Saturday, April 25, 2015


The recent activities of STTEP International Ltd in Nigeria have given rise to a multitude of comments from some in the media, much of it aimed at trying to discredit both the Nigerian Army (NA) and STTEP and create as much controversy as possible. The term “objectivity” does not appear to be applicable to these journalists. Apart from spewing disinformation, they appear to have a need to proclaim their great understanding of African politics, military strategy and operations—despite usually getting it very wrong.

The comments and “observations” some in the media made on STTEP’s involvement in Nigeria bordered on the ridiculous but these comments are important to feed the perceptions they need to create and force a continuation of their false narrative. Continue reading

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Executive Outcomes OGN

Staff Picks (May):

Executive Outcomes OGN


Were I to mention “Africa” and “Hermes Press,” you would initially think of The Phantom, not a story based on true events in that area of the world. Executive Outcomes is a departure from the norm for Hermes Press and a great start into their expansion beyond their collections of classic comic strips and comic books.

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How a Malaysian Playboy Controlled the Most Powerful Naval Force on the Planet


How a Malaysian Playboy Controlled the Most Powerful Naval Force on the Planet

Fat Leonard’s hookers and cash seduced the U.S. Seventh Fleet … and soaked taxpayers for millions


It was the middle of September 2013 and the U.S. Justice Department had laid a trap.

Its target was the Malaysian millionaire defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis. But no one called him by his real name. At six feet tall and more than 300 pounds, he earned the nickname “Fat Leonard.” His buddies in the Navy called him something else — the Tony Soprano of Singapore.

At the time, Leonard’s business — Glenn Defense Marine Asia — held contracts with the U.S. Navy worth more than $200 million. Anytime a ship in the U.S. Pacific Fleet needed servicing, there was a good chance it stopped at a port serviced by GDMA.

When the ships docked in Fat Leonard’s ports, he squeezed every buck he could out of the Navy and the American taxpayer. Beginning in 2004, Fat Leonard overcharged for basic services — and federal investigators are still totaling up the amount he suckered out of the Navy.

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America Tried to Overthrow the Castro Regime With Rap Music

USAID aimed to stir dissent — but silenced the voice of the people, instead


For decades, the United States had sought to destabilize and overthrow the Cuban government. But the most recent attempt to antagonize the Castro regime may have been the strangest.

The effort involved the United States Agency for International Development and its attempts to infiltrate the Cuban hip-hop scene. It wanted to “break the information blockade” and inspire young people to rise up against the Castro regime through the power of rap and dance.

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The Use of Private Force by the United Nations to Coercively Prevent or Halt Gross Violations of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Doctrine

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Doppelgangers of the state: private security and transferable legitimacy

Doppelgangers of the state: private security and transferable legitimacy


Phelps, Martha Lizabeth.
Politics & Policy 42.6 (2014): 824+.
The U.S. national military hires private security companies (PSCs) to operate in zones of conflict. This article introduces the concept of a legitimacy transfer mechanism to answer the question of how nonnational providers of military support can be considered legitimate actors in areas of conflict. PSCs borrow legitimacy from the state that contracts the firm. Private firms do not operate alone; they are hired and, at least marginally, directed by a state. By using the established legitimacy of industrialized states these firms are able to find legitimacy in Western security culture. To maintain future business, private security is forced to obey the security culture of the hiring state. More so, the firm will mimic the goals and policy of the hiring state in an attempt to build its own, independent, sense of legitimacy.
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Blackwater’s New Battlefield: Toward a Regulatory Regime in the United States for Privately Armed Contractors Operating at Sea

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Commercialisation of Warfare and Shadow Wars: Private Military Companies as Strategic Tools

Commercialisation of Warfare and Shadow Wars: Private Military Companies as Strategic Tools

Author: Mohlin, Marcus

Source: St Antony’s International Review, Volume 9, Number 2, February 2014, pp. 24-38(15)


It is frequently argued that the existence of Private Military Security Companies (PMSC) is a proof of weakened state authority, and indeed strategies involving the hiring of PMSCs contribute to a change of the world order. Still, some decision-makers view such companies as a very useful and necessary extension of foreign policy. This article investigates the role of PMSCs by analysing the contract awarded to Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI) to train the Bosnian military in 1995. Even though the case investigated is well known, it is actually partly misrepresented in current scholarly writings. The subsequent analysis will shed new light on the MPRI contract with the Bosnian Federation Government by illustrating that the situation in Bosnia in 1992-95 had become the new battleground for a tug of war between America and Iran, and the hiring of MPRI to train the Bosnian military must be seen in that context. Drawing on personal interviews and previously classified telegrams between the US State Department and some of its embassies around the globe, it will be illustrated that the practice of using PMSCs gives world leaders a possibility to seem disconnected from specific regions when they, in fact, are deeply involved. Apparently, some world leaders regard private military firms as valuable tools, and while it is at times held that PMSCs undermine state authority, it is clear that they can strengthen states considerably. In the case investigated here, the US government would not have been able to thwart Iranian influence in Europe had it not been for the services of MPRI. In short, companies allow decision-makers to operate in the twilight space of world politics where they can participate in the reproduction of present global political and social power structures.


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“Ensuring Contractor Accountability Overseas: A Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act Would Be Preferable to Expansion of the False Claims Act.”

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All for one and one in all: private military security companies as soldiers, business managers and humanitarians

Cambridge Review of International Affairs

Volume 27, Issue 2, 2014

All for one and one in all: private military security companies as soldiers, business managers and humanitarians

Jutta Joachima & Andrea Schneikerb

pages 246-267

  • Published online: 22 Apr 2014


With governments increasingly contracting private military and security companies (PMSCs) to perform military and police-related tasks, international relations scholars have made attempts to better understand PMSCs and to investigate the reasons for the boom of private security. Rather than focusing on the services these companies offer, which has been a common approach, we offer an identity-based explanation for their surge. We show that PMSCs eclectically assume identities related to the military, business managers and humanitarians, independent of the services they perform, their market segment or their location on the battlefield. This finding points to an important yet little-noted dimension in the private security industry. Although companies are heterogeneous, they also appear increasingly homogeneous because they incorporate a similar set of identities. On the one hand, this enables PMSCs to adapt to any context, client or employee, and, on the other hand, it has constitutive qualities, contributing to an important source of power for the respective companies. These multiple identities contribute to a norm of what a superior security provider should look like.


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