|Africa News Digest
Drive for Permanent Conflict in Ivory Coast Continues
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)A post-election showdown crisis between the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, and an opposition leader, Alassane Ouattara, has been whipped up in Ivory Coast by the Brutish empire, into a confrontation that has already led to a reported 20 or more deaths. The Nov. 28 election was set up in an attempt to resolve the division of the country between North and South, after a 2002 coup attempt by Ouattara led to civil war, which left the country partitioned, with Ouattara in control of the North. Gbagbo is charging there was vote fraud in the North, an area he doesn't control. The electoral commission did not turn in its vote totals within the requisite three-day time period because of lack of agreement of election officials over the results.
However, the UN maintains that Ouattara won, and is demanding that Gbagbo step down. Western nations are supporting the UN, and the African Union and the West African regional organization, ECOWAS, are following suit. The Washington Post, in an editorial Dec. 17, demanded the same, insisting that no negotiated settlement should be allowed. According to reports from the Ivory Coast, Ouattara, a former IMF official, has called for lowering wages and cutting back services.
Yesterday, President Gbagbo demanded that UN peacekeepers leave the country. He charged they were backing rebel fighters supporting Ouattara. Western news coverage of this manufactured crisis continues to back Ouattara, without reporting his role in three coup attempts. The demand to withdraw peacekeepers has been rejected by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. And International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo threatened Dec. 16 to prosecute "perpetrators" if there is bloodshed.
Ouattora's forces have called for demonstrations to seize the television station and government buildings. Gbagbo still controls them, along with the cocoa-exporting ports, making it possible for him, for now, to resist the drive to cut the government's access to funds. Former banker Ouattara is demanding that Gbagbo be denied access to Ivory Coast funds. The ICC has begun investigations on Gbagbo's wife, and one rebel from the territory controlled by Ouattara, apparently so as to appear impartial.
Obama Endorses Brutish Empire's Latest ICC Attack on Kenya
Dec. 15 (EIRNS)Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the Brutish Empire's privately created International Criminal Court, today launched an assault on Kenyan sovereignty. He issued summons (which will automatically become warrants, if those charged do not appear when called) for six leading political figures in Kenya. He charged that they were had organized violence after the December 2007 Kenyan Presidential election, and thus were responsible for "crimes against humanity."
Moreno-Ocampo made clear that this is a political witchhunt: "This isn't about militias. It's about politicians and political parties. It's about investigating leadership." This is the first time the ICC has been so nakedly political. Previous operations have focussed on militias and war zones as pretexts for interfering.
He brought two separate cases, with three defendants each, from two opposing ethnic groups, which will perpetuate the ethnic divides that were strengthened and used by the British to rule Kenya during the colonial era. This approach will prevent the situation in Kenya from moving beyond the colonial roots left by the British.
Squarely on the British side, President Obama urged Kenya's leaders to cooperate with the ICC investigation. He said: "Those found responsible will be held accountable for their crimes as individuals."
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said calls for action against the suspects are "prejudicial and preemptive," and urged restraint during the investigation. "The people who have been mentioned have not yet been fully investigated as the pre-trial process in The Hague has only but begun. They, therefore, cannot be judged as guilty until the charges are confirmed by the court."
One of those charged said the evidence is "cooked up" and that witnesses have been bribed, and is therefore a fraudulent case. Based on Moreno Ocampo's ICC trial record so far, this would not be surprising.
Mugabe Nixes Deal with Friend of Blair
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)The Zimbabwe government has put up its state-owned steel firm for sale, but President Robert Mugabe and his close advisors have ruled out an attempt by ArcelorMittal to take over the company because of ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal's friendship with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to information obtained this past week by South Africa's Sunday Times, and reported today. Mugabe and Blair are described as bitter enemies. Already "sour relations" between the two broke down completely at a Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Durban in November 1999, according to the report. Since then the two have talked about each other only in disparaging terms. Lakshmi Mittal is the richest man in Europe.
