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, August 31, 2013


There has been a dramatic increase in “Save the Rhino” activities and programmes – very few of them actually aimed at saving the rhino. Instead, many of these so-called programmes are aimed at saving someone’s bank balance to the detriment of our dwindling rhino population.

Lately, numerous gadgets have made their appearance in the market aimed at evoking an emotional response to the majestic rhino. These vary from key-rings to place-maps to plastic bumper rhino horns. All proclaim to be aimed exclusively at generating money to contribute towards saving the rhino.

Maybe some of them are – but many, if not most, are definitely not.

At last count, there were 500 plus such schemes being driven to save our wildlife heritage. (This figure was given to me by a senior SARS investigator).  

Then, we have witnessed so-called Special Forces from foreign countries coming here to tell us what to do. Whereas they might be honourable in their intentions, just who are they to come here and act as though they are specialists in saving rhinos? What is their track record in saving rhinos and can they prove it? What would their reaction be if we travelled to their countries and tried to tell them how to save an endangered species? But, I suppose, TV programmes pay well even when there are no positive results.

Even more disturbing to me is a new venture that claims to be tied to my name.

Let me begin by saying that I am not – and have never been – associated in any manner or form with “Save the rhino” programmes, simply because they are not what they appear to be. In fact, I view the vast majority of these schemes with a very jaundiced eye.

I made my feelings known with regard to rhino poaching some time ago. I believe that we should hunt the rhino poachers and give them what they intend giving the rhinos – a taste of lead. We must do this with aggression and ruthlessness and show them no mercy at all. But, my feelings on this matter are considered to be politically incorrect in addition to giving no consideration to the human rights of the poachers.

People who go about collecting money for so-called anti-rhino poaching initiatives but who have no intention of passing those funds to an authorised programme to stop the poaching fall into the category of not only “conman” but “organised crime” – as I believe their actions are both criminal and organised.

Over the past years, I have bumped into or heard of many people who have claimed to represent me in numerous dodgy schemes; some claimed they are very closely associated with me, others claimed they are “secretly” working with me and some have even claimed to be me.

Enter someone who will be known by his initials – KB.

On 20 August 2013, I received an email from an ex-EO employee. In this email he asked the question: “…your name has come up with someone that is collecting money for the rhino cause. As many people do this falsely both use your name for things you have nothing to do with and others collect money the rhino causes never see.

This man claims he is heading up an intel network on poaching and I am told he says you are the head honcho. His name is K….. B…….”.

I have heard of KB but have never met him, have never agreed to support him in any manner or form and have never, until this morning, spoken to him. I take extreme exception to my name being used for a cause I deeply believe in but in which I am not involved in any manner whatsoever.

(I am currently utilising every source at my disposal to dig deeper into this matter. I contacted KB by phone this morning (31 August 2013) and he denied this claim – but then, so does everyone else I have confronted over the years. I have already reported this con to the relevant law enforcement authorities).

To those out there using the rhino as a money-making exercise, you will be exposed - sooner or later. As wildlife crimes are, according to media reports, the 3rd or 4th most serious criminal activity in the world, those who engage in money collections using the rhino as their cover are part of this criminal endeavour.

To unsuspecting people out there, be careful of people claiming to represent me. Question their intentions and dig deeper than that you are simply told - don’t just part with your money. If you have any doubts, report them.

If my name is tied to these schemes and thrown around by these cash-collectors, please let me know and I shall take very decisive action against them.


Unknown said...

I recently purchases 3x Rhino Survival Wrist Band from http://www.bushstraps.co.za/shop/product.php?id_product=10

as the website says..Show you support and buy the Rhino Survival Wrist Band.

For every wrist band sold, BushStraps will donate towards stop rhino poaching.

Hope this is the case?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It would be very interesting to know how much they actually do donate, Michaela.

As the call “Save the Rhino” has become big business, I have simply seen and heard too much to have any faith in these things.



Unknown said...

Well thanks for exposing this Eeben

Its amazing how all the scum crawl out from under their respective rocks as soon as some $$ is to be made...but this is the work of bottom feeders...how do you go about exposing this? at least you are making people aware

Unknown said...

These scum bags should be exposed! talk about bottom feeders...i will be looking into that company..
Thanks for the heads up Eeben

Herbert said...


These Scheisters need to be eradicated in the manner you suggest for rhino poachers--which by the way I could not more strongly endorse. But I expect you are right: political correctness trumps logic. I can only imagine the anger of being underhandedly associated with these blackguards.

Here in the USA they are rampant. Any subject that appeals to emotion is fair game to them. Some of them use support of disabled veterans as their cause but only give 5 to 10% of their take to it, thereby managing to stay out of jail as they give something. One word for them: thief.


Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

As many of these organisations/companies/individuals claim to be "non-profit organisations" (another great con as they pay themselves huge salaries)we need to call their bluff.

Not all of these groups are out to con but many of them are there exclusively to make that quick buck. They are the ones that are nothing other than criminal.



Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Those that are out to make quick money for their pockets must be exposed, Michaela.

Maybe it is time for SARS to start investigating where this money is really going.

However, when I am tied to these cons (as I often am)my blood boils and I will now do whatever it takes to expose these frauds and those of similar ilk.



Unknown said...

