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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 06:50 AM
Original message
U.S. Official Warns of 1 Million Deaths in Sudan
Edited on Tue Jun-29-04 06:52 AM by seemslikeadream
By Saul Hudson
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (Reuters) - Up to 1 million African refugees could die this year in Sudan's Darfur region due to government-supported ethnic cleansing, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

International donors and relief organizations are racing to beat incoming rains to place food and medicine at camps for those driven from their villages in the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Secretary of State Colin Powell will fly to Sudan late on Tuesday in the highest-level U.S. visit for more than two decades to pressure the Khartoum government to allow aid access and stop supporting marauding Arab militia.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is expected to meet Powell on Wednesday, will also press the government.

Criticized for responding too slowly to the crisis and under pressure in Congress to do more, Powell will threaten to push for U.N. sanctions against the oil-rich nation and warn government officials they could be pursued as war criminals, U.S. officials have said


Powell urged to warn Sudan on Darfur unrest
An international human rights group is urging US Secretary of State Colin Powell to make it clear to the Sudanese Government that the international community will protect the civilians in Darfur if fails to do so.

Jemera Rone, Sudan researcher for the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, says ethnic cleansing is the cause of the crisis.

"The Sudanese Government's campaign of ethnic cleansing' in Darfur is the root cause of this humanitarian crisis," he said.

"Mr Powell should press the Sudanese authorities to reverse this ethnic cleansing and permit full humanitarian access."

Mr Powell is to arrive in Khartoum today for talks with Sudanese leaders.

At least 10,000 people have been killed and up to 1 million displaced in Darfur since black African rebels rose up in February 2003, accusing the Islamic Government in Khartoum of discrimination and neglect.

The Government has responded by giving pro-Khartoum Janjawid militias free rein.

The militias have been accused of conducting a scorched earth campaign in the fight against the rebel Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement.

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meti57b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 07:01 AM
Response to Original message
1. This is extremely serious!
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 07:07 AM
Response to Original message
2. 'Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan'

June 28, 2004 -- The Sudanese civil war orphaned 30,000 youths. Children fleeing the violence swam through crocodile-infested rivers and slept in dense forests to avoid armed troops and wild animals. Along the way, many died from dehydration and starvation.

Their experiences are too graphic and harrowing for many kids to understand, yet these "lost boys and girls" of Sudan were young children themselves when their journey began two decades ago. Almost 4,000 of these Sudanese child refugees now live in the United States, many settling in North Texas. Hoping to help young Texans better understand the Sudanese refugees around them, Dallas publisher James Disco is turning the stories of four such lost boys into a graphic novel series, Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan.

"I was searching for a medium that could actually tell the story and reach the youth of America," Disco says. "I came up with a comic concept, the nonfiction reality comic series, because I really wanted the kids of America to relate to the lost boys at the same age they actually took their journey
Matthew's Story

The following panels from Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan tell the story of Matthew Mabek, a young Sudanese refugee now living in Dallas.

Credit: Myk Friedman, Copyright 2004 Echoes Joint Venture


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mia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. I remember seeing a program about The Lost Boys of the Sudan.
Maybe it was on 60 Minutes. Such a tragic, yet heartwarming story. These children never gave up, nor did they stop carring for one another throughout their ordeal.
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 07:17 AM
Response to Original message
3. I've always wished that Africa could deal with its own problems.
But since it can't(or won't), we have no choice but to intervene here in some manner. I would personally threaten the Sudanese government with war unless they stopped.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. That would be fine but
Edited on Tue Jun-29-04 07:53 AM by seemslikeadream
the problems are caused by outsiders.

start here

The Dogs of War

Not even Frederick Forsyth thought of so many twists and riddles in his Dogs of War, probably the best-known novel about mercenaries.
The book was based on Forsyth's personal adventures - he was involved in an unsuccessful scheme to overthrow the head of state of Equatorial Guinea in 1972.
But even the Dogs of War cannot rival this bizarre tale of confusion. ...

Ladies and Gentlemen,
visitors from the darkside,
it is with much pleasure that I present:
which offers
forward-looking views on african oil politics and related energy security issues ...

offers information, interviews and analysis that cannot - to my knowledge - be found elsewhere.
As you all know, the US is VERY dependent on oil and as global oil reserves diminish, the West is once again aligned in a Scramble for Africa.
The Organization of African Unity, having seen what the the first Western-led Scramble for Africa did to the people and the resources of Africa, took the pre-emptive step, in 1999,
of permanently outlawing coups d'etat on African soil.
this action has not deterred certain nations (whose ideas of protective pre-emptive action consist basically of violating the Peace of Westphalia) from doing their darndest to destabilize African nations - and most especially those African nations who have oil.
The African Oil Politics blog keeps a watchful eye on these and other oil-related developments.
But I digress.

Our story today,
starts in Madrid,
where a terrible bombing occurred on March 11, 2004.,2763,1166996,...

The bombings in Madrid have distracted the attention of many from the events taking place in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe investigators allege that Spanish-based rebel leader Severo Moto offered the suspects money and oil rights to overthrow the government in Equatorial Guinea. Fifteen suspected mercenaries were also arrested in that country last week. ...

Pedro said the men were recruited by an agent representing Logo Logistics, which had connections with the now defunct Executive Outcomes (EO), a private security company owned by former South African Defence Force intelligence officer Eben Barlow.
The recruiting agent is known to be a former 32 Battalion sergeant.
EO is now operating under the name of Saracen and has close links with Logo Logistics, based in London. ...

And now, over to our star reporter:

Saturday, March 13, 2004
Before I start to the review of the most juicy stories of the day, let me urge you to visit Katryn Cramer's blog. She did a wonderful job tracking the N4610 plane background and posting updates. Katryn is a SciFi writer and editor from Pleasantville (NY). I wonder what grabbed her interest. Sometimes, Africa just looks like another planet and African Oil Politics reads like a pod conspiracy.
Today's media coverage was... average. No new interesting leads emerged. However, more western (mostly Bristish) newspapers dare report the story. But there's a specific twist and bias that is absent from the African papers reviewed here yesterday. I'll start with Nicholas Christian's piece which is clearly designed to arouse pity for Simon Mann - the poor little boy who finds himself in such a baaad situation:

FEARS were growing last night for a former British soldier who faces the death sentence after he was arrested in Zimbabwe and charged with aiding a coup plot against another African country. ... Amid reports he has homes in South Africa and in Hampshire, Manns nationality remains unclear. The army will sign-up those Britons with dual nationality and citizens from the Commonwealth but has not confirmed Mann was a member of the forces. He is said to be Sandhurst-trained and to have served in Northern Ireland with the Scots Guards and later in the 1990 Gulf War as an intelligence officer in Riyadh. His father is said to be the late George Mann, president of the Marylebone Cricket Club and a former captain of Englands cricket team. Since leaving the army, Mann has been employed as a computer consultant and linked to a number of private military firms, including Sandline International and Executive Outcomes.

