Archives

Tagged ‘Mali‘

Canada in the Congo

Counterpunch

Canadian officials have long done as they pleased in Africa, loudly proclaimed this country’s altruism and only faced push back from hard rightists who bemoan sending troops to the  “Dark Continent” or “dens of hell”.

With many Canadians normally opposed to war supporting anything called “peacekeeping”, unless troops deployed with an African UN mission are caught using the N-word and torturing a teenager to death (the 1993 Somalia mission) they will be portrayed as an expression of this country’s benevolence. So, what should those of us who want Canada to be a force for good in the world think about the Trudeau government’s plan to join a UN stabilization mission in Mali, Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic or South Sudan?

First, we have good reason to be cynical.

On his recent five country African “reconnaissance” tour defence minister Harjit Sajjan included an individual whose standing is intimately tied to a military leader who has destabilized large swaths of the continent. Accompanying Sajjan was General Romeo Dallaire, who backed Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front in 1993/94 and continues to publicly support the “Butcher of the Great Lakes”.

In his 2005 book Le Patron de Dallaire Parle (The Boss of Dallaire Speaks), Jacques-Roger Booh Booh, a former Cameroon foreign minister and overall head of the mid-90s UN mission in Rwanda, claims Dallaire ignored RPF violence, turned a blind eye to the weapons they received from Uganda and possibility shared UN intelligence with the Ugandan sponsored rebels. Dallaire doesn’t deny his admiration for Kagame. In Shake Hands with the Devil, published several years after Kagame unleashed unprecedented terror in the Congo, Dallaire wrote: “My guys and the RPF soldiers had a good time together” at a small cantina. Dallaire then explained: “It had been amazing to see Kagame with his guard down for a couple of hours, to glimpse the passion that drove this extraordinary man.” Dallaire’s interaction with the RPF was not in the spirit of UN guidelines that called on staff to avoid close ties to individuals, organizations, parties or factions of a conflict.

Included on the trip because he symbolizes Canadian benevolence, Dallaire hasn’t moved away from his aggressive backing for Kagame despite the Globe and Mail reporting on Kagame’s internal repression, global assassination program and proxies occupying the mineral rich Eastern Congo. The recently retired Senator has aligned his depiction of the 1994 Rwandan tragedy to fit the RPF’s simplistic, self-serving, portrayal and Dallaire even lent his name to a public attack against the 2014 BBC documentary Rwanda’s Untold Story. In February the former senator met with the Rwandan dictator in Toronto.

Three weeks ago the ruling party in Burundi released a statement criticizing the Canadian general’s role in Rwanda and his inclusion on Sajjan’s trip. Still, I’ve yet to see any mention of Dallaire’s backing of Kagame or the fact his ally in Kigali has significant interest in the UN mission in Eastern Congo.

Another piece of history that should be part of any debate about a UN deployment to the continent is Canada’s link to the UN force in the Congo, which is an outgrowth of the mid-1990s foreign invasion. In 1996 Rwandan forces marched 1,500 km to topple the regime in Kinshasa and then re-invaded after the Congolese government it installed expelled Rwandan troops. This led to an eight-country war between 1998 and 2003, which left millions dead. Since then Rwanda and its proxies have repeatedly invaded the Eastern Congo.

Kigali justified its 1996 intervention into the Congo as an effort to protect the Banyamulenge (Congolese Tutsi) living in Eastern Congo from the Hutus who fled the country when the RPF took power. As many as two million, mostly Hutu, refugees fled the summer 1994 RPF takeover of Rwanda.

The US military increased its assistance to Rwanda in the months leading up to its fall 1996 invasion of Zaire. In The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996-2006 Filip Reyntjens explains: “The United States was aware of the intentions of Kagame to attack the refugee camps and probably assisted him in doing so. In addition, they deliberately lied about the number and fate of the refugees remaining in Zaire, in order to avoid the deployment of an international humanitarian force, which could have saved tens of thousands of human lives, but which was resented by Kigali and AFDL [L’Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du Congo, a Rwandan backed rebel force led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila].”

Ottawa played an important part in this sordid affair. In late 1996, Canada led a short-lived UN force into eastern Zaire, meant to bring food and protection to Hutu refugees. The official story is that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien organized a humanitarian mission into eastern Zaire after his wife saw images of exiled Rwandan refugees on CNN. In fact, Washington proposed that Ottawa, with many French speakers at its disposal, lead the UN mission. The US didn’t want pro- Joseph Mobutu Sese Seko France to gain control of the UN force.

On November 9, 1996, the UN Security Council backed a French resolution to establish a multinational force in Eastern Congo. Four days later, French Defence Minister Charles Millon, urged Washington to stop stalling on the force. ‘‘Intervention is urgent and procrastination by some countries is intolerable,’’ Millon said in a radio interview. ‘‘The United States must not drag its feet any longer.’’

Canada’s mission to the Congo was designed to dissipate French pressure and ensure it didn’t take command of a force that could impede Rwanda’s invasion of the Eastern Congo. “The United States and Canada did not really intend to support an international force,” writes Belgian academic Filip Reyntjens. “Operation Restore Silence” was how Oxfam’s emergencies director Nick Stockton sarcastically described the mission. He says the Anglosphere countries “managed the magical disappearance” of half a million refugees in eastern Zaire. In a bid to justify the non-deployment of the UN force, Canadian Defence Minister Doug Young claimed over 700,000 refugees had returned to Rwanda. A December 8 article in Québec City’s Le Soleil pointed out that this was “the highest estimated number of returnees since the October insurrection in Zaire.”

