Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who is sending the guns to Nigeria?

Who is sending the guns to Nigeria?

By Osae Brown

As Nigerians were on the street protesting over fuel subsidy removal, a British based man was being arraigned in UK over the shipping of 80,000 rifles and pistols and 32 million rounds of ammunition to Nigeria. The shipment included 40,000 AK47 assault rifles, 30,000 rifles and 10,000 9mm pistols.

According to a report by the BBC, the man whose name is Gary Hyde, shipped these huge arm cache without receiving permission from the relevant government department in the UK.

Gary Hyde (left)

Gary Hyde was not alone in this deal. It was carried out with his business partner Karl Kleber, a German national based in Germany, the court was told.

The pair acted as middle men between two Polish companies acting for the Nigerian buyers and Chinese companies, the court heard, according to the BBC report. Both men received commission payments for the deals totaling around $1.3m (£840,000) or N351 million.The story apparently left several questions unanswered. Who were the Nigerian buyers? Were these guns really delivered to Nigeria eventually?

It is also interesting that since this story broke out in the British media, the Nigerian government has not come out with any specific statement on it. Were these weapons imported by the Nigerian government? If they were not imported by the Nigerian government, have they made any efforts to trace the importers of these large numbers of weapons into the country? Thirty two million rounds of ammunition are enough to kill thirty two million Nigerians, assuming each bullet will kill a Nigerian? This may be an exaggeration, but there is no doubt that if there is this amount of guns and ammunition out there outside the control of the government, then every Nigerian has a serious course to be worried at this time.

The reputation of Gary Hyde, the man at the centre of the storm shows that Nigerians have to be concerned that he has set his eyes on supplying arms to the country. A report in February 2011, in The Observer in UK, shows that Hyde is also facing charges in the US for smuggling arms into the country. The Observer describes him as “Britain’s very own lord of war; an international arms dealer, whose chief currency is the AK-47 assault rifle”

The Observer reports that US officials arrested Hyde in connection with the alleged illegal import into the US of almost 6,000 Chinese-produced AK-47 magazines, each capable of holding up to 75 rounds of ammunition.

The Observer also quotes a Wiki leaks release of confidential US embassy cables which shows that in 2008 York Guns, where Gary Hyde is a director, tried to ship 130,000 of the assault rifles to Libya. The WikiLeaks revelation shows that Gary Hyde through his company acted as an intermediary between an unidentified Ukrainian arms manufacturer and Libyan officials. “The size of the deal raised eyebrows in diplomatic circles, as Libya has only 70,000 ground-force troops and these would be unlikely to use a weapon as dated as the AK-47. The cable noted that the export licence was rejected because the “UK is concerned that the intention may be to re-export the weapons, particularly to armed rebel factions backed by Khartoum and/or Ndjamena in the Chad/Sudan conflict”.

Kleber, Gary Hyde’s German partner also has a reputation that does not sit well with the authorities. The Observer reports that “in 2008 the German federal police agency, the BKA, launched an investigation into Kleber to determine whether he had been involved in “the illegal sale of machine guns via Croatia to Iraq”. This was in response to allegations that companies linked to Hyde had sold tens of thousands of guns to Ziad Cattan, the former head of military procurement at the Iraq Defence Ministry, without an appropriate arms brokering licence. Cattan fled Iraq after a warrant was issued for his arrest amid allegations that he had siphoned off millions of dollars in corrupt deals.

What emerges from these reports is that the two men now being named in connection with supply of arms to Nigeria should raise serious concerns in Nigeria. Have they supplied some other arms into the country, that the authorities are not aware?

The concern becomes even more real considering the fact that at the same time Gary Hyde was being arraigned in UK, the Ghanaian authorities intercepted a truck loaded with arms and ammunition heading to Nigeria. The ammunition included pump action rifles and live rounds.

UPDATE. The BBC 19 January, 2012: The trial of an arms dealer accused of helping to organise a shipment of arms, from China to Nigeria, without the necessary licence has collapsed.

Gary Hyde, of Mask Lane, Newton on Derwent near York, had been on trial at Southwark Crown Court in relation to the 2007 shipment of thousands of guns and millions of bullets. Mr Hyde had denied the charges. The judge discharged the jury on Thursday, saying he had concluded the case had to "fail in law".

The court had been told the shipment was made up of 40,000 AK47 assault rifles, 30,000 rifles and 10,000 9mm pistols, along with 32 million rounds of ammunition. The prosecution had argued that as the shipment had been partly arranged and organised from the UK by Mr Hyde, it required a licence from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Mr Hyde had denied two charges of breaching the Trade in Goods (Control) Order 2003 and one charge of concealing criminal property. His defence team had told the court that Mr Hyde was not somebody who sticks "two fingers up" at the regulations.

The judge, Nicholas Loraine-Smith, told the court on Thursday that he was discharging the jury. He said: "I have come to the conclusion that this case has to fail in law, on the particular facts of this case." He added that it related to the framing of the order concerned, which had been replaced in 2009.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012



Nigeria’s fuel subsidy reduction protests were called off last week (16 January) as union bosses and the public were presented with a carrot - a return to a compromise level of N97 per litre (as compared to N65 before Jan 1 and up to N200 during last week’s rushed changes) and a stick - military deployments against protesters in major cities (against the objections of Lagos State’s Governor Fashola and others).

With a casualty list of ten dead in five cities across the country, criminal elements starting to take advantage of the disruption, and the nation already reeling under escalating Boko Haram violence, it seems that it was in no-one’s interest to allow for a longer period of instability. In any case, opponents of the new policy, and of Nigeria’s non-transparent political status quo, will rightfully feel that they have achieved a certain shift in the balance of power: While many analysts felt that strikes could not be continued beyond three days, more than a week of sustained action resulted in the government blinking first – despite state efforts to force employees to go back to work through the threat of no-work-no-pay.

In 2004, showdowns between government and union-led civil society over the same issue led – via strikes – to a negotiated settlement that was more elegantly choreographed. So why did the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan act in a manner considerably more intransigent than that of the bullish and often autocratic President Olusegun Obasanjo, who presided over earlier fuel price controversies?

