What the hell is going on in Ivory Coast? You'd never know from the North American mainstream media.

© UnknownDr Laurent Gbagbo, humiliated and forced from office by France on behalf of the international criminal banking elite
The received wisdom as reported by our newspapers and broadcasters is that there's a president (bad) who lost an election and won't give up power, plus another president (good) who won that same election and is quite properly trying to get the power to which he's entitled.

In addition to this, we know that the United Nations, and therefore the world, backs the Good President, and that all the world, and presumably tout le monde Cote d'Ivoire, hates the Bad President. Except for a few armed thugs, that is. There's lots of violence, the UN is "alarmed," and, oh yeah, the French have sent in troops.

If you're really paying attention, you might now that the Bad President is named Lawrence Bagbo (although you probably won't know that his name is actually spelled Laurent Gbagbo) and the Good President is named Allsane Watra (Alassane Ouattara).

Indeed, the UN has become so alarmed that last night, UN (that is to say, French) helicopters attacked the "presidential palace" (one storey, three bedrooms, according to a voice on the BBC News) where the Bad President is said to be "holed up" (cowering in fear of his life?). The French helicopters, naturellement, are said to be "protecting civilians."

Other than that, hard facts are remarkably difficult to come by. It's as if they've mostly already disappeared down the Official Mass Media Memory Hole (O3MH) -- if indeed they ever emerged. It's not even easy to figure out when the disputed election took place. A geographic Christian-Muslim split in Ivory Coast may, or may not, have something to do with all this.

Google the names of Gbagbo and Ouattara and you will find that the former is the leader of a political party called the Front populaire ivoirien and the latter of one called Rassemblement des républicains. Not much else, although we can learn from Wikipedia that Gbagbo is a history professor who trained in Paris.

Google Ouattara's political party and there's plenty of data about who nominated whom to what, and when, but virtually nothing about the political, economic or social philosophy that animates this organization. Nary so much as the phrase "right wing" or "market fundamentalist" is written anywhere. However, there was the interesting factoid that Ouattara seems to have been the subject of Ivory Coast's own "Birther" conspiracy theory!

A decent, if short, profile of Gbagbo on BBC News reveals he had his start in the trade union movement. A similarly short profile of Ouattara reveals that he is the former No. 2 guy at the International Monetary Fund.

Hmmm... Is this our first real hint of what's going on?

Google Front populaire ivoirien and we get another hint of what might -- and we should emphasize might here, because who among us really has any idea? -- be happening. Among the scant facts in the Wikipedia's sparse 170-word entry on this group is this: "FPI, is a centre-left, democratic socialist and social democratic political party ... politically inspired by the French Socialist Party."

So, try Googling the question "What's going on in Ivory Coast?" Mainly, of course, you'll get nothing but more of the same old same old, mostly reprints from identical wire service news stories.

Indeed, the only place with any new information seemed to be a discussion forum on a website called Paraglidingforum.com. Obviously, the enforcers of the O3MH need to be casting their net a little wider to keep this kind of information slipping through.

A Paragliding Forum commentator called Craicjunky provides us with this additional information (provenance not established):

- Ouattara is a personal friend of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Hero of Libya, who is sending those troops to do ... whatever they're there to do. That the French are the former colonial masters of Cote d'Ivoire is a fact only rarely mentioned in mainstream news coverage of this civil war.

- "The people are happy enough with the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo remaining in charge."

- A general strike was called by Ouattara's supporters and no one paid attention.

- "Ivory Coast is resource rich and apparently Dr. Gbagbo has been forging relations with Asian countries and not supplying the goods up the traditional routes to EU and U.S.A."

The moderator of the forum adds the interesting information that the slogan of Gbagbo's party was "We Win, or We Win." (Sounds pretty much like Stephen Harper's motto, actually, but never mind that.)

None of this is to say Craicjunky's got it right. Who knows? But it doesn't sound outside the realm of possibility, does it?

Whatever the truth about Ivory Coast may be, it's a pathetic state of affairs for us to have to turn to Paragliding Forum to try to answer obvious questions about a major and heavily covered international news story.

So would someone in the know please take the time to tell us, what is going on in Ivory Coast?