Archive | December 19, 2013

Corrupt Egyptian Officials Cleared*

Corrupt Egyptian Officials Cleared*

Re-writing history, it did happen that the fulool’s (deep state) replacement for Mubarak who failed to win the first democratic elections in 2012 was in charge of the Military Pilots Association in the 1990s. That much remains. What has been erased was Ahmed’s Shafiq selling prime land to Mubarak’s sons. It was 40,000 acres in the Nile Delta sold for a dollar per acre, when each acre was worth thousands. This came to be known as the ‘Scandal of the Lands of the Pilots’. Charged with embezzlement and public corruption, he has now finally been cleared – it didn’t happen! This is the same man, who on failing as contender to the presidency joined with other failed contenders (Amr Moussa, Hamdein Sabbahi, Elsayed AlBadawi, Mohammad Abul Ghar, and billionaire Naguib Sawiris to form the infamous National Salvation Front (NSF) with former IAEA head, Mohammed ElBaradei, as spokesperson. With only 25% of the presidential elections between them, together they conspired , and succeeded in toppling the man that won the country’s vote.

A court in Egypt has cleared former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and former dictator Hosni Mubarak’s two sons of corruption charges.

The court on Thursday found Gamal and Alaa Mubarak as well as Shafiq innocent of corruption in a land deal-related case.

Shafiq had been accused of illegally selling state-owned land to Alaa and Gamal at prices lower than the market value.

Shafiq, also a former presidential candidate, has been tried in absentia.

The former premier, who flew to the United Arab Emirates in June 2012 after he lost the presidential election to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, is facing another corruption trial, as do Mubarak’s sons.

Farid al-Deeb, Shafiq’s lawyer, said on Thursday that a court would issue a verdict in his last remaining case later on Thursday.

Shafiq is not the first Mubarak-era official who has faced prosecution on corruption charges. Former Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni and Former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif have also been charged with making illicit gains during their service under the Mubarak regime.


Egypt’s Secret Swiss Bank

By Farah Halime

Nestled in the heart of downtown Cairo is the opulent headquarters of Arab International Bank, a secretive bank that has allowed kleptocrats to funnel money out of the country for decades with barely any regulatory oversight.

The bank, established in 1974 by a treaty signed by Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Oman and the UAE, is exempt from many Egyptian laws, customs duties and taxes and is testament to the once powerful nexus between the governments of the region.

However, the bank’s links to Egypt’s old guard, as well as the Qaddafi and Assad regime, led the bank to become a centre of controversy following the revolutions of 2011.

Operating free of the regulations governing other Egyptian banks, AIB was initially established to persuade Egyptians to bring their money back to the country after the death of president Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970.

Nasser’s socialist policies had panicked depositors who wanted to keep their money safe from nationalization and seizure. AIB flourished as an offshore bank and played a crucial role in jump-starting the economy during its first decade of business, providing roughly 90% of the letters of credit needed by the government.

But over time, the bank’s original purpose of providing a safe haven for Egyptians wary of political turbulence faded away and what was left was a nearly unregulated bank.  It became a place for powerful people to hide their wealth.

It was to be expected then, that when Egypt’s revolution began in 2011, AIB would be a target for protesters eager to purge the country of corrupt elitists.

The bank’s directors found themselves the targets of corruption accusations. Once secret accounts, inaccessible by any authority without a final court judgment suddenly seemed likely to be revealed to the public.

And the details of those accounts would be valuable to corruption investigators. According to a source familiar with the bank, Habib El Adly, Mubarak’s infamous minister of interior, tried to move money out of the country through Arab International Bank during the 2011 uprising.

The bank’s Tahrir Square office – one of seven branches – was ransacked and burned to the ground just five days into the uprising. A few days after Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military, a Muslim Brotherhood lawyer, Mamdouh Ismail, filed a case to freeze activity at AIB until an investigation into its transactions were complete.

