There have been, since my posting “FEEDING THE NARRATIVE”, numerous media reports on STTEP’s work in Nigeria.
I, on behalf of STTEP, gave only one interview. I spoke on behalf of the company and not on behalf of the Nigerian Army as any such an attempt would amount to a fraudulent representation of the Nigerian Army. (By the way, I did not run to the media as some have alluded. The media in SA began their usual campaign of condemnation and my one interview was aimed at countering the false narrative they were so keen to propagate to benefit Boko Haram.)
The remainder of the so-called news reports that followed consisted of information lifted off the SOFREP website and many reports were padded with innuendo and fabrications. Some of the journalists even intimated that they had interviewed me when they hadn’t.
Whereas I fully understand that some in the media need to ensure that their misleading narrative gets as much media play as possible, it is nevertheless a blot on the integrity and honesty of the many good journalists out there trying to make sure they report on real happenings and not figments of their imaginations—or that of their handlers.
I do not mind the mainstream and social media ageing me, demoting me, spelling my name incorrectly, using a stock photo from 1993 (I am told I looked a lot better then than I do now!), and claiming to know my military record. However, these “forgivable errors” merely point to a lack of very basic research. And by the way, Google is not a research asset.
I have no intention of trying to defend either the Nigerian Army or STTEP against fabrications and deception as that would require a book on its own—and quite frankly, I don’t have the time to do so. I do, however, need to point out some of the more obvious deceptions they have tried—and continually try—to carry out:
1. I was a co-founder of Executive Outcomes: This lie has been repeated ad nauseum and forms the foundation of much of the rubbish written about EO. As it has been repeated so often, it has now become “the truth”. Any person who claims that he founded EO or was a co-founder (other than myself and a person who very briefly held shares in the company in 1989/90) is a liar and that can be proven by a quick search at the Registrar of Companies in Pretoria, South Africa. As EO was established in 1988/9 and worked under the radar, it only came to prominence in 1993/4. There are however some who lay claim to founding or being co-founders of EO. Basic research will prove them to be nothing other than liars. Some of these liars have even turned their claims into a business.
2. STTEP was driving around in tanks in Nigeria: This remarkable comment was made by a journalist who obviously does not know the difference between a tank and an MRAP but who is still deemed to be a “defence journalist” and who happens to be a suspected intelligence agent. I rest my case.
3. STTEP consists of white racists: Ironically, these reports attempt to create racial tension and nothing else. I am not too sure what race has to do with competence and effectiveness but apparently it means a lot to those journalists. Truth is that the company has white, black and brown Africans in its ranks, some coming from national armies and others from those who fought national armies. Plus, many of our applicants are black which makes a mockery of this comment—unless they too are “white racists”.
4. EO/STTEP have invaded in Africa in attempts to “colonise” it: Neither EO before it nor STTEP have ever engaged in anti-government actions—anywhere. Some ex-EO men were recruited (several years after EO closed its doors) by a man who (still) puts himself out to be a co-founder of EO (a blatant lie) and he misled them regarding a coup attempt that failed. The initial comments regarding EO “invading” countries was however written by a well-known foreign intelligence asset, despite EO being invited there by the legitimate government to assist them. Besides, how do Africans colonise Africa especially when invited there by the government of the day? The stupidity of this comment boggles the mind.
5. I lied to men regarding medical and CASEVAC procedures: This comment by an internet troll claims I lied to my men regarding medical and CASEVAC procedures and options and left wounded men to die. Ironically, as an ex-SADF transport officer who was never part of either EO or STTEP, this troll also appears to know more than I do. No person in his right mind would want to work for a company that treats its employees in such a manner, yet we are overwhelmed with applications… Or is this lie being bandied about for another reason?
6. I alone was responsible for the training and deployment of 72 Mobile Force in Nigeria: The journo who wrote this has no clue about something known as “team work”. I lay claim to nothing and all credit for the training must be given to the STTEP leader group and training team who achieved a remarkable result in a very short space of time with very little equipment and under extremely difficult and trying conditions.
7. I sit in my office and expect the men to do what I won’t do: There are those who know me and then obviously many who do not. Suffice to say, I will never ask anyone to do something I am either unwilling or afraid to do. Many who have worked with me can attest to that.
8. I recently gave a lecture in Europe on STTEP’s tactics in Nigeria: This comment was the result of a poor deduction made by someone who read my blog entry on the RDDC. The journalist who wrote that comment also hinted that he had actually interviewed me—he hadn’t.
9. We trained the Nigerian Army (NA) in “relentless pursuit”: This comment was way off mark. Relentless pursuit is an element of exploitation and not an operational approach on its own. Another journalist then went on to claim that STTEP was using Boko Haram’s tactics against them!
10. STTEP only consists of ex “apartheid-era” soldiers: Shame, but something must be said to create the perception that we are white racists who harbour the politics of a previous government. Of course, whatever can be said to create racial tensions must be said. And of course, no mention is made of the many black Africans who wish to join STTEP as that would totally upset the narrative. And by the way, many who work with us are not ex “apartheid-era” soldiers.
11. STTEP gets paid for its work: This shocking revelation has truly exposed us as getting paid for our services. The journalist who wrote this obviously works for free. Yes, we do get paid but we get paid a LOT less than foreign PMCs who operate in Africa will multi-million dollar budgets, funded by foreign governments. In this instance, we were a sub-contractor and had no room for any negotiations regarding payment. STTEP has done contracts where it worked for zero-profit to support those who needed help but of course, that must never be mentioned.
12. STTEP is a threat to Africa’s security and stability: It appears that working to ensure an end to conflict, as quickly as possible, constitutes a threat to Africa’s national security and stability. I suspect this comment is made because STTEP is actually seen as a threat to numerous nefarious foreign agendas and interests, not to mention some NGO’s who thrive on conflict as it fuels their income.
13. STTEP has claimed the credit for Boko Haram’s losses: Unlike those who make false claims, STTEP will NEVER take credit for something it didn’t do. This pithy comment is merely aimed at trying to discredit the Nigerian Army and attempt to create antagonism between the NA and the company. False claims that STTEP rescued hostages in Sambisa forest is another falsehood as that was done by the NA.
14. STTEP engaged in a “secret” war in Nigeria: This sensationalist comment apparently expects the Nigerian Army to send early warning to the enemy that they are about to launch an attack. Maybe the journalist felt that “secret” would add a sinister twist to his story. Or maybe he felt that the Nigerian Army were “playing dirty” by not telling the enemy what their intentions were?
15. STTEP engaged in a “dark war” against Boko Haram: I am not too sure what a “dark war” is. Perhaps the foreign news editor who came up with this comment could enlighten me what it actually means. Or maybe his “sources” that never existed would know what he meant.
16. STTEP is part of the “Executive Outcomes Group”: The so-called “EO Group” (http://www.eogroup.biz) are conmen who are trying to use a defunct company’s name and reputation to gain contracts—albeit under false pretences. Despite being (telephonically) confronted over this fraudulent business practice, they still persist in their deception. Maybe the media should talk to them as they claim—on their website—they have “10 000 employees working in 70 countries”.
I suppose I could go on and on…but my ramblings will merely become boring—even to myself. Besides, it gives the media the opportunity to say I ramble on and on…
Perhaps now the many decent and honourable journalists will understand our suspicion talking to them. They have been tainted by their very unethical, unprofessional and unscrupulous colleagues who continually abuse their positions to feed a false agenda and narrative—and who, apart from their salaries, most often get paid by their shadow paymasters as well.
Does that make me hateful of the media?
No, only very cautious as trust is not given unconditionally, it is earned.