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Africa Awaits the Aftershock After Defying President Trump in the United Nations General Assembly

By Mary Serumaga | CounterPunch | December 27, 2017

President Trump’s recent defeat in his effort unilaterally to alter the status of Jerusalem in defiance of international law highlights the nature of the relationship between the United States and African countries. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations let it be known before the vote on the General assembly resolution that Donald Trump will take personally any opposition to his policy on Jerusalem. The President himself has made allusions to countries that take American billions and then do what they like. In effect, the United States is monetizing loyalty to President Trump.

American frustration with the United Nations is not new. There were similar immoderate reactions to resolutions that went against State Department policy in the 1960s when Burkina Faso (then called Upper Volta), Nigeria, Ghana and Guinea, four of the thirty-six African countries that voted for the resolution to uphold international law on Jerusalem’s status (outnumbering African abstainers and no-shows combined) showed independence of thought from the United States. Then, as now, American money had been wrongly assumed to guarantee deference to the State Department. [1]

Among the many issues in contention in the 1960s were i. admission of Communist China to the General Assembly, ii. African arms proliferation, and perhaps most important of all, iii. régime-change in Congo by the removal of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s newly elected leader in favour of his opponents backed by Belgium, the UK and the United States.

During the Congo crisis, the U.S paid a substantial proportion of the cost of the UN peace-keepers in Congo (40% according to David N. Gibbs and 50 % according to Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Anderson) and  grew increasingly disgruntled with its inability to dominate the situation.[2]

“Secretary Herter said he had the strong feeling that our interests have not been advanced by the way the UN operation in the Congo had been conducted. In response to a question from the President, Secretary Herter said both the Secretary General of the UN and Dayal, the UN Representative in the Congo, were responsible for this situation. […]

“The President said one of our most serious problems soon would be the determination of our relations with the UN. He felt the UN had made a major error in admitting to membership any nation claiming independence. Ultimately, the UN may have to leave U.S. territory. (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XX, Congo Crisis, Document 4, Editorial Note.)[3]  

U.S. policy towards the UN became aggressive. The Administration felt itself to be in a strong enough position to demand staff changes at UN Headquarters and to determine the composition of United Nations Operation, Congo (UNOC) in order to attain its objective of dictating political developments in that country. Having encouraged Congolese Chief of State Kasavubu to denounce elected Prime Minister Lumumba in a radio broadcast, resulting in Lumumba’s seeking refuge under UN military guard, American officials became concerned that Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Congo, Rajeshwar Dayal, was in favour of Lumumba’s reinstatement (UN troops had blocked four attempts to abduct Lumumba by Congolese troops loyal to the opposition.)

Meanwhile African countries in favour of reinstating Lumumba attended a conference in Casablanca and discussed withdrawing their troops from UNOC in protest of Lumumba’s treatment. In a telegram to the U.S. mission to the UN dated January 12, 1961, the Department of State said:

“You should approach SYG [acronym for UN Secretary General] soonest with view obtaining his full assessment current situation in Congo. In course discussion you should make following points:

U.S. greatly concerned that situation in Congo has seriously deteriorated despite fact UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] has accepted Kasavubu authority and UN has nearly 20,000 troops stationed in Congo. Pro-Lumumba elements, with outside support contrary to UN resolutions, extending their influence to substantial part of Congo territory. We are especially disturbed at reports, as yet unconfirmed, that participants Casablanca Conference secretly agreed there should be coup d’etat in March in which their troops would be used outside UNOC framework to assist in restoring Lumumba to power, confronting UN with fait accompli. We believe SYG should be reminded strongly that if Congo falls under Communist domination while UN sharing major responsibility for security of country, the results in U.S. public and Congressional opinion likely to be extremely damaging to UN. We therefore request he consider taking all necessary steps to rectify situation. Following are concrete suggestions we hope he will consider urgently:

+ Replace Dayal soonest (emphasis added). As result series of incidents, we have no doubt Dayal’s sympathy for return Lumumba and that his conduct of UNoperations reflects this bias. We believe his removal too long delayed, and that Dayal’s activities have contributed substantially to deterioration of situation in Congo.

+ Now that Guineahas requested withdrawal its troops from UNCommand, we believe SYG should consider encouraging withdrawal of those other contingents who have proved most unreliable and who threatened withdrawal anyway. In particular, Ghana, the UAR and perhaps even Morocco.

+ To fill future requirement, believe SYG should again consider urgently requesting troops from more reliable countries, such as French-African States, Latin America, etc. and increasing contingents from reliable countries already furnishing forces.”[4]

During this time the U.S. reconsidered its relationship with the UN. It was uncomfortable with the new African membership which displayed a trait of voting independently of the American position. More than ten African countries attained independence in 1960 alone.

“The President said one of our most serious problems soon would be the determination of our relations with the UN. He felt the UN had made a major error in admitting to membership any nation claiming independence. Ultimately, the UN may have to leave U.S. territory. (emphasis added)”[5]

By the time the National Security Council (NSC) was being told this, the Department of State together with the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. ambassador to Congo, Clare Timberlake had established contact with one Colonel Joseph Mobutu, commander of the Congolese army loyal to the administration in Leopoldville. Mobutu, not yet a strongman in 1960, had witnessed an abortive attempt by President Kasavubu, coached by the U.S., to unseat the elected Prime Minister of Congo by means of a parliamentary vote of no-confidence. Mobutu approached the CIA Station in Leopoldville and expressed his determination to keep Communism out of Congo. As a result, he was co-opted as the U.S. main contact in Congo eventually gaining Western support for his palace coup and going on to rule for thirty-two undemocratic and resource-draining years.

Newly independent African countries were recognized as a matter of course, as and when they gained independence. Two types of leaders are discernible to U.S. officials; the ‘moderate’ or ‘pro-Western’ or more accurately, the amenable to U.S. promptings and proposals and the ‘irresponsible’, ‘radical’, ‘xenophobic Nationalists’ who insisted on political positions in their own domestic, pan-African and Afro-Asian interests and not necessarily the U.S. national interest.

By January 1960, President Eisenhower had already reconciled himself to the possibility of working with dictators “although we cannot say it publicly, […] we need the strongmen of Africa on our side.”[6] The advantage was that through them he could side-step the Pan-African movement and the Afro-Asian Bloc in the UN.

Among the ‘responsible’ was President Houphouët-Boigny of Ivory Coast who was not only merely neutral in the Cold War but positively anti-Communist. He was also anti-pan Africanist Kwame Nkrumah who he portrayed as having illusions of grandeur, (“He believes that he is descended to earth to liberate the African masses.”) and Lumumba (who he described as being ‘changeable’ by reason of his limited education and inexperience). He undertook to counsel them both as well as Sékou Touré of Guinea (another country out of American favour) and assured American officials they could all be brought back to the fold.

Boigny pledged to keep his country free of Soviet influence but said this would need to be facilitated by the U.S. An arrangement is described under which Boigny was to be accompanied to the UN General Assembly by several Entente economic experts to demonstrate the Western support he enjoyed. Boigny planned to develop an African Front to oppose the Afro-Asian Bloc.

In return he was promised,

 “the United States will extend sympathy and material support to him personally (emphasis mine) and to the four associated states [likely Dahomey (now in Benin), Niger, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso) and Togo which were forming an entente to be led by Boigny]. “We hope thereby to strengthen one of the most staunchly pro-Western African leaders to continue his guiding influence on the future not only of these states but of others in the region.”[7]

Mali and Guinea on the other hand were judged to be slipping (towards the Sino-Soviet Bloc.) Liberia, at the time America’s only true satellite in Africa, was not strategically important on the same level as Ghana, Nigeria or Congo but the state of its capital city was said to be an embarrassment to the U.S., requiring urgent cosmetic enhancement.

Support for military and other African dictators solidified as American foreign policy through the 1970s. President Nixon’s Bureau for African Affairs justified the supply of arms to military dictators on the basis that they were unlikely to be used to attack neighbours and that they were necessary to maintain internal order, i.e. to keep the régime in power.[8]

It should be noted that despite Ivory Coast’s long history of neo-colonial collaboration with America and France under Boigny’s long tenure as President (he doubled the life expectancy of the average Ivorian), UNICEF economic indicators for the 21st century show that country’s human development outcomes to be at par with poorer, landlocked countries and countries that followed a different path. Life expectancy there is lower than in most countries and a good five years shorter than in Ivory Coast’s neighbours.[9] This is because while Ghana’s Nkrumah, Senegal’s Dia, Congo’s Lumumba, Togo’s Olympio and others sought aid to develop their countries, Boigny like Mobutu sought and received financial support for himself. Both built multi-million dollar monuments to themselves (Boigny: a basilica in his hometown surpassing St Peter’s in the Vatican in size and Mobutu’s Gbadolite palace complex (airport, hotel and cinema included), again in his home town built and furnished with materials imported from Italy and France.

