Preview to Answering The Big Question, How Do We Fix This Mess? | Centinel2012

Comment by tonytran2015:

Hoover… directed the bureau into secret and illegal domestic
surveillance spurred on by his conservative patriotism and paranoia. His nefarious tactics had been suspected for decades by government
officials, but presidents from Truman to Nixon
seemed unable to fire him due to his popularity and the potentially high political cost. In 1975, the Church Committee… conducted a full investigation
of COINTELPRO’s operations and concluded that many of the agency’s
tactics were illegal and, in many, cases unconstitutional.

A Fourth Branch of Government was quietly created, and technology allowed the tentacles of the system to touch us. That’s the root of it, and if we take the time to understand how the Fourth Branch originated, questions about this perpetual angst start to make sense…

History provided enough warnings from Dwight D Eisenhower (military), to John F Kennedy (CIA), to Richard Nixon (FBI), to all modern versions of warnings and frustrations from HPSCI Devin Nunes and ODNI Ric Grenell.

The Intelligence Branch functions much like the State Dept, through a unique set of public-private partnerships that support it. Big Tech industry collaboration with intelligence operatives is part of that functioning; almost like an NGO. However, the process is much more important than most think. In this problematic perspective of a corrupt system of government, the process is the flaw – not the outcome.

… Many people say that congress is the solution to eliminating the fourth and superseding branch of government, The Intelligence Branch. This is an exercise in futility because the legislative branch, specifically the SSCI, facilitated the creation of the Intelligence Branch. The SSCI cannot put the genie they created back in the bottle without admitting they too are corrupt; and the background story of their corruption is way too intense to be exposed now.

Every member of the SSCI is compromised in some controlling manner. Those Senators who disliked the control over them; specifically disliked because the risk of sunlight was tenuous and, well, possible; have either left completely or stepped down from the committee. None of the SSCI members past or present would ever contemplate saying openly what their tenure involved….


Finally, to ignore the fact that we are now living in what are truly some very scary times, is to deny reality. We seem to have a rather significant number of our political elite who, in exchange for a few pieces of silver, have become allies of certain foreign powers interested in bringing about the demise of our country and replacing it as the world’s sole superpower. So the time has now come for all Americans, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual persuasion to come together and ignore those trying so hard to divide us. We must put our petty differences aside and come together in the name of a cause that’s so much bigger than ourselves.

Beware the Eephus: Washington on Edge As Durham Prepares Possible Indictments and Report – JONATHAN TURLEY

Below is my column in The Hill on recent reports of grand jury testimony in the Durham investigation. The implications of the grand jury — and the eventual report — have rattled folks in the Beltway this week . . . for good reason.

Here is the column:

This week Texas Rangers infielder Brock Holt became a baseball legend when he went to the mound and threw an “eephus,” a high-arching, off-speed pitch, in a game against the Athletics. It is believed to be the slowest pitch recorded in MLB history, and A’s batter Josh Harrison stood in disbelief as the 31 mph pitch was called a strike. Harrison just laughed in amazement.

Pirates outfielder Maurice Van Robays coined the term in the 1946 All-Star Game, explaining, “Eephus ain’t nothing, and that’s a nothing pitch.” But as Holt demonstrated, sometimes a “nothing” slow pitch can amount to a great deal.

That is equally true about the occasional criminal eephus that takes everyone by surprise. For example, U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation has been slow in coming, but on Friday, a report surfaced that he is pitching evidence to a grand jury in an investigation started back in May 2019. The Durham investigation is now longer in duration than former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and many people long forgot that Durham — made a special counsel at the end of the Trump administration — was even still in the game.

The report in The Wall Street Journal said Durham is presenting evidence against FBI agents and possibly others in the use of false information or tips at the start of the Russia investigation in 2016. Those “others” could include a virtual who’s who of Washington politics, and even if they are not indicted, Durham could implicate some of the most powerful figures in politics in his final report, expected in the coming months.

Even for those of us who followed and wrote on the Russia investigation for five years, much has been revealed in the last year. It was disclosed in October, for instance, that President Obama was briefed by his CIA director, John Brennan, on July 28, 2016, on intelligence suggesting that Hillary Clinton planned to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.” The date was significant because the Russia investigation was initiated July 31, 2016, just three days later.

