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. Until recently, I was a contributing editor 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, November 23, 2013


Almost two decades after closing its doors due to international pressure and concerns at its successful activities in support of legitimate under-siege African and other governments, Executive Outcomes (EO) continues to be used by conmen and criminals alike to serve their purposes – and deflect blame in my/our direction.

I have written about and exposed numerous of these conmen and criminals on countless occasions yet they seem to continually pop-up somewhere and by virtue of their actions, seem to imply that EO still exists and was/is involved in criminal activities – something the company never entertained. 

My attention was today brought to a company calling themselves “Executive Outcomes” who claim to be the biggest gun retailer on the Dark Net. ‘Our shops and warehouses are located in Midwest U.S. and our international re-shippers are located in the following countries...

The Dark Net, also known as the Tor Project has some interesting funders and backers who purport to campaign for “liberty and free speech”. It is a pity these organisations don’t campaign for honesty and truth as well. See https://www.torproject.org/about/sponsors.html.en

Also see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/bitcoin-guns_n_3070828.html for more on this company.

I can only shake my head at these wannabes and conmen.

I suspect that it is no coincidence that they claim to be “Executive Outcomes”.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The age of colonialism and the subsequent decolonisation of Africa along with the Cold War has long past and despite the geographical tragedies that occurred in terms of arbitrary borders, the continent needs to come to terms with itself. It also needs to take responsibility for both its internal and external security.

Africa can no longer afford to lay the blame for its woes outside of the continent. Whereas several of Africa’s problems may indeed originate from beyond its shores, countries need to review their national security strategies and act accordingly. Failure to do so simply renders them more vulnerable to the numerous threats and threat networks that are able to penetrate and exploit the numerous security lapses that exist.

Cooperation between the threats operating in Africa is increasing as criminal, insurgent and terrorist networks cross and even join paths. Indeed, in several places across Africa, criminal networks support insurgent and terror networks and visa versa and on occasion, they are part of the same threat network. In parts of Africa, they have morphed into proxy forces under the control of foreign governments. On occasion, foreign interests coincide with the aims of the threats and/or threat networks and either wittingly or unwittingly support these networks.

As the threats and the threat networks across the continent have increased, so too has Africa’s military capacity to deal with them been gradually reduced – due in part to a lack of focussed intelligence and foresight, incoherent strategies, incorrect structures, inadequate doctrine, substandard training and obsolete equipment. This slow decay becomes very difficult, costly and time consuming to reverse – time that is often not available.  Added to this has been the rise of ethnic and political tensions infused with religious extremism.

African countries need to strengthen their defensive and offensive intelligence gathering capabilities in order to provide early warning to strategists and planners. A strong intelligence capability will furthermore allow predictions to be made in terms of real or potential threats that may or will manifest themselves. This ought to act as a guideline in terms of organisational structures, training and equipment.

To enter into a conflict or a war implies a progressive move towards economic, political and populace exhaustion. This exhaustion becomes even more evident when the conflict or the war is allowed to drag on indefinitely due to a lack of actionable intelligence along with an inability of the armed forces to contain/destroy the threat and both military and civilian casualties increase and infrastructure and equipment is either damaged or destroyed. This damages the economy which is needed to sustain the efforts of the armed forces.

However, without wide intelligence coverage and a coherent strategy, the exhaustion is multiplied – especially if the means to achieve the ends are not present or the means are lacking in ability, equipment and the political and national will is eroded or non-existent.

The primary problem however lays with the means: most African armies are organisational clones of their once colonial masters or their later East Bloc allies. This has resulted in incorrect organisational structures, incorrect training, inadequate doctrine, terrain and enemy-irrelevant TTPs and incorrect – often obsolete - equipment and so forth.

An incorrect organisational structure that is poorly prepared and postured prohibits rapid deployment and response and is usually accompanied by cumbersome command and control lines, inadequate logistics, inadequate personnel administration and that, in turn, impacts on morale and forces armies to become reactive as opposed to proactive.

The current structures most African armies follow are not conducive to rapid deployment or focussed effort. We have proven the concept that smaller, more agile units, correctly structured and trained and well-led are able to manoeuvre at speed – if they have the necessary assets at their disposal. These forces are able to operate independently and yet rapidly regroup to form a larger, very aggressive, efficient and potent fighting force.

Whether mechanised, motorised, riverine or air delivered, these forces are able to conduct numerous offensive tasks from a single large-scale conventional attack to smaller swarm attacks, COIN operations, raids and ambushes and so forth. It is this very concept that allows for the relentless pursuit of an enemy force.

This structure furthermore enables dispersed defence, forcing any enemy to attack over a very wide front whilst simultaneously dispersing his forces and exposing them to numerous flank and swarm attacks.

