Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Human Rights Worker Charged With Espionage

First the story or at least part of it.
An African government with a reputation for heavy-handedness is detaining a respected human rights worker on spying charges, drawing condemnation and rebukes from U.S. lawmakers and anti-corruption activists.

Nearly four weeks ago, security forces from the government of Angola stormed the hotel room of Dr. Sarah Wykes, a 41-year-old British activist visiting the country to meet with government and nonprofit officials. Wykes' group, Global Witness, has criticized the Angolan government for taking billions of dollars from oil companies while most of its residents live in poverty.

After jailing her for several days, Angolan authorities charged her with espionage. The government has denied Wykes her own lawyer. Though she has been released on bail pending her trial, Wykes is not permitted to leave Angola.


Global Witness, is a non-profit group that has been exposing oil corruption in Angola for years. A recent International Monetary Fund report shows that the country has taken in almost $18 billion in oil revenue, but that at least $4 billion of it has gone missing. Despite the large profits for the government, more than 70% of the country's population lives in poverty.


Fifteen members of Congress have signed letters strongly rebuking the Angolan government's actions. One letter signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Barack Obama (D-IL), urges the government to "personally ensure that Dr. Wykes is not being targeted unfairly and that she is granted permission to return to the United Kingdom at the earliest possible date."

Another letter signed by Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Tom Lantos (D-CA) among others, uses even stronger language.

"While the United States values its trading and strategic relationships with Angola and, accordingly, Congress has provided $45 million in military, economic development and humanitarian assistance to Angola in 2007, we are equally committed to ensuring that our allies and partners who benefit from our foreign assistance comply with international standards of human rights."

OK, first off it doesn't sound like this woman has access to anything "sensitive". Doesn't espionage require some sort of state or military secret gathering?

Next there are the letters. Only 4 Congress critters are mentioned, tho 15 have written letters. Does it not strike you as strange that no "compassionate conservatives" are mentioned? The story only mentions Dems.

Finally there's that little blurb about $45 million in assistance to Angola from the US? What the fuck is that? The Angolan government is taking in almost $18 billion in oil revenues, $4 billion of which they've "lost", and the US is still giving them aide? Send the $45 million to the gulf states.
(read more)

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home