Relations with other African Leaders

Prime Minister Abubakar Balewa of Nigeria visited President Eisenhower a week after his country gained independence.[10] Balewa was an avowed anti-Communist. However he was clear that while he wanted to emulate American-style democracy and institutions he had no interest in joining any ‘power bloc.’ He said while some smaller nations were turning to the Eastern Bloc for assistance, Nigeria would not. He then requested bilateral aid arrangements which Eisenhower agreed to consider. President Eisenhower assured him, “…we put great interest and stock in Nigeria…we will be depending on Nigeria heavily.” before describing the type of infrastructural loans Nigeria could expect from the UN Special Fund for Africa.

Nigerian development and U.S.’ voting positions in the UN General Assembly are discussed in the same conversation and the same exchange – they were one and the same thing; one was unlikely to be offered without the satisfaction of the other.

Later in the conversation in answer to Prime Minister Balewa’s question, President Eisenhower stated that should Nigeria vote in favour of Red Chinese representation at the UN it would “constitute such a repudiation of the U.S. that we would be in a hard fix indeed.” [11] In the event Nigeria did vote against the U.S. position and the U.S. began to doubt whether Nigeria could be relied upon to champion another matter important to them: an arms limitation agreement governing African countries.

“It has been suggested that Nigeria might be the most suitable country to provide African initiative for the exploration of this possibility. However, the behavior of the Nigerian delegation in the current General Assembly now causes some doubt in this regard.”[12]

The bluntly-spoken Prime Minister Sylvanus Olympio of Togo said in his deliberations with U.S. officials that he preferred multilateral aid to avoid the “power politics and trouble” that he believed came with bilateral aid.

In a courtesy call to the White House in 1960, President Dia of Senegal expressed willingness to have close relations with the U.S. saying he had no anxiety about political, economic, cultural or ideological domination by the U.S. He then made arrangements for a technical assistance programme to be drawn up by his aides who were to remain behind in Washington for the purpose. [13]

Recently Senegal has voted twice in support of international law governing Palestine. In 2016 together with three other non-African countries it moved a Security Council resolution that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

If President Trump carries out his threats, Senegal is likely to face the type of ‘power politics and trouble’ Togo has been anxious to avoid since the 1960s. In December 2017, Togo was the only African country to vote with the USA and Israel. Benin (Dahomey), once part of the Boigny-led entente, abstained.

With current voting patterns, it remains to be seen whether backing dictatorial régimes on the African continent will remain viable as U.S. foreign policy. While the potential availability of American development assistance did not prevent most African countries from standing on their own principles in the 1960s, the active promotion of dictatorship undermined and eventually killed the pan-African movement. However, the entry of China as a new development partner may free African leaders to govern independently of Western (and hopefully Chinese) domination.

Uganda, one of the remaining strongman states is a major recipient of American military largesse and host to American military personnel. But Uganda also collaborates closely with China and abstained from the vote. Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Lesotho and Malawi also abstained. The no-shows, which arithmetically at least, are as good as abstentions, were all African and included Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, and Zambia. All, except Swaziland have deep economic ties with the People’s Republic of China.

Notes.

[1] Other African supporters of international law were Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Dijbouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

[2] At the 456th meeting of the NSC.

[3] See also Foreign Relations 1958-1960, Volume XIV , Doc. 29, Report of the Conference of Principle Diplomatic and Consular Officers of North and West Africa[3], Tangier, May 30-June 2, 1960.

[4] FRUS, 1961–1963 Volume XX, Congo Crisis Doc. 5. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations, Washington, January 12, 1961, 8:22 p.m.

[5] FRUS, 1961–1963 Volume XX, Congo Crisis, Doc. 4.

[6] See FRUS 1958-1960, Africa, Vol. XIV General Policy, page 75, Doc. 21, Memorandum of Discussion at the 432nd Meeting of the National Security Council January 14, 1960.

[7]FRUS 1958-1960 v.14 Newly Independent States, Doc. 65 Memorandum from Secretary of State Herter to President Eisenhower, August 5, 1960.

[8] FRUS, 1969–1976 Volume E–6, Documents on Africa, 1973–1976, Document 4, Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Ross) to the Under Secretary of State for Security Affairs (Tarr), Washington, April 10, 1973.

[9] UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/

[10] FRUS 1958-1960, Africa, Vol. XIV General Policy Doc. 38, Instruction from the Department of State to Various Diplomatic Posts and Missions, November 25, 1960.

[11] FRUS 1958-1960 v.14 Newly Independent States Document 77, Memorandum of Conference with President Eisenhower, October 8, 1960.

[12] “Nigeria had voted against U.S. positions regarding Chinese representation, the allocation of the Cuban complaint to the Political Committee, and the Ethiopian resolution against nuclear weapons. (Memorandum from Herz to Kellogg, November 7; Department of State, AF/AFI Files: Lot 69 D 295, Arms for Africa”

[13] FRUS 1958-1960 v.14 Newly Independent States, Doc.88. Memorandum of Conversation, December 9, 1960.

Mary Serumaga is a Ugandan law graduate who has worked in public sector reform and spent several years in advocacy, and as a volunteer care worker for asylum-seekers. Her essays have been published in Transition (Hutchins Press), The Elephant, Pambazuka News, Foreign Policy Journal, Africa is a Country, the Observer (Uganda) and King’s Review. The Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt website carries her articles on debt.

December 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US drone strikes double in Somalia, triple in Yemen under Trump administration: Report

Press TV – December 21, 2017

There has been a sharp rise in the number of US drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia since US President Donald Trump took office, says a report.

In March, Trump gave the US military authority to carry out airstrikes without notifying the government in regions designated as areas with “active hostilities.”

“In Yemen, 30 strikes hit within a month of the declaration being reported – nearly as many as the whole of 2016. Most of the 125 strikes in 2017 hit in central Yemen, where the US military’s Central Command vigorously pursued fighters from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),” said the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Yemen has come under regular US drone strikes, with Washington claiming to be targeting al-Qaeda militants while local sources say civilians have been the main victims.

The London-based NGO noted that the number of strikes doubled in Somalia and tripled in Yemen since Trump began his term in January 2017.

“In Somalia, the Obama administration had officially designated the al-Shabab group as an al-Qaeda affiliate at the end of November 2016, essentially widening who could be targeted. But there was no increase in strikes until July 2017, with all but two of this year’s 32 strikes carried out since then,” it added.

The Pentagon has been carrying out airstrikes and ground raids in Somalia for a decade, initially using helicopters and AC-130 gunships.

In June 2011, American forces began using drones to carry out the strikes, in a mission which has so far failed to uproot militancy in the country.

December 21, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Slave markets in ‘liberated’ Libya and the silence of the humanitarian hawks

By Neil Clark  | RT | December 1, 2017

The reports that black Africans are being sold at slave markets in ‘liberated’ Libya for as little as $400 is a terrible indictment of the so-called ‘humanitarian intervention’ carried out by NATO to topple the government of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In March 2011 virtue-signaling Western ‘liberal’ hipsters teamed up with hardcore neocon warmongers to demand action to ‘save’ the Libyan people from the ‘despotic’ leader who had ruled the country since the late 1960s. “Something has to be done!” they cried in unison.

Something was done. Libya was transformed by NATO from the country with the highest Human Development Index in the whole of Africa in 2009 into a lawless hell-hole, with rival governments, warlords and terror groups fighting for control of the country.

Under Gaddafi, Libyans enjoyed free health care and education. Literacy rates went up from around 25 percent to almost 90 percent. A UN Human Rights Council report on Libya from January 2011, in which member states praised welfare provision, can be read here.

It was clear that while there were still areas of concern the country was continuing to make progress on a number of fronts.

In the Daily Telegraph – hardly a paper which could be accused of being an ideological supporter of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – Libya was hailed as one of the top six exotic cruise ship destinations in June 2010.

Cruise ships don’t have Libya on their itineraries today. It’s far too dangerous.

The only surprising thing about the return of slave markets (and it’s worth pointing out that before the CNN report, the UN agency, IOM also reported on their existence in Libya earlier this year) is that anyone should be surprised by it. Human rights and social progress usually go back hundreds of years whenever a NATO ‘humanitarian’ intervention takes place. And that’s not accidental. The ‘interventions,’ which purposely involve heavy bombing of the country’s infrastructure and the subsequent dismantling of the state apparatus are designed to reverse decades of social progress. The ‘failure to plan’ is actually the most important part of the plan, as my fellow OpEdger Dan Glazebrook details in his book Divide and Destroy – The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis.

Libya was targeted, like Yugoslavia and Iraq before it, not because of genuine concerns that ‘another Srebrenica’ was about to take place, (note the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee report of September 2016 held that ‘the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence’) but because it was a resource-rich country with an independently-minded government which operated a predominantly state-owned socialistic economy in a strategically important part of the world.