I love how hard he tries to turn the guy into a victim. Come on Christian, you're talking about a dog of war - a tough guy trained by the SAS and who makes his living organizing coups, killing people. And don't repeat that he's LINKED to a number of PM firms. Just say that he was he was one of the founders of Executive Outcomes and everybody will understand. But thank you for bringing us up to date about his film career. I didn't know he played Colonel Wilford in Bloody Sunday. I'll watch the DVD to check how the guy looks like. ...

And now to Kathryn Cramer's blog.

First of all, N4610 isn't just any random former US cargo plane. Rather it is a specific military plane with a specific history which is relatively easy to find out on the web. As is widely reported, the plane was registered to Dodson Aviation, Inc. of Ottawa, Kansas. lists the plane as operated by the U. S. Air Force. It also gives additional information: that the plane is a specific type of Boeing cargo plane, a C-22B, and it gives an additional identification number 83-4610. Airlink has a nice factsheet with a picture of the type of plane, a Boeing 727-100 modified for air national guard support missions.
The plane in question was on display at the Andrews AFB, Department of Defense Open House on May 15, 1999. The records of the airshow suggest that it was also assigned to the 201st Airlift Squadron, District of Columbia Air National Guard.
The State Department disingenuous claim -- endlessly repeated in news stories around the globe -- is that they have " no indication this aircraft is connected to the U.S. government."

Oh my! /

Cde Mohadi said Mann had revealed that the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), America*s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Spanish Secret Service aided the group.
The secret services persuaded the Equatorial Guinea service chiefs, that is the head of police and commander of the army, not to put up any resistance.
They were promised cabinet posts in Moto*s government.
The agencies were responsible for the hiring of the Boeing 727-100 from Dodson Aviation and they also provided satellite communication system to link up Moto in Spain, Mann and du Toit in South Africa and Bonds in Malabo.
United States forces are reportedly carrying out military exercises around Equatorial Guinea.

Surely this is is all an unfortunate coincidence.
There is NOTHING to link N4610 acts of international terrorism
such as the attacks in New York and Washington DC
by N334AA and N644AA.
Surely the 1/14/2002 FAA cancellation dates on
these three aircraft is just happenstance, or a mere coincidence.
so Auric Goldfinger stated bluntly that
"one is happenstance, two is coincidence, but three is enemy action"
but he is NOT a reliable source of information since Ian Fleming pulled a Jack Kelley when he came up with that quote. ...

Equatorial Guinea's state radio said Moto had paid South African Nick du Toit, 48, the leader of the advance party in Equatorial Guinea, $10-million (about R67-million).
Speaking on state television, Du Toit said the advance party would take strategic targets such as the presidency, the military barracks, police posts and the residences of government members.
South African security sources say the Zimbabwean group was heading to a covert military training camp in Cameroon that was to be the staging point for a seaborne assault. ...


This is the US State Department 1996 report concerning
the Current Administration of President Teodoro Obiang, who,
"together with his associates, dominates the Government. The President's Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) controls the judiciary and the legislature, the latter through fraudulent elections. "

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
Police routinely hold persons in incommunicado detention. The government arrested political figures and detained them for indeterminate periods. There were also credible reports that around five members of the Movement for the Autodetermination of the Island of Bioko (MAIB), an ethnically based political opposition group, were detained in prison for several weeks. At least 15 members of the opposition were arrested for political activity during the year.

In February, opposition leader Severo Moto and nine additional opposition and military figures were arrested and charged with treason.
At their trial in April (which lasted only 7 hours), one defendant was acquitted. The others were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. Moto received a 28-year sentence. The trial was held in a military court which did not have jurisdiction over Moto, a civilian.
After extensive international criticism and an international campaign for his release, he and his fellow defendants were pardoned and released in August. Although the Government did not force Moto to leave the country, he left to reside abroad soon after his release.

There are nominal but unenforced legal procedural safeguards regarding detention, the need for search warrants, and other protections of prisoners' rights. Judicial warrants are required. Generally, however, the police arrest suspects without having obtained warrants.
Authorities also continued to hold citizens of Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon, and other countries to secure bribes.
The Government does not force citizens into exile. ...

Thank God for our freedoms.

NEW YORK, March 19 (Reuters) - The euro rose against the dollar in early New York trade on Friday on reports of a bomb threat to Washington DC schools, traders said.

We are still WAY better than those heathens.

The Zimbabwe government said Simon Mann, an additional alleged plotter who had met the plane at the airport Sunday in Harare, confessed to having backing from London, Washington and Madrid.
Both British and U.S. officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, said they knew nothing about the plane or the plot. Spain, named as a co-conspirator and home of purported coup plotter Moto, threatened to file a formal complaint with Zimbabwe's government.
Questions remain
What happens next to the alleged mercenaries in Zimbabwe remains unclear. So far there appears to be little evidence that the men committed any crime beyond lying about the number of passengers on the flight, which Boshoff called "a small technical issue."
"You have to prove conspiracy, and that's not easy," he said. "What did they do wrong? That's my question."
Plenty of other questions remain as well. Could the apparent planned arms sale in Zimbabwe have been part of an entrapment plot, aimed at embarrassing Mugabe's enemies in the West? Was a flight plan filed in South Africa, indicating the plane was headed to Burundi, a smokescreen?
As South Africa's Star newspaper noted this week, "the solution . . . is easy. Frederick Forsyth just needs to write `Dogs of War II.'" ...
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Poiuyt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 08:13 AM
Response to Original message
5. Hmmm, an oil rich country that's killing its own citizens
What could we possibly do?
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Make sure their supply of guns doesn't run out?
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #6




sie ahnten nichts von mir
von meiner wilden gier
doch als du kamst zu mir
da wurde ich ein tier
kein gedanke an danach
als ich dir die knochen brach

tot tot tot ich mache dich tot
tot tot tot von blut alles rot


fuer mein naechstes leben
schoepfe ich neue kraft
ich bin dem toeten ergeben
in der einzelhaft

tot tot tot ich mache dich tot
tot tot tot von blut alles rot
tot tot tot ich mache dich tot
tot tot tot von blut alles rot

ein dahinsichen
von gottes hand
ich kann dich riechen
und das denken verschwand

tot tot tot tot tot tot tot ich mache dich tot
tot tot tot von blut alles rot tot tot tot tot

ich mache dich tot ich mache dich tot
ich mache dich tot ich mache dich tot

sag mir was du willst
dass du meine sehnsucht stillst
ich mache dich tot fuer immerdar
von blut alles rot auf gottes altar

tot tot tot ich mache dich tot
tot tot tot von blut alles rot

ich mache dich tot fuer immerdar
ich mache dich tot glaub mir es ist wahr
ich mache dich tot fuer immerdar
ich mache dich tot auf gottes altar
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0007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
8. This is the real war that should be fought with all our hearts
and might and strength.

