Sunday, June 12, 2011

Truth and Reconciliation, Part 5

First, you may wish to review Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, all of which are the latest posts under the label Ivory Coast.

In particular, in Part 3, I stated the following:

Ouattara's policies, acting as IMF frontman and Prime Minister in Côte d'Ivoire many years ago, helped generate the very crisis that led to the civil war which, in turn, led to a de facto partition of Côte d'Ivoire in the wake of the civil war there a few years back. This partition only ended when a disputed election was settled by international force in favor of a man who would do the bidding of the foreign powers that backed him militarily and diplomatically.

The international puppetmasters sent in their man, he did their dirty work, and they rewarded him by giving him a presidency 1) which he was not eligible for, 2) which he won in a dirty election, and 3) which was enforced only by military power of neo-colonial forces operating under the auspices of the UN.

Furthermore, the conduct alleged of Ouattara's backers then is the same kind of thing we are seeing today.

And, at the end of Part 4, I made this statement:

US government sources show Gbagbo and his closest people were basically free of narcotics-related corruption, while Ouattara has a reputation for looting Côte d'Ivoire to enrich himself and his associates.

Who controls the mainstream media? Who manipulates the international community? Because these people are telling us a very slanted story about what is going on in Côte d'Ivoire today, and they're not telling us certain aspects of Côte d'Ivoire's history.

And, by controlling what we learn today about what happened yesterday, they set the stage for colonialistic/imperialistic exploitation of Côte d'Ivoire in the future, under their puppet Ouattara.

Indeed, Ouattara is selling Ivoirians into slavery.

Now, we review an excerpt from a UN report entitled Transnational Organized Crime in the West African Region, dated 2005; the excerpt is from page 8 (17 of 48 when you download the pdf):

In countries where a full-scale war develops, such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, it becomes difficult to distinguish between organized crime and political violence. There are now disturbing signs that a similar evolution may be taking place in Côte d'Ivoire. The robbery of a bank in Bouake, a town under control of the rebel Forces nouvelles movement [Guillaume Soro was secretary general of this group at the time; these guys put Ouattara in power this year - EL], reportedly organized by one of the leaders of the rebellion, and a major bank hold-up in Abidjan in 2002 that is also believed to have been organized by a future leader of the insurrection, make clear not only the close connection between political violence and crime, but also suggest the formation of a nexus of political disorder that provides a suitable environment for organized crime, creating a triangular logic of disorder, violence and crime in which each becomes a corollary of the other.

A similar phenomenon, we have mentioned, has been noted in Senegal, where the gendarmerie reports the export of marijuana from the Casamance region, favoured by conditions of low-intensity conflict, towards other parts of the region.26 Not only does the organization of armed struggle require financing, which increasingly may come from criminal activity,27 but in extreme cases the State itself may come under the control of professional criminals. Some observers would consider this to have been the case of Liberia under the presidency of Charles Taylor, from 1997 to 2003. The rebellion of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone has often been presented in such a manner. A Sierra Leonean police officer notes the significance in this regard of the RUF's having obliged the legitimate government of the country to share power, allowing the RUF's leader, Foday Sankoh, to occupy a position equivalent to that of a vice president and gaining control of the precious minerals department of the government.28 The Sierra Leonean president, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, has represented the war in his country as a criminal enterprise on a national scale.29 Indeed, the Sierra Leone police reports that members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council, the junta that had power in 1997-1998, themselves pioneered the use of Sierra Leone as a transit point in the international drug trade.30 In such cases, distinctions between crime and legitimate activity become difficult, since the authorities responsible for enforcing the law of the land may themselves be organizers of criminal activity.

What is described above is something known as "State Capture" - where organized crime takes over an entire state.

Next, we condiser an article entitled Côte d'Ivoire: is cocoa money propping up Gbagbo regime?, from January 26, 2011:

Companies exporting from Côte d’Ivoire must publish information on taxes paid into the country's cocoa sector, and respect the temporary ban on exports announced this week by president-elect Alassane Ouattara, said Global Witness today. The embargo comes amid fears that the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo – who refuses to recognise Ouattara's November election victory – is using cocoa money to preserve his grip on power.

