RACISM & NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS | NEWS/COMMENTARY


URGENT ALERT
November 14, 2011, 7:26 pm
Filed under: Africa, Europe, Global, Middle East, North America

Greetings all,

Of course you will be following events on the ground and you will know that the carnage in Libya is far from over despite the fact that the pro-imperialist corporate media is now silent and has moved on. All of a sudden, as we would expect, they are no longer interested in massacres in Libya. They have gone silent to allow the NATO backed forces to get on with their job of exterminating Qaddafi loyalists. Thousands of Qaddafi loyalists who have managed to leave Libya are now regrouping and organising the Libyan Liberation Front throughout the region known as the Sahel. Tuareg tribal leaders across the region have called for a unified front to avenge the murder of their brother and leader. As you know the Tuaregs do not recognise the colonial imposed borders and tribal leaders are calling for the liberation of the entire Sahel.

I am sending this message to alert you to the fact that many of our brothers and sisters inside Libya are in grave danger. Thousands have been rounded up, imprisoned, tortured and murdered. NATO has installed a death squad regime and many, including whole families – children and elderly, are in hiding, knowing that if they are only identified they will be murdered. Al Qaeda thugs are running amok and you will have seen the Al Qaeda flag flying on public buildings including the courthouse in Benghazi. You will recall that even the corporate media commented on the fact that the crowds that showed up in the streets to celebrate the so-called liberation of Libya were small. Of course they were – they represented a tiny minority of Libyans. Those who dared to show themselves in the streets at that time and wave the Green Flag were killed, in some instances beaten to death. The list of NATO crimes is inexhaustible. The frightening thing is that it does not seem to matter how much their heinous crimes are exposed – the North Atlantic Tribes have been able to continue their reign of terror and acts of genocide with impunity for centuries – they have been and remain without doubt the most brutal terrorists the world has ever known – that is why it was no surprise to us to find them fighting alongside the US created terrorist network Al Qaeda. I hope all those who doubted the Brother Leader’s warnings from the outset now see the Al Qaeda flags flying and the reports from civilians inside Libya that there are ‘armed gangs everywhere and that they appear to be on drugs as they rampage through the cities, towns and villages, murdering and looting.

Only last month Dr Abu Zeid Omar Dorda, the former Libyan Ambassador to the UN was actually thrown out of a second floor window during interrogations by NATO agents but he miraculously survived in front of witnesses and is now recovering in a prison medical ward. Accounts from those inside Libya are that these NATO backed rebel forces are animals and that what is now taking place on the ground inside Libya is pure terrorism.  We are asking for pressure to be applied wherever you can to draw attention to this carnage. I want to highlight the case of Dr Ahmed Ibrahim, a former Secretary for Education, a brilliant scholar and well known exponent of the Third Universal Theory. Dr Ibrahim is an ideologue of the Al Fateh revolution and a staunch revolutionary Pan Africanist. He has been captured and we believe he is being held in Sirte. Dr Moussa
Ibrahim, the spokesperson for the Al Fateh Revolutionary Forces is his nephew.

Dr Ibrahim, like so many, was offered safe passage out of Libya but refused to leave. He is an intellectual warrior who stood his ground in Sirte and is now a prisoner of war and should be treated as a prisoner of war.

To those of you who attended the Green Book Supporters conference in Tripoli in 2009 Dr. Ibrahim was the person who introduced the Brother Leader Muammar Qaddafi.

If any of you are in a position to publicise his case and the plight of hundreds of thousands of Libyans who fear for their lives please do so.

The struggle continues.

Gerald

Comments Off


Putin: Who gave NATO right to kill Gaddafi?
October 30, 2011, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Europe, Global, Middle East, North America
Comments Off


Gaddafi gold-for-oil, dollar-doom plans behind Libya ‘mission’?
October 30, 2011, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Africa, Europe, Global, Middle East, North America
Comments Off


Gaddafi Death “A Sad Day For People Against Foreign Hegemony & Imperialism”
October 30, 2011, 7:40 pm
Filed under: Africa, Europe, Global, Middle East, North America
Comments Off


Thomas Sankara |The Upright Man
October 10, 2011, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Africa, Europe, Global, Indigenous
Comments Off


Subcommandante Marcos
October 10, 2011, 2:35 pm
Filed under: Latin America
Comments Off


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses United Nations General Assembly
October 10, 2011, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Asia, Global, Middle East

UhuruNews

Published Sep 23, 2011

On Thursday, September 22, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the U.N. General Assembly. Below is the complete text of his speech.

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful to the Almighty Allah who granted me, once more, the opportunity to appear before this world assembly. I have the pleasure to express my sincere thanks to H.E. Joseph Deiss, president of the sixty-fifth session for his tremendous efforts during his tenure. I also would like to congratulate H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz AI-Nasser on his election as the president of sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly and wish him all success.

Let me seize the moment to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in the past year, particularly to the victims of the tragic famine in Somalia and the devastating flood in Pakistan and especially the earthquake and the ensuing explosions in the nuclear power plant in Japan. I urge everyone to intensify their assistance and aid to the affected populations in these countries.

Over the past years, I spoke about different global issues, and the need to introduce fundamental changes in the current international order.

Today, considering the international developments, I will try to analyze the present situation from a different angle. As you all know, the dominance and superiority of human beings over other creatures lie in the very nature and the truth of humankind, which is a divine gift and manifestation of the divine spirit, including: faith in God, who is the ever-lasting creator and planner of the entire universe.

Showing compassion to others, generosity, justice-seeking and having integrity both in words and in deeds.

The quest for dignity to reach the pinnacles of perfection, the aspiration to elevate one’s material and spiritual status, and the longing to realize liberty; defying oppression, corruption and discrimination in trying to support the oppressed; seeking happiness, and lasting prosperity and security for all.

These are some of the manifestations of common divine and human attributes, which can clearly be seen in the historical aspirations of human beings as reflected in the heritage of our search for art and literary works both in prose and poetry, and in the socio-cultural and political movements of human beings in the course of history.

All divine Continue reading

Comments Off


Special Declaration of the ALBA-TCP Foreign Ministers on the Situation of Libya and Syria | MR Zine
October 10, 2011, 2:25 pm
Filed under: Africa, Global, Middle East

Source: MR Zine

11 September 2011

The Foreign Ministers of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, meeting in Caracas, Venezuela on 9 September 2011, recalling the Special Communiqué of the Political Council on 4 March 2011 and the Special Communiqué of the Ministerial Social Council on 19 March 2011, condemns the NATO intervention in Libya and its illegal military aggression, carried out under the cover of a UN Security Council resolution, opportunistically exploiting the situation of the internal political conflict in that country.

The ALBA foreign ministers denounce the NATO for carrying out a military operation for regime change in Libya under the doctrine of preventive war, manipulating the UN to suit its geopolitical and economic interests in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

The ALBA foreign ministers demand the immediate and unconditional cessation of the NATO bombings and military intervention in the Libyan territory.