Hungry with a dead mother indeed hits home
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
9. We should have learned by now
that we don't have the right to send our troops into a soverign nation to "fix" their problems. The UN can impose sanctions (as if this will do anything to help the problems) but we shouldn't send our troops to oppress their population.
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hightime Donating Member (395 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. The U.N. are sooooo funny.
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Huh?
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. The UN has not been too helpful
The UN allowed 1 million Rwandans to be killed, 1994
The UN allowed 4 million of Congo to be killed since 1998
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Exactly
The UN has no interest in committing it's resources to any of this stuff. They were created under a noble guise, but haven't really accomplished very much with their sanctions. Did UN sanctions make Iraq a better place, or do anything to help the plight of the average Iraqi? They didn't even stand up very strongly to the US invasion. Kofi said the other day that "someone" should do something which I see as an admission that the "someone" he's referring to isn't the U.N.
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bushisanidiot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
11. Hmm.. Let me guess. there's oil in Sudan?
AWOL looks at a map of the world and just sees dollar signs..
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. US Quest for Oil in Africa Worries Analysts, Activists
US Quest for Oil in Africa Worries Analysts, Activists

The Bush administration's search for more secure sources of oil is leading it to the doorsteps of some of the world's most troubled and repressive regimes: the petroleum-rich countries of West Africa.

The national energy plan drafted by Vice President Dick Cheney's task force spotlighted West Africa as "the fastest-growing source of oil and gas for the American market," and the administration has promised industry officials to do what it can to promote development. The first African head of state to visit President Bush in the White House was President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, the continent's leading producer. In September, Bush huddled privately in New York with leaders of 11 African nations, most of them current or prospective oil suppliers. Although the talks involved more than petroleum, participants said Bush discussed a $3.5-billion Chad-Cameroon pipeline project, whose partners include U.S.-basedExxonMobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp.

A number of administration officials have traveled to the region in recent months. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell paid visits to Gabon and Angola, where he broke ground for a new U.S. Embassy. Bush plans to visit Africa later this year. The administration is paying unaccustomed attention to Sao Tome and Principe, a tiny island nation of 170,000 sitting atop an estimated 4 billion barrels of newly discovered oil reserves. President Fradique de Menezes has offered to let the U.S. build a naval base in Sao Tome, and a U.S. general went there last year to discuss security issues.

The State Department, which closed its embassy in Equatorial Guinea eight years ago because of human rights concerns and budget constraints, will open a new one there this year, in part because of oil discoveries. Meanwhile, it has authorized a firm run by retired Pentagon officials to train Equatorial Guinea's coast guard. The administration has also increased the authority of the U.S. Export-Import Bank to underwrite foreign projects, and bank officials say energy diversification is part of the reason. In October, the bank announced a $135-million loan guarantee to help finance construction of a petroleum plant in Nigeria.

Cheney's Dirty Business by Wayne Madsen

(AR) WASHINGTON -- The Bush camp touts Cheney as an icon of statesmanship, but after serving as Secretary of Defense in Bush the Elder's administration and rescuing Kuwait's oil from the clutches of Sadaam Hussein, Cheney went on to become Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, Inc., an oil drilling firm based in Houston. Halliburton owns the construction firm Brown & Root Services (BRS), a company involved in U.S. intelligence operations in Africa and elsewhere.
Considering the fact that Bush the Elder lives in Houston and was involved with both the oil business and the CIA, the Bush, Jr.-Cheney ticket must be a dream team for him, his friends in the oil industry, and the folks who work at the George Bush Center for Intelligence in Langley, Va. (formerly known as CIA headquarters).

The GOP has a knack for reaching into the past to find candidates to lead the nation into the future. In 1996, the party anointed Bob Dole, a veteran of WWII, to preside over a nation entering the 21st Century. Now Gov. Bush has not only reached back to the Bush administration but to the gloomy post-Watergate era, to pick Cheney, who was President Gerald Ford's chief of staff.

Cheney's links to defense contractors and the intelligence community are suspect because of the roles played by Halliburton and Brown & Root in some of the world's most volatile trouble spots. In 1998, while conducting research in Rwanda for my book, "Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999," a member of a U.S. military team reported that the latter was "into some real bad shit" in that beleaguered nation.

Africa and African Oil

U.S. Military Shows Interest in Africa
By: Ellen Knickmeyer
Associated Press Date: 02/24/2004

DAKAR, Senegal - Top U.S. generals are touching down across Africa in unusual back-to-back trips, U.S. European Command confirmed Tuesday, part of a change in military planning as U.S. interest grows in African terror links and African oil.
Trips by two top European Command generals follow last week's similarly low-profile Africa visit by the U.S. commander in Europe, Marine Gen. James L. Jones.

The generals are leaders in U.S. military proposals to shift from Cold War-era troop buildups in western Europe to smaller concentrations closer to the world's trouble spots.

Jones' trip included stops in Morocco and Cameroon and talks with leaders of the sub-Sahara's military giants, Nigeria and South Africa, European Command spokesmen in Stuttgart, Germany said.

Oil found off the coast of Gambia
By: Jeevan Vasagar
Guardian, The Date: 02/18/2004

The president of Gambia has announced the discovery of "large quantities" of oil in his tiny West African country, the latest revelation of petrochemical riches in sub-Saharan Africa. In a national broadcast Yahya Jammeh, who seized control of the former British colony in a military coup 10 years ago, said the offshore discovery by a western company would result in "a harvest of prosperity".
West Africa already supplies the US with 15% of its oil imports, and the share is expected to grow as the Bush administration seeks to reduce dependence on the Gulf.

The Gambian find follows the discovery of viable deposits of crude oil off So Tom, in the Gulf of Guinea, where billions of barrels are believed to lie offshore.

Mr Jammeh did not name the company responsible for the study, but an Australian company, Fusion Oil and Gas, holds a licence to carry out deep-water exploration off the Gambian coast.

The Perth-based firm, which was unavailable for comment last night, describes itself as "a holding company for a group of companies whose business is oil and gas exploration in Africa".,11319,1150369,00....

U.S. Considers Building Port at Sao Tome to Protect Oil
By: Staff
Associated Press Date: 02/18/2004

DAKAR, Senegal - The United States is studying whether to build a deep-water port and new airport at Sao Tome, an island nation touted as a possible Navy base to protect growing Western oil interests in West Africa.

Ambassador Kenneth Moorefield and Sao Tome ministers signed the $800,000 study agreement at Sao Tome's current international airport, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency said in a statement.

Sao Tome, off oil-rich Nigeria, is one of the lead nations in an oil boom in West Africa as the United States, Asia and Europe look for alternatives to Mideast oil.

West Africa's Gulf of Guinea supplies the United States with 15 percent of its oil, a figure projected to grow to 25 percent by 2015.

The study on expanding Sao Tome's port and airport is in line with a U.S. agreement to "evaluate opportunities for technical assistance" to Sao Tome, the U.S. statement said. ...

US opens new front in war on terror beefing up border in Sahara
By: Rory Carroll
Guardian, The Date: 01/14/2004

The US is sending troops and defence contractors to the Sahara desert of west Africa to open what it calls a new front in the war on terror. A small vanguard force arrived this week in Mauritania to pave the way for a $100m (54m) plan to bolster the security forces and border controls of Mauritania, Mali, Chad and Niger.
The US Pan-Sahel Initiative, as it is named, will provide 60 days of training to military units, including tips on desert navigation and infantry tactics, and furnish equipment such as Toyota Land Cruisers, radios and uniforms.

The reinforcement of America's defences in a remote, poorly patrolled region came on a day when US police forces gained important powers in the homeland to conduct searches.,12271,1122704,00....

Repost: African Black Gold
By: Simon Robinson
Time Magazine Date: 10/28/2002

The sleepy tropical island city of Malabo had hardly changed in years. The capital of Equatorial Guinea, a tiny West African nation of fewer than 500,000 people, consisted of little more than some moldering Spanish colonial buildings, a few palm-lined plazas and the tightly packed shanty towns which encircle most African settlements. Its one claim to fame was that novelist Frederick Forsyth lived there while he wrote his military thriller The Dogs of War. But over the past three years, Malabo has been transformed. Office buildings have shot up, hotels and banks have opened, and foreigners once a novelty in Malabo now cram the town's fancy new restaurants. There's so much construction, joke the locals, that if you open your mouth and stick out your tongue someone is likely to build on it.
The source of this economic boom can be found buried beneath the nearby ocean floor. Over the past decade, foreign oil companies have found at least 500 million barrels of high-grade crude oil in the country's waters. Production has jumped from just 17,000 barrels per day in 1996 to more than 220,000 and could grow another 50% within three years. The oil boom has fueled fantastic economic growth 65% last year, down to an estimated 25% this year and pushed annual per capita GDP from $800 seven years ago to more than $2,000 today. The bonanza in Equatorial Guinea is being repeated across the region. Chad, one of the poorest countries in the world, will soon start pumping more than 200,000 barrels of oil a day through a $3.7 billion, 1,070-km pipeline Africa's biggest-ever infrastructure project that transverses Cameroon.

The island nation of So Tom and Prncipe, which sits on perhaps 4 billion barrels of crude, is also attracting foreign oilmen. These upstart countries join such established giants as Nigeria, which plans to increase its output from its current 1.9 million barrels per day to more than 3 million; Angola, which wants to double its almost 1 million daily output; and Gabon, which is encouraging more deepwater exploration to prop up declining production. All the action makes the waters off West Africa one of the hottest places for oil exploration in the world. On a global scale, the numbers may seem modest; total proven reserves in the Gulf of Guinea sit at 40 billion barrels, less than one-sixth of Saudi Arabia's 261 billion. But Africa is just getting started. Says Al Stanton, an Edinburgh-based oil analyst with Deutsche Bank: "The opportunities for expansion are tremendous.",1300... ...

Hunt for 'new' oil
By: Timothy Burn
Washington Times Date: 09/28/2003

U.S. oil companies have been drilling off the west coast of Africa for years, but as major players like ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil continue to strike massive oil deposits in these deep waters, the Bush administration has taken notice.
The United States has been scouring the planet for new sources of oil beyond the Middle East. The September 11 terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq convinced the administration that the United States must move quickly to find new foreign oil partners.

What better place to look than an oil-rich region that lies just 4,500 miles from the East Coast, with an unobstructed sea route to U.S. ports, a region that could supply as much as a quarter of U.S. oil imports?

West Africa is rapidly emerging as a key strategic outpost for President Bush's twin policy goals of taking the war on terror far away from U.S. borders and breaking the Arab stranglehold on world oil prices.

Sept. 2003: U.S. donates ships to protect Nigeria oil
By: Dulue Mbachu
Associated Press Date: 09/05/2003

LAGOS, Nigeria -- The United States is donating several ships to Nigeria to help the West African nation protect its massive oil assets from gangs who steal an estimated 10 percent of oil profits daily, authorities said Friday.
The third of seven former U.S. Coast Guard ships to be delivered by year's end arrived at the port in Lagos on Thursday, a U.S. Embassy official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The first ship arrived in March.

Nigerian authorities plan to deploy the vessels in the troubled southern Niger Delta region, which produces almost all of Nigeria's oil output.

"Our national assets in the sea are worth billions of dollars and the arrival (of the ships) would help safeguard them," a Nigerian navy statement quoted Vice Adm. Samuel Afolayan as saying. ...

Aug 2002: US naval base to protect Sao Tome oil
By: Staff
BBC Date: 08/22/2002

The tiny island nation of Sao Tome and Principe, off the West African coast, has agreed to host a US naval base to protect its oil interests. The country holds a strategic position in the oil rich Gulf of Guinea from which the US could monitor the movement of oil tankers and guard oil platforms.
"Last week I received a call from the Pentagon to tell me that the issue is being studied," President Fradique De Menezes told Portugal's RTP Internacional TV.