Cheney Could Still Be on Hotseat for Bribes Offered to Nigerians
Dec. 16 (EIRNS)Nigerian officials dropped efforts to prosecute Dick Cheney for corruption charges by Halliburton today, after an "amicable" deal was worked out for Halliburton to pay Nigeria a hefty fine, according to a report in the Daily Independent in Lagos, Nigeria. But the deal opens Halliburton up to charges by the U.S. Justice Department.
The Justice Department is going to investigate, according to the report, and if Justice finds that any laws were broken, the payment of the fine to Nigeria will be considered major evidence. Cheney was Halliburton chairman and CEO, 1995-2000, at the time the bribes were allegedly offered to get gas contracts. In discussions with the Justice Department before the settlement was made with Nigeria, his attorneys were informed, that by settling the charges out of court, Cheney could avoid the possibility of being arrested by INTERPOL if he traveled outside the U.S.A., according to the report.
British Still Think Nigeria Is Their Colony
Dec. 13 (EIRNS)Among other things, the recent material released by WikiLeaks reveals to an extent, what EIR has known for many decades: that the giant British-Dutch oil conglomerate exists as a parallel government inside Nigeria. In 2009, Royal Dutch Shell feared losing up to 80% of its oil-license acreage to Russia and China, as the result of Nigeria's Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which would restrict the area controlled by the oil company to 2 kilometers around each well, according to secret cables published by WikiLeaks.
The Dec. 10 Wall Street Journal reporting on these leaked cables wrote:
"To keep tabs on a Nigerian government that Shell considered inept and increasingly more willing to deal with China and Russia, the company placed persons in 'all relevant [Nigerian] ministries' according to an October 20, 2009 cable.
"In that message, Ms. Pickard (Shell's vice president of sub-Saharan Africa) told former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Renee Sanders that data belonging to Shell had been sent by Nigerian government officials to China and Russia. But, she added, the Nigerian government 'had forgotten that Shell had seconded people to all relevant ministries and that Shell consequently had access to everything that was being done in those ministries.' "
Shell, which extracts 20% of its global production from Nigeria, of course vehemently denied infiltrating the ministries of the Nigerian government.
However, neither the Journal nor WikiLeaks have told the full story. Royal Dutch Shell, which first discovered oil in Nigeria in 1956, and has had powerful control over the country, preventing the most populous and oil-rich country in Africa from developing into an economically sovereign nation, while creating the conditions for over 100 million Nigerians to be forced to fight for their mere survival on $1-2 a day. In fact, in the Niger-Delta, the center of Nigeria oil and gas wealth, the people live in the some of the most deplorable conditions of anyone on the African continent. When this author toured the region for EIR, he thought he had been transported back to a previous century.
With that in mind, it should not be forgotten, that Sir Henri Deterding who created Royal Dutch Shell in the early 20th Century, was a supporter of Adolf Hitler's drive to create a Third Reich Empire.
Nigerian Minister Links Democracy to Infrastructure Development
Dec. 14 (EIRNS)Speaking in Washington D.C. on Dec. 9, Nigeria's Foreign Minister, Henry O. Ajumogobia, linked the success of Democracy in Nigeria to the requirements of providing food security and electrical power to 150 million poverty-stricken Nigerians.
Reflecting a reality that is absent from the thinking of most Nigerian officials, and democracy-advocate groups, Ajumogobia told his audience:
"Today the two single greatest threats and challenges to consolidating our democracy and indeed our national security are absence of food security, and the unemployment of our teeming young population, largely deriving from our serious infrastructure deficit in electricity in particular, without which small and medium size enterprises simply cannot flourish."
Backing up this important point, he emphasized that more than 50% of Nigeria's 150 million population is under 30 years of age, that 500,000 graduate from higher institutions, but less than 30% can find jobs. "No country can consolidate democracy on such dire statistics." He also reported that Nigeria went from a net exporter of food when it achieved independence in 1960, to importing $3.5 million worth of food in 2009.
At the end of his remarks he reiterated: "But most of all democracy requires economic growth and prosperity or the hope and expectation of it."
While he discussed various proposals to generate investment in what he referred to as "the real economy" by foreign investors and loans from the EXIM Bank, there was no understanding, at least in his public remarks, of the reality of the collapsing worldwide financial system, but for Nigeria, it is important, at least, that these ideas were put on the table.