Archive for category Nigeria

Nigeria announces Yar’Adua’s death after being out of public for almost 6 months

via NEXT

Nigeria’s president, Umaru Yar’Adua died yesterday evening after a prolonged battle with a debilitating heart disease. Mr Yar’Adua, 58, died around 9pm surrounded by his wife, Turai, his mother and several members of his family.

The presidential spokesperson, Segun Adeniyi, confirmed that Mr Yar’Adua’s body is in the presidential villa in Abuja and will be buried at 2pm today in his home town of Katsina according to Islamic rites. The Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, who had been expected to travel to Rivers State today, will be sworn in as substantive president at 8am today as mandated by the constitution.

Mr Jonathan has also declared Thursday a public holiday and said Nigerians should embark on a week of mourning for the departed president. He expressed great sadness after being informed of the news by Aliyu Gusau, the national security adviser.

He said: “Nigeria has lost the jewel on its crown, and even the heavens mourn with our nation tonight” Mr. Jonathan described the death of the president as sad, unfortunate and regrettable. “As individuals and as a nation we prayed for the recovery of Mr. President. But we take solace in the fact that the Almighty is the giver and taker of all life,” he said.

Attempts by NEXT to gain entry into the premises of the Aso Rock villa were met by hostile opposition. Security forces surrounded the pilot gate which leads directly into the villa and barred anyone from entering or approaching. Beyond the gate, there did not seem to be a great deal of activity although Mr. Yar’Adua’s mother and aide-de-camp had been seen earlier leaving the compound.

Nearby, at the Acting President’s residence, Theophilus Danjuma, Mr Gusau and Tony Anenih were all seen wearing grave expressions on their faces. All the men declined to comment.

Problem with health

Mr. Yar’Adua had experienced constant health issues since he assumed office in 2007. This culminated in a medical visit to Saudi Arabia in November last year which resulted in him being away from the country for over three months. At the time, the president’s personal physician diagnosed his ailment as acute pericarditis, an inflammation of the linings surrounding the heart. However, investigations by NEXT revealed that Mr. Yar’Adua was also suffering from Churg-Strauss syndrome and that his primary organs were severely weakened as a result.

After mounting pressure, both domestically and internationally, Mr. Yar’Adua finally returned to Nigeria on February 24. However his return was shrouded in secrecy and he was never again seen in public until his death, by which time, the late president had not been seen in public for almost 6 months.

Bayelsa State governor, Timpreye Sylva described the death of Mr Yar’Adua as a ‘national tragedy.’ Mr Sylva, according to his press secretary, Doifie Ola, said Mr Yar’Adua was a great Nigerian leader who had the best intentions for the country at heart. “Yar’Adua was a straight and honest politician. There are not many of his kind. It is unfortunate that due to his sickness, he could not implement his well thought out programmes and policies,” Mr Sylva said.

Mr. Yar’Adua is survived by two wives and 9 children. The council of ministers, security chiefs and the leadership of the National Assembly met with Mr Jonathan early this morning to discuss modalities for his swearing in.

the link between climate change (ie: weather modification) and violence

1. barbaric night killings in Jos, Nigeria blamed on Fulani herdsmen

Less than two months after hudreds of people lost their lives in two days of ethno-religious crises in Jos, Plateau State, another 500 have been reported killed in a night raid on Dogon Nahowa village, Jos South local government area, yesterday. Another source said over 200 were kiled. Both figures could not be confirmed last night. The villagers said their attackers were Fulani herdsmen who swooped on them while they slept.

Reports from the village said the attack, which lasted all of two hours, began at about midnight, and the victims were completely unprepared for the fury of the marauders. The intense gunfire and wild use of cutlasses and other metallic weapons left little chance for the victims who were hacked down and burnt as they attempted to escape the massacre.

A resident of the village, Peter Jang told Reuters news agency that, “The shooting was just meant to bring people from their houses and then when people came out they started cutting them with machetes.” As at press time, fear and suspicion has spread throughout the city of Jos, and anxious residents mostly kept to their homes, especially when reports spread that the mood in Mangu Local Government in central Plateau was tense. The attackers were said to have departed the scene of their mayhem unscathed; arriving and departing with such speed that neither the villagers nor the police could mobilise fast enough to stop their escape.

more @ next

2. police arrest 93, recover weapons

“The Police arrested 93 person and they are in two categories,” the statement said.

“The police arrested 19 Fulani’s with sophisticated weapons in Anjuri village in Jos east Local Government Area,” it added.

According to the statement, the 19 Fulanis’ said they were on a revenge mission with the weapons.

“We also arrested 74 people from Mangu area of the state, with different weapons,” the police said.

Weapons recovered includes, four double barrel guns, two locally made double barrel, five AK 47, 5 mm ammunition, 34 live cartridge and many local made charms, the statement said.

more @ chinaview

3. about Fulani tribe –
The Fulani people call themselves Fulve* (Pullo, in singuler).They were originally nomadic herders, traders and farming people living throughout West Africa. Today the majority of fulani people live urban centers. While their origins are disputed, Arab writers recorded their existence over 1000 years ago. However experts believe that they originated from a region that occupied the present day Northern Senegal. Over the centuries, they migrated with their cattle to occupy vast areas in the Sahel and Savannah regions of West Africa and evolved into many subgroups with a variety of designations including Fulve, Jelgove, Gurma, Gorgave, Fellata, Fula, Fulakunda, Bororos, Wodaabe, Peul, Pulaar, Halpulaar, Liptaako, Toucouleur, and Tukolor. Presently, they live in communities throughout much of the West-Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon and as far east as Sudan and Ethiopia.The fulani range covers an area larger than continental United States and western Europe.
Historically, the Fulani played a significant role in the rise and fall of ancient African empires such as Ghana, Mali, Songhai and the Mossi states.

They greatly contributed to the spread of Islam throughout Western Africa. More recently, slavery and colonialism dispersed Fulani throughout the Middle East, the Americas and Europe. American history books are full of individuals of Fulani origin who have distinguished themselves in North and South America and the Caribbean.

Fulve have rich traditions and fascinating way of life. They have had a significant social, religious and political impact in West Africa. As minorities in most of the West African countries where they reside, the Fulani are steadily mixing with local dominant cultures. The phenomenon of local integration, combined with the impact of colonization and westernization, has slowly eroded the Fulani language and traditions.

If nothing is done to maintain their culture and language, the Fulani will simply vanish in a few generations. Without an awareness of the unique richness and formidable contribution of the Fulani traditions and without a serious effort to conserve and sustain the Fulani heritage, their culture may be lost forever. It is increasingly important to preserve this ancient culture. Jamtan.Com will explore the history, traditions and many aspects of Fulani culture to promote a better understanding of the Fulani people.

source

DESPITE A HISTORY OF CONFLICT WITH FARMERS, WHY WOULD THE FULANI PEOPLE START COMMITTING HEINOUS MIDNIGHT RAIDS MURDERING WOMEN AND CHILDREN?

ARE THE FULANI REALLY TO BLAME FOR THIS VIOLENCE? OR ARE THEY JUST A CONVENIENT SCAPEGOAT?

HOW DID THE FULANI GET IN AND OUT OF JOS SO QUICKLY? WITH THEIR HUMVEES?

4. a month ago: Nigeria: dry season forces Fulani to migrate

The prevailing dry season has forced Fulani herdsmen who are currently moving down south of the country with their herds, searching for greener grazing fields.

Nasarawa State , a major route, is currently witnessing groups of herders moving through to the greener fields of Southern Nigeria . The movement began earlier in the year, but it has heightened in the last two weeks, with unending herds of cattle trudging with luggage of their owners on the backs. A major part of the luggage, according to further observation, is the mat with which the cow boys use in sleeping in the open.

The movement is observed mostly around communities lying along the Jos-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi Road which links Nasarawa with Kaduna and Benue States .

Our correspondent observed that the Fulani cow boys move alongside their women who are seeing with large calabashes or other containers with boiled milk called Nono, selling as they move along.

One of them who stopped to speak to Daily Trust along Lafi-Makurdi Road said moving down south at this time of the year is a yearly practice, explaining that “so that our cattle can graze upon fresh fields.” He said up north, the fields are dry by this time, forcing them into the migration to Southern Nigeria .

A grazing route that will run through four neighbouring states - Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue and Ebonyi is on the way for Fulani herders as part of federal government’s efforts to tackle the incessant conflicts between the herders and farmers.

source


5. February 17th: Fulani herdsman “reported” and “suspected” of violence. the Fulani have some cows go missing, and they now want to retaliate against the people they believe took their cows.

Jos — Report of silent reprisal attacks in parts of Plateau State is growing by the day as some Fulani herdsmen are reported to have unleashed violent havoc on a Berom tribe village, in Riyom Local Government of the state with one person feared killed.

Also, farms produce worth millions of naira were destroyed in the Jol village last weekend, following a retaliatory attack suspected to have been carried out by the Fulani herdsmen.

Also speaking on the development, the chairman of the Council Development Area, Mr Samuel Iliya said since the Fulani people gave them an ultimatum over the missing of their cows in the area they were having a sleepless nights over fear of retaliation by the herdsmen in the area.

more here

6. February 12th: menace of Fulani herdsmen is a worry in Upper West — THIS IS LINKED BACK TO CLIMATE AS THE FARMERS AND THE FULANI BOTH STRIVE TO SURVIVE WITH A WATER SHORTAGE. THE DESTRUCTION IS BLAMED ON THE FULANI, BUT ARE THE FULANI MESSING WITH THE WEATHER? OR IS THAT SOMEONE ELSE?

Gwollu (U/W), Feb. 12, GNA - In the Upper West Region there is no community, village or settlement where people are not campaigning for the expulsion of Fulani herdsmen and their cattle from the Region.

Women and children are worried because they are leading a “Mickey Mouse” freedom class of life.  Their social and economic activities have been curtailed. None of them can go to the bush to fetch vegetables, pick sheanuts, baobab fruits or dawadawa fruits for home consumption. The small boys can not also go for rats and other fruits that are of nutritional value to them.

Farmers are crying loud, they can no longer leave their foodstuffs in the farms.  Their yams, cassava and millet that are left on their farm huts are broken into by herdsmen for their cattle to feed on. Yam and cassava mounds are destroyed and those who sow their yam seedlings get them eaten up by the cattle.

