Nigeria

by craig on March 9, 2012 9:26 am in Uncategorized

I was going to entitle this blog post “The Trouble With Nigeria”, but that would require a book not a blog. Probably several volumes.

I spent four years of my life in Nigeria, and one reason I seldom blog about it is that I do not wish to upset my many Nigerian friends, who tend to find my views unpalatable (and it is their country, not mine).

It is only in recent years that I have come to the view that so many of the problems of the world come from colonial boundaries. If the 20th century was The Age of the Nation State – and I think that characterisation has merit – then so many of those nation states, arguably the majority, are defined by frontiers imposed by colonial outsiders. Often the ethnic and social ties of the inhabitants were among the least important factors in the minds of the colonialists carving up maps.

But the extraordinary thing is the way that entirely artificial national boudaries work, in the sense of creating national loyalties. Ethnic Ewes view themselves as first or foremost Ghanaian or Togolese, and indeed speak different official languages from their cousins in the next village. The creation of independent nations in Central Asia from deliberately unworkable borders (a power ploy by Stalin) is sufficiently recent for the genuine taking hold of strong national loyalties, cutting across ethnicity and geography, to be able to have been closely studied – the work of Olivier Roy is fascinating.

The title of The Catholic Orangemen of Togo takes an amusing example of the distortion on peoples of colonial legacy in Africa, but the book considers much more serious ones.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and the hostage killings today result directly from tensions arising from Nigeria’s entirely artificial colonial borders. This is going to upset my Nigerian friends, but unfortunately the forcing together by the British of the Sultanate of Sokoto, Emirate of Kano, half of the territories of the Lamido of Adamawa etc with the Kingdom of Benin, and the Yoruba confederation, with the Ibo and other chieftaincies and at least sixty other ethnicities, was always an extraordinary and perilous construct.

I described the government of Nigeria in The Catholic Orangemen as a simple pump, by which military controlled governments dominated by Northern generals moved cash relentlessly and only northwards, from the populous and productive South to the comparatively empty and barren North. The demands of “Democracy” required a whole history of ludicrously false censuses and electoral registers to negate the obvious truth, that the South is vastly, vastly more populous than the North.

Two southern Presidents in a row – Obasanjo and Jonathan – have reduced the permanent flow of money northwards. Not stopped, but reduced. Most of that wealth anyway ended up in London or Geneva, but it did have some social spread in the Northern populations. That has also reduced, and that is why the violence by Northern based terrorist groups has increased. It has nothing to do with Al Qaida, despite the nonsense on our television screens.

I have not here discussed the terrible effect of oil in promoting the World’s worst corruption, or the currency overvaluation that destroyed a once great agricultural economy. I have not discussed the resulting urban flight, despair and poverty, or the corrosive effect of a totally corrupt elite in encouraging a whole urban society to view fraud as the normal means of transaction. I have not covered the dignity of the remaining rural population, the despoilation of the oil areas, or the greater social cohesion of Northern society. You can learn a little on each in The Catholic Orangemen (the purchase button on the right is working again). Chinua Achebe remains indispensable to understanding.

I am dreadfully sorry for the dead construction workers, British and Italian. But the heart of the matter is a false colonial national construct.

My Nigerian friends are proud of their country, but I am afraid to say Nigeria’s existence a a single entity is a great British error.

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71 Comments

  1. MSM issues, nothing but MSM issues. No doubt a few quick articles will sufice to keep the buggers chatting to each other whilst I’m going to see some original Indian nighlife.

    Any news as to when that PE article on A Werritty will appear?

  2. Craig,
    I am a proud Nigerian and we are so unhappy what has become of that country.
    However, let me thank you so much that we still have people like you and F. Forsythe who knew how Britain, our so called colonial masters in the years past and still have continued to ensure that that entity called Nigeria does not progress.
    Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and so many current and ex government officials are always in Nigeria for one business or the other.
    Britain created a situation where the Northern Nigeria not only feel that they are more populated than Southern Nigeria, but that the rulership of the country belonged to them.
    Remember, the first census as well as the first election in the country were rigged in favour of the Northerns by the so called colonial masters.
    Since then, this has been the problem of the country.

  3. ‘It is only in recent years that I have come to the view that so many of the problems of the world come from colonial boundaries.’
    .
    Only in recent years, Craig? It’s been clear to many geographers for the last fifty years or more. You just have to look at straight-line boundaries cutting across the topography, ethnography, economy … They were never meant to be anything but a means of control – and now that is still what they are doing, as a new nationalism takes them for granted.
    .
    What could be done about it is another question – we can’t reverse history. And it’s the people on the ground now who must count – they’re the ones whose opinions must prevail.

  4. The employers of the unfortunate Briton and Italian. Many changes in the boardroom!
    http://www.stabilini-visinoni.com/about.cfm
    .
    Were any ransoms demanded? There seems to have been complete media silence from the beginning and not even the Italian government were told of the botched rescue attempt until it had started. Wonder what part Boy Hague played in all of this. Trying to acquire a macho image perhaps.
    .
    9 March 2012
    Nigeria deaths: Italian anger at UK over rescue bid
    The family of Chris McManus said they were devastated by his death
    .
    Italian politicians have complained that David Cameron did not consult Italy before approving a failed bid to rescue a Briton and Italian in Nigeria.

    .
    Corera again on the old Alki Ada theme – ‘believe..’ ‘a suspicion..’ ‘may have also been..’ ‘may be closer..’ All conjecture and spin as usual.
    .
    Analysis

    Gordon Corera

    Security correspondent, BBC News
    .

    British officials believe a splinter group of Boko Haram was involved in the kidnapping. Boko Haram has become more violent and capable in recent years and there is a suspicion that this may be a sign of the growing influence of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [North Africa].
    .
    The splinter cell involved may be closer to al-Qaeda’s ideology and methodology than Boko Haram as a whole. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb also has a track record in kidnapping westerners in north Africa and trying to extract ransom payments to fund their violent activities which may also have been the case in Nigeria.
    .
    So far Boko Haram’s activities have not spilled out of Nigeria, but this incident will raise concerns for the future.
    .
    {http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17308416}

  5. Mary, apologies but you have the wrong company.

    http://www.bstabilini.com/contact-us/

  6. “Colonial boundaries” = Divide and Rule. The effects linger on.