Within two months of the beginning of the revolution, AIB chairman Atef Ebeid was removed from his position by the military-appointed prime minister Essam Sharaf. In 2012, he was convicted on corruption charges related to “selling public assets at below value prices” and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was granted a retrial earlier this year.

For critics of the bank, Ebeid’s arrest and sentencing were proof that the secrecy and lack of oversight of the bank were exploited by members of the old regime to spirit away billions of dollars of ill-gotten money:

In 2009, two members of parliament penned an op-ed calling on Egypt to close the bank down, saying that “the bank is turning into a giant octopus that is going to swallow public money … the confidentiality the chairman imposes on bank clients, accounts and the volume of transfers makes the bank a doorway for all manner of crimes”.

But none of the claims about the bank being used by officials to move their assets out of the country have been proven by government investigators and AIB officials deny the bank was ever used to conceal the profits of using their government positions to enrich themselves.

Still, with pressure growing on the bank, the board of directors made a move to show it was transparent. In 2012, it announced the charter would be amended to allow the Central Bank of Egypt to regulate it like other banks in the country.

Nearly two years later, the bank has not yet reached a final agreement with the Central Bank on the details and implementation of that regulation.

Meanwhile, some of AIB’s top officials have come under scrutiny by activists.

The position of Mohamed Abdul-Jawad, the bank’s Libyan managing director and vice chairman, has triggered political wrangling in Libya – one of the five owners of the bank – because of his ties to the former regime of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

Abdul-Jawad was a key representative of Libya’s business community in negotiations with the UK and the US to remove sanctions placed on Libya after the 1988 bombing of Pan American flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

Adding fuel to the fire, his wife is Falak Al Assad, a cousin of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. 

A Lebanese court charged Ms Falak and two other family members last November with forging documents to gain access to money that belonged to her deceased father, Jamil Al Assad, according to an article in France’s Le Monde newspaper. The article said the family were connected to financing pro-regime militias in Syria.

While employees of the bank have come to AIB’s defense saying that the Central Bank’s oversight of the bank should be limited to prevent any damage to its competitive position, the bank has become one of the best signs that Egypt has failed to reform the leaky banking system that allowed members of the old regime to hide wealth derived from corruption and crony capitalism.


Related Topics:

The Illusive Missing Mubarak Fortunes

Egypt’s Military Propaganda Backfires*

Rigging Foreign Exchange Markets*

Sheikh Qaradawi Leaves Al-Azhar in Protest against ‘Military Coup’*

Deleting Religious Thinking: A Governmental Agenda*

Counter-revolutionary Template from N. Africa to the Ukraine*

Central Banks Lose $400bn in Gold*

The Grand Scam: El-Baradei and his Liberal Elites*

War on Syria Unofficial, Unabated and Eugenic (Vaccines)*

NWO Imperial Destabilization of Africa Unabated*

NWO Imperial Destabilization of Africa Unabated*

By Abayomi Azikiwe

On December 16 a section of the South Sudanese army backed by politicians angry with the policies of President Silva Kiir, attempted to seize power from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) government in Juba. The Republic of South Sudan is the newest nation recognized by the United Nations and the African Union (AU) which gained its independence after three decades of civil war between the south and north of the central African state in July 2011.

Prior to the partition of Sudan, the country represented the largest geographic nation-state in Africa. Sudan was emerging as a significant oil-producing state with some 500,000 barrels-per-day being extracted for export and internal usage.

It was the U.S. and the state of Israel that pushed strongly for the South of the country to breakaway and from its own state. Since the partition in 2011, South Sudan has failed to consolidate as a viable nation-state.

In the North the Republic of Sudan has suffered economic difficulties with the decline in oil production, national revenue and the recent protests surrounding the elimination of fuel subsidies resulting in the sharp rise in petroleum costs and the prices of other essential goods. Opposition parties and coalitions, some of which are supported by the West, attempted to utilize the unrest over economic issues to push for regime-change in Khartoum.