To understand this requires a deeper examination of the structural politics underpinning the current administration in Nigeria. Let’s start by dismissing a myth. Whatever well-meaning technocrats (including Nigeria’s respected ex-World Bank Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) may think, the ending of fuel subsidies has less to do with correcting a structural imbalance in the national economy, and more to do with the maths of patronage politics.

Anyone who doubts that should just follow the numbers. Note first, that deregulated prices were introduced even though funds for a further three months had been budgeted for. Next, attempt to follow the fate of the N28.875 billion (US$174.9 million) already saved during the 1st – 15th January deregulation (if the calculation based on government’s own figures is correct). If you are unconvinced, then simply follow the national accounts over the next 12 months. The new agreed price will reduce government spending by an estimated N61.2 billion for the last quarter of the current financial year (the new subsidy will save N23 per litre - at a projected consumption of 35m litres per day for 76 days that makes N61.2bn). Come December, try to find where this saving is reflected in the year-end national accounts; if it is not accounted there, it means that another US$380m of public money has vanished into the system with no paper trail.

The agenda here is not an economic one but a political one that is informed by the logic of rent and patronage. The Goodluck Jonathan administration suffers from an unfortunate conjunction of deficiencies of two strategic commodities; legitimacy and cash. Having become President ‘against the grain’ of the unwritten pact of regional power-rotation among the political elite, Jonathan must manufacture that consensus post-facto, which is expensive, as it requires the stuffing of dissenting mouths with Naira bills, issued via lucrative government contracts.

At the outset, when he faced the challenge of how to take over power from the dying late President Yar’Adua, Jonathan commissioned a group of elder states-people, headed by veteran coup-brokering general, turned oil baron and philanthropist, T.Y Danjuma, to do what amounted to a strategic review of the state of the nation. In essence, he got the ‘management consultants’ in. The Danjuma-led Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) reported that the most significant cost to the government was recurrent salary expenditure, which have accounted for nearly 60% of budgets in the last decade. It further reported that the country is already committed to funding N20.84 trillion (US$126.2 billion) of capital projects that have been included in budgets since 1999. As a result, there is basically no money for any major new projects for the medium-term.

This is a political problem, not just a developmental one, because the patronage system of government – on which elite cohesion depends – is based on the issuance of contracts (and thus, kickbacks and leakages) for big infrastructure projects. When kickbacks are demanded in Nigeria, they frequently exceed 10% of a contracts value (this writer has heard reliable accounts of kickback-driven inflation of 40%-300% of the actual cost of the goods and services supplied); and the contracts are often sizeable – a recent Chinese agreement to supply security communications equipment for the capital city was reportedly worth US$470 million.

Kickbacks are what the political elite ‘eats’, and without them the machine grinds to a halt. So, the problem facing Jonathan was where to look for funds to keep the consensus going. The PAC advocated lots of savings, including cutting government waste and reducing salaries. Bureaucratic sinecures, however, are another patronage goods, so the government opted to pass the buck onto the public by availing itself of the huge sums that were tied up in the fuel subsidy. Given the choice of alienating the elite or the public, the Jonathan administration chose the former.

With its back to the wall, and instability in the country mounting, it is perhaps unsurprising that government was so keen to maximize the resources at its disposal. The Jonathan administration may appear to be more vulnerable than ever, but it is worth noting that the President now has funds that may enable him to co-opt support and re-establish his position.

The decision to remove the subsidy brought protesters out onto the streets and the unions out on strike, forcing the government to think again. So now, both sides have stepped back from the barricades, what can we discern from the current state of the political field?

Some commentators have noted the army’s move on to the streets and mooted a return to the military interventions of the 1960s-1990s. Such speculations seem wide of the mark. For one thing, there is no real public appetite for a return to juntas. For another, former President Obasanjo did a thorough job of structurally depoliticizing the army, and the ‘political’ officers of yesteryear are now out of uniform. Just to be sure, it is instructive that Jonathan, like Yar’Adua before him, has ethnicized the top leadership of the military. Ignore for now the post of Chief of Defence Staff (the Yoruba Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin) – it is a cosmetic post which enables senior officers to be ‘kicked upstairs’ out of the line of command. Note instead that the strategic posts of Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) and National Security Adviser (NSA) are occupied by faces from areas which strongly support Jonathan. The appointment of Azubuike Ihejirika represents a major boost for the Igbo south-east and represents the region’s first top command appointment since the Biafra war. Similarly, NSA General Andrew Azazi is from Jonathan’s home state of Bayelsa.

A more pertinent fear might be the apparent division of the country along ethno-religious lines. Christian leaders, exasperated with the lack of condemnation of Boko Haram from prominent Islamic voices in the country (who are probably silent due in large part to their own fear of becoming targets of assassination), have begun to advise that Christians in northern states take steps to defend themselves; such statements are provocative but reflect real fears, and increasing numbers of southerners resident in the north are coming home. Meanwhile, a small number of northerners based in the south have moved in the opposite direction. But such trends are yet small, and civil society protests against the fuel subsidies have actually reinforced a message of unity, with Kano protesters striking an interfaith mutual defence pact.

In truth, popular anger in most places is against the government, not other Nigerians, and where it is likely to spill over, security forces are generally positioned for timely reaction. Fifteen Local Governments (including Jos) where ethnic or religious violence has been most pronounced are already under Emergency Rule, volatile Kaduna has been under curfew, and Kano is being carefully managed through savvy community relations. Violence against Hausa money-changers in Benin City under the cover of protests was an unfortunate exception – criminal networks have been a big problem in the city through the last decade – but army units acted fast to round up Hausa residents and place them under protection.