The ALBA foreign ministers deplore the fact that the NATO has disregarded the persistent efforts of the African Union in search of a solution to the internal conflict in Libya based on dialogue to achieve peace.

The ALBA foreign ministers also deplore the complicity of various major international media, which have colluded with those interested in aggression and lent themselves to the purpose of distorting information about the state of affairs in Libya.

The ALBA foreign ministers issue their most urgent warning on the danger that the Libyan precedent may be repeated against Syria, by means of exploiting the ongoing political troubles in that Arab nation.

The ALBA foreign ministers reiterate their firmest commitment to the right to self-determination of the peoples of Libya and Syria.

The ALBA foreign ministers most energetically reject any Continue reading

Comments Off


32 countries agree to build independent bloc | Berta Joubert-Ceci
October 10, 2011, 2:22 pm
Filed under: Global, Latin America, North America
Source: International Action Center
Mar 7, 2010

The latest effort in the process of regional integration of the Latin American and Caribbean countries took place on Feb. 22-23 in Cancún, Mexico, with the participation of 32 independent nations.

The new organization, called the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CLACS), is an attempt to create a body that would not include the United States or Canada, in order to establish an independent bloc that can respond to and pursue the interests of the region — not only among the member states at the hemisphere level, but in the international arena as well.

Of the 33 countries in the region, only Honduras was not invited. It was expelled from the Organization of American States last summer due to the criminal military coup of June 2009 that deposed the democratically elected president, José Manuel Zelaya.

CLACS is considered by many regional presidents as the alternative to the U.S.-dominated OAS. In fact, the failure of the OAS to respond in an effective manner, which could have reversed the Honduras coup, hastened the convening of the new Community. Most of the governments in CLACS have made it clear they consider the Honduran coup an Continue reading

Comments Off


LIBYA – Resistance to US/NATO Conquest Continues | International Action Center
October 10, 2011, 2:20 pm
Filed under: Africa, Global, Middle East, North America

International Action Center

Under the most incredibly difficult conditions – including NATO bombing, mercenary landings, Special Forces operations and the destruction of civilian infrastructure – the heroic resistance to imperialist conquest in Libya has continued.

All the corporate media lies claiming mass surrender, the fleeing of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, the arrest of his sons and more have turned out to be nothing but lies and psychological warfare. After 159 days of bombing, incredibly, the resistance continues.

The continued resistance also exposes the lie of the so-called democratic “rebel” forces – forces that have been set up by Britain, France and the U.S. to facilitate the imperialist invasion of the oil-rich country. Meanwhile, arms have been distributed by the Libyan government to the whole population – something a hated dictator would never do.

As in Iraq and Afghanistan, an arrogant declaration of U.S. victory and “mission accomplished” does not mean an end to local people’s resistance, which takes many forms. The Libyan people have heroically withstood not only half a year of Continue reading

Comments Off


Obama admin: Pardoning Garvey a waste of time and resources
October 10, 2011, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Africa, Global, North America

UhuruNews
Published Aug 27, 2011

The Obama administration has rejected a call for a posthumous presidential pardon for Marcus Garvey, calling it a waste of time and resources.

The denial of a pardon came only recently, in response to a campaign waged by attorney Donovan Parker, who had been writing Obama weekly since January 2011 calling for Garvey’s pardon.

The denial letter stated: “Many posthumous pardon requests would likely be based on a claim of manifest injustice, and given that decades have passed since the event and the historical record would have to be scoured to objectively and comprehensively investigate such applications, it is the Department’s position that the limited resources which are available to process requests for Presidential clemency — now being submitted in record numbers — are best dedicated to requests submitted by persons who can truly benefit from a grant of the request.”

So the Obama administration says pardoning Continue reading

Comments Off


Feral Capitalism Hits The Streets | David Harvey
October 10, 2011, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Global

“Nihilistic and feral teenagers” the Daily Mail called them: the crazy youths from all walks of life who raced around the streets mindlessly and desperately hurling bricks, stones and bottles at the cops while looting here and setting bonfires there, leading the authorities on a merry chase of catch-as-catch-can as they tweeted their way from one strategic target to another.

The word “feral” pulled me up short. It reminded me of how the communards in Paris in 1871 were depicted as wild animals, as hyenas, that deserved to be (and often were) summarily executed in the name of the sanctity of private property, morality, religion, and the family. But then the word conjured up another association: Tony Blair attacking the “feral media,” having for
so long been comfortably lodged in the left pocket of Rupert Murdoch only later to be substituted as Murdoch reached into his right pocket to pluck out David Cameron.

There will of course be the usual hysterical debate between those prone to view the riots as a matter of pure, unbridled and inexcusable criminality, and those anxious to contextualize events against a background of bad policing; continuing racism and unjustified persecution of youths and minorities; mass unemployment of the young; burgeoning social deprivation; and a mindless politics of austerity that has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with the perpetuation and consolidation of personal wealth and power. Some may even get around to condemning the meaningless and alienating qualities of so many jobs and so much of daily life in the midst of immense but unevenly distributed potentiality for human flourishing

Comments Off


U.S: War in Libya…
October 10, 2011, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Africa, Global, Middle East, North America

By the Historical Research Group of the Nation of Islam (FinalCall.com) – The U.S.-led attack on Libya is an American operation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), planned and initiated long before any “protests” started in Libya this February. Under the guise of “protecting innocent civilians,” the U.S. military, Africom, NATO, and the United Nations are now bombing Libya, raining destruction upon the Libyan economic and military infrastructure and killing untold numbers of innocent Africans. Here are just 10 of the many obvious reasons why this so-called “spontaneous” protest was from beginning to end another CIA operation.

1. The United States’ motives are suspect. The “humanitarian” concern expressed by the American government has not taken long to evaporate. The claim that Col. Muammar Gadhafi was “slaughtering his own people” cannot be substantiated by any independent evidence, and no “journalists” are even asking for evidence. The White House’s policy advisor and Israeli lobby official Dennis Ross claimed that “up to 100,000 people could be massacred, and everyone would blame us for it.” Ross has produced no proof of a massacre—and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen both confirmed, “We’ve seen no confirmation whatsoever.” Russian military has been monitoring the unrest via satellite from the very beginning, and they say that the claimed “slaughter” is imaginary.

CIA √ 2. The world media have shown a shocking lack of curiosity. Just as with the U.S. debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan, the New York Times leads a coordinated campaign of propaganda, rumor-mongering, and the demonization of Muammar Gadhafi. Some articles appear to be written in advance and closely follow the prescription of the Washington consulting firm Wirthlin Group, which determined that “the message most likely to motivate public support for war on Iraq was Continue reading

Comments Off


South African Students: There is no doubt, Israel is an Apartheid state
October 10, 2011, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Africa, Global, Middle East

JOINT STUDENT STATEMENT

There is no doubt, Israel is an Apartheid state; There is only one word, boycott!