    “It has nothing to do with Al Qaida, despite the nonsense on our television screens… I have not here discussed the terrible effect of oil…”

    Oil? Then Al Qaida is likely to be imported (compare Iraq, Libya, Syria), and then the TV News will look like it was right from the beginning.

  7. Uzbek in the UK

    9 Mar, 2012 - 11:38 am

    “but I am afraid to say Nigeria’s existence a a single entity is a great British error.”
    .
    And not the only one. Drawing borders of a state thousands miles away without taking into account cultural, religious, ethnic, socio-economic factors has led to many post-colonial bloodshed and I afraid to say will lead to much more.

  8. And, naturally, the complement to artificial natural boundaries is secession movements engineered around cutting off a resource-rich area from a larger unit.
    .
    Anybody noted the Balochistan nation-building game?
    .
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/02/201222112203196390.html

  9. Uzbek in the UK

    9 Mar, 2012 - 12:04 pm

    Kingfelix
    .
    Most probably it has been done on purpose. Drawing border in such way as to seed potential conflicts in the future, so that new nations are not consolidated but involved in a conflict, so that it is easier to apply Divide and Rule doctrine. This is what certainly was done by Soviets in Central Asia and Caucasus.
    .
    It is most likely that it was certainly something that was done by British in South Asia and Africa.

  10. Uzbek, you miss my point, but fair enough. (And ‘natural’ was supposed to be ‘national’, maybe that’s why)

  11. O/T ‘You can’t touch me. I’m an MP.’ That was Eric Joyce to the police. Sums up the mindset of MPs that they think they are special.
    .
    BREAKING NEWS:MP Eric Joyce given a community order for 12 months, and is banned from any bar for three months
    .
    Any one of us would probably have gone to prison for doing what he did. Why the special treatment from Westminster Magistrates’ Court? Joyce is not leaving the Commons until 2015 so he picks up three more years’ salary and then goes off with the usual leaving allowance.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-17310549

  12. What is known as a bad egg. He was one of the most vociferous supporters of Bliar’s war on Iraq.
    .
    http://powerbase.info/index.php/Eric_Joyce

  13. OFF TOPIC: VOTER FRAUD

    Well you cannot get a more bare faced than this, from those who uphold the constitution?

    http://falkvinge.net/2012/02/28/the-real-voter-fraud/

  14. General Ojukwu died just a few months ago.

    I’ve long felt that Biafra should have won its independence.

  15. BREAKING NEWS:Italy asks for “utmost clarity” regarding failed mission to rescue hostages in Nigeria “within hours”, Italian news agency says
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17308416
    ,
    Drippy Hammond is taking the flak.

  16. Mary,
    Davy boy was trying to act tough, after all it was not this arse on the line, so now that the whole affair has gone south, it is time to start shouting; Al Qaeda, was Al Qaeda there, Al Qaeda getting Al Qaeda ready, Al Qaeda to Al Qaeda over Al Qaeda……..
    ,
    Fact that Italians have been left in the dark is an indication of such an ambition. Evidently Emily Bliar has set the bar for “commander in chief”.

  17. Dick the Prick

    9 Mar, 2012 - 6:58 pm

    Cheers Craig. Have a good weekend.

  18. I’d say you were fucking the English again, except you said on the last thread you implied a preference for foreign women.

    But what’s wrong with straight-line borders that ignore ethnic boundaries? You’re all for mass immigration of other ethnicities to Britain, so what’s the problem with mixing ethnicities in Africa?

    Your ideas about nationalism and race seem entirely confused, or do you deliberately maintain a double standard?

