Now this is an interesting story.
Readers of the old blog may remember, way back in early 2004, that I spent some time chasing a story that, for reasons I never understood, wound up petering out.
The story was that a plane full of mercs was detained in Zimbabwe on its way to capture the president of Equatorial Guinea in a bloodless coup (Plan B was a bloodful coup). What made the story really interesting was that according to one press report out of Barbados, the plane's point of origin was an Air Force base in North Carolina.
Immediately after that piece of information was published, the story more or less disappeared from the US press. No one ever mentioned this report outside of Barbados, to my knowledge.
I spent a lot of time trying to research and report on the story myself. I talked to the original owner of the plane, who said he knew fuck all about the whole thing, and I believed him. So that was a dead end.
I talked to the new owners of the plane, and they were very polite and responsive and for obvious reasons they were uninterested in telling me anything at all. Surprisingly they did answer factual questions and they answered them truthfully, with one possible exception that I'll get into in a later post.
The interesting part was who the new owners of the plane turned out to be - Sandline International, a paramilitary organization affiliated with Lt. Col Tim Spicer, who is quoted in the piece linked from Kos.
Just as I was getting somewhere in my investigation, Sandline International suddenly dried up and blew away. You can check their website here.
Now that Spicer is back in the news, I'm feeling a strong pull to get back into this story, easily the most complicated and interesting story I've ever pursued. I don't really have the time right now, but when has that stopped me before? Stay tuned.