Tim Spicer chickens out of SOAS visit

Jan 25, 2005

Not such a tough mercenary after all, are we, Tim?

Spicer has cancelled his advertised talk at the School of Oriental and African Studies. That couldn’t be, perhaps, because there was a demo threatened? We think this is likely to be the case. So, who is this big tough rugged commando type?

Lt Col Tim Spicer, veteran of such mercenary scandals such as Sandline. Spicer joined the army as a reservist in 1970, he then pursued an unremarkable career, most notable event in his army career was the shooting of a catholic teenager by two soldiers under his command. He has defended them to the hilt, even after they were convicted of murder. He left the army in 1995. Since then he has worked for a variety of “Private Military Companies” was arrested for illegally importing arms to use in Papua New Guinea for use by mercenaries of his then company Sandline. The following year he was embroiled in another scandal, this time in Sierra Leone breaking an arms embargo, acting in the interests of a Canadian business man who wanted to secure diamond mining rights. That business man, Rakesh Saxena, is currently awaiting extradition to Thailand on fraud charges.

Spicer resigned from Sandline in 1999, but set up another company in May 2000, Crisis and Risk management (later changed to Strategic Consulting International), along with another, Trident Maritime, which acted as security advisers to the Sri Lankan government. His companies have often struggled with the morality of who to work with. For a while he stuck to a rule of only working with governments recognised by the UN, then wavering about situations “where insurgents are in the right”. The secretive world of “Private Military Companies” is murky enough for it to be unclear whether Spicer himself has been directly involved in some of this sort of action. He has however become a more acceptable face in higher circles, despite the fact his companies show the longevity of a butterfly. As the New Labour government continue their love affair with introducing the market into every corner of the world, Jack Straw argued “the demand for private military services is likely to increase. … The cost of employing private military companies for certain functions in U.N. operations could be much lower than that of national armed forces.” The US government have gone one step further and awarded another Spicer company, Aegis defense Services a lucrative $293 million contract to protect US Diplomats in Iraq. Spicer is now coordinating the 50 private military companies in Iraq, employing a total of 20,000 mercenaries.

The world is being led into a time when the Private Military Company has the ear of the government, will ‘advise’ and strategise with Ministers and Army top brass. It’s getting sinister. Still, it’s nice to hear that a threatened demo by various students and anti-capitalists can have one of the toughest operators in the new world of private military force running for his mummy.



Public integrity, read a better fuller version of above article
George Monbiot Blasts the market in the military in today’s Guardian
The Nation examining how Spicer’s profited from the Iraq War
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