  19. I wish you would write more about Nigeria, and the consequences of colonialism.

  20. @ Craig,
    The revolutionary leader from Grenada, Maurice Bishop, wrote about what he termed “flag independence”. His choice of phrase should be sufficiently graphic and self-explanatory. However, lest it is not, one can weigh the main post-colonial forces governing our world and leading to the types of problems one finds in the Caribbean, Nigeria and indeed most former colonies. Starting in the West Indies, one finds an answer to the question – where did the wealth come from and where did it end up:-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=injqATWMRkM&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCte-ee2pdM&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSNCLoXzTlk&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrK7JRucvYE&feature=related
    The truth of Beckford’s capital accumulation is in a more academic sense detailed in “Capitalism and Slavery” by Eric Williams.
    Africa finds itself as the alpha point of colonial exploitation, and all that you say about the corruptive forces of Nigerian oil and its boundary, ethnic ( read: tribal), religious problems ( even if in a general sense you implied them – are true). While moving towards omega, the process of corruption certainly does not assist in resolution of the other problems – boundary, ethnic ( read: tribal), religious.
    I once met someone who worked with a large American oil company operating in Nigeria. She had an official job as a geologist, but she explained that her “work” also had another element. The nature of the business was that unless certain sums were paid to certain political interests on a regular basis, then the business could not operate smoothly. She mentioned certain offshore discoveries of oil, but explained that her bosses took a particular approach, for as the bribe money increased so did the end production costs ( i.e. the sums paid out were so staggering that the payments hit the entire production costs).
    On the other side of the Atlantic, the “flag independence” nations of the Caribbean found either balanced budgets or a miniscule surplus once the Union Jack came down on independence day. The next step was loans from the IMF and World Bank, dictate in terms of the “Washington Agenda”, and to this day the system of confinement within the “debt trap” has not seen the islands really actualise their true potential for their peoples’ welfare. This might better explain:-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr0QLkt6KUA&feature=related
    The powers that be are not designed to assist the majority of countries in the world resolve their economic problems. The banking and financial processes operating in the world are primarily operating to ensure that the banking sector is paid ( what happens to the people is secondary to banking sector loan repayments). The Greek debt problem confirms this. Goldman Sachs along with corrupt Greek politicians facilitated an entry in the EU by selling toxic and worthless bonds and literally cooked the books to satisfy the EU that Greek was ready for entry. Now, the corruption comes back full circle, not to punish the crimes of Goldman Sachs or the politicians, but to facilitate more loans that in no way will be a contributor to growth of the Greek economy, nor will such loans operate as anything more than a “kick the can down the road – solution” to prolong the period when the true position of Greek debt default has to be faced. By so doing more money is owed to the international bankers, and the Greek problem is only worsened, not solved. As with the slave legacy in the Caribbean, there is a certain global injustice, that is anathema to the solutions needed for the majority of people in the world.
    YOU ARE CORRECT CRAIG, AND HERE IS A NIGERIAN WHO EXPRESSES THE SAME SORT OF CONERNS:-
    “BACK UP With ADE OLUGBOTEMI
    There may be nothing much to share. I am also not blind, that I am not able to perceive that there is decay everywhere. Children, who are regarded as minors have not hidden their disdains for the amorphous appearances; from the endless struggle they see of their parents, the hi-tech passion for affluence amongst themselves, to the hopes that appear deem; there appears to be nothing much to share. All the same, I say congratulations to all Nigerians. Congratulations to the people of Osun. That we have life and that we have not all been consumed, O JA SOPE.
    When there is a ceremony that calls for celebration ahead, the people concerned become ecstatic. The atmosphere is filled with certain aura because of the expectations people have: Hearts will be joyous that certain hurdle has been crossed, or that a landmark achievement has been recorded. Individual tensions that have been doused make hearts to be merry, because the overall overwhelming effect has subjugated individual mono dislocations that can be tackled after the period of general jubilee. Many nations have crossed the rubicon. States have broken jinx and many countless individuals have surmounted seeming intractable problems. How then have we faired as a Nation, bearing in mind that what Sunday will look like would be reflected through the events of the preceeding day (Saturday)?
    No doubt, we have had it wrong since independence. Years preceeding our independence were highly tumultuous because of some irreconcilable differences between the North and the South. While the North were propounding the theory of practicability, the south spoke with one voice to get reprieve from imperial hegemony in 1957. It was a divine intervention that enabled Nigeria to get a belated independence on October 1, 1960.
    The British government intended to maintain its grip by installing a liberal political actor as the Governor General. Dr Nnamdi Azikwe (of blessed memory) was no doubt a man that knew his onions. He was a key figure in the fight against the continued stay of foreigners as administrators in Nigeria. Through his newspaper – The West Africa pilot – he gave The British government the fight of its life. The permissive nature that the great Zik harboured however suited the imperialists, and the realization of their ambition came handy as a house that is against itself can never stand. Nigerians have never spoken with one voice since then and that has been our major undoing.
    The west had been well structured with a good majority accepting the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the leader. Though there were few dissidents, they also still felt the colossal influence that Awo wielded. Education was regarded as the best legacy that could be bequeathed. Every child was encouraged to go to school free of charge. Structural master plan was put in place with sectoral functions well coordinated in a manner that beat human imagination. Infrastructural facilities were planned for, with rolling plan to take care of future growth in population. Farm settlements were fashioned in a way that literate youths and middle aged folk were attracted into them because what could not be found in formal localities were provided. I was living in Ijebujesa in the 1960’s but the first time I went to Esaoke/Esa Odo farm settlement, it was like staying permanently with the farm settlers because as big as Ijebu-Jesa was then, the standard of living their was not comparable with theirs. Taps were always running and the building accommodations were special.
    The grand conspiracy from the other parts of the country, especially the North did not allow this legacy to go round the whole country. Few dissidents from the south east (eastern region as it was known then) and their south west counterparts joined hands with the North to ensure that peace and continued focus became elusive in the West until the military took over in 1967. Chief Obafemi Awolowo could not continue in his region, but his impact in the federation as minister of finance is still a subject of discussion today. His managerial acumen aided the country to pass through the turbulent period of the civil war without indebtedness by way of borrowing for its prosecution. He later became the best president Nigeria never had.
    I have told many stories about Nigeria in the past but I think this one is also needful to sensitize some of us who never witnessed how some people laboured in the past in order to put in place some legacies. That will call to question some of the ways we do things in Nigeria today. It is needful to tell our youth that we were not orientated to imbibe the culture of greed and avarice which implants the get-rich-quick syndrome in our national leaders. The dearth of social amenities and physical infrastructure was not in our form and creation.
    It was a negative evolutionary trend that prompted the leaders of today to forget that increase in population over the years is indeed a hidden blessing that would have created ready market for products of purposeful planning that would have made Nigeria an industrialized nation. Some of the political leaders today are quick to say that the free education policy of Chief Awolowo and by extension those of his followers like Chief Bola Ige, Adekunle Ajasin, Cornelius Adebayo, Bisi Onabanjo (all of blessed memory except one) and so on succeeded because the population then was not much. It is disgusting that the world was not a global village then; yet, the leaders then grew excess natural products that were exported to strengthen our local currency such that a pound was exchanged for as low as fifteen shillings and a dollar for as low as eight shillings. The situation now would have alleviated the trouble of exporting excess products when the huge population could have provided ready made market.
    It is 49 years already that we became an independent nation. How have we fared? My submission is that we have fared badly. The purposeful leadership provided by the past leaders brought us joy and fame today, the leaders don’t regard themselves as leaders but as a group of opportunists who have been exposed to serious corrupt practices by their colleagues who were formerly military men and women but have transmuted into personalities who are parading the corridors of power in flowing gowns (Agbada or Babariga) but are agents of disorientation and de-culturation. There is no sanity and sanctity to bequeath because they, themselves are rotten to the bone marrow. They are not only agents of corruption; they are grossly corruptible and corrupt with insipid rottenness.
    They are happy the students are not in school presently because many of the female students are easy preys to their lustfulness, who in turn get part of the stolen national cake as a ransom for defilement. We are in an era when female students leave their base in Zaria and travel to Lagos to meet a politician boyfriend for a night or Ibadan for Abuja for the same reason. The decay every where does not bother our politicians so long as they can get their (un)fair share of the national cake leaving the vast majority to abject penury.
    The legislators at all levels of governance only debate and pass bills on issues that yield personal democracy derivatives. They in turn keep their heads by not legislating on bills that can expose their ineptitude. The freedom of information (FOI) bill is suffering from legislative kwashiorkor because they know that if passed, they will subject themselves to overt ridicule that can not be remedied either by overrule or summon. They are fully aware that unbridled access to information will force them out of office and out of booty; only to be exposed to the same vagaries of life to which they are also subjecting the masses. They are direct beneficiaries of polling frauds. Many of them aided and abetted in electoral malpractices. I still cannot fathom it that the same set of people will want to tamper with a fraud called electoral process that enthroned them in the first place.
    The executive arm is not faring better. They are only in a process of goose chase if they desire to sanitize the system. The president has openly attested to the fact that the election that brought him into power was marred with serious irregularities. Today, he has not resigned and he is timid to give any move the bite it deserves because he is seen not to be in control. Policies become emblematic because they will not reach the point of thorough execution. From Lagos to Kano; from Ibadan to Port Harcourt; from Akure to Maiduguri, death toll is on the increase everyday because all these roads are bedeviled with gullies that are not supposed to be on ordinary feeder roads. We are not surprised that things have become horrible because executed projects are not true reflections of money appropriated for such ends. Executive laxities have corrupted the educational sector.
    All federal schools from the primary through the secondary to the tertiary are all in compulsory break due to strikes by their tutors who are clamouring for standardization of the sector and improved conditions of service. In the midst of all these, the president was so audacious as to pay official visit to Saudi Arabia, where he departed from few days earlier after an Islamic injunction of umrah, only to return there for mere commissioning of a university when the same sector was comatose back at home; and when there was the all important United Nations (UN) general assembly meeting to attend.
    The judiciary is only seen to be improving because of the landmark judgments they have given in places like Anambra (Andy Uba Vs Peter Obi), Edo (Oshiomhole Vs Osunbor), Ondo (Mimiko Vs Agagu), and few others in places like River State and Imo. However, the bad eggs are still prevalent. Many wrong judgments have emanated and such have cast aspersion on the good name the judiciary tries to earn itself.
    The problems on ground are products of hydra-headed pervasive corruption. The fear of God has been lost to selfishness and over-ambition. Laudable ideas and policies abound but the manifestation of such in concrete utilities remains a sham. We have heard of vision 2010, we have heard of vision 2015, while the latest is vision 20-20-20. Visions have remained white elephant projections because the political will is absolutely lacking. The energy sector that is supposed to provide the visions with lifelines are non-existent and they are not worked upon to put them in place. The ills are endemic and there seems to be no way out.
    50th year is a year of jubilee and that is just 365 days away from now. The magic wand of transformation must be installed in order for us to really jubilate. Deadly blows must be struck at our corruptible nature through genuine repentance as against a process of systemic re-branding that is fleshed with electoral and other systemic malpractices. We may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, we may for this reason be humbled after we have been bashed; and our suffering ought to have led us to undiluted contrition. The tokens for good shall surely be given and we shall rise as prevailing princes, to enjoy the mercy we have sought in agonizing supplication. Amen.”

