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On 7th March 2004, former SAS soldier and mercenary Simon Mann prepared to take off from Harare International Airport with an aeroplane full of heavy weaponry and guns for hire. Their destination: the former Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea. Their mission: to remove one of the most brutal dictators in Africa in a privately organised coup d'etat. The plot had the tacit approval of Western intelligence agencies and, according to Mann, the backing of a European government. Simon Mann had personally planned, overseen and won two wars in Angola and Sierra Leone. Everything should have gone right. Why, then, did it go so wrong? When Simon was released from five years' incarceration in two of Africa's toughest prisons, he made worldwide headlines. Since then, he has spoken to body about his experiences. Now, he is telling everything, including: * His belief that the CIA deliberately compromised the coup to court favour with Equatorial Guinea's President Obiang, in return for access to the country's vast oil resources. * How the British government approached Simon in the months preceeding the Iraq war, asking him to suggest ways in which a justified invasion of Iraq could be engineered. * The real story behind the involvement of Mark Thatcher in the coup plot * Simon will also tell of his pain when he had to tell his wife, Amanda, who gave birth to their fourth child while he was incarcerated, that he believed he would never be freed.
Simon Mann is from a strong military background. His paternal grandfather served with the Scots Guards in the Great War and his maternal grandfather served as a senior engineer in the South African Division in World War II. His father and three uncles also served in the Scots Guards in World War II, his father winning two MCs and a DSO. Born into the Mann brewing dynasty, Simon Mann went to Eton and then Sandhurst. The Scots Guards and the SAS followed. Simon then became a businessman, drifting slowly but surely into the world of security consultancy and intelligence for hire. Mann rejoined the British Army for the first Gulf War, serving on the staff of General Sir Peter de la Billiere. From there, Simon became an oil man, a move which threw him into the Angolan Civil war in 1993. This was followed by his involvement in the civil war in Sierra Leone form 1994 to 1996. In 2004, he was arrested in Zimbabwe because of his involvement in the plot to overthrow the ruling tyrant of Equatorial Guinea. Simon has seven children and now lives by the sea with his wife, Amanda.