About Me

My photo
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.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Fighting an apparently elusive enemy during COIN operations can be very frustrating, especially for the men in the field.

The frustration is increased when it appears that the enemy has the initiative – which he indeed has at times - as he can chose his place, time and method of attack. These attacks are usually of short duration but have the sole aim of killing, wounded or delaying own forces members – and getting maximum publicity for their cause.

When the enemy believes he has the initiative, he becomes bolder and more daring. When we believe that the enemy has the initiative, it places us in a reactive state-of-mind, thus giving the enemy the initiative.    

Wresting the initiative from the enemy is not as easy as it sounds, but it is not impossible. We need to place the enemy in a position of continual disadvantage and then exploit it with speed, aggression and firepower.

One aspect I feel is not emphasised enough in COIN operations is the principle of “relentless pursuit”.

Relentless pursuit implies the enemy is pursued with speed and aggression, without stopping, pushing him past the limits of his endurance whilst we continually substitute the men doing the pursuit with fresh troops. This forces the enemy into a state of exhaustion as he has no time to eat or rest. It also impacts negatively on his morale, leads to panic and subsequently leads him to make mistakes.

When the enemy is tired and hungry, he becomes weak thus slow in his movements, disorientated and prone to making poor decisions. It is these mistakes we need to identify and exploit in order to seize the initiative.

Troops conducting the relentless pursuit should not be over-burdened with equipment and gadgets. They should only carry the very essentials of what is required to achieve their mission.

Implementing relentless pursuit requires, amongst others, that troops:

&1. Can eat whilst on the move
&2. Can track an enemy at speed
&3. Have the ability to leap-frog ahead of the enemy by means of helicopters
&4. Have outstanding communications
&5. Are aggressive
&6. Are adept at night operations
&7. Must outgun the enemy

      Troops need to be “taught” how to eat whilst on the move. During relentless pursuit, troops cannot stop to prepare meals as this will give the enemy time to make good his escape.  Dry rations and water is all these troops need to carry with them especially since they will only be moving for a few hours before being relieved by fresh troops.

The ability to track humans is an essential prerequisite. Good trackers can tell the age of a track as well as indicate if the enemy is carrying heavy loads, the types of weapons he has (this is identified when locating enemy resting points), if the enemy is moving hurriedly, what he is eating and so forth. Good trackers are also able to identify disturbances in the soil or tripwires indicating a possible landmine or IED.

The use of helicopters to substitute troops after a few hours of follow-up adds to the concept of relentless pursuit. Tired troops can be replaced with fresh troops in order to maintain momentum and keep the pressure on the enemy.  Once the trackers have analysed the age of the tracks to within an hour or less, helicopters can be used to deploy troops into blocking positions as well as deliver troops onto tactically advantageous ground. Alternatively, troops can be deployed to seal off villages and prevent their use to the enemy.

Good communications is essential to ensure that pursuit forces do not engage in so-called friendly-fire incidents. Communications is also essential to enable the calling for air support, fresh troops, and reinforcements and so on. By frequently reporting the pursuit forces coordinates, operations officers will be able to plot and even predict the enemy’s intended direction of movement.

Troops need to develop their aggression level to such a point that the enemy fears them. Aggressive pursuit is aimed at initiating contact as heavily with the enemy as possible.  

Pursuit must continue after dark and into and during the night. Equipment such as night vision goggles and illumination flares must be used to the optimal. Battlefield illumination, when closing with the enemy, is useful for slowing an enemy’s progress or forcing him to show himself prematurely.

The enemy must be engaged at maximum range, terrain depending, in order to force him to deploy tactically. Long distance engagements may not cause enemy casualties but it will slow his progress and allow own forces to begin offensive tactical manoeuvres. Weapons such as the 20mm PAW, 60mm patrol mortars, RPG-7s and so forth can force the enemy to slow his progress, take cover and thus slow his escape.

When the enemy scatters (bombshells), at least one set of tracks should be taken to ensure a successful pursuit as it is likely that the enemy may regroup at an emergency RV.

To apply relentless pursuit, the troops need to be fit, mentally alert and ready to immediately take offensive action.  

Failure to apply relentless pursuit will continue to give the enemy options and advantages, often at our own peril.  

