By Thabo Seseane Jr. 27 March 2015 Protesting South African students escalated their “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign last Friday, when they settled in for the night after storming and occupying the main administration building at the University of Cape Town … Continue reading
By Colin Todhunter Some £600 million in UK aid money courtesy of the taxpayer is helping big business increase its profits in Africa via the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. In return for receiving aid money and corporate … Continue reading
By Bill Van Auken 20 March 2015 The government of President Beij Caid Essebsi has deployed the army in the streets of Tunisia in the wake of Wednesday’s terrorist attack in downtown Tunis that claimed the lives of 23 people, … Continue reading
By Craig Murray March 14, 2015 “ICH” – May 07, 2014 – I have fond memories of Borno state, camping beside my LandRover in the cold, crisp early mornings, steam rising from a cup of tea, then the thermometer climbing … Continue reading
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Sankara Courts to Allow Exhumation of Thomas Sankara Remains. Investigation is needed which would be international in scope By Abayomi Azikiwe Global Research, March 10, 2015 Martyred Burkinabe revolutionary Pan-Africanist and Marxist leader from 1983-1987, Capt. Thomas Sankara, was assassinated … Continue reading
By Alex Lantier 9 March 2015 With Saturday’s execution of an Islamist defendant, the first state killing of the hundreds of people sentenced to death in mass show trials following the July 2013 military coup, the US-backed Egyptian junta is … Continue reading
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U.S. says “targeting authority” in Libya needed to take out ISIS By Kurt Nimmo Global Research, March 03, 2015 Infowars Image: Hillary Clinton with the so-called pro-democracy rebels in Libya during the NATO intervention which overthrew Gaddafi. An anonymous source … Continue reading
By Thabo Seseane Jr. 3 March 2015 In his first full Budget speech since taking office last year, South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) raised the top personal income tax rate by one … Continue reading
By Thabo Seseane Jr. 2 March 2015 In revelations tied to the leaked “Spy Cables” documents being published by Al Jazeera in collaboration with the Guardian, opposition Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier said he was warned off an investigation into … Continue reading
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Training exercises coordinated by the Pentagon take place again on the continent By Abayomi Azikiwe Global Research, February 24, 2015 An escalation in violence in Libya has prompted the call from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for military intervention by … Continue reading
By Dan Glazebrook February 20, 2015 “ICH” – “RT” – Western states are trumpeting ISIS as the latest threat to civilisation, claiming total commitment to their defeat, and using the group’s conquests in Syria and Iraq as a pretext for … Continue reading
By Binoy Kampmark February 19, 2015 “ICH” – If ever there was a brutalised poster boy for the failure of humanitarian intervention, then bloodied, wounded Libya would be it. In 2011, the morally indignant, the ethically charged, and the generally … Continue reading
By Thabo Seseane Jr. 17 February 2015 Having reached the limits of his populist pretenses, Gauteng province Premier David Makhura of the African National Congress has called on motorists to pay the widely hated electronic tolls introduced on the province’s … Continue reading
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“It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century, you just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.” (Secretary of State, John Kerry, “Meet the Press”, 2nd March 2014.) Various professional psychology sites state … Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald February 16, 2015 “ICH” – “The Intercept” – When Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 by U.S. forces, Iraq War advocates boastfully celebrated the event as proof that they were right and used it to mock war … Continue reading
By Thabo Seseane Jr. 7 February 2015 In a long-running faction fight, the Stalinist South African Communist Party (SACP) has accused Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza of the African National Congress (ANC) of instigating violence at an SACP lecture on January … Continue reading
By Thabo Seseane Jr. 3 February 2015 In a mockery of justice, apartheid-era assassin Eugene De Kock, who was serving two life terms plus 212 years for other crimes, has been granted parole by South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha. … Continue reading
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By Mayu Chang Global Research, January 29, 2015 CorpWatch 28 January 2015 Lake Malawi. Photo: bathyporeia. Used under Creative Commons license. Paladin Energy, an Australian mining company, has been accused of discharging uranium-contaminated sludge into Lake Malawi, which supports 1.7 … Continue reading
By Thabo Seseane Jr. 29 January 2015 On Monday, ESKOM, the largest South African power utility, began implementing its second round of “managed” blackouts this year, cutting 2,000 megawatts from its grid because it could not meet demand. Tshediso Matona, … Continue reading
On the fourth anniversary of 2011 uprising By Thomas Gaist 26 January 2015 Egyptian security forces killed at least 18 demonstrators and wounded at least 80 more Sunday as protests rocked Cairo, Giza, Kafr al-Sheikh and Menya. Security forces carried … Continue reading
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By Atheling P Reginald Mavengira Global Research, January 25, 2015 African Renaissance News We have already been regaled with reports provided by Wikileaks which identified the US embassy in Nigeria as a forward operating base for wide and far reaching acts of subversion against Nigeria which include … Continue reading
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The ICTR exists to impose “victor’s justice” upon the Hutu remnants of the vanquished former regime By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson Global Research, January 20, 2015 It is widely recognized by independent analysts and observers of the International … Continue reading
By Johannes Stern 14 January 2015 On Tuesday, Egypt’s high court overturned the last remaining conviction against former dictator Hosni Mubarak, paving the way for his possible release, four years after the mass revolutionary struggles of the Egyptian working class … Continue reading
By Thomas Gaist 12 January 2015 Boko Haram fighters launched a renewed assault on Baga and other towns in Nigeria’s northeast state of Borno last week. The militants shot at civilians indiscriminately and torched entire settlements with gasoline and homemade … Continue reading
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Just prior to the NATO invasion in Libya, an international delegation of medical professionals reported that few nations lived in the comfort that the Libyan people enjoyed. Meanwhile the United Nations was preparing to bestow an award on Colonel Muammar … Continue reading
By Abayomi Azikiwe Global Research, January 01, 2015 In a military operation characteristic of the current phase of United States imperialist intervention in Africa, the Pentagon announced on Dec. 30 that it had killed a leading official of the Al-Shabaab … Continue reading
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Events illustrate the actual character of the present world situation By Abayomi Azikiwe Global Research, December 31, 2014 During the course of 2014 there was much discussion about the phenomenal economic growth of various African nation-states. The Federal Republic of … Continue reading
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US Backed Repression by: Linn Washington Jr. Tinduf, Algeria — News about the historic change of relations between the United States and Cuba triggered cheers across the five Sahrawi refugee camps located near this Sahara Desert city located 1,100-miles southwest … Continue reading
By Thabo Seseane Jr. 30 December 2014 Following an internal probe into a South African Revenue Service (SARS) investigative unit that allegedly acted illegally, the Labour Court has set aside the suspension of Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay. The revenue service … Continue reading
By Kumaran Ira 30 December 2014 Civil war is engulfing Libya, after the NATO-backed puppet regime of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni bombed Libya’s third-largest city, Misrata, on Sunday, in an attempt to prevent Islamist militias from seizing an oil terminal. … Continue reading
By Bill Van Auken 24 December 2014 The Egyptian military dictatorship of Field Marshal-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi boasted last weekend that it had detained nearly 10,000 people over the past 12 months. This grim estimate came as Washington moved to … Continue reading
By Antoine Lerougetel and Alex Lantier
19 December 2014
Béji Caïd Essebsi took first place in the first round of Tunisia’s presidential election on November 23, with 40 percent of the vote. With this vote, based on the disillusionment of Tunisia’s workers and oppressed masses with the Islamist interim government of the Ennahda party, the entourage of toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is bidding to return to power and attempt to fully restore the old regime.
Moncef Marzouki—supported by Ennahda, which did not field a candidate of its own—came second with 33 percent, advancing to the run-off on December 21.
The 88-year-old Essebsi, who served under Ben Ali and the previous dictator Habib Bourguiba, is the favourite to win the run-off on December 28. His Nidaa Tounes party is a coalition of bourgeois counterrevolutionaries, ex-Stalinists and officials of Ben Ali’s disbanded RCD (Democratic Constitutional Rally). These include Mohamed Ghariani, the RCD’s last general secretary, and Raouf Khamassi, a close associate of Sakhr el-Materi, Ben Ali’s son-in-law.
The Popular Front, a coalition of pseudo-left and nationalist parties, ran as all but official supporters of the old Ben Ali establishment, having formed a National Salvation Front together with Nidaa Tounes earlier this year. Its presidential candidate, the Maoist Hamma Hammami, came third with 7.8 percent of the vote.
The first-round result confirms those of the legislative elections on October 26, where, on a 69 percent voter participation, Nida Tounes with 38 percent of the poll won 86 of the legislature’s 217 seats, while Ennahda with 28 percent won 69 seats. Lacking a majority in parliament, Essebsi has not ruled out forming a coalition government with Ennahda or the Popular Front.
The moves to restore the old Ben Ali regime foreshadow explosive confrontations with the main force in the revolutionary overthrow of Ben Ali four years ago, the working class.
Nidaa Tounes’ reactionary programme gives priority to repaying Tunisia’s external debt through cuts in social services and subsidies for staple products, and privatising businesses confiscated from Ben Ali’s business empire. Aware that such an austerity programme will provoke deep opposition in the working class, particularly in mining areas where the 2011 revolution against Bin Ali began, Nidaa Tounes also calls for stepped-up law-and-order measures. Its ultimate goal is to fully rebuild the authority of the Ben Ali regime’s internal intelligence services and police state apparatus.
The coming to power of Nidaa Tounes testifies to the bankruptcy of Tunisian capitalism. It has proven unable to address the aspirations for jobs, democracy, and equality that drove masses of workers and youth into revolutionary struggle against Ben Ali—and triggered the toppling of Hosni Mubarak by the Egyptian working class, a few weeks later.
