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Iron Man,Wild Goose! Sounds like a finger up a tin man's backside,doesn't it?
November 8, 2009 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Simon Mann, freed dog of war, is demanding justice. After more than five years in jail, the British mercenary is seeking vengeance on others he says were part of the failed 'Wonga Coup' – including Mark Thatcher. [previously]

The plot itself is well documented – how in March 2004 Mann, Nick du Toit and three other South African mercenaries with wealthy international backers and the tacit approval of at least three governments, most notably the Spanish, attempted a coup which involved flying into the former Spanish colony in a plane loaded with arms and more than 50 black "Buffalo soldiers" – former members of the now disbanded South African defence forces' elite 32 battalion– to replace Obiang with an exiled opposition activist called Severo Moto.

The prize was vast, untapped reserves of oil and natural gas that an American company had recently discovered in the tiny nation. In March 2004 the plane was intercepted by the Zimbabweans at Harare airport and a jubilant President Robert Mugabe threw Mann and his fellow conspirators into jail before handing them over to Equatorial Guinea where a court sentenced the Eton-educated mercenary to 34 years in jail.

[Mann and others imprisoned for five years in Equatorial Guinea] are "furious" at yesterday's indications by Scotland Yard that there is insufficiently strong evidence to further pursue Thatcher or Calil and at the lack of international political will.


Equatorial Guinea, a small central African country and former colony of Spain, has a bloody post-colonial history. One dictator, Francisco Macías Nguema, transformed Equatorial Guinea into the "Dachau of Africa," and either drove out or killed two-thirds of the population, becoming known as one of the worst African dictators of all time.

Equatorial Guinea's Bioko Island, besides serving as an isolated offshore hub for the country's oil industry, is also famous as a refuge for the endangered baboon-like drill.
posted by KokuRyu (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Someone gave Simon Mann a... Raw Deal
posted by Flashman at 10:15 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, just the other day, I was wondering if Thatcher was ever going to suffer any consequences for it. Maybe someday?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:31 PM on November 8, 2009


It's kind of like being a contractor on the Death Star. What did he expect to happen?
posted by sbutler at 10:31 PM on November 8, 2009


It's kind of like being a contractor on the Death Star. What did he expect to happen?
Blue-Collar Man: (paying for coffee) I'm alive because I knew there were risks involved taking on that particular client. My friend wasn't so lucky. (pauses to reflect) You know, any contractor willing to work on that Death Star knew the risks. If they were killed, it was their own fault. A roofer listens to this... (taps his heart) not his wallet.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:35 PM on November 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


More info on 32 Battalion.
posted by PenDevil at 11:19 PM on November 8, 2009


Yes, you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas. Although that's a little harsh on dogs.
posted by awfurby at 11:21 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Although that's a little harsh on dogs.

It is, but you hope that the dogs learn something sooner or later.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:35 PM on November 8, 2009


Unsurprisingly the British press is more interested in the fact that a lot of these chaps went to public schools than they are in what they actually did.
posted by atrazine at 11:57 PM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Iranian Press
posted by hortense at 12:45 AM on November 9, 2009


"You know, just the other day, I was wondering if Thatcher was ever going to suffer any consequences for it"

I'm sure he suffers every day. He has to wake up each morning knowing that he's a talentless, arrogant shit who has is still being looked after by his mother at the age of 56.

Read his wikipedia page. It's a catalogue of failure.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:45 AM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought this whole thing was - "Rich guys get away with it. Story at eleven."
The most telling detail was that we were hearing about it at all - If Thatcher were really so strong and etc., it would be kept from the press entirely.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:40 AM on November 9, 2009


Why do I get the feeling that this daring plan was doomed to failure the minute it was christened the Wonga Coup. Eton educated buffoons kicking down the doors of Central African oil refineries and announcing "We are the Wonga and we have come for your natural gas" is all a little Pythonesque.
posted by fire&wings at 1:53 AM on November 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


[Thatcher is] a talentless, arrogant shit who has is still being looked after by his mother at the age of 56.

