Was French mercenary a ‘spy for Gaddafi’?

Pierre Marziali

Pierre Marziali

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Back in May of 2011, The New York Times reported that the co-founder of one of France’s largest private security firms had been shot dead in rebel-held Benghazi. His name was Pierre Marziali, a former paratrooper, who in 2003 co-founded Secopex, described as France’s leading private security company. At first, the rebels blamed his death on “gangs that the old regime used”. But a few days later, a press release by the rebel National Transitional Council alleged that the dead Frenchman had been shot because he was among several French “spies hired by the Gaddafi regime”. The story gets murkier when one considers that, according to the Times, Marziali had gone to Libya “on a mission which, I believe, had been ordered by France”. This should not surprise anyone. As intelNews reported on August 23, Western governments have instructed Libya’s rebel authority to use Western-supplied funds to hire Western-based mercenary companies; this ensures plausible deniability on the part of the rebels’ Western allies, while allowing them to engage with boots on the ground outside the NATO command structure. But why would members of a private security firm based in France —a country that supports the Libyan opposition— be spying for Muammar al-Gaddafi? The case of Marziali’s death shows that not everything is what it seems in Libya. Nobody seems to have information about Secopex’s precise operational mission in the North African nation. But, according to Wired magazine’s Danger Room blog, it appears that the Libyan rebels tried to apprehend Marziali and four other Frenchmen employees of Secopex, after noticing that their passports had Libyan entry stamps from Tripoli —an indication that they had entered the country with the blessings of the Gaddafi regime. Marziali was probably shot during a melee with the rebels, while the remaining Frenchmen were detained and interrogated, before being expelled back to France ten days later. Predictably, the French government, which has been one of the rebels’ staunchest supporters, did not protest Marziali’s death, nor did it admit any official links with the Secopex team in Libya. Danger Room contacted Secopex representative Karen Wallier, who denied the espionage allegations and said that Secopex would not be returning to Libya. The company has reportedly suspended all operations until September.

3 Responses to Was French mercenary a ‘spy for Gaddafi’?

  1. Kidd says:

    All sorts of intrigue going on here. Sloppy & botched planning ? A set up? Maybe a different group of rebels would have handled matters differently. the rebs are not a cohesive force. Where is Wikileaks when ya need some answers

  2. intelNews says:

    I think that the National Transitional Council is extremely cohesive in terms of its immediate objectives –namely to end the Arab Jamahiriya. But it appears dangerously fragmented in terms of long-term policy goals. In fact I don’t think that most of the NTC fighters have long-term policy goals. [JF]

  3. Kidd says:

    those wild eyed pistol wavers don’t look like they have too much grey matter to enter the world of self rule. if it hadn’t been for nato intervention and some shadow operatives , the regime would have held court and the rebels would be doing rack stretches as we speak.
    what the new kids on the block should do, is hire some outside business people (bankers, auditors, investors ) and put a business plan in place to get everything straightened out, and decide what needs to be done as far as infrastructure AND leave all the heart felt nationalism and politics simmer . enter germany into the picture, they seem to have a notion on self control
    and monetary stability . let them take over and provide some guidance for what a newly minted government coalition should look like. even the George Marshall Foundation would be a good player .

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