Global Witness's 2007 report, Hot Chocolate, exposed how money from the international cocoa trade had financed both rebels and government loyalists in the country's civil war from 2002-03. The rebels continue to control the north of the country, with Gbagbo loyalists – who rejected Ouattara's November electoral victory – ruling over the south. Concerns about the cocoa sector have not gone away, and there are now concerns that Gbagbo may now be using the industry to finance his activities, as fears grow that the country could see a return to war.

The EU has imposed sanctions on Mr Gbagbo and his allies following reports of systematic killings of groups considered loyal to Mr Ouattara. However, he was until recently able to access Ivorian state funds held at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). The governor of the BCEAO was forced to quit last week after reportedly allowing Gbagbo's government to withdraw at least $140m from state coffers(1).

Mr Ouattara's ban on exports is an attempt to restrict the cash flow to Mr Gbagbo and his supporters.

"The army's loyalty allows Gbagbo to maintain his stranglehold on the Ivorian state, and it needs to be paid," said Daniel Balint-Kurti, Campaigner at Global Witness. "Cocoa taxes have long been a major source of funds for his regime, and there's a danger money stolen from the sector is being used to fund the militias now terrorising parts of the population."

In December 2010, Global Witness wrote to several cocoa companies to make them aware of our concerns that their payments could be diverted and ask what policies they have in place to prevent this. We are awaiting their reply.

"Companies should now respect the ban and immediately publish the taxes and levies they have paid on cocoa, so that this money can be properly traced," added Balint-Kurti.

Of course, publishing information about what taxes and levies paid would allow the authorities to track down whoever received that money.

The "authorities" right now are Ouattara's gang of thugs.

As the excerpt above points out, "money from the international cocoa trade had financed both rebels and government loyalists" - how determined are Ouattara's "authorities" going to be to trace the money that leads back to themselves? There will only be investigations to determine who supported Gbagbo, so revenge can be served.

We now look at an excerpt from Cocoa speculators cash in on Côte d'Ivoire conflict by Khadija Sharife, dated May 12, 2011:

Some weeks ago, a Pambazuka article written by Pierre Sané, former secretary general of Amnesty International, disclosed the relations between Côte d'Ivoire’s new president, Alassane Ouattara, and Loïc Folloroux, stepson of the head of cocoa and coffee-trading Armajaro's Africa division. Outtara's banning of cocoa exports was seen as serendipitous to the company's fortunes, particularly Armajaro's leading cocoa speculator, Anthony Ward.

It is Ouattara, not Gbagbo, who was closely tied to those who make money off the ups and downs of cocoa exports from Côte d'Ivoire.

We now consider excerpts of French Commentary Examines Sarkozy's Personal Ties with Cote d'Ivoire's Ouattara, April 13, 2011

"A friend of Sarkozy:" Laurent Gbagbo attaches this label to Alassane Ouattara to stigmatize him, as supposed evidence of a "conspiracy" by the former colonial government against the former president, arrested Monday 11 April. However, far from concealing it, the incoming Ivorian head of state boasts of it: "Nicolas Sarkozy is an old friend," he has kept saying in recent months. "If I have five or six real friends in the world, he's one of them," he told L'Express in January, and Mr Ouattara, a former IMF official, said on Canal Plus that he is also friends with Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Laurent Fabius. "Ever since 28 November (the date of the election result -- Le Monde editor's note,) he has spoken with Nicolas Sarkozy by telephone every day," a source close to the Ivorian president told Le Monde.

Sarkozy, the President of France, manipulated the UN to get the green light for French troops to lead the charge to install his "old friend" Ouattara - an IMF front man and friend of Strauss-Kahn (the former IMF boss and accused rapist with a reputation of womanizing) as President of Côte d'Ivoire. So, abuse of power is rampant in these circles.

The story of this "friendship" begins in 1990. Mr Ouattara, then prime minister under Houphouet-Boigny, the authoritarian "father of the nation" approaching the end of his rule, negotiated the privatization of water and electricity management in Cote d'Ivoire. He chose to grant the 15-year concession to Martin Bouygues, a close friend of Nicolas Sarkozy, a business lawyer. Mr Bouygues became close friends with Mr Ouattara.

The use of political power for personal profit is also not unknown among these guys.

