Ever since NATO invaded Tripoli and placed it's rebel puppets to take as many photographs on the streets as they can, kill as many Jamahiriya and Gaddafi supporters as they could manage, loot their homes and threaten their families, we are witnessing anxious vultures from Britain, Italy and France striving to "tie the knot" with whatever fraction of NTC they were courting these nine months or more.
So...this week, upon receiving news about Heritage Oil PLC claiming it has struck a deal with Sahara Oil Services Holding Ltd. and now owns a controlling stake of 51% in it, we thought to research it a bit more. First page of Google Search is full of articles regarding the takeover, one very much like the other, but it didn't take much digging to find something interesting about the particular vulture. First we will introduce You to one of the usual articles reporting about the takeover, and then, one by one, we will introduce you to the key players of this play.
Here is an article from "The Wall Street Journal "about the alleged takeover:
By ALEXIS FLYNN And BENOIT FAUCON
"LONDON—U.K. independent oil and gas explorer Heritage Oil PLC Tuesday became the first new foreign firm to strike a deal to enter the Libyan oil sector following the war through its acquisition of a Benghazi-based oil services company.
Although incumbent majors like Total SA and ENI SpA have resumed some production in Libya, new oil companies are salivating at the prospect of joining them in exploring the country with the largest oil reserves in Africa following the fall of Col. Moammar Gadhafi in August.
Heritage said its 51% controlling stake in Sahara Oil Services Holdings Ltd., which it is buying for $19.5 million in cash, means the firm will be "well placed to play a significant role in the future oil and gas industry in Libya." Sahara has permits and licenses to provide onshore and offshore oil field services in Libya, as well as the right to bid for and operate oil and gas licenses in the country.
However, two senior members of the state's oil sector cautioned that it was premature to talk of fresh production licensing rounds.
The deal comes after Heritage said it has spent the past five months in Benghazi, former capital and stronghold of the National Transitional Council that overthrew Gadhafi's regime in August.
The company has a track record of going into volatile environments with a view to gaining an early advantage over larger competitors. Chief Executive Anthony Buckingham , a former North Sea diver, founded Heritage in 1993 to explore offshore oil and gas interests in Angola. Controversially, it engaged private military contractors to defeat Unita rebels who had overrun its installations there.
Heritage said it had established a dialogue with senior NTC members during this time, discussions which it said are continuing through Sahara, "with Heritage exploring ways to assist the NTC and the state oil companies rehabilitate certain of their existing fields and recommence production."
But it remains unclear how welcome Heritage will be in Libya. Two of the country's most senior oil officials—Nuri Berruien, the head of Libya's National Oil Co. and Omar Shakmak, the deputy oil minister—said that they hadn't been informed by Heritage of its plans to take over Sahara.
A Heritage spokesman stressed that the deal with Sahara came with oil field services licenses, not exploration and production permits, for which he said Heritage would still have to bid. He said Heritage had received legal advice on the matter and that there were no regulatory approvals still pending on the deal.
But Shokri Ghanem, who was Libya's oil head until he defected from the former regime in May, said the transfer of oil-services licenses to a new foreign player in Libya's oil services sector would require approval from the ministry of economy under the country's laws.
"If Heritage has no branch in Libya, it needs to apply to the ministry of economy" to clear its right to operate in the country through the acquisition of Sahara Oil Services, he said.
Both Mr. Berruien and Mr. Shakmak said no new oil and gas exploration and production licenses would be granted until a final government is appointed. Although the NTC made new appointments Monday it has insisted it is only a caretaker government until the whole country is liberated.
Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Phil Corbett said that while he was inclined to see the move positively, the country remains in a state of flux and that significant changes to the sector in terms of contracts and regulations was still a possibility."
Now, let's see who is behind Heritage Oil PLC
According to Wikipedia:
"Anthony Leslie Rowland "Tony" Buckingham is an oil industry executive with a significant share holding in Heritage Oil Corporation. Heritage is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange since 1999. Recently,[when?] Heritage listed on the London Stock Exchange. Buckingham's direct and indirect share holding is estimated to represent 33% of Heritage. This share was reduced in November 2007 via a share placement made through JP Morgan and Canaccord.
Buckingham is a former partner of the mercenary provider or private military company Executive Outcomes. He has had no involvement with such organizations since 1999 and has focused his time on running Heritage."
According to "The Telegraph":
"In the 1990s he ( Anthony Buckingham) was a “security consultant” and partner of private military provider Executive Outcomes."
"Mr Buckingham is also a former associate of Simon Mann – the mercenary and heir to the Watney Mann brewing fortune who was jailed for more than 34 years for leading an attempt to oust Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea."