The RPF dismantled infrastructure and massacred thousands of civilians in the Hutu refugee camps, prompting some 300,000 to flee westward on foot from refugee camp to refugee camp. Dying to Live by Pierre-Claver Ndacyayisenga describes a harrowing personal ordeal of being chased across the Congo by the RPF and its allies.

Ultimately, most of the Canadian-led UN force was not deployed since peacekeepers would have slowed down or prevented Rwanda, Uganda and its allies from triumphing. But, the initial batch of Canadian soldiers deployed to the staging ground in Uganda left much of the equipment they brought along. In Le Canada dans les guerres en Afrique centrale: génocides et pillages des ressources minières du Congo par le Rwanda interposé (Canada in the wars in Central Africa: genocide and looting of the mineral resources of the Congo by Rwanda interposed) Patrick Mbeko suggests the Ugandan Army put the equipment to use in the Congo.

Prior to deploying the Canadian-led multinational force, Commander General Maurice Baril met with officials in Kigali as well as the Director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Hinting at who was in the driver’s seat, the New York Times reported that Baril “cancelled a meeting with United Nations officials and flew instead to Washington for talks.” In deference to the Rwandan-backed forces, Baril said he would only deploy UN troops with the rebels’ permission. ‘‘Anything that I do I will coordinate with the one who is tactically holding the ground,’’ Baril noted.

Much to Joseph Mobutu’s dismay, Baril met rebel leader Laurent Kabila who was at that time shunned by most of the international community. The meeting took place in a ransacked mansion that had belonged to Zaire’s president and as part of the visit Kabila took Baril on a tour of the area surrounding Goma city. Baril justified the meeting, asserting: “I had to reassure the government of Canada that the situation had changed and we could go home.”

The book Nous étions invincibles, the personal account of Canadian special forces commando Denis Morrisset, provides a harrowing account of the Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) operation to bring Baril to meet Kabila. The convoy came under attack and was only bailed out when US Apache and Blackhawk helicopters retaliated. Some thirty Congolese were killed by a combination of helicopter and JTF2 fire.

Despite the bizarre, unsavory, history outlined above, Canada’s short-lived 1996 UN force to the Congo is little known. The same can largely be said about Dallaire (and Ottawa’s) support for the RPF during the mid-90s UN mission in Rwanda or Canada’s role in the UN force that helped kill Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba.

Widespread ignorance of Canada’s chequered UN history in Africa reflects a political culture that gives politicians immense latitude to pursue self-serving policies, present them as altruistic and face few questions. Unless progressives upend this culture the loud expressions of Canadian benevolence are unlikely to align with reality.

[Yves Engler’s latest book is ?Canada in Africa: 300 years of Aid and Exploitation.]

The Creation of Discursive Monoculture

Public Good Project

May 6, 2016

By Jay Taber

 

television_war_poster

The creation of discursive monoculture—intended to dominate all discussion of vital issues—is the result of a strategy by the power elite to prevent counter-power narratives from entering mainstream consciousness. Through hostile takeovers of government, media, and the non-profit industrial complex, the financial sector in the last decade has accomplished what official censorship and political repression could not: totalitarian control of social media, and the mobilization of progressives in support of neoliberal fascism.

As I noted in Preventing Discursive Monoculture, the financial sector capture of media, academia, and civil society indicates a future of diminishing consciousness—a future where fantasies about political power enable the murder of Indigenous activists and unembedded journalists with impunity. More recently, in A World of Make Believe, I elaborated on the fact that privatized mass communication now dominates public opinion to such a degree that all public discussion of vital issues is choreographed by PR firms.

In Controlling Consciousness, I observed that the donor elites that set the civil society agenda benefit from Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness, allowing them to fabricate news, as well as to integrate advertising with government propaganda. In order to maintain credibility, the non-profit PR firms subservient to the power elite, i.e. Avaaz, need to first establish a noble reputation, often using the tried-and-true method of poverty pimping—an effective and largely undetected tool in the art of social engineering.

Chrysi Philalithes of Red, Jeremy Heimans, founder of Purpose, Brett Solomon, cofounder and executive director of AccessNow.org and Andre Banks, co-founder of All Out take part in "The Rise of the Movement Entrepreneur" discussion hosted by Purpose at the Paley Center February 10, 2011 in New York. (Allison Joyce/Insider Images)

Above: Chrysi Philalithes of Red, Jeremy Heimans, founder of Purpose, Brett Solomon, cofounder and executive director of AccessNow.org and Andre Banks, co-founder of All Out take part in Social Media Week hosted by Purpose at the Paley Center February 10, 2011 in New York. (Allison Joyce/Insider Images)

As I remarked in R2P: The Theatre of Catastrophe, under the neoliberal model of global conquest, social media marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose, and Amnesty International function as stage managers for the power elite in choreographed productions where neoliberal heroism can be enacted. These constructed events–that urge neoliberal military interventions in countries like Mali, Burundi, Libya and Syria—then draw in civil society as participants of moral catastrophe, where they actually become complicit in crimes against humanity.

conformity-is-unity-3

Courtesy of Mark Gould

The ulterior strategy of Avaaz as the ‘Great White Hope’ in other venues, subsequently allowed this social media marketing agency to easily herd so-called progressives to line up behind the neoliberal imperial campaigns in Libya & Syria–where Avaaz literally designed and managed the PR campaign for NATO and the US–in order to present the Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra as the good guys in ‘white helmets’. Networked psychological warfare (Netwar) is not hard to grasp; it just isn’t discussed anywhere, making Communication: The Invisible Environment.