Skipping past the details of Ouattara's wife and her connections to people in power, including to Sarkozy, we get to the part where Ouattara helps Sarkozy rape Côte d'Ivoire nearly two decades ago:

Via Martin Bouygues, Nicolas and Cecilia Sarkozy became close friends of Alassane and Dominique Ouattara. Politics and business only strengthened the couples' friendship: in 1993, Mr Ouattara, then Ivorian prime minister, helped his French counterpart, Edouard Balladur, whose budget minister Mr Sarkozy was, to proceed with the painful devaluation of the CFA franc.

Read all of French Commentary Examines Sarkozy's Personal Ties with Cote d'Ivoire's Ouattara - it's a real soap-opera of corruption connecting Sarkozy to Ouattara.

We now consider an excerpt from HRW urges Ivory Coast to investigate human rights violations, war crimes, dated April 10, 2011, by Carrie Schimizzi, reproduced with links found in the original:

[JURIST] Democratically elected Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara should investigate "atrocities," including murder and rape, committed by opposing political forces during recent conflicts, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] report [press release] requested Saturday. According to the report, forces loyal to Ouattara, known as the Republican Forces of Cote d'Ivoire, killed more than 100 civilians, raped at least 20 supporters of rival Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] and burned at least 10 villages over the past month.

The article also points to accusations against Gbagbo's forces - but, that is really irrelevant, isn't it? I mean, the media tells us daily that Gbagbo was the "strongman" who refused to yield power to democratically-elected Ouattara, etc. But these allegations shown above are of atrocities committed by Ouattara's forces.

So, the darling of the international media, friend of Sarkozy, our knight in shining armor come to slay the dragon of despotism and restore democracy to Côte d'Ivoire - it's his forces implicated in war crimes?

From UN Reports on Murder and Rape in Ivory Coast dated June 10, 2011:

United Nations investigators have found evidence that crimes against humanity may have been committed in Ivory Coast both by forces loyal to the West African country's ex-president Laurent Gbagbo and by forces loyal to his opponent and successor, Alassane Ouattara.

Three investigators were sent to Ivory Coast by the United Nations Human Rights Council in May. Their job was to probe alleged attacks against the population since the country's presidential election last November.

What they found, the panel said Friday, was evidence of possible crimes against humanity having been committed on both sides of the political divide.

They said rape and murder were carried out through generalized and systematic attacks, targeting people based on their assumed political sympathies.

The investigator's report is set to be discussed at the Human Rights Council next Wednesday and until then they have declined to speak with VOA about its findings.

But they're not the first to say that forces loyal to Ivory Coast's current leader, Alassane Ouattara, may have committed major crimes in recent months.

The international rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both accused Ouattara's followers of targeting suspected supporters of former leader Laurent Gbagbo.

Deputy Director for Africa at Amnesty, Véronique Aubert, says that Ouattara must bring the situation under control. "He's the president and that's why we expect him to issue clear public instructions to security forces to comply with Ivorian law and international human rights law," she said.

Crimes against humanity - committed by Ouattara's forces.

We now go back in time one day to review an article entitled Ivory Coast crisis: Alassane Ouattara forces accused, dated June 9, 2011:

The United Nations has accused forces loyal to Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara of unleashing violence against supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo.

The troops killed two people and wounded dozens of others during attacks in the south and west, the UN said.

It said many residents fled to forests, leaving villages empty.

Mr Ouattara was sworn in last month, promising to end months of conflict.

The UN human rights officer in Ivory Coast, Guillaume Ngefa, demanded an immediate and impartial investigation into the attacks.

He said Mr Ouattara's forces targeted the village of Becouesin, 50 km (30 miles) north of the main city, Abidjan.

"Along the way, they beat a person who later died from his wounds," said Mr Ngefa.

After accusations that Ouattara's forces hacked at people with machetes, the article concludes:

The violence in Ivory Coast was triggered by the refusal of Mr Gbagbo to cede power and accept Mr Ouattara's victory in presidential elections last year.

At least 3,000 people were killed in the conflict.

The international community and the international media are still sticking up for their frontman, Ouattara.

The violence was not triggered by the refusal of Gbagbo to cede power; it was triggered by the decision to install Ouattara by force of arms, rather than handle the disputed election in accordance with Ivoirian law.

This decision was made by a transnational criminal cartel that includes French President Sarkozy.

Ouattara, not Gbagbo, is the criminal here - and he has been for decades.

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