"This will be good for Sao Tome as it will ensure the future of the country in relation to those that are ambitious and are looking to come to the country when oil is extracted from our waters," he said.

The former Portuguese colony has a very small army on which it spends only $1m a year.

The president was responding to rumours that the US planned to build a air force and naval base after a visit in July by a US General Carlton Fulford, deputy commander-in-chief, US European Command.

Americans muscle in as 'big whities' flock to new El Dorado

Rory Carroll, Africa correspondent
Tuesday June 17, 2003
The Guardian

Step inside the air-conditioned lounge of the Viking Club and Luanda's squalor could be another universe. Here the oil executives and engineers sip beer and discuss geological reports, deals and money.
Beyond the shattered skyline of Angola's capital, buried beneath the Atlantic, is a vast store of oil, and their job is to extract it. The accents are British, Australian, French and, increasingly, American.

The "big whities", as the taxi drivers call them, have been coming for years but now the flights are fuller than ever: new offshore discoveries are expected to double output to 2 million barrels per day, prompting talk of a drilling El Dorado.

Angola's government, adept at playing off rival oil companies to maximise its revenue, expects an investment boom of $50bn (30bn) in the next decade.

A US contractor will help build an oil refinery in Lobito harbour, 250 miles south of Luanda, to process the light crude suitable for American cars. Now that Washington wants west African oil to cut US dependency on the Gulf, its envoys are beating a path to the capital.,11319,979101,00.h...

Scramble for Africa

Fear of corruption and chaos in oil rush

Charlotte Denny, economics correspondent
Tuesday June 17, 2003
The Guardian

Washington's determination to find an alternative energy source to the Middle East is leading to a new oil rush in sub-Saharan Africa which threatens to launch a fresh cycle of conflict, corruption and environmental degradation in the region, campaigners warn today.
The new scramble for Africa risks bringing more misery to the continent's impoverished citizens as western oil companies pour billions of dollars in secret payments into government coffers throughout the continent. Much of the money ends up in the hands of ruling elites or is squandered on grandiose projects and the military.

Tony Blair will today urge the oil industry to be more transparent in its dealings with Africa. Openness and accountability are essentials for stability and prosperity in the developing world, he will tell oil company executives and oil exporting countries at a meeting in Lancaster House in central London.,11319,979053,00.h...

Oil shocked

A desire to loosen Opec's stranglehold on petroleum prices lies behind Bush's interest in Africa and his plans for Iraq, writes Randeep Ramesh

Friday July 11, 2003

America's new world order appears founded on a declaration of independence. George Bush, an oil man from an oil state, wants America to wean itself off a dangerous addiction to faraway hydrocarbons.
As the president's national energy plan puts it, this is "a condition of increased dependency on foreign powers that do not always have American interests at heart".

Although admirably blunt, this statement has haunted the Bush administration since it was made in May 2001 - months before the attacks of September 11. America's war on terrorism is often viewed as a scramble for black gold.

There is a logic to this. Getting gas out of the Caspian is a lot easier if you are faced with a pliant Afghanistan. If Iraq is not run by a dictator determined to use oil as a weapon of war - as Dick Cheney said " seek domination of the entire Middle East" - then Americans could sleep easier.,11319,996305,00.h...

Oil and terrorism drive the presidential tour

Julian Borger in Washington
Monday July 7, 2003
The Guardian

President Bush's trip to Africa this week signals a recent strategic decision to increase America's military presence to bolster what Washington now sees as two important national interests on the continent - the supply of oil and the struggle against terrorism.
On the eve of departure, General James Jones, the commander of the US European command with responsibility for African operations, said the US was trying to negotiate the long-term use of a "family" of military bases across the continent.

This would include big installations for up to 5,000-strong brigades "that could be robustly used for a significant military presence," Gen Jones told the New York Times. It would also involve smaller, lightly equipped bases available in times of crisis to special forces or marines.

The bases would not only be established in north African states such as Algeria, where Islamic extremism is already a potent force, but also in sub-Saharan African nations such as Mali.,12271,993022,00.h...

US military wants to increase its presence in Africa
By Eric Schmitt in Washington
July 7 2003

The United States military is seeking to expand its presence in Africa through new basing agreements and training exercises aimed at combating a growing terrorist threat.

Even as military planners prepare options for US troops to join an international peacekeeping force to oversee a ceasefire in Liberia, the Pentagon wants to enhance military ties with allies such as Morocco and Tunisia.

It is also seeking to gain long-term access to bases in countries such as Mali and Algeria, which US forces could use for periodic training or to strike terrorists. And it aims to build on aircraft refuelling agreements in Senegal and Uganda, two countries that President George Bush is to visit on the five-nation swing through Africa that he begins tomorrow.

There were no plans to build permanent US bases in Africa, Pentagon officials said. Instead, the US European Command, which oversees military operations in most of Africa, wants troops now in Europe to rotate more often into bare-bones camps or airfields in Africa. Marines may spend more time sailing off West Africa.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-04 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
16. WarBusiness - African Black Gold
Edited on Tue Jun-29-04 06:35 PM by seemslikeadream

Child soldiers wait in Bule for orders to move. When this photo was taken, they were the only defense forces in a 25-mile radius. Two days later they too pulled out, and Bule was attacked.

very long but very good.

one tiny snip:

In April 2001, an MPRI representative met with the Pentagons regional director for Central Africa to discuss the companys hopes of winning the contract to train Equatorial Guineas forces. They may need our help or moral support, Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski wrote in a memo on the meeting, obtained by ICIJ under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. She quoted the MPRI representative as saying that Equatorial Guinea was the Kuwait of the Gulf of Guinea and, in a briefing paper three months later, advanced that characterization to a possible Kuwait of Africa with huge oil reserves that was US-friendly for both investment and security reasons. Kwiatkowski also noted in her April memo that the highest-ranking U.S. official to meet with Obiang when he visited Washington early in 2001 was an assistant secretary of agriculture that after French President Jacques Chirac had spared time to meet with him.

Despite concerns about Equatorial Guineas human rights record, Obiangs currency rose dramatically after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. When he visited the United States as it marked the first anniversary of the attacks, Obiang was among 10 African leaders to meet with President George Bush for talks on the prospect of war with Iraq and peace and development on the African continent.

ended up here because of this:

If you've been reading the news the last few days you may have noticed this odd and somewhat mysterious story of a US-registered cargo plane loaded with 64 "mercernaries" and various military equipment which was impounded

Sunday night at Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe "after its owners had made a false declaration of its cargo and crew."

