Chippla, whose blog
I enjoy reading, has written quite a bit about the alleged attempted coup against the dictatorship in Equatorial Guinea. The story has gained a bit of press attention because one of the accused is the son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Equatorial Guinea is one of the world's worst human rights abuser [Human Rights Watch
among others]. It's dictator, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, has been likened to Idi Amin, but without the charisma. Some comparison!
Even the trial of the alleged coup plotters was 'seriously flawed' [Amnesty Intl
Ironic since Obiang himself came to power via a coup plot against none other than his uncle.
But none of this seems to trouble Chippla, who's more focused on allegations western involvement.
First, there were reports
that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw knew of the Equatorial Guinea coup plot weeks before the mercenaries were arrested. Not that he was involved in the coup plot, only that he know and didn't mention it to the dictator.
Most recently, a BBC story
was relayed by Chippla, who wrote:
The previous Spanish government of Jose-Maria Aznar was involved in the planning of the aborted coup! Well, that's according to the BBC, which interviewed the National Security Adviser of Equatorial Guinea
He really should've written: "That's according to the National Security Advisor of Equatorial Guinea, as interviewed by the BBC."
Obiang runs arguably the most repressive regime in Africa. While Chippla may disagree with the concept of overthrowing leaders just because they're bad guys (and he barely acknowledges this in the most passing way), it astonishes me that he would report comments from the regime unchallenged and without even the merest hint of skepticism.
For all he professed restraint ("Passing any judgment at this stage may be premature until the veracity of this claim is ascertained"), it's clear he believes Spanish involvement was likely ("all I'd like to say is that this was modern Spain at its best working... to protect its most selfish of interests in its former colony. Equatorial Guinea could likely have become just another client state had the coup been successful")
It's classic example of the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" paradox faced by Africaphiles in the west (yes, there are a few). If the west does something (Spain allegedly in Eq. Guinea, Britain in Sierra Leone), it's automatically accused of meddling exclusively for selfish interests. If the west does nothing, critics scream apoplectically that it's racist for abandoning poor Africans (Darfur, Rwanda).
If Chippla is willing to condemn repeatedly westerns for their alleged involvement in this apparent plot, perhaps he could spare a thought for the Equato-Guineans who are tortured, repressed or constrained to exile by Obiang's dicatorship. I'd imagine the coup plot is the least of their worries.