Water sources are drying up. Economic trees such as the shea have their branches slashed and the leaves used as fodder. All ant hills in the bush are eaten up by these cattle.  The Fulanis add salt to water and pour it on the ant hills for the cattle to eat. Hunting has come to a halt in many of the communities in the Region.

Rape and defilement are high, threat to kill and killing farmers is equally high in the communities. Indeed the people have now become social and economic refugees on their own land, all in the good name of the Ghanaian hospitality and the Great ECOWAS Conventions.

In some of the communities one does not need to go to another community by following the old roads. There are now many paths created by these cattle leading to all communities in the Sissala West, Sissala East and Wa East Districts.  The environment is completely destroyed and farmers now have to travel long distances this time round to their farms.

Madam Florence Zaato, Vice Chairperson of the Sissala Union, expressed worry about the huge environmental degradation caused by Fulani herdsmen and their cattle to the land at the annual general meeting of the union at Tumu recently.

She urged District Assemblies and Traditional Authorities to collaborate and get them out of the area to save the land for their children. She expressed unhappiness about their involvement in rape and armed robbery.

The South Sissala Tertiary Youth Association also appealed to the Chiefs of the South Sissala area and the Wa East District Assembly to expel all Fulani herdsmen from the area for degrading the land and making it unproductive.

Mr Timothy Nbenaba, President of the Association, explained that the decision to call for the expulsion of the Fulani herdsmen is to avert any future clash between the farmers in the area and the herdsmen that may consequently lead to loss of lives.

He said last year there were clashes leading to the payment of compensation by the herdsmen as a result of losses incurred by the farmers through the invasion of their farms by the herdsmen and their cattle.

At Gwollu the District Chief Executive of Sissala West, Mr Robert B. Wavei appealed to the youth to compel their chiefs and all those who had settled Fulani herdsmen and their cattle in the communities to let the herdsmen go.

He said it is disheartening for some chiefs to accept cattle from the herdsmen and to keep them in their communities and slaughter the animals to entertain their visitors.

A prominent farmer, who wants to remain anonymous, said the North would soon become a desert if the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle are not expelled.

He asked the Government to be bold to say no to the Fulani herdsmen to save the people from virtual bondage.

“After all, the Fulani herdsmen have somewhere to go but our people have nowhere to go when the land is destroyed,” he said.

He said the District Assemblies should not use revenue mobilisation as an excuse to harbour the herdsmen and close their eyes to the huge destruction that they are causing to the environment.

“The land belongs to the people and they must not be made to feel as slaves on their on land,” he said.

GNA

SOURCE

7. In the Philippines: El Nino drying up farms

MANILA, Philippines—Intense heat is drying up farmlands, reservoirs and waterways all over the country, and farmers are scrambling to find ways to cope and survive.

The abnormal signs of El Niño, a weather phenomenon referring to the warmer-than-normal sea-surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean that results in drought in Asia and Australia, and wet winters in the United States, are exacting their toll in the Philippines, according to agriculture officials.

With the lack of rainfall and irrigation

water, Filipino farmers are keeping a closer watch over their fields so that whatever available water is used wisely.

Huge clumps of light-brown soil have appeared in the corn fields of Cagayan Valley and Pangasinan, while rice paddies have turned barren in Isabela, Bulacan, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Camarines Sur, Negros, Davao del Sur and other provinces.

The desert-like images have prompted some farmers to stop planting to cut losses.

more @ inquirer

vultures in africa

vulture11b1. China warns Zimbabwe: we are not ‘friends’ — pay back the money you owe us

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says the Chinese want all loans to be repaid before loosening its purse. According to the Mutambara the Chinese President Hu Jintao revealed to him during a brief meeting at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that he considers Beijing relationship with Harare as ’business partners’ and not ’friends’.

The Chinese are quoted telling the Mr. Mutambara that: “We’ll not condemn you publicly but we’ll not give you cash”. And according to the Deputy Prime Minister, “unless we do the right thing the Chinese will not work with us.”

The two countries have signed a series of agreements in infrastructure, tourism, energy and mining but the cooperation has largely not translated into an improved standard of living for ordinary Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe has literally handed over control of most sectors of the economy to the Chinese during the past few years in return for short-term financial assistance to enable Mugabe’s government to ride one crisis after another.

more @ afrik.com

2. nice. about Mugabe…

Are the people of Zimbabwe really celebrating Robert Mugabe’s 86th Birthday? What is there to celebrate about this aberrant human form? Thirty years in power and nothing good to show for it. He is determined to cling on to power for the rest of his life despite embarrassingly losing an election to a more dignified and respectable opposition leader and refusing to hand over the reins of government. Mugabe is not only ruthless, he is incapable of showing remorse and lacks all human form of compassion. On close examination, it is possible that he has an inherent mental condition. Why? Because of all the abnormalities contained in his dispositions and behaviour. When the lust for power deprives anyone of a second thought faculty, you become your own victim. Because you lose control of your sanity as a result of your desperation to satisfy your ego-driven tendencies.

more @ newstime africa

3. Angola awards $340m deal to Daewoo Shipbuilding, S. Korea, to deliver 5 oil carriers to state-owned Sonangol (link)

mm hmm. Sonangol, Lev Leviev… see here: excitement always follows Lev Leviev, posted on January 28, 2010

1. Lev Leviev tied to Chinese intelligence, business interests in Angola — Sonagol

The suspicions were spelled out in a report recently compiled by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was established by Congress in 2000 in order to “monitor, investigate and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.” The report noted, among other things, that the group of Chinese corporations has business ties with Israeli businessman and diamond magnate Lev Leviev.

2. India, Angola agree to cooperation for hydrocarbon sector — there’s Sonagol again

Luanda (Angola), Jan 27: India and Angola on Wednesday said that the two countries will enter into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide an overarching framework for cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

During the meeting a MoU was signed between ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) and the National Oil Company of Angola namely, Sonangol, for cooperation in the exploration sector.

4. Nigeria: Obasanjo, corrupt ex-Nigerian president,  pays tribute to Tony Blair, war criminal and alleged pedophile, for helping Nigeria, Blair also meets Goodluck Jonathan kiss kiss hug hug

Abuja — Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who is in Nigeria for the THISDAY’s Nigeria at 50, 2010 Awards, yesterday relived the diplomatic interactions that contributed to the success of their administrations.

Speaking at an Inter-faith Malaria Initiative organised by the Nigeria Inter-faith Action Association with funding support from Federal Government, World Bank, Centre for Inter-faith Action on Global Poverty and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation held at the Kuje Town Hall in Abuja, Obasanjo said the former British premier made a significant contribution to Nigeria’s exit from the Paris Club and other creditor nations.

Obasanjo, whose entry into the venue of the event elicited wild, nostalgic cheers from the audience, said while he travelled round the globe to get Nigeria off the Paris Club debt yoke, he received promises from world leaders which were not fruitful thus prompting his government to search for a facilitator and a member of the Group of Seven industrialised nations (G7) which they found in Mr. Blair.

He said the debt relief allowed the country to channel resources into the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) projects notably funds needed to fight infant mortality and morbidity occasioned by such diseases as malaria.

…Also yesterday, Blair visited Acting President Goodluck Jonathan at his Akinola Aguda residence, Presidential Villa, Abuja and commended him for holding the country together in the face of the daunting political leadership facing the country.

Blair also expressed concern about recent political developments in the country and thanked Jonathan for the skilful way he has handled the country.

more @ allafrica

5. George W Bush and Dear Condi also wish Goodluck Jonathan Good Luck i think he’s gonna need it

Nigeria’s Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday evening in Abuja secured the support of the former President of the United States, George Bush who assured him of the world’s support in making his job a success. Mr. Bush and his entourage were in Nigeria for the ThisDay Nigeria at 50 awards….

“Terrorism is alien to Nigeria,” Mr Jonathan said. “Nigeria and US are strategic partners for global peace and development.” He also thanked the US government for its concern over the health of President Umaru Yar’Adua who is currently undergoing treatment in a Saudi hospital.

Mr Bush was accompanied on the trip by former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders. On the Nigerian side were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ojo Maduekwe and his solid minerals counterpart, Diezeani Allison Maduekwe.

read more @ next

6. oil agenda and bush visit

United States of America’s insistence on establishing a military high command for Africa called AFRICOM in the Gulf of Guinea is not for the love of the continent, but principally for the lust for its oil resources.

Over the years, the U.S. has significantly increased its oil imports from Africa, mainly through most of its companies operating in Nigeria, Angola, and to a lesser extent from Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Sudan.

The expectation of an average American is that by 2015 about 25 percent of its oil imports would come from Africa, essentially from the Gulf of Guinea. Therefore, any threat to sustained oil exploration and production activities in the region is, invariably, a direct threat to America’s interest.

Maintaining stability in the centres of oil production in Africa has remained a prime concern to the US.

The threat from China With China also venturing outside for other sources of oil to support its quest for solutions to its energy needs, the competition has heightened the pressure on the U.S. to safeguard its existing oil interests.

read more @ next

7. Tony Blair — also to Liberia to help “lift Liberia”

The founding principle behind Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative, which is a registered charity in the UK and the US, is that Africa’s solutions are going to come from Africans and Africa’s leaders – leaders like President Johnson-Sirleaf. This is why Tony Blair is expanding his work into Liberia, building his support to African leaders that began in Rwanda and moved to Sierra Leone.

more @ next

8. Obasanjo: also not happy with this Goodluck Jonathan business — it’s not a permanent solution, especially since he is practically back in office himself with Yar’Adua out of the picture, and if some corruption charges start popping up about Jonathan….you never know.

Kaduna — Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the nation’s resort to the Acting Presidency as a way of stabilising the polity in the absence of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua should not be regarded as a permanent solution.

Instead, he said further steps ought to be taken to arrive at a more dependable and permanent solution to the existing political uncertainty in the country.

more @ all africa

9. Nigeria: investigator of financial crimes assassinated

A former senior investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Danjuma Mohammed was yesterday shot dead in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja. He was ambushed by gunmen as he returned home from a trip from Minna, Niger State.

Mr Mohammed, a DeputySuperintendent of Police and top aide of the former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu, was responsible for several high profile cases during Mr Ribadu’s leadership of the EFCC leading to landmark conviction of some corrupt government officials. He was until his assassination yesterday a deputy investigator at the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Mr. Mohammed was one of the first casualties of the power play in the EFCC when Farida Waziri took over the three years ago.