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

R2P: The Theatre of Catastrophe

Wrong Kind of Green

April 28, 2016

By Jay Taber

 

jerremy heimens maxresdefault

Above: Avaaz  and Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans

Purpose Avaaz Syria-Campaign-HIRE

The Syria Campaign Facebook PURPOSE Screenshot

Under the neoliberal model of global conquest–exhibited by the heavy-hitters of the UN Security Council (i.e. USA, France and UK) in countries such as Burundi, Mali, Libya and Syria–the recurrent chorus line R2P-R2P-R2P-R2P from pro-war, social media marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose and Amnesty International is what the European writer Federica Bueti described as the ‘theatre of catastrophe’ that dramatically changes the way we live. The crises of the war economy concocted by these heavy-hitters throughout the world, then, become stage sets where the drama of neoliberal heroism can be enacted.

Performance extras such as the Purpose subsidiary White Helmets—good guys always wear white hats—funded by USAID, play the role of innocent victims, thus justifying the need for the heavy-hitters to ride to the rescue. Or, in the case of modern warfare, to bomb the hell out of the designated villain(s).

avaaz-ad-720

New York Times Avaaz Ad, June 18, 2015. Headline: “PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” …“A majority of Americans support a No-Fly Zone in Syria to save lives and 1,093,775 people around the world [in an on-line petition] are calling for action now.” The photograph used in the ad is from the Anadolu Agency.

As Bueti observes, catastrophe has ‘become a rhetorical tool used to reinforce a general state of anxiety’ and ‘the rhetoric of crisis suggests a daily apocalyptic scenario in which preventive measures and special interventions are required to ensure the survival of neoliberal forms of governance’. The crisis as a constructed event–in which the media plays a major role–she says, ‘has succeeded in producing a peculiar representation of catastrophe with devastating social effect’ that, due to the urgency of immediate intervention, ‘has produced an opaque filter through which it is almost impossible either to understand the causes and consequences of the current crisis or to see a way out of it’.

Avaaz Obama jpg

“People write congratulatory messages to President-elect Barack Obama on a 24-foot long message board in front of the Lincoln Memorial November 6, 2008 in Washington, DC. The organization Avaaz.org has set up a global message board at the memorial with display of messages from all around the world for people to write their notes to Obama.”

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 29: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks while flanked by Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) during a campaign rally, on October 29, 2010 in Charlottesville, Va. Recent polls show Rep. Perriello trailing challenger Virginia State Senator Robert Hurt (R-VA). With mid-term elections approaching, President Obama has been campaigning for Democrats who may be in jeopardy of losing their seat. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

October 29, 2010: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks while Avaaz co-founder Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) looks on during a campaign rally, on October 29, 2010 in Charlottesville, Va.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Writing further, Bueti notes, ‘In Greek theatre, catastrophe designates the moment preceding the final resolution of the plot. In breaking with the rhythm of the narration and moving from one side of the stage to the other, catastrophe creates a moment of suspension of emphatic participation in the staged event. This moment allows the author to directly address the audience through the Chorus, which represented both the voice of the author and the one of the politeia, or Athenian citizens. …In the moment of kata-strephein, the staged dilemma of the individual hero becomes the shared dilemma of the whole of community, eventually creating a temporary event of solidarity’.

As Bueti reflects, ‘From a strictly pedagogical perspective, the Chorus is the moral representative of the polis and of its institutions, the bearer of a certain order that needs to be endlessly confirmed and reiterated’. When the heavy-hitters of the UN Security Council prepare to pound the constructed villain(s) into oblivion, it is the heavily-armed proxies of the heavy-hitters that produce the conditions creating moral catastrophe that the chorus cheers on toward a happy ending. As Bueti concludes, ‘Apocalyptic scenarios, in this case, possess a restorative dimension in which the hero will save the world from an imminent disaster’.

 

Further reading

THE PURPOSE OF AVAAZ: CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Wag the Dog: Campaigns of Purpose

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

British Collusion with Death Squads in the Muslim World

Counterpunch

2015-02-16t003629z1018356140gm1eb2g0noj01rtrmadp3mideast-crisis-libya-egypt

The British state has long been adept at cultivating fascistic forces in oppressed countries, the most infamous examples of this collaboration being the British open support for the misnamed Mujahideen (‘warriors of the faith’) in Afghanistan during the 1980s and also the British state’s role backing Loyalist sectarian death squads in the occupied six countries in the period of the ‘Troubles’. What was perhaps a slow trickle of events a decade ago has in more recent years turned into a tsunami of revelations alluding to Britain’s seemingly deep and extensive role in supporting death squads in the Muslim world. Having learnt lessons from its experiences in collusion in Afghanistan and Ireland, the British state appears to be applying a more complex and sophisticated strategy towards the current death squads in the Muslim world, some of whom are known more popularly as ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘Jabhat Nusra’, and ‘Isis’/’IS’/’Isil’/’Islamic State’.

The British state’s fundamental role in the bringing to prominence a violent sectarian ideology, which perverts and uses and abuses Islam and Muslims, is well known and goes back centuries when Britain’s was the midwife and senior ally to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. British colonialism backed the vicious religious sectarianism of Ibn Wahhab and the Saud family and brought them to power in the Arabian peninsula, a process which saw tens of thousands of people in that country massacred as part of this supremacist project.

