The Dangers of Hiring BAE’s Mercenaries
How stupid was Moammar Qaddafi, who reportedly hired the same mercenary firm that tried to take out Equatorial Guinea’s dictator in 2004?
A total of 50 private soldiers, including 19 South Africans, are reported to have travelled to Libya on instructions to smuggle the former dictator from his birthplace of Sirte over the border to Niger.
Among them were said to be members of the team led by former SAS officer Simon Mann on the “Wonga coup” to unseat Equatorial Guinea’s dictator.
In addition to Simon Mann, after all, those plotters also had ties to Mark Thatcher, Maggie’s kid. And in addition to Sir Mark’s involvement with that coup attempt, Thatcher was involved in the BAE kick-back scheme with Saudi Arabia. And that scheme reportedly funded covert operations … presumably things like the Wonga coup. Led by the same Saudi family the head of which Qaddafi allegedly tried to assassinate.
Perhaps, after Qaddafi’s “secret” deal with Britain on the Lockerbie bomber, he thought he could trust the same mercenaries tied to a very British coup. Or perhaps he was just in a pinch and couldn’t get any more reliable mercenaries to help him escape Libya.
But it appears Qaddafi shouldn’t have trusted these particular mercs.
It has been alleged that one of the security firms who provided mercenaries for the mission may have acted as a “double agent”, helping Nato to pinpoint Gaddafi’s convoy for attack, and that the dictator’s escape was “meant to fail”.
A source in the private security sector said it was “highly likely” that one of those involved deliberately recruited mercenaries who were ill-equipped to handle the mission.
“These guys did not have the experience to be successful,” he said. “The formation of the convoy, the way they tried to leave Sirte, it’s clear they were meant to fail.
“Someone got paid to protect him and at the same time to deliver him.”
Which makes it all the more interesting that Hillary was hanging out in Libya they day before Qaddafi was assassinated. I have noted how convenient it is that Qaddafi didn’t survive to testify at the ICC about how Ibn Sheikh al-Libi was suicided so conveniently; the same is true of his Lockerbie deal. I guess if you own the mercs “protecting” someone, it becomes a lot easier to arrange such convenient assassinations?
I guess dictators today can’t find mercenaries like they used to.
Sounds like our Western governments are firmly in the “dead men tell no tales” camp.
…guess if you own the mercs “protecting” someone”…
All helpfully detailed in Fletcher Prouty’s The Secret Team , publ in the 1970s.
I’m sure Erik Prince’s mercs are – would have been – much more reliable. Not. The premise that outsourced contractors are more efficient and reliable – definitely not cheaper – than the government actors they replace should be reopened. As corporate actors, they go wherever the money is, not just the money on the table now, but money promised in the future.
The US won’t always be the client with the most to offer. It will have to put on the table legal forgiveness of crimes, increasingly greater in number and kind, in order to keep its outsourced contractors “reliable”. That feeds the monster of corruption, making it fatter and hungrier by the day.
Remember how MI6 tried to get Al Qaeda to assassinate Qaddafi in 1996. It’s a wonder that he would ever trust Brits again.
@MadDog: Your point was made very clear to me with the ‘trial’ & subsequent execution of Saddam. They didn’t want anyone asking him questions about prior US support of his regime.
Totally OT – The WSJ story today on US drone policy makes an interesting read:
U.S. Tightens Drone Rules
As is often the case with such news, there’s less here than meets the eye.
@darms: Bad habits are hard to break, aren’t they?
And more totally OT – Considering the authors, caveat emptor! With that aside, Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder have an interesting article in The Atlantic:
We interrupt this serious conversation for a trash talk comment. Somehow, the Pac 10+2 has the Friday night game on ESPN, with Colorado hosting the Beach Boys from SC. Colorado played great mind games, piling snow around the playing surface of the field (I’ll bet they trucked that stuff in from all over) and then losing three of the four handlers for Ralphie when they ran him around the field. It worked, too, as Colorado took the opening kickoff and marched down for a quick touchdown.
Qaddafi had a thing for Condi. But why is it that Jon Stewart is so nice to war criminals? Jon Stewart was harder on Chris Matthews when he was on his show. But Bill Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi “mushroom cloud” Rice Jon Stewart plays all nicey nice. What is up with that
@Jim White: Really? RAlphie almost broke free?
@emptywheel: Yup. I had called my daughter in to watch Ralphie, and she said, “They clear the field first, right?” My wife and I replied “Not really” and then watched her eyes nearly pop out of her head as handlers got left on the turf one by one. There were reserves rushing in to help, but it sure looked like there was a short time with only one handler. He was making a beeline for his trailer, though, which they slammed shut after he ran in.
Condi Rice totally lies about the inspectors in Iraq. Saying that inspectors never went back into that country…Iraq. Inspectors were in Iraq and were asked to leave before the US invaded. What a liar
Jon Stewart does not challenge her at all. He just nods his head and says “yes, Yes” umhun” What a wienie
in a video,
voices in the crowd say, of quaddaffi:
“don’t kill him”
“we need him alive”.
then a man with a 9mm pistol walks up to the wounded quaddaffi and shoots him in the stomach and the head.
sounds like the kind of “taps” the throat-slitting seals, delta, jsoc like to deliver.
who was that guy?
libyan presumably, but
what was his authority?
where did his loyalty lie?
ripe for another american intervention in the muslim world.
pakistan differs in having rocket mounted nuclear weapons?
we, and the israelis, will sic “stuxnet, jr” on ’em.
if we can make them iranian centrifuges go ape,
we can make pakistani missle guidance software go ape,
ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ….
I seem to recall in the first story I saw about the ambush that there were a 100 vehicles in a speeding convoy. I thought at the time that was a stupid way to sneak out of Sirte.
@Jim White: Ralphie at least used to be a she.
football friday nights are reserved for high school football.
this is an american tradition.
are you telling me that money dangled in front of teevee corps and major college presidents was enough to
abolish the american tradition of “no football but high school football” on friday nights?
This issue jumped to mind the first time I heard that the U.S. military was hiring mercenaries to do tasks formerly done by troops. The bozo who made this argument was not thinking clearly, and was ignorant of the history of mercenaries. And now, as one of the most serious threats to our security, we have become *dependent* on mercenaries for some of our most sensitive missions. This absolutely has to change. Wasn’t this what ultimately greased the skids for the end of the Roman Empire?
Bob in AZ
Mercenary Rule #1: Their loyalty is to filling their wallet. (That’s why they’re called “mercenaries”.)
Mercenary Rule #2: You don’t know who else is filling their wallet.
Mercenary Rule #3: Since you don’t know to whom their loyalty lies (because you can’t know who else is filling their wallet), they cannot be trusted.
You would think someone like Qaddafi, who survived 40 years of Western attempts on his life and who knows how many internal opponents, would have known this instinctively.
As to the commenter upthread saying “one in the gut and one in the head” on the Qaddafi snuff video is the mark of western spec ops types – false. Delta derived just about everything from SAS. Charlie Beckwith did a tour as an exchange officer with the SAS pre-Vietnam and, when tapped (by Carter) to form Delta, modeled everything on SAS, from the selection process through the organizational model and most all their training. According to Beckwith’s book (circa 1982) Delta practiced shooting their .45s at a full run putting photos of known terrorists on the targets, with two between the eyes the preferred mode of engagement. One in the gut and one in the head spells either a non-spec ops guy, or a spec ops guy trying to make it look unprofessional.
Qaddafi schmaddafi. One might hope our own DOD and SS would know this. But Our Man Georgie W. worshiped the feet of private contractors (They’re in business, not government! So they’ve got to be better!) Our entire military force got transformed. My brother was in the Marines, and he was stationed on embassy guard duty in Pakistan. Now private contractors do that. I would hope that Obama would see the dangers, and would start transitioning contractors back to on-duty troops, but it’s easier to say “We’re bringing the troops home!” and not talk about all the contractors left behind.
Bob in AZ
@MadDog as to the WSJ article, “The covert drones are credited with killing hundreds of suspected militants”
The operative words are “suspected militants.” As we know, these are people not on a battlefield, often just going about their lives.
@Bill Michtom: Well, at least they’re honest enough to call them “suspected.” Used to be they just called them militants without any qualifiers or, worse yet, they called them “terrorists” just because they were targeted.
Bob in AZ
There is a meme of questionable origin that the Ghaddafi convoy was traveling under white flag following negotiations with the rebels. True or not, it is usually referring to a Clinton-does-Caesar video clip that, by itself, says everything necessary.