His assassination is the second against financial crimes investigators. In November 2009, Abubakar Umar, a lawyer and special assistant to Ahmeed Al-Mustapha, registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), was killed and burned in his car in Abuja.

Police investigations are yet to yield any result.

more @ next

10. chaos in Ivory Coast (Zoellick was there recently) as protesters resort to looting and vandalism

In the Ivory Coast city of Bouake, hundreds of protesters marched through the city center, setting fire to cars, smashing up shops and looting a local government administrative office. This comes amidst the backdrop of President Laurent Gbagbo dissolving the government and the electoral commission one week after a row over voter registration. A group of protesters broke into the regional governor’s office and stole equipments as they chant that they don’t want the President anymore. “Gbagbo must quit now! He cannot stay in power,” they said. Ivorian security forces dispersed protesters in the south western town of Gagnoa, using tear gas.  Five protesters were killed a day before after police fired into the crowd of demonstrators.

more @ newstime africa

11. one dead three injured in Rwanda attacks

Eighteen people are reported injured after three simultaneous grenade attacks in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. The attacks that looked choreographed left one person dead as they went off in the city’s busiest points last night. According to state radio, five of the injured were in serious condition following the attacks on a busy bus station, a restaurant and a building housing city centre businesses. Grenade attacks have increasingly become a popular way of venting anger or revenge, mostly on unsuspecting crowds in the last three years in Rwanda, where many of those cases remain largely unsolved.

more @ newstime africa

active narratives round-up

1. world government: our masters in Brussels will use the Greek crisis to try to impose a single government across Europe

Now the Greeks cannot afford to stay in the euro and the Germans and French (and indeed to a lesser extent we British) cannot afford to see the Greek economy collapse.

For our masters in Brussels, this is a moment of great danger and of great opportunity. Their solution is simple. Not just a single currency and a single central bank, but a single finance minister administering a single tax and spending system, and a single government across the EU. Without that, either the Eurozone will shrink to a hard core of states around Germany and the Deutschmark will be reborn under the name of the euro, or the euro will cease to be.

more @ telegraph

2. justifying the need to control the internet: malicious software infects corporate computers

A malicious software program has infected the computers of more than 2,500 corporations around the world, according to NetWitness, a computer network security firm.

The malicious program, or botnet, can commandeer the operating systems of both residential and corporate computing systems via the Internet. Such botnets are used by computer criminals for a range of illicit activities, including sending e-mail spam, and stealing digital documents and passwords from infected computers. In many cases they install so-called “keystroke loggers” to capture personal information.

…“These large-scale compromises of enterprise networks have reached epidemic levels,” said Amit Yoran, chief executive of NetWitness and former director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security. “Cyber criminal elements, like the Kneber crew, quietly and diligently target and compromise thousands of government and commercial organizations across the globe.”

The company, which is based in Herndon, Va., noted that the new botnet makes sophisticated use of a well-known Trojan Horse - a backdoor entryway to attack - that the computer security community had previously identified as ZeuS.

more @ nyt

3. al qaeda in the palestinian camps in lebanon: 11 aq suspects charged with spying


A Lebanese military judge charged 11 suspected members of an al-Qaida inspired group with forming an armed gang and spying on the army and U.N. peacekeepers, a judicial source said. “Judge Samih al-Hajj charged 11 suspected members of Fatah al-Islam with forming an armed gang, spying on the army and UNIFIL troops (in southern Lebanon), and forging ID papers,” the source said, requesting anonymity.

If convicted, they could face the death penalty. Among those charged — several of them in absentia — are Abdul Rahman Awad and Abdul Ghani Jawhar, two Fatah al-Islam members accused of a deadly 2008 bus bombing in the northern city of Tripoli.

Fatah al-Islam, an obscure al-Qaida inspired group, fought deadly battles against the Lebanese army in the summer of 2007 in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli. …There have been widespread fears since the Nahr al-Bared battle that the group has switched its base to the highly volatile Palestinian camp of Ain el-Hilweh in southern Lebanon.

Lebanese officials suspect that Awad, who is dubbed the “prince of Fatah al-Islam,” is holed up in Ain el-Hilweh, the largest of Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian camps. By longstanding convention, the Lebanese army does not enter the camps, leaving security inside to Palestinian factions.(AFP)

more @ naharnet

4. escalating drug lords in Mexico: Russia ready to sell weapons to Mexico

MEXICO CITY – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Mexico is interested in buying equipment and weapons from his country to combat drug trafficking and organized crime. At a joint press conference with Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa, Lavrov said that his country is expanding its weapons sales abroad and has increased the number of supply contracts it has in all regions of the world, a move that is “a purely economic question, not political.”

Regarding the volume of its arms sales, Russia is still “behind the United States, but we’re seeing certain rather serious progress,” Lavrov said. The Mexican government is interested in acquiring different types of weapons, “including helicopters for coastal monitoring,” and other equipment “to fight drug trafficking and organized crime, that I hope will help our Mexican friends to combat this scourge,” the Russian official said.

The United States is already supplying Mexico with arms and equipment for the drug war.

more @ la herald tribune

5. get the minerals in Africa, especially West Africa: African Minerals on track in Sierra Leone as 9.7 billion tonnes of iron ore discovered — largest deposit in the world. shorter: how lucky is Frank Timis?

Somewhere in London, deliberating on his success and probably a glass of ice-rock vodka in his hands, Frank Timis must be filled with excitement and accomplishment as his venture in Sierra Leone has started to yield results. Timis has invested faith and trust in his sense of discernment and has allowed his instinct which has proven time and again to be right, to take on a venture in a small West African country rich in minerals, that has become a second home for him. Timis has employed right judgement and his confidence in the mineral wealth of Sierra Leone may have finally paid off.  It is also a vindication for the country’s President Ernest Bai Koroma whose unwavering belief in African Minerals’ potential has not been disappointing.  I wonder what is going through Frank Timis’ mind as he reflects back on how risk can sometimes become your best financial asset.  But it all comes down to how risk is managed through effective implementation of business acumen that has been tried and trusted. Frank Timis must be a master in risk management that ensures successful outcome. The success of African Minerals in Sierra Leone can only go to open new frontiers for the company in other mineral resource potential areas across Africa. And his success in Sierra Leone will  also provide a model for other African Governments to use in order to open their doors to a man whose name has become synonymous with prosperity and mineral wealth.

more @ newstime africa

6. Niger & Nigeria, falling apart or being dismantled: gunfire erupts in Niger capital

NIAMEY (Niger) - MACHINE gun and heavy weapons fire erupted in Niger’s capital, Niamey, on Thursday and smoke was seen rising from the presidential palace, witnesses said, in what appeared to be an attempted coup.

There was no indication of who was involved, the witnesses said, though political tensions have risen in the uranium exporting nation in recent months over President Mamadou Tandja’s extension of his rule. An intelligence officer, who asked not to be named, said the violence was a coup attempt that the presidential guard was trying to put down. A member of Tandja’s entourage in the palace said that ‘for now everything is alright.’

The shooting started around 1200 GMT, witnesses said. A Reuters witness said soldiers were blocking the road near the Prime Minister’s office. Tandja drew widespread criticism and international sanctions after dissolving parliament and orchestrating a constitutional reform that gave him added powers and extended his term beyond his second five-year mandate, which expired in December.

Despite political turmoil and occasional Tuareg rebellions, Niger has attracted billions of dollars in investment from major international firms seeking to tap its vast mineral wealth, including France’s Areva and Canada’s Cameco. — REUTERS

straits times

7. terrorism and sports: police confirm terror threat to India-SA Jaipur stadium match


JAIPUR: Police have confirmed a terror threat to the first ODI match between India and South Africa to be played at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur on February 21, following which security has been tightened. B.L. Soni, inspector general of Rajasthan police, said his force had intelligence inputs of the threat.  “We have terror inputs of the threat and beefed up security at Sawai Mansingh Stadium (the match venue),” he said.

Intelligence agencies had earlier warned about terror strikes during various sporting events to be held in the country this year including the Hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. However, Home Minister P Chidambaram has assured all the visiting countries of foolproof security for the upcoming sporting events.

source

depends who you know

1. Sahara becomes desert of terrorism. CIA supported terrorism. also notice however, the illusion that  France and the EU are presented as “opposite” to the US by the expert. the “good” West vs the “bad” West. haha! sorry the same people own all of The West.

Senegal’s president Abdoulaye Wade urged African leaders and the West to join forces in the fight against al-Qaeda’s North African branch, saying it has to be done to prevent the Sahara from becoming a “terrorism desert.” Abdoulaye Wade’s appeal came as African Union heads of state gathered to tackle the continent’s crises and conflicts at the bloc’s summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Wade was supported by his colleagues from other African countries. They were united in their opinion that African counties could not fight al-Qaeda on their own. Wade said it was an “international issue.”

Americans spent over 0.5 billion dollars for the anti-terrorism struggle. Yet, the situation has only worsened with the increased number of terrorist attacks.

The situation has particularly worsened in the past two years. These years were marked both with the increased frequency of attacks as well as their impudence, i.e., police station attacks and embassy shootings. The leaders of the Maghreb Muslims appeal for jihad against ruling governments of North African countries. All this attests to the fact that the officials cannot properly control the situation even in their own capitals.

Last year, media released alarming information stating that the Islamist group was developing biological weapons, and in particular, was experimenting with plague agents. The war on terror affects the well-being of local residents increasingly more each year. According to experts, the struggle with al-Qaeda caused rise in basic consumer goods prices in Algeria, including potatoes prices.

…In other words, the participants of the Pan African summit had good reasons to be alarmed. On the other hand, as mentioned above, so far the US military aid has not yielded positive results in the struggle against several hundred militants. Under the circumstances, the opinion of an Algerian expert Jamal Gessel shared with Pravda.ru was quite surprising.

He said that there was very reliable information suggesting that the Islamist group was supported by CIA. Analysts of the French and Algerian Special forces (e.g., DGSE, France) are convinced that this is done to destabilized the situation in North African countries rich in natural resources (both oil and uranium). The other goal is to force French and Spanish oil-extracting competitors out of the area. The expert believes this is precisely why the Islamist group’s attacks are aimed against the French and Spanish, and why the American presence in the region is not effective.