In the late 19th century going into the 20th century, Britain instituted a number of reactionary forces in the Middle East that used and abused Islam as a cover for their monarchical and pro-colonial dictatorships, such as that in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the many monarchical mini-states in the Persian Gulf. The development of such political forces and states was at the same time a strategy against the growing pro-independence, nationalist, left nationalist and socialist struggles and countries gripping the region. Britain’s primary allies in the region are the most sectarian and oppressive regimes, and allying with them supports their common fight against any movements for independence of the people and countries of the region. Most recently, this unholy alliance has been leveled against pro-independence countries of the Libyan Jamahirya and Baathist Syria and also against the leading country in the ‘Resistance Axis’, Iran. Relatedly, the UK, USA and France, Britain’s major allies, are also in direct alliance with similar death squad forces. Mark Curtis in his book Secret Affairs (2010) has thoroughly documented and proven that Britain’s so-called global war on terrorism is predicated on allying with the very states in the Muslim world that are widely seen as propping up these same death squads, which makes the ‘war on terrorism’ more like a neo-colonial war of terrorism against people of Africa and Asia.

The apparent British role in directly fostering sectarianism and terrorism sometimes comes to light, such as during the SAS debacle in Basra in September, 2005. This was when the British undercover SAS dressed as Arabs with heavy weaponry were arrested by the Iraqi police and then forcibly and illegally taken back by the British army. Unfortunately, there was next to no investigative journalism and deeper probing conducted into this incident.

Then we have the case of the so-called Arab Spring in Libya whereby Britain teamed up openly with death squads, such as the ‘Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’. The group’s leader, Hakim Belhaj, was a primary ally for the British and the USA on the ground in Libya during 2011. It was reported recently in the media, and confirmed to me by Libyan journalists, political leaders and analysts that Belhaj’s organization is tied to ‘Isis’ in Libya. The SAS were also caught out in covert operations near Benghazi in Libya during early 2011. None of these issues has seen any serious investigation by British-based analysts and journalists.

Eyebrows were raised when former British Guantanamo and Bagram detainee Moazzam Begg traveled first to Libya and met Hakim Belhaj in 2012, and then went openly and illegally into Aleppo, Syria to openly support a death squad by the name of Katiba Muhijareen, which in its modus operandi and ideology is very similar to other more infamous armed gangs in Syria. Begg’s trial earlier this year collapsed as MI5 convinced the judge to drop the case when it came out that Begg’s visit to Syria was green-lighted in at least one secret meeting with MI5:

“In a subsequent blog [now deleted online – SC] “Begg said […] he had been approached by an MI5 officer “who said they wanted to talk to me about my views on the situation in Syria”.

““I told them that they must be aware that I was investigating several leads regarding British and American complicity in rendition and torture in Syria. They called back after consulting with their lawyers and said they understood that and would still like to meet. I agreed to speak to them and meet at a hotel in East London. Both MI5 and me had our lawyers present.”

“In the meeting Begg said MI5 were concerned about “the possibility of Britons in Syria being radicalised and returning to pose a potential threat to national security. I told them that Britain had nothing to worry about, especially since British foreign policy, at the time, seemed in favour of the rebels.”

“Begg then says he was “assured by MI5” that he could return to Syria and continue his work “unhindered””. (Guardian, 02/10/2014)

This seems to indicate that the British state is more than willing to facilitate even well-known public political figures in Britain to support their common aims in places like Syria. More indirect and circumstantial evidence points to possible British collusion, connected to Begg’s organization ‘Cage’, with one of their former clients, the so-called ‘Jihadi John’ (AKA Mohammed Emwazi), who before disappearing and apparently reappearing as an infamous ‘Isis’ butcher and propagandist complained of many instances of harassment and meetings with MI5. In addition to MI5’s outreach to Emwazi, MI5 has also admitted to trying to recruit the killer of Lee Rigby Michael Adebalajo.

More recently there has been a stunning public admission by Abu Muntasir stating he was a senior, if not the most senior, British-based recruiting sergeant for death squads in Chechnya, Kashmir, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Myanmar for some 20 years with de facto impunity from the British state: “I came back [from war] and opened the door and the trickle turned to a flood. I inspired and recruited, I raised funds and bought weapons, not just a one-off but for 15 to 20 years. Why I have never been arrested I don’t know.”” (Guardian, 13/06/2015)

While there is a growing number of articles recently, including in the British mainstream media, exploring possible USA state and government collusion with these death squads, there is in still little to no work digging into the nature and breadth of British collusion. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps one of the central reasons is that sections of and leading personalities in the British left have been and remain in open alliance with organisations and individuals in Britain who supportthese death squads, in some cases even giving them leadership platforms and positions in anti-war and other progressive organisations.

Three more factors complicate the issue: 1, the same sections of the British left have also themselves supported directly and in some cases indirectly these same death squads as ‘rebel’ or even ‘revolutionary’ forces in the ‘Arab Spring’. This seems to have pushed back on any possibility for certain people to make self criticisms and develop their position in light of the growing and overwhelming evidence that these armed gangs are not pro-people in anyway way but are depraved and profoundly sectarian and are in an overt and covert relationship with Western states in a common project to divide and ruin regions of Africa and the Middle East and Asia.