With the controversy over the fuel subsidy seemingly calmed for the time being, what is not yet clear is how the administration plans to react to the wider crisis of stability in Nigeria. President Jonathan seemed to strike a panicky note last week, announcing at a national church service that his government and military had been ‘infiltrated’ by Boko Haram militants. Even if grounded in any evidence, this was an inadvisable thing to say, as it only served to spread uncertainty and fear. But it may be the real state of the President’s thinking. Diplomatic sources reported in 2010 that Jonathan, while VP, had taken to wearing a bulletproof vest. Those who think the President may lose his appetite for office and step down are however wide of the mark: the matter is not up to him. Niger Delta militants, whose campaign of insurgency propelled Jonathan to the VP slot to begin with, now feel that ‘their’ man is in power, so that they are in power; it’s ‘their turn to eat’ and they will be extremely displeased to see it ended prematurely. Jonathan may not be as adept at working with these factors as Nigeria’s First Lady is reported to be; but in any case his freedom of action is likely to be constrained by this powerful constituency.

So, some analysts conclude that the President is not in control of the situation – the real question is does this matter. Nigeria did not have a President at all in any meaningful sense of the term during President Yar’Adua illness in 2009-2010 and nothing fell apart in the realm of the everyday, because the state doesn’t do much for ordinary Nigerians at the best of times. Despite the public demonization of the President in recent days, the issue is not that Jonathan is an especially mean person or bad President – he is certainly an improvement on some figures in Nigeria’s past – but that the system is remarkably impervious to reform. Last week, the administration made a cosmetic change in response to public demands for more transparency with regard to oil revenue by appointing two little-known domestic law firms to investigate and audit the sector; at the same time, the opposition ACN party accused the government of attempting to broker a deal to hand over the country’s entire maritime security to a company run by a former Niger Delta militant.

So, Jonathan alone is not going to make or break Nigeria. The problem is more structural – Nigeria’s government-centred political economy, built on top of a fundamentally unwieldy constitution, has grown too expensive for its own resources and incapable of playing the role that it has carved out for itself. Spatially, central government has been retreating towards Abuja for some time now, ceding more leeway to powerful state governors while it walls itself in to the capital – a glitzy, CCTV-monitored national-scale version of the Government Reserve Area (gated estates) that exist in most Nigerian towns – where it can feed off oil revenues without having to be bothered with actual governance. The more interesting question is not whether or not Jonathan is in control, but which devolved, democratized or fissiparous forces are coming in to fill the vacuum that has been created by the retreat of the centre. Given this trend, and the mediated success of fuel subsidy protests, will we finally see a change in the balance of power towards the public?

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

I.M.F and the Stimulus of Destabilization

from left; Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (Nigeria's Central Bank Governor), Christine Lagarde (M.D International Monetary Fund) and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria's Finance Minister and co-ordinating Minister for the Economy) Look who's smiling.

by Michael .O. Dibiaezue.

Looking at unfolding events in my country Nigeria, today, I ask how it is possible for a President in full view of our collapsing security situation to go ahead and impose policies that do nothing but aggravate an already frightening situation. Surely, something has gone terribly wrong with decision making in our country. There has to be overpowering reasons for this and they are what I intend to explore through this write-up.

In 2005, the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) announced to the world that Nigeria will break up by the year 2015 if it continued on its then socio-economic path. In May 2008, the official homepage of the United States military (click here) described a war-game scenario playing out in which "The Nigerian government is near collapse and rival factions are vying for power in that troubled part of the world"" It added "The exercise centers around realistic threats to ongoing peace around the world, like the potentially negative effects of globalization, competition for energy, demographic trends, climate change and natural disasters, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the existence of failed or failing states that could be havens for terrorists." In other words, the prospects of Nigeria collapsing with rival factions vying for power are very realistic threats to our nation according to the US government.

In February 2008, Vice Admiral Moeller, in a presentation at an Africom conference held at Fort McNair, declared that protecting "the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market" i.e. the West, was one of Africom's "guiding principles" and specifically cited "oil disruption," "terrorism," and the "growing influence" of China as major "challenges" to U.S. interests in Africa. Dwelling on Moeller's statement, clearly reveals Africom's intended purpose and its relationship to war exercises such as Unified Quest 08. Not just that, it showcases America's intolerance to growing spheres of influence and competition. To lump influence and competition alongside terrorism and oil disruption is to underline the fact that America considers them an act of war which is exactly why Africom views them as challenges.

This attitude and the several programs being foisted on African nations in furtherance of these American policies have led to a very negative drain on the African economy. According to Daniel Volman of the African Security Research Project, under the Direct Commercial Sales Program (DCS), the US State Department granted licenses for the sale of police equipment (including pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, and crowd control chemicals) by private U.S. companies to African governments. In the financial year of 2008, American firms were expected to deliver more than $175 million worth of this kind of hardware to Algeria through the DCS program, along with $2 million worth for Botswana, $3 million for Kenya, $19 million for Morocco, $17 million for Nigeria, and $61million for South Africa.

The question that needs to be asked is why it becomes US policy for private US companies to sell $17 million worth of crowd control chemicals and guns to Nigeria or an excess of $300 million of these equipments to select African countries whose citizens live on less than $2-$3 a day, instead of desperately needed medication and infrastructure? Leaders of these African countries will no doubt be tempted to apply these equipments to the suppression of their people and when they refuse to abide by Western dictates for whatever reasons, will be hauled before the ICC at The Hague for killing their citizens.

One will find all across Africa today, several programs put in place for the direct enrichment of the US Military/Industrial Complex. (1) The Flintlock 2005 and 2007 are Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) exercises to provide training experience for American and African troops. The Flintlock 2007 exercises involved forces from Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. (2) The Joint Task Force Aztec Silence (JTFAS) is charged with conducting surveillance operations using the assets of the U.S. 6th Fleet (such as the spy plane P-3 Orion) to share information, along with intelligence collected by U.S. intelligence agencies. In February 2008, the U.S. 6th Fleet conducted seven days of joint maritime exercises (known as Exercise Maritime Safari 2008) at Nigeria's Ikeja Air Force Base with the Nigerian Navy and Air Force.

There are also (3) the Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) which links the United States with eight African countries: Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. (4) The East Africa Counter-Terrorism Initiative is a training program similar to the TSCTP, and is a multi-year program. (5) The Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance Program (ACOTA) has Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia participating. (6) The International Military Education and Training Program (IMET) militarizes African youths by training them in the art of war. (7) The Foreign Military Sales Program ensures the sale of US military equipment through the direct supervision of the US government which provides loans to finance these purchases by African governments. (8) The African Coastal and Border Security Program (ACBS) provides specialized equipment such as patrol vessels and vehicles, communications equipments, night vision devices and electronic monitors and sensors to African countries.