Additionally, the expert does not rule out the situation when the US declares the region its strategic zone, like it happened in the Persian Gulf, and instills its hegemony in the area. The conclusion is the following: the hopes of North African countries to receive aid from the West greatly depend on what they mean by “West”, the USA or EU.

more @ pravda

2. despite problems with al qaeda, not to worry! Algeria is connected: looking to cooperate with South Africa on nuclear technology. oh hey Algeria signed the NPT, so no problem. um, didn’t Iran sign that thing too? yes. but that’s different.

Algeria has shown a keen interest in South Africa’s pebble bed technology, South Africa’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) company said on Monday.

CEO Jaco Kriek said in a statement that Algeria’s interest in PBMR technology “opens a real opportunity for two African countries to co-operate on nuclear.” The statement said a high-level delegation under the leadership of Mohamed Derdour, chairman of the Algerian Atomic Energy Commission (Comena), was in South Africa. “Algeria is, amongst others, exploring the possibility of building nuclear reactors the size of PBMR near inland villages to provide electricity and desalination,” Kriek said.

According to Comena, Algeria was seriously pursuing nuclear technology as a means to diversify its energy sources and as a vehicle to reduce its dependency on a hydrocarbons economy….Derdour pointed out that Algeria, like South Africa, had signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. “Algeria has atomic energy agreements with Argentina, China, France and the United States. “We also have two research reactors, which were built by Argentina and China respectively”. Kriek said South Africa had a long relationship with Algeria, including the signing in 2003 of a memorandum of understanding on co-operation in the field of nuclear and radiation sciences between Comena and South Africa’s department of science and technology.

more @ iafrica

3. Egypt recalls ambassador from Algeria for “consultations” after some sports fans get rowdy

CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt recalled its ambassador in Algeria for consultations on Thursday after attacks against Egyptian football fans in Sudan and businesses in Algiers, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. An Egyptian foreign ministry official confirmed to AFP that the ambassador was recalled for “consultations”. Earlier in the day, Egypt summoned the Algerian ambassador in Cairo to protest against the disturbances.

The foreign ministry said that it informed the ambassador of “Egypt’s extreme displeasure with the assaults on Egyptian citizens who went to Khartoum to support the Egyptian team.”

It was the second summons in a week for ambassador Abdel Qader Haggar, who was called to the foreign ministry last week after Algerian fans attacked Egyptian businesses and homes in Algiers.

more @ yahoo news


4. Nigeria finally transfers power to Goodluck Jonathan

NIGERIA’S parliament empowered vice- president Goodluck Jonathan to run Africa’s most populous nation in place of an ill and absent president. It is hoped the move will provide a political end to a crisis that has ground the government to a virtual halt and triggered the resumption of an insurgency in the vital oil sector. But the move is not contemplated in the constitution, legal experts say, and could cause more friction between the Christian south, which gains the presidency at least temporarily, and Muslim north, which finds itself out of the seat of power.

more @ scotsman

5. NEXT: we told you so

This newspaper took the bold step of publishing a daring story on January 10 that President Umaru Yar’Adua is brain damaged and will not return to office. Titled,”Yar’Adua is brain-damaged”, the story detailed how some people that surround Mr. Yar’Adua were preventing others including the vice president from having access to the president.

“President Umaru Yar’Adua is seriously brain damaged, is not able to recognise anyone… and can no longer perform the functions of the office of the president, according to multiple sources who have spoken to NEXT on Sunday,” the story declares.

While we double checked and confirmed our sources over and over, some newspapers went to town that our story was not true. Indeed there were stories that we spun a tale that cannot be substantiated. Amazingly, while these media houses buried their heads in the sand, NEXT stood up to be counted among the worthy elements of our society, and despite the furious denial even from some people in government, the story could not be counteracted.

Curiously, some folks in government were asking NEXT editors for what was going on with Mr. Yar’Adua showing the level of secrecy concerning his health.

Subsequently, a man claiming to be Mr. Yar’Adua granted an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on January 13 on the eve of a planned protest by eminent Nigerians like Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka and Tunde Bakare, the pastor of Latter Rain Assembly under the aegis of Save Nigeria Group.

Thereafter, seeing that the game was up, others now shifted gear, and joined the train of those asking that the Constitution be upheld. We are happy we started this.

source: next

6. MEND rebels watching the ‘drama’ unfold..will they continue to warn the oil company personnel to get out of the way so they can “attack?” do they still need to attack? maybe not. we’ll have to wait and see what this Goodluck Jonathan fellow has in mind for divvying up Nigeria’s oil resources.

LAGOS, Feb 10 (Reuters) - The main militant group in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta said on Wednesday it was monitoring developments after Vice President Goodluck Jonathan assumed presidential powers, but declined to comment further.

“We are monitoring the unfolding drama and will react at the appropriate time,” the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in an email to Reuters. The group last month said it was ending a unilateral ceasefire and threatened renewed attacks on Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry amid delays to an amnesty programme caused partly by the absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

reuters

7. polluted water in Niger Delta — home of OIL COMPANIES — the cause of estimated 60% of deaths and 90% of disease in local communities. yes they can get oil out of a swamp but they can’t deliver clean water to poor people who insist on being IN THE WAY of their amazing oil production feats of engineering

Lack of access to safe water is a major source of poor health for millions of residents of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, a NEXT investigation has shown. Majority of the citizens of the area affirm one of their most critical needs is safe drinking water.

Public health officials say water accounts for an estimated 80 per cent of all diseases and one-third of all deaths in the developing world. In the Niger Delta area, where the natural water sources have been polluted by oil production activities, they estimate that water could account for over 60 per cent of all deaths in the oil communities, and some 90 per cent of all diseases there.

Although the oil region is largely riverine, oil production activities appeared to have polluted the region’s natural water sources, making them increasingly unsafe for human consumption.

more @ next

8. Al Jazeera floats video of police killing unarmed civilians, from seven months ago. picked up widely. kind of confusing — if you don’t pay close attention you might think this is happening now.

google results show major coverage

Aster Van Kregten, a Nigeria expert with rights group Amnesty International, told Al Jazeera that the group’s research suggested extra-judicial killings were widespread in Nigeria.


“Our research shows that the Nigerian police are getting away with murder, they killed hundreds of people a year without any investigation - any investigation on whether the use of force was lawful or not,” she said.
“What we saw on the footage happened seven month ago and we haven’t heard anything from the government whether they have arrested anyone and how far the investigation is going.”

Among those killed in the aftermath of the clashes between Boko Haram and the police, was Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf.

more @ al jazeera

unauthorized terrorist incident and worldwide tentacles of money laundering (hawala)

1. “terrorist” on a Dubai-bound plane incident in India brushed under the rug as a “family dispute” — sociopath son wants his dad’s property so pulls this stunt… oh that’s a little inconvenient for our war on terror. nevermind!!

That’s why Arif Khan laid the ‘terrorist on board’ trap for his father, who was on the same flight, say police; the latter has been detained

A son’s desire to see his father behind bars may have been behind the drama surrounding the Emirates flight yesterday. The Dubai-bound flight, with 356 passengers and crew on board, was grounded for four hours in Mumbai, after an anonymous phone call before takeoff warned about the presence of a ‘terrorist’ on board.

A businessman Shahbaz Khan and his wife Munira were detained. The MRA Marg police believe that the caller was none other than their son Arif, who is embroiled in a property dispute with them.

Sanjeev Kokil, senior police inspector, MRA Marg police station, said, “I am cent sure that the son has done this. If the Sahar police ask for our help, we will prove this. Arif, at regular intervals, comes out with a plan to frame his father, so that he can lay his hands on his property.”

Kokil added that when Shahbaz was contesting the Assembly elections in 2009 from Colaba “Arif made a call to the Election Commissioner, saying his father had a criminal background and should not be allowed to contest”.

Criminal record

Arif and his father are locked in a dispute over a flat belonging to Shahbaz, which is currently leased to a tenant. Arif was even sent to seven days’ police custody for stealing from the tenant’s home. Said Kokil, “In June 2009, he entered the tenant’s house and stole everything. He even put up his nameplate on the door, stating that he was the owner of the property.” When cops arrested Arif, he confessed.

The father and son have also registered a number of non cognizable complaints against each other.

“Shahbaz always helps the poor, helps them get treatment at local hospitals. His son has ruined him,” rued Kokil.

Neighbours say

When MiD DAY reached Arif’s house on Modi Street in Fort, a female family member said, “Shahbaz and Munira have gone to Dubai and Arif is not at home. When Arif returns, I’ll ask him to call you.”

A neighbour said, “Arif is stupid. All the people in the building are fed up of him. Wonder how the father is tolerating the son. He is always shouting at his father and disturbing the building.”

Another neighbour added, “Arif has not only given a bad name to his family, but also to the entire building.”

DCP Zone 8, Brijesh Singh said, “We cannot confirm any thing. Whether the arrested people are members of a  terrorist group or if the call was a hoax — everything is under investigation.”

A senior ATC official said, “We got a call from the airport manager around 9.55 am that a terrorist was on the flight and sent a message to the captain not to take off.”

An Emirates spokesperson said, “We handed over a passenger and his wife to the  police. We are cooperating with them.”

source: mid-day

2. India: IAS officer with 220 bank accounts, assets worth millions

An Indian Administrative Service Officer (IAS) in Chhattisgarh has been found to have a staggering 220 bank accounts and assets worth millions of rupees. This was revealed after the income tax department raided his residence here, official sources said on Saturday.

The IT department raided the houses of some IAS officers and businessmen in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in the past two days. Chhattisgarh’s Bharatiya Janata Party government is waiting for a final report from the IT department about Agriculture Secretary BL Agrawal’s assets to initiate action against him. IT officials searched the residence of Agrawal as well as business establishments of his close relatives on Thursday. On Friday, the officials similarly raided his chartered account Sunil Agrawal’s house and came across documents suggesting that the IAS officer had amassed assets disproportionate to his known income.

The officer had at least 220 bank accounts, several of them opened on fake names and addresses, and a few in the names of his domestic helps.

Efforts to contact BL Agrawal failed. A man who answered his mobile telephone said Agrawal was busy in a meeting.

Income Tax department sources said they were analysing the documents and papers they seized. Some documents suggest he might be involved in hawala transactions, the sources said.

