The British paper "Observer" in an article by Robert McCrum writes today
" Sadly the plotters, led by ill-fated fated Simon Mann,
allowed theit greed to get the better of their organisation.
Adam Roberts shows with merciless precision, how the
dogs of war panicked, where they should have been cool,
and screwed up, where they should have been clinically
Efficient? In other words there is nothing wrong if a slew of former public school boys stage a coup Africa with some dozens of fomer apartheid soldiers turned mercenaries, provided they are cool and efficient.
We want these mercenaries out of Africa forever.
Let's have a look at the actors and the wider spiderweb
Let’s start with the persons in Britain, accused of being involved in the failed coup and their connections.
There is first to name Eli Calil, Britain of Lebanese origin, a friend of Equatorial Guineas’s opposition leader, Severo Moto Nsa.
Calil happily and illegally banked money for the former horrible Nigerian dictator Sunny Abacha, who died after taking too much of Viagra a few years ago..
Calil is accused of having brought Simon Mann, old Etonian, son of a rich beer brewing family in Britain and mercenary cum plunderer and Moto together, having inspired the failed coup.
Calil is also being investigated in France for money laundering on the one side, and on the other side he is a close friend of Tony Blairs Ex-Minister for scandals, Peter Mandelson.
Mandelson could be no longer gainfully employed in Tony Blairs cabinet because of several scandals involving “small gifts” from good friends including Calil.
He, however, managed to get another job with Tony’s helping hand – a friend is a friend - more distant to the mother of all parliaments, this time as EU trade commissioner in Brussels.
Peter Mandelson has strictly denied to be involved or even have heard anything about the planned coup beforehand, we will see what the taped telephone calls will reveal.
There is Lord Jeffrey Archer, former chief of Maggie Thatchers Conservative Party who spent just a few years in prison for perjury and perverting the course of justice, however still a member of the House of Lords, whose sessions he must have sadly missed while in prison.
He allegedly wanted to benefit financially from Simon Mann’s coup, as the stock market these days does not offer much and the interest rates are lousily low. So he allegedly put a bit of his pocket money, a few ten thousands of British pounds an Simon Mann’s coup savings account placed in the tax heaven of Guernsey. Of course, he denies, but there was a payment made by a J.H. Archer into that account. And he phoned Mr. Calil before the coup most likely to tell him, that crime does not pay.
Unfortunately we must wait a bit to get insight into this account, into which other fashionable peers are accused to have paid money in as well, because a British court on the small Guernsey Island has blocked the request of the government of Equatorial Guinea to have a closer look.
And, alas, the until recently vice-chairman Howard Flight of the same party via the Investec banking group offered a loan of US $ 30 million for agricultural development in Equatorial Guinea - after the coup – of course.
And there is David Hart, 60, Old Etonian like Mann, and old friend of the Thatcher family. He was Maggie Thatchers chief enforcer during the British miners strike in the 80s he handed out money for strike breakers from a suite at Claridges, a hotel in London, that takes per room per night, what a miner earns in one month. The Government of Equ. Guinea accuses him of being involved as well.
Not to forget Mark Thatcher, Mummy Maggie’s son who has been famous for making headlines, negative ones mostly and who cobbled together an income without breaking too much sweat. Now barred from entering the US where his former wife and children live, after he was arrested in CapeTown and later confessed to have violated South Africa’s anti-mercenary laws and sentenced to a suspended prison term and a fine..
However in the era of globalization we cannot rest in Britain, as the crimes have gone global as well.
Part of the wider spider web is a veteran of arms and shady deals, a close friend of the bin Laden family for decades, an uncle of the late Dodi Fayed, the last partner of Diana Princess of Wales and brother-in-law of the owner of Harrod’s Supermarket in London, Al Fayed, his name: Adnan Khashoggi, once called the richest man on earth.
His origin is Saudi Arabia, his favorite place to live is Marbella in Spain and his favorite business are arms deals and the stock market, especially in Vancouver/Canada.
