Mark Thatcher: A mercenary for the British state

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In the last few weeks much has been made of the arrest and trial of Sir Mark Thatcher, son of the former Tory Prime Minister. His involvement was discovered through the arrest of his neighbour and business partner Simon Mann. According to Mann's confession, he held a series of meetings in January with 'potential investors' on how they would benefit from replacing Equatorial Guinea's 'President for Life' Obiang with Spanish-based exiled opposition leader Severo Moto.

The full story of this affair has yet to come to light, but Thatcher and co. aren't just a bunch of maverick mercenaries acting for their own financial gain, and Equatorial Guinea isn't an entirely insignificant country for the major imperialist powers. It has the third largest oil reserves in Africa, and its position, off the coast of Cameroon and Nigeria, makes it important for control over the major oil shipping routes, as well as for future struggles between the major powers.

In August the British government denied having any prior knowledge of an attempted coup. However, recent reports in the media show that the government knew back in January that an attempted coup was being planned in and had begun to draw up plans for the evacuation of British citizens. The fact that it had been informed, and that one of the plotters met with a high ranking US State Department official around the same time, implies that their permission had been sought and given. At this time Spain, under the Popular Party government of Aznar, which was aligned with Britain and the U.S. over the Iraq war, is alleged to have sent two naval warships to provide support for the coup. Now the Zapatero government, which has aligned itself with France and Germany, denies sending any ships, and insists that 'no documents exist' on such a policy.

While the capitalist media are full of propaganda about 'human rights' and the 'instilling of democratic values' throughout the world, these leaks reveal the sordid and nefarious ways in which foreign policy is conducted by all imperialist powers, not least Britain.

Graham, 4/12/04.