W is for wikileaks
Je, hii ni utamaduni? Assange has been the most widely talked about political ‘prisoner’ in the news for the past week, and it’s like ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’ all ova again, where cablegate became a meme in less than 3 days, and has (paradoxically?) provided the biggest blow yet to U.S imperialism and the oppressive re/construction of political power all ova the world yet…but what is it we really didn’t know already?
#nairobberyleaks: capitalism bought the Kenyan parliament, and all the ports. Kenyatta and Moi only set a precedent with their thieving for the powers-that-be now, outlined already in the Kroll report shake-up
#werdonthegroundleaks: the US govt is like the big bully of the school yard, the Afghan war is only still happening in ‘deference’ to the ’emperor’ of the political world….so many diplomats are big gossip, while talk is cheap en bought at our expense…
Putin [aka. batman or robin depending on which #cable you read] asked why Assange was hidden in jail :
“Is that democracy? As we say in the village: the pot is calling the kettle black. I want to send the ball back to our American colleagues.”
The Kremlin was also getting into the act calling for Assange to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
It even called on non-governmental organisations to consider ‘nominating Assange as a Nobel Prize laureate’.
Kenya’s Cabinet is the most corrupt in Africa, according to the latest exposé by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.
Newly-released cables say US diplomats believe nearly all members of Kenya’s cabinet are on the take.
They quote Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission director Patrick Lumumba saying he “is convinced that there is hardly a single minister in the country’s bloated, 42-member cabinet, that doesn’t use their position to line their own pockets”.
And American officials are scathing in their assessment of Attorney-General Amos Wako and former Kacc director Aaron Ringera, whom they claim have used their offices to frustrate prosecution of senior government officials.
Cabinet minister Henry Kosgey is included on the list of top officials the US wants removed from government.
They cite corruption-related investigations currently under way against him and his past record as a public official. They also claim some reports have linked him to post-election violence.
“Kosgey’s diverse corruption activities over decades have negatively impacted US foreign assistance goals in a number of ways.
His continuing ownership of illegally transferred forest lands, part of the greater Mau Forest which comprises Kenya’s largest water catchment area, has contributed to ethnic conflict over land ownership in the Rift Valley, and has also contributed to deforestation and resulting drought and hunger that currently plagues Kenya.
Donors, including the United States, have had to provide billions of dollars in emergency food aid to Kenya over the last four years of chronic drought,” the cables state.
Mr Kosgey was not available for comment on Saturday and the Sunday Nation cannot publish the full details of the cables because we could not immediately substantiate the claims levelled against him in relation to his past record.
But Mr Ringera came out fighting when reached. “My record speaks for itself. I put myself 100 per cent into anti-corruption. I know myself and the truth will one day be known even if it takes 20 years. I am on record for recommending prosecution of eight ministers, nine permanent secretaries and 61 heads of parastatals. I also investigated 16 MPs over illegal payments,” he said.
The latest batch of cables was released by German newspaper Der Spiegel, one of five publications given the package of cables containing up to 250,000 dispatches sent from US embassies around the world. The US embassy in Nairobi appears to have focused on investigation of high-level corruption in recent years.
The cables paint a positive profile of the new Kacc chief, who has won praise for the way he has set about pursuing top officials suspected of crimes. Foreign minister Moses Wetang’ula, permanent secretary Thuita Mwangi and Nairobi mayor Geophrey Majiwa were recently forced out of office due to corruption allegations.
US ambassador Michael Ranneberger reported that he was impressed by Prof Lumumba’s first few weeks in office. But he charged that Mr Wako remained a major obstacle to reform, a statement he has made publicly in the past.
In a report compiled in September 2009, the US envoy charged that “Wako is largely responsible for the fact that no politician has ever been seriously taken to task for graft-related activities. Wako was originally appointed to the position by President Moi, but he held onto his office due to his excellent relationship with the country’s current president, Mwai Kibaki. And he shouldn’t expect much in the way of favours from the US,” says the report in Der Spiegel.
Mr Ranneberger outlines a number of reasons why the US decided to ban Mr Wako from America. Mr Wako has vowed to seek legal action against the ban. “The Embassy strongly believes Mr Amos Wako has engaged in and benefited from public corruption in his capacity as Attorney General for the past 18 years by interference with judicial and other public processes.”
The US accuses Mr Wako of sabotaging efforts to pursue justice for the victims of the unrest that afflicted Kenya in early 2008. According to a US dispatch on the matter:
“One can find an Attorney General who has successfully maintained an almost perfect record of non-prosecution. He accomplishes this through the most complex of smoke and mirrors tactics, seeking to appear to desire prosecution while all along doing his utmost to protect the political elites.”