We, students and youth of a post Apartheid South Africa, who bear the scars of a racist history and who continue to fight for complete liberation, have a duty and responsibility to stand in solidarity with those facing oppression worldwide. Israeli apartheid is one such form of oppression.

Israeli media boast that a mission of 150 Israeli propagandists will be sent to universities in 5 countries to fix Israel’s “serious image problems”. The Israeli mission will begin on South African campuses on the 11th of August, with a delegation that includes at least two aides from the Israeli parliament. A delegation member was clear about the intention of their trip: “We have to create some doubt in their [South African students’] minds.”

Don’t patronize us! We lived apartheid, we suffered apartheid, we know what apartheid is, we recognise apartheid when we see it. And when we see Israel, we see a regime that practices apartheid. Israel’s image needs no changing; its policies do! We urge Israeli students to instead join the growing and inspiring internal resistance to their regime, particularly the boycott from within movement, rather than waste time and money on these propaganda trips to deceive us Black students, South Africans have no need for these Muldergate-like trips.

A “major focus” of the Israeli trip will be the University of Johannesburg (UJ). On 1st April 2011 UJ’s Senate, with the full backing of UJ’s Student Representative Council, terminated its institutional relationship with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University. Indeed, UJ set an academic boycott of Israel precedent that all other South African and international universities can follow.

Following UJ’s decision, and in response to a letter sent to us by Palestinian students, we urge all SRCs, student groups and other youth structures to Continue reading

Comments Off


Your Taxes Fund Anti-Muslim Hatred | Chris Hedges
October 10, 2011, 1:47 pm
Filed under: Middle East, North America

By Chris Hedges

May 09, 2011 “Truthdig” — News personalities, politicians, self-appointed experts on the Muslim world, and law enforcement and intelligence officials, as well as the Christian right, have successfully demonized Muslims in the United States since the attacks of 2001. It is acceptable to say things openly about Muslims that could never be said about any other ethnic group. And as the economy continues to unravel, as we face the possibility of revenge attacks by Islamic extremists, perhaps on American soil, the plight of Muslims is beginning to mirror that of targeted ethnic minority groups on the eve of the war in the former Yugoslavia, or Jews in the dying days of the Weimar Republic.

The major candidates for the Republican nomination for the presidency, including Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, along with television personalities such as Bill Maher, routinely employ hate talk against Muslims as a way to attract votes or viewers. Right-wing radio and cable news, including Christian radio and television, along with websites such as Jihad Watch and FrontPage, spew toxic filth about Muslims over the airwaves and the Internet. But perhaps most ominously—as pointed out in “Manufacturing the Muslim Menace,” a report by Political Research Associates—a cadre of right-wing institutions that peddle themselves as counterterrorism specialists and experts on the Muslim world has been indoctrinating thousands of police, intelligence and military personnel in nationwide seminars. These seminars, run by organizations such as Security Solutions International, The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, and International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association, embrace gross and distorted stereotypes and propagate wild conspiracy theories. And much of this indoctrination within the Continue reading

Comments Off


Bomb Everything in Libya | William Bowles
October 10, 2011, 1:44 pm
Filed under: Africa, Europe, Middle East, North America

Bomb Everything in Libya
Pirates of the Mediterranean

By William Bowles

“The media rush to glorify Obama the ‘warrior president’ is symptomatic of a Western society that has come to view war as entirely normal… It is by now almost impossible to imagine that the West would not always be attacking, or targeting for attack, some defenceless nation or other.” — You Cannot Kill An Ideology With A Gun‘ By Media Lens

May 20, 2011 “Information Clearing House– All things being equal, which undoubtedly they are not, and surely that’s point, the long overdue arrival of a truly socialized, globalized planet would have been able to tackle the mess capitalism has made of things. After all, our disasters are now planetary in scale and thus can now only be handled by the planet as a whole. That means all of us, not just a privileged few.

And, it is surely an irony that ‘globalization’ has been heralded, nay crowed over by the Pirates as the solution to all our problems, yet it’s the nature of capitalist ‘globalization’ that is the main source of not only our local but also now the global crises that multiply by the day as the Empire desperately seeks to hang on to its ill-gotten gains. Problems that now threaten our future as a species, never mind a better future for all.

No doubt when comrade Marx first branded our socialist vision with ‘Workers of the World, Unite’, he had no idea just how badly his world would screw up everything, for although he was the first true globalist and experienced first-hand the awesome power of industrial capitalism to ‘tame nature’, I am sure given the lack of knowledge about the real nature of the biosphere as well as capitalism’s astounding ability to consume everything in its path, nothing could have prepared him for Fukushima or Chernobyl.

Operation Odyssey Dawn however would have been ever such familiar territory to him. Such ‘escapades’ formerly known as Gunboat Diplomacy had helped build the world Marx inhabited. The only difference was that back then they didn’t need a pretext, might was right, end of story. Nowadays, with all the talk of ‘human rights’ and war crimes, gunboat diplomacy is a tad out of sync with all the horseshit being peddled by the Pirates.

The outrageous call by Gen. Sir Richard Davis the other day to bomb everything in Continue reading

Comments Off


LIBYA LIES WORSE THAN IRAQ
October 10, 2011, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Africa, Europe, Middle East, North America

Libya War Lies Worse Than Iraq

By Thomas C. Mountain

Source:Information Clearing House

July 23, 2011 “Information Clearing House” — Asmara, Eritrea: The lies used to justify the NATO war against Libya have surpassed those created to justify the invasion of Iraq. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both had honest observers on the ground for months following the rebellion in eastern Libya and both have repudiated every major charge used to justify the NATO war on Libya.

According to the Amnesty observer, who is fluent in Arabic, there is not one confirmed instance of rape by the pro-Gadaffi fighters, not even a doctor who knew of one. All the Viagra mass rape stories were fabrications.

Amnesty could not verify a single “African mercenary” fighting for Gaddafi story, and the highly charged international satellite television accounts of African mercenaries raping women that were used to panic much of the eastern Libyan population into fleeing their homes were fabrications.

There were no confirmed accounts of helicopter gun ships attacking civilians and no jet fighters bombing people which completely invalidates any justification for the No-Fly Zone inSecurity Council resolution used as an excuse for NATO to launch its attacks on Libya.

After three months on the ground in rebel controlled territory, the Amnesty investigator could only confirm 110 deaths in Benghazi which included Gadaffi supporters.

