Friday, November 9, 2012

Gabon rejects the LGG...

The LGG (Large German Gentleman) of many names has run into a problem in Africa; the Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Gabon's government says it will suspend the website, which internet tycoon Kim Dotcom had planned to use to launch a new version of his defunct Megaupload file-sharing site.
"I have instructed my departments ... to immediately suspend the site," Communication Minister Blaise Louembe announced, saying he wanted to "protect intellectual property rights" and "fight cyber crime effectively".
"Gabon cannot serve as a platform or screen for committing acts aimed at violating copyrights, nor be used by unscrupulous people," the minister said.
The announcement came after Kim Dotcom unveiled plans last week to re-launch his file-sharing empire on January 20, exactly one year after he was arrested in New Zealand on online piracy charges.
The United States accuses Dotcom, a 38-year-old German national who legally changed his name from Kim Schmitz, of fraudulently making more than $US175 million on pirated movies, TV shows and other content.
The US wants to extradite him to face charges of money laundering, racketeering, fraud and online copyright theft that could see him jailed for up to 20 years.
Dotcom, who denies the charges, is currently free on bail in New Zealand ahead of an extradition hearing in March.
The new site,, was to be hosted on Gabon's .ga domain.
Louembe said the domain name had been allocated to someone in France who had then transferred it to Dotcom.
The minister said an investigation by his staff had found the site was set up to redirect traffic to another site hosted in France that would provide access to shared files.

Gabon has a rich history of "African-style politics", as we discovered when we did a bit of digging; check this out:

Omar Bongo was so successful at the art of holding on to power that by the end of his life there was no one left in his country with enough authority to pronounce him dead. It took more than 24 hours for the death of the 73-year-old president of Gabon to be confirmed, during which time there were no less than three official denials from the West African nation.
The final word eventually came yesterday afternoon from Gabon's prime minister Jean Eyeghe Ndong, who confirmed the president had died of a cardiac arrest in a Barcelona hospital. This was just hours after the same official had held a press conference at the clinic to say he had seen his president "alive and well".

Africa's longest serving leader would have probably enjoyed the confusion. It was certainly a tribute to his extraordinary ability to sideline rivals and ensure no competitor, either individually or institutionally, could construct a power base to challenge him.
"President Omar Bongo's greatest legacy is the political stability he was able to achieve and maintain throughout his time in office," said Tara O'Connor, managing director of Africa Risk Consulting. "Unlike neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville and Cote d'Ivoire where the elite's resistance to democracy ultimately provoked civil war, President Bongo met the challenge and later artfully co-opted his opponents into high government office."
Albert Bernard Bongo was born in 1935, the 12th son of a farmer who died when he was seven years old. His official website boasts that "he didn't come into the world on a hospital bed, and he didn't have a cot or a nanny". In 1973, six years after taking over from Gabon's first post-independence leader, he converted to Islam, taking the name El Hadj Omar Bongo. By the time of his death, his name was Omar Bongo Ondimba, after he added a pre-colonial traditional name, reclaimed to underline his African credentials.
There was very little that the man who wore platform shoes to disguise his short stature would not do to get an edge. And this played no small part in the fact that when he died, he was one of the richest men in the world.
Although no clear figure of his net worth has been confirmed, the scale of his plundered riches had begun to emerge thanks to a court case in Gabon's former colonial master, France. Mr Bongo was one of three African leaders accused this year of embezzlement by the French wing of corruption watchdog, Transparency International. Also under investigation are Republic of Congo leader Denis Sassou-Nguesso, a close ally and father-in-law of Mr Bongo, and Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea. The trio have been accused of looting state coffers. Their extensive portfolio of French properties, worth many multiples of their stated official earnings, have been cited as evidence of corruption.

And yet Gabon has said "no" to the LGG. Even African nations have certain standards!


Quadrophenia said...

Yet National welcomed him with open arms and happily took his money.
What does that say about our Government's standards?

Edward the Confessor said...

The necessary smearing of Dotcom continues! Why are you being so nasty towards one of John Banks' best friends and (shhhhhh) benefactors?

George Petterson said...

Kim Dotcom makes Banks and Key look ridiculous and dishonest. Daily. And for that he must be attacked.
Don't you know the rules, Edward?