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.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I was hoping to start 2014 with a posting on conflict and the dangers of a blinkered approach to counter-insurgency. Instead, I have to waste my time and focus on another liar posing as a journalist.

My thanks to Jana for pointing me to this new “exposé” on Executive Outcomes by Pauli Poisuo. See http://iissonline.net/10-frightening-facts-about-private-military-companies/

Whereas I have great respect for David Isenberg, I was rather disappointed that he allowed his blog to be used as a disinformation vehicle by an apparent under-control “free-lance writer” to blatantly lie his way onto his blog. But, it is a truism that the more a lie gets spun, the more believable it becomes.

I cannot comment on what was written about the other PMCs but I believe I am somewhat informed to comment on his piece about EO.

Ironically, ever since myself/STTEP were blacklisted by the US DoS, a flurry of “new” stories on EO have surfaced. These “stories” are all rehashed and regurgitated elements of the disinformation campaign that was run against EO by numerous governments. Some of these articles were written by intellectuals and others by liars who obviously find their pockets swelling with someone else’s money.

Is this mere coincidence – or not? Could it be that some folks are very concerned that there may be a positive intervention in some conflicts and that it will ruin their foreign policies and deny them the resources that do not belong to them? Could it also be coincidence that an African government was “warned” we are planning a coup against them? I suspect not. Possibly the revival of the EO disinformation campaign is to lend credence to STTEP being blacklisted. Who knows?

Whereas I will not take Poisuo’s article to pieces, sentence by sentence, I will (again) state the following:

1    1.  EO had – and still has – more friends in Africa than many foreign governments as Africans governments know we never lied to them and we earned their trust. They also know that we had no hidden agendas. (Of note is that Poisuo contradicts himself by stating that EO “has been sighted in most African war zones, where it is said to hold high influence”). Besides, EO has been closed for almost two decades – a fact that appears to have escaped Poisuo in totality
2   2. EO never invaded an African country and injected itself as part of an occupation force. Instead, it was invited into countries by those governments that found themselves abandoned by their so-called friends and under siege. When the insurgents and rebels were destroyed and defeated, EO left as contractually agreed to prior to it entering the country.
   3. Poisuo uses the disingenuous comment of “shady dealings”. Why not list these “shady dealings” or does he too believe in the power of innuendo?
4   4. Any military strategist with two brain cells knows that to end an insurgency, the insurgents must be denied access to funding – funding that is used to purchase weapons and ammunition. This is part of the concept known as the Trinity of Gravity. To deny insurgents internal funding, they need to be removed from those areas where they get their funding – illegally I may add -  ie diamond fields, drug crops, etc. That is not rocket science but common sense.

Even more disingenuous are Poisuo’s comments: “The company is notorious for targeting the client country’s mineral-rich regions, often regaining and securing control of gold, oil and diamond regions before paying attention to other matters. Some whisper they don’t always get around to returning these possessions to the country”.

It would do him well to do some research on Africa. He may possibly then discover that many African countries have immense mineral resources and that these resources are one of the primary reasons for conflict. It would also do his credibility well to list – and not hint at - where EO holds all these mines he writes about. I for one would be happy to know where they are as I would love to know why I am not receiving any profits. Then of course, he could list examples of when the company failed to pay “attention to other matters”.

Also, why does he not tell everyone who reads his piece on just “who” is whispering that “they don’t always get around to returning these possessions to the country”. Surely, if a private company took possession of a country’s natural resources, the government would not merely whisper about it – instead they would shout it out to the world and do something about it.

The reality of it all is (I have mentioned this ad nauseum)  that EO was the only PMC that ended conflicts, never involved itself in the internal politics of its clients, never involved itself in crime of any nature, never raped and murdered civilians, never committed acts against its clients, never attempted to steal the resources of a client, never betrayed its clients despite massive pressure to do so and never backed both sides of the conflicts. Apparently, ending conflicts in Africa was definitely not a positive move as far as some governments were concerned.

It is also well known that I turned down a US$ 20 million bribe to close EO and leave Angola in 1993 to enable the rebels to win the war. I refused despite being threatened that it would be to my disadvantage to not accept the bribe and that I would live to regret it.

Unfortunately, people such as Poisuo are too lazy to do any research. Instead they feed off the lies of others and then use someone else’s blog to do their dirty work. This is one reason why so many journalists are not trusted. Research integrity is something they know very little about – or have any interest in.  

African governments have come to realise that there is a reason why a defunct company is still being targeted and STTEP blacklisted: Peace in Africa is bad for business and foreign policies…

In short, Pauli Poisuo is nothing but a liar – and a bad one at that. 


Unknown said...

Hi there Eeben. His piece is very amateurish.
Is it possibly his first article like ever?