Setting aside the colossal sums of money paid by our governments in hosting and participating in these programs, Nigeria and most African countries risk laying bare all their defence and security secrets to elements that may or may not align themselves with America's goals. Modern aerial surveillance planes, like the P-3 Orion, are capable of acquiring and storing huge amounts of data, including photographs of vast swathes of land mass. Rogue elements within the US military may be persuaded, as they have been on numerous other occasions, to sell our defence and security secrets to unknown parties. It is also important to note that whereas these exercises expose virtually the whole of Africa's land mass to prying eyes, the same cannot be said for those Western nations that share in the exercises.

These exercises and programs can best be described as a platform for advertising and marketing American military hardware and crowd control equipments, a market place if you like, which in turn result in the wasteful drain on the Nigerian and African economies. To be sure, there is no point to training people and conducting exercises if the equipments they are trained to use are unavailable to them. Another thought is these exercises provide the pretext for mapping out terrain and for participating foreign nations to test their new ships and weapons with a view to assessing their adaptability and performance on the African continent. The only ingredients missing for persuading African leaders to buy military hardware and crowd control chemicals are the destabilizing stimuli of war, social unrest and conflict. These stimuli can occur as a result of foreign interference or the imposition of unbearable living conditions.

The Niger Delta resistance and the Boko Haram insurgency are clear examples of these destabilizing stimuli at work. No matter the reasons for their occurrence, fact is that government by virtue of these uprisings will be seriously inclined and persuaded to invest in materials and equipments that help quell them. Needless to say, these kinds of purchases are a drain on any economy seeing that they do not add positive growth to a people's economic quest.

On December 2011, another kind of destabilizing stimulus was put to play in Nigeria. The Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde arrived Nigeria to meet with President Jonathan. Her primary mission was to order him to get rid of fuel subsidy. The issue here was not the unbearable conditions this directive imposed on Nigerians but the freeing up of funds to more quickly enable us service our debt to her organization. The dictates of IMF's conditionality ordered funds accruing from the removal of subsidy and elsewhere to be placed with a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and invested in Western markets, the implication being that such funds were unworthy of investment in the Nigerian economy.

Bearing this in mind and noting well that such SWF belonging to the Libyan people was confiscated not too long ago by Western powers, it becomes unrealistic to expect that our SWF, a condition put in place by the IMF, would be applied to lifting the socio-economic yoke of the Nigerian people whereas our debts remained unpaid and I.M.F cash-strapped. My educated guess is that the promises of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment programme (SURE) will never materialize for want of funds elsewhere applied.

Finally, we come to the issue of subsidy itself. It is a misnomer for government to brand what is by all practical definitions a petroleum tax as subsidy. Essentially, the pump price of fuel at our filling stations, when refined locally, is determined by the sum of a series of costs. They are exploration, development, operation, refining, distribution and marketing costs. Figures available for 2005 and at that year's exchange rate of 130 Naira (N) to the dollar, show that exploration costs came to $.025 per barrel or N.02 per litre, development cost $4 per barrel or N3.27 per litre, operation costs $7.05 per barrel or N5.74 per litre, refining costs $21 per barrel or N17.17 per litre, distribution costs were N2.45 per litre, marketing costs N5.87 per litre bringing total costs for the pump price of a litre of fuel in Nigeria to 24 cents or N31.50 per litre. With pump prices at N65, it means government makes a profit of N33.50 on every litre of fuel sold at the pumps i.e. a profit in excess of 100%.

As long as crude remains extractable from our soil not much will happen to change these 2005 projections, aside from distribution costs. Government's inability to fix existing refineries (which enabled production and delivery costs of a litre of fuel to reach our pumps at 24 cents or N31.50) has now allowed for the kind of fraud we see today in the fuel importation business and has culminated in the emergence of a cabal that hold both government and citizens hostage. This situation is what has made removal of "subsidy' mentionable and has led to the intolerable position Nigerians find themselves today. So, even here, we also see that government's decision to obey Lagarde and remove subsidy amounts to the application of a destabilizing stimulus.

That fuel subsidy could be so arrogantly removed on New Year day without feeling or recourse to Nigerians or their representatives at the National Assembly, speaks of the fear our leaders harbor for International bankers and the degree of control these bankers exert on our lives through their influencing of government's policies. It is in fact, a showing of how sovereign nations are targeted and ripped opened by the lecherous fingers of international financial institutions .

Having said this much, we need to now look at the bigger picture. What we have is the Ambassador to US (a foreign power to which our government has thrown open our borders and country; one that has not come bearing gifts but to educate us on how to kill ourselves [Africans] and present us with the means to get it done at economy-wrecking prices) campaigning and pledging support for the removal of subsidy. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the US, is the I.M.F that has ordered our government to impose conditions which will result in untold hardship to the masses of my country. In other words, our government is being ordered to abdicate its primary responsibility to the people and trash its very reason for being.

It does not take an Einstein to figure what the outcome will be and that result clearly manifests today in the social upheaval that rages. I find it curious that the US government should scare and startle Nigeria with its break-up prediction and turn around to hold war game exercises with it, as the catalysis (i.e. the I.M.F's directive on fuel subsidy removal) to accelerate and bring about such prediction are activated. Observing that the US is I.M.F's foremost patron and financier, it would not be stretching the imagination to think that these actions were premeditated. Considering all this therefore, would it not be true to say that the U.S, Christine Lagarde and the IMF, by their support and directive on the removal of fuel subsidy, have instigated the protests, riots and strikes sweeping across Nigeria today?

There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that these unfolding events have been brought about by the interference of foreign entities (aided by their agents in government) in the affairs of another sovereign state and that they had been carefully planned for one end; the destabilization or break-up of my country. If President Jonathan abandons us to carry out the instructions passed to him, he will be given the tools and equipments with which to fight us on the streets by this same foreign power while funds will be provided for their purchase by the same shylock financial institution that wish us all dead. If he does not, more destabilizing stimuli will be applied to bend his will. This may come in the form of our being blacklisted and isolated. Sanctions may also be applied in various forms to make us croak and surely, a bad name will be given to that dog.