Although his company PR seems to be keen to leave that particular link behind him, saying:
"Mr Buckingham has had no substantive business contact with Simon Mann since 1998 and no contact of any nature with him since 2000"
In the conclusion of Telegraph's article there is a spooky remark about this mercenary-turned oil baron, describing his remarkable way of "fighting his way out of difficult situations" that doesn't rub well on those of us who had suspicions about the involvement of foreign mercenaries in triggering of he bloodshed in Libya by firing on the people and causing the panic and the exchange of accusations as to who started the shooting. For example, the videos from the mentioned protests proved that targets were Gaddafi's supporters waving green flags. Official statements from the police and the military of Libya insisted that they were forbidden to fire at people. We see, or hear shooting on those videos, and nobody is able to determine from where. Western media and Al Jazeera presented it as though Gaddafi's forces shot at the rebels (which was a big false flag lie, used to start a NATO intervention). In fact, from what we hear, the ones shooting at the pro-Gaddafi rally were some foreign mercenaries. There are so many unresolved crimes in Libya in which foreign mercenaries were involved, that it is difficult not to get suspicious about each and every individual who has that kind of history to his name, and is also involved in Libyan oil deals. But lets not go too far with our assumptions."
In this article from "The center for public integrity" By Duncan Campbell , titled
"Marketing the New 'Dogs of War" that originally investigates "Tim Spicer- a man simultaneously at the center of a number of scandals provoked by his global mercenary activities and of an effort to legitimize the status and sanitize the image of the country's "dogs of war" – soldiers of fortune who have mounted coups, guarded British, U.S. and Arabian dignitaries and ambassadors, engaged in civil wars, and run sabotage and terror activities from behind hostile lines. From the Contra campaign in Nicaragua to organizing and training Afghan or Kosovar insurgents, British mercenary operators have been employed by the CIA, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. State Department, as well as by Britain's own Secret Intelligence Service (SIS)." we find something about both Anthony Buckingham and his former buddy Simon Mann:
"Mann was the scion of a wealthy brewing family, and the fifth generation in his family to attend Britain's top private school, Eton College. His upbringing put him at the center of the British establishment. He could not have been better endowed with connections in the military, diplomatic, intelligence and financial world.
After leaving the SAS in 1985, Mann's first commercial venture was not as a mercenary, but in the new field of computer security. Mann joined forces with a former insurance broker who had pioneered computer insurance and had been a manager for Control Risks, a large and reputable risk assessment consultancy that was founded by ex-SAS officers. They raised finance and founded a company called Data Integrity. Mann's role was to sell new lines of computer insurance policies against accidents and hackers. The company did well, but not well enough for the venture capitalists who had funded it. It began to drift, and Mann began to lose interest.
As the company wound down during 1990, Mann's old-boy network had put him in touch with oil entrepreneur Anthony Buckingham. Buckingham, also ex-military, has been described in some press accounts as a former member of Britain's naval special forces, the Special Boat Service, although the description has never been confirmed. After working in the North Sea oil industry as a diver, Buckingham moved into the oil industry, working initially with Ranger Oil of Canada.
Buckingham later founded his own company, Heritage Oil, which he ran from the modern, glass-fronted "Plaza" building at 535 King's Road, Chelsea. A first floor suite in the building provided offices for Buckingham's management company, "Plaza 107" – named for the number of his rented suite, 1.07. Inside, a single receptionist handled incoming calls to more than 18 different companies. From the Plaza suite, Buckingham, Mann and others ran businesses that included oil, gold and diamond mining, a chartered accountancy practice, and offshore financial management services"
Now we come to some interesting details, have patience and read it all, although it is a rather long excerpt.
"In May 1993, UNITA rebels opposing the Angolan government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos had seized Heritage's oil installations in Soyo and shut down the oilfield. After losing control of Soyo, the Angolan government asked for more mercenary help. Their request was directed to Ranger Oil, which ran Angola's offshore oilfields. The approach led Buckingham to hire what had been up to that time an exclusively South African mercenary group, Executive Outcomes.
According to a classified 1995 British Defense Intelligence Staff (DIS) report, Ranger then gave Buckingham and Mann a $30 million contract to set up a defense force. On Sept. 7, 1993, according to the intelligence report, Mann and Buckingham registered Executive Outcomes as a U.K. company to run the joint venture with the South African EO. The British intelligence report on Executive Outcomes is classified "Secret U.K. Eyes Alpha," a special security designation indicating that it should not be given to or seen by U.S. or any other friendly intelligence agencies. Sections of the report are based on South African intelligence service reports of the same era, which could have been obtained through bilateral exchange or through secret operations.
The report stated that South African intelligence suggested "so successful has EO [Executive Outcomes] proved itself to be, the OAU [Organization of African Unity] may be forced to … perhaps offer EO a contract for the management of peace-keeping continent-wide." British intelligence's assessment of the situation also described the rise of Executive Outcome's "widespread activities" as a "cause for concern."
Information about the real owners of Executive Outcomes (U.K.) does not appear on British company records. According to these public records, the owners and directors of EO were Eeben Barlow and his wife Sue. The names of Buckingham and Mann are not listed. Barlow was a former officer of the South African Defense Forces (SADF), who helped found the original South African Executive Outcomes in 1989. Barlow and his wife gave an address in Alton, Hampshire, England. But Barlow's real location was Pretoria from where, together with fellow ex-SADF officer Lafras Luitingh, he directed his company's forces in their battle against UNITA. He recruited 500 men, "mostly ex-members of the SADF special forces," according to the intelligence report. At least 24 SADF officers were also persuaded to resign and join Executive Outcomes. Troops were ferried to Angola from a small airport near Johannesburg.
Buckingham also recruited a former British secret service "friend" – that is, a former SIS intelligence officer – to support his activities that could embarrass those establishment connections. Rupert Bowen, whose overt career as a British diplomat in Europe and Namibia was later identified as cover for Secret Intelligence Service work, left his post in Namibia and joined Buckingham's growing oil and military empire at the start of 1994."
"By 1995, the presence of the South African mercenaries in Angola had made a significant impact on the war between government and UNITA forces. Soyo and its oil installations were recovered, and a peace protocol negotiated. Meanwhile, Buckingham and Executive Outcomes were moving in on Sierra Leone. In May 1995, the Freetown government confidentially advised the British and American ambassadors that the country had contracted for South African military assistance. Subsequently, Bowen disclosed that the government was hiring Executive Outcomes. Thus began a two-year Executive Outcomes operation to "pacify" Sierra Leone, which ended in February 1997."
"As its activities became increasingly controversial in the mid 1990s, EO blended into Sandline International.The companies operated from the same glitzy, glass-fronted offices Buckingham maintained in King's Road, Chelsea. The military companies operated interchangeably, within the premises operated by Heritage Oil and Gas, and Branch Energy, the oil and mineral companies run by Buckingham."
Please read the rest of this revealing article here.
Now that we have learned some more about Buckingham's connection to Executive Outcomes and Sandline International, I feel compelled to dig some more...
In the article "Executive Outcomes: Arming for the Post-Nation State Era" by Roger Moore, printed in Executive Intelligence Review, August 22, 1997we meet these buddies in arms once more:
"Executive Outcomes' famous contracts in Angola and Sierre Leone were coordinated by SAS veteran Tony Buckingham with EO's Eeben Barlow. Buckingham had been set up with a pocket oil company, Heritage Oil and Gas in Oman, a traditional British Intelligence/SAS staging point. George Bush's intelligence shadow, Theodore Shackley, worked closely with the British and the Lord Cayzer freight/shipping empire apparatus out of Oman. Shackley supervised Dutchman John Deuss's oil smuggling to South Africa, which was supplied in large part from Oman. Sitting on the board of Heritage was Privy Council member David Steel. Steel spent his teenage years at the Prince of Wales school in colonial Nairobi, Kenya--in the middle of the so-called Mau Mau rebellion--where his father was head of the Church of Scotland."
"It is most likely that EO, basically a several man office with a computer data base, will operate in the shadow of such London SAS firms like Defence Systems Limited (DSL), which has been insidiously digging itself into every disintegrating region and nation of the world--like a maggots into rotting flesh. The more serious question than EO per se, is just how much of the Afrikaner establishment has signed on board to the British game of decimating Africa, it's nations and population, and recolonising with WWF style game preserves and mining domains, heavily protected by private security, as zones of stability in the midst of Terra Incognita of death and conflict. This question goes equally for the ANC and Nelson Mandela. Numerous reports point to the South African government tolerating opportunistically the foreign combat deployments of Executive Outcomes. Although the government is currently drafting legislation against mercenary deployments by South Africans, it will probably only mean that the cartels must train "natives" to do the dirty work." Note: Anti-mercenary laws were passed in South Africa in 1998, one year after this article has been published.
OK, so now we have come to know some facts about the man behind the Heritage Oil PLC and I can not help but wonder - With so many skeletons in their closet, why did the company rush to make an announcement of the takeover, when the regime change in Libya is clearly not over and Libya is in the middle of a civil war, with TNC members fighting among themselves? Maybe the internal conflict among the TNC members is the reason, so every vulture is hurrying to secure his promised spoils of war, in fear that tomorrow the scenery within TNC and Libya itself might change and they would be left out of the deal? They are aware that the situation on the ground has nothing to do with the way it is portrayed in the western media. As our sources say The Green army is advancing well and all over Libya. Three more eastern tribes have turned against the rebels and are now supporting Gaddafi.
The night before last, there was a scheduled meeting of ENI (oil company) representatives with the TNC people in the Rixos Hotel, that is they were supposed to come to a meeting with the NTC to be storm their discontent for the TNC failure to defend ENI's oil fields, which were destroyed by Gaddafi loyalists in recent actions. ENI people did not appear at the meeting, and the NTC-people began to dispute among themselves and there was even some shooting at Rixos Hotel.
As Mutassim Billah al Gaddafi said in his speech yesterday:
"The next phase is striking of foreign oil interests in the whole of Libya. Who can protect the pipe network and oil installations which are extended or located in the desert, no one can claim that they could be protected! Command has issued orders to target all oil installations or tankers both on land or at sea!"
The ground is shaking under the TNC feet and they know it. TNC have to announce- soon, that they have "captured Sirte", because the western media has made the public believe that Sirte is the only place held by Gaddafi loyalists, which is very deceitful. If -in media- Sirte falls, it will appear as if the whole Libya fell, and then they can lie and deceive investors, big oil companies which invested a great load of money in the overthrowing of Gaddafi and are impatient to see results, like so many other disgruntled investors and participants of this war. They have to lie.
All4Peace & Libya S.O.S.