Only 110 dead in Benghazi? Wait a minute, we were told thousands had Continue reading

Comments Off


Farrakhan Blasts the “Coalition of Demons”
October 10, 2011, 1:38 pm
Filed under: Africa, Middle East, North America
Comments Off


Reflections on a violent day in Ottawa
October 23, 2014, 12:51 pm
Filed under: "canada"

I often find it hard to feel empathy for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. But when I saw the grim picture of him talking on the phone following the end of his confinement in the locked down House of Commons yesterday, I sensed in him a vulnerability he rarely exhibits. Harper, like his fellow MPs, Parliamentary staff, media, visitors and children in the downstairs daycare, had likely hunkered down behind locked doors, no doubt traumatized by uncertainty when an armed gunman entered the building. Because no one knew who the gunman was after, all were potential targets. For half a day, everyone on lockdown no doubt felt the fear, despair, sadness and fragile sense of mortality that people in Iraq and Syria have experienced daily for decades, an extra punch of which they will soon receive at the hands of Canadian CF-18 bombers.

It’s the kind of trauma not to be wished upon anyone, and I hope all affected will get the kind of counselling and therapeutic support necessary to deal with what may emerge as multiple cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), otherwise known as the condition that you get denied proper treatment for when you are a returning Canadian military veteran.

Like those in Afghanistan who suffered 13 years of Canadian bombardment (upwards of a billion Canadian bullets fired), night raids, transfers to torture, and the daily indignities of life under military occupation, those Parliamentarians with the power to declare war — and send somebody else overseas to fight it for them — felt, in a relatively limited fashion, what it’s like for millions of the world’s war-weary populations. The image of a cowering John Baird or Jason Kenney hiding in a barricaded office must have proven a stark contrast to the swaggering, macho manner in which these men urged Canada to declare war on ISIS, further fuelling the flames of fear and hatred against Muslims.

Out-of-the-blue violence

Thankfully, most of yesterday’s hostages to violence in Parliament went home last night to warm houses with showers, uninterrupted electricity supply, food in the fridge, and the knowledge that this horror is unlikely to happen tomorrow and four or five times for the remainder of the month or periodically for the rest of their lives. But had this happened in Iraq, such relative safety would not be guaranteed, in part due to Canada’s role in obliterating that nation’s economy, electricity and water supply, and health-care system, first though intensive bombing in 1991, military enforcement of a decade’s worth of brutal sanctions that killed a million Iraqis, and renewed support and participation in the 2003 invasion that was made possible by Canadian weapons, technical components, navy personnel and equipment, embedded troops, and high-ranking military officials. It was also out of Iraq’s torturing prisons during the occupation that numerous ISIS leaders emerged.

The tragic murder of a young Canadian reservist and the Parliamentary shootout was all the more shocking because of its sudden, seemingly out-of-the-blue fashion. In the same way, on a daily basis in tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, in Yemen, in Somalia, children in schools, celebrants at weddings, and other individuals and families are suddenly, shockingly killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a remote control-operated drone, likely with the Canadian-built targeting camera courtesy of L-3 Wescam in Burlington, Ontario.

What is being treated as Canada’s 9/11 is a day that recalls the comments made half a century ago by the great Malcolm X, who commented that the assassination of President Kennedy was a case of “chickens coming home to roost,” a result of a “climate of hate” fostered by a U.S. political and corporate establishment regularly overthrowing governments and assassinating (or plotting against) a variety of leaders from Patrice Lumumba to Fidel Castro. At the time, Malcolm X was vilified for speaking the truth, one that America was not ready to accept, just as many Canadians may be unwilling to do now.

Indeed, how many Canadians reading that last paragraph would step back and say, “That’s them, not us”? The horrible sound of gunfire in Parliament must have sounded a small bit of like some opening moments during the Canadian-supported coup against the democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende in 1973, one of many coups Canada has given support to (including more recently the coups in Honduras, Egypt, Haiti, etc.). One reporter gasped that it was simply incongruous to see SWAT teams escorting her through the Parliament in which she worked, and yet Canadian policy throughout much of the world forces her counterparts to walk that ring of heavily armed men on a daily basis.

Rather than viewing yesterday’s tragic events as a wake-up call to seriously examine Canada’s negative role on the world stage and the inevitable “climate of hate” to which we are contributing, we can expect nothing less than a ride on the Platitude Express, which embarked within minutes of the first bullets being fired.

The Platitude Express

From endless references to the “loss of innocence” to the pronouncements that “things will never be the same” (especially in the “hallowed halls” of Parliament), we are witnessing the cranking up of our self-loving myth machine into high gear.

In this climate, do not expect our finest hour. Yesterday’s events will be used as the springboard to call for greater militarization of the national culture and justification for unending war against ISIL/ISIS or any other convenient enemy-du-jour. This will lead to further increases in war spending, despite the fact that the War Dept. was supposed to come up with $2 billion in cuts. The wars in Ukraine and Iraq — costs for which are being kept secret, without much protest — will easily double that. These events will also be used to attack anyone who questions Canada’s role in wars past or present.

New repressive laws

The events of yesterday will likely also have a congealing impact on Parliamentarians who, understandably, shared a trauma together. Wednesday was supposed to be the Harper government’s opportunity to unleash a new round of legislative measures designed to give CSIS and the RCMP even more freedom to trade information with torturers, monitor people overseas, take part in extraordinary rendition programs, and be completely immune from prosecution and oversight by the creation of a special class privilege that would assert the right of CSIS agents and informers not to be questioned about their activities in any court of law, public or secret.

But after yesterday, what opposition leader who wants to appear prime ministerial will feel comfortable saying no to such an agenda? The Conservatives will no doubt frame the issue with the familiar refrain, “you’re either with the terrorists or against them.”

Perhaps the most immediate impact will be felt in certain communities targeted for racial and religious profiling. While Canadian soldiers have been told to stay indoors and not show themselves in public, individuals of South Asian or Middle Eastern heritage, and certainly anyone who may be a Muslim or perceived as one, may have second thoughts about being out in public. These communities will be the subject of demands from the media and some “community leaders” to “out” radicalized young people, to call in “suspicious” behavior (undefined), and to report their neighbours to CSIS or the Mounties. They will find greater difficulty travelling, and they will learn first-hand about something called the Passenger Protect Program (or no-fly list).

This is especially so since, while we do not know much about the shooter, media have been quick to point out that although he was a Canadian, he was of “Algerian” heritage, and a recent convert to Islam. Both are completely irrelevant factors, but so commonly part of the daily anti-terror discourse that no second thought is given to the consequences of bringing it up.

The game is no longer far away

Glenn Greenwald adequately summed things up by asking why Canada, a nation that has been at war for 13 years and counting, would be shocked that someone might actually (however unjustifiably), do what he felt was needed to fight back. But as a country that wages war but has never suffered from war the way Russia or France or Syria or Iraq have, we have always been insulated against the consequences of our actions, buoyed by a mythology that allows us to wear Canadian flags on backpacking trips through Europe.

