Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 4 September 2004

Mark Thatcher And The 'Dogs Of War'

IT SOUNDS like a rip-off from Frederick Forsyth's novel The Dogs of War in which mercenaries, organised by members of the British establishment, overthrow the dictator of 'Zangaro' to get hold of its vast platinum reserves.

Dave Carr

But the arrest of Mark Thatcher, (wheeler-dealing, multi-millionaire son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher), by South African police who say he funded a failed coup plot in oil-rich equatorial Guinea, is for real.

This modern-day intrigue, according to various media reports, involves a dodgy Lebanese businessman billionaire, old Etonian mercenary Simon Mann and his Tory establishment chums Mark Thatcher and disgraced peer Jeffrey Archer.

And, depending which newspaper you read, the coup was supported/foiled by the US, British, French and Spanish secret services. But as Anthony Sampson writing in The Independent points out, the networks of mercenaries operating in Africa and elsewhere are a legacy of the former South African Apartheid regime.

These 'dogs of war' were armed and financed not only to try to destroy the ANC (African National Congress) but the CIA also encouraged them during the Cold War to destabilise the neighbouring states of Mozambique and Angola whose regimes were backed by the Soviet Union.

After the collapse of the Stalinist states and the ending of the Apartheid era the mercenaries went freelance. As Sampson says: "South Africa became the world's chief base for mercenary activity; while weak and corrupt governments across the continent were easy targets for rebel leaders, backed by big-business interests, which could deploy mercenaries against the ill-trained local armies."

And while the US and British governments may have assisted the current South African government of president Thabo Mbeki in foiling the Equatorial Guinea coup, that doesn't make them averse to using mercenaries when it suits their imperialist interests.

In Sierra Leone in 1998, Britain's High Commissioner used the mercenary services of the company Sandline (co-founded by Simon Mann) to help restore to power president Kabbah. Also, in Iraq, the US puppet regime of Allawi allows thousands of 'security personnel', ie mercenaries provided by US and British companies, to operate with impunity. In Afghanistan, the US-backed beleaguered president, Hamid Karzai, is protected by mercenary bodyguards.

It is the continuation of imperialism with its insatiable desire for cheap labour and materials and profitable markets backed by its military might, which is responsible for the wars and carnage which blight much of Africa and the Middle East today.

Who's Got The Oil Money:

EQUATORIAL GUINEA is a tiny oil-rich African state with an impoverished population. Its president Teodoro Obiang Nguem, supposed target of the failed coup plot, is a corrupt brutal dictator. For 25 years he has ruled by killing and jailing of opponents, torture and rigging elections.

But it's not concern about democracy that motivated these alleged coup-makers. The US estimates that it will find 25% of its oil in West Africa within ten years. US oil giant Exxon Mobil have a big stake in Equatorial Guinea already.

The country's oil boom led to a dramatic increase in its industrial production, but its people's living standards remain among the lowest in Africa - most of the 500,000 population live in slums.

Much of the country's oil money stays abroad: top US oil companies are said to pay bribes directly into an "offshore account" controlled by Obiang at a bank in Washington.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 4 September 2004:

End The Occupation Of Iraq

US Imperialism Further Weakened In Iraq

Mass Protests Greets Bush And Republican Convention

Mark Thatcher And The 'Dogs Of War'

Socialist Party campaigns

Defending the 35-hour week: The Profit System's The Problem, Not The Workers

Stress At Work - The Facts

Picketing Wembley Stadium

Young workers fight to End Low Pay

Low Pay Campaign Taps Into Anger

Scottish nursery nurses: How Our Strike Changed Me

Firefighters' dispute: Employers Climb Down

We Need Your Cash!

International socialist news and analysis

Haiti: A History Of Struggle


Joe Higgins: Speaking Tour Of Australia

Che Guevara, Motorcycle Diaries, directed by Walter Salles


Home   |   The Socialist 4 September 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleDrone attacks on Saudi Arabia: Tensions ratcheted up

triangleOil firms spend $1bn fighting climate laws: 'Green New Deal' needs socialist policies

triangleTen years since Lindsey strike: when militant action stopped the 'race to the bottom'

triangleFilm: Vice - Dick Cheney - a cold and calculating opportunist

triangle40 years since the Iranian revolution: Learning the lessons for today's new working-class struggles


triangleMass united action against the war on Syrian Kurds

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Will there be a Saudi-Iran war in the Middle East?

triangle70 years since the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four: "But if there was hope, it lay in the proles"

triangleSri Lanka - Ten years after the brutal end of the war


triangleTrump, impeachment and the need for an independent workers' party

triangleBest way to fight back? Join the Socialist Party

triangleTrump gives green light to Turkey to attack Kurds


triangleViolence against women in South Africa

triangleSouth Africa: Xenophobic violence - a product of failed capitalist policies


triangleGreater Manchester: patients are people not guinea pigs!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Postal workers

Massive vote for strike action: - "We're out to win!"



General secretary election: Marion Lloyd - standing for action on members' pay, jobs, pensions and more


Socialist Party

Be part of the future: join the Socialist Party


Waltham Forest

Mass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group


Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance

Pressure needed to force secret police disclosure


Climate change

Trade unionists discuss climate change


National Education Union

NEU support staff dismiss Tory 'extra funding' hype



Hackney SEND transport workers achieve victory



RMT: Jared Wood - Fighting cuts, defending jobs, pay and conditions



Wales: Hundreds march to save the Orb works



Flooring workers strike, Derbyshire



Attacks on Caerphilly waste management workers



BEIS: Outsourced caterers' indefinite strike victory



York freshers success



'The little people can win' - Leeds tenants push back demolition

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019