  21. Re: My previous post – I guess what I trying to convey is that some in the past where chattle slaves, and now we are all “debt slaves”.

  22. Canspeccy,
    .
    “But what’s wrong with straight-line borders that ignore ethnic boundaries? ”
    .
    Whats’ right with them?

  23. canspeccy
    At £35k minimum salary requirement for entry, most of the UK will be on the return flight being expelled, Thatcherspawn

  24. “You’re all for mass immigration of other ethnicities to Britain, so what’s the problem with mixing ethnicities in Africa?”

    I think that’s a fair question, so who’s got the answer? Is it something to do with low expectations concerning Africa and its tribalism?

  25. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    10 Mar, 2012 - 10:27 am

    Jive: “But what’s wrong with straight-line borders that ignore ethnic boundaries? ”
    .
    Whats’ right with them?

    .
    The concept of internationally recognised borders was an attempt at preventing territorial disputes escalating into war in Europe and to provide a mechanism for separating large populations from their natural resources outside of Europe.
    .
    A 50% success rate is not to be scoffed at.

  26. DWTSOT – “The concept of internationally recognised borders was an attempt at preventing territorial disputes escalating into war in Europe and to provide a mechanism for separating large populations from their natural resources outside of Europe.”
    .
    Not quite true. What about Kosovo?
    .
    That was recognizing international borders where none had previously existed in order to appropriate the largest known mineral reserves in Europe for the West from those Russian loving Serbs.

  27. I bet the Italian guy was shitting his pants when he realised his fellow hostage was British. Obviously that piece of crap Cameron was going to try something and obviously he was going to fuck it up.

  28. Interesting video on Scottish Oil, including false flag attacks to harm the SNP cause.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu-ttEDxgNs

  29. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    10 Mar, 2012 - 6:23 pm

    No doubt Cameron went rushing in for a bit of personal glory and a feel-good story following the recent deaths in Afghanistan. I say that because the last time this happened, with Linda Norgrove in Afghanistan, it was William Hague that did the dirty. He probably told Cameron to shove it this time.
    .
    He must have been aware that the Italians were trying to open up channels to the kidnappers (as they always do) and would have balked at the idea of a ‘rescue’ mission. The parallels between this story and the Linda Norgrove story should not be overlooked. Same response from the same government to near identical situations.
    .
    .
    But a senior security official in Nigeria said the two hostages apparently died in the crossfire.
    .
    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/mar/08/british-italian-hostages-killed-in-nigeria/?ap
    .
    No Boko Haram, no executions. Just an entirely predictable outcome to a rash decision made by a man who has not got a clue.