Neither Libya, Iraq or Yugoslavia did the bidding of the West’s endless war lobby, which is why they were earmarked for destruction. The chaos which routinely follows a NATO regime change op is a ghastly experience for the locals, who see their living standards plummet and their risk of violent death in a terrorist attack greatly increase, but great for rapacious Western corporations who then move in to the ‘liberated’ country en masse, taking advantage of the lack of a strong central authority.

Of course, this is never mentioned in NATO-friendly media. The role of the Western elites in turning previously functioning welfare states into failed states is missing from most mainstream reports on the countries post ‘liberation.’

In his recent piece for FAIR, journalist Ben Norton noted how reports “overwhelmingly spoke of slavery in Libya as an apolitical and timeless human rights issue, not as a political problem rooted in very recent history.”

The dominant narrative is that slave markets have re-emerged in Libya ‘as if by magic,’just like Mr. Benn’s shopkeeper. The country’s ’instability’ is mentioned, but not the cause of that instability, namely the violent overthrow of the country’s government in 2011 and the Western backing of extremist, and in some cases blatantly racist, death squads. Everyone is blamed for the mess except the powerful, protected people and lobbyists who are ultimately responsible.

The French government played a leading role in the destruction of Libya in 2011, yet today the French president, the ‘progressive’ Emmanuel Macron blames ‘Africans’ for the country’s slavery problem. “Who are the traffickers? Ask yourselves – being the African youth – that question. You are unbelievable. Who are the traffickers? They are Africans, my friends. They are Africans.”

Macron, like other Western leaders, wants us to see the slavery issue in close-up, and not in long-shot. Because if we do, NATO comes into the picture.

There is similar whitewashing over Iraq and the rise of ISIS. Again, we are supposed to regard the group’s emergence as “just one of those things.” But ISIS was not a force when the secular Baathist Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq; it only grew following his ousting and the chaos which followed the occupiers’ dismantling of the entire state apparatus.

Six-and-a-half years on, it’s revealing to look back at the things the cheerleaders for the ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Libya were saying in early 2011 and what actually happened as a result of NATO’s 26,500 sorties.

“The price of inaction is too high” was the title of one piece by David Aaronovitch in The Times, dated March 18, 2011. “If we don’t bomb Gadaffi’s tanks, Europe is likely to face a wave of refugees and a new generation of jihadis,” was the synopsis.

Guess what? The West’s military alliance did bomb Gaddafi’s tanks (and a lot more besides) and we got “a wave of refugees” of Biblical proportions and “a new generation of jihadis,” including the Manchester Arena bomber, Salman Abedi.

But there’s been no mea culpa from Aaronovitch, nor from his Times colleague Oliver Kamm – who attacked me after I had penned an article in the Daily Express calling for NATO to halt its action.

In the Telegraph, Matthew d’Ancona wrote a piece entitled ‘Libya is Cameron’s chance to exorcise the ghost of Iraq.’

In fact, the experience of Iraq should have led all genuine humanitarians to oppose the NATO assault. In many ways, as John Wight argues here,

Libya was an even worse crime than the invasion of Iraq because it came afterward. There was really no excuse for anyone seeing how the ‘regime change’ operation of 2003 had turned out, supporting a similar venture in North Africa.

Unsurprisingly the politicians and pundits who couldn’t stop talking about Libya in 2011 and the West’s ‘responsibility to protect’ civilians seem less keen to talk about the country today.

Libya and its problems have vanished from the comment pages. It’s the same after every Western ‘intervention’: saturation coverage before and during the ‘liberation,’ bellicose calls from the totally unaccountable neocon/liberal punditocracy for military action to ‘save the people’ from the latest ‘New Hitler,’ and then silence afterwards as the country hurtles back in time to the Dark Ages.

The ‘liberators’ of Libya have moved on to other more important things in 2017, with Russophobia the current obsession. Anything, in fact, to distract us from the disastrous consequences of their actions.

Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66

Read more:

Macron urges military action in Libya to fight human trafficking

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Mainstream Media’s double-betrayal of Libya

By Adam Garrie Adam Garrie | The Duran | November 26, 2017

The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya whose most prominent leader was Muammar Gaddafi, even after he relinquished titular status, was a country that moulded itself on the unique Third International Theory. This new ideology combined elements of traditional Arab Nationalism, the socialist model of Yugoslavia, direct democracy and pan-Africanism.

As detailed on his Green Books, Gaddafi’s official ideas helped develop Libya from a state which in its pre-revolutionary days had virtually no modern infrastructure, little modern housing, no real modern irrigation or sewage systems, low levels of literacy and a very low life expectancy, to one which attained the highest living standards in Africa history, where housing was either cheap or free, education and healthcare were free, petrol and car ownership was subsidised by the state, food was cheap and plentiful and where a highly elaborate man made river made the desert bloom.

But above all of these achievements, Gaddafi’s revolutionary leadership helped close the gap between Arabism and the pan-African liberation movement.

Gaddafi’s foreign policy could not be easily pinned-down into any specific geo-political bloc. He was his own man and the foreign policy of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya reflected this.

Libya was the only Arab state to support Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, apart from Syria and likewise, one of the few states in the wider Muslim world to support the socialist Yugoslav government in its war against terrorism and fascism during the 1990s.

As Gadafi became increasingly ostracised by Arab League governments who loathed his independent streak in foreign policy and moreover, resented Libya’s general independence from the western financial system, Gaddafi turned increasingly little to the prodigal Arab world and more towards Africa.

Gaddafi supported every major African liberation movement on the continent, even those who were rejected by both China and the Soviet Union. South Africa’s Nelson Mandela maintained a lifelong friendship with Gaddafi whom he called ‘Brother Gaddafi’, as did many Africans.

But Gaddafi did more than support liberation movements in Africa. Because the economic boom Gaddafi created required a larger labour force than Libyans could provide, Gaddafi invited many black Africans to work in the Arab state. They were paid incredibly well, not just by African but international standards and they became integrated into Libyan society in spite of their racial backgrounds. While most of the black Africans who came to Libya were Muslims, some Christians also come and they were treated with the same courtesy as Muslims.

This was Libya then. Today, Libya is a failed state with several governments and many terrorist groups and piratical gangs competing for land, resources and influence. Among the first casualties of Libyan society when NATO invaded, was the safety of the black population. From the beginning of the NATO led war, black men and women in Libya were beaten, tortured, physically molested in other unspeakable ways and of course many more were killed. Those who could escape, did so, with many dying of dehydration in the desert, during the process.

Shortly after 2011, captured blacks became literally enslaved by various Takfiri gangs ruling Libya. This trend is nothing new, all that has changed is that the price of a black slave has recently gone up from the low hundreds or a few barrels of oil, to at most, the mid hundreds.

It has only been since the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq that the western mainstream media has paid any attention to the tragic condition of black men and women in Libya. From 2011 until very recently, very little was ever said about this tragic development.

While some welcome this apparent about face from the mainstream media, I would urge caution. It was the mainstream media that lied constantly about Libya in the prelude to NATO’s deadly invasion in 2011.

It was the mainstream media that failed to state that those in 2011 causing agitations in Benghazi were al-Qaeda terrorists, many of whom were trained and transported to Libya by western governments. It was the mainstream media that made up a total lie about Libya, saying that the armed forces gave the drug Viagra to soldiers and told them to go on a raping spree. This outlandish allegation had zero basis in fact.

It was the mainstream media that failed to tell its gullible viewers that Libya was transformed by Gaddafi from a wasteland into a sophisticated society with high living standards and a population with extremely long life expediencies. More to the point, it was the mainstream media which dismissed early reports that black people in Libya, would be among the first victims of the war.

With the western powers on the losing side of the wars in Syria and to a degree, in Iraq also, many of the terrorists who have not been killed will flee to Libya. Many already have reached Libya which is effectively the next stop on the ‘jihad express’.

Because of this, western media outlets are looking for an angle to justify further military intervention in Libya. Moreover, with the secular Libyan House of Representatives making gains against terrorists thanks to the leadership of Khalifa Haftar and the Libyan National Army, many are worried that the western backed puppet government in Tripoli called the Government of National Accord, may lose what very little power it has. Haftar by contrast is openly supported by Egypt and has had many high-level meetings with Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

If Haftar is able to gain further success in his war against terrorism, it would be another sign that the west has lost control of a country they once successfully destroyed.

If the western mainstream media did not care about the black population of Libya when they cheered on the terrorists who killed and enslaved them, why should they care now? The logical answer is that they do not care any more now than they did when they had a chance to explain why a war on Libya would unleash a plague of racist violence on a stable country. The mainstream media are now, simply looking for a new narrative to justify further war on a country whose only stable, secular factions are those operating independently of the west.

November 27, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Afghanistan war crimes probe a sham and cover-up for US

© Ruptly

By Finian Cunningham | RT | November 14, 2017

When The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it was planning to investigate alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, the timing seemed appropriate.

