Senegal Cleaner. Britain, Rest Of West, Clueless

The son of the previous president of Senegal, Karim Wade, was condemned to six years in jail. Reason? A special Senegalese “Anti-Corruption Court” found that, thanks to complex financial conspiracies, Karim stole 178 million dollars.

He was also condemned to a 230 million dollar fine. Wade, Karim, does not have (yet) to regurgitate most of his 1.4 billion dollar fortune.

President Wade was (officially) a socialist, and ruled for 12 years.

Now Senegal, a country where I grew more, as a child, than any other, has a long democratic tradition.

There Are Better Things To Do In Senegal Than Hypocritically Whine About Slavery

There Are Better Things To Do In Senegal Than Hypocritically Whine About Slavery

Judge Henri Gregoire Diop said Wade had hidden away funds in offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Panama: “The facts before us constitute illicit enrichment by Karim Wade“.

Notice that plutocracy is global. Many of the richest people in Britain escape taxation by claiming to reside in just those places, where Karim hid (some) of his corruption money. But, there in the UK, supposedly a democracy, that sort of corruption is perfectly legal. Maybe Karim should have become British in a timely manner?

***

Corruption In West; Example Of Britain:

I have been saying this sort of things for years. George Monbiot, in The Guardian, just noticed it in “Let’s not fool ourselves. We may not bribe, but corruption is rife in Britain”

[Thanks to Paul Handover for calling my attention to Monbiot’s article.]

Says Mr. Monbiot:Common practices in the rich nations that could reasonably be labelled corrupt are excluded [from consideration when evaluating countries’ corruption]; common practices in the poor nations are emphasized [to claim that they are the ones which are corrupted, whereas corruption in poor nations is mickey-mouse stuff relative to the industrial strength, astronomical corruption in the richest nations].

This week a ground-changing book called How Corrupt is Britain?, edited by David Whyte, is published. It should be read…

Would there still be commercial banking sector in this country if it weren’t for corruption? Think of the list of scandals: pensions mis-selling, endowment mortgage fraud, the payment protection insurance scam, Libor rigging, insider trading and all the rest. Then ask yourself whether fleecing the public is an aberration – or the business model.

No senior figure has been held criminally liable or has even been disqualified for the practices that helped to trigger the financial crisis, partly because the laws that should have restrained them were slashed by successive governments. A former minister in this government ran [the huge, immensely criminally corrupt, politicians, drug lords and Al Qaeda financing, bank] HSBC while it engaged in systematic tax evasion, money laundering for drugs gangs and the provision of services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists. Instead of prosecuting the bank, the head of the UK’s tax office went to work for it when he retired.

***

Britain As Tax Heaven: Second Best

Monbiot is obviously unfamiliar with the reality of plutocratic rule in the USA. If he were, he would realize that Britain is the World’s Second Tax Haven. But, otherwise, all he says is correct:

The City of London, operating with the help of British overseas territories and crown dependencies, is the world’s leading tax haven, controlling 24% of all offshore financial services. It offers global capital an elaborate secrecy regime, assisting not just tax evaders but also smugglers, sanctions- busters and money-launderers.

As the French investigating magistrate Eva Joly has complained, the City “has never transmitted even the smallest piece of usable evidence to a foreign magistrate”. The UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Luxembourg and Germany are all ranked by Transparency International as among the least corrupt nations in the world. They are also listed by the Tax Justice Network as among the worst secrecy regimes and tax havens. For some reason, though, that doesn’t count.

The Private Finance Initiative has been used by our governments to deceive us about the extent of their borrowing while channelling public money into the hands of corporations. Shrouded in secrecy, stuffed with hidden sweeteners, it has landed hospitals and schools with unpayable debts, while hiding public services from public scrutiny.

Relying on the World Bank to assess corruption is like asking Vlad the Impaler for an audit of human rights.”

Except that Vlad could make a human right argument (freeing his country from impaling Islamists). Our present plutocrats and their greedy servants can make no such argument.

I will write more about the problems in Britain in the future.

Here is George Monbiot’s conclusion, which is pertinent to the problems less developed countries encounter, as they are dominated by Western plutocracy:

“For organisations such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, there is little difference between the public interest and the interests of global corporations. What might look like corruption from any other perspective looks to them like sound economics. The power of global finance and the immense wealth of the global elite are founded on corruption, and the beneficiaries have an interest in framing the question to excuse themselves.

[And they do, with the help of economics departments and pundits, all over the globe.]

Yes, many poor nations are plagued by the kind of corruption that involves paying bribes to officials. But the problems plaguing us run deeper. When the system already belongs to the elite, bribes are superfluous.”