  30. @ DwonWithThatSortOFThing
    .
    “A 50% success rate is not to be scoffed at.”
    .
    Nor is a 50% falure rate…

  31. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    10 Mar, 2012 - 6:29 pm

    Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed today that Linda Norgrove, 36, was killed by her captors
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1319077/UK-aid-worker-Linda-Norgrove-killed-Afghanistan.html
    .
    British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed by US grenade, admits William Hague
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/02/linda-norgrove-killed-us-grenade

  32. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    10 Mar, 2012 - 6:41 pm

    “Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed today that Linda Norgrove, 36, was killed by her captors”
    Daily Mail, 9 Oct.
    .
    “British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed by US grenade, admits William Hague”
    Guardian, 6 Dec.
    .
    @Jives. Bad spelling deliberate? Careful Now.

  33. I agree that Nigeria’s borders are pretty arbitrary and there’s a lot of injustice towards e.g the people of the Niger Delta at the hands of central government forces. However pretty much every country in the world was artificially constructed by force at some point. I support the right to self-determination, that can cause wars too if it’s done arbitrarily (e.g partition of India into India and Pakistan) and sometimes even if it’s what the majority of the seceding region want – e.g the attempt by Biafra to secede from Nigeria led to a lot of deaths and i suspect any attempt by any other region (especially an oil rich one) could lead to war too. So i really don’t know what the answer to Nigeria’s problems is – i support the right of minorities to secede, but how to do it without the central government going to war on them, resulting in a lot of deaths?

    There’s also the problem that if oil rich areas secede the other parts of the country may be left in poverty even if they get a government that isn’t utterly corrupt.

  34. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    10 Mar, 2012 - 7:07 pm

    Today, in Libya, we see attempts to resurrect Cyrenaica in order to separate the rest of the Libyan people from their oil resources.
    .
    This poses a conundrum for the Libyan NTC, who are now contemplating the use of force against Benghazi. Just like Gaddafi did one year ago and for which he was brutally tortured and murdered.
    .
    Watch out Mustapha Abdul Jalil, former Gaddaffi Minister of Justice (and kidnap and torture).
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17316264

  35. Roderick Russell

    10 Mar, 2012 - 8:53 pm

    Off topic I know, but an interesting article by Tim Walker appeared in the Telegraph, headlined: “Conservative MP: How the Queen secured my selection for the party”

    http://tinyurl.com/7psarju

    Does anyone share my view that the Monarchy should not be interfering in the selection of political candidates?

  36. The Guardian ran a curious front page Wikileaks story on Shell in Nigeria, but no one else seemed to pick up on it and it was as if it had never been.

  37. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    11 Mar, 2012 - 12:48 am

    Roderick Russell Does anyone share my view that the Monarchy should not be interfering in the selection of political candidates?
    .
    And let’s not forget Prince Charles summoning ministers to meetings. He has met George Osborne more than once. One of the richest men in the country demanding private access to the chancellor, but it’s ok because he’s a ‘royal’.
    .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343143/Ones-money-Why-Prince-Charless-secret-20-year-campaign-make-richest-king-history.html
    .
    Parasites and useless leeches. All they care about is money. That is not an exaggeration, they are all obsessed with it.

  38. Courtenay Bennett: BACK UP With ADE OLUGBOTEMI:
    This bitter description of Nigerian political distress could just as easily be applied to the UK or the US. The only difference between Nigeria and this country being that Africa retains a religious conscience, Muslim or Christian which enables respected commentators to speak out about what they know.
    It would be unthinkable for a parallel statesman here, like Neil Kinnock for example to expose his knowledge of UK corruption, state terrorism, and subservience to monarchy and banking wealth, to wider public opinion. They would rather be filmed participating naked in Berlusconi’s orgies than pull the plug on the system that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, subjugates Palestine, turns a blind eye to Chechnya, and fills the economies of Europe with bullet holes through illegal bond trading.
    So cheer up Nigeria, you’ve got a long way to go yet before you become as bad as us.

  39. One example of the utter disrespect for honesty that exists in the UK is the case of Roderick Russell above. It is clear to me that there exists in this country a system of recording secret information, consisting entirely of lies, prejudice, disinformation, slander, innuendo and malice about any citizens who dare to challenge the secret corruption of our state system.
    Mark Golding, who has sources within the system recently found some trash about me on the system which he disguised as Biblical myth. No. The information on the system to which lower system scum like Mark are able to gain access through former colleagues is complete lies and trash. Do you think that our establishment would allow public servants, military men or politicians to glimpse truth? As a source of knowledge, the UK plc secret information system is all disinformation, designed to discredit the truthful amongst us.
    Meanwhile since Libya it has become clear after the 1000 tonnes of bombs and alliance of alqaida mercenaries and UK and French special services mercenaries that our establishment values and trusts political Islamists, Zionists and other fundamentalists far more than it trusts us.
    Mark, it reminds me of the picture of the monkeys, one extruding a sausage of poo and the other holding it carefully and putting it in his mouth. Just because you get access to secret information from time to time does not mean, because it is classified as secret, that it is any tiny part of the truth.

  40. @ Guano,

    ” Courtenay Bennett: BACK UP With ADE OLUGBOTEMI:
    This bitter description of Nigerian political distress could just as easily be applied to the UK or the US. The only difference between Nigeria and this country being that Africa retains a religious conscience, Muslim or Christian which enables respected commentators to speak out about what they know.
    It would be unthinkable for a parallel statesman here, like Neil Kinnock for example to expose his knowledge of UK corruption, state terrorism, and subservience to monarchy and banking wealth, to wider public opinion”

    I agree – it is what it is ( and – how many of us really do understand?)

  41. @ Guano,

    ” So cheer up Nigeria, you’ve got a long way to go yet before you become as bad as us.”

