Executive Outcomes could be considered the progenitor of the modern private military company. They operated in Africa through out the 1990's and closed shop in 1999.
They were started by Luther Eeben Barlow, a member of the South African Defence Force, in 1989. Barlow, who had extensive experience in SA's wars in neighboring countries in the 70's and 80's, headed the European Section of the Orwellian named Civil Co-operation Bureau.
It is alleged EO's beginnings were as a front company for the CCB to circumnavigate arms embargos against South Africa. As the CCB began to break under investigations, many members made their way over to EO.
EO's first contract that led them to becoming the role model for copy-cat companies was with DeBeers and Branch Heritage Group via the goverment of Angola. Branch's oil site in Soyo, Angola had been captured and retained by UNITA forces. Through contacts with Simon Mann, Barlow met Branch CEO Anthony Buckingham and the idea of how to recapture control of the site led to a deal with the Angolan government (backed by DeBeers), EO and Branch.
The success EO had in Angola instigated a flood of PMCs in Africa, many of them formed by ex-EO officers. EO was also a part of a corporate maze created, in part at least, by accountant and CEO of Plaza 107, Michael Grunberg, and designed to obscure the relationships between soldiering companies, mineral and oil extraction companies, and key people in government positions.
EO and EO related companies along with Branch Oil and other mineral related companies worked all through out Africa in 1990s. Some of the hotspots were Angola, Sierra Leone, Burundi, and the Congo. When the criticisms began to get heavy, many of EO's work went to side-formed Sandline International headed by Lt.-Col Tim Spicer, which operated with the system already in place.
Subsidiaries like air support firm Ibis Air were owned by Barlow's umbrella company, Strategic Resources Corporation, the same company whose directors managed EO profits. Ibis provided air support for all of EO's operations and subsequently for Sandline International. The operator of Ibis, Crause Steyl, was recently the operator of Air Ambulance Africa which provided air logistical support for the 2004 failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea.
This is the nature of the legacy of Executive Outcomes. Among the companies formed by ex-officers are:
- Alpha 5
- Omega Support Ltd.
- Panasec Corporate Dynamics
- Bridge Resources
- COIN Security
- Corporate Tracking International
- Southern Cross Security
Among Executive Outcomes subsidiaries, sometimes via SRC have been:
- Saracen International
- Bridge International
- Shibata Security
- Teleservices International
- Ibis Air
Ibis Air and other subsidiaries were housed in the Plaza 107 maze run by Michael Grunberg. Grunberg was also a partner with Buckingham in DiamondWorks as well Barlow served as director on the Branch Energy board, a Branch Heritage subsidiary. All companies stood to benefit from the actions of the rest, and though they tried to remain as publicly distant from each other, their obvious proximity stands as the modern model between business ventures and the extreme edge of the private military industry. (1)
Many of the relationships pieced together here by the source cited below have been denied in a release by Sandline
- Simon Mann
- Tim Spicer
- Aegis Defence Services
- Coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea
- War profiteering
- Defence Systems Limited
- Control Risks Group
- Southern Cross Security
- Northbridge Services Group, Ltd.
The following was copied without permission from original at http://call.army.mil/fmso/fmsopubs/issues/merc.htm on 11 Nov.'02; where it is no longer available.
Mercenary Corporation OSINT Guide
Dr. Robert J. Bunker
and Steven F. Marin
Copyright © July 1999
The open source references contained in this resource guide pertain to the recently defunct South Africa based mercenary corporation Executive Outcomes (EO) which operated as "mining and oil industry shock troops."1 The references span the 1994 through 1999 period. EO activities, from its founding in 1989 through 1993, escaped the attention of the world media. With EOÆs increasing involvement in Angola and later Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea, this mercenary corporation lost much of its transparency. As a result, its activities became increasingly scrutinized by the press, defense researchers, and other concerned parties.
With the passage of the new anti-mercenary law in South Africa, EO closed its doors 1 January 1999. The "mercenary corporation EO" thus officially existed from 1989 through 1998. As of March 1999, however, the EO Pretoria office was still open, with its associates most likely continuing their activities at a greatly reduced level of visibility under the banner of Lifeguard, Saracen, or another security firm linked to EO.
When researching EO, it must be understood that Eeben Barlow, its founder, was associated with the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) which had expertise in setting up front-companies to circumvent sanctions against apartheid era South Africa. With the demise of apartheid, individuals such as Barlow redirected these and other skills for private enterprise purposes. As a result, EO is connected to a weblike structure of multinational holding entities, mining and oil companies, and security and air transportation groups which have purposefully been created to mask its operations, those of its allied firms, and the various individuals involved. This network engages in what could be termed a post-Cold war form of "predatory capitalism" by specializing in the extraction of mineral and oil resources from troubled and failed-states.
This resource guide is arranged into three categories with a summary of each categoryÆs scope provided below:
- EO Homepage and Documents. Focuses upon the EO homepage which is no longer active. This homepage was active from at least November 1994 through August 1998. The only way to obtain information once contained on the EO homepage is to access digital copies or obtain hard copies of these files.
- Traditional Sources. Primarily concerns newspaper, magazine, and journal articles, radio transcripts, and reports. Some links to digital copies of these sources have been provided.
- Website and Electronic Sources. Contains numerous South African, British, and Australian on-line publications with their internet addresses. A great deal of source material is also provided from the Center for Defense Information (CDI) website and other electronic media.
--234 html hyperlinks not included here--
1. This resource guide was created over a three year period from 1996 through 1999. Special thanks to Elizabeth Ryan and Drew Lewis who served as initial research assistants on this project. Information also provided by Dr. Tom Adams, Capt. Mike Flaherty, USAF, Sgt. John Sullivan, LASD, Roger McFarland, and Holly Porteous
footnotes (1) "Private Military Companies and African Security 1990-98" by Kevin O'Brien; published in Mercenaries: An African Security Dilemma in 2000 by Pluto Press. Copyright by Abdel-Fatau Musah and J. 'Kayod Fayemi 2000.