When asked about it on Monday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said "We have no indication this aircraft is connected to the U.S. government."

That seemed like a rather less than unequivocal response. And behind the scenes US government officials said they didn't believe the US government had any connection with this operation. But they wanted to make sure before saying anything definitive.

Now, if you look at the press accounts, what's caught people's attention is the US registry of the plane. Specifically, it's registered to a company called Dodson Aviation, which is based in Kansas.

Now, Dodson says they sold the plane to a "reputable" firm in South Africa about a week ago. "I think they were going to use it for charter flights," company director Robert Dodson told the Associated Press.

Now here's a little more detail.

Dodson Aviation of Kansas has a South African subsidiary, Dodson International Parts SA Ltd (According to their website, "Dodson International Parts SA (Pty) Ltd is the African division of United States based companies Dodson International Parts Inc. and Dodson Aviation. The company was established in 1998 and is based at Wonderboom Airport, Pretoria.") And it was from this subsidiary's hangar at an airport just north of Pretoria that the aforementioned mercenaries boarded the plane.

Now, here's where this gets a little murky.

I wanted to find out more about Dodson International Parts SA Ltd. What I found something out about was a company that sounded very similar: a South African company called Dodson Aviation Maintenance and Spare Parts.

They're also in the airplane business.

Not exactly the same name. But remember, the South African company is the subsidiary of two American companies, Dodson Aviation and Dodson International. If these aren't the same company, or closely related companies, I'd figure they often get confused for one another.

In any case, here's what I found about Dodson Aviation Maintenance and Spare Parts.

They come up in the December 2000 Report of the Panel of Experts to the United Nations on Sierra Leone, in the section of the report dealing with the arms trade.

Here's the section that caught my eye (italics added) ...

187. Fred Rindel a retired officer of the South African Defence Force and former Defence Attach to the United States, has played a key role in the training of a Liberian anti-terrorist unit, consisting of Liberian soldiers and groups of foreigners, including citizens of Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Niger and The Gambia.
188. The panel interviewed Mr Rindel extensively. Rindel was contracted as a security consultant by President Charles Taylor in September 1998, and training started in November 1998. The contract included consultancy services and strategic advice to convert Charles Taylor's former rebel militia into a professional unit. The Anti-Terrorist Unit is used in Liberia to protect government buildings, the Executive Mansion and the international airport, and to provide VIP Security and the protection of foreign embassies. The numbers trained were approximately 1200. Because of negative media attention, Rindel cancelled his contract in Liberia in August 2000.

189. In 1998, ECOMOG identified a plane, registration number N71RD, owned by a South African company, Dodson Aviation Maintenance and Spare Parts, as having carried weapons to Robertsfield in September of that year. The plane is a Gulfstream 14-seater business jet that cannot be used for arms transport, but there are other relevant connections. Fred Rindel was the owner of Dodson. The company was closed on 31 December 1998, but during the period under investigation, the plane was leased to, and operated by, Greater Holdings (Liberia) Ltd., a company with gold and diamond concessions in Liberia. The plane was used for the transport of the Greater Holdings' staff to and from Liberia.

Mr. Rindel's name came up earlier in 2000 in testimony at the UN Security Council by then-UN Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke in a discussion of Sierra Leone (italics added) ...

In regard to arms trafficking to Sierra Leone, Mr. Chairman, we remain concerned and I would like to add a few more items to the record. The principal Africa countries involved in arms trafficking to the RUF - though they deny it - include Burkina Faso, Liberia and Libya.
In 1999, planes landed in Ouagadougou, allegedly coming from the Ukraine, with several tons of small arms and ammunition. This incident, which the Ukrainians say has stopped, is one that we believe should be brought to the attention of your committee.

In regard to trafficking, arms brokers have played a vital role in keeping the RUF supplied with weapons and other military materiel. A well-known arms and diamond dealer in Sierra Leone, Zief Morganstein, in July 1999 arranged for a Continental Aviation-based charter out of Dakar to fly a shipment of small arms from Bulgaria to Sierra Leone. Last year the RUF received 68 tons of weapons from Bulgaria, which Morganstein may have helped arrange. There have been other connections between former government officials from South Africa during its Apartheid regime who now operate as private individuals, including Fred Rindel, the South African Defense Attache in Washington, who now works as a security consultant in Liberia and trains Liberian troops and RUF insurgents. There are other charges about other businessmen who are reportedly helping the Sierra Leone government coming from various countries around the world.

Now, I've scanned the news coverage of this and I haven't seen any mention of this seeming connection. So perhaps these are two utterly unrelated companies?

As of Tuesday the situation in Zimbabwe seems to be calming down, though now there are apparently fears in Equatorial Guinea that these mercenaries were somehow intended to assist a coup in that country. (No, I can't keep up either.) "Some 15 mercenaries have been arrested here," the country's Information Minister Agustin Nse Nfumu told Reuters. "It was connected with that plane in Zimbabwe. They were the advance party of that group."

Equatorial Guinea is next door to Gabon. And Joe Wilson used to be the US Ambassador there back in the day. So maybe he can make some sense of this. I can't. But I'd be very interested to talk to the investigators who put together that UN report and see if there's any connection between Dodson International Parts SA Ltd and Dodson Aviation Maintenance and Spare Parts. /

I just can not forget that Poppy's gold mining buddies Barrick
are in Congo
War is Golden for the Bush Administration
And the commodities connection? President Pretzel's relentless hissy-fit for war on Iraq has of course goosed the price of gold enormously--and that's set Bush Family coffers a-clinking. How so? In the waning days of his failed presidency, Bush I invoked an obscure 1872 statute to give a Canadian firm, Barrick Corporation, the right to mine $10 billion in gold from U.S. public lands. (U.S. taxpayers got a whopping $10,000 fee in return.) Bush then joined Barrick as a highly-paid "international consultant," brokering deals with various dictators of his close acquaintance. Barrick reciprocated with big bucks for Junior's presidential run. And in another quid for the old pro quo, last year Junior dutifully approved Barrick's controversial acquisition of a major rival. (Barrick is also one of the biggest polluters in America, by the way.)

