Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

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Some Corrections at Year's End
Michael Grunberg, who has acted as a consultant to Sandline, a Private Military Company, has pointed out some errors of fact in my Dec. 9 posting on Tim Spicer and Aegis. After a surprisingly civil discussion, it is clear I, in fact, made several there and elsewhere, which I would like to correct as the year ends.

1) Tim Spicer did not found Executive Outcomes. Neither did Anthony Buckingham. Both were involved in working with Sandline.

2) Mr Grundberg points out that Sandline's military expedition in Papua New Guinea was not illegal, but signed by an elected government and later held to be valid by several courts. I was unaware of the courts findings.

3) Mr. Grundberg says military services (from Sandline and Executive Outcomes, I presume) were never exchanged for mineral concessions, and that Mr. Sanjivan Ruprah was never associated with Branch Energy. I have documents showing Mr. Ruprah at least held himself out, on letterhead stationary, to be an executive of Branch Energy (Kenya). My inference on the exchange of services was taken from numerous public sources, including the following, from a Dec. 20, 2000 U.N. Panel of Experts Report on Liberia to the U.N. Security Council:

“A Kenyan national named Sanjivan Ruprah plays a key role in Liberia's airline registry and in the arms trade. Before his involvement in Liberia, Sanjivan Ruprah had mining interests in Kenya, and was associated with Branch Energy (Kenya). Branch Energy owned diamond mining rights in Sierra Leone, and introduced the private military company, Executive Outcomes to the government there in 1995. Ruprah is also known as an arms broker. He has worked in South Africa with Roelf van Heerden, a former colleague from Executive Outcomes, and together they have done business in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. Ruprah was once in charge of an airline in Kenya, Simba Airlines, until investigations into financial irregularities forced the company's closure."

On other issues, errors of commission and omission:

I seem to have been wrong in linking the Nigeria jet crash to possible nefarious activities. No evidence seems to have turned up to substantiate that theory.

Because of other work commitments, I have not followed Africa and terrorism develpments there as well and as often as I had hoped.

I may not have made it clear that, despite the multiple problems in effectively dealing with terror finance issues, there are a remarkable number of good, smart people who have spent their time and talent to cut off the flow of funds. I often criticize the efforts, which, on a macro level, remain woeful. But to those often frustrated and seldom recognized individuals working hard within the system to make us safer, thank you.

Any other thoughts are welcome.

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