Throughout the campaign, the Clinton campaign denied any involvement in the creation of the so-called Steele dossier’s allegations of Trump-Russia connections. However, weeks after the election, journalists discovered that the Clinton campaign hid payments for the dossier made to a research firm, Fusion GPS, as “legal fees” among the $5.6 million paid to the campaign’s law firm. New York Times reporter Ken Vogel said at the time that Clinton lawyer Marc Elias, with the law firm of Perkins Coie, denied involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. When Vogel tried to report the story, he said, Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman declared, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.”

It was not just reporters who asked the Clinton campaign about its role in the Steele dossier. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, was questioned by Congress and denied categorically any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who reportedly said nothing to correct the misleading information given to Congress.

It was later revealed that American intelligence viewed Steele as unreliable and believed his dossier was used by Russian intelligence to plant disinformation. Later reports show that Steele shopped the information to any reporters who would listen before the election and that there was an effort to get the information to trusted figures in the Justice Department.

This cross-pollination between the campaign and the Justice Department was evident in the strange role of Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice official who was later demoted for concealing his meetings with people pushing the Steele dossier; his wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS as a researcher on Trump’s purported connections to Russia. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz subsequently found that Bruce Ohr acted improperly and committed “consequential errors in judgment.”

Others are reported in some media accounts to be in Durham’s crosshairs, including an analyst at the liberal Brookings Institution, Igor Danchenko, who was a source for part of the dossier and the subject of a Durham subpoena. Danchenko has been linked to a source viewed by American intelligence as a conduit for Russian disinformation and reportedly was investigated as a possible national security threat, according to at least one news report.

Durham also is reportedly looking into information concerning Alfa Bank, a privately owned commercial bank in Russia. That information led to possible access to the Trump campaign server. The Alfa Bank controversy is likely to make a number of powerful people particularly uneasy. Clinton campaign-linked figures such as Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson allegedly pushed the debunked claim that the Trump campaign had a server linked directly to the bank, which in turn was linked to Vladimir Putin and his cronies. The Alfa Bank conspiracy reportedly was pitched to the Justice Department, including in contacts with Bruce Ohr.

For many individuals, the statute of limitations may have passed on any alleged crimes. But the truth brought to light in any final report could result a public indictment of sorts.

Attorney General Merrick Garland may face some pressure to refuse to reauthorize a continuation of the Durham investigation, but he is likely to continue that support. After all, the Mueller investigation and various damaging investigations targeting Trump officials were approved and protected by his predecessor, William Barr.

The final fight may be over the report itself. Many in Congress and the media may not want it to see the light of day since it is likely to be an indictment not just of the FBI but of the establishment and an enabling media. Yet these same figures demanded “full transparency” over the Mueller report, including secret grand jury material barred from release under federal law. Even in a city that lives on political spin, reversing that narrative to demand secrecy or major redactions may be difficult to achieve in front of an increasingly distrustful public.

Thus, John Durham may be the slowest pitcher of all major league federal prosecutors — but a wide array of powerful people are afraid they may be called out at the plate by what he is about to let fly.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

The speech that shamed America: Its contemptible dishonesty would have made Donald Trump blush | The Wentworth Report

Comment by tonytran2015: (

The speech that shamed America: Its contemptible dishonesty would have made Donald Trump blush. By Andrew Neil.

It was the most contemptible speech by a U.S. president in modern times — a speech that shames America and leaves its global reputation in the dirt. …

His abject surrender to the Taliban was dressed up as political reality and common sense. His scuttle from Kabul, still ongoing, was depicted as geopolitical wisdom and a refocusing of U.S. priorities.

Any mistakes or problems were the fault of others, from Trump to the Afghan army.

But make no mistake: the person overwhelmingly responsible for the appalling scenes currently unfolding on our TV screens is the man sitting in the Oval Office.

The fall of Kabul and the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan is the most humiliating foreign policy disaster for America since the end of World War II.

It combines the cack-handedness of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, when President Kennedy’s attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro with a CIA-backed invasion force of Cuban rebels ended in farce and global embarrassment; and the devastating blow to U.S. prestige worldwide that followed the fall of Saigon in 1975, from which it took America a generation to recover. …

So dishonest:

Perhaps the most egregious bit of Biden’s speech was the way he framed the choice before him: either America cut and run (of course, he didn’t use these words but that’s what’s happening); or there had to be yet another massive U.S. military build-up which could see America in Afghanistan for another 20 years.

Biden put it that way because he knows there is no appetite among U.S. voters for further, deeper involvement.

‘How many more generations of daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not?’ he asked, knowing full well that the answer would be a resounding: ‘None!’

But his binary choice was as deceptive as it was cynical.

