|Dr. Alexander von Paleske|
Head, Department of Oncology
Princess Marina Hospital
Ex-Barrister-at-Law, High Court, Frankfurt (M), Germany
The continuously rising price of Gold, now above 540 US Dollars per ounce, has driven mine companies to search for Gold.
The “yellow metal” is predominantly found in the Southern Hemisphere,
and often the production of gold is accompanied by destruction of the environment, because it needs Cyanide, a very toxic substance, two teaspoons of a 2% solution kill a man. An overflow of cyanide containing fluid from a gold mine in Romania a couple of years ago led to massive pollution of a river, killing all the fish, reminding us to the perils of gold production..
In focus are now two gold mines of a Canadian mining company by the name of Barrick, one in Chile, Pascua Lama, and the other one in Australia, close to Lake Cowal.
Lets first of all have a look at the company and it’s actors.
Barrick Gold was founded and largely financed by Adnan Khashoggi in conjunction with a Peter Munk in 1983 in Toronto/Canada.
Khashoggi has quite a bit of luggage to carry.
He is well known as an international arms dealer, however let’s focus also on his financial deals, or his crooking, to be precise.
Apart from being involved in the Iran Contra Affair, in which weapons were sold to Iran via Israel by the Pentagon and the proceeds were used to finance a right wing terror group in Nicaragua, called the Contras, Khashoggi was deeply involved in the Bank of Credit an Commerce International (BCCI), a massive washing machine for dirty Dollars from shady arms deals and drug cartels.
The Medellin drug cartel of Columbia was a most welcome client of that bank.
The bank was forcibly closed in 1992.
No problem for Khashoggi, he knew other crooks to work with.
Next came Rakesh Saxena, adviser to the Bangkok Bank of Commerce, together with the CEO Krirkiat Jalichandra, who was sentenced to 30 year in prison one year ago for defrauding the bank to the tune of 2,2 billion US Dollars and thus causing the Asian Banking Crisis in 1997.
Khashoggi got from the duo Jalichandra/Saxena a "loan"amounting to 140 million US Dollars in 1994. He is therefore now wanted by the Thai authorities for fraud.
And he continued to work with Saxena, who fled from Thailand to Canada just in time.
They bought in 2000 the General Commerce Bank in Vienna/Austria, together with the international stock fraudster Amador Pastrana and the convicted criminals Regis Possino, Raoul Berthamieu, and Sherman Mazur, and turned it into a center of international stock fraud, the fraud amounting, according to press reports, to one billion US Dollar.
The bank was forcibly closed in 2001.
One billion in one year
Khashoggi was also involved in a stock lending fraud-scandal in the US around the company "GenesisIntermedia" in 2001 , together with a convicted fraudster by the name of d'Angelo and a slew of criminal stock brokers plus a strip bar owner in Las Vegas.
Khashoggi and his friend El-Batrawi in the end walked away with 140 million US Dollars, two broker houses filed for bankruptsy and 200 employees lost their jobs in Minneapolis/Minnesota/USA.
The other cofounder and now boss is Peter Munk. He also has a bit of luggage to carry.
He owned a stereo equipment producing company in Nova Scotia/Canada, supported with public funds, and at the brink of bankruptsy he quickly sold the shares before they plunged, stock fraud or insider trading is another word for that.
Doesn’t matter, what is more divine, than to forgive and despite this scandal and through the connections of his partner in bankruptsy he rose from the ashes – in the aristocratic circles of London and then in Australia and finally came back home to Canada with Adnan Khashoggi, two dubious birds of the same feather albeit different faith, founding Barrick Gold.
The company was rumbling along until G.H.W. Bush, the senior, came for help and for less than 10.000 Dollars they bought from the state a piece of land, whose underground had gold worth 10 billion US Dollars, later on this was called by US President Bill Clinton’s Interior Secretary Babbitt “the biggest gold heist since the days of Butch Cassidy”. And with this “Gold Heist” Barrick shot from insignificance to a global player.
After Bush lost the elections to Bill Clinton in 1992, he became a direct player on board of Barrick, a new home away from home and well paid.
With him Karl-Otto Poehl, former President of the German Federal Reserve Bank (Bundesbank) and member of the Social Democratic Party and the former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Now the ship Barrick with its prominent officers could set sail and travel to it’s next destination, Africa, Zaire to be precise. This country, now called Democratic Republic of Congo, was at the brink of civil war-doesn’t matter, better prices for the mineral rights especially when you negotiate with two parties, old robber Mobuto Sese Seko and new stealing hand, Laurent Kabila.
However the civil war lasted too long, so let’s go for the next destination, Tanzania.
The company Sutton, at this time advised and later on owned by Barrick was owning a mine by the name of Bulyanhulu.
A good thing to exploit, if there were not thousands of small scale miners with their families, who were digging legally already there for gold.
Sutton chased them away with Bulldozers and police, allegedly 50 miners died during this clearing operation, buried alive in the shafts.
Barrick does not want to hear the allegations, because, according to them, they are untrue. May be it was a festival?
However investigative journalist Greg Palast in conjunction with the human rights lawyer Tundu Lissu in Dar-es-Salaam brought a report in the British newspaper “Observer” and called it nothing else than a scandal..
Barrick sued, Greg Palast and Lissu insisted and a delegation of NGO’s, visiting Tanzania in 2002 had discovered some indications, that the story was in fact true, however their work was not actively supported by the Government, to say the least.
With Bush’s and Mulroney’s support, Barrick got a huge World Bank loan, to develop the mine, a friend in need, even when on the payroll, is a friend indeed.
Now Barrick is active in Australia and Chile, in both countries facing massive resistance, bigger than the poor miners in Tanzania could build up.
In Chile, Barrick wants to dig for gold high up in the Andes Mountains and remove glaciers there, that are vital for the water supply of a community in the desert.
And in Australia Lake Cowal is habitat for endangered species.
It looks, as if Barrick is facing stiff resistance globally now.