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Haitians Worry World Bank-Assisted Mining Law Could Result in “Looting”
January 25, 2015, 7:10 pm
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With Haiti’s Parliament having dissolved on Tuesday, civil society groups are worried that the Haitian president may move to unilaterally put in place a contentious revision to the country’s decades-old mining law.

Starting in 2013, that draft was written with technical assistance from the World Bank. Last week, a half-dozen Haitian groups filed a formal appeal with the bank’s complaints office, expressing concern that the legislation had been crafted without the public consultation often required under the Washington-based development funder’s own policies.

The aim of the new draft mining law appears to be a massive expansion of Haiti’s mining sector, paving the way for the entry of foreign companies already interested in the country’s significant gold and other deposits.

“Community leaders … are encouraging communities to think critically about ‘development’, and to not simply accept projects defined by outsiders,” Ellie Happel, an attorney in Port-au-Prince who has been involved in the complaint, told IPS.

“These projects often fail. And, in the case with gold mining, residents learn that these projects may threaten their very way of life.”

Haiti’s extractives permitting process is currently extensive and bureaucratic. Yet the new revisions would bypass parliamentary oversight altogether, halting even a requirement that agreement terms be made public, according to a draft leaked in July.

Critics worry that this streamlining, coupled with the Haitian government’s weakness in ensuring oversight, could result in social and environmental problems, particularly damaging to a largely agrarian economy. Further, there is question as to whether exploitation of this lucrative minerals wealth would benefit the country’s vast impoverished population.

“The World Bank’s involvement in developing the Draft Mining Law lends the law credibility, which is likely to encourage investment in the Haitian mining sector,” the complaint, filed with the bank’s Inspection Panel on Wednesday, states.

“[T]his increased investment in the mining sector will result in … contamination of vital waterways, impacts on the agriculture sector, and involuntary displacement of communities. Complainants are also concerned about the exclusion of Haitian people from the law reform process, particularly when contrasted with the reported regular participation of the private sector in drafting the new law.”

An opaque process

The complaint comes five years after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, and as political instability is threatening reconstruction and development progress made in that catastrophe’s aftermath. Elections have been repeatedly put off for more than two years, and by Tuesday so many members of Parliament are slated to have finished their terms that the body would lack a quorum.

On Sunday Haitian President Michel Martelly indicated that a deal might be near. But the leftist opposition was reportedly not part of this agreement, and has repeatedly warned that the president is planning to rule by decree.

The Inspection Panel complaint, filed by six civil society groups operating under the umbrella Kolektif Jistis Min (the Justice in Mining Collective), contextualises its concerns against this backdrop of instability. “[T]he Haitian government may be poised to adopt the Draft Mining Law by decree, outside the democratic process,” it states.

Even if the political crisis is dealt with soon, concerns with the legislation’s drafting process will remain.

The Justice in Mining Collective, which represents around 50,000 Haitians, drew up the complaint after the draft mining law was leaked in July. No formal copy of the legislation has been made public, nor has the French-language draft law been translated into Haitian Creole, the most commonly spoken language.

“The process has been very opaque, with a small group of experts from the World Bank and Haitian government officials drafting this law,” Sarah Singh, the director of strategic support with Accountability Counsel, a legal advocacy group that consulted on the complaint and is representing some Haitian communities, told IPS.

“They’ve had two meetings that, to my knowledge, were invite-only and held in French, at which the majority of attendees were private investors and some big NGOs. Yet the bank’s response to complaints of this lack of consultation has been to say this is the government’s responsibility.”

The Justice in Mining Collective is suggesting that this lack of consultation runs counter to social and environmental guidelines that undergird all World Bank investments. These policies would also call for a broad environmental assessment across the sector, something local civil society is now demanding – to be followed by a major public debate around the assessment’s findings and the potential role large-scale mining could play in Haiti’s development.

Yet the World Bank is not actually investing in the Haitian mining sector, and it is not clear that the institution’s technical assistance is required to conform to the safeguards policies. In a November letter, the bank noted that its engagement on the Haitian mining law has been confined to sharing international best practices.

Yet Singh says she and others believe the safeguards do still apply, particularly given the scope of the new legislation’s impact.

“This will change the entire legal regime,” she says. “The idea that bank could do that and not have the safeguards apply seems hugely problematic.”

A World Bank spokesperson did confirm to IPS that the Inspection Panel has received the Haitian complaint. If the panel registers the request, she said, the bank’s management would have around a month to submit a response, following which the bank’s board would decide whether the complaint should be investigated.

Parliamentary moratorium

Certainly sensitivities around the Haitian extractives sector have increased in recent years.

Minerals prospecting in Haiti has expanded significantly over the past half-decade, though no company has yet moved beyond exploration. In 2012, when the government approved its first full mining permit in years, the Parliament balked, issuing a non-binding moratorium on all extraction until a sector-wide assessment could take place.

Meanwhile, Haitians have been looking across the border at some of the mining-related problems experienced in the Dominican Republic, including water pollution. Civil society groups have also been reaching out to other countries in the Global South, trying to understand the experiences of other communities around large-scale extractives operations.

Current views are also being informed by decades of historical experience in Haiti, as well. Since the country’s independence in the early 19th century, several foreign companies have engaged many years of gold mining.

That was a “negative, even catastrophic, experience,” according to a statement from the Justice in Mining Collective released following the leak of the draft mining law in July.

“Mining exploitation has never contributed to the development of Haiti. To the contrary, the history of gold exploitation is one marked by blood and suffering since the beginning,” the statement warned.

“When we consider the importance of and the potential consequences of mineral exploitation, we note this change in the law as a sort of scandal that may facilitate further looting, without even the people aware of the consequences.”

By Carey L. Biron

Source: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28696-haitians-worry-world-bank-assisted-mining-law-could-result-in-looting

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“Je suis Ali Abbas”: The Forgotten Victims of State Terrorism
January 13, 2015, 6:53 pm
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Ali-awakes-armless

Ali Abbas pictured in Kuwait after amputation of his arms and excision of the deep trunk burn.

Massive terrorist attacks were hatched back soon after the pretext of cinematographic ‘terrorist’ attacks in New York,Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

The state broadcaster in the UK pumped out the propaganda for these with all vigour and its usual guile.  The people of Afghanistan were first in line, that winter bombing and invasion had been planned for some months before smoke billowed up from the Twin Towers.

Iraqi humans were to be next.  Perle, Wolfowitz, Edelman, Bolton and other Zionists were sitting in our homes as bold as brass.  People like Tom Mangold frightened the old ladies with stories about the nerve gas attacks on the Tokyo tube and how Sarin in a bursting light bulb could kill in seconds.  ‘Free speech, fraternitė, and democracy’ were in the mix, but only a small part of broadcasting time was given over to speakers who were against terrorism by states.  They naively thought the Nuremberg protocols and the Charter of the UN had meaning in international law.

The psychopathic cabal in No 10 got the cogs turning in the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Office and MI6.  A ‘dossier’ was produced in September 2002 but it turned out to be a ridiculous cut and paste job of a PhD ‘thesis’ from LA.  To laugh in the faces of those with any power of analysis is usual.  And there were the anthrax attacks in the ‘land of the free’.  Those were surely false flags, and lo, Perle claimed that they originated from Iraq.

The war machinery was gathering pace in spite of a majority of British citizens which tried quite hard to throw a spanner in the works.  The smiling, paramount psychopath and war criminal Blair, was undeterred.  A second ‘dossier’ was washed many times through the MoD and No 10 computers.  Another psychopath and ex-Mirror journalist Alistair Campbell was the editor it seems.  Saddam, the terrorist, could hit UK forces in Cyprus after a 45 minute order to launch.

This planned holocaust  – the mass killing of humans by humans, as usual, gained it own momentum.  A Danish freighter, the MV Barbara, had cast off 1st February from Torquay, Devon, with four Britons aboard bound for Palestine. (1)  A symbolic fifty tonnes of food, medical supplies etc were in the hold.  The purpose was to share our common humanity with our sisters and brothers in Gaza and to shout against the looming war upon the people of Iraq.  As we steamed eastwards in the Mediterranean, the war and supply ships overtook us on their course for Suez.  On one day the officer of the watch on our ship was interrogated five times by ‘coalition’ terrorists.

On the 16th of March, brothers met to share blood.  The trio who were flown to the Azores consisted of Bush, the capo di tutti capo, Blair and Aznar. (3)   In fact, the attack had already started; Australian special force terrorists were already in theatre – as they say.

On the 22nd March,  massed terrorists from 39 nations including Arab ones, streamed from Kuwait by land and by air, and with cruise missiles, into Iraq.  They were not wielding AK47s but were tooled up with everything.  They had come to liberate the nineteen million humans in Babylon.  This would include liberation of their limbs from their bodies.  The altruistic and ultimate aim was to usher in a golden democracy, as experienced in those 39 nations like Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US, and in the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East, the Zionist entity.  But the plan laid out by Oded Yinon was central.

A splinter of this terror came to Ali Abbas, then 12 years of age and formerly of the village of Zafaraniya, near Baghdad about 10 days after the shocking and ‘aweing’ started.  (4)  His arms were incinerated and the front of his trunk burned to a depth of an inch.  His mother who was six months pregnant, his father, brother and at least 10 other relatives were incinerated by the coalition of willing terror.  It had been reported that, just after midnight on 30 March 2003 and 10 days into “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, a weapon or two weapons exploded.  The village lay directly alongside the Al Rasheed camp.  This had been an RAF base after 1922 from where, ironically and probably, the British had terrorised the native people.  It also lay about 15 km from Baghdad airport. (5)

There had been a big battle for the bridgehead of Baghdad airport, the Special Republican

Guard fighting the US 7th Infantry Division.

What was the agent of this terror? The energy was either thermal or nuclear.  A neutron shell was the most likely source.  This weapon, developed by Samuel T Cohen at Livermore (6 &7) has limited blast and destroys living tissue as opposed to material like concrete or steel.  It does produce radioactive isotopes.  This story, and others, which reports the removal of ‘topsoil’ (8) from Baghdad airport ( and also from Fallujah in other articles) lends support to the strong belief that ‘Enhanced Radiation’ was used on the inhabitants of Zafaraniya.

This act of terrorism on this family went unreported.  Ali’s terrible injuries were presented as an accident of war.  This was but a fragment of the conjoined terrorism of Himalayan magnitude.  It has sat easily on the consciences of the Europeans and other nations from soon after Iraq was turned from blood and loss,  into chaos, blood and loss.

It is noteworthy that although I have published these images several times, I have received only one comment – ‘napalm’!

Je suis Ali Abbas.  We are humanity, trampled to death by the European, and soaked in his hypocrisy. I am a Palestinian

By Dr. David Halpin

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/je-suis-ali-abbas-the-forgotten-victims-of-state-terrorism/5424384

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US-NATO “Humanitarian Wars”: The Lessons of Libya
November 13, 2014, 10:15 am
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Britain and the US used the so-called “rapprochement” with Gaddafi’s Libya to cultivate a fifth column and prepare the ground for war

Three years ago, in late October 2011, the world witnessed the final defeat of the Libyan Jamahiriya – the name by which the Libyan state was known until overthrown in 2011, meaning literally the “state of the masses” – in the face of a massive onslaught from NATO, its regional allies and local collaborators.

It took seven months for the world’s most powerful military alliance – with a combined military spending of just under $1 trillion per year – to fully destroy the Jamahiriya (a state with a population the size of Wales) and it took a joint British-French-Qatari special-forces operationto finally win control of the capital. In total, 10,000 strike sorties were rained down on Libya,tens of thousands killed and injured, and the country left a battleground for hundreds ofwarring factions, armed to the teeth with weapons, either looted from state armouries or provided directly by NATO and its allies. Britain, France and the US had led a war which had effectively transformed a peaceful, prosperous African country into a textbook example of a “failed state.”

Yet the common image of Libya in the months and years leading up to the invasion was that of a state that had “come in from the cold” and was now enjoying friendly relations with the West. Tony Blair’s famous embrace of Gaddafi in his tent in 2004 was said to have ushered in a new period of “rapprochement” with Western companies rushing to do business in the oil-rich African state, and Gaddafi’s abandonment of a nuclear deterrent apparently indicative of the new spirit of trust and co-operation.

Yet this image was largely a myth. Yes, sanctions were lifted and diplomatic relations restored; but this did not represent any newfound trust and friendship. Gaddafi himself never changed his opinion that the forces of old and new colonialism remained bitter enemies of African unity and independence, and for their part, the US, Britain and France continued to resent the assertiveness and independence of Libyan foreign policy under Gaddafi’s leadership. The African Oil Policy Initiative Group (AOPIG) – an elite US think tank comprising congressmen, military officers and energy industry lobbyists – warned in 2002 that the influence of “adversaries such as Libya” would only grow unless the US significantly increased its military presence on the continent. Yet, despite “rapprochement,” Gaddafi remained a staunch opponent of such a presence, as noted with anxiety in frequent diplomatic cables from the US Embassy. One, for example, from 2009, noted that “the presence of non-African military elements in Libya or elsewhere on the continent” was almost a “neuralgic issue” for Gaddafi. Another cable from 2008 quoted a pro-Western Libyan government official as saying that “there will be no real economic or political reform in Libya until al-Gaddafi passes from the political scene” which would “not happen while Gaddafi is alive,” hardly the image of a man bending to the will of the West. Gaddafi had clearly not been moved by the flattery towards Libya (or “appropriate deference” as another US Embassy cable put it) that was much in evidence during the period of “rapprochement.” Indeed, at the Arab League summit in March 2008, he warned the assembled heads of state that, following the execution of Saddam Hussein, a former “close friend” of the US, “in the future, it’s going to be your turn too…Even you, the friends of America – no, I will say we, we the friends of America – America may approve of our hanging one day.”

So much for a new period of trust and co-operation. Whilst business deals were being signed, Gaddafi remained implacably opposed to the US and European military presence on the continent (as well as leading the fight to reduce their economic presence) and understood well that this might cost him his life. The US too understood this, and despite their outward flattery, behind the scenes were worried and resentful.

Thus, the so-called rapprochement period was anything but. The US continued to remain hostile to the independent spirit of Libya – as evidenced most obviously by Gaddafi’s hostility to the presence of US and European military forces in Africa – and it now seems that they and the British used this period to prepare the ground for the war that eventually took place in 2011.

The US, for example, used their newfound access to Libyan officials to cultivate relations with those who would become their key local allies during the war. Leaked diplomatic cables show that pro-Western Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul-Jalil arranged covert meetings between US and Libyan government officials that bypassed the usual official channels and were therefore “under the radar” of the foreign ministry and central government. He was also able to speed up the prisoner release programme that led to the release of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group insurgents who ultimately acted as NATO’s shock troops during the 2011 war. The head of the LIFG – al-Qaeda’s franchise in Libya – eventually became head of Tripoli’s military council, whilst Abdul-Jalil himself became head of the “Transitional National Council,” that was installed by NATO following the fall of the Jamahiriya.

Another key figure groomed by the US in the years preceding the invasion, was Mahmoud Jibril, head of the National Economic Development Board from 2007, who arranged six US training programmes for Libyan diplomats, many of whom subsequently resigned and sided with the US and Britain once the rebellion and invasion got underway.

Finally, the security and intelligence co-operation that was an element of the “rapprochement” period was used to provide the CIA and MI6 with an unprecedented level of information about both Libyan security forces and opposition elements they could cultivate that would prove invaluable for the conduct of the war.

Thus rapprochement, whilst appearing to be an improvement in relations, may actually be a “long game” to lay the groundwork for naked aggression, by building up intelligence and sounding out possible collaborators, effectively building up a fifth column within the state itself. This is what the neo-conservatives in the US Congress opposing Obama’s “thaw” in Iranian relations apparently fail to understand. Thankfully, it is likely that the Iranians understand it perfectly well.

 – Dan Glazebrook is a political writer specialising in Western foreign policy. He is author of Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis.

Source: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/libya-s-lesson-iran-beware-rapprochement-870650788

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

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

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

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

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

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