The money behind Barrick is from Saudi arms dealer and Bush family friend Adnan Khashoggi, who was identified as conduit in the Iran-Contra conspiracy. In 1986 he was arrested and charged with fraud but failed to be convicted. In one of his last acts as president Bush pardoned Khashoggi's alleged co-conspirators, who were key members of Bush's own cabinet. As a result, no case could be made against Khashoggi or against Bush himself.

Where was flight N4610 heading?

March 10 2004 at 08:11AM

They were 64 "heavily built men", mostly white. No, they were all black. No, only 40 of them were black.

The plane left South Africa illegally from Wonderboom airport, strayed into Zimbabwe airspace and was ordered down. No, the plane left the country legally, having filed a flight plan to Harare and then on to Burundi. No, the plane was headed for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The men on board were suspected of being mercenaries hired to overthrow Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. No, they were on their way to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. No, they were going to the eastern DRC to carry out security duties.

These are just some of the stories surrounding the flight of N4610, a Boeing 727-100 cargo plane that has been impounded in Harare.

And 64 - though some reports say there are 67 - of those who were aboard, whether they were white, black or a mixture, and whether they were mercenaries or honest men, are in Harare cells facing intense interrogation.

On Tuesday, a company named in connection with the flight disputed all the speculation, saying the "mercenaries" were in fact security people "going to eastern DRC".

They were stopping in Zimbabwe to pick up mining equipment, "Zimbabwe being a vastly cheaper place for such".

Charles Burrow, a senior executive of Logo Logistics which had chartered the Boeing 727 freighter, said via telephone from London that most of the people on board were South African and had military experience, but were on contract to four mining companies in the DRC. He declined to name the companies. ...

Plane Did Stop At Grantley Adams - Thursday 11, March-2004

A UNITED STATES registered plane at the centre of controversy after being detained on Monday with 64 suspected mercenaries aboard by the Zimbabwean government did stop at Grantley Adams International Airport last Saturday morning.
Informed sources told the DAILY NATION yesterday that the aircraft, a Boeing 727 (100 series), with registration number N4610, landed in Barbados shortly after midnight for refuelling before leaving around 6:30 a.m.

Sources also indicated that the aircraft, which Zimbabwean officials alleged also carried military equipment, had arrived from the Hope Air Force Base in North Carolina, United States, before its stop-over in Barbados.

Further reports stated that the plane, originally a commercial PanAm Airways aircraft up until a week ago, was being operated by the American Air Force, but international Press reports stated it had been sold to a South African company. ...

Deep in the heart of Congo, millions struggle to survive after more than a century of instability brought on by brutal colonists, military dictatorships, and war.

Corporate Mercenaries - Executive Outcomes Leads to Bush

Executive Outcomes is the most infamous mercenary company in operation today. Unlike traditional mercenary companies, it operates as the heavy partner in a web of related companies. Sandline international is such a sister company: 170 elite South African dogs of war were hired to crush the Bougainville freedom Fighters for $22m. Just another job for the likes of Sandline international? Paul Vernon investigates...

Set up in 1993 by Tony Buckingham and Simon Mannl <1>, Executive outcomes (EO) has worked in Asia, Africa and South America. Most of it's personnel are hired from South Africa.

Buckingham is the chief executive of Heritage Oil and Gas, which is now registered in the (tax-free) Bahamas. When EO was hired by the Sierra Leone government to crush people's revolt, Heritage received much of the payment in the form of mining rights. Sir David Steel MP happens to be a director of Heritage as well as a close friend of Buckingham. Recently Sierra Leone was thrown back into chaos with another military coup.

Eeben Barlow, the present CEO of Executive Outcomes, is a veteran of the Civil Co-operation Bureau, which allegedly assassinated antiapartheid activists. Barlow is the frontman for the group he told Newsweek (2) in February: "I'm a professional soldier. It's not about politics. I have a job to do. I do it." EO is thought to have a annual turnover of more that 20 million.

The South African government, with help from officials from the United Nations, has begun to draft proposals of legislation aimed to counter what officials called "the increasing frequency with which our soldiers-of-fortune are operating overseas".(7)

Executive Outcomes ties lead to London and Bush
Executive Intelligence Review January 31, 1997, pp. 42-43
by Roger Moore and Linda de Hoyos

Exposes appearing on both sides of the Atlantic on the mercenary group Executive Outcomes, threaten to blow the lid off the British intelligence nexus already identified as responsible for the February 1986 murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, and for the current cataclysmic destabilization of Africa on behalf of circles associated with the Queen of England's Privy Council and Sir George Bush.
The exposes appeared in the French daily {Le Figaro} on Jan. 16, the {London Observer} on Jan. 17, and the February issue of the American magazine {Harper's.}
Executive Outcomes is the mercenary arm of a vast
network of British-South African corporations dealing in gold, diamonds, and oil, primarily, but not exclusively, in Africa, that come under the umbrella of Strategic Resources Corporation, headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa. Described universally as an ``advance guard of a corporate network that includes mining, oil, and construction companies,'' Executive Outcomes is active in 13 African countries, including Uganda. For its services, it demands a lien or franchise on the exportable raw resources, particularly mineral wealth, of the client country--in the same fashion as the British East India Company of the 18th and 19th centuries, which in turn functioned as the ``advance guard'' of the British monarchy.
Executive Outcomes was incorporated offshore, on the Isle of Man, in 1993, by Anthony Buckingham, a British businessman, and Simon Mann, a former British officer, the {Observer} reported, based on a leak to it from British intelligence. Buckingham is also chief executive of Heritage Oil and Gas, which in turn is linked to the Canadian firm Ranger Oil. Other firms operating out of the same headquarters in Chelsea Plaza 107, London, include Branch International Ltd. and Branch Mining Ltd.
Preliminary investigation by {EIR} has further determined that Executive Outcomes lies at the heart of the British monarch's raw materials cartels and secret intelligence operations, in conjunction with Bush's rogue apparat:
Through Sir David Steel, a former leader of the Liberal Party, Executive Outcomes and, presumably, its deployment, is a subsumed operation of the Queen's Privy Council. Steel is a close friend of EO's Buckingham, and is on the board of directors of EO's sister firm, Heritage Oil and Gas, according to {Le Figaro.} In 1977, Steel was inducted into the Privy Council, making him the youngest member of Britain's highest-level policy-making body.
The links between Executive Outcomes and Ranger Oil point to operational ties with the Bronfman family of Canada, whose scion, Edgar Bronfman of Toronto Broncorp, sits on the board of directors of Ranger. Recently, the Bronfman family merged its mammoth real estate firm, Trizec, with Barrick Gold, whose senior advisory board includes Sir George Bush. Barrick Gold is deeply involved in northeastern Zaire, where it has purchased 83,000 square kilometers of land. Zairean sources report that the so-called Zairean rebel Laurent Kabila is no more than a mercenary for Barrick and Anglo American Corp., sponsored by the British Crown-backed Ugandan and Rwandan militaries. Executive Outcomes, {Le Figaro} and other sources further verify, is deeply entrenched in Uganda, the key British marcher-lord state in the region.

Immaculate, 32, in Drodro hospital. She was attacked by Lendu forces and now waits for treatment from locals who have no medical supplies. Bandages were recovered from the ground after looting and are being rewashed to be reused.

Mercenaries aimed to topple oil-rich despot

The inside story of the ties that bind President Obiang and powerful American interests

By Paul Lashmar
14 March 2004

The tale of the 67 men of assorted nationalities now in a Zimbabwe jail accused of being mercenaries continued to unfurl yesterday like the plot of a lurid airport novel.

A bit too much like fiction, in fact, involving as it does a cast that includes the despotic leader of a little-known West African state, the Eton-educated son of an English cricket captain, fake passports, and a shadowy company registered in the Channel Islands that is linked to SAS old boys. All this, plus talk of CIA, MI6 and Spanish secret service activity, and a plane now impounded at Harare airport that contained equipment more suited to burglary than seizures of power.


But if who paid whom for what services has not yet been revealed, the intended target is not in doubt: President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, leader of a country whose lack of renown belies its strategic significance. And for "strategic" read oil. Not for nothing is this land known in US government circles as the "Kuwait of the Gulf of Guinea". Not without reason has President Bush welcomed President Obiang, a confirmed if not convicted corrupt despot, to the White House. He may be a despot, but as presider over an oil-rich state, he is their despot.

The sight and smell of oil is everywhere palpable in the port of Malabo. From here you can see the flames shooting into the night sky from the offshore oilrigs. Every day tens of thousands of barrels are extracted from huge crude oil reserves underneath the seabed off Equatorial Guinea.It is one of the oil-rich sub-Saharan countries that now supplies 15 per cent of American oil. Experts predict that the amount of oil the US receives from the prolific fields of Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Angola will double in the next five years. Hence the succour that American companies - and, since 9/11, the American government - have given to Obiang. Vice President Dick Cheney has said: "Along with Latin America, West Africa is expected to be one of the fastest-growing sources of oil and gas for the American market." ...

Gravediggers at work in Kinshasa's largest cemetery, where there are more than 50 burials per day. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 2 million people have died since 1996 as a result of violence, starvation, and lack of access to basic health care.

Plaza 107 and its links to Executive Outcomes

The Diamond Dogs

This commercial enterprise has given EO its nickname; 'the diamond dogs of war'. A recent United Nations report noted that once a firm like EO is able to establish security in an area 'it apparently begins to exploit the concessions it has received by setting up a number of associates and affiliates' which engage in 'legitimate' businesses. Such firms thus acquire 'a significant, if not hegemonic, presence in the economic life of the country in which it is operating'.

One of the Plaza 107 group firms is Branch Energy (BE), an English corporation which registered in the Isle of Man, a tax haven, in April 1994. EO is a major shareholder in BE, with 6o per cent of BE Angola, 40 per cent Of BE Uganda, and 40 per cent Of BE Sierra Leone. In June 1996 BE merged with Carson Gold, controlled by Canadian mining magnate Robert Friedland, to form Diamond Works Inc. This company, which has prospecting rights in Congo, Namibia, Botswana and Senegal, and is now the second largest concession holder in Angolait, was recently awarded the Alto Kwanza diamond exploration concession in Bie Province, covering an area of more than 18,ooo sq. km. In July 1996 the Sierra Leone government awarded the company a twenty-five-year lease to the Koidu diamond fields in the Kono region 'liberated' by EO. Diamond Works has contracted Lifeguard, another SRC subsidiary, at us$6o,ooo a month to protect its diamond fields in Sierra Leone.

Another line of analysis suggests that the prime mover in the employment of EO in Sierra Leone came from the South African mining house Gencor. In 1996 Gencor sold its controlling interest in the Australian company Cudgen RZ to another Australian firm, Renison Goldfields Consolidated (RGC). A subsidiary of RGC, Consolidated Rutile Ltd., in partnership with the us firm Nord Resources Group, controls half of Sierra Rutile Ltd, which with an annual production worth US$200 Million a year is the largest rutile mine in the world. The mine was the regional headquarters for Eo during their operations in West Africa and when they withdrew Sierra Rutile Ltd. took out a contract with Lifeguard.

America's secret armies
A swarm of private contractors bedevils the U.S. military

Those who recall the awful sight of the corpse of Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in 1993 also recall the American reactionthe prompt withdrawal of troops. Yet when four retired Special Forces operators were taken hostage and one of them tortured three years later in Liberia, no one knew. Brian Boquist, a former Special Forces officer and founder of International Charter Inc. of Oregon, told U.S. News how he and his small aviation company wound up on the firing line. ICI was hired by the State Department in December 1995 to provide air and logistics support to the regional peacekeeping group of West African states known as ECOMOG. As Liberia spiraled into bloody chaos, about two dozen ICI staffers snatched weapons off dead locals and defended the U.S. Embassy until U.S. Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces arrived on April 9, 1996. ICI stayed on to airlift about 40 tons of food for some 40,000 refugees and won the State Department's Contractor of the Year award for their actions.

There's much to investigate. For starters, the Pentagon does not even know how many contractors it uses. Last spring, Army Secretary Thomas E. White revived an effort to count all contractors under his purview. A preliminary report to Congress in April guessed that the Army contracted out the equivalent of between 124,000 and 605,000 person-work-years in 2001. Nor is there a reliable count of the contractors who provide "emergency essential" services on the battlefront and elsewhere, despite the urging of the Department of Defense (DOD) inspector general a decade ago. In an internal E-mail last fall, one colonel urged that the Army logistics chief review all field systems to see what contractor support they entail. It reads: "At the very least, he could count these little beggars in some fashion before they show up on the battlefield and surprise some poor commander with horrific support, real estate and security requirements."

Maria, a mother of three, lost her arm defending her children in Nizi, Eastern Congo. She says soldiers ate flesh from the arm after they had amputated it.

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