By day’s end, Harper addressed the nation, his discourse unchanged from the bellicose rumblings of last week as he rammed through a Parliamentary vote to bomb Iraq and Syria: “Canada will never be intimidated…redouble our efforts…savagery…no safe haven…”

After a long day focused on these gripping events in the nation’s capital, I have to wonder if this direct experience of fear and trauma will force us to examine our own addiction to violence as the solution to conflict. Yesterday provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our insidious contribution to the climate of hate, and the chance to disengage from our increasingly militarized culture.

Source:http://rabble.ca/columnists/2014/10/reflections-on-violent-day-ottawa

Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who co-ordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network. He has worked closely with the targets of Canadian and U.S. ‘national security’ profiling for many years.

Comments Off


13th Annual Racism and National Consciousness Conference
October 8, 2014, 9:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
For more information and to register, please contact: arnold.itwaru@utoronto.ca

For more information and to register, please contact:
arnold.itwaru@utoronto.ca

Comments Off


“Popular Power” Key To Second Phase of Venezuela’s Street Government, Maduro Says
August 5, 2013, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By SASCHA BERCOVITCH, JUL 29TH 2013.

Caracas, July 29th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The consolidation of a system of “popular government” will be the primary goal of the second stage of Venezuela’s Street Government initiative, President Nicolas Maduro announced yesterday during a ceremony at Caracas’ Mountain Barracks, where the coffin of Hugo Chavez is being held, to honor the birthday of the late president.

In his speech, Maduro listed ten other objectives that the program would focus on moving forward.

Regarding the issue of insecurity, Maduro spoke of the strengthening of the Plan Secure Homeland, in which members of the military patrol crime-ridden areas. He also called for peace among Venezuelan youth, adding that numerous armed groups would soon turn in their weapons to be incorporated into various social programs.

Further objectives focused on restoring the supply of basic products and exchange rate controls to combat inflation; detecting and prosecuting cases of corruption; and stabilizing the country’s system of electricity, which occasionally leaves blackouts in some regions of the country.

Maduro also expressed support for the Military Street Government program, an initiative launched under new Defense Minister Carmen Melendez.

“Don’t stop: continue with your plans to visit barracks, military units, academies, and schools to strengthen and improve them. You know that you can count on me as President of the Republic and as commander in chief of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces,” he said.

Since being launched at the end of April, Maduro’s Street Government has approved 2,450 projects, which arose from over 2,000 popular assemblies and other activities held throughout the country. Maduro stated that the outreach had allowed the government to interact with over 3,483,000 citizens.

“It’s a contact from the people to the people,” Maduro said, “because we too are the people. Here, the bourgeoisie, the bigwigs of the right, are not governing. The working class people are governing.”

At an earlier event yesterday in Sabaneta, Barinas state, the hometown of Chavez, Maduro  indicated that the second phase of the Street Government would begin “very soon … from Sabaneta, through all of Venezuela.”

Comments Off


CIA Was Smuggling Weapons to Syrian Rebels During Benghazi Embassy Attack: “Unnamed Source”
August 5, 2013, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By: Brad Michelson, Global Research, August 05, 2013

The CIA was smuggling weapons from Libyan weapons depots to the Syrian rebels during the 2012 attack on the US embassy in Benghazi. According to a report by CNN, an unnamed source has leaked that the alleged cover-up of the circumstances around the attack is to hide the reality of the smuggling, which occurred before the escalation of the Syrian civil war. This shows that the CIA has been arming the Syrian rebels since at least September 2012. The agents were running the operation out of the Benghazi “annex,” which has been reported as a secret safehouse of the CIA in the city, not far from the embassy.

This development emerges just one day after reports of CIA intimidation on employees and foreign ground assets.

In an exclusive published by CNN, a source has revealed an “unprecedented” effort to keep anyone with information on the Benghazi embassy attack from speaking with the media or Congress. Survivors of the attack were asked to signed non-disclosure agreements, reports Fox News.

embassy, employees, ambassador, Christopher Stevens

Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the return of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Libyan embassy employees (Getty Images)

According to the report, a nearly unheard of slew of polygraph testing has been conducted against CIA employees and on-ground assets with information regarding the attack, which resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Typically, the agency will only conduct one test over three or four years. Right now they’re subjecting these people to the tests one or twice a month. This rate of polygraph testing is rare, to say the least.

CNN’s source claims that this is a trend of intimidation that the agency is carrying out. In an exclusive communications in the CNN report, one insider writes, “You don’t jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family as well.” Another says, “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

A new source told CNN that there were “dozens of people working for the CIA [...] on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

The source said that the number of assets was 35, and as many as seven were wounded. Some of those were injured seriously. Although the source did not specify how many of them were CIA, he or she did say that 21 American were working in a building called the “annex,” which is believed to be run by the CIA.

This lack of transparency has begun to concern members of Congress. This list includes Frank Wolf, whose distract includes Langley, Virginia, which houses the CIA headquarters. He has gone as far as alleging the government is involved in a “cover-up.”

“I think it is a form of a cover-up, and I think it’s an attempt to push it under the rug, and I think the American people are feeling the same way. We should have the people who were on the scene come in, testify under oath, do it publicly, and lay it out. And there really isn’t any national security issue involved with regards to that.”

frank wolf, republican

U.S Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) (Getty Images)

Wolf attempted to contact people were had close ties with people who had information about the event and wanted to talk. Then they stopped taking his calls.

“Initially they were not afraid to come forward. They wanted the opportunity, and they wanted to be subpoenaed, because if you’re subpoenaed, it sort of protects you, you’re forced to come before Congress. Now that’s all changed.”

Other reports of cover-ups and conspiracy theories have been emerging since the event last September. In May, Dick Cheney said that Obama is involved in a Benghazi cover-up. Also in May, Slate reported a “smoking gun” indicating a systemic administration cover-up. Some outlets have even claimed and presented evidence that Ambassador Stevens died in the attack “because Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered him there,” supposedly on purpose with prior knowledge of the attack.

Comments Off


Thousands of Syrian police who joined the rebels are on U.S. payroll
July 28, 2013, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By: , July 25, 2013

The United States has been paying thousands of Syrian police officers who deserted the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Officials said the administration of President Barack Obama has approved tens of millions of dollars to pay the salaries of police officers who joined the rebels. They said the officers were working to maintain order in rebel-controlled territory, mostly in northern Syria.

Syrian police armored vehicle in Homs.  /AFP/Anwar Amro

Syrian police armored vehicle in Homs. /AFP/ Anwar Amro

“There are literally thousands of defected police inside of Syria,” Assistant Secretary of State Rick Barton said. “They are credible in their communities because they’ve defected.”

In an address to the Aspen Security Forum on July 19, Barton, responsible for State Department stabilization operations, did not say how many Syrian police deserters were on the U.S. payroll. He said the officers were receiving about $150 per month, a significant salary in Syria.

The address marked a rare disclosure of direct U.S. aid to Sunni rebels in Syria. Congress has approved more than $50 million for the Syrian opposition, much of which has not been spent.