The Madhya Pradesh government had on Friday suspended a Bhopal-based IAS couple - women and child development department principal secretary Tinu Joshi and her husband Arvind Joshi, principal secretary of the jail and parliamentary affairs department. IT department found Rs three crore in unaccounted cash in a raid on their residence on Thursday. Brajesh Gupta, Director General of Investigations (I-T) for Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, said bank notes stuffed in a suitcase were recovered from the residence of the couple.

source: mid-day

3. hawala transactions: part of money laundering
Hawala (also known as hundi) is an informal value transfer system based on the performance and honor of a huge network of money brokers, which are primarily located in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia….In the most basic variant of the hawala system, money is transferred via a network of hawala brokers, or hawaladars. A customer approaches a hawala broker in one city and gives a sum of money to be transferred to a recipient in another, usually foreign, city. The hawala broker calls another hawala broker in the recipient’s city, gives disposition instructions of the funds (usually minus a small commission), and promises to settle the debt at a later date.

The unique feature of the system is that no promissory instruments are exchanged between the hawala brokers; the transaction takes place entirely on the honor system. As the system does not depend on the legal enforceability of claims, it can operate even in the absence of a legal and juridical environment. No records are produced of individual transactions; only a running tally of the amount owed by one broker to another is kept. Settlements of debts between hawala brokers can take a variety of forms, and need not take the form of direct cash transactions.

more @ wikipedia

also see: Interpol http://www.interpol.int/Public/FinancialCrime/MoneyLaundering/Hawala/default.asp

also see: IMF http://www.gdrc.org/icm/hawala.html

See? they know all about it.

4. India: SIFO (serious fraud investigation department) not all the serious — unlikely to get power to track funds parked abroad. that might impinge on the money laundering!

NEW DELHI: The government has said it is not considering to give the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) the powers to trail money stashed abroad by corporates.

A corporate fraud investigating body under the corporate affairs ministry (MCA), the SFIO has for long been seeking powers to carry out investigations abroad. The SFIO is one of the agencies probing the multi-crore Satyam scam on which it has submitted a 14,000-page report.
“Not just during Satyam, but even before that we have been asking the MCA to permit us to carry out investigations abroad. We cannot trail funds abroad, therefore, we could not completely probe the Satyam fraud,” an SFIO official said.

Set up in 2003, the government plans to give the SFIO more teeth in the new Companies Bill, which was tabled in Parliament last August. However, the government officials say allowing the SFIO to probe cases related to routing of money outside the country is not a part of the proposal.

When contacted, Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, “No, there is no proposal to allow the SFIO carry out investigations abroad. There is no point. We do not want duplication of work, as the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are already equipped to do that job.”

Diversion of funds is a Companies Act violation, but when funds are hived off abroad it becomes a hawala transaction, and falls under the ambit of the ED, the minister explained.

The proposals to give the Serious Frauds Investigation Office more teeth for investigation, is mostly based on the recommendations of the V Vepa Kamesam Committee, Khurshid had earlier said. Giving the SFIO powers to trail money stashed away abroad is, however, not part of the committee’s suggestions.

The eight-member committee has suggested that the SFIO be given exclusive jurisdiction to probe and prosecute entities involved in financial frauds, besides also probing cases related erring entities/individuals like chartered accountants and company secretaries.

The committee is of the opinion that power of search and seizure, and attachment should be entrusted with the SFIO as available with the Income Tax authorities, Customs, Enforcement Directorate etc. It has also suggested that the SFIO be empowered to take up a case suo moto and even on a source-based information if a corporate fraud has been committed.

The committee has also called for the SFIO having flexibility to outsource the services of experts like chartered accountants, legal experts
etc and officers joining the investigating agency on deputation be ensured protection of their existing pay and allowances, sources said.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/finance/SFIO-unlikely-to-get-power-to-track-funds-parked-abroad/articleshow/5546719.cms

5. 1/18/10: enough evidence to arrest hawala kingpin: Naresh Jain — linked to Dubai, Pakistan, Italy, Dawood Ibrahim

New Delhi: A Delhi court today said there was “sufficient material” with Narcotics Control Bureau to arrest alleged hawala kingpin Naresh Kumar Jain for his reported complicity in international drug trafficking trade.

“The accused has rightly been arrested. There is sufficient material to effect his arrest under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act,” additional sessions judge Sanjiv Jain said.

The court, which extended the judicial remand of Jain till February 1, trashed his plea that he has “wrongly” been arrested by NCB, that too at the instance of Enforcement Directorate (ED).

“The accused is involved in nefarious activities of drugs trade and money laundering… investigation has revealed that the proceeds of the drugs trade were being laundered through hawala banking,” Rajesh Manchanda, special public prosecutor for NCB, told the court.

Jain was being supported by Dubai-based Ahmed Parvez, a Pakistan national, who is now being prosecuted in Italy, in the hawala trade, the prosecutor claimed.

Besides NCB, ED has also filed a separate case against Jain under various provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for his alleged hawala transactions relating to proceeds of drugs trade.

Naveen Kumar Matta, special prosecutor for ED, had earlier informed another court that the probe into the money trail of Jain was at a “crucial” stage. Jain was arrested by NCB on December 6 last year for allegedly financing and transporting narcotic drugs.

The accused, who used to run M/s Kumar Trading Company in Dubai, was arrested there as well after it came to light that sale proceeds of drugs, running into several crores of rupees, were credited in the firm’s account, the ED had said.

The money was transferred into the account of the company from Europe, China and Africa, it said.

The accused was also under the surveillance of the US authorities which had confiscated $4.3 million from Jain in June last year, they added. It also alleged the accused had financed persons involved in drug syndicate in India and abroad.

He allegedly laundered money for global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and financed narcotic cells.

source: DNA india

6. 2/7/10: REMINISCENT OF HADJICOSTIS MURDER, gunmen kill Nepal media baron with alleged Dawood links in broad daylight near French, Indian and British embassies in Kathmandu

KATHMANDU: Twelve years after Mirza Dilshad Beg, a controversial – and powerful – Nepali MP with links with Dawood Ibrahim and the ISI, was gunned down on a public road in Kathmandu by a rival gang, a Nepali media baron, also rumoured to have the same connexions, shared the same fate.

Jamim Shah, a Nepali of Kashmiri origin who headed the Space Time Network, was gunned down in broad daylight near the French Embassy in Kathmandu’s crowded Lazimpat area on Sunday, close to the Indian and British Embassies. Police told TNN two masked men on a motorcycle fired at Shah’s car around 2.55 pm, hitting both him and his chauffeur, Mathura Man Malakar. Shah, in his 40s, was shot in the chest and died while being treated at the nearby Teaching Hospital. Malakar has been hit in his left thigh.

Though police were informed about the number of the motorcycle, no arrests had been made till the time of writing this report. Shah ran the Channel Nepal television station that in 2000 instigated anti-India riots when it falsely reported Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan as saying that he hated Nepalis. Four people died in the violence that followed and scores of Indian shops and businesses came under attack. Though the channel was banned for some time, it was lifted once the furore receded.

Shah also ran a newspaper, Space Time, that carried anti-India propaganda. In 2004, he came under the ire of the Indian government who asked Nepal to freeze the assets of Space Time Network, alleging that it was funded by Dawood. Shah is also believed to have had ISI links. However, he had stoutly denied both allegations.

Shah’s killing comes after the arrest of Yunus Ansari, son of former Nepal minister Salim Miya Ansari. Ansari was caught recently after Nepal police busted a fake Indian currency network that ran from Karachi. Yunus Ansari is currently behind bars.

source: times of india

7. f**k India group on Facebook may be banned, complaint lodged with President’s office

Youtube videos belonging to India or Pakistan have been a favourite ground for warring groups from the two countries to vent their ire.Going by the war of words, one can easily imagine the fate of track two diplomacy. It shows that if such groups are let loose they will wage a bitter war than what the armies from both sides could achieve.
F**k India - a group on the social networking website, Facebook - has solicited a similar response.
The web page that shows “F**k India” written in the middle of the national tricolour says Pakistan Zindabad in its description.

But, as the anti-group is getting stronger with the membership going up by leaps and bounds, the web page may soon be banned.

Naresh Kadyan, an animal rights activist, has written to the President of India on February 7 demanding an immediate ban on the site, and has recommended corrective measures to the department concerned.

Forwarding the url link to the objectionable website, Kadyan, has written in his complaint : “I have seen many hate material on the web about India and our beloved leaders. Few years ago, I moved a public interest litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High court, seeking removal of vulgar content from Youtube. Following my plea, the controversial Gandhi pole dance was also removed from the Internet.”

“There are many communities on Facebook that spread hate against India, violating National Flag Code of India as well. Hence, you are requested to look into the matter for concerned authorities to take legal action against offenders and promoters. Both Orkut and Facebook may also be directed to filter such content,” the letter to the President read.

more @ source: mid-day

8. Africa: Atiku deals with the Mafia

Three months after his re-election as Nigeria’s Vice President, in August 2003, Atiku Abubakar was the guest of Domenico Gitto, who anonymous risk consultants and media sources say is a member of the Italian mafia clan Provenzano and owner of Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited. The meeting was held at Mr. Gitto’s home in Sicily, Italy.

This revelation, based on NEXT’s ongoing investigations into the connections between foreign interests and Nigerian politicians, also shows that a major fallout of Mr. Atiku’s visit was a significant jump in the fortunes of Gitto Construzioni which subsequently earned contracts worth over N100 billion from different tiers of government in Nigeria.

Mr. Atiku was accompanied on that trip by his wife, Jennifer Douglas Abubakar; two of his political associates, Boni Haruna, then governor of Adamawa State, and Musa Adede, a former senator; as well as two Italian business associates, Gabrielle Volpi, and Angelo Perucci, believed to be members of a different mafia family.

Garba Shehu, the former Vice President’s media officer told NEXT when contacted on this matter that “Atiku has always wanted more world renowned companies to compete for construction business in Nigeria” and that “When Gitto made an entry into the country, Intels of which he (Atiku) is a shareholder bought 5% stake. Intels became unhappy with Gitto at certain stage and decided to divest. That ended the relationship.”

The Gitto revelation further puts Mr. Atiku in a negative spotlight at a time when he is under harsh scrutiny for money laundering by congressional investigators in the United States.