What Jonathan must do is to look inwards. He must get himself a good pair of scissor and set to work trimming the unsustainable size of government. He must also go to the National Assembly and cut their coat to size. He must let the political class know the party is over. The subsidies of security votes, inflated contracts and ghost workers must go. The subsidy on corruption and unaccountability must also go. Our refineries must be brought back to life and more built. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) must be seriously diminished and overhauled. Our manufacturing sector must be rehabilitated and tools for effective production put in place, the power sector would be a good place to start.

Government must be made to do some work and now would seem a pretty good time to start. War games and exercises coupled to the purchase of oppressive instruments for use on the citizens of my country will only disenfranchise him politically and out him as a dictator. To conclude, one final question for Christine Lagarde. How would the French react if the price of fuel were to more than double on New Year day? Would Nicholas Sarkozy still be sitting pretty on his political throne?

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Friday, January 13, 2012

A letter from Ayo Obe; Re: The Fuel Subsidy Removal Protests for Dummies

Dear Friends both near and far,

E ku subsidi o! Lagos and other cities remain at a standstill on Day 3 of the nationwide strike.

I hope everybody been able to see this piece which captures a lot of the issues on this matter: you can find it by clicking on this link http://www.naijablog.co.uk/2012/01/fuel-subsidy-removal-protests-for.html

Apart from the bit about the generator - I've withdrawn from that particular vicious cycle of fuel, service, repair, service, fuel, repair - and my limited hustling skills, I recognised my life in that third paragraph! I'm also sending it around because of this propaganda by the FGN that those protesting are being teleguided by the CPC. Granted, Pastor Bakare used intemperate language in raining death curses on President Jonathan (quite uncalled for) but as the writer of Fuel Subsidy Removal Protests for Dummies says: "Would it be acceptable to citizens of affluent countries that the price of petrol doubles overnight without any warning?" Would they need to be teleguided to rise up in protest? The reality is that Labour and the political parties, including CPC, are behind the curve on this matter!

Here is the content, and if you make it to the end of the piece, a link to my regular Wednesday column, though I also wrote about this last Wednesday.

"Monday, January 09, 2012
The Fuel Subsidy Removal Protests for Dummies
On the first day of the indefinite general strike organised by a coalition between two of the largest unions in Nigeria – the TUC and the NLC – and a cluster of smaller unions and social media-based activists and organisations, some external observers have expressed surprise at the intensity of resistance the “Occupy Nigeria” campaign has mounted against the removal of the fuel subsidy on January 1st and the size of the mass demonstrations taking place. From an outside perspective, it might seem like a dust-devil has been whipped up without why in the desert. In case there’s still any confusion, allow me to explain why there is so much anger and resistance.

The answer begins with a question: would it be acceptable to citizens of affluent countries that the price of petrol doubles overnight without any warning? Perhaps Jeffrey Sachs would be alone in his view, or perhaps he only prescribes a certain type of medicine for African countries. Perhaps the view from Sachs' brain is that Africans can get by on generic drugs long past their sell-by date.

Aside from Sachs' development fantasies, the lived reality of citizens of the Nigerian state is that it provides little or no security, no infrastructure, no education and no employment opportunities (apart from mostly McJobs in the civil service). Everywhere in Nigeria, the basic elements of civilised existence have to be taken care of house-by-house, compound-by-compound. You must sink your own borehole for water, buy, install and fuel a generator for power, hire security guards to keep the wolves from the door, pay school fees to ensure your kids get a half-decent education because the public school system is in perpetual meltdown. And to earn enough money to get through the day, you must hustle.

The breakdown of a standard tax and political representation based social contract between citizens and the state in Nigeria is almost entirely a result of the past few decades of the so-called ‘resource curse’. Earning billions of dollars each year from crude exports, the Nigerian government has no need to rely on tax from individuals or local companies; tax and royalty payments from the international oil companies (as well as historically, loans from international financial institutions) have been sufficient to fund the annual budget at all levels of government. For the past few decades, cheap fuel has therefore been the only form of social contract between ordinary Nigerians and the state and the principle lever to control inflation during times of rising oil prices. With most Nigerians subsisting on US$2 or less, subsidised fuel has also been a survival mechanism, making life only just bearable.

It was therefore highly surprising to Nigerians to find out that the fuel subsidy had been removed on January 1st and that the price regulating body under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – the PPPRA – had more than doubled the price of petrol overnight. No one had been given warning. The expectation was that the subsidy would be removed at the earliest in April. The strong suspicion is that following on from Christine Lagarde’s visit to Nigeria in late December, the government had accelerated its plans. From the views of key government figures, it’s easy to see how Nigeria acceded to IMF pressure with little or no resistance. The Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has repeatedly stated that removing the fuel subsidy would only hurt the affluent car-owning population, forgetting how central the price of fuel is to almost every basic aspect of life here. Meanwhile, the Governor of the Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has stated that removal of the subsidy would only have a short-term inflationary effect. With opinions like this, the IMF was walking into an open door.

Given the state of the global economy, it is little surprise that the IMF is in favour of insisting on reducing debt wherever it can. However, the IMF also appears to be suffering from institutional amnesia; what is happening in Nigeria is in some respects a re-run of the Structural Adjustment Programme in the 1980s, and President Ibrahim Babangida’s short-term attempts to resist austerity measures. As we will recall, “IBB” ended up creating his own austerity package, which was more severe than that proposed by the IMF. The Nigerian economy quickly tanked, resulting in mass suffering among Nigerians. Fundamentalist strains of evangelical Christianity mushroomed forth from the barren earth. Unlike the World Bank, which is increasingly taking political-economy factors seriously in its analysis and its programmes, even today the IMF and its high-priesthood consultants views the world from the numerical altar of macro-economics. The technocratic nature of the IMF means that the organisation is in fact programmed to forget the past.
During the recent fuel subsidy debate on local Nigerian TV station Channels, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was keen to state what she referred to as ‘facts’. At no point has anyone in the executive effectively challenged former Petroleum Minister Tam David-West’s querying of whether there is a subsidy in the first place, or whether the landing cost of imported fuel has been artificially padded. Given the findings ofthe recent KPMG report into the NNPC, it seems that facts about the oil sector in Nigeria are thin on the ground.
The defence offered by the Finance Minister during that same debate is that the savings from removal of the subsidy would be spent on a palliative capital-spending programme – the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE). Nigerians have raised a number of critical objections to this proposal and the timing of subsidy removal.

