Tuesday, May 15, 2007

English mercenary set for a world of hurt

If you cock your head towards the West African nation of Equatorial Guinea, you may be able to hear someone howling in an English accent, and perhaps even smell the sizzling bacon odor of high voltage roasting someone's scrotum. Why, you may ask?

In March of 2004, English mercenary Simon Mann was arrested in Zimbabwe loading a quarter of a million dollars worth of arms and supplies onto a Boeing 727 bound for Equatorial Guinea. It goes without saying that Mann and his crew weren't planning a trip to the beach, but rather, they were hired stage a coup d'etat to overthrow Equatorial Guinea's dictator, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Mann's co-conspirators in Equatorial Guinea itself were arrested, and one of whom has already died in captivity, leaving Mann and his co-plotters in Zimbabwe jailed on variety of weapons and immigration offenses.

As Mann already knew before embroiling himself in the coup plot, Equatorial Guinea has gained a reputation for having the absolute worst human rights record in all Africa. The situation is so bad, in fact, that human rights organizations have fled Equatorial Guinea for fear of government reprisals, and even the infamously useless United Nations Human Rights Commission has long since given up even trying to document conditions in the country. Having Africa's worst human rights record is no mean feat, as Mann himself well knows, and unfortunately for him, as he's about to find out for himself first hand just how bad it can get.

So how did Mann find himself going from a bad stint in a Zimbabwean prison to almost certain torture and death in Equatorial Guinea? A gentleman's agreement appears to have taken place between Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Obiang Nguema. While Equatorial Guinea is barely a smudge on the map, it holds the distinction of being Africa's third largest oil exporter, a fact not lost on Mugabe, whose country ran out of fuel years ago. Mugabe, who hates the English and foreign coups, certainly shed no tears exchanging Mann for gasoline, while Obiang Nguema gets the satisfaction of toying with a political prisoner who threatened his lucrative rule. The 63 year old Obiang Nguema is reportedly suffering from late stage prostate cancer, so it's safe to presume he'll dispose of his new plaything fairly quickly once he arrives.

So what lies in store after Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo shuffles off this mortal coil? His American educated playboy son Teodorin, resident of Malibu, aspiring rapper, and boyfriend of hip-hop skank Eve is next in line. Although he is apparently more interested in Ferraris than fascism, it's a safe bet that he'll pick up where dad left off, doing just enough to insure that the foreign oil monies keep rolling in, and that the foreign mercenaries stay the hell out.

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