As the Tunisian uprising began, the WSWS analyzed it as a world-historic turning point in the class struggle, putting the construction of Trotskyist parties and the struggle for socialism and workers power, in Tunisia and internationally, directly on the agenda. In “The mass uprising in Tunisia and the perspective of permanent revolution,” it warned: “The crucial question of revolutionary program and leadership remains unresolved. Without the development of revolutionary leadership, another authoritarian regime will inevitably be installed to replace that of Ben Ali.”
Responsibility for the rising influence of the old Ben Ali establishment lies with the forces that blocked the struggle for socialism and the building of a revolutionary party in the working class. These include the pseudo-left parties in the PF coalition, such as Hammami’s Workers Party (PT) and the Pabloite Left Workers League (LGO), and their collaboration with the General Tunisian Labour Union (UGTT) bureaucracy. A bulwark of the Ben Ali dictatorship and its free-market policies, the UGTT looked on in horror during the 2011 uprising and only issued a symbolic, two-hour strike call as Ben Ali fled Tunisia, in a desperate attempt to cover its tracks.
These counterrevolutionary organisations have tied the working class to a perspective of supporting a series of reactionary bourgeois regimes that emerged after Ben Ali’s ouster. The result is that, four years later, the conditions of the Tunisian masses have worsened, the country is even more deeply in the grip of finance capital and the International Monetary Fund, and the old establishment, suitably refurbished, is poised to return to power.
Initially, the pseudo-left and the UGTT collaborated with the UTICA employers’ organisation and other trade groups in setting up the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) to devise a new bourgeois constitution for Tunisia. Elections to the ANC in October 2011 gave Ennahda the largest group but not an absolute majority. It therefore ruled Tunisia as part of the “Troika,” joining with the Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol, which was internationally affiliated to France’s social-democratic Socialist Party.
With Moncef Marzouki of the CPR as president, the Ennahda government imposed reactionary policies and crushed workers’ protests. With the support of the pseudo-left, it aligned Tunisia on the reactionary wars that Washington and its European allies waged in Libya and Syria, relying on Islamist proxy forces. Ennahda was widely suspected to be the instigator of the murders in February and July 2013 of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, two officials in the Popular Front.
As the political crisis of the Ennahda government sharpened, Hammami and UGTT leader Hacine Abassi held multiple meetings with US, French and European officials. The UGTT formed the Quartet with UTICA, the lawyers’ association, and the Tunisian League of Human Rights, while Nida Tounes and the Popular Front formed the National Salvation Front and engaged in “National Dialogue” with Ennahda. This led to the resignation of the Islamist government and the formation of an interim technocratic government last January.
The red thread running through the various factional manoeuvres and realignments of the pseudo-left was the opposition of the affluent middle class layers they represent to a social revolution against capitalism. These counterrevolutionary manoeuvres have now aligned them directly with the chosen political vehicle of the old Ben Ali establishment.
In his October 14 interview in the French Stalinist daily L’Humanité, Hamma Hammami insisted that the central issue in Tunisia was “doing everything to block the rise of religious fascism” and “the return of the men of the old regime.”
The struggle against all the representatives of the Tunisian bourgeoisie, including both Ennahda and the old Ben Ali regime, is the central issue, and it must be carried out against the PF itself. Hammami’s attempts to distance his party from the other main parties of the Tunisian bourgeoisie reek of bad faith.
Hammami worked with the Islamists and now is allied to the old regime through his joint participation with Nidaa Tounes in the National Salvation Front. He himself recognised that “we were at the origins of the constitution of a front of national salvation, gathering forces from the left all the way to liberal democrats”—that is, Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes.
The rising influence of the old, hated Ben Ali establishment is a devastating verdict on the bankruptcy of such unprincipled pseudo-left manoeuvring. The critical task facing the working class and youth in Tunisia remains the construction of a Trotskyist vanguard party, a section of the ICFI, to rally the deep opposition in the working class to a struggle for political power.
By Niles Williamson
4 December 2014
According to the latest report from the World Health Organization released on Wednesday, the death toll from the ongoing Ebola epidemic has officially surpassed 6,000, with more than 17,145 reported cases of infection. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Spain and the United States have had person-to-person transmissions of the disease. Now entering its second year, the ongoing epidemic is the deadliest and most widespread outbreak of the Ebola virus on record.
Accounting for more than 99 percent of infections and deaths, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia continue to be the epicenter of the epidemic. While the number of newly reported cases has fallen significantly in Liberia and Guinea, with fewer than 600 new cases reported in the two countries combined in the last three weeks, the situation continues to be quite acute in Sierra Leone, where more than 1,400 new cases were reported in the same time period.
The economies of the three already deeply impoverished sub-Saharan countries have been seriously crippled by the effects of the Ebola crisis. Prior to the Ebola outbreak, the three countries had been experiencing relatively high GDP growth rates and the trend was expected to continue.
On Tuesday, the World Bank significantly revised downward projected GDP growth rates for 2014. The World Bank projects that the 2014 growth rate in Liberia will be 2.2 percent, down from a pre-epidemic projection of 5.9 percent; in Sierra Leone the growth rate is expected to be 4 percent compared to a pre-epidemic projection of 11.3 percent; while in Guinea the growth rate is expected to be 0.5 percent, down from a pre-epidemic projection of 4.5 percent.
As a result of the epidemic and ensuing crisis, it is projected that the economies of Sierra Leone and Guinea will shrink significantly next year (-2 percent and -.2 percent), while Liberia’s economy will only grow by two percent, half the rate projected prior to the Ebola crisis.
The World Bank estimates that declining revenues and increased spending resulting from the Ebola crisis have cost the three governments combined more than half a billion dollars in 2014. If the epidemic continues for another year, the World Bank projects a total fiscal impact on the West African region of anywhere between $3.8 billion and $32.6 billion, depending on the severity.
The response of the great powers to the outbreak has been wholly inadequate and driven entirely by geopolitical considerations. In the guise of building emergency testing and treatment facilities, the Obama administration dispatched several thousand soldiers to Liberia, exploiting the crisis as a means of gaining a military foothold on the African continent.
While foreign troops have been deployed to construct Ebola treatment centers, the responsibility for staffing these facilities has been left to an ad hoc grouping of NGOs, missionaries and local workers. The underfunded and corrupt national governments in West Africa are relying on NGOs such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF—Doctors Without Borders), which has provided volunteer doctors and nurses and employs thousands of local workers to undertake much of the most hazardous work, such as handling and burying the dead.
MSF released a statement on Tuesday in which it condemned the limited response to the crisis in West Africa by Western governments as “slow and uneven.” Dr. Joanne Liu, international director of MSF, criticized the decision to leave much of the direct response up to volunteers and untrained local workers. “It is extremely disappointing that states with biological-disaster response capacities have chosen not to utilize them,” she said. “How is it that the international community has left the response to Ebola—now a transnational threat—to doctors, nurses and charity workers?”
Working conditions for doctors, nurses, as well as other workers, are physically and mentally taxing and the risk of transmission of Ebola from patients to health care workers is high. Through the end of November a total of 622 health care workers have been infected with Ebola, and of these, 346 have died.
On November 25, burial workers in the city of Kenema in southeastern Sierra Leone went on strike and dumped 15 bodies around the local hospital in protest against the nonpayment of two months’ extra risk payments promised by the government. Earlier in the month, 400 health care workers at an Ebola treatment center in Bandajuma in eastern Sierra Leone went on strike over the same issue.
While the Ebola crisis continues to rage in West Africa still largely out of control, the issue has been all but been dropped by the American political establishment and US media coverage has largely disappeared in the wake of November’s midterm elections.
No new cases of Ebola either contracted overseas or transmitted in the United States have been reported since the end of October. The media frenzy over the transmission of Ebola to several nurses in Texas and an attempt to enforce a quarantine on an asymptomatic nurse, who had returned from treating Ebola victims in Africa, were driven by political calculations by both the Democrats and Republicans prior to the elections. Meanwhile, the approval by Congress of a proposed $6.3 billion in emergency funding for combating the Ebola virus remains in doubt.
By Glenn Greenwald
December 03, 2014 “ICH” – “The Intercept” – Ever since then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led a coup against the country’s elected president, Mohamed Morsi, the coup regime has become increasingly repressive, brutal and lawless. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, the Obama administration has become increasingly supportive of the despot in Cairo, plying his regime with massive amounts of money and weapons and praising him (in the words of John Kerry) for “restoring democracy.” Following recent meetings with Sisi by Bill and Hillary Clinton (pictured above), and then Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, Obama himself met with the dictator in late September and “touted the longstanding relationship between the United States and Egypt as a cornerstone of American security policy in the Middle East.”
All of this occurs even as, in the words of a June report from Human Rights Watch, the Sisi era has included the “worst incident of mass unlawful killings in Egypt’s recent history” and “judicial authorities have handed down unprecedented large-scale death sentences and security forces have carried out mass arrests and torture that harken back to the darkest days of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.” The New York Times editorialized last month that “Egypt today is in many ways more repressive than it was during the darkest periods of the reign of deposed strongman Hosni Mubarak.”
As heinous as it has been, the Sisi record has worsened considerably in the last week. On Friday, an Egyptian court dismissed all charges against the previous U.S.-supported Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak stemming from the murder of 239 democracy protesters in 2011. The ruling also cleared his interior minister and six other aides. It also cleared him and his two sons of corruption charges, while upholding a corruption charge that will almost certainly entail no further prison time. The ruling wasbased on a mix of conspiracy theories and hyper-technical and highly dubious legal findings.
But while Mubarak and his cronies are immunized for their savage crimes, 188 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who participated in anti-Sisi protests that led to the deaths of 11 police officers, were handed death sentences today en masse. As the New York Times notes, it was “the third such mass sentencing in less than a year,” and was handed down despite “no effort to prove that any individual defendant personally killed any of the officers; that more than 100 of the defendants were not allowed to have lawyers; and that scores of defense witnesses were excluded from the courtroom.” The judge ordering these mass executions was the same cretinous judicial officer who, over the summer, sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to seven to ten years in prison.