There was a third way — largely a continuation of an enhanced status quo.

For some time now, a small number of U.S. troops — around 2,500 — and their allies have worked with the Afghan military to contain the Taliban, with some success. The Afghans have done most of the fighting and there hasn’t been a U.S. casualty on the battlefield for 18 months. That’s right, not a single American body bag out of Afghanistan since February 2020. …

He claimed America could not occupy Afghanistan for ever. But the U.S. did not occupy Afghanistan. It merely had a small but vital military presence there. It no more occupied Afghanistan than it does South Korea or Japan or Italy or Spain, countries where it also has an important military presence. …

The Afghan military has borne the brunt of the action, suffering 45,000 fatalities in recent years (66,000 since 2001). It was unbecoming of President Biden to demean a foreign army which has incurred such a death toll in defence of its country while carrying out U.S. policy. …

So hypocritical — or did he just wise up and change his mind?

He claimed the U.S. was in Afghanistan only on a counter-terrorist mission, not for nation-building, implying he had no time for that. Yet, in 2001, as the U.S. intervention was under way, he attacked Republican resistance to nation-building and looked forward to a ‘relatively stable government in Afghanistan . . . which represents the ethnic make-up of the country and provides the foundation for future reconstruction of that country’. In other words, nation-building.

Two years later, he said: ‘The alternative to nation-building is chaos, a chaos that churns out bloodthirsty warlords, drug-traffickers and terrorists.’

The fact is, the counter-terrorism strategy of the U.S. and its allies has been a success. Afghanistan has not been a base for international terrorism for 20 years. And, in the process, some very worthwhile building of a civil society has been achieved. In 2001, before the Taliban fell and Al-Qaeda fled, there were one million pupils in Afghanistan, every one of them male. Today there are 9.5 million — and 40 per cent are female. …

In 2010, he told Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special representative for Afghanistan, that the U.S. had to leave, regardless of the consequences for women.

Holbrooke records in his diary that, when confronted with America’s obligations to ordinary Afghans, he replied: ‘F*** that. We don’t have to worry about that. We did it in Vietnam. Nixon and Kissinger got away with it.’

Who will be held accountable for twenty years of lies about Afghanistan? | VikingLifeBlog


Hint: No one will.

For the first time in history, 100% of Afghanistan is under Taliban control

Renaissance Horizon

Opium in Taliban safehouse in Helmand


I recently worked in Kabul and weep for all my Afghan friends, who we’re abandoning to their deaths. Here’s why our mission failed — RT Op-ed

Comment by tonyttan2015: Corruption is one cause but not the only cause for failure. In the local culture, there are fighters class and peasants class and they are NOT equal. Afghan government’s soldiers did not come from “fighters class” and are not revered by Afghan culture. Outside powers cannot impose external values on Afghanistan (

Afghanistan’s falling apart again and the Taliban’s on the brink of victory, as I predicted. So, why did the 20-year US-led occupation
fail? Because it refused to tackle the rampant corruption that pervades
all echelons of power.

Knowing that in less than
three hours, you will be in Kabul, the most dangerous capital city in
the world, makes boarding the pristine Emirates flight from Dubai a
surreal experience. This spring I did just that, as I went to join the
United Nations Development Programme mission in Afghanistan as its
expert advisor on policing and security.

I knew what to expect.
I’d spent a year there, before Covid broke out, as a senior adviser for
policing, working directly with the Afghan government and senior NATO
commanders. I even advised the US’s four-star commanding general, the
Afghan minister of the interior and the chief of police.

During that time, I saw at first hand why America and the West’s mission in the
country was doomed to fail, despite the spending of two trillion dollars and the best efforts of hundreds of thousands of brave, clever,
passionate soldiers and civilians, many now dead or maimed. The attempts
of the international community to resist the Taliban and Islamic State
Khorasan (IS-K), IS’s even nastier offshoot in the country, fell foul of
the landscape of insurgencies, terrorism and ever-shifting political
and tribal allegiances. But its main killer was the Big C: corruption.

My flight this May, like so many before, still had some Afghan ‘businessmen’ returning with empty attaché cases that once held US
dollars sent to be laundered in the Emirates, as well as many tough-looking bearded Western men in khaki chinos and adventure jackets,
their eyes veiled under baseball caps. These were the contractors who come from all over the world to try to make a difference or chase the big money or both, just like me. The US’s and NATO’s wars, occupations
and counter-terrorism operations are a lucrative business.