Last Wednesday, the United States Senate’s permanent sub-committee on investigations, which is affiliated to the committee on homeland securities and intergovernmental affairs, stated in its report that “from 2000 to 2008, Ms. Douglas (Jennifer Abubakar) helped her husband (Atiku Abubakar) bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States, including at least $1.7 million in bribe payments from Siemens AG, a German corporation, and over $38 million from little known offshore corporations, primarily LetsGo Ltd. Inc., Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Ltd., and Sima Holding Ltd.”

more @ next

diplomacy: a poke in the eye, a wink across the room…

1. Moscow wants answers from US on Romania missile shield plan as US does what looks like a work-around

Moscow is waiting for clarification from the United States over its plans to deploy missile defense elements in Romania, the Russian foreign minister said Friday. Romanian President Traian Basescu said on Thursday his country had approved a U.S. plan to deploy interceptor missiles as part of a missile shield to protect Europe.

“We expect the United States to provide an exhaustive explanation, taking into account the fact that the Black Sea regime is regulated by the Montreux Convention,” Sergei Lavrov said. He said Russia acted on the assumption that “there is an agreement between the two presidents on the joint study of common threats, with the participation of the European Union.” “When we understand that we have a common understanding of possible threats, it will be possible to say what measures could be taken in response,” the minister said.

A U.S. State Department official said the facilities were due to become operational by 2015 and were aimed at defending against “current and emerging ballistic missile threats from Iran.” U.S. President Barack Obama scrapped plans last year for Poland and the Czech Republic to host missile shield elements to counter possible strikes from Iran. The plans had infuriated Russia.

Washington then announced a new scheme for a more flexible system, with a combination of land- and sea-based interceptors, to be deployed in Central Europe by 2015. U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden visited Romania, Poland, and the Czech Republic last October to promote the new missile shield plan. Warsaw and Prague have already expressed their support for the revamped U.S. strategy.

BERLIN, February 5 (RIA Novosti)

2. US determined to park missiles as close to Russia as possible

Russia is very close. There are about 500 kilometers between Romania and Russia’s major naval base in Sevastopol. Russia’s southern areas are close too. Even if the missile base is not going to be a threat to Russia, as the Romanian president said, Russia is not thrilled about such a neighborhood.

Romania was prepared to provide its territory for the missile defense system several years ago. In 2005, Romania was mentioned as a location for CIA’s secret prisons. President Basescu did not feel shy to call the United States Romania’s main strategic partner.

One has to give Basescu credit for his determination as a politician. Romania became a member of the European Union in 2007 despite such deviations from the rules as an extremely low living standard.

The deployment of US military objects in Romania will not improve security in the region, but US and Romanian officials do not seem to care much about it.

more @ pravda

3. Saakashvili attacked on all fronts

The authorities’ opponents say that Saakashvili is losing not only Europe’s support but the support of the blessed West as well. First, there appeared information about the Georgian president being abandoned by his American advisor Daniel Kunin. The press service, however, denied the fact. As was stated by Press Speaker Manana Mandzhgaladze, the information does not quadrate to facts. For instance, one of these days, the All News Georgian edition has published an article titled: “Saakashvili may be seriously concerned about his political future”.

The newspaper pays attention to the fact that the general attitude of the most foreign media towards the Georgian president who had been treated as a golden boy in Washington has switched to negative. “There are many articles saying that Georgia has got an image of an unstable country because of Saakashvili’s policy, which prevents the inflow of considerable investments to Georgia”, - the periodical reports.

The foreign friends seemed to forget to invite the Caucasian democrat to the Munich conference on safety policy that will be held on February 5-7. The oppositional Georgian media noticed mockingly that this fact confirmed Mikhail Nikolaevitch being in disfavor of his friends and partners. The press service asserts that he does not come to Munich because of being too busy. The official authorities did not make any comments as to the fact that leader of the oppositional Alliance for Georgia Irakliy Alasania has been officially invited to Munich to represent Georgia this year.

more @ georgia times

3. Daniel Kunin interview from August 2008 w/ telegraph uk

Meanwhile, Mr Kunin has been working hard to keep himself below the radar. This is his first interview. One of the reasons for this secrecy may be that until March this year he was being paid by USAID (the US government’s development arm). Mr Kunin insists that he was a consultant paid by the US, not an employee - and therefore not beholden in any way - but as the calls on his mobile phone suggest, clearly this is the man that provides the link with America.

If Mr Saakashivili is winning the propaganda war against the Kremlin, Daniel Kunin is his general, tutoring him on his press appearances, advising on strategy and trying to spin the criticism that the Georgian administration is receiving of both breath-taking naivety and recklessness in baiting the bear of Russia. But did the confidence in his pro-West PR campaign create so much confidence that it caused Mr Saakashvili to over-reach himself, over-estimating the support he would get from the West, and thus causing his downfall?

“It wasn’t a case of over-estimating ourselves, but a case of under-estimating Russia,” he says. “There is a tendency to blame victim. Saying that it was Saakashvili’s gamble is a convenient way of ducking the issues, and not accepting responsibility for what they have to do.”

So is there any advice he regrets having given? “None at all,” says Mr. Kunin unrepentantly.

more @ telegraph

4. India breaks the ice, calls Pak for talks. the game seems to have changed a bit.

New Delhi In an incremental step aimed at restoring some official-level conversation on terrorism and a range of issues affecting bilateral ties, India has invited the Pakistan Foreign Secretary for talks to New Delhi.

While modalities will be worked out after a response from Islamabad, sources said the Indian side was hoping for a meeting this month.

In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said there were signals emanating from India that it was willing to hold bilateral talks….Sources said the government is moving cautiously this time given the political backlash after the Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement which sought to delink the dialogue process from terrorism directed at India from Pakistan soil. This time the government is keen to make the point that the core focus at the talks will be on cross-border terrorism. At the same time, the discussions will look at other “peace and stability” issues….This dialogue also has a bearing on larger issues related to developments in the broader AfPak region. With its overtures drawing no answer from New Delhi, Islamabad had begun to take a more combative approach against involving India in any regional discussion on the future of Afghanistan. It was at Pakistan’s instance that India was not involved in the Turkey-sponsored regional meeting. The US too has been indicating to India that starting a conversation was better than having no interaction at all.

more @ express india

5. more regime change efforts

CARACAS (Venezuela) - VENEZUELA accused the United States on Thursday of portraying President Hugo Chavez’s government as thuggish in an effort to entice the opposition to try to topple the socialist leader.

Venezuela’s ambassador in Washington, Bernardo Alvarez, took issue with an intelligence report presented to US senators earlier this week that described Mr Chavez as an autocratic leader who uses repression to stifle dissent.

In a letter sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Mr Alvarez rebuked the findings of the report, saying it ‘is full of politically motivated and cynical accusations’. Mr Alvarez called it part of a US campaign ‘to criminalise our government and encourage groups within Venezuela’s opposition to seek anti-democratic paths to take power’.

US officials have repeatedly denied they would support any attempt to unseat Mr Chavez through anti-democratic means, and Venezuela’s opposition leaders insist they want to remove the former paratrooper at the polls.

Mr Chavez vehemently rejects allegations that his government has sought to silence criticism, including using trumped up criminal charges to imprison or intimidate outspoken political adversaries. — AP

source: straits times

6. Dora Akunyili, Nigerian Information Minister, tells fellow ministers to stop lying about Yar’Adua

The cabinet must stop lying to Nigerians about President Yar’Adua’s illness and face up to the reality that he is no longer able to perform his duties; information minister Dora Akunyili bluntly admonished fellow ministers yesterday.

At the regular weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, Mrs Akunyili stunned her colleagues by presenting a memo in which she challenged them to tell Nigerians the truth about the president’s health and stop deceiving the people.

According to our sources, Mrs Akunyili had wanted to submit the memo through the cabinet office but was worried that the office might sit on the memo so she took it to the Council meeting to distribute.

NEXT however learnt that as soon as she began to do that, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation stood up to challenge her. He said what she was doing was irregular and she should have passed it through the cabinet office. Both the Minister of Water Resources, Ruma Sayyadi and his colleague in charge of transportation Diezani Allison-Madueke also supported Mr. Aondoakaa that she should follow procedures.

At this point, a perplexed Akunyili looked up to the Vice President for support but Mr. Jonathan told her to withdraw the memo and pass it through the requisite channels. With no support from her colleagues, Mrs Akunyili left the meeting and Mr. Yayale went around collecting all copies of the memo. Inevitably, the meeting which ended in less than two hours, discussed only one memo before it dispersed, without considering even the customary approval of contracts.

In a surprising twist, many of the ministers went to meet her and praised her candour after the meeting.

more @ next

ye poor olde unwitting money launderers

PROBLEM: MASSIVE SYSTEMIC AND ORGANIZED CORRUPTION BECOMING OBVIOUS.

REACTION: OH SHIT.

SOLUTION: ADMIT TO SOME OF IT AT MID-LEVEL (RULE OF LAW!!) AND TRY TO MOVE ON.

1. US report details money laundering

A suitcase containing $1 million in shrink-wrapped bills, hand-carried into New York by the former president of Gabon for his daughter to buy a Manhattan apartment. Purchases of a stretch Hummer H2 armored limousine and C-130 Hercules military transport planes for a civil war in Angola. And a shell company named Sweet Pink used to funnel millions of dollars into the United States from Equatorial Guinea.

These and other deals and money transfers took place in recent years because of inadequate controls on money laundering at large American banks and unregulated American lawyers, real estate agents and lobbyists, according to a Senate report released late Wednesday, Lynnley Browning reports in The New York Times.

The 325-page report by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which will conduct a hearing on Thursday, sheds new light on how banks like Citigroup, Wachovia and Bank of America unwittingly shifted hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of African politicians, their relatives and associates.

…The report details how Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the son of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea, used lawyers, bankers, real estate agents and escrow agents, all Americans, from 2004 through 2008 to move more than $110 million into the United States, including $100 million through Wachovia and Citibank.

Mr. Obiang, the subject of a criminal investigation into charges of money laundering, bribery and extortion, also employed Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, a law firm now known as Sidley Austin, to help him buy a $38.5 million Gulfstream G-5 jet in 2005, the report says.