Indeed.

In the West, it is not just politicians who are corrupt. It is the law itself. It was written, for plutocrats, by their servants. This is, of course, the way plutocracy has always operated. They even have done better in the USA: they made the USA into a so-called “Christian nation”, a place where the befuddled worries more about some guy who never existed, than in bothering to perceived that they are exploited in a system increasingly reminiscent of serfdom.

***

Why Is Senegal So Civilized?

Wade was a senior minister in his father’s government, and was in charge of major infrastructure and energy projects. It was a time when Korean factory ships were allowed to hug the Senegalese coast line, making a fortune for themselves, and starving the Senegalese (who depend heavily upon fish for proteins).

The Senegalese dubbed the soon immensely wealthy Karim “minister of the earth and the sky“.

How did Senegal become so wise?

Three millennia of trading ideas from all over.

Senegal was mostly freed from the past when a handful of French officers under Paris’ command, pacified and unified the country in the nineteenth century. The dozen or so officers commanded an army of 5,000 natives (who did all the work).

Contacts between Senegal and the West are much older than that: under Louis XIV, Senegalese had French nationality. Much earlier Senegal had a salted fish trade going on with Carthage (showing that the human impact on the Mediterranean is not new).

***

Inverted Gorée Racism, PC Style:

Nowadays, when supposedly knowledgeable Westerners only talk about the tiny island of Gorée when evoking Senegal, sort of like talking only about the guillotine when evoking France, or the electric chair, when evoking the USA.

It is a subtle, unconscious, anti-French, anti-Senegalese racism (the so-called “House of Slaves” in Gorée was built by a Franco-Senegalese family).

In truth, as the French controlled Gorée for nearly three centuries, except for 4 years under British control, few slaves passed through it. The French frowned on the slave trade, but certainly could not outlaw it completely until they ruled Senegal!

What counts in a civilizations is what has been institutionalized. In advanced parts of Senegal, for centuries, the part the French controlled, slavery was not institutionalized (differently from the USA, and other forsaken places).

***

Worst In The Rest:

The rest of the West (Senegal is part of the West, civilizationally speaking), is also corrupt, but the corrupt politicians there do not get judged, just admired.

Worse: the systems of thought, moods, and institutions connected to them, are corrupt… to the point few believe they are.

Here is an on-going example.

Right now the central banks of the West keep interest rates roughly around zero percent. The reason that is officially proclaimed is that, thus, the banks can extend very low interest loans to economic actors.

However, that is a lie.

80% of the money presently created goes to High Financial sector. Only 20% goes to the real economy.

This is corruption. Why are judges not rising? Because they have been brain-washed, long ago. Also the corruption is more spread-out, in the leading countries, than it was in Senegal. Millions feed off the excesses of the banking or health-industrial complex.

What Karim Wade was doing has been philosophically determined, long ago, as corrupt. Not so for the present banking, or even, political system.

***

Meanwhile Among Blown-Away Microbes…

95% of the capital of the Republic of Vanuatu, a long but tiny archipelago in the next ridge north of New Caledonia, has been destroyed by a greenhouse force 5 cyclone.

A few decades ago, Vanuatu was called the “New Hebrides” and was part of Britain and France. If it still was such a part and portion, no doubt the French and British government would use their considerable means to help (the French are helping, but not as much as if Vanuatu was still part of France).

So called “decolonization” has passed by, and Vanuatuans are now free to independently fend for themselves.

(As above with Karim Wade, so-called “decolonization” is all about global plutocrats making irresistible deals with local potentates. By the way, Karim does not have to regurgitate most of his ill-gotten fortune. I am ready to bet much is in French banks, cozy and cuddly with stolen Greek fortunes…)

Good luck to Vanuatu in its hut rebuilding project. GDP per capita in Vanuatu in 2014 was $3,200. In next door French New Caledonia, per capita GDP is $39,000 (about 12 times more).

Empire has its advantages. But less so, and even just the opposite, when under the orders of plutocrats.

Patrice Ayme’

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7 Responses to “Senegal Cleaner. Britain, Rest Of West, Clueless”

  1. gmax Says:

    Far ranging, and very frightening. It is good though, to see your conclusion that the West is corrupt spreading. At least in Britain.

    Facing that incredibly corrupt system in the richest nations, one can only wonder, with despair, how it could be changed.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Well, telling the truth ever more. And teaching people that the truth is MORE interesting.

      BTW, I was elated that The Economist compared unfavorably Britain with France in economic matters! As you pointed out.

  2. Paul Handover Says:

    Thanks for the mention, Patrice. Yes, these are interesting times!