These men work in every field, doing virtually everything needed to keep the Western involvement going. Among them are IT consultants, aerospace
engineers maintaining the Afghan air force, firefighters crewing the airport crash tenders and, of course, the countless armed bodyguards
working for embassies, commercial organisations and NGOs.

By March, it was already clear that the Taliban was breaking the peace
agreement it had made with the Trump administration – a deal done
without the US having consulted with the Afghan government or listened
to NATO allies.

I knew from past experience that, as we came into
land at Kabul, I would get a sense of foreboding, like a finger
pressing hard into the back of my neck, reminding me that we were about
to enter an extremely hazardous place, and that this apprehension would
pervade everything and would not lift until I was on the flight out of

After all, from the moment you land at Hamid Karzai
International Airport, you are ‘in play’. As your aircraft taxis past
the Afghan air force and NATO fighters on the north side of the runway,
rockets or mortars could come screaming down, spraying razor-sharp
splinters of jagged steel. Or that uniformed policeman could turn his
gun on you in one of the notorious and frequent ‘green-on-blue’ attacks.

size of the military investment in the country is easy to see, with
rows of Afghan military helicopters and light ground-attack planes
filling my window, only to be replaced by the chattering Chinooks,
Blackhawk and Puma helicopters of the NATO forces as they go about their
daily bus services ferrying diplomats, soldiers, NATO civilians and
letters to protected bases in other parts of the city. It’s far too
dangerous to travel by road.

Just a few short months later and
they are nearly all gone, along with all the US and NATO troops. To
avoid being shot at, the choppers were taken away by stealth overnight,
packed into huge C-17 military transports or hired Russian-built Antonov
freighter aircraft, rotor blades folded, ready to be used in some other

As for the Afghan helicopters and light-attack
fighters parked by the runway, quite a few have simply stopped flying.
That’s partly because some of the Afghan pilots have given up and partly
because the number of US contractors who maintained them has been
greatly reduced. The men with beards and baseball caps know when the
party’s over and it’s time to move on.

Also on
Bring them all home, Mr. President. The US has failed in Afghanistan, the least we can do is get Americans out safely

Passing through passport control, one’s apprehension grows. A
suicide bomber could detonate him- or herself as you collect your
baggage, rockets could hit the terminal building, you could be kidnapped
as you walk into the car park looking for your transport, or a car bomb
could blow up as you pass by.

Finding my transport that day –
two white UN-marked armoured Toyota Land Cruisers driven by two local
employees – was unnerving. Would I be able to locate them? When I did,
could I trust them not to kidnap me and sell me to terrorists, cashing
in an insurance policy as the country was starting to fall apart?

was reassured to find both my new colleagues were like so many of the
quietly humble, brave, clever Afghan people who have worked with the
international community since we have been there. My driver, Abdul, a
family man with four children, could not have been more welcoming.

we drove the five miles to our huge, protected compound, he told me
about his family and offered to buy me fresh fruit and – since my
suitcase had been mislaid in transit – clothes at the local market.

I’d been in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan before, his chatter eased
some but not all my concerns. I scanned anyone I saw on a motorbike to
see if they were going to attach a magnetic improvised explosive device
to our roof to defeat the armour-plated sides of the car. My research
had told me this was the latest weapon of choice in this city, which is
one that bristles with every conceivable means of inflicting death.

Derelict and abandoned, once-fortified NATO or Western
commercial-company bases were scattered all along our route, and I
wondered which might be home to a rocket-launcher looking for a target.

Arriving at the UN compound at last, I cast an experienced eye over the
fortifications and security guards. I was reassured that they were
sound. I even smiled a wry smile when I saw there was a large protection
team made up of former Gurkha soldiers – fearsome warriors with a smile
for their friends, and a kukri (their standard-issue bladed weapon) for their enemies.

I hoped that, working with the UN, I might be able
to help to improve things and, of course, make some money into the
bargain. The place and staff certainly seemed well set up, with plenty
of dedicated professional people from all over the world supported by
many locals such as my drivers – all well-educated and capable Afghans.

Little did I know that, within weeks, the new US president would pull the rug
from under the whole international edifice by unilaterally withdrawing
his troops, as allied nations rushed to scuttle out with them. In truth I don’t blame them.

As most of us predicted, the Taliban have since seized on this retreat and are now maximising their opportunity to
grab cities and towns – Kabul too, most likely – before the freezing winter makes fighting too difficult. Assassinations of public officials and attacks on power supplies reinforce the impending threat to the
capital. Meanwhile, IS-K carries on killing or bombing pretty much
anyone it pleases, organised crime in all its forms is flourishing, and
kidnappings are rife.

