July 25, 2003
The Baltimore Sun

Corpses at Our Doorstep

by Greg Palast

. . . Liberia enjoyed a century and a half of democracy and prosperity until 1980, when a low-ranking officer in the presidential guard, Samuel K. Doe, murdered the president, executed the nation's entire Cabinet and declared himself ruler. Within months, the newly inaugurated Ronald Reagan locked down Mr. Doe's hold on power by showering him with $500 million in taxpayer dollars, the most aid granted any African nation.

In return for this largesse, Liberia's first dictator made his nation the U.S. government's African spearhead in the Cold War, a counter to Moammar Gadhafi of Libya and the Russians and Cubans advancing in Angola.

. . . Liberia is close enough to Nigeria for the Bush administration to smell the oil. The French have moved troops into the nearby Ivory Coast, and Britain has reasserted authority over Sierra Leone.


[The fact is the US doesn't care enough to play the part of policeman and provide a chance for a lasting solution. Instead, the State Department is instructed to patch together the best deal possible. That means accommodating yet again the people who have the guns.

Under the agreement currently being discussed, the rebels will be given the vice presidency and other high government offices. Pursuing political power through the use of violence once again is paying off, and whoever assumes the presidency in Liberia will last only until a bigger thug comes along. In other words, the suffering and the selling out of Liberia goes on and on.--Dennis Jett, "History repeats itself in Liberia," Christian Science Monitor, July 30, 2003]

Mark Turner, Mark Huband, and Andrew Parker, "US seeks to protect weapons trafficker," Financial Times, May 16 2004

[What West Africa does have is oil - a lot of it. Nigeria is the world's seventh-largest oil producer, and accounts for 70 percent of the continent's oil. Equatorial Guinea, as well as Angola, Senegal and Sao Tome and Príncipe are all being eyed hungrily by Western oil majors, who've made sizable investments throughout the region.--

. . . the Pentagon undertaken another multi-million dollar project for training the armies of weak states in the war on terror - now, the central-west African states of Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania.--Christopher Deliso, "West Africa: Where the Empire Will Come to Ruin,", September 27, 2004]

[A Muslim convert and trained guerrilla fighter, Mr Dokubo-Asari has demanded more autonomy for the delta's predominant ethnic group, the Ijaw, who live in abject poverty despite the huge oil wealth being pumped from their lands.--Daniel Howden, " Nigeria starts talks with rebel leader as fears over oil grow," Independent, October 1, 2004]

[He said that they had had enough of the exploitation of their resources and wanted to take total control of the area to get their fair share of the wealth.--"Nigeria oil 'total war' warning," BBC News, February 17, 2006]

[Nigeria's oil resources have gone to waste. The estimated US$350 billion earned from oil by the government between 1965 and 2000 did little to alleviate poverty in Nigeria and, according to many studies, actually exacerbated deprivation through the opportunities it provided for corruption and abuse. Nigeria is among the 15 poorest countries in the world and 70% of its people live below the poverty line.--"The Niger Delta Today," BBC News, April 4, 2006]

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