The announcement by the ICC on November 3 came within days of a deadly airstrike by US forces in northern Afghanistan, which UN officials say killed ten civilians.

But the history of the intergovernmental court since it was set up some 15 years ago gives pause to hope that it might deliver justice in Afghanistan. For many critics, the ICC is a byword for self-serving Western political control, either whitewashing crimes or smearing designated opponents. A pertinent question is: why has it taken the ICC so long to investigate alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s war?

The Pentagon claimed the air raid near the city of Kunduz on November 4 killed only Taliban militants. However, last week the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) provided a very different version of events. UNAMA said extensive interviews with local residents and medics show that at least ten civilians died in the airstrike.

The incident would, therefore, be a prime case to investigate. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has promised an investigation into any alleged war crimes in Afghanistan would be “independent, impartial and objective.”

As a Reuters report stated, the ICC “could examine the role of US forces” in Afghanistan, which have been occupying the country for the past 16 years since October 2001, following the 9/11 terror attacks in Washington DC and New York City.

US torture practices conducted during CIA interrogations and renditions could also be probed, according to reports. An earlier announcement by the ICC said it would be looking into alleged violations committed by three parties: US military, Afghan security forces, and Taliban militants.

If the ICC did carry out an earnest probe into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, it would have its work cut out – even if it just restricted itself to incidents involving US forces and the CIA.

Two years ago, in October 2015, the northern city of Kunduz was the location of another apparent atrocity committed by the US air force. A hospital run by the French-based Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) was bombed and machine-gunned by US aircraft, killing 42 medical staff and patients. MSF condemned the attack as a violation of the Geneva Convention – a war crime. Though, the Pentagon maintained that its forces made a mistake while targeting militants.

There is very little clarity on the number of Afghan civilians who have been killed by US forces over the past 16 years, from gun battles, house raids, drone strikes, and airstrikes. One estimate puts the total number of civilian deaths in the war at over 31,000. Many of them are victims of Taliban shootings, and bombings or operations carried out by the US-backed Afghan security forces.

Nevertheless, there are abundant incidents involving civilians being killed by US operations in what could merit war crimes prosecutions. This is especially so given the renewal of American military operations in the country ordered by President Trump in August this year – three years after the US forces were officially supposed to wind down.

Trump’s defense secretary James Mattis, on a trip to the Afghan capital Kabul in September, warned that US airstrikes would be ramped up in the coming months. Already this year, the UN reports that there was a surge in civilian casualties from American-backed air raids. The situation has an ominous resonance with how civilian casualties have escalated from increased US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria under the Trump administration’s wider authorization to the Pentagon to mount operations.

So, it seems clear that if the ICC were to open prosecution cases in Afghanistan it would, to say the least, be kept busy. However, critics of the ICC say that its intentions are not motivated by seeking justice.

It’s a political move, says international criminal lawyer Christopher Black.

Since its establishment in 2002, the international court has come in for much criticism that it is a “political tool” of the United States and European allies. Virtually all of the court’s prosecutions and indictments have been against African leaders. For example, Omar Bashir (Sudan), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Muammar Gaddafi (Libya), and Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast) are among those indicted by the ICC.

The US is not a member of the 123-nation ICC. Neither are Russia, China, and India. However, the US exerts a controlling influence over the court’s prosecution office via European governments and the European Union, which are dominant in the administration of the ICC.

“The United States and its European allies use the ICC as a means of political control, not for justice,” says Christopher Black who is registered on the defense counsel for the court, but who has vociferously criticized its political subservience.

Black says the ICC has a similar function to several other ad hoc international tribunals, such as those which purportedly investigated war crimes in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

“These courts serve to cover-up actual crimes committed by Western powers while criminalizing political enemies of the West,” says Black.

In the case of former Yugoslavia, he points out, the Hague-based court did not examine the putative crimes of NATO bombing Belgrade in 1999. It only went after former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic whom Washington and the European governments wanted to criminalize to justify NATO’s illegal intervention in the Balkans.

With regard to Afghanistan, the declared intention of the ICC to divide its investigations between US and Afghan parties raises the suspicion the court will seek to mitigate violations carried out by American forces by embroiling other criminal actors.

Even if the ICC were to find US forces guilty of war crimes, it is doubtful that Washington would take any notice of such rulings.

As Christopher Black points out too, the focus of any forthcoming investigation is misplaced in its entire framework. “The focus of a war crimes investigation should be looking at the way the US launched this military occupation back in 2001. A case can be made that the US is guilty of the supreme crime of war of aggression. All other violations stem from Washington committing the ultimate crime of going to war in Afghanistan.”

He says the ICC planned investigation is a piecemeal approach which will serve to conceal the primary responsibility of the US in Afghanistan.

So why then would the ICC bother to set up such a probe into Afghanistan?

The answer is simply to salvage much-needed credibility for the court. Because of its lop-sided focus in prosecuting African leaders, the ICC has come under fire from African members for “double standards” and serving as a neocolonial instrument for Western powers.

Beginning last year, several African nations threatened to walk away from the ICC, including Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Gambia, and Uganda. Last month, Burundi formally completed its withdrawal from the ICC.

In other words, the court is in danger of imploding from lack of credibility. Hence, the announcement to go into Afghanistan is an attempt to salvage authority and public image by appearing to, at last, investigate alleged American war crimes.

“This is all about giving the ICC some badly needed credibility as it unravels in the face of a mass African walk-out,” says lawyer Christopher Black.

As such US and NATO states have nothing to fear from this proposed war crimes investigation in Afghanistan. It’s a cover-up and a sham driven by political interests, not by justice.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

Read more:

US airstrike kills at least 10 civilians in Kunduz – UN

‘Cold day in hell before ICC goes after US for committing Afghanistan war crimes’

‘The more US engages in war on terror, the more terrorists it produces’

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Arab states spent $130bn to destroy Syria, Libya, Yemen: Algerian PM

Press TV – November 12, 2017

Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia says some regional Arab states have spent $130 billion to obliterate Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Ouyahia made the remarks on Saturday at a time when much of the Middle East and North Africa is in turmoil, grappling with different crises, ranging from terrorism and insecurity to political uncertainty and foreign interference.

Algeria maintains that regional states should settle their differences through dialog and that foreign meddling is to their detriment.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-sponsored militancy since 2011. Takfirism, which is a trademark of many terrorist groups operating in Syria, is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia.

Libya has further been struggling with violence and political uncertainty since the country’s former ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed in 2011 and later killed in the wake of a US-led NATO military intervention. Daesh has been taking advantage of the chaos in Libya to increase its presence there.

Yemen has also witnessed a deadly Saudi war since March 2015 which has led to a humanitarian crisis.

Last Month, Qatar’s former deputy prime minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said the United Arab Emirates had planned a military invasion of Qatar with thousands of US-trained mercenaries.

The UAE plan for the military action was prepared before the ongoing Qatar rift, but it was never carried out as Washington did not give the green light to it, he noted.

In late April, reports said the UAE was quietly expanding its military presence into Africa and the Middle East, namely in Eritrea and Yemen.

November 12, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Cold day in hell before ICC goes after US for committing Afghanistan war crimes’

RT | November 9, 2017

The ICC prosecutor’s decision to pursue a probe into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan is “completely political” and won’t amount to anything, law professor Francis Boyle believes. He said it will be a “cold day in hell” before any Americans are prosecuted.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced last week that her request to launch an investigation had been handed over to a pre-trial court. She said that if her request is granted, the probe will focus “upon those most responsible for the most serious crimes committed in connection with the situation in Afghanistan.”

However, Francis Boyle, an international law professor at the University of Illinois, told RT that while Bensouda is likely to get approval for the investigation, the move is simply a “propaganda stunt.” He added that Bensouda has no desire to go after any Americans who committed war crimes.

“You have to understand, this is all political,” said Boyle. He noted that the African country of Burundi has already pulled out of the ICC, and South Africa has voiced the same intention.

“So she’s in a position and the court is in a position that almost all of Africa is going to pull out of the ICC because the only people in the dock over there are black, tin-pot dictators from Africa,” Boyle said. He called the court a “Western, racist, imperial tool” which is being used against Africa.

Because of this, the so-called “white man’s court” will not be going after Americans, Boyle said. “It will be a cold day in hell” before we see Bensouda doing so, he added. Boyle noted that the ICC has “never gone after the Americans, the NATO states, Britain, Israel, despite clear-cut jurisdiction to do so.”

Boyle went on to accuse the US government of committing a Nuremberg crime against peace by “invading Afghanistan and attacking it and blowing them back to the Stone Age and killing a million Afghans.” He added that “I doubt very seriously Bensouda is going to deal with any of that.”

“The United States illegally and criminally invaded Afghanistan and attacked and destroyed them… and then they set up all these torture campus over there, they’ve been torturing these poor people forever. And at a minimum, the United States has probably killed a million Afghanis [sic] since October 2001,” he said.