Firstly, given the glut of money in state coffers in the past few years and the lack of any successful infrastructural development (for instance in power and transport), there is little guarantee that the SURE programme would be implemented or successful, rather than go the way of all initiatives in the past. The government of Nigeria has not been able to significantly raise the amount of power generated, nor has it been able to achieve the low-tech objective of revamping the dilapidated railway network, still less has it been able to improve standards in public education and healthcare. What then would be different about the SURE programme?

Secondly, while most Nigerians are probably not ideologically opposed to subsidy removal (and targeting the corrupt ‘cabal’ of fuel importers who benefit from the subsidy), they are utterly opposed to the timing, given the insecurity in the land raised by Islamic militancy in the North and the potential for renewed militancy in response in the Niger Delta. A phased subsidy withdrawal, as has happened elsewhere, would have been the preferred approach.

Thirdly, the idea that removing the subsidy equates to ‘deregulation’ and the equivalent private sector boom as witnessed in the past decade in the telecoms sector is highly suspect to most. For the downstream oil sector to be deregulated, there has to be new legislation in place. The Petroleum Industry Bill, which separates the functions of a national oil company, regulation and policy-making, would need to become law. We have been waiting since the previous minister of petroleum for the PIB to be passed. At present, the NNPC is the epicentre of corruption in the oil sector in Nigeria, and has to broken up into its constituent parts for the private sector to be given space to grow its role. In addition, Nigerians would want to see a much higher percentage of crude oil refined locally, rather than the current reliance on imported fuel, to ensure a favourable local pricing policy that does not depend on state subsidy. Without any of these key deregulatory building blocks in place, removal of the ‘subsidy’ now is simply terrible timing and does not inspire confidence among a people who long ago lost their faith in government.

Finally, if savings are urgently required from the annual government budget, most Nigerians would argue that the first place to cut costs is that of the price of running government itself. As the Governor of the Central Bank pointed out last year, the National Assembly consumes 25% of the Federal overheads budget; the cost of running the President’s office has been widely publicised in recent weeks (including a billion naira food bill). It is rare to see a member of the executive - down to director-generals of government agencies most Nigerians have never heard of - travelling without a sizeable convoy of expensive cars. Nigerian government delegations to international conferences and gatherings are often by far the largest, with a supersized retinue of special advisors, assistants and staff for the first-wife in attendance, there to collect their allowance and have access to shopping opportunities overseas.

As it is, most Nigerians are poor, and will simply not be able to survive with any comfort on US$2 a day and a doubling of living costs. That the government of Nigeria didn’t foresee the massive level of resistance happening today is quite bewildering. It shows a complete disconnect and disregard for Nigerians. However, where there is the greatest danger, there is greatest hope. Nigerians have never been so united in years – last week, in the unofficially renamed Liberation Square in Kano, Christians guarded the space as their Muslim co-protestors prayed. In return, last Sunday, Muslims guarded Churches as others prayed inside.

What we are witnessing with Occupy Nigeria is a generational transfer, as young, social-media enabled activists gradually take over the baton from unionist stalwarts. Nigeria's young population is increasingly letting go of the deferential attitude of their parents generation. In the south at least, young Nigerians are beginning to ask questions of the religious leadership that has been complicit with the status-quo. At long last, there is accountability pressure building up in the system.

In the short term, following on from the next few days of protest and shut-down, it’s hard to imagine anything other than a policy reversal, and a planned withdrawal being announced, in step with a clear programme of projects that must be delivered before any further withdrawal of subsidy is implemented (citizens monitoring a re-drafted SURE programme for instance). Even at this very late stage, President Goodluck could become a hero of the process. Come what may, underlying events this week a deeper shift is at work: a new generation of Nigerians well versed in events to the north in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya is demanding that the terms of the social contract in Nigeria are re-written, in favour of increased accountability in political leadership."

For those who haven't seen it, here is my Wednesday column: http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=73440:obethe-kids-are-alright&catid=38:columnists&Itemid=615

All the best,

About Ayo Obe

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Nigeria; AFRICOM'S next Libya?

Nigeria; AFRICOM'S next Libya?

On a recent trip to West Africa, the newly appointed managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde ordered the governments of Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Ghana and Chad to relinquish vital fuel subsidies.

Much to the dismay of the population of these nations, the prices of fuel and transport have near tripled over night without notice, causing widespread violence on the streets of the Nigerian capital of Abuja and its economic center, Lagos.

Much like the IMF induced riots in Indonesia during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, public discontent in Nigeria is channelled towards an incompetent and self-serving domestic elite, compliant to the interests of fraudulent foreign institutions.

Although Nigeria holds the most proven oil reserves in Africa behind Libya, it’s people are now expected to pay a fee closer to what the average American pays for the cost of fuel, an exorbitant sum in contrast to its regional neighbours. Alternatively, other oil producing nations such as Venezuela, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia offer their populations fuel for as little as $0.12 USD per gallon.

While Lagos has one of Africa’s highest concentration of billionaires, the vast majority of the population struggle daily on less than $2.00 USD. Amid a staggering 47% youth unemployment rate and thousands of annual deaths related to preventable diseases, the IMF has pulled the rug out from under a nation where safe drinking water is a luxury to around 80% of it’s populace.

Although Nigeria produces 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day intended for export use, the country struggles with generating sufficient electrical power and maintaining its infrastructure. Ironically enough, less than 6% of bank depositors own 88% of all bank deposits in Nigeria. Goldman Sachs employees line its domestic government, in addition to the former Vice President of the World Bank, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is widely considered by many to be the de facto Prime Minister.

