all Odds, was written by myself and published in 2007 by Galago Publishing, detailing the company’s origins, contracts and activities. To date, no information I gave in the book has been refuted by any party.

I personally remain opposed to coups and I also run a blog where I have written, warned against and prevented coups in Africa (http://eebenbarlowsmilitaryandsecurityblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/warning-against-joining-planned-coup.html)

However, as your paper accepted and published a factually incorrect comment on Executive Outcomes, despite it being libellous, I reserve the right to take legal action. Meanwhile I demand that your journalists furnish me with proof of any coup attempts planned or staged by the defunct Executive Outcomes. Should your journalists argue that the failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea is an example of such an action, may I point out that Executive Outcomes closed its doors in January 1998. It therefore cannot, in any way, be linked to a coup attempt several years later. If any ex-Executive Outcomes men were recruited by the planners of such a coup, Executive Outcomes can still not be linked to the attempt.

I look forward to your comments.

Sincerely,

EEBEN BARLOW

(Signed)

I received a reply back that read:

THANK YOU for writing The New York Times. We are grateful to readers who take the time to help us report thoroughly and accurately. Your message will reach the appropriate editor or reporter promptly.

I will keep you all informed of their actions and responses as I in particular want to know when EO acted in the manner they claim it did.