Unfortunately, many African armies have tried to clone foreign armies or have been ill-advised and misled in terms of intelligence, strategy, organisational structure, training, equipment and other related defence and security issues. Additionally, African armies have become very political in terms of appointments and missions. In turn, this has allowed numerous threats to be ignored, misjudged and subsequently not taken seriously until it has become almost too late. It has also resulted in a hesitancy to adapt their forces to deal with the current and future threat networks.

However, these remain mere factors that are often overlooked but that impact negatively on the abilities of African armies to achieve mission success.

For African armed forces to engage a threat or a threat network efficiently, rapidly and with economy of force, serious consideration needs to be given to restructuring the armies and training and equipping them accordingly.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Several senior African government representatives who have recently come through my door have told me that they have been “instructed” and “warned” not to meet or talk with me/STTEP by the “US Government”. But, they also tell me that for too long they have been misled and will now meet with whomever they wish to meet. Like me, they too believe that African governments have a rightful say in terms of who they want to talk to and get advice from and not be dictated to whom - and who not - they may talk to. (See my previous posting titled “HYPOCRISY AND THE POWER OF PERCEPTION”).

Then I recalled that several years ago, a senior US officer said to me: “If you are not with us, you are against us – if you’re against us, then you are the enemy. It is as simple as that”. I shrugged off this comment as it merely smacked of playground bullying. Little did I realise just how prophetic his words would become. By implication, no one is allowed to criticise anything the US does in Africa – even when it fails dismally - as it seems criticism is now construed as “terrorism”.

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with someone in the US who told me that during a discussion with a congressman it had been emphatically stated that STTEP has been blacklisted by the US Department of State (DoS). We are now “persons of interest”. We are now placed in the same category as subversive groups. Was I surprised? No, not really.

But, I suppose that makes anyone who speaks to us or is in any manner or form associated with us also “persons of interest” and therefore attempts will be made to blacklist them as well. 

I was aware of the fact that the FBI had spent time, money and effort investigating a totally legitimate contract a US company had with STTEP so I knew that for some reason we were considered as “unsavoury” in their eyes. We also know the US company was threatened if they did not terminate the contract with us. Was the US concerned that we were about to succeed and that questions would then be asked and which they would not be able to answer?

One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see certain indications and footprints on the ground and then be able to make a fairly accurate prediction of what is coming. These predictions are usually correct – and they hold no good for Africa. The examples are there to see for anyone who follows happenings in Africa.

As I was told earlier this week: “In times of universal deceit, the truth is a revolutionary act”. We have been there, done that and patiently waited for the truth to surface – which it now finally seems to be doing.

I often wonder if US citizens are aware of the duplicitous nature of US foreign policy in Africa? I am sure that many would disapprove if they really knew and understood what was happening. I know that many US servicemen are equally alarmed at what is happening but they go where their government orders them to go. We understand that as we too have walked that path. We also know that many fine US citizens are really keen and willing to invest more than just talk to make Africa work and conflicts end. Conversely, we are also aware of the immense anger, distrust and dislike that is gradually building up against the US from numerous quarters in Africa. We are privy to that on an almost daily basis. When I mentioned our being blacklisted to an ambassador this morning, his response was “Then it proves you are doing something right - don’t stop!”

One would therefore think that as the US is trying to win friends they would not make such an effort to alienate people who simply disagree with them.

Recently, one of our directors was apprehended on arrival in the US after “babysitting” a US NGO in a conflict zone. He was subject to a lengthy interrogation and his laptop was confiscated and sucked dry. If they were so keen to know what was on his laptop, all they had to do was ask but instead, he was treated like a criminal. Two subsequent “interviews” have since followed. Since the return of his laptop, it has never been the same. It appears the DoS even regards Africans who assist US citizens and NGOs as threats to US national security.

We have again become the “bad guys” despite the fact that neither EO (1989 – 1996) and later STTEP (2006 -) had and have never acted illegally – although we were constantly subject to such untrue claims by those who wanted the conflicts to continue - never invaded countries but were always invited there by the governments, worked alongside government forces, were/are always accountable to the contracting government, never attempted to depose governments, always fulfilled our contracts, never raped women and children, never smuggled opium or any other drugs, never lied to and/or cheated a government, never murdered civilians, never bribed or blackmailed government officials into giving us a contract, actually ended long-running conflicts rapidly, always been honest with African governments, never engaged in criminal behaviour, never engaged in acts of terrorism against the US or any other government and so forth. This appears to be simply a continuation of trying to prevent an African company that has a record of success of working in Africa and solving African problems. That right is apparently solely reserved for the US DoS despite the fact that success remains sadly elusive for them and that destruction and destabilisation in Africa will continue to be their legacy.

This may also explain the reason my blog’s comments are being tampered with and on occasion blocked or deleted before I can post and respond to them.

Be that as it may – STTEP and I will never give up on Africa as we were born here and will die here. We love our Continent despite its many problems which we are very well aware of. I believe we understand those problems better than most who live beyond our shores.