The implications are obvious. Reuters today reports that the Mubarak acquittal is widely seen as the final proof of the full return of the Mubarak era, as the crushing of the 2011 revolution. Political Science Professor As’ad AbuKhalil argues, convincingly, that re-imposing dictatorial rule in Egypt to mercilessly crush the Muslim Brotherhood is what the U.S., Israel and the Saudi-led Gulf monarchs have craved since the unrest in 2011. With the Gulf monarch’s rift with Brotherhood-supporting Qatar now resolved, all relevant powers are united behind full restoration of the tyranny that controlled Egypt for decades.
Beyond the political meaning, the two starkly different judicial rulings demonstrate that judicial independence in Egypt is a farce, that courts are blatantly used for political ends to serve the interests of the regime, harshly punishing its political opponents and protecting its allies:
Rights advocates argued that the juxtaposition — hyper-scrupulousness in the case of the former president, a rush to the gallows for the Islamist defendants — captured the systematic bias of the Egyptian courts.
“It is just one more piece of evidence that the judiciary is just a political tool the government uses to prosecute its enemies and free the people it wants to be freed,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director of the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch.
In one sense, it would be nice for the U.S. Government to condemn all of this, and even better if they cut off support for the regime as punishment. But in another, more meaningful sense, such denunciation would be ludicrous, given what enthusiastic practitioners U.S. officials are of similar methods.
Fully protecting high-level lawbreakers – even including torturers and war criminals – is an Obama specialty, a vital aspect of his legacy. A two-tiered justice system – where the most powerful financial and political criminals are fully shielded while ordinary crimes are punished with repugnant harshness – is the very definition of the American judicial process, which imprisons more of its ordinary citizens than any other country in the world, even as it fully immunizes its most powerful actors for far more egregious crimes.
Indeed, in justifying his refusal to condemn the dropping of charges against Mubarak, Sisi seemed to take a page from Obama’s own rhetorical playbook. Egypt must “look to the future” and “cannot ever go back,” he said when cynically invoking judicial independence as his reason for not condemning the pro-Mubarak ruling. The parallels to Obama’s own justifications for not prosecuting U.S. torturers and other war criminals – “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards” – are self-evident.
It may be true that U.S. courts don’t simultaneously sentence hundreds of political protesters to die en masse, but the U.S. government is in no position to lecture anyone on the indiscriminate and criminal use of violence for political ends. As of today, Obama officials can officially celebrate the War on Terror’s 500th targeted killing far from any battlefield (450 of which occurred under Obama), strikes which have killed an estimated 3,674 people. As CFR’s Micah Zenko put it, “it is easy to forget that this tactic, envisioned to be rare and used exclusively for senior al-Qaeda leaders thirteen years ago, has become a completely accepted and routine foreign policy activity.”
Condemnation of Egyptian tyranny has always been an uncomfortable matter for U.S. officials given how they long used Mubarak’s favorite torturers to extract information from detainees in their custody. Indeed, once Mubarak’s downfall became inevitable, the Obama administration worked to ensure that his replacement would be the CIA’s long-time torturing and rendition partner, close Mubarak ally Omar Suleiman. And, just by the way, the U.S. also imprisoned an Al Jazeera journalist – in Guantanamo – for seven years until casually letting him go as though nothing had happened.
It seemed like just yesterday that American media outlets were pretending to be on the side of the Tahrir Square demonstrates, all while suppressing the unpleasant fact that the dictator against which they were marching was one of the U.S. government’s longest and closest allies, a murderous tyrant about whom Hillary Clinton said: “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.” It’s an extraordinary feat of propaganda that all of that has been washed away – again – and the U.S. is right back to acting as stalwart ally to a repressive and incredibly violent dictator sitting in Cairo doing its bidding.
Photos: Clintons with Sisi: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
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By Kumaran Ira
3 December 2014
In his first trip to Europe, beginning last week in Rome, Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stopped in Paris on November 26-27, holding talks with Socialist Party (PS) President François Hollande, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, top officials including the speakers of both houses of parliament, and French business leaders.
The French and Italian governments hailed Sisi, who slaughtered thousands of protesters on the streets of Cairo during his July 2013 coup against Muslim Brotherhood (MB) President Mohamed Mursi, as a strategic partner. It was an explicit green light from European imperialist powers for Sisi to continue using mass killings to terrorize political opposition in Egypt and delay a renewed revolutionary upsurge in the working class.
Sisi’s trip to Paris came as tens of thousands of political prisoners and their families mounted a hunger strike against the Egyptian junta, and steel workers struck for back pay. The Sisi junta has killed over 1,400 people and jailed over 15,000. Sisi has banned the MB and sentenced over 500 of its members to death in mass show trials, while imposing austerity measures on the working class including massive fuel price increases.
The Hollande administration made clear that it supported the policies of Egypt’s Pinochet. Before Sisi’s visit, an anonymous source close to Hollande told the press: “Yes, we consider Sisi to be legitimate. But there’s a lot to talk about.”
Initial reports claimed that Hollande would address issues of democratic rights while meeting Sisi on November 26. The Reporters Without Borders NGO sent a letter to Hollande, asking him to raise the “crackdown in a shocking manner on journalists in the name of combating terrorism.”
None of these issues were discussed, however, when Hollande warmly received Sisi at the Elysée Presidential palace, focusing on economic and military cooperation. After talks with Sisi, Hollande praised Egypt as a “great country and a big partner for France.”
“We hope that this process, this process of democratic transition will continue, respecting the road map that will fully allow for the success of Egypt,” Hollande said at a joint news conference.
Hollande’s cynical remarks came as Alexandria courts handed jail sentences of two to five years to a group of juveniles, aged 13 to 17, for belonging to “an outlawed group,” after they participated in protests called by the Muslim Brotherhood calling for the fall of the Sisi junta.
The talks also dealt with economy, military and security cooperation. Al-Sisi said his talks with Hollande were “fruitful” and reflected a common consensus between Paris and Cairo on bilateral, regional and international relations.
Hollande revealed that he had signed economic agreements worth hundreds of millions in Egypt, including a €700 million Suez Canal deal and the refurbishing of Cairo’s subway system. On the second day of his trip, the Egyptian delegation met top French business officials.
Despite its cynical efforts to somewhat distance itself from the crimes of the Sisi junta, Paris is continuing to arm the bloodstained Egyptian military to the teeth. French shipbuilder DCNS has signed a €1 billion contract to furnish four corvettes to the Egyptian Navy. The two countries are also discussing the renewal of Egypt’s stock of French-built Mirage 2000 fighter jets.
“This deal opens doors because it is prompting enormous interest in the Gulf countries,” a French government source added.
Sisi and Hollande also discussed cooperating in the “war on terror,” with Hollande insisting, “We have to act together to fight terrorism.”
“Egypt is a country affected by terrorism, both in the past and in the present, and particularly in the Sinai Peninsula,” Hollande said. “In southern Libya terrorists are taking root, which would threaten and already threatens the entire region. We have all the proof.”
Hollande’s bogus claims to be waging a “war on terror” are a fraudulent pretext for aggressively advancing French imperialist interests in the Middle East and Africa, where it is fighting a war in Mali and threatening to mount a renewed invasion of Libya.
The bloody chaos and the growth of Islamist terrorism in Libya is a direct product of NATO’s bloody military intervention in 2011, after mass working class uprisings toppled pro-imperialist regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. The NATO powers, prominently including France, bombed Libya and recklessly armed Islamist opposition militias in order to oust Gaddafi and pillage Libya’s oil and financial wealth.
The goal of these wars, like that of Sisi’s coup itself, is to terrorize and intimidate the working class, in a region where workers have already toppled two bloody dictators. Hollande’s reference to the terrorist threat in the poverty-stricken Sinai Peninsula—which has seen a reign of terror unleashed by the Sisi regime junta, imposing martial law, arbitrary arrests, forced eviction of thousands of people after demolishing their homes
Hollande and al-Sisi claimed that they agreed on the need to establish a peace process between Palestine and Israel, after both governments backed the Israeli assault on Gaza that took the lives of thousands of Palestinians during the summer. The PS took the unusual move of banning outright protests against the Gaza war.
Hollande cynically declared, “We must set out again to demonstrate the necessity of negotiations to seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” In fact, this fraudulent “peace plan” aims to maintain the subjugation of Palestinian territory to the dictates of Israel and its imperialist allies, while dividing the Arab and Jewish working class along ethnic lines.
On November 27, al-Sisi visited the French National Assembly, surrounded by an honor guard, where he met with PS legislators including its majority leader Claude Bartolone, who hailed Sisi’s pro-business reforms against the Egyptian working class.
The National Assembly voted 339 to 151 to approve a resolution recognising the Palestinian state yesterday. The Senate is due to vote on the resolution on December 11.
1 December 2014
The acquittal Saturday of deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on charges of corruption and state murder is a statement by the regime of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that it intends to carry through the counterrevolution and make the restoration of military dictatorship permanent.
The whitewashing of Mubarak’s role in the killing of 846 people and wounding of 6,000 by police snipers and thugs during the revolutionary upsurge that toppled him in 2011 is part of the drive by the bourgeoisie and its supporters in the upper-middle class to crush the resistance of the Egyptian working class. “It is very common to find [news] anchors openly saying that 25 January was a ‘conspiracy that the West plotted,’” one foreign diplomat in Cairo told Al Ahram. Another said that officials of Egypt’s political parties now believe “Mubarak was a good man who made a few mistakes.”
Outside Tahrir Square, which security forces sealed before the verdict was announced, police attacked a protest of several thousand people with water cannon and live ammunition, killing two and wounding nine.
Like all great revolutionary upheavals, the Egyptian revolution has passed through definite stages. The revolution began with a massive upsurge of the working class against the Mubarak dictatorship, a key instrument of US imperialism and Israeli policy in the Middle East. In Egypt as in previous revolutions, the bourgeoisie responded in the initial stages by seeking to adapt itself to the mass movement, buying time and reorganizing its forces while it prepared the counter-offensive.