    This is the kind of point that I would invite everyone else to debate; then I will now say – good night.

  42. Someone earlier was chiding Craig for flying. They should have a go at Obomber. He is taking Soaraway Dave to New York in Airforce One for some stupid diner meal. What does this say for these puerile and foolish ‘leaders’.
    .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2113357/Come-fly-David-Cameron-world-leader-invited-Air-Force-One-President-Barack-Obama.html

  43. @ Duncan,

    “There’s also the problem that if oil rich areas secede the other parts of the country may be left in poverty even if they get a government that isn’t utterly corrupt.”

    Here is the irony. Colonial powers welded together countries, such as in Libya or Nigeria. Nigeria had a civil war and tried to split back to its natural/ethnically defined lines – but somehow Nigeria was able to remain as one geographical entity to this day.

    In the post-colonial era, Libya was able to continue as a single geographical entity. The West saw the oil, and noted a looming threat to US dollar dominance, then fuels an insurrection. The three main parts of Libya now slowly but surely are fighting to revert to their historically defined divisions. Maybe the oil rich East of Libya will one day succeed to leave the rest of Libya ( as we know it today) all the poorer by reason of this division, and the West all the richer for having engineered the process.

  44. It was me, Mary, and I ain’t taking it back, it is a no brainer that does not even need discussing, especially not here, were commenters are educated above average, dare I say well above.

    David cameron was never green, as for our American friends top Dumbo, he’s no different than the unassuming majority who just can’t let go off unecessary flying, business or otherwise. One day, when the state cannot afford to subsidise airtravel anymore, people will have to realise that they are being allowed to have a tax excempt dump on the backs of all of us.
    Green? David Cameron and Clegg? what an utterly macabre joke that was from the start.
    I can hear our childrens children applauding, with tears.

  45. Sam has misconstrued the meaning of my comment. I meant that once the NHS has been privatised, it will disappear as we know it within three to five years. Then the people will have a wake up call but it will be too late. It can never be reconstructed.
    .
    I have worked in the NHS and have also been a patient on several occasions. I have experienced nothing but loving kindness and professionalism from all ranks from consultant to health care assistant, from cleaner to ward sister, from physiotherapist to physician and so on. The managers who arrived under NuLabour however are another story.
    .
    Get ready to fund those private health insurance premiums.

  46. @Courtenay – yes, very true. Same goes for Iraq where the US and its allies back maximum autonomy (and some of them even independence) for Iraqi Kurdistan for the same reason – the smaller the state their oil companies are negotiating contracts with, the more leverage the oil companies have and the better the deal they’re likely to get (see ‘Fuel on the fire’ on this – greagt book)

  47. I would like you all to understand that the shooting rampage in Afghanistan by an American soldier who was part of the NATO force, armed by NATO, clothed and fed by NATO, etc had NOTHING to do with NATO.
    !!
    .
    ‘The ++apparent++ killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier came “out of the blue” and had nothing to do with Nato operations, the UK ambassador in the country has said.
    .
    Sir William Patey, who retires from the job next month, told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend that the shooting of villagers in southern Afghanistan was a “completely out-of-the-ordinary event”.
    .
    He said: “It’s obviously clear from what we know so far, and we obviously have to await the outcome of an investigation, that this looks like the apparent act of a single individual and is no part of any Nato/Isaf operation. So we proceed in that context.
    .
    “This is not something that has characterised Nato/Isaf’s presence over the last 10 years in Afghanistan. It’s a unique event, out of the blue.”‘
    .
    http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/killing-of-civilians-not-by-nato
    .
    Also note the use of the word ‘apparent’ in this corporate media report. The Afghan villagers are either dead or they are alive. Afraid that they are dead Sir William.

  48. Note –
    .
    ‘In a separate incident, four Afghans were killed and three wounded on Friday when coalition helicopters apparently hunting Taliban insurgents fired instead on villagers in Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan, according to Abdul Hakim Akhondzada, governor of Tagab district in Kapisa.’
    .
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/world/asia/afghanistan-civilians-killed-american-soldier-held.html?_r=2

  49. The story has changed now. It is said that three drunken soldiers carried out the killings. They even put chemicals on some of the bodies and burnt them.
    .
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/03/11-0
    .
    There are gruesome pictures on the BBC website.

  50. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    11 Mar, 2012 - 8:20 pm

    “The story has changed now.”
    .
    Funny how that always happens in the media – I bet even the current version is untrue – drunk soldiers murder civilians with their service weapons, burning corpses to hide evidence, then one of them sobers up and confesses, fingering his two mates? Yeah, sure.
    .
    More like Afghan police called to reports of shooting, police get fired upon by automatic weapons and call in US, forces arrive and perps think they’re safe, ‘cept the Afghans went straight to the media. Naughty Afghans.
    .
    Still, the victims families can take comfort from the fact that the perps will be facing the full force of US justice. Just like US Marine Frank Wuterich, found guilty of massacring 24 civilians in Haditha. He got a full 12 weeks in the slammer with no parole.

  51. @ Downwiththisortofthing,

    The lives of Afghans do not count for the US/NATO.

    Mary commented on the observations:-

    “.‘The ++apparent++ killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier came “out of the blue” and had nothing to do with NATO operations, the UK ambassador in the country has said.”

    And

    “Sir William Patey, who retires from the job next month, told BBC Radio 4′s The World This Weekend that the shooting of villagers in southern Afghanistan was a “completely out-of-the-ordinary event”

    Sir William seems to be making his comments from a different planet. Surely, it is the killing of multitudes of civilians over the years ( when drones being operated from afar can’t distinguish between a celebration with shooting at an Afghan wedding party – from the ones who are active in the resistance) that serves to sustain the spirit of Afghan resistance. When a man loses his entire family – or – a woman all her children to NATO bombs from on high – what does any rational person expect to reap but resentment, hatred and resistance. The high levels of civilian casualties over the years, surely must have provided sound reason for more Afghans to embrace the resistance movement.
    It is so obvious that the Afghans simply do not want the “invaders” in their country. But, as we all know, we must stay there until in a truly civilized way they all embrace our democracy.