Even after decades of producing lucrative oil exports, Nigeria has failed to maintain it’s own refineries, forcing it to illogically purchase oil imports from other nations. Society at large has not benefited from Nigeria’s natural riches, so it comes as no surprise that a severe level of distrust is held towards the government, who claims the fuel subsidy needs to be lifted in order to divert funds towards improving the quality of life within the country.

Like so many other nations, Nigerian people have suffered from a systematically reduced living standard after being subjected to the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Policies (SAP). Before a loan can be taken from the World Bank or IMF, a country must first follow strict economic policies, which include currency devaluation, lifting of trade tariffs, the removal of subsidies and detrimental budget cuts to critical public sector health and education services.

SAPs encourage borrower countries to focus on the production and export of domestic commodities and resources to increase foreign exchange, which can often be subject to dramatic fluctuations in value. Without the protection of price controls and an authentic currency rate, extreme inflation and poverty subsist to the point of civil unrest, as seen in a wide array of countries around the world (usually in former colonial protectorates).

The people of Nigeria have been one of the world’s most vocal against IMF-induced austerity measures, student protests have been met with heavy handed repression since 1986 and several times since then, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths. As a testament to the success of the loan, the average laborer in Nigeria earned 35% more in the 1970’s than he does in 2012.

Working through the direct representation of Western Financial Institutions and the IMF in Nigeria’s Government, a new IMF conditionality calls for the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund. Olusegun Aganga, the former Nigerian Minister of Finance (and ex-Goldman Sachs employee-who ran Goldman Sachs' hedge fund consulting services in London) commented on how the SWF was hastily pushed through and enacted prior to the countries national elections.

If huge savings are amassed from oil exports and austerity measures, one cannot realistically expect that these funds will be invested towards infrastructure development based on the current track record of the Nigerian Government. Further more, it is increasingly more likely that any proceeds from a SWF would be beneficial to Western institutions and markets, which initially demanded its creation.

Nigerian philanthropist, Bukar Usman, prophetically writes “I have genuine fears that the SWF would serve us no better than other foreign-recommended “remedies” which we had implemented to our own detriment in the past or are being pushed to implement today.”

The abrupt simultaneous removal of fuel subsidies in several West African nations is a clear indication of who is really in charge of things in post-colonial Africa. The timing of its cushion-less implementation could not be any worse, Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan recently declared a state of emergency after forty people were killed in a church bombing on Christmas day, an act allegedly committed by the Islamist separatist group, Boko Haram.

The group advocates dividing the predominately Muslim northern states from the Christian southern states, a similar predicament to the recent division of Sudan.

As the United States African Command (AFRICOM) begins to gain a foothold into the continent, with its troops officially present in Eritrea and Uganda, in an effort to maintain security and remove other theocratic religious groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, the sectarian violence in Nigeria provides a convenient pretext for military intervention in the continuing resource war.

For further insight into this theory, it is interesting to note that United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania conducted a series of African war game scenarios in preparation for the Pentagon’s expansion of AFRICOM under the Obama Administration.

In the presence of US State Department Officials, employees from The Rand Corporation and Israeli military personnel, a military exercise was undertaken which tested how AFRICOM would respond to a disintegrating Nigeria on the verge of collapse amidst civil war. The scenario envisioned rebel factions vying for control of the Niger Delta oil fields (the source of one of America’s top oil imports), which would potentially be secured by some 20,000 U.S. troops if a US-friendly coup failed to take place.

At a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward then went on to brazenly state the priority issue of America’s growing dependence on African oil would be furthered by AFRICOM operating under the principle theatre-goal of “combating terrorism”.

At an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared the guiding principle of AFRICOM is to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before citing China’s increasing presence in the region as challenging to American interests.

After the unwarranted snatch-and-grab regime change conducted in Libya, nurturing economic destabilization, civil unrest and sectarian conflict in Nigeria is an ultimately tangible effort to secure Africa’s second largest oil reserves. During the pillage of Libya, its SFW accounts worth over 1.2 billion USD were frozen and essentially absorbed by Franco-Anglo-American powers; it would be realistic to assume that much the same would occur if Nigeria failed to comply with Western interests. While agents of foreign capital have already infiltrated its government, there is little doubt that Nigeria will become a new front in the War on Terror.

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Sunday, January 01, 2012

World War 3 has begun

World War 3 has begun

The Pentagon has already declared World War III and President Barack Obama and the Congress never even carried out their constitutional duties to approve the use of American military power for war.

One might reasonably conclude that the United States has outsourced war. Presently, World War III is being conducted on two continents – Asia and Africa – with two others – Europe and South America – looming on the horizon. Today, wars are crafted by the upper one percent of wealthy elitists who, using non-governmental organizations, television networks, non — profit “think tanks,” and public relations firms, can declare war on nations without a whimper from elected public officials.

Symmetric warfare is no longer an option for the global elites. World Wars I and II severely affected the investments of many of the global elite families as a result of the destruction of cities, factories, railways, seaports, and other infrastructures. The Korean, Vietnam, the Arab-Israeli, and Iraq wars were messy affairs that also adversely affected markets and destroyed valuable infrastructures. The Cold War never developed into a hot nuclear war because of the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), which ensured that a nuclear first strike by either the West or the East would result in total annihilation of both sides, along with the rest of the world. Even a western military attack on China would have had disastrous results for the attackers, especially since China could retaliate with a nuclear counter-attack and wipe out the U.S. Seventh Fleet and its East Asian naval bases, including Okinawa and Guam. A new type of warfare was required by the elites: asymmetric warfare – the use of unconventional warfare tactics, including information warfare, by proxies, non-state actors, agents provocateur, and fifth columns.

Largely financed by hedge fund mega-tycoon George Soros and his Central Intelligence Agency interlocutors, our present asymmetric World War III was field tested just like any new product. The “themed” revolutions were market-tested first in Serbia, and then in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan, to oust problematic governments that did not want to get on board with the dictates of the unelected and unaccountable real controllers of the financial and political destiny of the world.