At this stage, democratic slogans generally prevail, and so it was in the initial days after the upsurge that began in Egypt on January 25, 2011. The Egyptian ruling class and its sponsors in Washington sought to keep Mubarak in power, vaguely promising democratic reforms. When bloody repression failed to crush the mass upsurge, in which the working class began to emerge as the major social force, US imperialism and the Egyptian bourgeoisie reluctantly removed Mubarak and installed a new, supposedly more “democratic,” military regime in the form of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
The liberal bourgeoisie, represented by figures such as Mohamed El-Baradei, backed the new regime. It was joined by petty-bourgeois organizations such as the Revolutionary Socialists, who rallied behind the new military rulers and even vouched for their “democratic” intentions.
But this initial tactical shift failed to put an end to the revolutionary upsurge. The ruling class and Washington turned to the Muslim Brotherhood and engineered the coming to power as president of its candidate Mohamed Mursi. The Revolutionary Socialists and similar organizations of the privileged middle classes now came behind the Muslim Brotherhood, promoting its accession to power as a “victory” for the revolution.
The right-wing policies of the bourgeois Islamist regime only fueled the anger of the working class. In 2013, the Egyptian proletariat waged a stormy offensive against Mursi. While 2011 had seen over 1,000 strikes and protests, five times more than in the years before the revolution, the first half of 2013 alone saw 5,500.
The ruling class reacted by exploiting the political confusion of the masses, in the absence of a revolutionary Marxist leadership, to prepare a counterrevolutionary strike in the guise of a popular uprising against Mursi. Groups such as the Revolutionary Socialists, petrified by the mounting wave of working class struggles, played a critical role in promoting the military-backed Tamarod (“Rebel”) movement, which called for the military to remove Mursi from power.
The Revolutionary Socialists and other supposedly “left” groups that initially opposed Mubarak joined the liberals in supporting the July 3, 2013 coup led by al-Sisi, who proceeded to massacre thousands of anti-coup protesters in the streets, arrest tens of thousands more, and impose sweeping energy price hikes on the working class.
The acquittal of Mubarak is the outcome of this counterrevolutionary offensive, the aim of which is to restore military rule, utilizing if anything even more brutal methods than under Mubarak.
Once again, the counterrevolutionary role of the bourgeoisie, in the former colonial countries no less than in the imperialist centers, has been demonstrated. So has the impossibility of realizing the democratic aspirations of the masses outside of a revolutionary struggle under the leadership of the working class against all factions of the bourgeoisie on the basis of a program for workers’ power and socialism, and an international strategy linking the revolution in any one country to the world socialist revolution.
Inevitably in the course of a revolution, whatever the initial democratic pretensions of the bourgeoisie, the problems that drove the masses into struggle come to the fore. They seek to gain something from the struggles they have waged, while the opposition of the ruling elites to all such demands acquires an ever more vicious form. To the extent that the masses have not worked through the political challenges facing the revolution, social reaction gains strength and reconquers the positions it had lost.
The bitter experience to date of the Egyptian revolution has brought to the fore the most critical problem facing the working class not only in Egypt, but internationally—the crisis of revolutionary leadership.
Even the most enormous upsurge of the oppressed masses cannot by itself secure the basic demands and interests of the working class. The ruling classes and their agents—such as the pseudo-left organizations of the privileged middle class—are able to take advantage of the political confusion in the working class that is the result of the historic betrayals carried out by its old bureaucratic leaderships—Stalinist, social democratic, trade union.
A revolutionary party with deep roots in the working class must be built to direct the mass struggles to the conquest of power and the expropriation of the bourgeoise.
The International Committee of the Fourth International understood this very well and warned from the earliest days of the Egyptian revolution of the necessity for an independent perspective and organization of the working class. In a Perspective column published February 10, 2011 on the World Socialist Web Site, we wrote:
“The revolutionary Marxists must counsel workers against all illusions that their democratic aspirations can be achieved under the aegis of bourgeois parties. They must expose ruthlessly the false promises of the political representatives of the capitalist class. They must encourage the creation of independent organs of workers’ power which can become, as the political struggle intensifies, the basis for the transfer of power to the working class. They must explain that the realization of the workers’ essential democratic demands is inseparable from the implementation of socialist policies.
“Above all, revolutionary Marxists must raise the political horizons of Egyptian workers beyond the borders of their own country. They must explain that the struggles that are now unfolding in Egypt are inextricably linked to an emerging global process of world socialist revolution, and that the victory of the revolution in Egypt requires not a national, but an international strategy… In this global struggle, the greatest and indispensable ally of the Egyptian masses is the international working class.”
These lines have been absolutely vindicated. The bitter experience of the Egyptian revolution must become the impetus to undertake the struggle to build the necessary revolutionary leadership in the working class. The decisive question facing the working class in Egypt and in every country is the construction of sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Cairo on Friday calling for ouster of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The rally turned violent after security forces opened fire on the protesters in the district of Matrya in eastern Cairo, witnesses say.
Ahead of the protests, Egyptian police arrested more than 100 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members on suspicion of planning violent rallies after Friday Prayers.
Meanwhile, government officials say two senior Egyptian army officers were killed and two others wounded during an attack by unidentified assailants in Cairo on Friday.
Egyptian security forces have already been deployed to key spots around the country.
Earlier, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim warned that security forces will use all means to counter what he called incitements.
Ibrahim added that soldiers have been authorized to use lethal force to counter any assault against public property.
The Egyptian government has so far jailed more than 15,000 supporters of the former president, Mohamed Morsi, ever since the army toppled him in July 2013.
Morsi still awaits several trials which, if found guilty, may carry the death penalty.
Human rights groups say about 1,400 people have been killed, 22,000 arrested, and some 200 people handed death sentences in the turmoil since Morsi’s ouster, which was led by the current president and former head of the armed forces, el-Sisi.
By Antoine Lerougetel and Alex Lantier
20 November 2014
On November 15, Burkina Faso’s army, in consultation with the pro-imperialist bourgeois “opposition,” chose Michel Kafando, 72, as transitional president of the former French colony, pending elections in 12 months.
Then, yesterday, Kafando named junta leader Colonel Isaac Zida prime minister. Zida threatened that opposition to “the transitional process will be repressed with vigour and firmness.”
“The prime minister is the country’s new strongman, especially as he is the one who will name the incoming government,” a diplomat told Le Figaro yesterday. The paper also cited Guy Hervé Kam, a leader of the Citizens’ Broom opposition movement that helped call protests against President Blaise Compaoré at the end of last month.
Kam said, “We knew that Michel Kafando was the army’s candidate. Then the army obtained the prime minister’s post. One can suppose this was all planned in advance. It’s a disappointment.”
Zida is now setting about consolidating his position inside the ruling elite, while simultaneously trying to make populist appeals to anger over the deposed president. He has cancelled the diplomatic passports of 20 Compaoré supporters and fired a number of Compaoré supporters who occupied top positions in national oil and electricity firms.
The naming of Zida testifies to the political bankruptcy of the petty-bourgeois forces that called protests against Compaoré last month. They hoped to block his bid to modify the constitution to allow him to have a fifth presidential term, and thus ensure that they themselves would soon boost their influence in the state. However, they were stunned and dismayed by the eruption of mass protests on October 28, threatening the entire regime in which they wanted to find a place. Now, they are lining up behind the installation of a new military regime in Ouagadougou.
The Burkinabé army has long been a proxy force helping French imperialism dominate the region, at present operating alongside French troops in Mali. It deposed Compaoré to head off the protests, and Compaoré was airlifted by the French army to Ivory Coast; he is now a guest of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, a staunch ally of Paris.
Paris itself applauded the installation of the new junta in Ouagadougou. French Ambassador Gilles Thibault congratulated Zida on behalf of President François Hollande of the Socialist Party (PS), declaring: “France will remain at Burkina Faso’s side, as it has long done.”
Given France’s bloody history in Burkina Faso, this is a chilling threat. According to a 2011 profile in the D é p ê che Diplomatique, Kafando supported the right-wing coup on May 17, 1983, backed by then-French President François Mitterrand, also of the PS, based on his anti-Communist and free-market views. He also backed Compaoré’s 1987 coup to murder Castroite President Thomas Sankara and adopt policies demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He then served as Compaoré’s ambassador to the UN from 1998 to 2011.
The bourgeois “opposition” is complicit in Zida’s re-establishing of a military regime in Ouagadougou. They all took seats on the Designating College that selected Kafando, which was made up of 23 representatives of the army, the official “opposition” parties, religious and tribal bodies, and of various non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
This event exposes the reactionary character not only of France’s PS government, but of pseudo-left parties like the New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA), who hailed Compaoré’s ouster as a “popular victory” of the bourgeois “opposition” in the October 28 uprising. Covering their position with cynical praise of the uprising, they themselves helped the opposition stabilize the Ouagadougou junta. (See: France’s pseudo-left NPA backs restoration of law and order in Burkina Faso)
All these forces have signaled their role as tools of French imperialism and bitter enemies of the working class.
Zéphirin Diabré—a former executive of French nuclear energy firm Areva and head of the Leadership of the Opposition grouping—acted in concert with Hollande’s call for Compaoré not to seek to extend his presidency. When the mass uprising broke out on October 28, he praised the army as an “ally of the people,” giving it political cover as it carried out a coup and established a dictatorship.
The forces which claimed the mantle of Thomas Sankara proved to be no alternative for the workers and oppressed masses of Burkina Faso. “Sankarist” General Kwamé Lougué, who enjoyed some support among the protesters, stressed that he remained fully in the camp of the army. After briefly appearing to be vying for the army’s choice of interim president and being warned off by Zida, he has been sent to France by the army in a wheelchair with a broken leg “for treatment.”