Friday, August 19, 2011


I am used to being falsely accused of many things although I never expected a so-called Professor Emeritus to allow his blog to be used for disinformation purposes – unless, of course, he has proof of what he allows to be placed on his site or he is acting as someone’s propaganda agent.

Even less did I expect Professor Robert Black (http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/2011/07/general-magnus-malan.html), a man of the legal profession and who so eloquently states on his blog that he “is often referred to as the architect of the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands” to allow such a libellous and slanderous comment to be placed on his blog without even taking to trouble to verify it. This certainly does not say much for the esteemed professor’s abilities as a man of the law.

The lie I am referring to was placed by a person who identified himself as Patrick Haseldine. This buffoon wrote the following:

Eeben Barlow, commander of South Africa’s Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB) Europe Branch coordinated the Lockerbie Bombing on 21 December 1988 by targeting UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, the most prominent of the 270 victims.

At Heathrow airport, CCB operatives had six hours in which to substitute the “bomb bag” for Bernt Carlsson’s checked-in suitcase, while Carlsson was attending a meeting in London with De Beers diamond cartel. No trace of his suitcase was ever found following the Pan Am Flight 103 disaster.

The esteemed professor simply published Haseldine’s lie without doing any research. As he touts himself as “the architect of the Lockerbie trial”, I have to question his legal reasoning – and feel pity those whose interests he apparently claims to be working for.

Perhaps Patrick Haseldine (and maybe even Professor Black?) is still smarting from the fact that EO destroyed the terrorist groups UNITA in Angola and RUF in Sierra Leone (perhaps they would prefer the term “liberation movements”), thus leading to financial losses all round? After all, many people – and even listed companies - were supporting these two groups in exchange for cheap diamonds.

Since Patrick Haseldine has decided to spread lies about me, I have decided to spread the truth about him. Haseldine was a British civil servant that was found unsuitable for service and considered to be a mediocre government official. Apparently, his superior prepared two confidential reports on his performance whilst he was employed by the UK’s FCO – both of which were very unflattering. One report even stated that he had “some serious weaknesses, not good enough to get by”. He could have been demoted, taken early retirement or even dismissed. These reports were counter-signed by different officers who agreed with the conclusion of his superior, namely that he was not suited to work in a political department. He was eventually given the boot and sacked.

Professor Robert Black, on his web page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professor_Robert_Black, claims to spend “six months of the year at his second home near a remote village in the Northern Cape of South Africa”.

Now, were I to say that I will trace the good professor and pay him a visit next time he is in South Africa, he will no doubt state on his blog that I have threatened him and then most probably ask for South African Police protection. But, I also have to wonder who in Military Intelligence visits him whilst he is here?

The dear professor should however not worry as I am not about to waste my time on someone such as he.  I would however love to meet this gigantic legal brain.  

I have made my feelings on the UN’s Peacekeeping Department perfectly clear – and I shall stand by them. I have long held the belief that they create conflicts in Africa and then prolong them. One only has to do a bit of research on their performance to come to that realisation.

 I trust that Professor Black (he has certainly given meaning to the term “black propaganda”) will likewise stand by the comment he allowed on his blog that I was responsible for the Lockerbie bombing.  Given that the professor probably has a cosy relationship with the South Africa law enforcement agencies, I also hope he will now call for my extradition to stand trial for a crime I never committed.

I would love to stand trial for this alleged crime and I cannot wait to hear what evidence Haseldine and Black will present during my trial.

Note 1: Thanks to “Jackson” for the Private Message referring me to Black’s site. I will also post this comment on Black’s blog. 

Note 2: On 25th August, Prof Robert Black, the man who deemed it necessary to allow a posting on his blog alleging that I was the “mastermind” behind the Lockerbie bombing, finally came to his legal senses with a comment on his blog. He wrote: Because Patrick Haseldine does not have any evidence. This correspondence is now closed. All further contributions will be deleted. (I just love his rape of English or perhaps in his haste, he simply used a full stop where he shouldn’t have).

Monday, August 15, 2011


I do apologise to everyone who wrote to me and sent comments to my blog and have yet to receive a reply or an answer.

Having been away for a few weeks, in an area where internet connection is something of the future, returning home and being able to read my mail and your comments, was indeed a pleasure.

Please give me a day or two to catch up on all my mail. I shall get back to the blog within the next few days.

In the meantime, keep your comments coming and stay well.