Barton said the police officers remained in their communities despite their defection from the Assad regime. He said the U.S. stipend was meant to ensure that they stay on the job.

“We’d rather have a trained policeman who is trusted by the community than have to bring in a new crowd or bring in an international group that doesn’t know the place,” Barton said.

Barton said the rebel movement was awaiting a range of non-lethal U.S. equipment. He cited night vision systems and medical supplies.

Comments Off


America’s GM Grain Surpluses: Sowing the Seeds of Famine in Ethiopia
July 28, 2013, 12:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By: Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, May 25, 2013.

 

This article, which describes how genetically modified seeds granted as “food aid” was instrumental in triggering famine. It was first published in The Ecologist in September 2000. It was one the first articles published on Global Research in September 2001.  It was also published as a chapter in the second edition of Michel Chossudovsky’s “Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order 

The “economic therapy” imposed under IMF-World Bank jurisdiction is in large part responsible for triggering famine and social devastation in Ethiopia and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, wreaking the peasant economy and impoverishing millions of people.

With the complicity of branches of the US government, it has also opened the door for the appropriation of traditional seeds and landraces by US biotech corporations, which behind the scenes have been peddling the adoption of their own genetically modified seeds under the disguise of emergency aid and famine relief.

Moreover, under WTO rules, the agri-biotech conglomerates can manipulate market forces to their advantage as well as exact royalties from farmers. The WTO provides legitimacy to the food giants to dismantle State programmes including emergency grain stocks, seed banks, extension services and agricultural credit, etc.), plunder peasant economies and trigger the outbreak of periodic famines.

Crisis in the Horn

More than 8 million people in Ethiopia – representing 15% of the country’s population – had been locked into “famine zones”. Urban wages have collapsed and unemployed seasonal farm workers and landless peasants have been driven into abysmal poverty. The international relief agencies concur without further examination that climatic factors are the sole and inevitable cause of crop failure and the ensuing humanitarian disaster. What the media tabloids fails to disclose is that – despite the drought and the border war with Eritrea – several million people in the most prosperous agricultural regions have also been driven into starvation. Their predicament is not the consequence of grain shortages but of “free markets” and “bitter economic medicine” imposed under the IMF-World Bank sponsored Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).

Ethiopia produces more than 90% of its consumption needs. Yet at the height of the crisis, the nationwide food deficit for 2000 was estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at 764,000 metric tons of grain representing a shortfall of 13 kilos per person per annum.1 In Amhara, grain production (1999-2000) was twenty percent in excess of consumption needs. Yet 2.8 million people in Amhara (representing 17% of the region’s population) became locked into famine zones and are “at risk” according to the FAO. 2 Whereas Amhara’s grain surpluses were in excess of 500,000 tons (1999-2000), its “relief food needs” had been tagged by the international community at close to 300,000 tons.3 A similar pattern prevailed in Oromiya, the country’s most populated state where 1.6 million people were classified “at risk”, despite the availability of more than 600,000 metric tons of surplus grain.4 In both these regions, which include more than 25% of the country’s population, scarcity of food was clearly not the cause of hunger, poverty and social destitution. Yet no explanations are given by the panoply of international relief agencies and agricultural research institutes.

The Promise of the “Free Market”

In Ethiopia, a transitional government came into power in 1991 in the wake of a protracted and destructive civil war. After the pro-Soviet Dergue regime of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam was unseated, a multi-donor financed Emergency Recovery and Reconstruction Project (ERRP) was hastily put in place to deal with an external debt of close to 9 billion dollars that had accumulated during the Mengistu government. Ethiopia’s outstanding debts with the Paris Club of official creditors were rescheduled in exchange for far-reaching macro-economic reforms. Upheld by US foreign policy, the usual doses of bitter IMF economic medicine were prescribed. Caught in the straightjacket of debt and structural adjustment, the new Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE), led by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – largely formed from the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (PLF) – had committed itself to far-reaching “free market reforms”, despite its leaders’ Marxist leanings. Washington soon tagged Ethiopia alongside Uganda as Africa’s post Cold War free market showpiece.

While social budgets were slashed under the structural adjustment programme (SAP), military expenditure – in part financed by the gush of fresh development loans – quadrupled since 1989.5 With Washington supporting both sides in the Eritrea-Ethiopia border war, US arms sales spiralled. The bounty was being shared between the arms manufacturers and the agribusiness conglomerates. In the post-Cold War era, the latter positioned themselves in the lucrative procurement of emergency aid to war-torn countries. With mounting military spending financed on borrowed money, almost half of Ethiopia’s export revenues was earmarked to meet debt-servicing obligations.

A Policy Framework Paper (PFP) stipulating the precise changes to be carried out in Ethiopia had been carefully drafted in Washington by IMF and World Bank officials on behalf of the transitional government, and was forwarded to Addis Ababa for the signature of the Minister of Finance. The enforcement of severe austerity measures virtually foreclosed the possibility of a meaningful post-war reconstruction and the rebuilding of the country’s shattered infrastructure. The creditors demanded trade liberalization and the full-scale privatization of public utilities, financial institutions, State farms and factories. Civil servants including teachers and health workers were fired, wages were frozen and the labor laws were rescinded to enable State enterprises “to shed their surplus workers”. Meanwhile, corruption became rampant. State assets were auctioned off to foreign capital at bargain prices and Price Waterhouse Cooper was entrusted with the task of coordinating the sale of State property.

In turn, the reforms had led to the fracture of the federal fiscal system. Budget transfers to the State governments were slashed leaving the regions to their own devices. Supported by several donors, “regionalization” was heralded as a “devolution of powers from the federal to the regional governments”. The Bretton Woods institutions knew exactly what they were doing. In the words of the IMF, “[the regions] capacity to deliver effective and efficient development interventions varies widely, as does their capacity for revenue collection”. 6

Wrecking the Peasant Economy

Patterned on the reforms adopted in Kenya in 1991 (see Box 9.1 ), agricultural markets were wilfully manipulated on behalf of the agribusiness conglomerates. The World Bank demanded the rapid removal of price controls and all subsidies to farmers. Transportation and freight prices were deregulated serving to boost food prices in remote areas affected by drought. In turn, the markets for farm inputs including fertiliser and seeds were handed over to private traders including Pioneer Hi-Bred International which entered into a lucrative partnership with Ethiopia Seed Enterprise (ESE), the government’s seed monopoly.7

At the outset of the reforms in 1992, USAID under its Title III program “donated” large quantities of US fertilizer “in exchange for free market reforms”:

[V]arious agricultural commodities [will be provided] in exchange for reforms of grain marketing… and [the] elimination of food subsidies…The reform agenda focuses on liberalization and privatization in the fertilizer and transport sectors in return for financing fertilizer and truck imports…. These program initiatives have given us [an] “entrée” …in defining major [policy] issues… 8

While the stocks of donated US fertiliser were rapidly exhausted; the imported chemicals contributed to displacing local fertiliser producers. The same companies involved in the fertiliser import business were also in control of the domestic wholesale distribution of fertiliser using local level merchants as intermediaries.

Increased output was recorded in commercial farms and in irrigated areas (where fertilizer and high yielding seeds had been applied). The overall tendency, however, was towards greater economic and social polarisation in the countryside, marked by significantly lower yields in less productive marginal lands occupied by the poor peasantry. Even in areas where output had increased, farmers were caught in the clutch of the seed and fertilizer merchants.

In 1997, the Atlanta based Carter Center – which was actively promoting the use of biotechnology tools in maize breeding – proudly announced that “Ethiopia [had] become a food exporter for the first time”.9 Yet in a cruel irony, the donors ordered the dismantling of the emergency grain reserves (set up in the wake of the 1984-85 famine) and the authorities acquiesced.

Instead of replenishing the country’s emergency food stocks, grain was exported to meet Ethiopia’s debt servicing obligations. Close to one million tons of the 1996 harvest was exported, an amount which would have been amply sufficient (according to FAO figures) to meet the 1999-2000 emergency. In fact the same food staple which had been exported (namely maize) was re-imported barely a few months later. The world market had confiscated Ethiopia’s grain reserves.

In return, US surpluses of genetically engineered maize (banned by the European Union) were being dumped on the horn of Africa in the form of emergency aid. The US had found a convenient mechanism for “laundering its stocks of dirty grain”. The agribusiness conglomerates not only cornered Ethiopia’s commodity exports, they were also involved in the procurement of emergency shipments of grain back into Ethiopia. During the 1998-2000 famine, lucrative maize contracts were awarded to giant grain merchants such as Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill Inc. 10

Laundering America’s GM Grain Surpluses

US grain surpluses peddled in war-torn countries also served to weaken the agricultural system. Some 500,000 tons of maize and maize products were “donated” in 1999-2000 by USAID to relief agencies including the World Food Programme (WFP) which in turn collaborates closely with the US Department of Agriculture. At least 30% of these shipments (procured under contract with US agribusiness firms) were surplus genetically modified grain stocks. 11

Boosted by the border war with Eritrea and the plight of thousands of refugees, the influx of contaminated food aid had contributed to the pollution of Ethiopia’s genetic pool of indigenous seeds and landraces. In a cruel irony, the food giants were at the same time gaining control – through the procurement of contaminated food aid – over Ethiopia’s seed banks. According to South Africa’s Biowatch: “Africa is treated as the dustbin of the world…To donate untested food and seed to Africa is not an act of kindness but an attempt to lure Africa into further dependence on foreign aid.” 12

Moreover, part of the “food aid” had been channelled under the “food for work” program which served to further discourage domestic production in favour of grain imports. Under this scheme, impoverished and landless farmers were contracted to work on rural infrastructural programmes in exchange for “donated” US corn.

Meanwhile, the cash earnings of coffee smallholders plummeted. Whereas Pioneer Hi-Bred positioned itself in seed distribution and marketing, Cargill Inc established itself in the markets for grain and coffee through its subsidiary Ethiopian Commodities.12 For the more than 700,000 smallholders with less than 2 hectares that produce between 90 and 95% of the country’s coffee output, the deregulation of agricultural credit combined with low farmgate prices of coffee had triggered increased indebtedness and landlessness, particularly in East Gojam (Ethiopia’s breadbasket).

Biodiversity up for Sale

The country’s extensive reserves of traditional seed varieties (barley, teff, chick peas, sorghum, etc) were being appropriated, genetically manipulated and patented by the agribusiness conglomerates: “Instead of compensation and respect, Ethiopians today are …getting bills from foreign companies that have “patented” native species and now demand payment for their use.”13 The foundations of a “competitive seed industry” were laid under IMF and World Bank auspices.14 The Ethiopian Seed Enterprise (ESE), the government’s seed monopoly joined hands with Pioneer Hi-Bred in the distribution of hi-bred and genetically modified (GM) seeds (together with hybrid resistant herbicide) to smallholders. In turn, the marketing of seeds had been transferred to a network of private contractors and “seed enterprises” with financial support and technical assistance from the World Bank. The “informal” farmer-to-farmer seed exchange was slated to be converted under the World Bank programme into a “formal” market oriented system of “private seed producer-sellers.” 15

In turn, the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute (EARI) was collaborating with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in the development of new hybrids between Mexican and Ethiopian maize varieties.16 Initially established in the 1940s by Pioneer Hi-Bred International with support from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, CIMMYT developed a cosy relationship with US agribusiness. Together with the UK based Norman Borlaug Institute, CIMMYT constitutes a research arm as well as a mouthpiece of the seed conglomerates. According to the Rural Advancement Foundation (RAFI) “US farmers already earn $150 million annually by growing varieties of barley developed from Ethiopian strains. Yet nobody in Ethiopia is sending them a bill.” 17

Impacts of Famine

The 1984-85 famine had seriously threatened Ethiopia’s reserves of landraces of traditional seeds. In response to the famine, the Dergue government through its Plant Genetic Resource Centre –in collaboration with Seeds of Survival (SoS)– had implemented a programme to preserve Ethiopia’s biodiversity.18 This programme – which was continued under the transitional government – skilfully “linked on-farm conservation and crop improvement by rural communities with government support services”. 19 An extensive network of in-farm sites and conservation plots was established involving some 30,000 farmers. In 1998, coinciding chronologically with the onslaught of the 1998-2000 famine, the government clamped down on seeds of Survival (SoS) and ordered the programme to be closed down. 20

The hidden agenda was to eventually displace the traditional varieties and landraces reproduced in village-level nurseries. The latter were supplying more than 90 percent of the peasantry through a system of farmer-to-farmer exchange. Without fail, the 1998-2000 famine led to a further depletion of local level seed banks: “The reserves of grains [the farmer] normally stores to see him through difficult times are empty. Like 30,000 other households in the [Galga] area, his family have also eaten their stocks of seeds for the next harvest.”21 And a similar process was unfolding in the production of coffee where the genetic base of the arabica beans was threatened as a result of the collapse of farmgate prices and the impoverishment of small-holders.

In other words, the famine – itself in large part a product of the economic reforms imposed to the advantage of large corporations by the IMF, World Bank and the US Government – served to undermine Ethiopia’s genetic diversity to the benefit of the biotech companies. With the weakening of the system of traditional exchange, village level seed banks were being replenished with commercial hi-bred and genetically modified seeds. In turn, the distribution of seeds to impoverished farmers had been integrated with the “food aid” programmes. WPF and USAID relief packages often include “donations” of seeds and fertiliser, thereby favouring the inroad of the agribusiness-biotech companies into Ethiopia’s agricultural heartland. The emergency programs are not the “solution” but the “cause” of famine. By deliberately creating a dependency on GM seeds, they had set the stage for the outbreak of future famines.