The Observateur Paalga asks: “Under what circumstances did this general, so hailed by crowds during the revolution, break his leg? Observateur Paalga is not in a position to explain this to his reader, as the officers who accompanied the press to General Lougué’s residence did not allow it to do its job.”
The petty bourgeois Citizens’ Broom, ostensibly run by two singers Smockey and Sams’ K Le Jah, who billed themselves as an independent, democratic opposition to Compaoré, collaborated closely with Zida and the coup. In an interview with faso.net, Smockey covered up for the army’s role and its killing of several protesters: “The army succeeded in its role of protecting the citizens. … A large part of the army went over wholeheartedly to the side of the people.”
He defended Citizens’ Broom’s collaboration with the army. “We were negotiating with all the officers, and not just with Zida,” he said, adding that the situation called for “negotiating and passing power to the army temporarily in order to stabilize the security situation.”
Smockey bluntly admitted that when news came of Compaoré’s resignation, “We said that it was the army’s role to inform the people of that, since it said it was for the people. … We stayed on its side, and it was this position that led people to accuse us of selling out the struggle.”
By Thabo Seseane Jr.
17 November 2014
Ellerines, the furniture retail unit of collapsed African Bank Investments Limited (ABIL), may close before the end of January, threatening 8,000 jobs. This follows the failure of a rescue process to sell all the Ellerines store brands and raise capital to pay creditors.
Of its six store brands, Ellerines has thus far sold Dial-A-Bed to competitor Coricraft for R200 million. On October 31, Lewis Group agreed to take over the Beares brand for R40 million with only unviable offers received for the other four.
All told, the retailers under the Ellerines umbrella represented 940 outlets and thousands of employees. The future of these workers and their dependents has now been thrown into uncertainty by the restructuring of ABIL and Ellerines.
ABIL, through its subsidiary, African Bank, South Africa’s largest provider of unsecured credit to low-income clients, bought Ellerines in 2008 for a hefty R9.2 billion (US$830 million). The purchase came at a time when elsewhere, stock valuations were being revised downward amid the unfolding global credit crisis. Sales suffered and at one point ABIL had to fund Ellerines at the rate of R70 million a month to stave off its collapse.
ABIL was not licensed by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to accept deposits. Its funding model relied on bonds issued to foreign and local creditors who financed its high-risk, high-margin lending to South Africa’s poorest consumers.
Ellerines embraced the buyout as an opportunity to expand sales by relying on credit purchases backed by ABIL. The bank and its chief executive, Leon Kirkinis, posed as enlightened capitalists. In the eyes of functionaries of the African National Congress (ANC) government, they were bringing credit to and enhancing the joys of home ownership for a segment of society traditionally ignored by the larger, deposit-taking institutions.
The operations of the Lewis Group are typical of the sector. Business Timesreported that the “practices … were truly scary. [A] forklift driver who earned R2,100 a month was sold goods for R3,109 (which worked out to R8,976 over 24 [payments] at R374 a month). The Lewis clerk who did the ‘affordability assessment’ reckoned the forklift driver needed only R99 a month in ‘minimum living expenses’ to survive.”
The prolonged recent strike by 70,000 platinum miners—a core market of the Lewis Group—had a negative impact on the group’s financial results. Amid stagnant wage increases and rising unemployment, interest rates and food prices, Lewis had to write off R570 million in bad debts in the year to March. This compares to bad debts of R418 million the year before.
Lewis is nevertheless in a far healthier state than ABIL, whose CEO Leon Kirkinis repeatedly offered to resign as a turnaround plan (including the sale of Ellerines) failed to gain traction. Kirkinis’s departure became final on August 6. In morning trade that day on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE), ABIL’s market capitalisation declined from R12 billion to R4.6 billion amid panic selling of the stock by investors.
In an update for the quarter to end-June, ABIL had announced an anticipated annual loss of R7.6 billion compared to a loss of R4.2 billion the previous full year. Business Day reported, “The group said it needed to raise more capital—at least R8.5 billion—to remain solvent after coming to the market for R5.5 billion at the end of last year.”
JSE trading of the stock was suspended. The SARB announced that ABIL would receive a R10 billion capital injection to help protect creditors, and put the bank under curatorship. It has been split into a “good” bank with performing loans, and a “bad” bank comprising nonperforming loans.
All four of South Africa’s big banks—ABSA, FirstRand, Nedbank and Standard Bank—underwrote the SARB infusion together with smaller lender Capitec and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages investments for the Government Employees Pension Fund.
African Bank had bad loans of R17 billion when it failed. The SARB bought the book for R7 billion. The PIC, a 12 percent shareholder in ABIL, has lost a potential R4 billion, but is set to invest a further R5 billion when the “good” bank floats on the JSE early in 2015. This brings total government exposure to ABIL to R16 billion.
Moody’s Investors Service downgraded not only African Bank but also competitor Capitec, prompting a 5 percent decline in the price of Capitec shares. The ratings agency cited the 10 percent “haircut” that the SARB was imposing on bondholders in ABIL’s rescue. Another reason, Moody’s said, was the likelihood that the central bank would lack the wherewithal to rescue Capitec, should the lender (which shares 40 percent of ABIL’s low-income market) face headwinds in future.
Rather impotently, the leaders of South African banks and their regulators closed ranks against Moody’s. “Capitec follows a very conservative approach to risk and prudent provisioning practices,” the SARB argued in a statement on its web site. It invited Moody’s to compare the 10 percent loss to be imposed on bondholders to the 40 percent discount that applied to ABIL debt at the height of the crisis.
Unmoved, Moody’s cut the local-currency deposit ratings of the big four South African banks and is keeping them on review. FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana accused Moody’s of incorrectly using ABIL as a proxy for all other South African banks. “This seems to be behind the curve. It’s completely overplayed,” Nxasana complained. “[Unsecured lending] is the least of [FirstRand’s] issues.”
Yet the SARB itself warned that unsecured lending among six of the country’s largest banks increased 2.3 percent to R490 billion in the six months to June from the year-earlier period. The central bank stated in October, “A sudden and sharp correction in equity markets could expose vulnerabilities that could have certain significant … effects on the financial system.”
The effects of the last sudden and sharp correction in equity markets are still playing themselves out at Ellerines. Nearly half of Ellerines’ outstanding R1.3 billion debt is owed to major lenders like FirstRand, which has submitted a claim for some R200 million. Business Day notes, “The debt reflects the extent to which African Bank’s failure … has rippled across corporate South Africa.”
Whatever the final outcome of the business rescue process to which Ellerines has submitted, global financial capital will seek to make workers, not bondholders, carry the cost. For this, the imperialists in New York, Frankfurt and London have had to focus the minds of their junior partners in Johannesburg by collectively punishing them with higher interest rates on financial markets since the failure of ABIL. As a conscious agent of the global financial elite, Moody’s has warned that having downgraded African Bank’s global senior debt and deposit ratings from Caa2 to Ba1, it would have no trouble downgrading it further into “junk” territory if bondholders’ losses exceed the SARB’s promised amount of 10 percent.
By Thabo Seseane Jr.
13 November 2014
Disgraced former South African Police Commissioner Bheki Cele has mounted publicity stunts calculated to boost his popularity with a public grieving over the shooting death of national soccer team captain Senzo Meyiwa on October 26.
Meyiwa died shortly after being shot by robbers in the home of his girlfriend’s mother, in Vosloorus township in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg.
Police have questioned 13 people. One, Zanokuhle Mbatha, was remanded in custody and was to appear in court on November 11 on murder and robbery charges despite his corroborated alibi. He was released for lack of evidence.
At Meyiwa’s memorial service, Cele entered Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium to loud cheers. “South Africa has lost a son and lost a captain,” he intoned. “I think South Africans as a whole, not only the state agencies, but everybody, must rise against this criminality and say ‘enough is enough’.”
On November 4, Cele was again met by cheering supporters on arrival at the Vosloorus Civic Centre for a meeting “to discuss crime”, according to City Press. In the company of Ekurhuleni Mayor Mondli Gungubele, African National Congress (ANC) Ekurhuleni Chairperson Mzwandile Masina and Gauteng ANC Youth League Chairperson Matome Chiloane, Cele said criminals should have no peace. “Criminals should fear communities,” he stressed. “We cannot have cats fearing mice. Criminals are mice and the communities are the cats.”
In President Jacob Zuma’s first administration, Cele served as police commissioner from 2009 to 2011. The appointment was his reward for having joined forces with the anti-Thabo Mbeki, bloc which saw Zuma capture the ANC presidency in 2007.
Under Cele, the ranks of the South African Police Service (SAPS) were again militarised, as they had been during the white supremacist Apartheid regime. Superintendents again became warrant officers, while the commissioner styled himself a general.
Cele called for greater use of force by police members at a time of escalating crime. He said that Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act should be changed, allowing police to “shoot to kill.”
The act already allowed police officers and citizens to use deadly force if there were reasonable grounds for it. However, Cele claimed that police members spent more time weighing up whether a situation called for deadly force or not, when they should rather “shoot first” and “aim for the head.”
He subsequently denied having said this, claiming to have advocated use of deadly force by police only under specific circumstances. Still, he had by then won the adulation of some of the most reactionary elements of society.
Cele originally disseminated his philosophy of policing while serving as KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet member for community safety. In the 2008-09 fiscal year, KwaZulu-Natal had 258 deaths in police custody. This was more than any other province and an increase of 83 over the previous 12-month period. “In response to these figures,” the Weekend Argus reported, “Cele … wanted to know whether this included suicides, natural deaths and people collected by police after being assaulted.”
Among the more harrowing tales is that of Mido Macia. Taxi driver Macia got into an altercation with members of the SAPS in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni for having stopped in a no-parking zone. Police handcuffed him to the back of their van, dragged him along the road to the police station and threw him into the holding cells where he died.
