From Riotinto to Iraq – Tim’s big (£) adventures.

Some folks will know of my interest in the Pacific Island called Bougainville – a place where the company Rio Tinto (based at 6 St James Square London) dug the biggest hole in the southern hemisphere (to mine copper, employing anthropologists as advisers on native administration) and who profitted massively until the Bougainville Revolutionary Army turfed them out. The BRA then fought a ten year war against the combined might of the Papua New Guinie Defence Force (PNGDF), the Australian Govermnent (supplying Iroquois choppers and other hardware, supplies, training) and with the participation of (mufti) Australian Military personnel and various mercenary groups. The current situation is complicated but ‘better’ – though there are noises about reopening the mine.

Meanwhile, the plunderer’s interest moved elsewhere, and so BASTARD of the week (month, year?) is announced today in the form of Tim Spicer, mercenary. He’s the pom who organised the failed intersession on the PNG Govt side by the private army of Sandline International (they didn’t even get to Bougainville before their bumbling cowboy attitude got them bundled out of the area, similar bungling in Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea cements their reputation). Now it seems Spicer’s business intersts are looking up these days as he’s made a £62 Million business out of arms deals in Iraq. Lord of War bastard indeed. Murder death kill. Surveillance, counter-insurgency information gathering, communications, ‘intelligence’ and vehicle tracking. Read about it in the words of Tracey Boles of The Times, but keep in mind how this stuff links up – and how the connections between RTZ (copper mining, uranium) and western intersts in the Gulf (oil, geo-politics) and the filthy lucre of the arms trade (guns, supplies, surveillance) manifest in the loathesome person of gunslinger Spicer. The company you keep.


One thought on “From Riotinto to Iraq – Tim’s big (£) adventures.

  1. Remember the Coconut Revolution – that Body Shop sponsored confection about the BRA – which was mostly ok, despite the heroics and the strange musical and christian interludes. Well, here is the latest on the coconuts themselves:

    From Vikki Johns, 14 Aug 06:

    Coconut power

    COCONUTS can save the nation millions of kina by replacing much of the diesel fuel imported for cars, trucks and generators, a rural businessman believes. He has put his money where his mouth is by establishing a village factory to produce coconut oil fit for running diesel engines. He is German-born former volunteer Mathias Horn, who with Buka wife Carol runs the Buka Metal Fabricators company in Buka Town. He is not alone. Two shipping companies based in Rabaul have been buying coconut oil from the long established Copra Products Ltd mill at Malaguna for the past couple of years and have largely replaced diesel fuel for their ships. Bureau of Statistics figures show that PNG imported 152 million litres of diesel fuel last year at a cost of about K191 million. The petrol pump price for diesel in Port Moresby yesterday was K2.68.6 a litre. Buka coconut diesel is selling at K2 a litre. Coastal and islands provinces all have ample village plots and plantations of mature coconut trees and could set up similar operations to the Buka one. On present prices, it is realistic to buy copra and produce fuel oil for vehicles, says Mr Horn who was a instructor with the volunteer group German Develop-ment Service and was teaching metal fabrication and welding to students in Wapenamanda, Enga Province and Popondetta back in the 1990s and settled in Buka in 1998. Mathias and Carol heard about the experiments in coconut fuel in Vanuatu and other places. For the past two to three years, he has been running several of his own diesel engine vehicles exclusively on coconut oil. He vows the results are good for his vehicles and for the economy.He showed a truck, a forklift and a car running on the fuel and said he had proved to his own satisfaction that there were no major obstacles to using coconut oil in diesel engines in the tropics. “We buy copra by the bag from the village people around Carol’s village, Lontis, and make sure it is dried to the right standard and then put it through the filtering process to get out the impurities,’’ Mr Horn said. He showed me his filtering plant, a series of four tanks, where the oil goes through a step-by-step process to render it fit for use in diesel motors. It results in oil for engines, home made oil lamps, chainsaw bar lubrication, and cosmetic oils for use by people on their skin and in their hair. They are making a very high grade cooking oil, which is healthy in terms of weight loss and preventing infections and heart disease. A sample is with Dr Lohi Matainaho at the University of PNG for further analysis. Now the vehicle used by the Bougainville Administrator Peter Tsiamalil, plus another dozen or so, are run on the Horn family’s coconut oil. Recently it was announced all of the government cars in Vanuatu are to be converted to coconut oil fuel. Mr Horn has a fuel pump in his company yard at Buka and sells the oil to other vehicle owners at a substantial savings compared with the normal diesel. This week, he was selling it for K2 a litre, compared with the retail price of K3.20 for diesel in the town.


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