Janet Zagorin, a spokeswoman for the firm, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

The report says two American lawyers, Michael Berger and George Nagler, helped Mr. Obiang circumvent controls at the banks by setting up accounts for shell companies with names like Beautiful Vision, Unlimited Horizon and Sweet Pink, named on honor of the rapper Eve, Mr. Obiang’s girlfriend at the time.

more @ nytimes

2. Atiku, of Nigeria, in money laundering scandal

Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former Vice President, and his wife Jennifer Douglas, received and laundered over six billion naira in corruption money through several American banks, the United States Senate announced yesterday in Washington DC.

The revelation was contained in a 330-page report of the U.S. Senate’s permanent sub-committee on investigations, a part of the Homeland Securities and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee which investigated the use of offshore companies to bring what was called “dirty money” into the United States.

According to the report, in the eight years that Mr. Abubakar was vice president, “from 2000 to 2008, Mr. Abubakar and Ms. Douglas used a network of accounts at U.S. financial institutions to bring over $40 million in suspect funds into the United States, through multiple wire transfers supplied by offshore corporations located in Germany, Nigeria, Panama, the British Virgin Islands, and Switzerland.”

A Munich court in 2007 found Siemens guilty of paying bribes to top Nigerian government officials in order to obtain four telecommunications projects, and fined the company $248million.

The report detailed the profile of a totally clueless Ms. Douglas, cast merely as a money guzzling machine which had no notion of the sources and the health of the money she so enthusiastically helped to launder into the United States financial system.

“When her banks asked about these corporations, Ms. Douglas consistently told them that she was unfamiliar with the nature of the offshore corporations sending her money.”

When the banks became suspicious of her activities and decided to close her accounts, the former vice president’s wife simply closed the accounts and opened new ones in different banks, the committee found out. “Over time, as each financial institution began to ask questions about the offshore corporations sending her funds and decided to close her accounts, she opened new accounts at other financial institutions, at times with the assistance of her U.S. lawyer, Edward Weidenfeld.”

more @ next

3. HSBC, BOA moved “suspect”  Angola funds, study says

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) — Bank of America Corp. didn’t raise enough questions about how an Angolan arms dealer now in prison moved millions of dollars in “suspect” funds to the U.S., says a Senate report on corrupt foreign money entering the country.

HSBC Holdings Plc also gave an Angolan bank, Banco Africano de Investimentos, “ready access to the U.S. financial system” during the past decade although the bank failed to identify all of its owners and couldn’t provide written anti-money-laundering policies, the report said. Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer after Nigeria, has a history of corruption.

The report described weaknesses in the U.S. anti-money- laundering system that requires banks to raise red flags when foreign officials and their relatives and associates move money. It analyzed how such “politically exposed persons,” or PEPs, from four oil-rich African nations circumvented safeguards. One was Pierre Falcone, the Angolan arms dealer now in prison in France.

…BAI resisted repeated attempts by HSBC in the past decade to determine the exact ownership structure of the bank, according to the report. In all, HSBC couldn’t determine the owner of 19.5 percent of BAI’s shares, according to the report.

“HSBC takes compliance matters very seriously,” said spokeswoman Juanita Gutierrez in an e-mailed statement. “HSBC’s record demonstrates a commitment to vigorous enforcement and continuous enhancement of anti-money-laundering policies and practices.”

HSBC also conducted a business venture with Falcone in Angola through their joint ownership from 1997 to 2004 of Triang Ltd., a trucking operation that transported fuel for the Angolan diamond industry, according to the report.

more @ bloomberg


continuing chaos in West Africa

1. North Africa al qaeda offers to help Nigerian Muslims fight the Nigerian Christians in Jos

An al Qaeda group in North Africa has offered to give Nigerian Muslims training and weapons to fight Christians in the West African country, where more than 460 people were killed in sectarian clashes last month.

Vice President Goodluck Jonathan sent in the military to halt the violence after four days of clashes between Christian and Muslim mobs armed with guns, knives and machetes in the area round the city of Jos in central Nigeria. “We are ready to train your people in weapons, and give you whatever support we can in men, arms and munitions to enable you to defend our people in Nigeria,” the statement by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said.

more @ next

2. Niger Delta: MEND claims it is “not directly” responsible for the sabotage of Royal Dutch Shell oil pipeline

The sabotage on Saturday came hours after the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) ended a three-month old cease-fire and threatened to unleash “an all-out assault” on Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry. While MEND said the attack was the work of a militant group it backed, one security source, who declined to be identified, said the sabotage on Shell’s pipeline, in Bayelsa state in the Niger Delta, might have been carried out by oil thieves trying to tap into it. “MEND was not directly responsible,” the group said in an email to Reuters.  “It was certainly a response to our order to resume hostilities by one of the various freelance groups we endorse.”

more @ yahoo news

3. Nigerian senate totally in the weeds over Yar’Adua’s absence, debating the wording of the Nigerian constitution and how to resolve the crisis

4. expressions of outrage in Sierra Leone — EU, AU called out for supporting corrupt former president

It has come to the attention of this press, that civil servants appointed to key positions of authority and influence by the previous SLPP government in Sierra Leone, are alleged to have gone on the rampage to sabotage, destroy and ruin the economic framework that the President and government of Sierra Leone are instituting to return the country to a sound economic footing. If the allegations are true, then this is an economic crime against humanity. It is reported that these civil servants may have been directed by the opposition party’s machinery to unleash an agenda of sabotage to bring the economy of the country to a halt by failing to institute fiscal policies that will stimulate growth in the economy. And by diverting necessary funds meant for infrastructural development to their pocket, these civil servants are ill-bent on causing chaos and  tarnish the important work the present government led by Dr Ernest Bai Koroma is doing to salvage the opposition-battered economy presided over by former President Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah.

Some of Sierra Leone’s finest military officers were executed in cold blood by President Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah in the previous SLPP government. Their only crime? They did not accompany him to Guinea when soldiers overthrew his government in a coup d’état. On returning from Guinea after ECOMOG helped restore his government, Tejan-Kabbah ordered the arrest and detention of all whom he thought were not loyal to him and without a single evidence of complicity in the coup, he ordered the execution and continued detention of some of the most gallant men and women of the country’s military. In fact for him to be restored back into power, he ordered ECOMOG fighter jets to bomb Freetown, the capital, at random, without any regard for human life, in his quest to get the rid of rebels in the city and regain power. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed and homes destroyed. This is indeed a crime against humanity. And for this reason alone, I detest any attempt by international organisations like the U.N. or A.U.  to employ the services of this brutal dictator in any mediation efforts across the continent. Tejan Kabbah is not worthy of holding any public office anywhere in the world. Even prior to his election victory there were reports of him being convicted of corruption when he worked as a civil servant in the Siaka Stevens administration.

more @ newstime africa

5. threat of another military intervention in Guinea as top junta official is arrested

Dadis Camara’s closest confidante in Guinea’s military junta, Colonel Moussa Keita,  has been arrested and taken into custody. There is clear indication from reports coming out of Guinea, that officers loyal to exiled Junta leader Dadis Camara, are determined to sabotage the peace agreement signed in Burkina Faso as long as their leader is kept in isolation….The acceptance of Guinea’s Interim Leader Sekouba Konate, to sign up to the Ouagadougou agreement had raised suspicion of a sell-out in Dadis Camara’s mind as reports late last year from Morocco, indicated that Western Diplomats made a lucrative offer to Konate to sign up to a plan hatched by the U.S. to remove Dadis Camara from Guinea’s political life.

more @ newstime africa

while you were out

Joint Statement on Nigeria by the US and the EU, January 30, 2010

We express our deep regret at the recent violence and tragic loss of lives in Jos, and extend our sympathies to the bereaved and injured.

We urge all parties to exercise restraint and seek peaceful means to resolve differences between religious and ethnic groups in Nigeria.

We call on the federal government to ensure that the perpetrators of acts of violence are brought to justice and to support interethnic and interfaith dialogue.
Nigeria is one of the most important countries in sub-Saharan Africa, a member of the UN Security Council, a global oil producer, a leader in ECOWAS, a major peacekeeping contributing country, and a stabilizing force in West Africa. Nigeria’s stability and democracy carry great significance beyond its immediate borders.We therefore extend our support to the people of Nigeria during the current period of uncertainty, caused by President Yar’Adua’s illness. We extend our best wishes to the president and his family, and join the Nigerian people in wishing him a full recovery.
Nigeria has expressed its resolve to adhere to constitutional processes during this difficult time. We commend that determination to address the current situation through appropriate democratic institutions. Nigeria’s continued commitment and adherence to its democratic norms and values are key to addressing the many challenges it faces, including electoral reform, post-amnesty programs in the Niger Delta, economic development, inter-faith discord and transparency. The gubernatorial elections in Anambra on 6 February will be a milestone in the journey towards electoral reform and a signal of Nigeria’s commitment to the principles of democracy.
We are committed to continue working with Nigeria on the internal issues it faces while working together as partners on the global stage.

Signed: US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton; British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband; French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner; EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, London, United Kingdom

Translation: You are going down. Make it look believable. Kiss kiss hug hug, your friends at the NWO. Our motto: One big happy family!

^^^^^^^

First let’s review what our esteemed leaders cite as the CAUSE of Nigeria’s problems: Yar’Adua’s illness.

As reported in The Guardian on January 8, 2010, Nigeria’s president has literally been missing for 45 days (now 68 days). Allegedly he went to Saudi Arabia for treatment of a health problem, without telling anyone, and he hasn’t been heard from since. Just up and left, he did. His absence has paralyzed the Nigerian government at a time of severe crisis. A constitutional crisis at the worst possible time, dragging on interminably. Nobody seems to have any power to unstick the problem.

How convenient is that? I suggest that it is exceedingly convenient for some people — who you might guess would be the sorts of people who like chaos and instability — while being impossibly inconvenient for Nigerians.

After all, Nigeria is a critically important country in West Africa, and West Africa is a critically important component in various contrived narratives driving our world to the brink of destruction. One need only look at the joint US and UN statement to realize that if Nigeria falls apart politically, it becomes a blow-up doll for the NWO mind-fuckers. That is why Hillary and friends very properly encourage the Nigerians to cross every democratic t and dot every democratic i, and color within the lines at all times please (rule of law rule of law), while they hope and pray for Yar’Adua’s “full recovery.” Surely they have also heard that:

President Umaru Yar’Adua is seriously brain damaged, is not able to recognise anyone, including his wife Turai, and can no longer perform the functions of the office of the president, according to multiple sources who have spoken to NEXT on Sunday.