At present, however, he likes more the sand of the beaches of the United Arab Emirates, a better, because safer place to be, when arrest warrants and extradition requests are piling up.
He was involved in the Iran Contra-Affair in the 80s, in which the Pentagon sold weapons to Iran and the profits were used to buy weapons for a CIA sponsored group in Nicaragua, the Contra Rebels. Everything illegal of course, but an army man by the name of Oliver North was day and night putting documents into the shredder, when the scandal was about to be made public. It is good to have such trustworthy people in your house.
Khashoggi was also involved in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a massive washing machine for illegal money from the Medellin drug cartel, Manuel Noriega, and other druglords.
The bank was forcibly closed in 1992.
However Khashoggi, likeable as he is, had and has friends all over the world, so lets forget about the BCCI-Affair and move on to Thailand, to the Bangkok Bank of Commerce.
The CEO of that bank was in the 90s Krirkkiat Jalichandra. A promsing young man of Indian origin, by the name of Rakesh Saxena was introduced to him.
Saxena was wanted in India for culpable homicide, who cares, was a communist before, while studying in India, who cares and according to the slogan, who is not a communist at age 20 hasn’t got a heart, and who is still a communist age 40 hasn’t got a brain, and Saxena had brains, he forgot Marx and Engels and concentrated on fraud and corruption the big way and advised his “brother in fraud” Jalichandra accordingly both together a “duo infernale”, so to speak.
Money was pumped into a labyrinth of fake companies and “small gifts” in cash and kind were handed out to politicians and friends, a non repayable loan was given to Saxenas friend Adnan Khashoggi, amounting to only 134 million US Dollars, peanuts, so to speak.
However such big fraud, that triggered eventually the Asian Banking Crisis in 1997 cannot go on forever one time the bubble has to burst and in 1996 the scheme collapsed, however Saxena, clever as he was, left in time the sinking ship and fled to a much cooler place, Canada.
Not forgetting, allegedly to take some pocket money with him, only the laughable sum of 88 million US Dollars laughable, because the damage he and Jalichandra allegedly caused amounted to more than three billion US Dollars.
Jalichandra was not so lucky, he got arrested and has been sentenced to 30 years in prison last year.
Thailand wanted Saxena extradited, but Saxena did not want, had money enough to hire the best of the best of lawyers and he convinced the Government of Canada, a banker is a banker, that it would be cheaper to put him in self paid house arrest, than into a prison.
So he is still in Canada but not resting, to the contrary. He is as busy as ever.
First came Tim Spicer, the mercenary, Ex-Lieutenant Colonel, OBE, hated by the Irish because soldiers of his unit, when he was stationed in Northern Ireland, killed an innocent Irishman by the name of Peter McBride. These soldiers were later convicted for murder.
However Spicer campaigned and lied for them, so that they were early released and then reinstated in the British Army, they are now on patrol in Iraq, where killing of innocent civilians is rather a day to day event.
Spicer needed money, Saxena had money for his adventure in Sierra Leone.
Tony Buckinghams company Sandline, of which Spicer was the chief executive until 2000, offered their service, in exchange for diamond mining rights, to ousted President Kabbah with old apartheid soldiers of the infamous Buffalo Battallion, and Koevoet, well known killer units, their motto: shoot to kill, no prisoners, and their battleground in those days were the newly independent states of Angola and Mozambique with the refugee camps of the ANC.
The unit, named Executive Outcomes, was founded and headed by Eeben Barlow, former member of the Buffalo Battalion and then of the Civil Cooperation Buraeu (CCB) the latter an South African apartheid death squad, which can take credit for countless extrajudicial killings inside and outside South Africa including hundreds of SWAPO freedom fighters allegedly killed with poison delivered by a Dr. Wouter Basson and the bodies thrown out of a plane over the Atlantic Ocean.