The final complicating factor is borne out of fear of not falling into anti-Muslim racism and prejudice or Islamophobia when engaging critically with these issues. It is of utmost importance that one exercises cigilance as to not to fall into the Western imperialist trap of internalizing anti-Muslim prejudice in countering collusion. There are a number of forces on what one can say is broadly on the left who have fallen into this trap and have fallen victims to the ruling classes strategy of Islamophobia. However, those who are mistakenly thinking they are supporting Muslims by backing  death squads perhaps fail to appreciate that these death squad forces and British state collusion with them is designed exactly against Muslims who are, in terms of being targeted and in a quantitative sense the overwhelming victims of this joint enterprise between leading Nato countries, reactionary states and sectarian armed gangs. It is an integral part of British racist policy to on the one hand punish all Muslims for a situation of the British state’s making in allying with the very regimes who are espousing basically the same ideology as Al Qaeda and ‘Isis’; ensuring over the decades that Saudi Arabia is in control of most of teaching in mosques in Britain and oppose and overthrow all tolerant forces in Islam that are tied to different levels of independence struggles against imperialism. Having developed this grand neo-colonial entrapment strategy towards Muslims, the British state deceitfully blames Muslims for extremism, when the British state itself is by far the biggest culprit in developing this extremism but white washes this situation and instead hides its own covert and overt strategies in this field and engages in the promotion and inculcation of anti-Muslim racism amongst peoples of all communities but focused especially on white communities. If one looks back to the history of the Loyalist paramilitaries, like with the death squads in the Muslim world, both these forces were on the surface in contention with the British state, however similarly in both these situations having spats here and there with these death squads only hides and befuddles the actual relationship between them.

In the West increasing numbers of people, writers and analysts are uncovering the USA’s role in collusion with death squads in the Muslim world it is only amount of time before the levee breaks as it were on this issue and people who live in Britain will be asking more questions and demanding accountability and justice. However, we are nearly into the fifth year after Britain openly teamed up death squad forces in Libya, the very forces it has been saying it has been opposing in the ‘war on terror’, and for all this time there has been a great amount of resistance and avoidance of this growing scandal. For the few who have been trying to raise these issues, the response has too often been at best avoidance or more often attempts at shutting down any mention of the subject.

As our comrades in the Irish freedom struggle said in relation to the British state’s covert and not so covert operations in supporting the Loyalist gangs: “collusion is no illusion, it is state murder”. The Irish people’s demands and struggles were listened to and acted upon by leading sections of the British left, and the latter supported and continue to support the Irish struggle in their on-going campaigns against collusion. It is high time that the British left similarly listened to the people of Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, Mali and many other places and campaign to end this sordid relationship which is collapsing whole countries and regions into veritable living nightmares borne out of the policies of imperialism in an increasingly desperate and barbaric crisis mode.

[Sukant Chandan is a London-based decolonial anti-imperialist activist and analyst. He advocated justice for Libyans in visiting Libya three times during the Nato onslaught in 2011 and reports frequently on English-language news channels based in Russia, Iran, China and Lebanon on which he discusses issues pertaining to the challenges of the struggle to end neo-colonialism. He can be contacted at sukant.chandan@gmail.com.]

Thoughtful, Respectful, and Progressive: Regarding the “Responsibility to Protect”

Zero Anthropology

24 February 2013

by Maximilian Forte

laurentlouis

Some of this has already been raised, in my recent interview with Phil Taylor, plus in an excellent article by Ken Stone, “UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay: ‘Pretext-maker’ for Western Military Aggression,” and by The Wrong Kind of Green (“Must Watch: MP Laurent Louis Exposes International Neo-Colonialists Behind ‘War On Terror’ & ‘Humanitarian Interventions’ in Belgian Parliament“), probably my favourite website right now (see additional articles of relevance from WKG at the end).

At the focus here is a basic, honest response to what is being sold to us by various vested interests as the ideal form of “humanitarian action,” and specifically Western notions of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P). The response is not collegial, civil, comforting–that’s because the speaker has not yet been pacified and tamed, not even as an elected member of a European parliament. However great is the pressure to become structurally adjusted in a normative sense, and aligned with the new white woman’s burden, this speaker (Laurent Louis) bucks that trend.

MUST WATCH: MP Laurent Louis Exposes International Neo-Colonialists Behind “War on Terror” & “Humanitarian Interventions” in Belgian Parliament

“Fuck you to the leaders, left and right”

“Fuck you! – all the so-called do gooders, both left and right wingers or from the center who are today licking the boots of our corrupted powers and who will be pleased to ridicule me.”

Axis of Logic, Finding Clarity in the 21st Century Mediaplex

Jan 27, 2013

Editor’s Note (Axis of Logic): Laurent Louis, Minister of the Belgian Parliament delivers the truth about the French “total re-conquest” of Mali and the reasons that underlie this latest neo-colonial war in Africa. The 32 year old MP is one of the most vilified political figures in Europe and after viewing his speech it’s easy to understand why he’s being targeted. If the English subtitles do no appear on the video, click on “CC” on the bar at the bottom. Axis of Logic has also transcribed and done some mild editing with subtitles and added emphases for easier reading of this translation into English by Feuillien Geraldine*. Our transcription of the speech appears below the video. Les Blough, Editor

TRANSCRIPT:

Thank you, Mr. President. Dear Ministers, dear colleagues.

Belgium is indeed the land of surrealism. This morning we learned in the media that the Belgian army is incapable of fighting some extremist soldiers having radical Islamist beliefs existing within its own ranks and who cannot be dismissed by legal of legal means. However, at the same time, we decide to help France in its war against “Terror” by providing logistical support for its operation in Mali.

What wouldn’t we do in order to fight against terrorism outside our borders? I just hope we took care not to send for this anti-terrorist operation in Mali, these much talked about Belgian Islamist soldiers! I seem to be joking, but what is going on in the world today does not make me laugh at all. It doesn’t make me laugh because without any doubt, the leaders of our Western countries are taking the people for imbeciles with the help and support of the Media which are nothing more today than an organ of propaganda of the ruling powers.