The Afghan government, while putting up a
front of resistance rhetoric, is in disarray. The president is reacting like many despots before him: firing and replacing ministers, generals
and police chiefs in a desperate bid to blame others for the debacle and
retain some semblance of power. His army and police, who are really used as light infantry soldiers, are deserting in droves. You cannot blame them; thousands have not been paid for months. The money donated by the international community for their salaries continues to be stolen
by their corrupt political, army and police bosses. It’s been going on
for years. We all knew about it, but did nothing effective to stop it. The political will was not there. Better to say nothing to avoid
embarrassing donor governments. Perhaps that tells you why Afghanistan
is going the way it is so fast.

Virtually everything the donors have tried to fund – from hospitals to schools to fire engines to police
uniforms – gets stolen or misused by the people in power. The very people who now are fleeing the mess to live in apartments or houses
bought in Ankara, Istanbul, Dubai, Virginia or Southern California with
stolen international donations. I recall an FBI financial crime
specialist colleague telling me how dishonest Afghan public officials
were laundering the monies meant for the people of Afghanistan through
banks in the United Arab Emirates and the British Channel Isles.

Also on
Its epic Afghan failure
shows that America’s naive belief it can cure the world’s ills with
democracy, dollars, and M16s is wrong

Meanwhile, the praetorian guards of this failing government, the
Afghan special forces and commandos, continue to fight increasingly
bitter battles against the Taliban with failing air support, and try
desperately to hold or recover terrain lost by their regular army
colleagues or the police as they desert. They do so in the certainty that, if captured, they will be murdered. These very capable troops,
trained and now deserted by NATO, have nowhere to go. Just like the
South Vietnamese marines and rangers in 1975, their fate is to fight to the death. They have no other choice.

Around the country, various
warlords are resurrecting themselves, alongside organised narco-criminals, to protect their own enclaves and wealth. Tribal
leaders are making security deals with others. In Afghanistan, it is
ever thus.

The future for ordinary Afghan people – the women and children who have gained so much in terms of basic human rights,
especially in the cities – looks grim.

What we are seeing now is
almost straight out of the playbook we saw unfold back in Vietnam. Who can forget the pictures of the US Embassy in Saigon as people scrambled to get onto helicopters to escape to the aircraft carriers waiting
offshore. This time, in Afghanistan, there are no ships waiting. The sea
is too far away in this landlocked ‘graveyard of the empires’.

As for the next Western international military intervention, if there is
one, I have one piece of advice. It is the same that doubtless many
hundreds, if not thousands, of specialists like me have given as they tried to tell truth to power: read the manuals and theses on countering insurgency before you start on your adventure. There are thousands of
them to be found in every military academy and university in the US, UK,
Europe and beyond.

They all say one thing: the human terrain is
the vital ground to capture and military methods are rarely decisive.
They all ought to say, as well: Don’t back a corrupt government or you’ll lose.

May the Lord help the people, especially the women, of Afghanistan now.

“Public office is for public service, not private gain,” say Good Law Project (GLP) | ukgovernmentwatch

Forget about Greensill. Only last year, a Minister brought a former Chair of the Tory Party, a man who now runs a lobbying firm, into the heart of Government to work on PPE procurement. Having got his feet under the table that former Chair lobbied to win PPE contracts for at least one, and possibly a number of, clients of his lobbying firm.

The Tory Minister is Lord Bethell. The former Tory Party Chair is Lord Feldman – once described as David Cameron’s oldest and best friend – who worked for Bethell from 23 March to 15 May 2020. And his huge lobbying firm is Tulchan, whose client list includes Bunzl Healthcare.

Bunzl was given a £22.6m PPE contract by the Department for Health without any competition in April 2020, smack bang in the middle of the period Feldman was working with Bethell. And we now know that:

  • Feldman was involved in the award of this contract. Bunzl had been removed from the Department for Health’s ‘approved suppliers list’ – and Feldman got them back on. An email from Feldman to Bunzl on 22 March 2020 states that he was acting as “an unpaid advisor to Matthew Hancock at the department of health…but that there have been some historic issues which mean that you have been removed from the approved suppliers list. I would like to remedy that as soon as possible”.
  • On the same day, he emailed Bunzl, copying in Andrew Wood whom he describes as “the person leading the accelerated procurement process in Cabinet Office” and said “I have spoken to him [Andy Wood] about Bunzl and the opportunity for you to supply the UK Government with equipment. He will be in touch”.
  • And then, several days later, when Bunzl thought the deal was not progressing quickly enough, it asked Feldman to intervene – which he did. On 25 March Feldman wrote directly to the line manager of the official dealing with Bunzl, encouraging him to expedite the contract award process: “We need to move quickly”.