Saxena offered 10 million US Dollar, he had mining interests there as well, bought with money from the Bangkok Bank of Commerce, and with Saxenas/Bangkok Bank of Commerce money Spicer bought tons of weapons in Bulgaria and elsewhere.
This was the start, of what was later called the Arms to Africa Affair. Active in this scheme there were also Simon Mann and Nick du Toit, both in prison now, one in Zimbabwe, the other one in Equatorial Guinea.
This military intervention was in flagrant violation of an UN arms embargo, who cares, and with the approval of the resident British High Commissioner, Penfold. When the things came out, it nearly brought down the Blair Government.
Already before their Sierra Leone job , Spicer, Mann and Buckingham had gone global in 1997, this time to the other end of the globe, Papua New Guinea for a lump sum of 36 million US Dollars to be paid by one of the poorest states on earth.
The Government there fought unsuccessfully against a rebel group on the Island of Bougainville to get hold of a copper mine, owned by the British company Rio Tinto. The fight erupted because of the environmental disaster, caused by the mine, that threatened to destroy the livelihood of the people there.
Buckingham, Spicer and Simon Mann offered “help”, the mercenary way via Sandline and Sandline subcontracting the dreck of the Ex Out mercenaries.
Also with them Lafras Luitingh, another former member of the Apartheid-CCB, who can take credit for having been involved in the murder of ANC activist Dr. David Webster on 1st May 1989 in Johannesburg and SWAPO Advocate Anton Lubowski in Windhoek on 12 October 1989.
This time round, however, things did not work out, the army under General Singorok rebelled, the Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan had to resign and Spicer was arrested and later left the country only with the help of the discrete diplomatic pressure by the British government.
Still they made their fortune, as a lot of money had been prepaid .
Meanwhile mercenary godfather and mining baron Tony Buckingham was also active in many African countries, apart from Sierra Leone and Angola, namely Congo Brazzaville, DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya Namibia to name a few.
He was specifically welcomed in Namibia, where the government made him a director of the state owned Offshore Development Company (ODC) and he used his contacts to introduce Ranger Oil Canada to the Government, successfully, Ranger got huge exploration rights. As a Thank You Buckingham made government officials free of charge shareholders in his company Oceanica Fisheries, and the government granted him mining rights in a Tourmaline mine near Karibib, Indigo Sky Gem and Camelthorn Mining, and allowed him to dislodge 1000 small scale miners there and to throw them onto the roadside.
Who greases well, drives well.
In Kenya he appointed Sanjivan Ruprah, a well known arms dealer, head of his mining company Branch Energy.
Sanjivan Ruprah became also a close confidant of Charles Taylor in Liberia and of Victor Bout, with whom he worked closely together. Sanjivan Ruprah helped arming the child soldiers in Sierra Leone on behalf of Charles Taylor, those, who committed horrific mayhem amongst the civilian population, including mass killings, hacking of limbs, rape, torture.
Victor Bout, called “Africa’s Merchant of Death” is a Russian, who runs a fleet of 50 russian made transport planes. He delivered weapons to the Taleban and Al Qaeda before 2001 and organized chartered flights to Afghanistan, , certainly not for tourists. Bout was fuelling virtually each and every armed conflict in Africa for the last 15 years with his weapons transport and Diamonds as payment, especially in Liberia, Sierra Leone Angola, DR Congo.
Ruprah knows Khashoggi, because they shared an office address in London. Kashoggi is a friend of Saxena, Saxena is a friend of Spicer and so forth.
And Khashoggi and Saxena were not just watching, what was happening in Africa, they had also had serious business to do, Khashoggi in America and Saxena in Canada, before both joint forces and went to Vienna Austria.
In 2001 Khashoggi, via his company Ultimate Holdings, based on the Bahamas with a complicated lending scam allegedly pumped up the stock of a Nasdaq bubble company by the name of Genesis Intermedia, in which Ultimate Holdings was the majority shareholder.
The company was built around a book by a John Gray, “Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars”.He forgot to add that arms dealers and mercenaries are from hell.