During an April 13, 2011 march on the Setsoto municipal offices in Ficksburg, Orange Free State, teacher and journalist Andries Tatane tried to block a police water cannon. A policeman grabbed him around the arm. Tatane pulled his arm away and then approached the officer, at which point the policeman assaulted him with a baton. Four or five other officers joined in the attack, kicking and beating Tatane with batons. He was shot twice in the chest and died on the scene 20 minutes later.
The Marikana massacre of August 16, 2012, came only months after Cele was fired for corruption from the leadership of the police. This was the most lethal use of force by police against civilians since the Sharpeville killings of 1960.
Many victims—striking miners from Lonmin’s Karee mine—were shot in the back. Of the 34 deaths in total, some fatalities occurred far from police lines. This indicates that the security forces had conducted a “search and destroy” operation after they fired on the main body of strikers. Police sought out and executed civilians who had fled the initial attack, concealed themselves and posed no threat whatsoever.
The Marikana Commission of Inquiry set up by Zuma is at the end of its evidence-gathering and must submit a report by March. George Bizos, SC, for the Legal Resources Centre, has warned that it must not be used to exonerate police, like so many other commissions of inquiry during Afrikaner minority rule. “It would be completely unacceptable to the people of South Africa … if the police are said [to be] not to blame for anything,” Bizos said.
Yet there are already signs the commission is a whitewash. The two commissioners besides retired judge Ian Farlam, Pingla Devi Hemraj, SC, and Bantubonke Tokota, SC, according to the Daily Maverick, have asked questions of witnesses that seek to deflect blame from the SAPS.
The growing militarisation of the police starkly exposes the class nature of the ANC government. If it once again looks like the police have become a legally-protected tool for the repression of citizens, this is because, though apartheid has ended, capitalist rule is alive and well, courtesy of the ANC government.
The ANC’s bourgeois and petty bourgeois leadership never had any intention of challenging the economic system underpinning apartheid, above all the concentration of enormous ill-gotten wealth in the hands of white capitalists. They merely wanted to share in the fruits of the exploitation of the working class. Such brutality as the police perpetrate today is a way of terrorising the poor, the usual victims of bourgeois state-sanctioned violence.
For the ANC and its partners, the masses must be coerced into accepting their exploitation. The economic immiseration of workers has in fact been worsened under the ANC government. Indeed, having left white wealth untouched, the ANC elite that joined the ranks of the previously all-white exploiters needed its own source of funds secured from the rest of the black majority.
Cele plays his own small role in all this historical drama of contending social forces. He is complicit in all the innocent blood shed by police since the ANC took power.
Cele is no friend of the ordinary South Africans squeezed by high crime rates on one hand and police brutality on the other. He is a self-promoter and a misanthrope. For him, the only significance of the tragic loss of Senzo Meyiwa is an opportunity to boost his career in the realignment of ANC factions now underway.
Twenty years on from the Rwandan genocide, This World reveals evidence that challenges the accepted story of one of the most horrifying events of the late 20th century.
The current president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has long been portrayed as the man who brought an end to the killing and rescued his country from oblivion.
Now there are increasing questions about the role of Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front forces in the dark days of 1994 and in the 20 years since.
The film investigates evidence of Kagame’s role in the shooting down of the presidential plane that sparked the killings in 1994 and questions his claims to have ended the genocide. It also examines claims of war crimes committed by Kagame’s forces and their allies in the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo and allegations of human rights abuses in today’s Rwanda.
Former close associates from within Kagame’s inner circle and government speak out from hiding abroad. They present a very different portrait of a man who is often hailed as presiding over a model African state. Rwanda’s economic miracle and apparent ethnic harmony has led to the country being one of the biggest recipients of aid from the UK. Former prime minister Tony Blair is an unpaid adviser to Kagame, but some now question the closeness of Mr Blair and other western leaders to Rwanda’s president.
By Antoine Lerougetel
8 November 2014
Burkina Faso’s pro-imperialist “opposition,” local African regimes, and the major imperialist powers are stepping in to provide a civilian, democratic façade to last week’s coup, following mass protests that led to the ouster of French-backed dictator President Blaise Compaoré.
The US, Canada and the African Union have all threatened sanctions if the military does not hand over power to a civilian government in two weeks. They fear, as the French daily Le Monde wrote on November 4, that “Popular insurrection could re-start at any time,” and are anxious to prop up discredited pro-imperialist regimes throughout West Africa. The army intervened to head off mass protests that erupted on October 28 against Compaoré’s attempt to prolong his 27 years in office, deposing Compaoré on October 31.
On November 5, a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)—consisting of the presidents of Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria—rushed to the capital, Ouagadougou.
They issued a statement the next day affirming that they had “secured an agreement with stakeholders in Burkina Faso for the immediate lifting of the suspension of the constitution and the holding of presidential and legislative elections within 12 months to resolve the crisis created by last week’s resignation of former president Blaise Compaoré and the dissolution of his government.”
Issued after talks with the “opposition” and the junta led by Lt. Colonel Isaac Zida, who took power on November 1, the ECOWAS statement called for the “urgent designation by consensus of a suitably eminent civilian to lead the transition.”
Making clear its support for Compaoré’s services to imperialism during his 27 years in power, it added: “The leaders recalled the important contributions by Burkina Faso to the promotion of global peace and security as well as political stability within the region and the continent at large, particularly its active participation in peacekeeping and mediation processes.”
Burkina Faso’s army is a key element of France’s military intervention in the Sahel, above all the war in Mali. Forty French firms are present in most sectors of Burkina Faso’s economy, and Paris is the main provider of finance for its former colony. The French ambassador Gilles Thibault has been playing “a great role”, according to French President François Hollande’s entourage.
The protests against Compaoré were called by the “Leadership of the Opposition” coalition of bourgeois parties on October 21, when Compaore’s proposed constitutional changes became known. By Tuesday, October 28, to the consternation of the “opposition,” protests drew in hundreds of thousands of mainly young people in the capital and other major cities across the country.
French imperialism, backed by its international allies, moved quickly to install a new and pliant regime. Compaoré fled Ougadougou last Friday, escaping angry protesters only thanks to a French army helicopter and then a plane taking him to Ivory Coast—where Compaoré had helped Paris install the current Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara in a French military intervention in 2011.
On October 30, the army, backed by the “opposition’s” appeals to it to prevent chaos, moved to strangle the revolt and solidify the control of Zida, an officer of Compaoré’s presidential guard. In a November 2 communiqué, Zida warned rival General Kwamé Lougué that any attempt to oppose him was “an attack on the ongoing transitional process … Any act that might challenge the transitional process will be repressed with vigour and firmness.”
The “opposition” is publicly led by spokesman Zéphirin Diabré, who under Compaoré combined a mining finance consultancy with the post of minister of trade and mines. He heads a UN development agency and until 2011 was CEO of the Africa branch of French mining and nuclear energy conglomerate Areva.
His organization called a demonstration on Sunday afternoon at Nation Square to demand a civilian government. However, according to Jeune Afrique, “The protest on Nation Square … nevertheless was a failure, with only 1,000 people present. Opposition leader Zéphirin Diabré did not come as he was meeting with representatives of the army at the time, according to his aides.”
Diabré has stated that the opposition would not be opposed the participation of the army in the transition to a civilian government. He and the “opposition” have been in talks with the UN, ECOWAS and the African Union.
In a Le Monde interview on Tuesday, he declared: “The army itself recognized that what took place was a popular insurrection … Because there was a power vacuum, the army stepped up to its responsibilities and held on to the machinery of state. We met on Sunday with Lt. Col. Zida, who was designated by the army to lead the transition.”
The comments of demonstrators who did turn up on Nation Square highlight the class gulf between the workers and oppressed masses of Burkina Faso and the pro-imperialist opposition.
Protester Amadou Yamiro told BBC, “This morning we came out, because up until now the situation is not clear. We still don’t have a leader for our country. We don’t want the army to be in power, especially the special presidential regiment…We went to the national TV to try to understand what is going to happen, and while a colonel was reassuring us, some troops arrived and started to shoot. We are told it was the presidential regiment again, the same ones that shot people [during unrest] on the 30th [October], the ones that killed many people …The presidential guard with Zida will put this country into chaos.”
General Kuame Lougué, who at times poses as a radical descendant of the petty-bourgeois nationalist Burkinabé president Thomas Sankara but was Compaoré’s defence minister, has played a dubious role during the protests and the military coup. Médiapart, a French news site linked to the pseudo-left New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA), has promoted him, declaring he was “propelled to the head of the protests,” and there were reports of protesters chanting his name in the streets.
He recently made a statement to RFI radio, pledging his support for the army. RFI noted that Lougué “is still on active duty, as general of the second section, and that while he is no longer in the army command, he remains at the disposal of the general staff. He stresses that he supports his comrades in arms … he will support decisions of the general staff.”
After 27 years in power in Burkina Faso, President Blaise Compaoré was suddenly ousted by a popular uprising on 30 October 2014. Having kept himself in power since the riots of 2011 through brutal repression, he swiftly resigned and fled to Côte d’Ivoire.
Compaoré had announced his intention to amend Article 37 of the Basic Law, so that he could run again in 2015 and continue his presidential mandate. As a matter of principle, the African Union condemns the leaders who alter their Constitution in order to renew their eligibility indefinitely and cling to power.
Blaise Compaoré rose to power on 15 October 1987, by overthrowing and assassinating his predecessor, the anti-imperialist Thomas Sankara. The latter was a leader in the Non-Aligned Movement, known for his frugal lifestyle and his defense of the oppressed. The coup was instigated by France, then ruled by a cohabitation government under François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac.
During his 27 years in power, Blaise Compaoré endorsed the neo-colonial operations conducted by France, and sometimes the United States, in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.
With help from France, he was exfiltration and took refuge in fled to Côte d’Ivoire, of which he is a national through marriage. However, he played a key role in the destabilization of Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo (who had turned against the United States) and the legitimizing of his successor, Alessane Ouattara, when he was imposed by the French Forces.