“The Americans should have been investigated a decade ago at least,” said Boyle, who filed an ICC complaint against former US President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among others, in 2010, over their policy of “extraordinary rendition perpetrated upon about 100 human beings.” He added that “the American government knows full well they’ll be able to sabotage her [Bensouda], stop her. Nothing’s going to come of it.”

However, Boyle predicted that Bensouda would likely come back with a verdict that it was actually the Taliban who was responsible for crimes. “Or she might apportion blame, but that’s ridiculous too…if you read all the United Nations reports of human rights violations coming out of Afghanistan, they all blame the Taliban. And it’s a joke.”

Although the ICC statement doesn’t name specific parties that would be subject to the investigation, a report released by the prosecutor’s office last year said there is “reasonable basis” to believe crimes were committed by US military forces deployed to Afghanistan, and in secret detention facilities operated by the CIA. It also points the finger at the Taliban and Afghan government forces.

Boyle noted that although the US can technically be prosecuted by the court – despite not being a member – the ICC “pretty much do what they’re told to do,” citing money received from Europe, Japan, and South Korea, as well as the influence of America.

Meanwhile, the United Nations mission in Afghanistan said earlier on Thursday that at least 10 civilians may have been killed in an airstrike in the north city of Kunduz last week, despite a US military investigation stating that no evidence of civilian deaths had been found.

Boyle previously served on the board of Amnesty International USA and drafted legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, which was signed into law after being unanimously approved by both chambers of the US Congress.

Read more:

US spent $5.6 trillion on wars since 9/11 – study

‘Main creator of terrorism is US war on terror, not terrorists’

November 9, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Eritrea “Massacre” That Never Happened

By Mela Ghebremedhin | Black Agenda Report | November 8, 2017

Mass protest. Mass rally. Indiscriminate gunshots. Mass casualties and death. These are some of the sensationalist words and phrases used to create buzz and portray events as simply black and white. They are often also used without nuance or context. Recently, Eritrea made the headlines after a group of teenagers walked down the streets of Asmara to voice their discontent at their school being closed. Shouting “Allahu Akbar”, the boys, mostly aged around 14-15, were walking from their neighborhood, Akria, towards the Ministry of Education.

Many Eritreans on the sidewalks, in shops and restaurants, and otherwise within the city center looked on in confusion, particularly with the chants of “God is Great” in Arabic. Generally, such loud, public proclamations are rare in a society long known for its sense of collective tolerance and respect. After some members of the group threw stones at several policemen, authorities dispersed the crowd and fired some shots into the sky. In total, the entire incident lasted several minutes, with no casualties or injuries.

However, almost instantly, reports of the incident were twisted, mashed, mixed and remade to provide an account that was quite far from the reality. One of the most culpable was Aljazeera. Lately, it seems that anything negative is a treasure for Aljazeera. Associated Press, reporting from Ethiopia, the BBC, and others followed not too long after. The statement by the US Embassy in Eritrea, warning its citizens from going to the city center, was also somewhat ironic considering that people in the streets of Asmara are far safer than those in the US, who must regularly confront police brutality and killings, stop and frisk campaigns, regular mass shootings, and general violence.

Ironically, as more time passed by, the more twisted the reports became. By Wednesday, the story was completely distorted. The Washington Post and its Ethiopian writer – with an extensive history of reports on Eritrea that later ended up being debunked – stated that 100 were injured and 28 killed, despite the fact that there were no casualties and no one was injured. Notably, it was overlooked that the source for the claim was the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO), which is based in Ethiopia and is an internationally recognized terrorist group.

The Washington Post and its Ethiopian writer – with an extensive history of reports on Eritrea that later ended up being debunked – stated that 100 were injured and 28 killed, despite the fact that there were no casualties and no one was injured.

Expectedly, news outlets jumped on the new “fact” of multiple deaths and the story quickly began trending on Twitter. Repeated efforts at clarifying and providing an accurate account of the event were made by Eritreans, located both in the Diaspora and on the ground in Asmara, but they were largely ignored. Instead, self-titled experts on Eritrea and acknowledged regime change activists fueled the fire, and spread inaccurate, false accounts. Others would continue the lies by shifting the source of the youths’ discontent, and also claiming that the Internet, telephone lines, and power in the capital were cut – despite things proceeding as normal in the city. Soon afterwards, almost as expected, the AJStream started sending private messages to many on Twitter, inviting them on their show. Obvious, right?

It is hard to understand how, instead of pursuing the truth or trying to provide an objective, balanced account, mainstream media rejected information or views of people tweeting from on the ground in Asmara, dismissing them as “supporters of the dictatorship” or “regime sympathizers.” What mainstream media failed to understand, however, is that the great majority of Eritreans – regardless of gender, class, or faith – were disappointed and angry towards the youngsters. Eritrea is not a country divided along religious or ethnic lines.

Shortly after the brief, small incident things returned back to normal. Some men – ordinary civilians – did stay out during the night, but only to ensure that there would be no more incidents. Notably, no militia or army personnel were called in to stand guard; in Eritrea, the people themselves have a sense of ownership and civil responsibility, and the prevalent attitude was that no such incidents should happen again. Women even brought them food and drinks, and it was quite telling that both Muslims and Christians were standing together in solidarity and community, side by side. However, on the other side of the world, the media and the Internet were abuzz with fake news and false accounts.

It should be noted that, by law, Eritrea follows a secular system where religious schools and national curriculum of education are separate. The issue with the school being shut down was that some of the speeches by the staff were found to be radical and could have posed a threat to the tolerance and peace prevailing within the country. Similarly, in the past, other schools, such as Cathedrale (Catholic) and St. Mary’s (Orthodox), were also closed down illustrating that this latest closure had nothing to do with discrimination.

According to Eritrea’s National Charter of 1994, “the diverse cultures of Eritrea should be a source of power and unity. The national system should be secular, separate from religion, yet respectful of the equality of religions” (PFDJ 1994:9). This vision was enshrined during the long, bitter armed struggle where people from all layers of Eritrean society – regardless of religious background – came together to win the country’s independence.

In today’s Eritrea, implementing a secular system has helped ensure peace and tolerance in a region known more for its ethno-religious volatility, violence, and tensions. What mainstream media and individuals looking for storm and chaos in a general sea of calm totally fail to understand is that Eritreans have a long history of struggle. Eritreans paid a heavy price for independence and sovereignty, and the people condemn any signs of conflicts, violence, discrimination, or division. Thus, despite the continuous efforts to disturb this harmony, the country remains united and will continue to work toward a society based on peace, love, tolerance, and mutual respect.

Mela Ghebremedhin is a freelance journalist based in Asmara, Eritrea.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Times hails Belgian royal’s conservation of the Congo – a place ravaged by Belgian royals

RT | November 7, 2017

“Why would a Belgian royal risk his life to save a Congolese wilderness?” reads a somehow unironic headline in the Times Magazine this weekend. The question is posed alongside an introduction to Belgium’s Prince Emmanuel de Merode.

According to the profile, de Merode is “battling to preserve the Virunga National Park – and the people and animals who live there.” The story follows de Merode’s conservation efforts in the eastern Congo where the royal is leading the redevelopment of Virunga’s internal infrastructure, including the costly construction of a two-mile canal and a series of hydroelectric plants.

Referring to de Merode’s “staggering ambition” for the country’s power grid, the article reads: “For this plant alone has raised $22million, plus $12million for a 250-mile network to distribute its electricity to three towns on Virunga’s border.”

The piece includes dazzling tales of de Merode evading machine gun fire while flying his Cessna jet over territories held by militiamen, his battle to defeat poachers targeting endangered animals and his “visionary” bid to remake the region.

But given the brutal history of the Belgian monarchy in the Congo, and the historic transfer of wealth out of the country to its rulers in Europe, some readers quickly declared the piece not only tone deaf, but also a stunning display of ignorance.

It is estimated that more 10 million people were killed during King Leopold II’s reign over the Congo, a country allocated to Belgium in 1884 during the Berlin Conference to regulate Europe’s colonization of West Africa.

Rising demand for rubber worldwide meant that land in the resource-rich Congo was divided up by the king and given to private mining companies in order to boost production. These companies were allowed to operate with impunity, forcing local Congolese into labor to collect the rubber cheaply.

The Force Publique, the 19,000-strong native paramilitary army set up to protect the interests of the mining firms, were notorious for cutting off the hands of workers who refused to collect rubber, or failed to meet their quotas. Soldiers also took women and family members hostage in order to force people into work.

For some, De Merode’s fundraising to build his hydroelectric dam might be more easily taken on its merits if his ancestors had not used profits from the Congo to fund large-scale urban renewal projects back in Belgium.

Leopold himself claimed he never profited personally from colonialism, but the Belgian scholar Jules Marchal has estimated that he drew around 220 million francs – more than $1billion in today’s money – from the Congo in his lifetime.