That was two weeks ago. For all we know he may not even be alive.

But nobody wants to talk about that. They might loosen the log-jam. And the log-jam happens to be useful because it breeds chaos.

^^^^^^^

Yesterday in Nigeria, a militant group called MEND called off a truce with the paralyzed Nigerian government. I guess that was to be expected, given the log-jam.

The main militant group in the oil-rich Niger Delta called off its cease-fire with the government Saturday morning, dealing a potential death blow to a presidential amnesty program aimed at ending violence that has crippled production in the West African nation.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta issued a statement saying it would no longer abide by the unconditional Oct. 25 cease-fire President Umaru Yar’Adua had negotiated with the group. The militants warned oil producers with pipelines and personnel working in the creeks and swamps of the Delta that it would wage an “an all-out onslaught” against them.

The MEND “warns all oil companies to halt operations as any operational installation attacked will be burnt to the ground,” the statement read. “Oil companies are responsible for the safety and welfare of their workers and will bear the guilt should any harm come upon their staff in the event of an attack.”

The group added: “Nothing will be spared.”

Militants in the Niger Delta have attacked pipelines, kidnapped petroleum company employees and fought government troops since January 2006. They demand that the federal government send more oil-industry funds to Nigeria’s southern region, which remains poor despite five decades of oil production.

In response, Shell has decided to sell off some assets in the Niger Delta. Chevron announced that 20,000 barrels of oil per day had been shut in due to sabotage threats.

According to Reuters:

The rebel group [MEND] was severely weakened after its senior leaders and thousands of others accepted clemency and disarmed under a presidential amnesty which ended last October. It is unclear who is now running the group.

Candidates include:

Ateke Tom: A former gang leader in Rivers State in the eastern Niger Delta for around a decade, Ateke Tom set up the Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV), one of several groups to enjoy strong backing from politicians who used them to help rig elections….Security sources say he was also heavily involved in oil bunkering, a lucrative trade in industrial quantities of stolen crude smuggled onto the international market.

Farah Dagogo: Also based in Rivers state, Dagogo started out as a top commander loyal to former militant leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, whose Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force turned over thousands of weapons in return for amnesty in 2004.

Government Tompolo: He was responsible in particular for attacks on Chevron and thought to be a major oil bunkerer. Security forces used helicopters and gunboats to attack his camps around Warri, capital of Delta state, last May.

Well, it was awfully good of those chaps to give such clear and menacing warnings so that the oil company people can get out of the way. Let’s give credit where credit is due. I mean, *some* terrorists would just go right in there and start firing away, bombing wedding parties and marketplaces, and killing a bunch of innocent people. You know what I’m saying?

All the same, Something Must Be Done.

^^^^^^^

Actually, there was a peculiar incident last week in the Niger Delta. (map from wikipedia, click to enlarge)

A helicopter flying from Bonny to Port Harcourt crashed on Tuesday afternoon at Isiokpo, near Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, killing all four persons aboard….The zonal coordinator of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Emenike Umesi, said the four occupants comprised two pilots and two engineers, said to be of Lieutenant Commander Rank.

The NEMA chief, in charge of the south-south zone, said the aircraft took off from Bonny, which is home to the Liquefied Natural Gas plant….Security agents at the accident scene however said naval personnel recovered “some vital documents” at the scene.

Vital documents?

Addressing journalists on the incident, Naval spokesperson, Commodore David Nabaida, said the names and identities of four dead naval officers were the Pilot of the Helicopter, Lt Commodore Ahmed Tijani Yusuf with official number NNL/2071; Co-Pilot, Lt Commodore Ahmadu Yahaya; Lt Commodore Mailafia Ibrahim, who is the Base Intelligence Officer, Delta and Seaman Illiya Uyuhili, the aircraft’s technician.

…He said the aircraft was on a routine patrol, to investigate a case of illegal bunkering around Akasa and had left from its Warri base and after carrying out its surveillance, was to go to Port Harcourt Airport to refuel before returning to its base but crashed a few kilometers to the airport.

Asked whether there was any connection of the crash with the remnant of militants still operating in the creeks, Nabaida said: “Absolutely not; as I told you, we were at the site of the aircraft accident, the President’s amnesty programme has been working, beside, there is nothing that shows that the crash is connected with anything militancy”.

Riiight. So even though two of the three possible suspected candidates who might be running MEND have been involved in oil bunkering in the past, there’s absolutely no reason to suspect that a naval helicopter investigating oil bunkering would be shot down by said militants, a couple of days before they called off their truce no less.

^^^^^^^

In February 2007, National Geographic published a piece about the Niger Delta.

Nigeria had all the makings of an uplifting tale: poor African nation blessed with enormous sudden wealth. Visions of prosperity rose with the same force as the oil that first gushed from the Niger Delta’s marshy ground in 1956….
Everything looked possible—but everything went wrong.

Dense, garbage-heaped slums stretch for miles. Choking black smoke from an open-air slaughterhouse rolls over housetops. Streets are cratered with potholes and ruts. Vicious gangs roam school grounds. Peddlers and beggars rush up to vehicles stalled in gas lines. This is Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil hub, capital of Rivers state, smack-dab in the middle of oil reserves bigger than the United States’ and Mexico’s combined. Port Harcourt should gleam; instead, it rots.

Beyond the city, within the labyrinth of creeks, rivers, and pipeline channels that vein the delta—one of the world’s largest wetlands—exists a netherworld. Villages and towns cling to the banks, little more than heaps of mud-walled huts and rusty shacks. Groups of hungry, half-naked children and sullen, idle adults wander dirt paths. There is no electricity, no clean water, no medicine, no schools. Fishing nets hang dry; dugout canoes sit unused on muddy banks. Decades of oil spills, acid rain from gas flares, and the stripping away of mangroves for pipelines have killed off fish.

Nigeria has been subverted by the very thing that gave it promise—oil, which accounts for 95 percent of the country’s export earnings and 80 percent of its revenue.

The sense of relentless crisis has deepened since last year, when a secretive group of armed, hooded rebels operating under the name of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, intensified attacks on oil platforms and pumping stations, most operated by Shell Nigeria.

With each disruption, the daily price of oil on the world market climbed. According to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, escalating violence in a region teeming with angry, frustrated people is creating a “militant time bomb.”
Isaac Asume Osuoka, director of Social Action, Nigeria, believes that callousness toward the people of the delta stems from their economic irrelevance. “With all the oil money coming in, the state doesn’t need taxes from people. Rather than being a resource for the state, the people are impediments. There is no incentive anymore for the government to build schools or hospitals.”I can say this,” Osuoka said firmly. “Nigeria was a much better place without oil.”

Well, that’s just it. The poor people happen to be in the way, from the perspective of the very important people who would like to go about extracting Nigeria’s natural resources in peace and quiet, thank you very much.

No one can deny the sheer technological achievement of building an infrastructure to extract oil from a waterlogged equatorial forest. Intense swampy heat, nearly impenetrable mangrove thickets, swarming insects, and torrential downpours bedevil operations to this day. But mastering the physical environment has proved almost simple compared with dealing with the social and cultural landscape. The oil firms entered a region splintered by ethnic rivalries.

Ahh, yes, the impossible to please poor people and their interminable “ethnic rivalries.” That’s always a good justification. That way when the oil companies go in there to take over the natural resources and make life next to impossible for people who lived off the land, without providing any consolation prizes like electricity or clean water or schools or medicine, those damn poor people are bound to get all uppity and start causing trouble. Happens every time.

Who could have predicted??

“After 50 years, the oil companies are still searching for a way to operate successfully with communities,” says Antony Goldman, a London-based risk consultant. The delta is littered with failed projects started by oil companies and government agencies—water tanks without operating pumps, clinics with no medicine, schools with no teachers or books, fishponds with no fish. “The companies didn’t consult with villagers,” says Michael Watts, director of the African Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley. “They basically handed out cash to chiefs. It wasn’t effective at all.”

A fifty fucking years learning curve? How about they know exactly what they’re doing. How about they do this on purpose. It’s a critical part of the business model to make the land inhospitable so that the people die or leave. The People Are In The Way. OK? That’s what’s going on. And everybody involved knows it. That’s why Hillary Clinton had to complain about all the corruption in Nigeria just this last week. It’s UNBELIEVABLE she says, making sure to mention patsy underpants. Yes, those corrupt Africans. Where do they get off?

^^^^^^^

Well, it’s like this. Those corrupt African leaders hook up with corrupt leaders from The West. One big happy family. Even Lev Leviev.

1. Former Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo came under fire for selecting Yar’Adua, knowing him to be sickly. He vehemently denied this. Perish the thought.

2. But, last May US investigators asserted that Obasanjo and others took millions of dollars in bribes from American and European contractors, including Halliburton, to allow the companies to build a liquid natural gas plant in Bonny. This scandal goes back years and ensnares various countries and Important People of The West.

3. Another of the accused in that very scandal, Sani Abacha, has been fighting Swiss authorities for ten years over an estimated three billion dollars misappropriated from Nigeria and stashed in Swiss bank accounts. The money laundering case has dragged on for so long with the help of people in London and elsewhere (see time line here). The Swiss authorities ordered $350 million to be returned to Nigeria last week. An unnamed person in Monaco has been charged.

4. France would like to invest in Imo state (look at the map), to help Nigeria branch out from their dependence on oil and gas. More like a twig than a branch…

5. Nigeria and Angola vie for top petroleum producer spot, and Angola has been able to pull ahead in 2009 due to the violence in Nigeria. Lucky break for the Angola investors.

6. Angola hydrocarbon sector investors: Lev Leviev, China, India…

7. To insure that all these deals will go along smoothly, Angola’s parliament prepares to expand the powers of the president, making him head of state, head of government, and head of the armed forces. The new constitution eliminates the position of prime minister and adds a vice president. VPs are always very useful. And the president may serve two five year terms. All of which contrasts markedly from the situation in Nigeria.

So it looks like Nigeria will be violently dismantled and reassembled somewhere down the road, after the “militants” take over the place and wreck havoc, and tie into some drug smuggling or terrorist operations against The People of The West, justifying some military intervention or something.

And Angola will go on to a brighter future, perhaps marred by the occasional terrorist incident but otherwise firmly in the grip of a sponsored dictatorship.

That’s how it goes in the big happy family.