At the time, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, had commented: “Mr. Compaoré, a former soldier, coup leader and political godfather of Charles Taylor, is not the most reliable man to preach democracy and civilian rule.”
After President Compaoré’s resignation, the Army Chief of Staff, General Honore Traoré, announced on 31 October that he would steer the political transition over the next twelve months. However, the next day, November 1st, he stepped aside in favor of Lt. Col. Isaac Yacouba Zida, under pressure from the United States.
In 2012, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida Yacouba was trained in counterterrorism at the MacDill Air Force Base (Florida) and underwent military intelligence training provided by the Pentagon in Botswana.
It was also in 2012 that the United States organized a coup in Mali, five weeks before the presidential election despite the fact that the sitting president was not do to run. Captain Amadou Sanogo, who, as Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Yacouba Zida, had received US military training, soon ceded his position to a candidate in the presidential election which was finally never held. The new president Dioncounda Traoré was legitimized by his Ivorian counterpart Alessane Ouattara, … then he called for a French military intervention in his country.
While US law requires that sanctions be imposed on any government arising from a military coup, the US State Department welcomed the coming to power of Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Yacouba Zida and asked to set up a civilian government at the earliest.
Posted November 6, 2014
KPFA Evening News Anchor: In 1987, African revolutionary Thomas Sankara, the president of Burkina Faso, called on his fellow African heads of state to join him in refusing to pay debt they could not rationally owe to their former colonizers, calling it a form of neo-colonialism. He predicted that he would be dead before the next African Union conference if he alone refused to pay. Sankara was dead, with France’s help, within the year.
Yesterday, 27 years and 16 days after his death, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Ouagadougou to demand the resignation of Sankara’s assassin, President Blaise Campaoré. Protestors even lit the country’s Parliament Building on fire to keep its members from amending the Constitution to allow Campaoré to remain in power. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
Hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe – people of Burkina Faso – gathered in the Place de la Nation in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou, to demand the resignation of President Blaise Campaoré, on Oct. 31, 2014. – Photo: Joe Penney, Reuters
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Today the BBC is reporting that Burkina Faso’s ousted President Blaise Campaoré has fled to safety in the Ivory Coast, after hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of the country’s capital, Ouagadougou, to demand he step down. Campaoré is most infamous for organizing the assassination of Burkina Faso’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, with the help of France and the French puppet government of the Ivory Coast.
Protestors in Ougadougou lit the Parliament Building on fire to keep its members from amending Burkina Faso’s Constitution to allow Blaise Campaore to cling to power.
Sankara led a coup that overthrew the French puppet government of the Upper Volta in 1983. Sankara renamed the country Burkina Faso, which is most often translated as “Land of Upright Men” but also as “Land of Honest Men,” “Land of Incorruptible Men” or “Land of Men of Integrity.” This passage of the 2006 film, “Thomas Sankara, the Upright Man,” includes Sankara’s famous speech urging his fellow African heads of state to join him in refusing to pay neocolonial foreign debt:
Narrator: The summit of the OAU, the Organization of African Unity. Thomas Sankara challenges the other heads of state. He talks about the famous foreign debt and the drastic increase of interest rates and concern for all Third World countries. He points an accusing finger at all the leaders who are degrading their people while growing personally richer in the name of the old North South domination system.
Sankara: I would like the conference to clearly declare that we cannot pay the debt. Not in a rebellious spirit, but just to avoid being assassinated individually. If Burkina Faso is the only one to refuse to pay the debt, I won’t be at the next conference. On the other hand, with everybody’s support, we will not have to pay it.
Map of Burkina Faso, the Land of Upright Men, in Africa
And when we are saying that we should not pay that debt, we’re not refusing responsibilities or not keeping our words. It’s just that we don’t have the same moral standards as others. Between the rich and the poor, moral standards cannot be the same.
The Bible and the Koran cannot serve those who exploit people and the exploited ones in the same way. We should have two editions of the Bible and two editions of the Koran. Brothers, with everybody’s support, we’ll be able to make peace at home. We’ll also be able to use Africa’s full potential to develop because our land is rich.
Brothers, with everybody’s support, we’ll be able to make peace at home. We’ll also be able to use Africa’s full potential to develop because our land is rich.
KPFA/Ann: Sankara was dead three months later, shot by soldiers loyal to Blaise Campaoré, who then seized power, announced that he would “reconstitute the revolution,” then reversed its advances and became a pliant French puppet and regional power broker.
African people fighting European sponsored dictatorship all over the African continent are now cheering the courage of the hundreds of thousands of people of Burkina Faso who filled the streets of Ougadougou this week, forcing Blaise Campaoré to flee the country. Top army officers have announced their unanimous support for Lt. Col. Isaac Zida as leader of a transition to democratic elections.
The BBC quoted one of the protestors outside Parliament, who said: “It is we, the people, who overthrew Blaise Compoaré, not the army. We are going to watch what they are doing, and if we don’t agree with the new leader, we will be back out on the street.”
Oakland writer Ann Garrison contributes to the San Francisco Bay View, Counterpunch, Global Research,Colored Opinions, Black Agenda Report and Black Star News and produces radio news and features for Pacifica’s WBAI-NYC, KPFA-Berkeley and her own YouTube Channel. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to see Ann Garrison’s independent reporting continue, please contribute on her website, anngarrison.com.
By Jean Shaoul
1 November 2014
The military regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has issued a raft of decrees aimed at stamping out dissent and consolidating the military’s power.
Al-Sisi, who holds absolute executive power pending parliamentary elections that may be held in December or January, issued a decree authorising the military to guard vital public facilities. Anyone attacking such facilities, including but not limited to power stations, the electricity distribution network, pipelines, oil and gas installations and the transport network, will be subject to a military trial.
The abolition of military trials for civilians was one of the key demands of the mass uprising that toppled the dictator Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Al-Sisi cited the ongoing violence in the poverty stricken north Sinai, and bombings and kidnappings in Cairo and elsewhere, as the justification for what amounts to martial law. He also declared a three-month state of emergency in north Sinai along with a 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew, following an attack by militants that killed more than 30 security officials and injured another 30. While hundreds of security personnel have been killed in the past year since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) President Mohammed Mursi, this was the deadliest single incident.
The government has deployed 7,000 military personnel and army helicopters in north Sinai, targeting the militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and killing and arresting hundreds of people whom it claims are “terrorists”.
It has worked closely with both the US and Israel. Last month, Washington supplied Egypt with 10 Apache helicopters “to help the Egyptian government counter extremists who threaten US, Egyptian and Israeli security”, while Tel Aviv has allowed Egypt to deploy a larger number of troops in Sinai than permitted under the 1978-79 Camp David Accords. Cairo has in turn allowed Israel to carry out a series of drone attacks and surveillance sorties on Sinai, despite having earlier insisted that it would not allow other countries to use Egyptian territory to launch attacks.
In an act of supreme cynicism and vindictiveness, the military regime closed Gaza’s sole crossing point into Egypt at Rafah until “further notice”—claiming that the militants were operating out of Gaza—thereby intensifying Israel’s seven-year blockade of Gaza. Cairo said it would expand the “buffer zone” between Sinai and Gaza, clear all the tunnels into Gaza and demolish 680 homes along the border in an operation named “temporary demographic redistribution.”
This comes just days after a donors’ conference in Cairo that pledged $5.4 billion to Gaza, half of which is to be spent on reconstruction, much less than the $4 billion that the Palestinian Authority (PA) had asked for.
The ostensible target of these and other new laws are the Islamists and MB, as there are new powers to control the mosques and at least 12,000 clerics have been banned from delivering sermons.
Former President Mursi has been served with another charge that carries the death sentence—passing on security information to Qatar. He already faces the death penalty in three separate trials.
Last July, a court sentenced MB leader Mohammed Badie to life imprisonment and confirmed 10 death sentences on MB members, nine of them in absentia. Hundreds of Islamists and their supporters have been sentenced to death in drumhead trials.
This follows a crackdown on the Brotherhood that resulted in the deaths of at least 3,000 people, 1,000 of whom were killed in a single day, and the imprisonment of more than 16,000, according to official figures. Activists claim that the real number of those detained is 40,000.
The real target of this repression is the working class and young people. The military junta fears another mass eruption by Egypt’s restive youth and workers over increasing unemployment, poverty, power and water outages, removal of subsidies, violence, kidnappings, corruption and injustice, as well as the return to government of former Mubarak-era figures.
Such have been the tensions in the universities that the authorities delayed the start of the new semester by one month, until October 11, to enable security and surveillance measures to be put in place. Since then, police have stormed at least five universities, killing one student at Alexandria University, and detaining hundreds on charges including destroying public property and violating a protest law even stricter than those laws in place during the Mubarak era.
On Monday, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab announced that the new law applied to schools and universities, and even to school children and students, saying that they could be tried by military courts if they “sabotaged” educational facilities.
The next day, the government sent the military into Mansoura University where students were protesting, demanding the release of fellow students detained by the authorities and denouncing the deployment of troops in Sinai. Armed forces were sent in to back up police who used tear gas to disperse the students.
The government has given university presidents new powers to expel students or sack staff suspected of “crimes that disturb the academic process.” Cairo University has banned all political activity.
The police are to be expanded under new arrangements called “Community Police” to include civilians who will be allowed to make arrests, creating a vast system of neighbourhood informers and intimidation.
Restrictive laws require NGOs to register before November 10. In a vaguely worded law, any organisation or person charged with receiving money from an overseas organisation or country could end up in jail for life.
There has been a massive crackdown on the media, exemplified by the kangaroo trial of the three Al-Jazeera journalists, that has stifled any criticism of the military regime. Now the government is examining mechanisms for policing online and social media.
