Capitalism's Christmas

Under the consumer-capitalist path we have chosen, it is no accident and no surprise to find the following story ...


literally sharing space with this ...


The bottle of champagne costs more than the average Zimbabwean will earn in their lifetime. Is this really the best we can do?

December 19, 2006 in Africa, America Inc, Capitalism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Did I Ever Tell You Dick Cheney Is A Crook?

A French investigation into corrupt practices in Nigeria has uncovered a series of more-than-questionable payments totalling $132 million made by Cheney's Halliburton, many of which occured directly under Cheney's watch as CEO.

Kellogg, Brown & Root, the infamous Halliburton subsidiary, was part of a consortium that bid successfully to win a $12bn contract to build a gas terminal at Bonny Island in Nigeria. It seems certain that the $132 million was used to ease the passage of the contract into the right hands. Bribery and corruption is, after all, an old American tradition.

Where, I wonder, is the mainstream coverage of this story in the USA? This is hardly the first time that Cheney's Halliburton has been linked to dubious business practices. In fact, it seems impossible to get through a month these days without some new revelation of greed and malfeasance by the ex-CEO and his minions. This latest bribery story has had a little play in the rear sections of the business news, but nothing that the viewers of network or cable news would be aware of. I find that simply amazing.

Here we have the Vice-President of the United States -- one heartbeat away from the Presidency -- linked over and over again to stories of ethical lapses and fiduciary irresponsibility (at best), and he's not being hammered for it. Clinton screws an intern and we get eighteen months of nothing else. Cheney screws the US taxpayer and everyone else and it's shuffled under the carpet. I don't believe in a media owners' conspiracy of silence, but I do appreciate the atmosphere of fear some of these characters can generate.


I was going through some books this morning and came across the first volume of Robert Caro's epic biography of Lyndon Johnson. Flipping through the pages, I was reminded of the part Kellogg, Root & Brown played in LBJ's unorthodox rise to fortune and political power. Plus ca change, plus the meme chose.

October 3, 2004 in Africa, Capitalism, Cheney, Dick | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

No New Spanish Empire?

The right wing Spanish government of Jose Maria Aznar was a favourite of the American Empire, enthusiastically supporting Bush’s invasion of Iraq. To the Empire’s chagrin, Aznar’s popularity wasn’t so good at home and he was booted from office by the anti-war Socialists. While Aznar was still in office, he agreed wholeheartedly with the Bushite policy of regime change. Now, it seems, this agreement with regime change extended to aggressive acts on the Spanish regime's own behalf.

map_eqguineaAccording to the Times of London:

”The plot involved the overthrow of the dictator, President Obiang Nguema [of Equitorial Africa], and the installation of Severo Moto, a veteran political exile in Spain who is backed by rich British businessmen.”
This is the same greedy business that Maggie Thatcher's preternaturally greedy kid Mark is being detained for in South Africa. News of the coup surfaced when a planeload of mercenaries was stopped in Zimbabwe. The Times continues the story:
”As the mercenaries were allegedly completing their plans to topple Mr Obiang, two Spanish warships slipped out of the Rota naval base near Cádiz in January. The frigate Canarias was supported by a combat vessel Patiño with 500 crack troops and marines on board. No official announcement was made but those on board knew they were headed for Equatorial Guinea … But someone, South Africa is a suspect, told the Spanish press. The two warships docked in the Canary Islands and the apparent objective of their voyage was aborted …

motoThis week in Spain, various media reports suggest that Mr Moto, the veteran leader-in-exile of Equatorial Guinea, who has lived in Madrid for many years, was either on board one of the warships or had been flown to Mali in anticipation of a triumphant return to his fatherland.”

The coup in Equitorial African collapsed in the wake of the arrest of the mercenaries, and the old dictator stays in power. There is oil in the country so this won’t be the last coup on behalf of some company or another. However, what was interesting to me was a sentence buried in the story:
” Since Rota is a NATO base, used by the United States, one would assume that the US knew of the mission as well as their close allies, the British.”
Given that one of the "crimes" Saddam was accused of was trying to overthrow neighbouring regimes, the hypocrisy of all this is astounding. But not surprising.

Update: The Guardian and the Sunday Herald have more on the mechanics of the coup, Thatcher's involvement, and the knowledge of British and US officials.

August 28, 2004 in Africa, America Inc, Spain | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack