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Start your own revolution
Jason J. Gleeson (42)
Cape Town, ZA
Immortal since Jun 9, 2009
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    What the WikiLeaks reveal about African countries
    Project: Start your own revolution
    What do the US Diplomatic Cables - released by WikiLeaks - reveal about the state of the African continent [country-by-country]?

    The Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, stole $9bn of Sudan's public money, and stashed it in UK banks. The Lloyds Banking Group is name checked in the cables as one of the banks who accepted this money. Lloyds denies the allegations.

    The amount that was siphoned off by Omar al-Bashir from Sudan is almost exactly the same amount that should have gone from the North of the country to the oil rich, but severely impoverished, South of the country – making up about one tenth of Sudan's annual GDP.

    Sudan ranks as fifteenth from the bottom in the United Nation's index of the world's poorest countries. While the war in Darfur - which started in 2003 – continues.

    For a country which has no air force, spending £28m on an overpriced military air defence radar from the UK arms company BAE, would seem ludicrous – but in 2001 this is exactly what one of the poorest countries in the world did.

    BAE Systems has now been fined £500,000 plus £225,000 costs for failing to keep proper records of payments to the adviser in Tanzania.

    In 1996 - during a massive unprecedented meningitis epidemic in the north of Nigeria - the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer took the opportunity to test out their new new experimental antibiotic, drug Trovan – on children with meningitis, in a series of controversial drug trials.

    The Nigerian state and federal authorities, claimed that the children were harmed during the trial. The cables reveal how Pfizer hired private investigators to uncover dirt on Nigeria's attorney general - in an attempt to coerce him to stop his legal action against Pfizer.

    Last year, Pfizer agreed to a settlement of $75m.

    A Royal Dutch Shell top executive is accused of saying that Shell's influence has infiltrated every Nigerian ministry affecting its operations there, and had a list of names of people who where challenging Shell's interests in Nigeria. Shell has since denied these cable allegations.

    Nigeria is Africa's leading oil producer and the eighth biggest exporter in the world, accounting for 8% of US oil imports. Despite billions of dollars in oil revenue, 70% of people live below the poverty line.

    The displacement of organised crime and drug trafficking, from central South America to Africa is reason for concern, according to the US diplomat in Ghana. Latin American cartels and terror groups are now using west Africa as a drug route into Europe. As Mexico cracks down on drug cartels, these cartels are being displaced elsewhere. West Africa, and specifically Ghana, is now becoming a launch pad for the lucrative European cocaine market.

    Secretary of state for African affairs, Johnnie Carson, says that he fears "a bleak future for the Ghanaian people... Ghana is struggling with drug trafficking and increased drug use... God-fearing Ghana is becoming a user country".

    Drug cartels are flying drugs in on Boeing passenger liners on an industrial scale, with make do secrete airstrips in the North, and some Ghanain officials are getting extremely rich.

    US diplomats fear that Kenya could erupt in violence worse than that experienced after the 2008 election unless rampant government corruption is tackled. More than $1 billion in public money has recently disappeared and cannot be accounted for.

    September 2000, a memo records a meeting between Kofi Anaan and Robert Mugabe. During this meeting Kofi Anaan, on behalf of the United Nations, offered Robert Mugabe a lucrative retirement deal overseas – if he agreed to gracefully give up power. Robert Mugabe turned down this offer the following morning. The deal is believed to have included a provision of safe haven and a financial package.

    The diamond frenzy in Chiadzwa (eastern Zimbabwe) has led to hundreds and possibly thousands of homicides. The area is beset with armed gangs and militia, all fighting each other in a small diamond littered area. The illicit diamonds are then sent off to Dubai, Belgium, Israel, and South Africa, enriching many of the same old corrupt Zimbabwean elite.

    Robert Mugabe's wife and first lady, Grace Mugabe, is suing a Zimbabwean newspaper for $15m for reporting allegations released by Wikileaks that she had made "tremendous" profits in the illicit diamond trade.

    South Africa
    Government Ministers and senior officials have spent roughly 4 million USD on luxury vehicles. Although the spending is in accordance with the Ministerial Handbook and no regulations have been broken, the public outcry has been enormous.

    Ministers are entitled to a state-purchased car equivalent to the value of 70 percent of their annual salary. But if this bizarre allowance was spent by all the Governmental ministers, the total cost would come to approximately 32 million USD for 220 motor vehicles. That is enough to have built 5500 houses, 25 schools, or to pay the salaries of 1500 nurses for a year.

    In light of the global economic crisis, and the fact that many South Africans lack access to basic services such as water, sewage, electricity and garbage removal, there is a renewed public awareness and discontent over excessive government spending.

    Words, video and images by Jason Gleeson -
    All Copyrights are reserved by the author.

    Thu, Nov 24, 2011  Permanent link

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