With its large oil resources, events in the Republic of South Sudan gained the immediate attention of media outlets throughout the world. Juba’s close alliance with the U.S. and Israel makes it at important outposts for the intervention by imperialism and zionism in the affairs of its northern neighbor, the Republic of Sudan, which supports the Palestinian national movement and maintains close relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In specific reference to events in South Sudan, according to the Financial Times based in London, “President Salva Kiir later appeared on national television in full military uniform to say the army had foiled a coup attempt by a ‘group of soldiers allied’ with the former vice-president, Riek Machar. The armed forces are pursuing them. I promise you today that justice will prevail”. (December 16)

Nonetheless, the Financial Times went on to speculate that perhaps these reports delivered by President Kiir are not wholly representative of the actual developments inside the country. The newspaper reported that

“observers said Mr Kiir might have launched a pre-emptive purge against his opponents. Mr. Machar has in the past said he would contest the presidency in 2015, arguing South Sudan was descending into a dictatorship under Mr. Kiir. Although the country’s oilfields are far from Juba, the capital, the fighting threatens to spill over into other areas and could hit oil production just as the energy market is battling with major disruption in Libya. Estimated at about 200,000 barrels a day, oil is South Sudan’s main source of revenue.”

Egypt, Tunisia and Libya: Instability Continues

Developments further to the north also illustrate that the political events in a particular African state are closely related to its economic role in the world economic system. In Tunisia and Egypt where rebellions erupted in late 2010 and early 2011 against western-backed dictatorial regimes, have still not resulted in genuine popular forces taking control of the state and the economy.

In Tunisia, a moderate Islamic government dominated by the Ennahda Party has virtually collapsed amid mass discontent, protests, labor unrest and ongoing rebellions. Two leftist politicians, Chokri Belaid and Mohammed Brahmi, were assassinated between February and July resulting in general strikes and violent protests.

Although negotiations between Ennahda and opposition parties created the conditions for the appointment of a new prime minister, former industry minister Mehdi Jomma, it remains to be seen whether this will bring the political stability necessary for economic growth. The selection of Jomma was done through negotiations between 21 different parties and coalitions.

However, the left Popular Front which both Belaid and Brahmi belonged, expressed its skepticism over whether the new government could stabilize the situation inside the North African country. An Associated Press article reported that “the Popular Front — whose two members were killed — quickly cast doubt on the ability of Jomaa to carry out any such tasks, saying Jomaa’s government will lack consensus. Party spokesman Hamma Hammami pointed to Jomaa’s slim margin in Saturday’s (December 14) vote. Jomaa garnered but nine of the 21 potential votes. Seven parties abstained, two voted for the runner-up and three were absent.” (December 14)

This same report goes on to quote the Popular Front leader saying that “those in the governing coalition headed by Ennahda ‘were looking for a voice that allows them to stay in power,’” Hammami stressed, referring to Jomaa’s former portfolio as industry minister.

In Egypt a military seizure of power on July 3 has brought hundreds of thousands into the streets in demonstrations against the coup demanding the reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who remains in detention. Many of the political forces that supported the coup in July have now fallen victim to the new regime headed by an appointed president and prime minister.

A 50-member constitutional committee has drafted revisions to the governing document which is slated to be voted on in a national referendum in mid-January. Nonetheless, a new law banning unapproved demonstrations and repressive actions against student protests at numerous campuses across the country indicates that a broader alliance in opposition to the military-backed regime may be evolving.

In Libya nearly three years after a counter-revolutionary war of regime-change was waged against the former government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, the political situation remains volatile and the national economy is on the verge of collapse. The oil-rich state is faced with factionalism and continued military intervention by the Pentagon and NATO.

The U.S.-backed regime of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has invited the Pentagon and other NATO states to train 7,000 Libyans for an ostensible new national army. Yet various forces inside the country oppose the ongoing prominent role of Washington and other western imperialist states in the affairs of the nation.

Consequently the uprising in Egypt and Tunisia and the imperialist bombing of Libya has still left the region unstable. All three states must build a coalition that can reverse the economic decline through breaking the dependence on the West and crafting their own independent domestic and foreign policy.

a29f6-thetruesizeofafricae28093ite28099sbiggerthanyouthinkSomalia and Kenya: Pentagon Role Highlighted in Recent Crises

The Westgate Shopping Mall incident during September 21-24 in Nairobi, Kenya stemmed directly from the U.S.-NATO role in neighboring Somalia. The African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is largely funded and supported militarily by Washington and the European Union (EU).

Al-Shabaab, the Islamic resistance movement to the occupation of the Horn of Africa state, continues to fight the AMISOM forces as well as the military commandos sent into the country in missions for France and the U.S. In early October Pentagon Special Forces attempted to attack an Al-Shabaab command center in Baraawe on the southern coast of the country but were repelled by guerrilla fighters.

France had attempted a similar mission in January resulting in the capture and killing of soldiers that sought to rescue an intelligence officer held by Al-Shabaab. Several French troops were killed in the operation and the intelligence operative was soon executed.

France has also intervened twice with occupations supported by the U.S. in Africa during 2013. In Mali, France invaded in January with Pentagon assistance and later in the year in the Central African Republic, supported as well by Washington.

When the Westgate Mall was seized by Al-Shabaab guerrillas in Nairobi, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) engaged in military operations alongside the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF). Although Kenyans voted in contravention to U.S. and British wishes in the national elections in March selecting Uhuru Kenyatta as president, the East African state still remains well within the political and economic orbit of western imperialism and its allies.

f5d55-africa-oilarmsSouthern Africa: The Struggle Continues in Zimbabwe and South Africa

The national harmonized elections in Zimbabwe on July 31 upset the western states when longtime President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party swept the executive and legislative polls. Despite the monitoring of the elections by the AU, the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other bodies, the U.S. and Britain have maintained their draconian sanctions against the country.

In South Africa workers and their trade unions have continued their labor struggles demanding higher wages and better working conditions. The mines, auto factories and other sectors of the national economy remain a source of class struggle and political debate.

The passing of former President Nelson Mandela has illustrated the history of struggle in South Africa. A return to the revolutionary legacy of Mandela and the ANC will be necessary to move the struggle to the next level of achieving genuine economic liberation and solidarity throughout the region and the continent.

These challenges facing Southern Africa and other regions of the continent will intensify as the world economic crisis deepens and the level of consciousness surrounding the role of the U.S. and other imperialist states in the continuing underdevelopment of Africa is heightened. What is clear is that capitalist relations of production cannot liberate the continent from the legacies of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Only the overthrow of the exploitation of labor and the construction of socialism can provide Africa with the possibilities of a fresh start aimed at building societies based upon equality, self-determination and sovereignty.


Related Topics:

Mandela’s Memorial, the Big Meet… What was the Deal?

State Terrorists Re-Write the Script on the Man they Once Branded a Terrorist*

Corporations that Profit from Poor South Africans*

The Bilderberg Factor

Egypt’s Military Propaganda Backfires*

Wahhabism as a Tool of Colonialism*

The Rise of the French Right and the CFA Franc

Turning Away from the Cash Cow When You are the Cow *

The West in a Panic!*

PM Behind Egypt’s First Trade Surplus in 50 Years Faces Imprisonment*

US, Saudis-Israeli, Qatar “Arab Spring Coup” in Sudan*

Libya Brought to its Socio-economic Knees*

AFRICOM’s Tentacles Across Africa*

As in Egypt So Tunisia Must Follow!*

Somalia: Thieves in the Night

Colonial France out for Niger’s Uranium*

Nairobi Mall Massacre a Set Up*