For his part, de Merode does acknowledge some of his country’s crimes, namely King Albert’s theft of two million acres worth of subsistence farms to create the national park in the first place.

“Enormous benefit was given to the whole of humanity, but the price is being paid by the local people who are among the poorest on earth,” he said. “You have an enormous case of social injustice… Local people are extremely hostile. Many of them are desperate, with no livelihood, no income and nowhere to go.”

One wonders if his concerns about social justice extend as far as reparations.

READ MORE: Prince William warns there are too many humans

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Glencore’s secret loan for Israeli billionaire to secure Congo mining rights revealed

RT | November 6, 2017

The world’s biggest mining firm Glencore secretly loaned tens of millions of dollars to an Israeli billionaire after enlisting him to secure a controversial mining agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it has been revealed. The details were leaked as part of the Paradise Papers.

A trove of more than 13 million documents from the world’s leading offshore law firms, including Appleby, was released through the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday. The documents lay bare the secretive multi-jurisdictional dealings of Glencore, a scandal-plagued, Anglo-Swiss multinational with mining interests across the globe.

As a friend of the Congolese President Joseph Kabila, Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler’s role has been questioned by anti-corruption campaigners since Glencore floated in London in 2011. His notoriety in the resource-rich but conflict-riven and corrupt DRC spans nearly two decades.

Gertler was cited by a 2001 UN investigation, which said that he had given Kabila $20 million to buy weapons to equip his army against rebel groups in exchange for a monopoly on the country’s diamonds. A 2013 Africa Progress Panel report said a string of mining deals struck by companies linked to him had deprived the country of more than $1.3 billion in potential revenue. Last year, he was implicated in a scheme to bribe Congolese officials on behalf of US hedge fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management, according to Bloomberg.

According to the Guardian, the Paradise Papers confirm that several times during 2008 and 2009, Gertler was called in to negotiate with DRC authorities over the struggling Katanga copper mine in the southeast of the country, which was hampered by stalled talks to secure a joint-venture agreement with DRC’s state-run miner Gecamines.

In 2009, Glencore, through a loan offer, took effective control of Katanga, but also kept Gertler’s interest in the firm by secretly loaning his company Lora Enterprises $45 million in pledged shares for him to take part in the loan. The loan was granted with the caveat that it would be repayable in the event that an agreement was not made with DRC authorities to secure a contract for a company linked to the firm.

While the details of the loan have been previously reported, the new documents show that Gertler was required to secure certain approvals from the government in return, according to the Guardian.

Daniel Balint-Kurti of the Global Witness campaign group told The Times : “Glencore must explain to the world why it used a secret offshore company to pump millions of dollars to a controversial friend of the Congolese president linked to bribery scandals.”

In a written statement, lawyers for Gertler told the Guardian that neither he nor any company or person related to him received any loan funds directly, and any allegation that the $45 million loan was improper “demonstrates misapprehension of international finance transactions.”

“Mr Dan Gertler is a respectable businessman who contributes the vast majority of his wealth and time to the needy and to different communities, amounting to huge sums of money. He transacts business fairly and honestly, and strictly according to the law,” the statement said.

Gertler’s lawyers said there was no basis for the allegation that Katanga received “preferential terms” in its agreement with the DRC as a result of his involvement.

Glencore has dismissed any allegations of impropriety concerning the loan. The loan was made on commercial terms and “negotiated at arm’s length,” it told Bloomberg.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 1 Comment

Chrystia Freeland: Canada doesn’t engage in “regime change”

A huge surprise to the people of Libya, Haiti, Honduras, Chile, Democratic Rep. Congo, Ghana, Uganda, Guatemala, and …

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | October 31, 2017

It may walk and quack like a regime-change-promoting duck, but Ottawa’s unilateral sanctions and support for Venezuela’s opposition is actually just a cuddly Canadian beaver, says Chrystia Freeland.

Canada has never been an imperialist power. It’s even almost funny to say that phrase: we’ve been the colony,” said the journalist turned politician after a Toronto meeting of foreign ministers opposed to the Venezuelan government.

The above declaration was part of the Canadian foreign minister’s response to a question about Chavismo’s continued popularity, which was prefaced by a mention of protesters denouncing Ottawa’s interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs. Freeland added that “one of the strengths Canada brings to its international affairs” is that it doesn’t engage in “regime change”.

Notwithstanding her government’s violation of the UN and Organization of American States charters’ in Venezuela, Freeland’s claim that Ottawa doesn’t engage in “regime change” is laughable. Is she unaware that a Canadian General commanded the NATO force, which included Canadian fighter jets, naval vessels and special forces, that killed Muammar Gaddafi in Libya six years ago?

Sticking to contexts more directly applicable to the situation in Venezuela, Ottawa has repeatedly endorsed US-backed military coups against progressive elected leaders. Canada passively supported the ouster of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954, Ugandan President Milton Obote (by Idi Amin) in 1971 and Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973.

In a more substantial contribution to undermining electoral democracy, Ottawa backed the Honduran military’s removal of elected president Manuel Zelaya. Before his 2009 ouster Canadian officials criticized Zelaya and afterwards condemned his attempts to return to the country. Failing to suspend its military training program, Canada was also the only major donor to Honduras — the largest recipient of Canadian assistance in Central America — that failed to sever any aid to the military government. Six months after the coup Ottawa endorsed an electoral farce and immediately recognized the new right-wing government.

In the 1960s Ottawa played a more substantial role in the ouster of pan-Africanist independence leaders Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba. In 1966 Ghana’s Canadian-trained army overthrew Nkrumah. In an internal memo to External Affairs just after Nkrumah was ousted, Canadian high commissioner in Accra, C.E. McGaughey wrote “a wonderful thing has happened for the West in Ghana and Canada has played a worthy part.” Soon after the coup, Ottawa informed the military junta that Canada intended to carry on normal relations and Canada sent $1.82 million ($15 million today) worth of flour to Ghana.

Ottawa had a strong hand in Patrice Lumumba’s demise. Canadian signals officers oversaw intelligence positions in the UN mission supposed to protect the territorial integrity of the newly independent Congo, but which Washington used to undermine the progressive independence leader. Canadian Colonel Jean Berthiaume assisted Lumumba’s political enemies by helping recapture him. The UN chief of staff, who was kept in place by Ottawa despite being labelled an “imperialist tool” by Lumumba’s advisers, tracked the deposed prime minister and informed army head Joseph Mobutu of Lumumba’s whereabouts. Soon after Lumumba was killed and Canadian officials celebrated the demise of an individual Prime Minister John Diefenbaker privately called a “major threat to Western interests”.

It’s in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation where Canada was most aggressive in opposing a progressive government. On January 31 and February 1, 2003, Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government organized an international gathering to discuss overthrowing Haiti’s elected government. No Haitian officials were invited to the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” where high-level US, Canadian and French officials decided that president Jean-Bertrand Aristide “must go”, the dreaded army should be recreated and that the country would be put under a Kosovo-like UN trusteeship.

Thirteen months after the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” meeting Aristide and most other elected officials were pushed out and a quasi UN trusteeship had begun. The Haitian National Police was also heavily militarized.

Canadian special forces “secured” the airport from which Aristide was bundled (“kidnapped” in his words) onto a plane by US Marines and deposited in the Central African Republic. Five hundred Canadian troops occupied Haiti for the next six months.

After cutting off aid to Haiti’s elected government, Ottawa provided tens of millions of dollars in foreign aid to the installed government, publicly supported coup officials and employed numerous officials within coup government ministries. Haiti’s deputy justice minister for the first 15 months of the foreign-installed government, Philippe Vixamar, was on the Canadian International Development Agency’s payroll and was later replaced by another CIDA employee (the minister was a USAID employee). Paul Martin made the first ever trip by a Canadian prime minister to Haiti to support the violent post-coup dictatorship.

Dismissing criticism of Ottawa’s regime change efforts in Venezuela by claiming Canada has been a benevolent international actor is wholly unconvincing. In fact, a serious look at this country’s foreign policy past gives every reason to believe that Ottawa is seeking to unseat an elected government that has angered many among the corporate set.

Anyone with their eyes open can tell the difference between a beaver and a duck.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

October 31, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

How America Spreads Global Chaos

By Nicolas J.S. Davies | Consortium News | October 30, 2017

As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people.

U.S. F-105s bomb North Vietnam in 1966
(Photo credit: U.S. Air Force)

As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it, and then pushing on regardless, all came down to “credibility”: the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved and America’s international credibility as a military power.

Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. The CIA’s support for the repressive Diem regime and its successors ensured an ever-escalating war, as the South rose in rebellion, supported by the North. No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them.

The critical “lesson of Vietnam” was summed up by Richard Barnet in his 1972 book Roots of War.  “At the very moment that the number one nation has perfected the science of killing,” Barnet wrote, “It has become an impractical means of political domination.”