I saw this odd post on that other paw paws site, it is odd to say the least.

kambale mawa commented on "Is the @NewYorker publishing puff profiles of mercenaries Executive Outcomes now? (It's Joseph Kony-related)".

in response to chrisblattman:

That is the tweet of the week, from @AfricasACountry. They’re talking about this article, “How a Texas philanthropist funded the hunt for Joseph Kony”: Davis told me when we spoke again in New York this past week, that, in 2010, she realized that she had to move beyond advocacy… Laren Poole called to tell her he thought […]

You sir, have no idea what you are talking about.

For goodness sake, you held one “job”. Just one at Deloitte & Touche and you could not hold on to even that one. You have as much life experience as a potatoe. You have seen nothing of the world but HBO and MTV, and heard of your cohort’s accolade.
You sir killed my family. You came and cut my father’s hands off, smashed his foot with a truck, and laughed about it. Then while he we were tied to posts my sisters and mother was raped repeated till they bled to death. Then they were burned alive. You did that sir. I was there and watched you do it. Maybe you had a different face, and skin color – but might as well been you. It was your and your buddies’ words that let the beasts loose. You think you know better.
I will never forget those years I spent in slavery because of you and your ilk. Every day I wake up and do not look into the mirror. I scare little children on the street. You did that to me.
When EO was here, we were safe. They came through; they were real *gentlemen*. You sir, do not have the right to even mention their names without prostrating. Narcissism is an illness. You should have that looked at as it spreads.

Unknown said...

Hi E
Again, I find it interesting to see how hard DoS (I can only assume this comes from them) is trying to trash your name through a company that has been shelved for 20 years.
I suppose they are extremely upset with the fact that many African Governments (and others) are talking with you regularly, and seeking your advice. This is of course bad for business as you stated in your blog posting. It’s clear to see that a destabilized Africa is more of a priority now than anything else.

I wish that any expert writing on EO in the future would also post pictures etc. of the gold and diamond mines, and also the oil drilling operations so that the world can actually see all the EO assets and not just hear about all these fables.

I have, in all the news sites that I visit daily, never heard of any African Government complaining about EO stealing their resources, EO invading a country etc etc. I am sure the UN would have had a fat egg to lay if that was really the case.

What is interesting is that none of these so called experts on Africa (and EO) or any of the very “credible” journalists has ever mentioned the fact that EO was (past tense) the only private military company to end two wars in Africa. In actual fact, I don’t think any Government in recent history can claim the same success.
The only Government who can is the Sri Lankans who wiped out the Tamlis in I think 2009.

This only shows that some Governments are extremely threatened by you and STTEP with the stability that can be brought to under siege Governments in Africa and elsewhere.

So the question is, why don’t these journalists and experts not rather write something about a destabilized Africa, who are the players involved and why, in countries such as Egypt, CAR, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, South Sudan, Mozambique, Darfur in west Sudan, Uganda, Mali, Tunisia, Libya (any many others)
Funny enough, its all countries where the West is heavily involved in. None of these countries seem to have any success stories.

Oh, they at least call Iraq and Afghanistan a great success ….. hmmm, makes me wonder what they will call a disaster then.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Goodness knows how many “articles” he has published Mike.

I was pointed to Kambale’s comment earlier today (thanks for posting it) and it is indeed ironic how helping a government quell a civil war and in the process save thousands upon thousands of lives, we are the “bad guys”. As I have mentioned before, African lives are apparently worthless and the type of reporting being done on EO proves how we angered governments by ending conflicts and saving lives.

I also realise that the aim is to discredit me as far as possible since African governments have started talking to me. In many ways, it simply proves what we have always suspected.

It is indeed astonishing to me that almost two decades since its closure, EO is still targeted by disinformation agents – and they act as though EO is still in operation.

As someone once commented to me: An idiot remains an idiot but a useful idiot can be a dangerous person.



Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your comment, Unknown.

I too suspect all of this is aimed at trying to create something out of nothing. I happen to be the target in some instances although indirectly. Unfortunately for them, the belief they hold that all African governments are stupid is rather off-the-mark, misguided and very racist to say the least. As the saying goes: You can fool some of the people…

Of course a destabilised Africa suits them. Look at the “success stories” you mention and Republic of Congo, Cabinda, Angola, Gabon, Cameroon and Mozambique are soon to follow. A destabilised central African belt is a major priority at the moment and they will attempt to force it to implode. We are already witnessing the results of the proxy force invasion into CAR and how that has backfired and will soon spill-over into neighbouring countries.

I agree with the photographs needed for all of the EO mines and other assets the company supposedly still has. As I have mentioned, I would love to see them and also find out why I am not being paid profits from all of these mines. But then again, disinformation agents have a way of tripping themselves up. Only pity is that I have to waste my time exposing them when I could be doing something better.

No African government EVER complained of EO being there yet the aim is apparently to turn reality into fiction with the ”experts” making claim they never wanted EO there to begin with. Equally upsetting to some is the fact that African governments have seen through the smoke and mirrors that were dangled before them and are now regularly talking to me. This of course must be stopped at all costs.