Read his wikipedia page. It's a catalogue of failure.


In the US, he'd have been elected president.
posted by rhymer at 2:20 AM on November 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


In the US, he'd have been elected president.

That's not true but he would end up the president nonetheless.
posted by srboisvert at 5:38 AM on November 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Unsurprisingly the British press is more interested in the fact that a lot of these chaps went to public schools than they are in what they actually did.

There's a reason for that, you know. Because in the end, they didn't actually do that much. The coup was cut short before it had chance to start, and it only went as far as to clearly show their intent. It's much more interesting that the people involved with its planning and funding are among the most overprivileged people in the country. What can it tell us about the private school mindset, I wonder? How might we apply this lesson in the near term to make our country better? We all know the answers.
posted by Sova at 6:18 AM on November 9, 2009


When I first heard the news of his release I couldn't work out what might be in it for Obiang as presumably Mann had spilled every bean he had by that point, but it seems it's the dictator's best chance of getting those behind the coup attempt called to account or at least discomfited in some way - you suspect Mann's not the type to let it lie.
posted by Abiezer at 6:22 AM on November 9, 2009


... so everyone here knows that shakespeare's 'dogs' weren't canines, right?
posted by lodurr at 7:21 AM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Read his wikipedia page. It's a catalogue of failure.
Ah, Wikipedia. I love how they listed all of Mark Thatcher's misdeeds such as these:
> In 1998 South African authorities investigated his firm for running loan shark operations.
> [A]llegations of U.S. tax evasion (a criminal case was eventually dropped) and a racketeering case in Texas
> [P]leaded guilty to negligence in investing in an aircraft "without taking proper investigations into what it would be used for". Thatcher admitted in court that he had paid the money, but said he was under the impression it was going to be invested in an air ambulance service to help the impoverished of Africa. This explanation was not believed by the judge.
only to summarize with this:
Sir Mark Thatcher is entitled the usage of the pre-nominal style 'The Honourable' following the elevation of his mother, Margaret Thatcher, to the peerage as a baroness in 1992
Ah, hereditary titles. Isn't there any problem you can't solve?
posted by the cydonian at 7:29 AM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I posted about this four years ago. I'm not so sure that it got the approval (tacit or otherwise) of any government of the time, least of all the Spanish, if only because this was such a shambolic operation (but then, we are talking about the Aznar, Bush, and Blair governments, so I may be wrong).
posted by Skeptic at 8:51 AM on November 9, 2009


Oops, now I see that my post was the "previously".
posted by Skeptic at 9:00 AM on November 9, 2009


There are some thoroughly repulsive members of the human race in this story.
Thatcher was probably introduced to smelly Ely Calil by Wafic Said, the fixer in the BAE scandal,
where Thatcher allegedly walked off wth UKL 12 million. Also figuring is one JH Archer not to be confused with the convicted criminal Jeffrey Howard Archer. Vicky Ward told the story.
posted by adamvasco at 10:11 AM on November 9, 2009


JH Archer is Jefferey Howard Archer
posted by hortense at 6:12 PM on November 9, 2009


Of course he is. Please adjust your meter. Just to add to the list of deplorable people here is another complete shit blowing his own horn. Rupert Allason has the distinction of being branded a liar by a British Judge: "He ranks as one of the most dishonest witnesses I have ever seen."
posted by adamvasco at 12:48 AM on November 10, 2009


"Sir Mark Thatcher is entitled the usage of the pre-nominal style 'The Honourable' following the elevation of his mother, Margaret Thatcher, to the peerage as a baroness in 1992"

This isn't actually true. He inherited his title through his father, Denis Thatcher - the last commoner to be given a hereditaory title, and entitled to be called "The Honourable" on that basis.

And no other.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:13 AM on November 13, 2009


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