Simon Mann – The Mercenary

Simon Francis Mann is a British mercenary and former British Army officer. He served part of a 34-year prison sentence in Equatorial Guinea for his role in a failed coup d’état in 2004, before receiving a presidential pardon on humanitarian grounds on 2 November 2009.


00:00 Trailer.
02:08 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
06:13 Brian’s introduction.
06:56 An amazing period in Simon Mann’s’ life, satisfying and great fun.
08:33 Executive Outcomes role in the civil war in Angola against UNITA.
16:08 What the term mercenary means to Simon.
23:38 Thoughts on Erik Prince’s proposal to privatise the military force in Afghanistan.
25:26 Simon’s involvement in both the Angola and Sierra Leone wars.
32:05 The United Nations were useless in both Angola and Sierra Leone.
33:57 US & UK governments ordered them home when their task was almost complete.
35:25 Diamond mining in Sierra Leone and the film Blood Diamond.
36:25 What Simon did and where he went after the two wars.
39:25 Stratagem for doing business in Africa.
42:28 How an old Etonian become an SAS officer and then an ex mercenary diamond mine executive.
46:57 No good memories of his first SAS term of active duty in Northern Ireland.
50:08 When you look at any soldier you have to look at his military childhood.
55:41 A move to South Africa with different interests, but Executive Outcomes ceases after S.A. FMA.
57:43 Supplying arms to Sierra Leone and the resulting scandal, then Papua New Guinea issue.
59:29 Simon advises against British involvement in Iraq invasion.
1:08:36 Why Simon chose a military career.
1:11:30 The networking value of being an old Etonian.
1:13:38 Simon leads the 2003 Equatorial New Guinea coup amid a story of convoluted world politics.
1:36:46 Simon’s arrest, mock execution and torture by Zimbabwean forces
1:42:13 Pushing time in Chikurubi Prison, Zimbabwe
1:53:21 Feared rendition to Equatorial New Guinea.
2:11:52 A story stranger than fiction.
2:22:31 How the years in prison affected Simon and his family after his release.
2:27:37 Does Simon have any regrets for the decisions he took.
2:29:02 Life for Simon now.
2:32:29 How the British public perceives him now.
2:34:17 What does Simon hope his obituary will say.
2:35:13 Simon still has an adventure in mind.
2:37:43 Simon’s opinion of what people should consider about possible future use of PMCs.
2:42:27 Phone call to the 20 year old Simon Mann.
2:44:26 Advice to the 20 year old listening across the world who wants to be in the army.
2:45:45 Best advice ever received.
2:47:40 Brian’s summing up.

Simon Mann links:
Simon Mann on Wikipedia
Simon Mann’s Book:
Cry Havoc

Topics discussed:
Special Air Service (SAS)
Vice Magazine
Executive Outcomes
Heritage Oil
Angolan Civil War
Gulf War
Sandline International
Academi (formerly Blackwater USA)
Scots Guards
Battle of Mirbat
Congo Crisis
Blood diamonds (conflict diamonds)
Blood Diamond (film)
Revolutionary United Front (RUF)
Peking to Paris
Delta Force
United States Navy SEALs
Charles Beckwith
Special Boat Service (SBS)
Brunei Revolt
Indonesia-Borneo confrontation
Northern Ireland Troubles
Aden Emergency
Bloody Sunday (film)
South African Financial Markets Act (FMA)
Papua New Guinea Defence Force mutiny
Sandline affair
Equatorial Guinea coup d’état attempt
Chikurubi Prison, Zimbabwe
Stockholm syndrome

People mentioned in this episode:
Tony Buckingham
Erik Prince
Eeben Barlow
Robert Friedland
Beny Steinmetz
Charles Beckwith
Sir Lachlan MacLean, 12th Baronet,_12th_Baronet
Erwin Rommel
Bernard Montgomery
Tim Spicer
David Hart
Richard Perle
Tony Blair
Ely Calil
Severo Moto Nsà
Mark Thatcher
Karim Fallaha
Gary Hersham

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30 Comments on "Simon Mann – The Mercenary"

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Great interview. I really found this fascinating to watch. He is a man who lives truly in the world. By that I mean he is grounded in its material reality – war, greed, power, corruption, desire for personal gain but also humanity, and he played the game. I don’t necessarily agree with what he did or his business interests like oil and gas but I was captivated by how he sees the world. For him it’s there for the taking – resources, wealth, power etc. I don’t think that way at all but I really enjoyed watching a man who… Read more »

Proper professional soldier, fucked up in Equatorial Guinea, not sure what intel he had


Whilst we live in the reality of law of black and white, we all live in the world of shades of grey as the moral compass which at the time might be right or wrong, though in reflection of thought it could be wrong or right depending on the moral compass you use at the time when you reflect on past or present actions you take…

I care about what is happening here in Australia. 625,000 children in desperate need of help here. I think Simon in a man whore, a man money whore, a boy who never grew up. Here’s a simple question that nobody seems to be able to answer or willing to answer. These AK47 rifles. Who makes um and why won’t America or the UN etc just bomb the factory / factories that make these rifles and other arms like rocket launchers etc. Who keeps selling these weapons to these rebel Governments? Why is a Lawyer worth $5,000 an hour and a… Read more »

Fuck Steve you have just reached a new level of stupid, AK’s are made all over the world, what you are advocating is bombing about 40 different countries.
Clearly you have never been in the military.


Inspiring interview. Simon Mann knows how to go out of his comfort zone. His story is controversial, and it made me critically reflect on what were my black and white views I had on the morality of the soldier profession.

Jenny Mayola

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Darius! 🙂





Jenny Mayola

Glad to know you enjoyed this episode! 🙂


What a fabulous interview. Mann has an amazing story of course, but the interview was well prepared and researched, and beautifully executed. Congratulations.

Jenny Mayola

Appreciate the feedback, thanks! 🙂


Awesome video on Mr. Mann

Jenny Mayola

Thanks Chris! 🙂


Interesting Interview. 70s to 90s a different time. No surprises. Great download.


We’re glad you liked the episode. 🙂

Michael Thomas

One hell of a story!!!! Encapsulating and emotional interview.

Jenny Mayola

Couldn’t agree more! 🙂

Jenny Mayola

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Michael! 🙂

Grant Dempsey

Very interesting interview, well done Brian and team for considering Simon and going a great job in the interview.

Jenny Mayola

Thank your for the kind words Grant! 🙂

Dominic Jones

Really interesting interview. Thank you 🙂


@24:00 – if more people shared this perspective, society would be far less frivolous.

Martin McGrath

An excellent interview with an extremely interesting gentleman. The sort of person that would make a great dinner guest!


I love to hear how other people live their lives. He was very interesting, would love to meet him. The old saying never judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes well suits this gentleman

Hiram Beer

Unbelievable insights as to how the world really works.

Ben Bowden

Incredible interview! For more reading there are some great chapters on this story in “Private empire: ExxonMobil and American Power” by Steve Coll

Ben Bowden

Incredible interview! For more reading there are some great chapter skills on this story in “Private empire: ExxonMobil and American Power” by Steve Coll


Really interesting interview. Thank you Simon and Brian