Pro-western and pro-European Union governments, comprised of a number of individuals who were funded by Soros and other non-state operations established by the global elites, for example, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, Freedom House, U.S. Institute of Peace, and others funded and supported by the Houses of Rothschild, Rockefeller, Mellon, and others saw to it that new governments took root in Belgrade, Kiev, Tbilisi, and Bishkek. These new governments were not elected but took power as a result of themed street rebellions, a new manifestation of unconventional warfare.

No longer did armies, navies, and air forces have to face each other across battlefields and battle zones and theaters of warfare. One merely had to embed fifth columnists and provocateurs inside a targeted nation’s capital city, media, political party apparatus, and “civil society” infrastructure to bring about the defeat of the government outside the normal political process and replace it with a new government beholden to the desires of the central banks and global oligarchs.

The beginnings of the asymmetric world war began in Belgrade, Serbia when Otpor – a Serbian resistance movement dedicated to overthrowing the Slobodon Milosevic regime – launched the first “themed revolution.” Otpor’s symbol was a clenched fist, an emblem that would reappear in the future in other capital cities from Kiev to Cairo. Otpor received massive funding from a network of western contrivances, including George Soros’s Open Society Institute, the neo-conservative-infiltrated U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, and various European Union-funded NGOs that were intimately linked to Soros’s “democracy engineering” operations.

The playbook used for Otpor in Serbia and by similar organizations in toppling the governments of Georgia in the Rose Revolution, Ukraine in the Orange Revolution, and Kyrgyzstan in the Tulip Revolution, was developed by University of Massachusetts professor Gene Sharp, the founder of the Boston-based NGO, the Albert Einstein Institute, which helped train Otpor activists in civil disobedience and popular resistance campaigns designed to overthrow governments, those democratically-elected and those not. Albert Einstein Institute-trained provocateurs launched popular resistance campaigns around the world aimed at replacing governments unwilling to acquiesce to the dictates of Western elites. Internal opposition forces, all acolytes of Sharp, for instance Kmara, which helped install the pro-Western and pro-Israeli Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia; Pora in Ukraine that propelled pro-NATO Viktor Yushchenko into the presidency; and KelKel in Kyrgyzstan that replaced Askar Akayev with the corrupt Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

The domino effect of the themed revolutions saw Serbs helping to overthrow the Georgian government, then Serbs and Georgians flocking to Kiev to oust the Ukrainian government, and Georgians and Ukrainians being directly involved in the insurrection in Bishkek. The neo-conservatives and Sharp had borrowed a page from the Communists and the international proletarian movement that saw Communist cadres fight against capitalists and fascists in foreign civil wars, for example, the Spanish Civil War and conflicts in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Sharp was an alumnus of Harvard University’s CIA-linked Center for International Affairs, also abbreviated “CIA,” which is not coincidental. Harvard and the CIA of Langley, Virginia have long maintained a close relationship. In fact, Sharp was never interested in ensuring the will of the people to map out their own future but was putting into practice the theory of asymmetric warfare – the vanquishing of enemies through the use of proxy internal forces without the requirement for invading foreign armies and the massive death and destruction associated with such action.

Many of Sharp’s tactics have been seen in practice in many asymmetric warfare targets. These include the creation of a perception of a successful movement, even if there is not one. The use of western-controlled news networks like Fox News that showed a video clip of anti-austerity Greek rioters in Athens falsely depicted as anti-government protesters in Moscow and Al Jazeera’s use of a video erroneously showing a U.S.- and Saudi-backed bloody crackdown of pro-democracy protesters by Bahrain’s security forces as the bloody repression of protesters by Syria’s government are examples of Sharp’s propaganda and disinformation tactics.

Cultivating foreign support is another key element of Sharp’s asymmetric warfare tactics. The virtual control exercised by Soros over Human Rights Watch after the multi-billionaire hedge fund kingpin donated $100 million to the group is a case in point. The human rights NGO was at the forefront of hyping “atrocities” committed by the Qaddafi regime in Libya but remained largely silent on Libyan rebel atrocities committed against Libyan and African blacks, as well as Qaddafi loyalists. In so doing, Human Rights Watch had a powerful accomplice in the International Criminal Court, which tended to look the other way when CIA- and Saudi- and Qatari’ supported Libyan rebels were committing the massacres.

Another Sharp tactic is to seek change outside the electoral system. This tactic was evident in the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, where election results were rejected, and in the recent Russian parliamentary election, where Soros- and U.S. neocon-financed election monitoring groups like Golos rejected the outcome of the election and used shills like former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to call for the nullification of the election. Interference following the Sharp and Soros methodology can also be seen in the presidential candidacies of Russian oligarch and New Jersey Nets basketball owner Mikhail Prokhorov and the backing by western propaganda outlets like the Christian Science Monitor (now derided as the “Christian Zionist Monitor” after its takeover by interests who favor a neo-imperialist U.S. foreign policy) of Moscow street protest veteran Alexei Navalny.

Sharp and Soros are on the same page in calling for the internal opposition forces’ use of the Internet, fax, and social networks like Facebook and Twitter to advance their agendas.

In the next phases of World War III, the asymmetric warriors of the Pentagon and their adjunct non-state actors will continue to turn up the heat in the Arab World, with the revolutions in Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and Egypt, after a somewhat shaky start that saw the advancement of Islamist groups, being brought under more western and NATO control. Russia’s presidential election and a turndown in the Chinese economy, with growing village-based dissent among China’s growing middle class, will present further opportunities for the promoters of World War III. The sudden death of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il has also resulted in a call for an expansion of social networking operations, most notably by the CIA- and Soros-infested Washington Post, inside Asia’s hermit kingdom.

Myanmar, China’s restive provinces of Tibet and East Turkestan, Lebanon, Iran, Algeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Nepal, Belarus, Ecuador, Bolivia, Pakistan, Laos, and the two Congos also present opportunities for the World War III architects. Those who seek to extend American and global elitist control over the entire planet will not rest until every acre of land comes under the firm control of the oligarchs of Wall Street, the spymasters of the CIA, and the globalist business cartels and families.

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