Fighting “terrorism” for destabilization

Around the world, military actions and regime’s destabilization are becoming more and more frequent. Preventive war has become the rule. And today, in the name of democracy and the fight against terrorism our states grant themselves the right to violate the sovereignty of independent countries and to overthrow legitimate leaders. There has been Iraq and Afghanistan, the wars of the American lie. Came later, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya where thanks to your decisions, our country has been “first in line” to participate in crimes against humanity, in each case to overthrow progressive and moderated regimes and to replace them by Islamist regimes, and – isn’t it weird? – their first will was to impose Sharia law. This is exactly what is currently happening in Syria where Belgium is shamefully funding the arming of the Islamist rebels who are trying to overthrow Bashar Al Assad.

Thus in the midst of economic crisis, as more and more Belgians can no longer house themselves, feed, heat and cure themselves – Yeah, I can hear what a filthy populist I am – Well, the Minister of Foreign Affairs decided to offer the Syrian rebels 9 million euros! Of course, they’ll try to make us believe that this money will be used for humanitarian purposes … one more lie! As you can see, for months, our country is only participating to put in place, Islamic regimes in North Africa and the Middle East. So, when they come and pretend to go to war in order to fight against terrorism in Mali, well … I feel like laughing. It’s false! Under the appearance of good actions, we only intervene to defend financial interests and to complete a neo-colonialist mindset.

It’s real nonsense to go to help France in Mali in the name of the fight against Islamic terrorism when at the same time, we support in Syria the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad by Islamist rebels who want to impose Sharia law, as was done in Tunisia and in Libya. It is about time to stop lying to us and treating people like imbeciles. The time has come to tell the truth. Arming the Islamist Rebels, as Westerners have in the past armed Bin Laden, that friend of the Americans before they turned against him, well, the western countries are taking the opportunity to place military bases in the newly conquered countries while favoring domestic companies.

Everything is therefore strategic. In Iraq, our American allies have put their hands on the country’s oil wealth. In Afghanistan, it was its opium and drugs – always useful when it comes to make lots of money pretty quickly. In Libya, in Tunisia, in Egypt or then again in Syria, the aim was and still is today to overthrow moderate powers, to replace them by Islamist powers who very quickly will become troublesome and that we will shamelessly attack, pretending once again to fight terrorism or protect Israel.

Thus the next targets are already known. Within a few months I bet that our eyes will turn to Algeria and eventually to Iran. To go to war, to free people from an outside aggressor is noble. But to go to war to defend the interests of the USA … To go to war to defend the interests of big corporations such as AREVA … To go to war to put our hands on gold mines, has nothing noble at all and it reveals our countries to be attackers and thugs!

“Fuck you” to the leaders, left and right

No one dares to speak, but I will not shut up! And if my battle makes me look like an enemy of this system who flaunts the Human Rights in the name of financial, geo-strategic and neo-colonialist interests, so be it! Flaunting and exposing this regime is a duty and makes me proud. And honestly, I apologize for my low class speech, but fuck you, all the so-called do-gooders, both left and right wingers or from the center who are today licking the boots of our corrupted powers and who will be pleased to ridicule me. Fuck you all, leaders who are playing with your bombs as kids do in a playground! Fuck you! – you who pretend to be democrats while you are nothing more than low class criminals. I don’t have much respect either for the journalists who have the audacity to label the opponents as mentally retarded while basically, they know very well that these opponents are right. Finally, I despise at the highest point those who believe they are the kings of the world and who are dictating their laws because I am on the side of the truth, the side of justice, the side of innocent victims of looting at all costs.

Opposing the pro-war resolution

And it is for this reason that I have decided to clearly oppose this resolution. Since the beginning of the French operation, the lie has been organized. We are told that France is only answering the call for help of a Malian president. We almost forget that this president has no legitimacy and that he was put in place to ensure the transition following the coup of March 2012.

Who supported this coup d’état? Who started it? For whom is this president of transition actually working? This is the first lie! The French president, François Hollande dares to pretend to wage this war to fight against jijadists who threaten (Ohhh do you realize!) who threaten the French and European territory! But what an ugly lie! By taking the official argument, while taking the opportunity to frighten the population, increasing the terror alert level, implementing the Vigipirate plan our leaders and media are demonstrating an un-imaginable outrage! How dare they use such a point while France and Belgium have not hesitated to arm and support Jihadists in Libya and that these same countries continue to support these Jihadists in Syria. The pretext hides strategic and economic purposes.

Our countries are no longer fearing inconsistency because everything is done to hide it. But the inconsistency is well present. It is not tomorrow that you’ll see a Malian citizen commit an act of terrorism in Europe. No, unless we’ll suddenly create one so we an justify this military operation. Haven’t we created September 11th, after all, to justify the invasions, arbitrary arrest, torture and massacre of innocent populations? Thus, to create a Malian terrorist is no big deal!

Protection of Human Rights as a pretext for war

Another pretext used these recent months to justify military operations is the protection of Human Rights AHHH! … This pretext is still used today to justify the war in Mali. But yes! We have to act, otherwise the evil Islamists will impose Sharia law in Mali, stoning women and cutting the thugs’ hands off. Oh! The intention is truly noble. Noble and salutary for sure. But then why is it, Good Lord, why is that our countries have contributed in Tunisia and Libya to the accession to power of Islamists who have decided to apply this Sharia Law in these countries which were still not so long ago, modern and progressive?

I invite you to ask the young Tunisians who have launched the revolution in Tunisia, if they are happy with their current situation? This is all hypocrisy. The purpose of this war in Mali is very clear. And since nobody will talk about it, I WILL. The purpose is to fight against China and allow our American ally to maintain its presence in Africa and the Middle East. This is what guides these new-colonialist operations. And you will see, when the military operation will be over, France will, of course, keep its military bases in Mali. These bases will be a benefit to the Americans as well. Western corporates will put their hands on juicy contracts that will once again deprive re-colonized countries of their wealth and raw materials.

