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Mercenary Portraits—Everywhere 1
From CAQ, 17 December 1997
CAQ magazine has listed the names etc of all known mercenary organizations. This Washington based periodical shows much courage in exposing the imperialist world's worst excesses. 3 Groups involved...
EO head Eeben Barlow recently told a South African reporter that "War and Anarchy" will reign in Africa because it has been exploited by people making promises. The cold war left a huge vacuum and I identified a niche in the market -we are selling the business of surviving." Barlow is a former commander of the notori- ous 32 Buffalo Battalion of the Sth African special forces under the apartheid regime. This espionage unit, formed by Sth African military intelligence, specialized in disinformation and assassination.
It targeted enemies of the apartheid state and was deployed along- side the UNITA rebels to fight the Marxist ANGOLA gov't. Barlow was also a member of the SA Directorate of Covert Collection and the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB), for which he ran pro-apartheid oper- ations in England in 1988, according to Jeff Moag of the National Security News Service. The CCB sent Barlow to Western Europe, where he purportedly spread disinformation about Nelson Mandela's ANC and set up front companies to evade sanctions and sell SA weapons abroad
Barlow set up EO in 1989 in Pretoria but a recent spate of unfav- ourable publicity and parliamentary attention has apparently convin- ced him to move the nerve center of his operations to London. The company employs old Buffalo and CCB hands as well as Angolan NAMIBIAN and African National Congress (ANC) veterans.
The company conducted its first known operation in Angola in 1993 where the mercenaries used their first-hand knowledge of UNITA to rout their former allies. Angola is possibly where Barlow met former SAS officer Buckingham, who is now believed to have ultimate control over EO and the complex web of some 80 companies involved in busines- ses ranging from landmines removal, to water purification.
Some of its more notable affiliates are Sandline International, which ran the disastrous PNG operation, and Saracen Internat'l, which is partly owned by relatives of UGANDAN leader Yoweri Museveni. Saracen runs security for goldmines, as well as operations against rebels in that country. Other affiliates like Shibata Ltd, are belie- ved to have operations in MOZAMBIQUE, while Falconer Systems apparen- tly does business with the UNITED NATIONS.
Buckinghams's own businesses include Branch Energy, Branch Mining and Heritage Oil and Gas -a group of mining and oil companies with concessions in Angola, COLOMBIA and SIERRA LEONE. Branch Energy, whose Sierra Leone operations are part-owned by EO, recently merged operations with Carson Gold. This mining company, established by Robert Friedland, then became DiamondWorks, based in Vancouver, Canada. DiamondWorks is now prospecting for minerals in CHINA, the PHILIPPINES and VENEZUELA. Company documents published on its Inter- net site show that two men from Branch Energy -Buckingham and Michael Grunberg -were appointed to the board of DiamondWorks when it set up offices last October. Also sitting on this board are Eric Friedland Myron Goldstein, and Beverly Downing, the brother and close associates of Robert Friedland.
DEFENSE SYSTEMS LIMITED (DSL)
Set up in 1981 by Alastair Morrison, a former SAS officer, DSL, now employs 4000 people from 30 nations. Its most lucrative business is providing security for oil and mining companies including Broken Hill Proprietary Petroleum of AUSTRALIA, BP, Shell, and British Gas of the UNITED KINGDOM; Amoco, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil and Texico of the US, Cambior and Ranger of CANADA, and DeBeers of SOUTH AFRICA.
No stranger to counterinsurgency training, DSL has provided security forces in SRI LANKA, PAPUA NG and Mozambique. It also contracts to embassies in countries torn by civil war such as the D.REP.of CONGO (formerly ZAIRE), where DSL officers guarded the US, Sth African and SWISS embassies, and in Angola where the company guarded the British, ITALIAN, Sth African,Swedish and US embassies. Retired British army Maj.Gen Carr-Smith says that DSL provides serv- ices in "about 30 or so different countries around the world. They are always the dodgy type of countries, the remote and the hostile -Angola, Mozambique, Colombia, Algeria, the former Soviet Union. Those sorts of countries where life is a bit tough at this stage."
MILITARY PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES Inc (MPRI)
This Virginia-based company was founded in 1987 by retired Army Gen.Vernon Lewis. It is currently run by former high-ranking military figures, inc. Gen Carl Vuono, US Army Chief of Staff during the invasion of PANAMA and the Gulf War, Gen.Ed Soyster, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Gen Frederick Kroesen, former commander of the US Army in Europe. Describing itself as the "greatest corporate assesmblage of military expertise in the world," it boasts a business focus on military matters to include training, equipping, force design and management, professional development, concepts and doctrine, organ- izational and operational requirements, situational and war gaming operations, humanitarian assistance, quick reaction military contrac- tual support, and democracy transition assistance programs for the military forces of emerging republics....(and) could be a fun and productive place to work."
MPRI was hired in 1995 to train the CROATIAN army, which went on to launch a series of bloody offensives against SERBIAN forces. Most important was Operation Lightning Storm, the assault on the Krajina region during which Serbian villages were sacked and burned, hundreds of civilians were killed, and some 170,000 people were driven from their homes. In the weeks before the offensive, Gen Vuono held at least ten meetings with officers involved in the campaign including Gen Varimar Cervenko, the chief architect. MPRI has also worked for the BOSNIAN and LIBERIAN governments and made a failed attempt to win US contracts in Zaire."