Losing the war in Vietnam was a heavy blow to the CIA and the U.S. Military Industrial Complex, and it added insult to injury for every American who had lost comrades or loved ones in Vietnam, but it ushered in more than a decade of relative peace for America and the world. If the purpose of the U.S. military is to protect the U.S. from the danger of war, as our leaders so often claim, the “Vietnam syndrome,” or the reluctance to be drawn into new wars, kept the peace and undoubtedly saved countless lives.

Even the senior officer corps of the U.S. military saw it that way, since many of them had survived the horrors of Vietnam as junior officers. The CIA could still wreak havoc in Latin America and elsewhere, but the full destructive force of the U.S. military was not unleashed again until the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the First Gulf War in 1991.

Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA’s politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country’s credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. His predictable response has been to escalate ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and West Africa, and to threaten new ones against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

Trump is facing these questions, not just in one country, Vietnam, but in dozens of countries across the world, and the interests perpetuating and fueling this cycle of crisis and war have only become more entrenched over time, as President Eisenhower warned that they would, despite the end of the Cold War and, until now, the lack of any actual military threat to the United States.

Ironically but predictably, the U.S.’s aggressive and illegal war policy has finally provoked a real military threat to the U.S., albeit one that has emerged only in response to U.S. war plans. As I explained in a recent article, North Korea’s discovery in 2016 of a U.S. plan to assassinate its president, Kim Jong Un, and launch a Second Korean War has triggered a crash program to develop long-range ballistic missiles that could give North Korea a viable nuclear deterrent and prevent a U.S. attack. But the North Koreans will not feel safe from attack until their leaders and ours are sure that their missiles can deliver a nuclear strike against the U.S. mainland.

The CIA’s Pretexts for War

U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world. Fletcher Prouty’s book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty’s book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy.

Prouty surprisingly described the role of the CIA as a response by powerful people and interests to the abolition of the U.S. Department of War and the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Once the role of the U.S. military was redefined as one of defense, in line with the United Nations Charter’s prohibition against the threat or use of military force in 1945 and similar moves by other military powers, it would require some kind of crisis or threat to justify using military force in the future, both legally and politically. The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war.

The CIA is a hybrid of an intelligence service that gathers and analyzes foreign intelligence and a clandestine service that conducts covert operations. Both functions are essential to creating pretexts for war, and that is what they have done for 70 years.

Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out.

Many retired intelligence officers, such as Ray McGovern and the members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), saw the merging of clandestine operations with intelligence analysis in one agency as corrupting the objective analysis they tried to provide to policymakers. They formed VIPS in 2003 in response to the fabrication of politicized intelligence that provided false pretexts for the U.S. to invade and destroy Iraq.

CIA in Syria and Africa

But Fletcher Prouty was even more disturbed by the way that the CIA uses clandestine operations to trigger coups, wars and chaos. The civil and proxy war in Syria is a perfect example of what Prouty meant. In late 2011, after destroying Libya and aiding in the torture-murder of Muammar Gaddafi, the CIA and its allies began flying fighters and weapons from Libya to Turkey and infiltrating them into Syria. Then, working with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Croatia and other allies, this operation poured thousands of tons of weapons across Syria’s borders to ignite and fuel a full-scale civil war.

Once these covert operations were under way, they ran wild until they had unleashed a savage Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra, now rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), spawned the even more savage “Islamic State,” triggered the heaviest and probably the deadliest U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam and drawn Russia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Hezbollah, Kurdish militias and almost every state or armed group in the Middle East into the chaos of Syria’s civil war.

Meanwhile, as Al Qaeda and Islamic State have expanded their operations across Africa, the U.N. has published a report titled Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment, based on 500 interviews with African militants. This study has found that the kind of special operations and training missions the CIA and AFRICOM are conducting and supporting in Africa are in fact the critical “tipping point” that drives Africans to join militant groups like Al Qaeda, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram.

The report found that government action, such as the killing or detention of friends or family, was the “tipping point” that drove 71 percent of African militants interviewed to join armed groups, and that this was a more important factor than religious ideology.

The conclusions of Journey to Extremism in Africa confirm the findings of other similar studies. The Center for Civilians in Conflict interviewed 250 civilians who joined armed groups in Bosnia, Somalia, Gaza and Libya for its 2015 study, The People’s Perspectives: Civilian Involvement in Armed Conflicts. The study found that the most common motivation for civilians to join armed groups was simply to protect themselves or their families.

The role of U.S. “counterterrorism” operations in fueling armed resistance and terrorism, and the absence of any plan to reduce the asymmetric violence unleashed by the “global war on terror,” would be no surprise to Fletcher Prouty. As he explained, such clandestine operations always take on a life of their own that is unrelated, and often counter-productive, to any rational U.S. policy objective.

“The more intimate one becomes with this activity,” Prouty wrote, “The more one begins to realize that such operations are rarely, if ever, initiated from an intent to become involved in pursuit of some national objective in the first place.”

The U.S. justifies the deployment of 6,000 U.S. special forces and military trainers to 53 of the 54 countries in Africa as a response to terrorism. But the U.N.’s Journey to Extremism in Africa study makes it clear that the U.S. militarization of Africa is in fact the “tipping point” that is driving Africans across the continent to join armed resistance groups in the first place.

This is a textbook CIA operation on the same model as Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 60s. The CIA uses U.S. special forces and training missions to launch covert and proxy military operations that drive local populations into armed resistance groups, and then uses the presence of those armed resistance groups to justify ever-escalating U.S. military involvement. This is Vietnam redux on a continental scale.

Taking on China

What seems to really be driving the CIA’s militarization of U.S. policy in Africa is China’s growing influence on the continent. As Steve Bannon put it in an interview with the Economist in August, “Let’s go screw up One Belt One Road.”

China is already too big and powerful for the U.S. to apply what is known as the Ledeen doctrine named for neoconservative theorist and intelligence operative Michael Ledeen who suggested that every 10 years or so, the United States “pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business.”

China is too powerful and armed with nuclear weapons. So, in this case, the CIA’s job would be to spread violence and chaos to disrupt Chinese trade and investment, and to make African governments increasingly dependent on U.S. military aid to fight the militant groups spawned and endlessly regenerated by U.S.-led “counterterrorism” operations.

Neither Ledeen nor Bannon pretend that such policies are designed to build more prosperous or viable societies in the Middle East or Africa, let alone to benefit their people. They both know very well what Richard Barnet already understood 45 years ago, that America’s unprecedented investment in weapons, war and CIA covert operations are only good for one thing: to kill people and destroy infrastructure, reducing cities to rubble, societies to chaos and the desperate survivors to poverty and displacement.

As long as the CIA and the U.S. military keep plunging the scapegoats for our failed policies into economic crisis, violence and chaos, the [elite elements of] United States and the United Kingdom can remain the safe havens of the world’s wealth, islands of privilege and excess amidst the storms they unleash on others.

But if that is the only “significant national objective” driving these policies, it is surely about time for the 99 percent of Americans who reap no benefit from these murderous schemes to stop the CIA and its allies before they completely wreck the already damaged and fragile world in which we all must live, Americans and foreigners alike.

Douglas Valentine has probably studied the CIA in more depth than any other American journalist, beginning with his book on The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He has written a new book titled The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, in which he brings Fletcher Prouty’s analysis right up to the present day, describing the CIA’s role in our current wars and the many ways it infiltrates, manipulates and controls U.S. policy.

The Three Scapegoats

In Trump’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he named North Korea, Iran and Venezuela as his prime targets for destabilization, economic warfare and, ultimately, the overthrow of their governments, whether by coup d’etat or the mass destruction of their civilian population and infrastructure. But Trump’s choice of scapegoats for America’s failures was obviously not based on a rational reassessment of foreign policy priorities by the new administration. It was only a tired rehashing of the CIA’s unfinished business with two-thirds of Bush’s “axis of evil” and Bush White House official Elliott Abrams’ failed 2002 coup in Caracas, now laced with explicit and illegal threats of aggression.

How Trump and the CIA plan to sacrifice their three scapegoats for America’s failures remains to be seen. This is not 2001, when the world stood silent at the U.S. bombardment and invasion of Afghanistan after September 11th. It is more like 2003, when the U.S. destruction of Iraq split the Atlantic alliance and alienated most of the world. It is certainly not 2011, after Obama’s global charm offensive had rebuilt U.S. alliances and provided cover for French President Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Cameron, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Arab royals to destroy Libya, once ranked by the U.N. as the most developed country in Africa, now mired in intractable chaos.

In 2017, a U.S. attack on any one of Trump’s scapegoats would isolate the United States from many of its allies and undermine its standing in the world in far-reaching ways that might be more permanent and harder to repair than the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

In Venezuela, the CIA and the right-wing opposition are following the same strategy that President Nixon ordered the CIA to inflict on Chile, to “make the economy scream” in preparation for the 1973 coup. But the solid victory of Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party in recent nationwide gubernatorial elections, despite a long and deep economic crisis, reveals little public support for the CIA’s puppets in Venezuela.

