Bougainville landowners find new champions – the World Bank and Adam Smith International
Bougainville’s new Mining Law is being orchestrated by ASI, a British organisation set up by an ‘ultra right wing lobby group’, and paid for by the World Bank.
ASI’s lead architect for Bougainville’s future has outstanding antecedents – including stints as ‘Rio Tinto Senior Lecturer’ and as a director of Battlefield Minerals, together with numerous contracts for the World Bank, IMF and International Finance Corporation.
With these characters in charge the people of Bougianville clearly have nothing to fear…
Over the past year the Autonomous Bougainville Government has slammed critics who have suggested its mining policy and laws were being drafted by outsiders, who serve the interests of the mining industry in general, and Rio Tinto in particular.
These critics have been silenced by recent revelations that the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s long term mining policy and mining legislation are being overseen by experts funded by the World Bank – you know the World Bank, that institution with a global reputation for putting the environment and people first, and miners a distant second.
And who is the cheery brigade of international experts being brought in now to set the course of Bougainville’s cheery future? The outfit goes by the name of Adam Smith International or ASI for short. The name couldn’t be clearer, these guys are on the side of the people!
ASI is the ‘sister’ organisation of Britain’s Adam Smith Institute, a think-tank that has won hearts throughout the UK for its campaign opposing taxes on corporations, regulation of corporations, and ah any initiative being run by anything other than a corporation.
One of the institute’s biggest fans is investigative journalist George Monbiot who describes the Institute as a ‘ultra-rightwing lobby group’. And he claims ‘Big business already contributes generously to this good cause. It gets what it pays for. The Institute’s purpose is to devise new means for corporations to grab the resources which belong to the public realm’.
ASI was set up by Adam Smith Institute staff to spread the love and goodwill to all nations of the world – for a price of course. Britain’s The Sunday Telegraph reported in 2012 that ASI was ‘paid £37 million by the Department for International Development to promote the free market in the Third World. Its total turnover that year was £53.6 million, with profits of £5 million’. Added to that ASI’s Managing Director got a minuscule £1.3 million in 2010 (K5.3 million), and its Directors a tiny £125,000 (K500,000).
These truly are minor payments given the fantastic work ASI does. Look at the example of Tanzania. The Guardian reported in 2005 that the UK Department for International Development paid ASI more than £500,000 to provide advice to the Tanzanian government on privatising water. And was the money spent wisely? Absolutely, £250,000 was spent producing ‘what was described as the world’s first privatisation pop song’, which included the famous line’our old industries are dry like crops and privatisation brings the rain’. Sing it loud!
Finally, Bougainville is destined for a great big bear-hug from this people loving and earth loving organisation.
ASI has a flawless – FLAWLESS – understanding of the internal dynamics on Bougainville just take a look at their factually accurate website:
‘The mineral sector on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea has played an important role in defining the nation’s economy and history, despite a prolonged period of civil war between 1990 and 2000 [well technically 1988-1997, but whats a few years in the grand scheme of things]. After several years of civil conflict [or is it 10 years, ahhhh whats the difference right!], the region has now begun to develop, with the potential for the area to become a significant producer of copper, gold and other mineral deposits and raise substantial revenue [yes yes yes, it has worked such a treat for PNG what could go wrong]’.
After schooling its audience on the history of Bougainville, ASI announce they have a strategy to make minerals work for Bougainville. Phew, these guys aren’t amateurs!
‘The strategy included a number of recommendations to raise departmental capacity and performance to a world-class level [‘world class’, oh well this is exciting stuff], with a view to sustainably managing a sensitive minerals sector environment, and ultimately resulting in Bougainville’s mining sector moving away from issues causing social unrest [ah, um, a brutal war which the sector was a sponsor of, but sure ‘social unrest’], to promote effective and sustainable development of the sector [brilliant!]’.
Leading these efforts to produce ‘world class’ legislation and policy on Bougainville is Professor James Otto – as President Momis points out, mining laws and policy is not the business of bush kanakas, we need educated white men. And Professor Otto certainly is educated!
Among Professor Otto’s many illustrious posts, none is more salubrious than his stint in 1991-1995 as the Rio Tinto Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Petroleum, Mineral Law and Policy. Yes that IS right – the post was actually called Rio Tinto Senior Lecturer. Since then he went on to become Non-executive Director of Battlefield Minerals, a disarmingly frank name for a mining company if ever there was one! In addition to that, Professor Otto has spent plenty of time doing work for organisations known to be the enemy of miners, and the friend of traditional landowners – examples include, World Bank, the IMF and the International Finance Corporation.
Finally, Bougainville has found its saviour, and the landowners have found a champion who will defend their interests against the likes of Rio Tinto who have decimated their land, and participated in the wholesale slaughter of the people. Happy happy days.
And were the people of Bougainville not happy enough, lets get schooled again by ASI on Bougainville’s history and bright mining-led future!
‘The minerals sector in the Autonomous Bougainville Region (ABR) has played an important role in defining the nation’s economy and history to date [is this tongue-in-cheek for ‘started a bloody war’, British humour at its best]. After several years of civil conflict [again with the several], the region has now entered a development stage [phew, finally development after several thousand years of stagnation], with the potential for the country to become a significant producer of copper, gold and other mineral deposits [hoorah!]. In order for ABR to maximise the benefits from these resources, it must facilitate and manage large-scale investment, ensure a fair financial return to the nation, and promote and protect the well-being of the environment and its citizens, to enable pro-poor and pro-peace objectives [Flawless logic – take comfort Bougainville’s ‘poor’! Of course all this can be achieved by destroying, once again, the source of the peoples’ wealth and recreating an industry that sparked a 10 year war, oh whoops we mean ‘several years’ of ‘social unrest’]. Achievement of these objectives is being managed by the Government, which has embarked on a process of reforming how it manages the minerals sector. The two major components of this reform agenda to now be undertaken are institutional and legislative reform, which ASI has been invited to address’.
With such a flawless understanding of Bougainville’s history, ASI couldn’t be a better choice for steering its future!