While the military junta has established a ruthless dictatorship, declaring it is putting an end to “terrorism” and restoring “stability”, its real aim is to impose reign of terror against the working class.
The military acceded to Mubarak’s ouster in 2011 to prevent the working class joining up with the student-led protest movement. It then worked closely with the Muslim Brotherhood after it came to power in June 2012 to contain the revolution, with al-Sisi himself heading the Ministry of Defence in Mursi’s government. In July 2013, the military launched an illegal coup to pre-empt a mass uprising by the working class and youth against Mursi and the Brotherhood.
Since then the military has used the pretext of fighting terrorism to legitimise the return of a bloody dictatorship in Egypt and carry out new attacks on the working class. It has worked closely with the most reactionary forces on the planet, including the US, the feudal House of Saud and the Gulf sheikdoms of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These are the same forces that funded, armed and trained Islamist terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to carry out wars of regime change in Libya and Syria on behalf of the imperialist powers.
More recently, al-Sisi deployed Egypt’s military forces in Libya, along with those of the UAE, on behalf of Khalifa Hifter, the renegade general close to the CIA, further destabilising the war-torn country. This is the first time in decades that Egypt has deployed the military outside its own borders.
None of this could have been carried out without the pseudo-left and liberal organisations, which consciously channelled the mass protests against Mursi and the MB behind the army.
The military coup did not constitute a “second revolution” against the MB as forces like Tamarod, the liberal and Nasserite parties of the National Salvation Front, or pseudo-left groups like the Revolutionary Socialists claimed. Instead, it paved the way for the return of a military-police state whose aim is to intensify the crackdown not only on its Islamist rivals in the Egyptian bourgeoisie, but on the working class—the main force behind the revolution.
The US-NATO invasion of Libya in 2011 to remove Muammar Gaddafi for a government that would be subservient to Western interests has proven to be a disaster for North Africa and Europe. They have managed to destroy one of Africa’s wealthiest nations with the highest GDP per capita and less people living below the poverty line. Libya also had the highest life expectancy than any other nation in the African continent before the US-NATO invasion which leads to my next point. There were more than 30,000 deaths, 50,000 injured and 4,000 missing in Libya during the 2011 civil war that lasted several months. The West conveniently called it a “humanitarian intervention” for public relations, but the invasion was a “humanitarian disaster”. Manlio Dinucci’s article ‘The “Humanitarian War” against Libya: How the West Destroys Countries and Creates “Failed States’which can be found at Global Research explains the role played by Italy (a member state of NATO) in Libya. He wrote:
This state, in addition to being a factor of stability and development in North Africa, had used its investments to facilitate the emergence of organizations that one day might have made the financial autonomy of Africa possible: the African Investment Bank, based in Tripoli; the African Central Bank, with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria; the African Monetary Fund, based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
After having funded and armed hostile tribal areas in Tripoli, which caused the “Arab Spring” in Libya to assume from the outset the form of armed insurrection, and thus provoking the government’s response, they waged a war that destroyed the Libyan state in 2011: in seven months the U.S./NATO Air Force carried out 10,000 attack missions, unleashing more than 40,000 bombs and missiles.
Since then, scores of people have been killed due to the ongoing civil war between government forces, militias and terrorists organizations that is based on sectarian hatred and for the control of the oil industry. Amnesty International UK (AI) published a report that explains Libya’s situation titled ‘Rule of the gun: Abductions, torture and other abuses by militias in western Libya’. Libya’s situation is now even worst according to Amnesty International’s recent press release:
Militias and armed groups in western Libya are carrying out rampant human rights abuses, including war crimes, according to a new briefing today (30 October) from Amnesty International. The 30-page briefing – Rule of the gun: Abductions, torture and other abuses by militias in western Libya – shows that armed groups have tortured – and probably summarily killed – detainees in their custody, and have committed a wave of abductions targeting civilians based on their origins or perceived political allegiance.
Likewise, satellite images released today by Amnesty show that fighters on all sides in the conflict have displayed an utter disregard for civilian lives, launching indiscriminate rocket and artillery fire into crowded civilian neighbourhoods which has damaged homes, civilian infrastructure and medical facilities. Those responsible include members of the Libya Dawn coalition (groups from Misratah, Tripoli and other towns in western Libya), and the Zintan-Warshafana coalition (groups from Zintan and the Warshafana area). Satellite images obtained by Amnesty show significant damage to civilian property in the Warshafana region, including at Al-Zahra Hospital which has come under heavy rocket fire. The intensive care unit at Zawiya Hospital has also been struck by a rocket which injured ten people, including doctors, nurses, patients and visitors.
Since July at least 287,000 people have been internally displaced as a result of indiscriminate attacks and a fear of being targeted by militias, and a further 100,000 have been forced to flee the country in fear for their lives.
There are constant rocket and artillery shells being fired by various militias and terrorist organizations which have resulted in mass civilian casualties. Libyan infrastructure and hospitals have been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Libyans have been either displaced from their homes or forced to migrate to neighboring countries in Northern Africa and Europe to its north. ‘The Spectator’ a conservative magazine based in London explained Italy’s immigration crisis concerning what they call “Libya’s boat people” after a tragic accident that resulted in the deaths of more than 366 people who were desperate to reach Europe’s shores:
The decision to open the floodgates came in a moment of national moral panic after 366 people drowned in a single boat which caught fire and sank a stone’s throw from an idyllic beach on the island of Lampedusa, an exclusive resort favoured by the right-on rich. The dead included a mother who had given birth during the voyage and was still attached to her newborn child when divers found their bodies trapped inside the sunken vessel.
The policy change, driven by a perverted mix of human decency and political correctness, was pure folly: it has acted as a green light to wannabe boat people everywhere, whose numbers soar as the chaos in Africa and the Middle East escalates. The result is an exodus of biblical proportions out of Africa into Italy. So far this year, more than 100,000 boat people have arrived in Italy — two thirds of them brought ashore by the Italian navy. That is more than double the number who arrived in 2011, the previous record year. It is estimated that the total by the end of 2014 will surpass 200,000. So far this year Italy has deported only 10,000.
The Spectator states that “numbers soar as the chaos in Africa and the Middle East escalates.” Yes, that is true. It is also true that Libya and other African and Middle Eastern nations that suffer from the chaos imposed by the same Western nations that preach Democracy. The US and European style of Democracy by force is not a Democracy. Democracy has to be a grassroots effort, a natural process that is not imposed by a foreign government or entity. The American and European notion of “Bringing Democracy” to the world is an Imperial agenda. Let’s look at a number of examples since the September 11th attacks when President George W. Bush was President, starting with Afghanistan and Iraq, now both countries are in total chaos with numerous militias and terrorists organization battling each other along sectarian lines and for political power. New and old terrorist organizations now have expanded throughout Africa and the Middle East such as Boko-Haram (Nigeria), Al-Shabaab (Somalia and Ethiopia) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (Uganda) and the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda and the so-called Khorasan (supposedly made up of former Al-Qaeda members) in the Middle East plus any new organization that arises out of the ashes of war. Let’s not forget that the Military-Industrial Complex has made enormous profits from both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and on the “War on Terror.” Africa is the future for the US-NATO war industry starting with Libya. However, the Amnesty International report paints a very disturbing picture concerning innocent civilians caught in the crossfire:
Scores of civilians have been abducted by armed groups in Tripoli, Zawiya, Warshafana and towns in the Nafusa Mountains, with numerous people held hostage for up to two months in a spate of tit-for-tat attacks based on their town of origin or perceived political affiliation. In some cases civilians have been abducted as bargaining chips in order to secure prisoner exchanges. While several such exchanges have taken place since the start of the conflict on 13 July, abductions and other reprisals have continued.
Tripoli residents originally from Zintan told Amnesty that Libya Dawn militias have carried out door-to-door “manhunts” to seize people based on their tribal affiliation or presumed political allegiance. Militias have also carried out extensive raids against civilian homes, looting and destroying property, and setting homes and farms ablaze in the area of Warshafana.
Libya’s invasion by the West was not for democratic purposes, it was for its oil reserves. They also wanted to remove Gaddafi from power because he was in the early stages of creating a gold dinar for trade, not only for Libya but all of Africa. It was a threat to the petrodollar. King World News interviewed multi-billionaire Hugo Salinas Price of Mexico in 2011 and said:
The central bank is definitely afraid of doing anything that is not being done by all of the other central banks. They feel they are part of a brotherhood and they can’t betray the rest. They don’t want to present a currency that would be viewed as out of line, that’s the way they think. It’s a sad thing but this is the mentality.
Thinking about it a little bit more, what happened to Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a gold dinar.
Libya is a nation in chaos because of the Western powers and their “humanitarian intervention” policies which was designed to expand their footprint on African territory. The US, UK and France were the main powers that instigated Gaddafi’s removal. Libya was not perfect, but it sure was a lot better than most African nations who are under a financial dictatorship imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Since then, Libya has become a haven for terrorists who commit human rights abuses on a grand scale. When President Barack Obama announced that the US and its NATO Allies will launch military strikes against Libya to protect its civilians was a lie. Obama began his speech by acknowledging that he had already authorized U.S. and NATO forces to invade Libya to protect civilians:
Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the armed forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.
In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people.
U.S. and NATO’s intervention in Libya has made life for ordinary citizens a living hell. If this is Western-style Democracy then who in their right state of mind would welcome it? I believe that most nations in Africa and the Middle East would pass on Western-imposed Democracy because it would only lead to a political crisis with the possibility of war following in its footsteps. The aftermath of Iraq and Syria is a perfect example of what happened after Washington and its NATO allies decided to intervene, whether by military force or by simply financing opposition groups to overthrow their government for the sake of Democracy, but that resulted in unintended consequences. However, the unintended consequences of invading Libya have benefited big oil corporations, the petrodollar and the US-NATO militaries by expanding their bases into Africa to fight terrorism.
Then again, it is appropriate to ask ourselves, Cui Bono?