This destructive pattern – invariably resulting in famine – is replicated throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. From the onslaught of the debt crisis of the early 1980s, the IMF-World Bank had set the stage for the demise of the peasant economy across the region with devastating results. Now, in Ethiopia, fifteen years after the last famine left nearly one million dead, hunger is once again stalking the land. This time, as eight million people face the risk of starvation, we know that it isn’t just the weather that is to blame.

 

Comments Off


Jailed Journalist: “Only Obama Can Compete with Yemen’s Dictators in Jailing Journalists and Killing Civilians”
July 27, 2013, 11:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

 

 

 

 

By: , The Dissenter, July 23, 2013. 

Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye, who United States President Barack Obama had been keeping in prison, has been released.

Shaye was apparently given a presidential pardonthat requires him to remain in Sanaa for two years. This means he would be prohibited from traveling to many of the areas where US drone strikes have taken place while he was in prison or where they will take place over the next two years.

Journalist Iona Craig, a Times of Londoncorrespondent in Yemen who had covered Shaye’s case for two years, reacted, “Delighted to say, after two years of covering his case, jailed journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye is free. I can’t quite believe it.”

Craig acknowledged that Yemen President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi deserved credit for keeping his word and releasing Shaye. She also praised the organization, Index on Censorship, in the United Kingdom for calling attention to “Shaye’s long-running story” and the threat his imprisonment posed to freedom of expression.

Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemeni youth activist and writer who testified before Congress this year on the impact of US drone operations in his country,reacted, “After FOUR years of jailing him by order from Barack Obama, Yemeni government releases journalist Abdulelah Shaea.” He also said, “Only Barack Obama can compete with Yemen’s dictators (throughout history) in jailing journalists and killing civilians in Yemen,” and, “What a great Iftar Shaea’s kids might be having today; having their father back with them after 4 years in prison.”

The story of Shaye is told in detail by Jeremy Scahill in his book, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield. Shaye went to the site of a US cruise missile attack in al Majalah where at least 21 children and 14 women were killed. He also tracked down US-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to interview him on how he could support the US Army medical officer Nidal Hasan, who went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood and why he believed Umar Farouk Abdulumutallab, the Christmas Day underwear bomber, was justified to have targeted a “civilian airliner.”

His reporting made him a target the United States wanted to neutralize. According to his lawyer, Abdulrahman Barman, whom I interviewed in May 2012:

[Shaye] is one of those who got all of the information quickly and put it out there for the public. His work actually impacted the Yemeni government and US government in ways where they didn’t want to see it. The Yemeni intelligence were trying to actually recruit Shaye and have him work in the intelligence but he refused. So, after the attack on al-Majalah where so many civilians including women and children were murdered, Abdulelah was beaten up and kidnapped [in June 2010] by the national security agency and he was asked to shut up and be silent and not to talk about these kind of issues.

This did not stop Shaye from practicing journalism.

After he was abducted in July 2010 by Yemeni intelligence agents and went on television to share what had happened to him, US government officials, according to Scahill, began “privately telling major US media outlets that were working with Shaye that they should discontinue their relationships with him. The government alleged he was “using his paychecks to support al Qaeda.”

In  August 2010, Barman told Firedoglake Shaye was kidnapped by national security agency people. He was beaten and dragged to “national security cars.” He was held for thirty-five days incommunicado while activists protested his detention in front of intelligence services and judicial system buildings. These agencies claimed they had not detained him, but he discovered his location through a released prisoner, who had seen him one of the cells. This led to the national security agencies transferring him to another location.

Barman eventually was able to be with him during interrogation and he said there was no evidence against him for the terrorism-related charges he faced.

Shaye was held in solitary confinement for a period, denied access to his lawyer, and subjected to psychological torture and abuse and appeared in a cage before a special tribunal on September 22, 2010. The judge read the charges he faced, which included “being the ‘media man’ for al Qaeda, recruiting new operatives for the group and providing al Qaeda with photos of Yemeni bases and foreign embassies for potential targeting.

According to Scahill, when Shaye heard the charges, he reacted, “When they hid murderers of children and women in Abyan, when I revealed the locations and camps of nomads and civilians in Abyan, Shabwah and Arhab when they were going to be hit by cruise missiles, it was on that day they decided to arrest me…You notice in the court how they have turned all of my journalistic contributions into accusations. All of my journalist constributions and quotations to international reporters and news channels have been turned into accusations.” And, as he was dragged off by security, he shouted, “Yemen, this is a place where, when a young journalist becomes successful, he is viewed with suspicion.”

In January 2011, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison and two years of house arrest in his hometown.

Shaye went on hunger strike in November 2011 and support for his release increased. Yemeni activists protested in front of the US embassy and, finally, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president of Yemen at the time, was willing to release him. But he received a phone call from President Obama who opposed his release.

In May of this year, Craig reported that Hadi had confirmed there was “an order from the president to release” Shaye “soon.” However, no details were given on when he would be released.

Craig recounted how the US Ambassador to Sanaa, Gerald Feierstein, had told her, “Haidar Shaye is in jail because he was facilitating al-Qaeda and its planning for attacks on Americans and therefore we have a very direct interest in his case and his imprisonment,” despite the fact that no evidence confirming this allegation had ever been presented.

She highlighted the effect of his imprisonment on Yemeni journalists:

Yemeni journalists have repeatedly expressed their lingering fear over America’s meddling in Shaye’s case. Many became afraid to report on air strikes. One Yemeni journalist, like Shaye a specialist on al-Qaeda, renamed himself an “analyst of Islamic groups” and refused to do TV interviews especially with Al Jazeera after what happened to Shaye.

It had been said by Scahill that Shaye was “rotting away losing his mind in a Yemeni prison.”

What effect his imprisonment will have on him as he resumes life obviously remains to be seen, but one hopes he has not lost his spirit and commitment to journalism and, despite restrictions on traveling outside of Sanaa, will eventually return to doing what he was doing before he was unjustly imprisoned at the behest of the Obama administration.

It takes courage to do what Shaye was doing before he was imprisoned in Yemen. Sadly, when he wound up in prison, US media outlets virtually abandoned him. He had contributed to outlets such as theWashington Post and ABC News but they apparently did not ever find it appropriate to raise their voices to get answers from the administration on why a journalist was being kept in prison.

In solidarity, it is good to see Shaye be freed. Obama owes Shaye an apology and reparations of some kind for depriving him of the years of his life that he spent in prison and could not be with his family or out in the field doing journalism. Unfortunately, as much as the administration may claim to support press freedom, it is pretty much a certainty that there will not be a peep from the Obama administration where they acknowledge it was wrong to keep Shaye jailed.

Comments Off



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.