The CIA has successfully discredited the Venezuelan government through economic warfare, increasingly violent right-wing street protests and a global propaganda campaign. But the CIA has stupidly hitched its wagon to an extreme right-wing, upper-class opposition that has no credibility with most of the Venezuelan public, who still turn out for the Socialists at the polls. A CIA coup or U.S. military intervention would meet fierce public resistance and damage U.S. relations all over Latin America.

Boxing In North Korea

A U.S. aerial bombardment or “preemptive strike” on North Korea could quickly escalate into a war between the U.S. and China, which has reiterated its commitment to North Korea’s defense if North Korea is attacked. We do not know exactly what was in the U.S. war plan discovered by North Korea, so neither can we know how North Korea and China could respond if the U.S. pressed ahead with it.

Most analysts have long concluded that any U.S. attack on North Korea would be met with a North Korean artillery and missile barrage that would inflict unacceptable civilian casualties on Seoul, a metropolitan area of 26 million people, three times the population of New York City. Seoul is only 35 miles from the frontier with North Korea, placing it within range of a huge array of North Korean weapons. What was already a no-win calculus is now compounded by the possibility that North Korea could respond with nuclear weapons, turning any prospect of a U.S. attack into an even worse nightmare.

U.S. mismanagement of its relations with North Korea should be an object lesson for its relations with Iran, graphically demonstrating the advantages of diplomacy, talks and agreements over threats of war. Under the Agreed Framework signed in 1994, North Korea stopped work on two much larger nuclear reactors than the small experimental one operating at Yongbyong since 1986, which only produces 6 kg of plutonium per year, enough for one nuclear bomb.

The lesson of Bush’s Iraq invasion in 2003 after Saddam Hussein had complied with demands that he destroy Iraq’s stockpiles of chemical weapons and shut down a nascent nuclear program was not lost on North Korea. Not only did the invasion lay waste to large sections of Iraq with hundreds of thousands of dead but Hussein himself was hunted down and condemned to death by hanging.

Still, after North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006, even its small experimental reactor was shut down as a result of the “Six Party Talks” in 2007, all the fuel rods were removed and placed under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the cooling tower of the reactor was demolished in 2008.

But then, as relations deteriorated, North Korea conducted a second nuclear weapon test and again began reprocessing spent fuel rods to recover plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

North Korea has now conducted six nuclear weapons tests. The explosions in the first five tests increased gradually up to 15-25 kilotons, about the yield of the bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but estimates for the yield of the 2017 test range from 110 to 250 kilotons, comparable to a small hydrogen bomb.

The even greater danger in a new war in Korea is that the U.S. could unleash part of its arsenal of 4,000 more powerful weapons (100 to 1,200 kilotons), which could kill millions of people and devastate and poison the region, or even the world, for years to come.

The U.S. willingness to scrap the Agreed Framework in 2003, the breakdown of the Six Party Talks in 2009 and the U.S. refusal to acknowledge that its own military actions and threats create legitimate defense concerns for North Korea have driven the North Koreans into a corner from which they see a credible nuclear deterrent as their only chance to avoid mass destruction.

China has proposed a reasonable framework for diplomacy to address the concerns of both sides, but the U.S. insists on maintaining its propaganda narratives that all the fault lies with North Korea and that it has some kind of “military solution” to the crisis.

This may be the most dangerous idea we have heard from U.S. policymakers since the end of the Cold War, but it is the logical culmination of a systematic normalization of deviant and illegal U.S. war-making that has already cost millions of lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. As historian Gabriel Kolko wrote in Century of War in 1994, “options and decisions that are intrinsically dangerous and irrational become not merely plausible but the only form of reasoning about war and diplomacy that is possible in official circles.”

Demonizing Iran

The idea that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program is seriously contested by the IAEA, which has examined every allegation presented by the CIA and other Western “intelligence” agencies as well as Israel. Former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei revealed many details of this wild goose chase in his 2011 memoir, Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times.

When the CIA and its partners reluctantly acknowledged the IAEA’s conclusions in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), ElBaradei issued a press release confirming that, “the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran.”

Since 2007, the IAEA has resolved all its outstanding concerns with Iran. It has verified that dual-use technologies that Iran imported before 2003 were in fact used for other purposes, and it has exposed the mysterious “laptop documents” that appeared to show Iranian plans for a nuclear weapon as forgeries. Gareth Porter thoroughly explored all these questions and allegations and the history of mistrust that fueled them in his 2014 book, Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scares, which I highly recommend.

But, in the parallel Bizarro world of U.S. politics, hopelessly poisoned by the CIA’s endless disinformation campaigns, Hillary Clinton could repeatedly take false credit for disarming Iran during her presidential campaign, and neither Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump nor any corporate media interviewer dared to challenge her claims.

“When President Obama took office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear bomb,” Clinton fantasized in a prominent foreign policy speech on June 2, 2016, claiming that her brutal sanctions policy “brought Iran to the table.”

In fact, as Trita Parsi documented in his 2012 book, A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy With Iran, the Iranians were ready, not just to “come to the table,” but to sign a comprehensive agreement based on a U.S. proposal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in 2010. But, in a classic case of “tail wags dog,” the U.S. then rejected its own proposal because it would have undercut support for tighter sanctions in the U.N. Security Council. In other words, Clinton’s sanctions policy did not “bring Iran to the table”, but prevented the U.S. from coming to the table itself.

As a senior State Department official told Trita Parsi, the real problem with U.S. diplomacy with Iran when Clinton was at the State Department was that the U.S. would not take “Yes” for an answer. Trump’s ham-fisted decertification of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA is right out of Clinton’s playbook, and it demonstrates that the CIA is still determined to use Iran as a scapegoat for America’s failures in the Middle East.

The spurious claim that Iran is the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism is another CIA canard reinforced by endless repetition. It is true that Iran supports and supplies weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas, which are both listed as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. But they are mainly defensive resistance groups that defend Lebanon and Gaza respectively against invasions and attacks by Israel.

Shifting attention away from Al Qaeda, Islamic State, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other groups that actually commit terrorist crimes around the world might just seem like a case of the CIA “taking its eyes off the ball,” if it wasn’t so transparently timed to frame Iran with new accusations now that the manufactured crisis of the nuclear scare has run its course.

What the Future Holds

Barack Obama’s most consequential international achievement may have been the triumph of symbolism over substance behind which he expanded and escalated the so-called “war on terror,” with a vast expansion of covert operations and proxy wars that eventually triggered the heaviest U.S. aerial bombardments since Vietnam in Iraq and Syria.

Obama’s charm offensive invigorated old and new military alliances with the U.K., France and the Arab monarchies, and he quietly ran up the most expensive military budget of any president since World War Two.

But Obama’s expansion of the “war on terror” under cover of his deceptive global public relations campaign created many more problems than it solved, and Trump and his advisers are woefully ill-equipped to solve any of them. Trump’s expressed desire to place America first and to resist foreign entanglements is hopelessly at odds with his aggressive, bullying approach to every foreign policy problem.

If the U.S. could threaten and fight its way to a resolution of any of its international problems, it would have done so already. That is exactly what it has been trying to do since the 1990s, behind both the swagger and bluster of Bush and Trump and the deceptive charm of Clinton and Obama: a “good cop – bad cop” routine that should no longer fool anyone anywhere.

But as Lyndon Johnson found as he waded deeper and deeper into the Big Muddy in Vietnam, lying to the public about unwinnable wars does not make them any more winnable. It just gets more people killed and makes it harder and harder to ever tell the public the truth.

In unwinnable wars based on lies, the “credibility” problem only gets more complicated, as new lies require new scapegoats and convoluted narratives to explain away graveyards filled by old lies. Obama’s cynical global charm offensive bought the “war on terror” another eight years, but that only allowed the CIA to drag the U.S. into more trouble and spread its chaos to more places around the world.

Meanwhile, Russian President Putin is winning hearts and minds in capitals around the world by calling for a recommitment to the rule of international law, which prohibits the threat or use of military force except in self-defense. Every new U.S. threat or act of aggression will only make Putin’s case more persuasive, not least to important U.S. allies like South Korea, Germany and other members of the European Union, whose complicity in U.S. aggression has until now helped to give it a false veneer of political legitimacy.

Throughout history, serial aggression has nearly always provoked increasingly united opposition, as peace-loving countries and people have reluctantly summoned the courage to stand up to an aggressor. France under Napoleon and Hitler’s Germany also regarded themselves as exceptional, and in their own ways they were. But in the end, their belief in their exceptionalism led them on to defeat and destruction.

Americans had better hope that we are not so exceptional, and that the world will find a diplomatic rather than a military “solution” to its American problem. Our chances of survival would improve a great deal if American officials and politicians would finally start to act like something other than putty in the hands of the CIA.


Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

October 31, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment