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Watch > Episode > Simon Mann - Inside The Mind Of A Mercenary

Simon Mann - Inside The Mind Of A Mercenary


From Eton to the Frontlines: Simon Mann’s Unconventional Path

In a revealing episode of London Real, Brian Rose dives deep into the life of Simon Mann, a former British Army officer whose journey led him from the prestigious halls of Eton College to the tumultuous battlefields of Africa. The interview unveils Simon’s multifaceted experiences, from his early days at Eton, molding his character and worldview, to the demanding selection process and training with the Scots Guards and the elite Special Air Service. Simon’s narrative takes a turn as he shares poignant insights into his deployment in Northern Ireland, where his understanding of terrorism and conflict first took shape.

Mercenary Work and African Adventures

Simon Mann’s story is one of complexity and controversy. In this episode, he candidly discusses his transition from a respected military officer to a mercenary involved in numerous African conflicts. His tales of Angola and Sierra Leone’s civil wars provide a rare glimpse into the often misunderstood world of mercenaries. He sheds light on his involvement in Angola, which reads like a chapter from a Wilbur Smith novel, and his surreal participation in Sierra Leone’s civil war, encompassing gold mining and arms dealing.

The World of Private Military Contractors

Simon Mann offers a unique perspective on the ethical debates surrounding private military companies. He details the rise and fall of Executive Outcomes and reflects on the controversies involving Blackwater in Iraq, revealing the complex nature of private military operations.

Scandals, Political Lobbying, and Failed Coups

The interview takes a dramatic turn as Simon recounts his advisory role in the invasion of Iraq and his involvement in the infamous Sandline scandals. He gives a firsthand account of his harrowing experience during the failed coup attempt in Papua Guinea, a critical turning point in his life.

Survival in Black Beach Prison and Beyond

Simon Mann’s resilience is put to the test as he narrates his ordeal in Equatorial Guinea’s notorious Black Beach prison. He details his trial, sentencing, and the emotional and mental battles he faced while serving part of his 34-year sentence, before receiving a presidential pardon on humanitarian grounds.

A Life After Controversy

The episode concludes with Simon reflecting on his return to England and his ongoing relationship with Africa. He shares insights on the psychological impacts of his experiences and the lessons he’s learned along the way. Simon also looks ahead, discussing his future plans and whether a return to the private military business is in the cards.


00:00 | Trailer.
02:42 | Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
04:01 | Brian’s introduction.
04:43 | Questionable term of Mercenary divided the half a million listeners to Simon’s last interview.
10:41 | The dichotomy between people’s desire for peace and the fight needed to achieve it.
13:48 | Attending Eton College is part of Simon’s background.
21:17 | Joining the Scots Guards and undergoing tough selection to get into the Special Air Service.
32:29 | Deployed to Northern Ireland where he learns about terrorism.
41:21 | Simon’s personal and military relationship with South Africa.
43:51 | Simon’s involvement in Africa, particularly in Angola could have been taken from a Wilbur Smith novel.
1:15:26 | Surreal involvement in Sierra Leone’s civil war, gold mining and arms dealing in Russia.
1:21:33 | Simon’s reasons for getting involved in African conflicts including Liberia and the ruthless RUF.
1:29:43 | Executive Outcomes ceases and the arguments for and against using private military contractors.
1:48:54 | Why Blackwater got into trouble in Iraq.
1:50:21 | Sandline and the arms to Sierra Leone scandal.
1:54:26 | Sandline and the scandal in Bougainville in 2003.
1:56:06 | Advising David Hart in his lobbying to No.10 Downing Street, for the invasion of Iraq.
2:04:06 | The failed attempted coup d’état in Papua Guinea when things get very nasty.
2:34:37 | His rendition from Zimbabwe to Black Beach prison Equatorial New Guinea, trying not to go mad.
3:00:15 | On trial and sentenced to 37 years, walking a tightrope of emotion and madness with a daily routine.
3:17:35 | Return to England, but invited back.
3:23 45 | His current relationship with Africa.
3:24:16 | Did he have any resulting trauma?
3:28:58 | What Simon would like people to learn from his story.
3:35:23 | What is in store for Simon in the next ten years.
3:40:18 | Would he ever return to the PMC business?
3:41:57 | He made a return visit to Zimbabwe.
3:42:57 | Is there still more to his story?
3:43:09 | Phone call to the 20 years old Simon Mann.
3:43:33 | Success secrets.
3:45:00 | Best advice ever received.
3:46:19 | Advice to the 20 years old listening.
3:49:23 | Brian’s summing up.


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