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.

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.


Unknown said...

It is ironically heartwarming that we have this problem in Africa of insecurity to the level that PMCs are a growth market. This is because the record of gov't sponsored PMCs have increasingly forced African militaries to look inward for talent, or at least try out at an embryonic level whatever they can shape as ideas. It is the threat of this self-reliance that so troubles these commercial military service providers. Be comforted by the opprobrium Eeben, for success may also be measured by the venom coating your opponent's fangs.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is indeed ironic Leonard A. Duro-Emanuel. Thank you for your observations.

I suspect that there are those who wish Africa to fail so that they can access resources as cheaply as possible. By keeping the continent in conflict and dividing its people, they believe they can dictate with condescension and we simply have to abide by their wishes.

Of interest, a foreign intelligence service recently offered money and training to a young politician…it certainly made me think about the agendas afloat here.



jobcompany said...

Eeben .. Text is inspiring truth ... that's exactly the situation ... governments and journalists??, I continue to read your blog, I send you my best wishes for your long career and your success ...

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

My thanks to you, Jobcompany.
It is sad that our continent is under the influence of playground bullies. Maybe the realisation of governments will allow them to extricate themselves from this mess.

Unknown said...

Hi Eeben.
Seems like there are a lot of jealous ignorant and arrogant spanners out there.

The work you do sees to it that suffering stops and rule of law reinstated. It is moronic to want murder and chaos to rule supreme but then again when chaos is the law of the day there will be someone behind the scenes fanning the fire and making money out of the killing.

The cracker from "Utah" i suspect may be one of those who capitalise on the chaos and you are possibly affecting his bottom line.

If you ever require someone in a support based role please keep me in mind. It would be an honour to work for you again.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Totally ignorant and arrogant to boot Mike. Someone once told me that the most dangerous person is one who is stupid but who believes he is clever. This guy (or organisation) falls into that category.

You must remember that some governments have decided that they alone must control the world’s resources and if you do not support them to the hilt or if you criticise them, then you are against them and therefore an enemy. The worst thing that can happen in their opinion is for problems to be solved and not dragged on indefinitely whilst they destroy the infrastructure of countries and slaughter the populations. That is why we must be stopped. Peace is bad for business and control and the price of resources.

I shall certainly bear you in mind for any future work, thank you for offering your services.



Anonymous said...


I am actually happy that I have found yr website. I am trying to get a balanced view of the industry, I am and assist. prof working on a book on the industry. It is extremely hard to get a view of the benevolent side of the industry as you know, would you be willing to talk to me? I'd appreciate it tremendously(your answers would be anonymous). Thanks, I hope you will consider this. Best

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Send me your email address jennadamla. I will hear you out before I make a decision.