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      It’s me who thank you. I depend upon people such as you to see further away. I had no idea about this revelation Monbiot had.

      I happy that George Monbiot has come all the way to my Dark Side! ;-)! He is read by significantly more people!

  3. dominique deux Says:

    France did not “frown” on slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. It piously averted its eyes, and never swallowed the religious tripe meant to justify it (mainly because said tripe was Protestant). But investing in the slave trade was perfectly acceptable, as long as you did not boast of it in progressive sitting rooms. Voltaire is a famous example. My home town, Nantes, grew rich on the trade.
    The UK did lead in the outlawing of the trade, with its usual happy mix of sanctimonious ethics and financial acumen. With her Caribbean colonies already well staffed with servile manpower, putting a stranglehold on others made exquisite sense. And freed slaves were actually less costly labor than the real thing.
    Eradicating the East-bound slave trade was a main reason for European colonization of Africa. As a result, repulsive slavers like Samory Touré and Tippoo Tip are now presented to African children as pure patriotic heroes.
    Taking this opportunity to tip my hat to a genuine Senegalese hero, Blaise Diagne.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Dominique: Nantes did indeed get rich on the slave trade, and decorated some houses supposedly with effigies of slaves (or so I have seen on TV; I have never been to Nantes, and probably never will… :-().

      The point I was trying to make is that according to some specialist academic writing in 1959, the first professor of African history at the Sorbonne, the Goree slave trade was vastly exaggerated. It would have involved a few hundred slaves a year, maximum, for something like 20 years centered on the early years that the British did occupy Goree (1758 to 1783… and again later, when Louis XVIII, upon recovering the island, had to agree, sanctimoniously, with the abolition of the slave trade).
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_conquest_of_Senegal

      The Brits fought the Americans during the Independence War under that proclamation that they had abolished slavery, after a while. That brings us to the hypocrisy, indeed, as you say. Before, under British administration, an enormous slave trade had been allowed in, and to, the Americas, to the point some American states were mostly African.

      Of course there was the usual Napoleonic embarrassment. When the plutocratic born Europe occupying tyrant lost Gorée to Britain for a few years, the uncouth Corsican Mafioso had technically re-established slavery, before been thrown out of Haiti (or something like that).

      When I was in Senegal, the Goree slave trade thing was viewed as completely minor. Just one, admittedly large, unoccupied, fortress like house among hundreds. Now Bush and then Obama have come to impose their sanctimonious discourse centered on “my elders were better than yours”, surrounded as they always are, by veritable armies.

      It is actually the well armed and organized Oualof and Serere Senegalese nations, linguistic entities and states, which sold slaves for Goree (I know, they supposedly drained Africa dry).

      What is truly draining Africa dry now is the lack of trade and organization from Europe. Instead, we are kindly letting the Americans and Chinese (!) do all the work, because, otherwise that would be so imperialistic on our part. Except when we have to go bomb a bit to help our proxies (Chad, Niger)… But bombs don’t build infrastructure.

      Thus the present situation in Africa is a sort of new slave trade… When it is not way worse (see the Rare Earth war in East Congo, and its 5 million dead). And the solution ought to be pretty much just as before. In particular France ought to help (=trade) with Senegal a lot more.

      This being said, precisely, Mali ought to cut in two, or so… 😉 Let the desert people be themselves. Same in Libya.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Blaise Diagne was born in Goree. He is my sort of hero too: he promoted Franco-African fusion (so to speak), and advertised fighting in the great anti-fascist war, phase one. Thus highly contributing to victory against the criminal, holocausting racist, by encouraging tens of thousands of Africans to enter the French army (they later had many children with German women, to the Nazis’ eternal rage, and a foretaste of things to come!).

      He was elected French MP and mayor of Dakar (he knew Senghor, who not just writer and philosopher, was also member of the French Constitutional assembly after WWII).

      Both Diagne’s sons were highly successful; one son became a football star, the other a military doctor. The grandson is mayor of Lourmarin (where Camus is buried). He spent 18 months in Senegal, when he was 6 months old, with a tirailleur Senegalais for baby sitter…

      Samory Touré converted to Islam, because Islam is a great war religion. That helped him built his empire, in the traditional Muslim way, that is very fast (see Islamist State… Daesch…). The great grandson of Samory Touré, Sekou Touré became dictator of Guinea, and made this humid, pleasantly mountainous, by far intrinsically richest of the French “colonies” into the poorest, sickest and most destitute… With the help of his deluded and deluding Soviet sponsors… reinforced by the world chorus of the pseudo-leftist pseudo-intellectuals secretly greedy for imperial sponsorship (be it from the USSR, USA, PRC…).

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