Involved in that scam were Deutsche Bank in Toronto and a slew of criminal stockbrokers including a strip bar owner in Las Vegas and after the scam collapsed in 2001, Khashoggi and his friend El Batrawi were 130 million US Dollar richer, broker houses filed for bankruptcy , the damage amounting to more than 300 million US Dollars.
Deutsche Bank has paid on 18th January 2006, 270 million US Dollars cash on the table, two packages of peanuts in their own language, denying any responsibility, of course, a gift so to speak.
Meanwhile Saxena in Canada was busy as well. He appointed the leading opposition MP in the Canadian Parliament, John Reynolds as board member in a flimsy company called WaveTech while fighting at the same time an extradition request from Thailand in the courts of Canada. A simple word for that is most likely corruption. A friend, even when bought, in need is a friend indeed.
And he was involved in a scandal around a company in South Africa, called Platinum Asset Management. PAM.
However shared success is doubled success, so he went to good old Europe in 2000 with his friend Khashoggi. Khashoggi in person, and him being under house arrest via the phone. They linked up with a Filipino by the name of Amado Pastrana.
Pastrana had already earned himself the reputation as being a king of the boiler rooms earning him more than a billion Dollar.
Boiler rooms are cramped small offices, from where selling of shares to unsuspecting clients is organized. They apply high pressure sales pitches on their victims.
Those clients have money but no banking experience, they are neither banker nor broker
The shares they sell to pensioners, and medium income earners are worthless, artificially pumped up Penny stocks and the clients never see their money again.
The most effective and sophisticated fraud scheme to date.
Saxena, Khashoggi and Pastrana bought together the WMP Bank AG in Vienna, Austria renamed it General Commerce Bank and turned it into a boiler room, the fraud organized there amounts, according to press reports, to roughly one billion US Dollar.
In 2001 the Bank was closed.
1 billion in one year.
Meanwhile Spicer did not rest either. He opened a new mercenary company after he left Sandline by the name of Aegis and the Invasion of Iraq brought him a fat contract by the Pentagon to the tune of 293 million US Dollar.
He is now overall in charge of all the mercenaries in Iraq, totaling more than 20.000, quite a few former Executive Outcomes dreck.
And Tony Buckingham is busy in Iraq as well.
In 1995 he paid a courtesy call to Iraq, walking in the Hotel lobby of the Al Rasheed Hotel over a distorted picture of former US president Bush and exploring with former Iraq’s Oil minister possible oil ventures.
After he Invasion he is back, go with the flow, having good contacts with Iraqi Oil ministry officials and getting a prospecting license in Kurdistan for his company Heritage Oil.
And he quickly closed Sandline after the failed coup on 16th April 2004.
Simon Mann meanwhile is in Chikurubi Maximum Prison in Harare earmarked for an extradition to Equatorial Guinea..
Up to know he has not revealed, who is behind the failed coup Calil? , Buckingham? Archer? and, may be, Ranger Oil? or all of them ? and did they have the tacit approval of the British government?
And what was the role of the British secret service Mi6?
Justin Longley was an employee of Simon Mann. He is the nephew of Sir Dearlove, who was the head of the Mi6 at that time.
What did Germany’s Foreign Office know, who tries to put the torture and death of Gerhard Merz in Malabo under the carpet and how much was Spain involved, where Severo Moto lives?
However Mann may talk now, seeing, that the Black Beach Prison in Malabo might be his last and final destination.
And the British Government, that was informed about the coup two month in advance and called in Tim Spicer, to hear more (what?) said it will do everything to shed light into the scandal, is doing everything, however below the level of real help, according to the lawyers who represent the Government of Equatorial Guinea
We will see, the scandal has not come to an end yet.
Dr. Alexander von Paleske
Head, Department of Oncology
Princess Marina Hospital
Ex-Barrister-at-Law, High Court Frankfurt (M), Germany
Dr. Alexander von Paleske