Very few journalists have the courage to write about the players behind destabelising Africa. As I was once told “If you are not with us, you are against us. If you are against us, you are the enemy”. I suspect they don’t want the label of “enemy” hung around their necks.



David said...

The below email was emailed to Eeben on Jan 8, 2014.

Dear Eeben,
I just came back home and saw your post ( http://eebenbarlowsmilitaryandsecurityblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-art-of-lying-very-badly.html ) and thought I should reply, since you mention me and my blog. Please feel free to post this reply on your own blog, if you like.

First, the function of my blog is mostly to just to point out what is in the news. While I do try to post material not commonly seen, (i.e., journal articles, academic writings, business information regarding contracts, et cetera ) I assume, perhaps wrongly, that since the PMSC Observer is a one person operation that it doesn’t have a big audience (maybe a few dozen in a given day, according to the blog records), but that most of those who do browse it are a bit more informed about PMSC issues than the general public. And because they are I assume they are better equipped than the general public to sift what is true from the obvious BS.

Unfortunately, as you well know, there is a lot of BS out there when it comes to PMSC issues. I feel that if I were to characterize every item with a designation as to whether it was worthwhile or rubbish I wouldn’t have time to do anything else. As it is I’m looking for work again, so time is particularly precious right now. I guess I assumed that people would understand that my blog is merely a messenger for the news and would, hopefully, not kill the messenger.

If this were the old days and I was in the position Michael Grunberg used to be in I could have posted a rebuttal. But you have already done that (best dissection, since Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs”, btw) and I will post it on my blog.

I’d point out that other forums, such as Doug Brook’s AMPM and PMC email lists, also post articles that are often inaccurate or demagogic, think Jeremy Scahill, and nobody accuse him of being an disinformation vehicle.

Second, in no way whatsoever does my posting the article mean that I find it credible. Truthfully, it was so over the top I thought anybody reading it would see it for what it was; a quick cut and paste job that was so outlandish that the only logical reaction would be to roll on the floor while hysterically laughing. And these days I think everyone can use a laugh.

Perhaps I’m overestimating my blog audience but I would have thought, given what I have written over the years, that anybody would know that I hold you, personally, and EO as a company, in the HIGHEST REGARD. I also think all the vilification it and you received over the years qualifies you for sainthood, for those who believe in such things.

While I think EO’s record speaks for itself and needs no elaboration from me I’ll just say that if anybody out there was foolish enough to think I thought the article was credible then they must have been first in line at the newly opened marijuana dispensaries in Colorado.

Third, if someone thinks an article I post on my blog is idiotic I would encourage them to leave a comment saying just that. In fact, on Dec. 31 I did send out my annual email report regarding the blog and noted that I’d like more people to leave comments.

Finally, the ONLY times people can assume I am making judgments about people or companies is when they see an article that has “By David Isenberg” up at the top. This was NOT such a time.

I hope that clears things up. Now, if anyone would like to hire me, so that I could work fulltime writing informed analyses on PMSC issues please feel free to contact me.

I wish you a very happy and productive 5774, oops, I mean 2014 (Darn that Gregorian calendar).
Best regards,


graycladunits said...

These guys...Blattman and Poisuo may be trying to gain status in the academic/journalistic realms in order to build their reputations. They may see you as a building block to argue against or with in order to gain credibility with their peers. Quite literally, they may see you in some warped way as a Goliath that they must verbally sleigh. Creepy huh? I think you are on the right track to defeating them and hurting their careers by using this blog and having your first book published as it is. The only suggestion I would make is to step up the advertising of EO: Against All Odds and find some way to do the same for this blog to make your side of the story better known to the world.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you David.
I am sorry your blog was used to further more lies but I am also sick and tired of these so-called academics/journalists/researchers who do not understand research at all.
I always find it ironic that the governments where we work never complain about us yet those who live beyond our continent always have much to say. Could it be that there is great concern that we will expose their agendas and stop their duplicity?
I always enjoy your posts on your blog.
Keep up the good work.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Sadly they lie and deceive in their efforts GCU but perhaps their deception is intentional. As for building their reputations by being liars – it seems to work for many of them.
Unfortunately it is not up to me to advertise the EO book. That is the responsibility of the publisher but I get your drift – and I agree wholeheartedly with you.

Unknown said...

If it weren´t so sad i would die laughing. Just some facts out of the heart of europe:
The deal between Darman and Asgaard was never signed. The pressure put on Asgaard by the media was to much. And the " rise of german mercenaries" are just a few companies wich were able to step in as subcontractors to american and british companies.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is indeed sad Mathias but as you say the media often put pressure on matters but in the process, they give voice to the vocal minority and not the silent majority.
It is indeed ironic that men who work and in so doing, put their lives at risk are “mercenaries” – and I can assure you I have met some in the media who are not only true mercenaries but information prostitutes willing to sell any lie – along with their souls – for money.