  52. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    11 Mar, 2012 - 9:12 pm

    the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sets sail on its final voyage Sunday.

    The ship is effectively a small city that frequently needs repairs because of its age.

    The problems are so notorious that sailors reporting to work aboard the Enterprise are often given joking condolences.

    The Enterprise is heading to the Middle East on its seven-month deployment, where it will be on standby in case of conflict with Iran.

    The ship, among the first to respond after the Sept. 11 attacks, won’t be turned into a museum like some other carriers.

    .
    The full article is something else, invoking the movie Top Gun and TV series Star Trek, how the ‘Big E’ is an important American cultural icon etc.
    .
    Fancy sending a hobbling old bucket that’s about to be scrapped to a potential 21st century war zone. Seems like the perfect target for Iran now eh?
    .
    I can see lots of angry yanks on TV demanding revenge for the unprovoked sinking. I see Obama’s approval rating soar as he orders attacks. I also see happy navy chiefs saving hundreds of millions of dollars in decommissioning fees.
    .
    A seven month mission takes us all the way up to the November US presidential elections. Just all one big coincidence I’m sure.
    .
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/10/worlds-first-nuclear-powered-aircraft-carrier-big-e-makes-final-voyage/

  53. America is run as a war economy. Less war…less economy.

  54. From Sky News:-

    “The gunman, reported to be an Army staff sergeant, returned to his base after the spree and is said to have turned himself in. US officials have confirmed he is in custody.

    Gul Bashra, the mother of the two-year-old who died, told the Associated Press: “They [Americans] killed a child, who was two-years-old. Was this child a Taliban [member]?

    “Believe me, I have not seen a two-year-old Taliban [member] yet. There is no Taliban here. They [America] are always threatening us with dogs and helicopters during night raids.”

    Another man said 11 of his relatives, including his children, had been killed in the shooting which took place in the Panjwayi district.”

    So said – so done – more hatred, resentent and war. So sad.

  55. Hague is being sued by human rights lawyers, Leigh Day, over UK complicity in drone attacks in Pakistan.
    .

    http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2012/March-2012/High-Court-Challenge-to-Hague-over-UK-complicity-i

    .

    {http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17335368}

    Hague sued over US drone strikes in Pakistan
    US drone attacks have killed militants and civilians
    .
    Human rights lawyers are to sue Foreign Secretary William Hague over the alleged use of intelligence in assisting US drone attacks in Pakistan.
    .
    The case is being raised at the High Court in London on behalf of Noor Khan, whose father was killed in a US strike.
    .
    Lawyers from Leigh Day and Co say civilian intelligence officers who give information to the US may be liable as “secondary parties to murder
    /…

  56. “High Court Challenge to Hague over UK complicity in CIA drone attacks
    11 March 2012

    Leigh Day & Co have announced that they will be issuing formal legal proceedings this week against the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, acting on behalf of Noor Khan, whose father was killed last year in a drone strike on a Jirga – or council of elders – in North West Pakistan”

    I predict that this case will reveal as much corruption in the British judicial process as did cases such as the one(s) concerning Diego Garcia and BAE.

  57. Not to forget “Stephen Laurence” – but in the end some justice was finally done. In his case it was about injustice done to an individual and his family. That type of injustice is on a wholly different scale than deaths that also impact the “national interest”. So, the difference here is that when the “war machine” needs to be defended ( as it will be in this case) – then all the stops are there of “national intetest” – redacted statements – distorted rulings – and in the end – no justice!

    But – let’s see….huh?

  58. Yes, false national boundries go a long way towards explaining current instability and bloodshed in Africa and elsewhere. Not to mention the continued meddling by “neo-colonialists” intent on raping these places for their resources.
    .
    But don’t forget to blame also those currently in charge in those countries. The local dictators, strongmen, weasels and thugs. If these people can’t get together a moral vision, pride or sense of purpose that goes beyond enriching themselves and their immediate tribe then no system in the world is going to improve things.
    .
    Sounds idealistic? Well, yes. Without some shared ideals and agreement among the people and the government, no system is going to work. It’s what is so depressing about current affairs in The UK and The US. The politicians here also seem to have lost whatever used to hold the game together. They either don’t agree on the rules any more so the system becomes gridlocked, or only agree that anything goes in terms of ripping off the rest of the tax payers to feed their own gang or base.

  59. Some propaganda for the Empire.
    .
    Queen hails ‘cultural tapestry’ on Commonwealth Day
    The Queen’s message celebrates the “wealth of diversity” in the Commonwealth
    .

    The Diamond Jubilee
    Harry ‘choked up’ by Jubilee tour
    Harry praises UK and Brazil bonds
    Crowds mark start of Queen’s tour
    Harry pays tribute to the Queen
    .
    The Queen is calling for people who live in the Commonwealth to celebrate the “extraordinary cultural tapestry” of the “unique gathering of nations”.
    .
    In her annual Commonwealth Day message she describes the “wealth of diversity” of the 54 member nations.
    .
    Two billion people live in the Commonwealth and the Queen said it provided a great “understanding” for cultural differences.
    .
    Several Commonwealth countries will help celebrate her Diamond Jubilee.
    .
    The Commonwealth, which was founded in 1949, includes 52 former colonies of the British Empire, along with Mozambique and Rwanda, which joined in 1995 and 2009 respectively.
    .
    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17335710
    .
    Q. Are the Military Wives recording the new ‘song’ Stronger as One’ which we are told has been specially written?