We brought judicial review proceedings and we are pleased to tell you that the High Court has granted us permission to bring our judicial review on the first three of our Grounds (breach of the duties of transparency and equal treatment, apparent bias, and breach of the Defendant’s own policies in respect of conflicts of interest). You can see its decision here.

Bunzl: We’re going to Court

Kyrgyzstan arrests former Prime Minister on corruption charges linked to Canadian-run gold mine critics say is poisoning country — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

Temir Sariev, the former prime minister of Kyrgyzstan, has been
detained over allegations of corruption and understating the
environmental risk coming from one of the world’s largest gold mines,
which is built into a glacier.
On Wednesday, the
Pervomaisky District Court in the capital, Bishkek, announced that
Sariev would be held behind bars until at least September 30. The
Central Asian nation has been embroiled in a dispute over the colossal
Kumtor Mine, which activists say has sent huge profits overseas at the
expense of the local environment.

In May, government officials
announced they had taken charge of the mine, forcing out Canadian firm
Centerra Gold, which had previously been responsible for digging up
nearly 16 tons of the precious metal each year. The firm has slammed the
move as state appropriation and launched an international legal bid…

Equatorial Guinea detains French military helicopter hours after France’s appeals court upholds guilty verdict for VP Mangue — RT World News

Equatorial Guinea has detained a French military helicopter,
with the vice president claiming it landed without authorization after
violating the African state’s airspace. France has denied any
Vice President Teodoro Obiang Mangue said the aircraft was a “French military reconnaissance helicopter”
which landed at Bata International Airport, despite having no
authorization and allegedly breaching Equatorial Guinea’s airspace.

“This demonstrates once again the intention of France to destabilize the Republic of Equatorial Guinea,” Mangue tweeted on Thursday over the incident.

helicopter was carrying six unarmed French soldiers, according to a
statement from French military spokesman Colonel Pascal Ianni cited by
Reuters. Ianni denied that France had any intent to harm Equatorial

“The authorities in Equatorial Guinea decided to detain the helicopter. The issue is being resolved at the diplomatic level,” Ianni stated.

helicopter incident comes amid rapidly growing tensions between the two
countries after an embezzlement scandal involving Mangue.

top appeals court upheld a guilty verdict against Mangue, son of
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, on Wednesday, over his
conviction for embezzlement and money laundering. The VP had been handed
a three-year suspended sentence and a 30-million-euro ($33 million)
fine at the end of his trial in absentia in 2020.

Also on
Equatorial Guinea shuts UK embassy after London imposes sanctions in violation of ‘principle of international law’

The case centered around Mangue’s luxury residence on Avenue Foch
in Paris – a mansion which reportedly boasts 101 rooms, a gym, a
hair-dressing studio, and a disco with a cinema screen. The lavish
building was valued by the NGO Transparency International – one of the
parties to bring forward the case against Mangue – at around 150 million

Mangue was indicted and tried in absentia in France on
several counts of corruption and money laundering. In response,
Equatorial Guinea filed a case against France in the International Court
of Justice for breaching the diplomatic immunity of its representatives
and premises, but ultimately lost its challenge. Mangue’s subsequent
conviction resulted in the seizure of the Paris mansion, as well as 17
luxury cars.

Also on
Al Jazeera says Tunisian police raided its office, expelled journalists & seized equipment amid ongoing political crisis

On Wednesday, a French court rejected the VP’s last available
appeal. Under French law, this means the money from the sale of the
seized assets will now be directed towards the people of Equatorial
Guinea, likely via NGOs or France’s development aid fund.

court ruling came only days after another international scandal
involving the VP, this one in the UK. Equatorial Guinea shut down its
embassy in London after sanctions were imposed by the British government
on Mangue over claims that he blew $500 million on properties, cars,
and other items, as part of a jet-setting lifestyle fueled by corrupt
behavior and the solicitation of bribes.

Equatorial Guinea called the UK’s sanctions a breach of “the principle of international law.”

has faced a long string of global corruption charges. In 2011, the US
Justice Department went to court to seize $70 million of his US assets,
including a Gulfstream jet, yachts, cars, and Michael Jackson