Socialist Worker

Scum behind Equatorial Guinea coup plot

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 1917

THE MEN exposed as plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea are the scum of the earth.

Next time someone demands that the West should “take over and sort out Africa”, remember this scandal and the real face of Western intervention it reveals.

The coup organisers are a group of public school boys and financial racketeers who have grabbed fabulous wealth through their arms deals.

And oil is at the centre of the whole affair. Equatorial Guinea is one of a group of oil producing West African states which are being bullied and bribed to provide new alternatives to Middle Eastern supplies.

The coup plotters—Mark Thatcher, Simon Mann, David Hart and a certain J H Archer—wanted to use mercenaries to snuff out Equatorial Guinea’s present government and install a new one which would give them access to most of the oil money.

It really is as simple as that. More names may appear this week from the “wonga list”, the document held by the South African police detailing all those who bankrolled the coup plan.

In a world where there is so much bad news, the reports that Thatcher and his crew have been arrested are pure joy.

His mother is said to be “heartbroken and devastated”. She will presumably now be asking for favours from the South African government.

Let us hope its leaders remember she was a loyal friend of the apartheid hangmen, and once denounced Nelson Mandela’s ANC as a “typical terrorist organisation”.

And what is Tony Blair doing? If a group of Muslims were linked to arms deals, bringing down foreign governments and organising mercenaries, then they would be hurled into Belmarsh prison.

Anyone who had ever met them would be rounded up. Will Blunkett now be locking away all of Thatcher’s associates?

The plotters are a network of well connected businessmen eager to increase their wealth by plundering Africa.

Mark Thatcher

He would never have faced any problems in the old South Africa, where Nelson Mandela was in jail and whites ruled. He loved the old racist regime.

When his mother was criticised for opposing sanctions against apartheid, Mark said, “My sympathy is with the struggling white community.”

“Educated” at Harrow public school, Mark stood out even among the fellow Hooray Henrys, earning the nickname “Thickie”.

He then failed his accountancy exams three times, perhaps because he did not realise that some pretence of legality was necessary in financial dealings.

None of this has prevented him amassing a £60 million fortune. He has used his mother’s name and influence to smooth through massive contracts—and collect a payoff.

In 1986 Mark played a key role in brokering a contract between British Aerospace and the Saudi Arabian government, part of the £20 billion al-Yamamah deal.

Mark pocketed a commission which has been reported as being anything from £12 million to £20 million.

Tam Dalyell MP also told the House of Commons that Mark was “up to his neck” in arms deals with the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein.

Simon Mann

An old Etonian, former SAS soldier and part of the family behind the Watney brewing empire.

He was arrested in Zimbabwe earlier this year along with 70 mercenaries and their weapons. He says he was approached to organise a coup in Equatorial Guinea, and that 12 British millionaires paid for the plan.

David Hart

For two decades the fanatically right wing David Hart was a major behind the scenes player in the Tory party. An Old Etonian, former bankrupt and millionaire, Hart first came to public attention during the 1984 miners’ strike.

He was the most vocal of a group of rabidly free market class warrior businessmen that formed around Thatcher and coal board chief Ian MacGregor.

From his suite in Claridge’s hotel, Hart bankrolled a scab miners’ movement, orchestrated a sickening press campaign that portrayed scab miners as heroes and coordinated the legal action that saw the miners’ union funds seized by the courts.

Hart’s entry to Thatcher’s Downing Street inner sanctum was eased by his links with Ronald Reagan’s right wing government in the US.

He was particularly close to CIA boss Bill Casey in the early 1980s—a time when CIA-backed Contra terrorists were murdering thousands in Nicaragua.

After the miners’ strike Hart went on to serve as a secretive adviser to both Thatcher and Major.

He was close to Tory defence ministers Michael Portillo and Malcolm Rifkind.

He also worked as a consultant for arms manufacturers BAe and Boeing.

In 1990 it emerged that Rupert Murdoch was bankrolling a Hart-backed newsletter, British Briefing, edited by Charles Elwell, the retired director of MI5’s F-branch, which tracks domestic “subversives”.

A typical issue from the time denounced the housing charity Shelter for “Communist affiliations”, and the World Council of Churches for its support for the Institute of Race Relations—“effectively controlled by revolutionary socialists”.

After a lifetime as a pro-market class warrior, it is perhaps not surprising that Hart also shares a sneaking admiration for Blair.

In 2000 he told the Sunday Times, “Blair’s objective is to retain power. I don’t find that distasteful.”

J H Archer

Tory peer Jeffrey Archer knows Simon Mann and Mark Thatcher.

Legal documents and bank accounts allegedly show payment from J H Archer to Mann totalling £74,000. Jeffrey Archer denies knowledge of the coup plot.

Ely Calil

Lebanese millionaire accused of being at the centre of the plot.

He is a former adviser to Jeffrey Archer and is now an oil trader living in a £12 million house in Chelsea. He rented an apartment in Holland Park to Peter Mandelson.

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Sat 4 Sep 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1917
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