If it is the desire of US DoS or any other foreign government to promote conflict in Africa, we will criticise that approach and when we are asked by the targeted African governments, we will work at ending conflicts and trying to see this wealthy continent flourish.

If our desire to see a peaceful, prosperous and successful Africa has resulted in us being blacklisted by the US, then so be it. At least, we now know where we stand.

But, if we stand for nothing, we will fall for anything.

We are not prepared to do that.

We will leave that to the so-called superpower which is now fast losing its power in Africa.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Today marks the Day of Remembrance – also known as Armistice Day or Poppy Day - a memorial day that Commonwealth countries have observed since the end of World War I to in honour of those servicemen who fell in the line of duty.
On this day I remember those who died on active service as members of the South African Defence Force and of course, those men from Executive Outcomes who died trying to make Africa a better place. You will never be forgotten. 
Let us remember them with the words of Robert Laurence Binyon's poem "For the Fallen":

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Let us never forget the sacrifices that were made for us.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I wrote this piece in response to “Mark from Utah” who sent me a private mail lambasting both myself and STTEP. Unfortunately, he has yet to discover the spell checker on his computer or learn to write without having to resort to blasphemy and swearing. As for South Africans having no right to work in Africa, you are obviously wired to the moon. I thank you for your negligible contribution, Mark.

For helping legitimate African governments with political and military advice and training, my men and I are frequently branded as “mercenaries” by some in the media and some foreign non-African governments. There is an old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones…”

When foreign companies do the same – they are “Private Military Contractors” (PMCs).

Ironically, we are not – and have never been - part of an invasion force intent on occupying an African country. We are invited to African countries by the legitimate governments who believe and know that we will not deceive them or come with a hidden agenda. It is, after all, the right of any government to decide who they wish to use to assist them – and not the right of the media or a foreign government to dictate who they may or may not use.

We have never killed innocent civilians, raped women, destroyed property or involved ourselves in any criminal acts such as antiquity and resource/mineral smuggling, weapon smuggling, human trafficking and such. We have not entered those countries that asked for help with an agenda other than ending the conflicts and saving innocents – but that apparently makes us the “bad guys”.

We have never wasted a client government’s money, abandoned them, played both sides of the fence, broken their trust or run away from their problems. Nor have we ever tried to sell them over-priced obsolete equipment that has no role to play in their conflicts.

As Africans, we have both a duty and a right to assist governments that wish to bring about stability – especially if they have asked for our help. That stability is to the advantage of our entire continent. I believe our working in Africa carries more validity than that of the many “one-week wonders” we have encountered in our travels across the continent. I suppose the next move will be an attempt to prohibit all South African companies from operating in Africa.

Yes, we served in our country’s armed forces and as such some of us operated in foreign countries – much as US and European forces do today. The armed forces do not chose where they will be deployed. However, the SADF’s pre-emptive strikes were condemned by the very governments that today follow similar policies. As an instrument of policy, the armed forces go where they are sent as part of the larger grand strategy of the State.

As we work at actually assisting African governments end their conflicts as rapidly and economically as possible, we are condemned. For assisting African governments achieve stability and end conflicts or terrorism, we attract the wrath of those who wish these actions, along with the slaughter of innocents, to continue despite preaching the opposite. Our record of success speaks volumes as far as I am concerned. Indeed, it has never been equalled. But, to prevent a client government or corporation from having to contend with the hostility that usually follows if we are used, we are now forced to do what we do in secret.

Despite the media lies that followed EO around, pushing destabilisation agendas and attempting to ensure the longevity of African rebel and terrorist groups, we have never been paid in oil, diamonds or any other mineral. I have yet to see the numerous mining concessions that the media, the UN and some foreign governments have claimed I/we were and are being paid with. Ironically, these perceptions still follow us around – despite being nothing other than cheap lies to advance criminal and rebel groups along with terrorism.

Fortunately, many of those “journalists” who so willingly sold their lies and souls to the media are now either without work or have been disgraced – one even very recently - for being caught out peddling other people’s agendas. The specialists who provided expert knowledge on EO have all been proven wrong – as will those who provide “expert” insights into STTEP.

We are not hired and paid for by our government to promote or push South Africa’s foreign policy – unlike many foreign PMCs. This however places us on a very un-level playing field as we are forced to compete with “free” offers. Sometimes we win, many times we don’t. Ironically, governments that accept these free offers usually end up losing their countries anyway.

We do not interfere with the agendas and foreign interests of outside governments – unless those interests coincide with fermenting unrest and promoting armed violence. More than anything, that puts us on the wrong side. Even the FBI have involved themselves in investigating us.

It is encouraging to note that some African governments are beginning to question the hypocrisy and attempts at creating false perceptions practised by some.

If nothing else, that is a good place to start.