Mali’s wealth and the beneficiaries of the war

So let’s be clear, the primary beneficiaries of this military operation will be the owners and shareholders of the French giant AREVA who has been trying for years to obtain a uranium mine in Falea, a town of 17,000 inhabitants located at 350 km from Bamako. And I don’t know why but my little finger is telling me that it won’t take long before AREVA will eventually exploit that mine. I don’t know, it’s an impression I have. It is therefore out of the question that I would take part in this colonialist mining – that modern times colonialism. And for those who have doubt about my arguments, I sincerely invite them to learn about the wealth of Mali. Mali is a major producer of gold, but recently it has been designated, recently, eh … – as being a country that offers a world class environment for the exploitation of uranium. How strange! One step closer to a war against Iran, it is obvious.

Time to get Belgium out of UN, NATO & EU

For all these reasons and in order to not fall into the traps of lies they are telling us, I’ve decided not to give my support to that intervention in Mali. Therefore, I will vote against it. And by doing so, I’m being consistent since I never supported in the past our criminal interventions in Libya or in Syria, and so being the only MP in this country to defend the non-interference and the fight against obscure interests. I really think it is about time to put an end to our participation in the UN or NATO and get out of the EU if Europe instead of providing peace becomes a weapon of attack and destabilization of sovereign countries, submissive to financial rather than human interests.

Opponents to Mali Regime are not “terrorists.”

Finally, I can only urge our government to remind President Hollande the obligations resulting from the Geneva Conventions regarding the respect of all prisoners of war. Indeed, I was shocked to hear on television from the mouth of the French President that his intention was to “destroy” – I say “destroy” – Islamist terrorists. So, I do not want the qualification to be used to name the opponents to the Malian regime – it is always convenient today to talk about Islamic terrorists – to be used to circumvent the obligations of any democratic state in terms of respecting the rights of prisoners of war. We expect such respect from the Fatherland of Human Rights.

In conclusion, let me emphasize how lightly we decide to go to war. First, the government acts without any consent from the Parliament. It appears as though it has the right to do so. It sends equipment, men to Mali. The Parliament subsequently reacts and when it responds, as today, well, this institution [today] happens to be composed of only 1/3 of its members. Much less if we speak of the French speaking MPs. It is therefore a guilty lightness which does not really surprise me, coming from a Parliament of Puppies, submitted to the dictates of political parties. Thank you.

*Translation: Geraldine Feuillien)

MALI UNDER ATTACK | April 2012 Car Crash Revealed Elite U.S. Commandos/Secret U.S. Operations in Mali

Mysterious fatal crash provides rare glimpse of U.S. commandos in Mali

The military operation in Mali launched on January 11 is another vivid example of special activities aimed at recolonization of the African continent. It’s an orderly and consistent capture of new African territories by Western powers. They have got hold of Sudan by dismembering it (taking away the oil deposits from the major part of the country), the Nigerian oilfields have been captured in accordance with the International Court of Justice rulings, (1), Libya has been captured as a result of direct military intervention, Cote D’Ivoire has been conquered thanks to a small-scale military action conducted under the aegis of the United Nations. The way to do the things differ, but the result is the same. The process of recolonization picks up momentum in Africa… – Military Intervention in Mali: Special Operation to Recolonize Africa, January 14, 2013

Rebel Groups In Africa, How Are They Funded?

January 9, 2013,

Honourable Saka

Project Pan Africa

 

“It is high time Africans begun finding answers to some of these questions. Until then, let us pretend we have no idea and continue to stay unconcerned and watch while these rebel groups gradually take over our once peaceful continent, and spread the chaos, instability, wars and many more wars across Africa.”

BOLIVIA: “THIS IS A COP OF CLIMATE CHANGE NOT A COP OF CARBON TRADE”

December 4, 2012

Censored News

 
UNBALANCED NEGOTIATIONS AND VERY PARTIAL VISIONS
Bolivia continues the fight against carbon markets, and the bias that prevents the voice of developing countries from being heard

By Plurinational State of Bolivia
Censored News

DOHA, Qatar — 4 December 2012 — During the plenary of Cooperation Actions of Long Term (ACL), or table of financing that summarizes the prospect of this working group, the text of conclusions has been proposed, which supposedly reflect the positions and proposals of countries forming part of the working group.

However the Vice-Chancellor of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Juan Carlos Alurralde said, “The text was imbalanced and did not include the position and proposals of developing countries, since it was not adaptation, transfer of technology, attention to disaster, or financing that were the fundamental agreements in Bali,” said Alurralde.

“Ironically in the document are the mechanisms based on the carbon market, and exclude the proposal uploaded for Bolivia, the mechanism of no market within financing, a topic of great concern for those who support this proposal, countries such as China, Cuba, Egypt, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Iraq, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Sudan, Venezuela and others,” said the Vice Chancellor.

“These had not considered the proposal to not market, by the Facilitator, who is Chilean. This concerned the Vice-Chancellor, since no one wants to think that there is some sort of discrimination or bilateral rematch, to an issue such as the sea that is bilateral.”

“However it is very evident that the facilitator of the ACL has overlooked entirely the proposals to not market, that’s why Bolivia with a very strong position going to trace the theme and raise the formation of working groups that raise profound decisions, and does listen to the voices of the world” pointed out Alurralde.

Regarding the actions to be taken by Bolivia, the Vice Chancellor noted that: “Bolivia has a very strong visible voice and together with the countries that worked on the proposals to not market, will hear criticisms to the head of the ACL group and the respective claim to the facilitator, to organize in working groups that make listening to the voice of our countries to the world and this Conference negotiators, urged the Vice-Chancellor.

BOLIVIA: “THIS IS A COP OF CLIMATE CHANGE NOT A COP OF CARBON TRADE”

UNIDAD MADRE TIERRA Y AGUA / MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES ESTADO PLURINACIONAL DE BOLIVI
DOHA, Qatar — December 4th

The day of the COP inauguration, a conference about CARBON TRADE took place facilitated by Nicholas Stern. The event had the presence of ministers and other authorities of different countries. Surprisingly the center of the discussion was how to allow developed countries that are not going to be part of the second commitment period of KP to have access to market mechanisms of the same KP that they deny to be applicable to them.

Another central issue was how to solve the crisis of the carbon market. Half of the 100 billion dollars to be provided for climate change by 2020 would come from carbon credits, commented Mr. Stern. The collapse of prices in carbon market is a menace to financial provision for climate change, expressed Stern. A dynamic debate took place in the event in order to bring solutions to the carbon crisis.

This debate is beginning to dominate the agenda of discussion in COP18, pushed by developed countries. Are we going to allow this COP about climate change to become a COP of carbon trade?

That was a question raised by Juan Carlos Alurralde the Vice Chancellor of Bolivia, who was present in the conference. When he took the floor he expressed the following words: “… Carbon markets are not a solution to the climate change crisis… Instead of discussing one of the instruments for supporting mitigation actions, which is carbon markets.; I repeat: ONE of the instruments which effectiveness is still pending of analysis, but from our view is a complete mistake, instead of that, we should discuss the structural elements of a comprehensive response to Climate Change Crisis.
It’s seems that developed countries are more interested in the carbon markets business that in the ultimate goal of this conference which is the structural solutions for this planet and future generations Carbon markets are just business for some but a bad solution for Mother Earth, facilitating developed countries not to make real domestic reductions.

We have to say that at least four realistic predictable risks are linked to the application and generalization of carbon markets: 1. Double counting implying an additional 1,6 Gigatones (GT) to the atmosphere. 2. Non aditionalities with an increase of 0,4 GT Gigatones 3. The use of the carry over which implies 11 GT 4.

The opening of opportunities for creating bilateral trading carbon agreements without accounting for the rules, monitoring and regulation. We came from very far to try to find solutions and alternatives to bring the opportunity to future generations to live with dignity in this planet, and definitely the Carbon market mechanisms are not the solution…”

Coup in Mali Exposes All Opportunists Which Feed Off African Resources

Apr 6, 2012

What began as a mutiny on March 22, 2012 at Kati’s army barracks near Bamako quickly became a coup against the former general, Amadou Toumani Touré.

Public speculation has it that the reason for the overthrow was Touré’s incompetence. Captain Amadou Sanogo, a coup leader, argued that the ousted government had failed to provide the national army with adequate means to defeat the rebellion against the Taureg people in the north of Mali.

At no point have coup leaders spoken out against imperialism or neocolonialism. History has shown us that military coups are a quick way for elements of the military sector of the African petty bourgeoisie to seize power and secure large chunks of resources for themselves.

Touré himself came into power in a coup against the former neocolonial dictator, Moussa Traore, in March 1991.

Today, the constitution of Mali has been suspended, its borders closed, and several ministers arrested.

The deposed president is currently in hiding.

Neocolonialism benefits only the parasitic imperialists in Mali

The neocolonial state was created to repress the toiling masses, for the benefit of parasitic French rulers and black collaborators.

The country of Mali is a former French colony landlocked between Algeria, Guinea, Niger, Senegal, Côte D’ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mauritania — artificial borders created by white rulers at the 1884-85 Berlin Conference, with neither the consent nor the participation of African people.

Some observers feel there is evidence of a U.S.-led white imperialist scheme to carve up Africa and recolonize it at the expense of Africans.

Mali is vulnerable to severe drought conditions and hunger. Its most important mineral export is gold, but the reality is that Mali cannot develop economically within its present context, which is determined by imperial powers that are lining up to exploit its vast resources, including increasing U.S. influence.

The U.S. provides “military and economic aid of $70 million each year and another $70 million for food and other humanitarian needs.”

As a result of this U.S. intrusion, Mali has now been brought into a U.S.-led military program known as the Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI).

Colonial borders represent the status quo: tear them down!

Despite the coup, power remains in the hands of the African petty bourgeois, class-enemy-from-within that rules at the expense the African working class and the poor peasantry.

The liberal democratic rights that we saw in Mali were actually a political space for sectors of the African petty bourgeoisie to compete for access to State power — not a space where imperialism could be fought.

We must turn our backs on both coup leaders and the deposed government.

We need a transformation of Mali — powered by the people — to satisfy the material needs and legitimate aspirations of the people of Mali.

Workers, peasants and honest progressive forces, including progressives in the armed forces in Mali, must fight for a people’s State.

The people’s State must be based on struggle for a revolutionary national democratic program that will sweep away all remnants of the neocolonial State, which is rotten to the core.

This type of State, created to repress the toiling masses for the benefit of parasitic French rulers and black collaborators, must go.

The democratization of Mali must mean that the people come to power anchored around a new revolutionary State, which must be born against parasitic capitalism and Berlin conference-created nationality, which does not serve the African working class in Mali or anywhere else.

Any news or “aid” coming from the African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), United Nations or coup leaders represents the status quo.