  60. I see that military propaganda can be found in the doggy world at Crufts.
    .
    Buster, a spaniel, who undertook tours of Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia, won the title of “man’s best friend”.
    .
    He saved lives by sniffing out suicide bombers wearing explosive vests.
    [..]
    Earlier, Buster the spaniel was rewarded with the Friends for Life first place prize for his bravery during his five tours of duty.
    .
    As well as sniffing out suicide bombers, he assisted on foot patrols in Afghanistan’s poppy fields, helped hunt Taliban insurgents and sought out booby trap bombs.
    .
    Buster, who is now set to retire at the home of RAF police sergeant Michael Barrow, was awarded the prize following a public vote.
    .
    He beat competition from service dogs, police dogs, assistance dogs, companion dogs and 2012 Games dogs.

    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17335353
    .
    Unbelievable headline in the Daily Mail – ‘The Crufts winner this year is… a petite blonde: Seven-year-old Llasa apso beats 21,000 other dogs to be named Best in Show’
    .
    The poor dog looks as if she is a model for a hairdresser manqué.
    {http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/03/12/article-0-122018FC000005DC-556_468x585.jpg}
    .

  61. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    12 Mar, 2012 - 7:37 am

    “As well as sniffing out suicide bombers”
    .
    What utter bullshit. Everyone knows it’s the bees that sniff out suicide bombers, dogs are simply too dumb.
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/sniffer-bees-set-to-snare-suicide-bombers-7184535.html
    .
    Dogs are not ‘brave’ either. They operate only for rewards.
    .
    During WW2 the Russians trained dogs to find treats underneath tanks. The idea being that in battle the dogs could be fitted with a back-pack full of explosives primed with a magnetic detonator and set loose against the advancing Panzers.
    .
    At their first deployment the dogs totally ignored the Panzers and started heading straight for the Russian T-34s, i.e. the tanks they were originally trained with.

  62. This means nothing to me but Leigh Day’s site is down.
    .
    Server Error in ‘/’ Application.
    ——————————————————————————–

    Configuration Error
    Description: An error occurred during the processing of a configuration file required to service this request. Please review the specific error details below and modify your configuration file appropriately.

    Parser Error Message: Could not load file or assembly ‘CMS.DirectoryUtilities, Version=5.5.3996.30243, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=834b12a258f213f9′ or one of its dependencies. Failed to grant permission to execute. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80131418)

    Source Error:

    Line 62:
    Line 63:
    Line 64:
    Line 65:
    Line 66:

    Source File: C:\inetpub\wwwroot\leighday.kentico.mmtdigital.co.uk\web.config Line: 64

  63. 12 March 2012 Last updated at 08:24
    .
    Israel kills two militants in air strikes on Gaza
    The international community is calling on both sides to end the violence
    .
    Israeli air strikes have killed two Palestinian militants and wounded at least 25 people in Gaza as cross-border violence entered a fourth day.
    .
    The latest deaths brings to 20 the number of Palestinians killed since the fighting began on Friday.

    /..
    How about the call to BOTH sides to end the violence. I do not read of any Israeli deaths nor of any Palestinian aircraft – F16s, helicopters or drones.

  64. Re. Gaza: Don’t forget, it’s all Hamas’s fault and poor little Israel killed some non-Hamas people because they were Hamas really and it’s all their fault. For security. The inevitable response with rockets enhances Israel’s security, natch.

  65. From Medialens a good point. Note that children are called civilians.
    .
    How does Quentin Sommerville know this? Has he interviewed people “across Afghanistan?”
    Posted by scrabble on March 12, 2012, 1:44 pm
    .
    Quentin Sommerville on BBC news website about the killing of 9 children and 7 adults. (Notice how the BBC in its headlines reports these as 16 civilians killed. Sometimes it mentions these were mostly children later in its report, sometimes not.)
    .
    BBC website:
    .
    “Across Afghanistan, people are asking why a soldier sent to protect them would commit such a bloody crime.”
    .

    How does Sommerville know that people across Afghanistan are asking such a question? How does he know that Afghans believe these forces are there “to protect them”? This isn’t fact-based reporting, it’s government spin aided by blatant BBC propaganda. Sommerville doesn’t know this as a fact. He can’t possibly know unless he’s personally interviewed scores of people across the country the same day this atrocity happened (his report was filed on Sunday, the same day it happened).
    .
    Emily Maitlis on BBC News, head to one side and the blonde hair falling over her face in that affected manner, has just used the same phrase about civilians.

  66. Analysis

    Quentin Sommerville

    BBC News, Kabul

    ——————————————————————————–
    Even as the shock at the killings sinks in, there has been no repeat of earlier protests. Village elders say the streets will remain quiet as long as the gunman is brought to justice. But still there is anger among locals.
    .
    US President Barack Obama was shocked and saddened at the killings, which he said were not representative of US military forces. In a call to President Karzai he promised a full investigation. This will not affect the mission in Afghanistan, the US insists.
    .
    But in Kabul others are more sceptical. Many are already talking about the long-term damage to US-Afghan relations. Across Afghanistan, people are asking why a soldier sent to protect them would commit such a bloody crime.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17339468
    .
    The comment above about Emily Maitlis was mine!

  67. To be fair, R4 was reporting the nine children last night, and today.
    So the guy just snuck out of his very heavily guarded base with a rifle, shot himself some locals, came back home and turned himself in? Is that kipper I am smelling, or rock salmon?

  68. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    12 Mar, 2012 - 10:26 pm

    Mary 12 Mar, 2012 – 2:40 pm The comment above about Emily Maitlis was mine!
    .
    ‘she says her key weapons on screen are “flirtation, seduction and betrayal”‘.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/emily-maitlis-a-lot-of-front-470513.html
    .
    Flirting with facts, seduced by money and betraying the truth.
    .
    The living embodiment of a media whore. Totally without shame or embarrassment. She’s also as thick as shit. How these people get to call themselves ‘journalists’ tells you all you need to know about the quality of BBC News.

    .

  69. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    12 Mar, 2012 - 10:34 pm

    Don’t forget also that this woman deliberately ‘flashed her tit by accident’ at some well attended media event just to get a bit of publicity in the gutter press. A truly pathetic creation.

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