The fallout from the release of the cables continued yesterday as more ministers took up the subject. Internal Security minister Prof George Saitoti, who is also the acting Foreign minister, on Saturday said Kenya should not worry about the leaked cables since many other countries had been mentioned as well. “This is propaganda but we are not the only ones,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said the Americans were threatened by China’s rising influence. “The Chinese have provided funds for roads, hospitals and other projects but the complainants have nothing to show in this regard,” he said.
Defence minister Yusuf Haji dismissed accusations that the defence council was populated by members of Mr Kibaki’s Kikuyu community. “Mambo ya huyu balozi ni ya sokoni na ya upuuzi (This is mere market gossip). I am the chairman of the defence council, Joseph Nkaissery is a member, David Musila is a member and the head of the army (Jeremiah Kianga) is a Kamba,” he said.
Despite the heated reaction from the Cabinet, Prime Minister and President, the release of the cables
is likely to cement Kenya’s reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in the region.
The Der Spiegel report says corrupt “government (officials) often trigger famines and instigate unrest, which then must be mitigated with Western aid money. As such, diplomats have drawn up a list of the worst offenders. Fifteen high-ranking Kenyan officials have been banned from entering the US.
“During the 24 years that Daniel arap Moi was president of Kenya, between 1978 and 2002, the entire body politic was gripped by a system of personal enrichment and corruption. Despite the fact that dozens of investigative commissions have thrown light on hundreds of cases of corruption, not a single minister has ever been convicted.”
The report accuses Mr Ringera of working with Kacc officials to entrench “a system that works to discourage investigation, minimise the likelihood of prosecution, and throw out court cases that appear to have a chance of taking down senior government officials.”
“Like the Attorney General, Ringera can claim a perfect record of not investigating and convicting a single Kenyan government official. This is a remarkable tally in a country that is consistently ranked among the most corrupt in the world.”
In a teleconference conversation with reporters yesterday Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson downplayed the WikiLeaks revelations. He likened the contents of cables between US embassies in Africa and the State Department, to a married couple discussing a “mother-in-law or father-in-law, both of whom you love dearly. But you may in fact have some disagreements about the suits that they wear or the shoes that they put on in the morning”.
He characterised the documents downloaded from US government computer systems as “stolen mail” that should not be relayed.
Mr Carson, a former US ambassador in Nairobi, acknowledged that “embassies carry on candid, sensitive discussions with Washington and Washington officials.”
– Additional reporting by Lucas Barasa and Kevin Kelley Jr
Nigerian Curiosity has produced a synopsis of the “Naija Leaks“. The leaks provide an additional dimension to the relationship between the Nigerian government, Shell – an imperial empire in itself, and the United States government. The “Naija Leaks” should be read in the context of the “oil complex” – that is the relationship between the oil companies, the Nigerian Federal and State governments, traditional rulers, militants and the community and now unsurprisingly, as the leaks reveal, the United States government. A militarised relationship which was exposed early this week with the disclosure that the Nigerian military had framed Ken Saro Wiwa and Shell’s role in supporting the framing and implicit in that, the execution of the Ogoni 9.
The most interesting fact revealed is of course Shell’s total infiltration into all aspects of Nigerian politics and governance, acting as a spy for the US government. I find this somewhat amusing considering successive Nigerian governments over the past 40 years have been loving bed partners with Shell acting out some of the most brutal attacks on communities and the environment, not knowing that Shell was also very much in bed with the US government. In retrospect this is hardly surprising news but if one looks at Nigeria’s side of the relationship with Shell, it is apparent they were not aware of the duplicity and even more stupid had actually forgotten the Shell had “seconded people to all relevant ministries”.
Beyond that Ann Pickard’s comment on the probability that the amnesty of October 2009 would be short lived is prophetic plus her comment on Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who unlike his counterparts in Delta and Bayelsa States, due to his lack of “political connections” has been unable to co-op any of the militants. The revelation that the PresidentGoodluck Jonathan discussed Nigerian elections with the US Ambassador is also revealing especially if put with other discussions of Nigeria’s internal politics such as the resignation of Yar’Adua, replacing INEC and even Jonathan’s choice of Vice President. All of which speak to the sovereignty of Nigeria vis a vis multinational oil companies and foreign governments – again nothing surprising here. The third revelation on the corruption of late President Yar’Adua because he was seen to be “incorruptible” whereas now we find he was much the same as all previous head of states.
Overall, as in most of the WikiLeaks elsewhere, there are no surprises here. As Nigerian Curiosity comments, will these revelations be published by the Nigerian media especially with elections next April? What I would like to see are similar cables for the period 1992-1995 and during 1998-2000, covering the heart of the Ogoni Movement for self-determination and President Obasanjo’s attacks against Niger Delta in Kaiama and Odi for example and also around 2005, the beginnings of the militancy movement.
It is now known why Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson hurriedly called Prime Minister Raila Odinga to apologise over the leaked diplomatic information WikiLeaks was about to spill.
