Thursday, April 12, 2007

Neocons continue to screw Third World

Deforestation of African rainforests looks like this

Everybody's seen those guys standing on the freeway on-ramp with the handmade cardboard sign that says, "Will work for food," right? It seems that some Third World countries will also work for food - hell, that's putting it mildly; they're selling off their birthrights -- for a few bags of salt. It's downright biblical, and not a little creepy.

The UK Guardian is reporting on a breaking scandal involving Big Lumber:

John Vidal in Kisangani
Wednesday April 11, 2007
The Guardian

Vast tracts of the world's second-largest rainforest have been obtained by a small group of European and American industrial logging companies in return for minimal taxes and gifts of salt, sugar and tools, a two-year investigation will disclose today.

More than 150 contracts covering an area of rainforest nearly the size of the United Kingdom have been signed with 20 companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the past three years. Many are believed to have been illegally allocated in 2002 by a transition government emerging from a decade of civil wars and are in defiance of a World Bank moratorium.


According to the 100-page study, compiled by Greenpeace International working with Congolese ecological and human rights groups, if all the forests identified for logging are felled, it could "release" up to 34bn tonnes of carbon - nearly as much as Britain has emitted in 60 years.

To gain access to the forests for the next 25 years, the European companies have made agreements with village chiefs, offering bags of salt, machetes and bicycles, and in some cases promised to build rudimentary schools, the report states.


The report criticizes the World Bank for encouraging logging in Congo in the knowledge that corruption was rife. It refused to comment until the report has been published.
For those not in the know, Paul Wolfowitz (neocon architect of the Iraqi war) is now the president of the world bank. We all recall that one of his ambitions was to make Iraq into a "free-trade" zone (think unregulated corporate economic rape). Now that he's head of the World Bank, he's bringing necon-style economics to the third world, paying for goods in barter.

As for Wolfy's performance while not raping Third World countries, the Government Accountability Project broke the news that Wolfowitz’ girlfriend Shaha Ali Riza, who is also a Bank staffer, has received salary raises far in excess of World Bank rules and protocol.

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