Hi Eeben. I am not surprised that you are being used by all and sundry to try and legitimise their shenanigans. It must infuriate you no end.

I was conned into the "rhino saving scheme" along with others who wanted to seriously do something about the scourge. "Our Blue Leader" unfortunately was in it to win it for himself.

I have all but given up on the poor animals because of the mass of supposed people who are simply making money out of the suffering of the rhino. Those who pretend to represent the rhino but then pocket monies raised are akin to poachers.

I would love to know who
Mr K B is. As for the yank special forces dudes coming here and pontificating like Hollywood heroes, well the Taliban are one thing and rhino poachers another all together. That was a disastrous PR snafu at best. Who ever dreamt up that brain fart must have watched too many Hollywood flicks.

Funnily enough while I was working the KZN WINTER AIR TOUR in June and July, the anti rhino poaching dudes were there with their micro plane and chopper putting on a show for the locals in Mkuze. Kingsley Holgate made an appearance on behalf of the rhino crowd but I didn't see how that benefitted the rhino. The locals in Mkuze don`t give a hoot about rhino`s or their plight. That was clear.

There are some good guys out there but there are many more get rich quick schemers unfortunately.

So till the con men are eradicated and the eastern countries change their archaic beliefs in the healing powers of rhino horn, the rhino here in Africa better start masquerading as Hippo`s!

Regards: Mike.

Brent Clark said...

Hi Eeben

There appears to be some good results coming out of Botswana.

I watched this documentary.


(Part one was interesting too.)


WildLifeMargrit said...

Sorry about the impersonations. Opportunists have definitely jumped on the Rhino Crisis band wagon.
It took us months to find a viable team to support via Nikela.
Also, to remove all concerns 100% of donations made (minus unavoidable bank fees :( ) go to stop rhino poaching. This is possible because we are self-funded and volunteer operated.
<a href="http:www.Nikela.org</a>

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am truly sick of it, Herbert. Even more sickening to me (love the term “Scheisters”) is when they make use of truly good causes to further their criminality. Ironically, the law does not step in and stop this abuse of good causes. As the rhino population dwindles, their bank accounts swell. Until drastic measures are introduced, this situation will continue.

I must confess that I am shocked that some exploit the disabled veterans. Regardless if one agrees with – or disagrees with the reasons soldiers are sent to war, this exploitation remains unforgiveable. I have but one word for them: SCUM.

As for those trying to tie me into their scams, I shall expose every one of them as and when I find or hear of them.



Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The great irony Mike is that some people/organisations try to link me to their companies and others are scared to be associated with me as I may “negatively impact” on their business. It is something I have had to live with but the humour is not lost on me.

Rest assured that many have been conned with the “Save the Rhino” scams. That said, there are some people who genuinely want to do this and have honourable intentions. The difficulty in this is separating the conmen from the dedicated.

I have heard that the Special Forces snafu has drawn a lot of laughter and derision from many quarters. But then again, reality and Hollywood-type “documentaries” are far removed from one another. I guess it is the money that counts and this has never really been about the rhino.

Until someone/organisation steps in and starts taking focussed and decisive action, the conmen will flourish and the rhino population will dwindle.



Anonymous said...

I also don't believe anymore in Save the Rhino action.. it is sad that today people want to make money on eveything.. even n poor and also beauty rhinos. By the way great article, keep writing, regards from helikontex.

Unknown said...

Just want to add a quick quip.
Your article starts off with the sentence
" There has been a dramatic increase in “Save the Rhino” activities and programmes "

Funnily enough with this dramatic increase in rhino programmes there is an even bigger decrease in the rhino population. This in itself is indicative of the failings of conservation in this country in general.

Try talking to those who run these programmes and it becomes abundantly clear that they think you know absolutely nothing and they are ordained by a higher force.

There needs to be ONE CENTRAL entity with clear mandates and standard operating procedures and not a horde of arm chair eco warriors running around pontificating. Their bombastic attitudes are sickening and assisting in the slaughter of the rhino by fragmenting the effort to save the animals.

My very uneducated 1 cents worth. I am sure some eco warrior will launch an attack on me for having said this before thoroughly thinking through what i am trying to make clear. I may have to take evasive action.
Mike( the clueless one)

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I applaud those who are really making an effort to save the rhino, Brent. My gripe is with those who are using it to make money shamelessly.

Well done to Botswana - they are making efforts.


Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I applaud those who are really making an effort to save the rhino, Brent. My gripe is with those who are using it to make money shamelessly.

Well done to Botswana - they are making efforts.



Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Well done to you and your team, WildLifeMargit.

I applaud those who are trying to make an effort. As I mentioned to Brent, my gripe is with those who shamelessly use this initiative to line their own pockets. I think that those initiatives that are genuine and have nothing to hide should come out publically and expose those who are using this to better their own bank accounts.

Maybe you could start such a drive?



Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A valid point, Mike.

I also noticed a reticence to listen to reason and “common sense”. Unfortunately, when you put some people into a position of power, they assume power totally and instead of taking responsibility for their role, they abuse it in an attempt to usurp more power.

When this initiative to save the rhino started, we recommended one central body to control and coordinate the efforts as we could anticipate how it will get out of hand but we were met with a deafening silence.

Do not worry what others may say – those who shout the loudest usually have some agenda. We discovered this in the EO days.