Carson had learned that among the leaked cables was the discussion between Raila and US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger over the transfer of military hardware to Southern Sudan.
Also in the loop was Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who had been briefed by Ranneberger on the issue.
Above all, President Kibaki was said to have been angry about the problems around the transfer of the arms to Southern Sudan.
The highly sensitive information rattled the US Government, coming at a time Southern Sudan is about to hold the crucial vote for independence on January 9, next year.
The secret cables sent to Washington by Ranneberger show Raila knew that the 812 tonnes of arms and 33 T72 tanks captured by pirates of the Somali Coast were destined to Southern Sudan and not to the Kenya Army as Kenyans were made to believe.
In 2008, the Government came out fighting against information that 33 T72 tanks captured by pirates en-route to Kenya were for the Government of Southern Sudan.
In October, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and officers from the Office of the President maintained that the tanks were to be used by the Kenya Army. That was despite information emerging that the freight manifest showed the Ministry of Defence made contracts for the hardware on behalf of south Sudan.
WikiLeaks cables claim Ranneberger wrote saying he discussed the tank transfer issue with Raila on December 15, 2008. He said Raila told him the Government was committed to assisting the South Sudan and that there was “intense pressure” from them to deliver the tanks.
Raila hinted that the Government might instead transfer the tanks to Uganda (and, he implied, from there to South Sudan).
On December 16, following AF guidance, Ranneberger reiterated to the PM that any further transfer of the tanks, via Uganda or otherwise, would violate US law and could trigger sweeping sanctions against Kenya. He also noted that the likelihood of receiving a waiver for past funding to the SPLA since 2007 would be remote if Kenya proceeded with moving the tanks to Sudan.
The envoy said, in the leaked cables, he also briefed Uhuru on the issue on December 16, and Uhuru confirmed he understood the US position. The leaks said on December 16, Col McNevin met with CGS Kianga and DMI Kameru at the ambassador’s direction. Vice-CGS Gen Karangi was in attendance when McNevin reiterated the points made by Ranneberger to the PM.
Before the meeting, Kameru mentioned that in the Government’s view, the tanks belonged to the GOSS and that Kenya was receiving “increasing pressure” to deliver them. He revealed that President Kibaki was personally very angry with the issue.
Implementation of CPA
During the meeting, Kianga commented that the Government was “very confused” by our position and did not understand why they needed a waiver, since the past transfers had been undertaken in consultation with the United States and they thought we were in agreement on the way forward towards implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Kianga added that this was causing a “major problem” between the Government and the GOSS. He asked about the significance of what appeared to him to be a major policy reversal, and questioned whether the United States was rethinking the CPA, increasingly shifting its support to Khartoum or if it was now seeking a unitary state in Sudan.
Kianga asked that the US explain directly to the GOSS/SPLA why they were blocking the tank transfer. Kianga indicated the Government would have liked to participate in a high-level trilateral meeting between the Government, GOSS and US to reach a collective understanding of US and regional partner countries’ objectives in implementation of the CPA.
Hii ni hadithi yetu, our dream is to make a(nother queer/wombanist kinda’) nollywood movie…..
all based on our true true stories o….
The riddle of the sphinx is in the journeys (to reality) of the core collective(s) and many stars of the Q_t werd,
(a bio/mytho/graphical mapping of the intersections of our diversity, linked with(in) grassroots en progressive urban networks en many kijijis)
harvested from di’ real world en the wide web of di’ diaspora en mama Afrika.
Kesho, on the q_t werd, r ni ya rabi’a (the fourth)….
A number of stories about rabi’a have to with her pilgrimage to Mecca to see the Kaaba. She never quite seemed to be able to get there –ultimately the Kaaba had to come to her instead (which seems to be a sort of reversal of the Muhammad-and-the-mountain story). Her difficulties in completing the pilgrimage seem to symbolise the struggle of the mystic path and her own difficulty in coming to terms with the conventional Islamic community; and the Kaaba’s coming to her may also point to the truth that the last (as well as the first) step on that path is taken not by the mystic, but by God/dess hirself…
(Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure)
Another story goes like a leading scholar of Basra visited Rabi’a on her sick-bed. Sitting beside her pillow, he reviled the world.
“You love the world very dearly,” Rabi’a commented.
“If you did not love the world. you would not make mention of it so much. It is always the purchaser who disparages the wares. If you were done with the world, you would not mention it for good or evil.
As it is, you keep mentioning it because, as the proverbs say, whoever loves a thing mentions it frequently.”…
(Muslim Saints and Mystics)
I love Goddess: I have no time left
In which to hate the devil….
I carry a torch in one hand
And a bucket of wota in the other:
With these tings I yam going to set fire to heaven
And put out the flames of hell
So that voyagers to Goddess can rip the veils
And see the real goal
(Excerpt from Doorkeeper of the Heart)