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‘Civilians deaths increased due to rise in use of US assassination drones’

Press TV – June 9, 2018

Delegation of authority to field level military commanders to use “US assassination drones” has resulted in a surge in the number of innocent civilians being killed.

Media sources reported recently that US President Donald Trump has delegated to battlefield commanders the authority to order lethal drone strikes.

The authority to call for assassination drone strikes was limited to the White House or Washington security officials when Trump’s predecessors, namely, George Bush and Barack Obama were in office.

Trump’s decision to delegate the decision-making process to the military resulted in the number of drone strikes increasing, and in turn, the number of innocent civilians getting killed going up, according to Michael Burns, a political and military analyst in New York.

Burns made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Friday while commenting on the US military’s illegal extrajudicial killings by using assassination drones in some Muslim states, and now planning to expand the practice to other regions across the globe.

“The reason it [the use of assassination drones] has increased so substantially is because more decision-making authority is being given to military commanders to use these systems.”

Burn says the increase in the use of drones aims to project US military power worldwide.

“The increase in the use of drones — which are officially known as ‘unmanned aerial systems’ to mask their vicious ability — to project power in other regions of the world has increased substantially under the Trump administration.”

The analyst also links the increase in the use of drone systems to other reasons including the cost-effectiveness of the weapon compared to other means available to the US government to project its military power across the globe.

June 9, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Not just the Elgin Marbles: Britain’s colonial legacy lives long in UK museums

Benin bronzes. © Global Look Press
RT | June 4, 2018

After Jeremy Corbyn promised to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece upon becoming PM on the basis that they were “looted” from the country, RT looks at other rare artifacts taken by colonial Britain that now reside in UK museums.

“As with anything stolen or taken from occupied or colonial possession – including artifacts looted from other countries in the past – we should be engaged in constructive talks with the Greek government about returning the sculptures,” Corbyn said in an interview with a Greek newspaper.

If Corbyn were to become PM, here are some of the other artifacts that might be returned to their country of origin.

Benin artefacts

The British Museum boasts the second-biggest collection of Benin’s art after the Ethnological Museum in Berlin.

The Kingdom of Benin – now part of Nigeria – was stripped of its bronzes during what became known as Britain’s “punitive expedition,” a mission conducted against the natives after they defied imperial rule by imposing customs duties.

BBC Civilizations presenter David Olusoga, originally from Nigeria, said the UK has a “moral imperative” to return the art.

On the Benin looting, he said: “It’s just such a stark case of theft.”

He added during the Hay Festival this year: “A friend of mine, a TV producer, once came up with a brilliant solution: he said we should have a special version of Supermarket Sweep, where every country is given a huge shopping trolley and two minutes in the British Museum. Maybe he’s right, maybe that’s the way forward.”

Ethiopian treasures

Dozens of institutions up and down the country, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, are home to hundreds of northeast Africa’s finest treasures.

Beautiful and equally important manuscripts and artifacts were plundered after the British capture of Maqdala in 1868, the mountain capital of what was then Abyssinia under Emperor Tewodros II.

In 2017, Ethiopia lodged a formal restitution complaint. The offer was refused, but ahead of the Maqdala exhibition at the V&A at the beginning of April, its director suggested the case could be settled by granting the treasures to the east-African country on a long-term loan.

Sultanganj Buddha

The Sultaganj Buddha is a metallic sculpture that was extracted from an abandoned Buddhist monastery in northern India in 1861 by E B Harris, a British Raj railway engineer. The 1,500-year-old bronze Buddha was then shipped to Birmingham after being secured for a mere £200 ($265).

The item – the largest known Indian metal sculpture, which is known in the UK as the ‘Birmingham Buddha’ – is at the top of the list of thousands of alleged ‘stolen treasures’ that Indian authorities are trying to get back.

The Koh-i-Noor diamond

The Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the largest cut in the world, is currently part of the British crown jewels. It has been the subject of a bitter dispute between India and the UK ever since it was taken from the Punjab and presented to Queen Victoria in 1849.

The jewel, which belonged to the Punjab’s Sikh Empire, was handed by the East Indian Company to Queen Victoria after they emerged victorious in the 1840s Anglo-Sikh wars.

The diamond – known as the Mountain of Light – is thought to have been mined in the 1300s.

India has called for the stone to be returned ever since it gained independence in 1947, though the UK claims it has a legal basis for withholding it, as it was guaranteed under the Treaty of Lahore.

Former PM David Cameron commented on the dispute, stating: “If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty. I think I’m afraid to say, to disappoint all your viewers, it’s going to have to say put.”

June 4, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Iran: Morocco’s false claims aim to please third parties

Press TV – May 24, 2018

Iran has hit out at Morocco for accusing Tehran of interference in the African country’s affairs, saying the “false claims” are aimed at pleasing certain third parties.

Morocco has close ties with Saudi Arabia which has accused Iran of meddling in Arab affairs, with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita repeating those claims in a recent interview with Fox News.

“The Moroccan foreign minister knows himself well that the unjust charges he is making are utterly wrong, false and based on delusions and fictions written by those who resort to such provocations only in line with their illegitimate interests,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Thursday.

Bourita first made the accusations against Iran early this month as he announced Morocco’s decision to sever diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic over what he called Tehran’s support for the Polisario Front.

The Polisario is a guerrilla movement fighting for independence for the Sahrawi people in Western Sahara which is claimed by Morocco after colonial Spain left the territory.

In his interview with Fox News aired on Wednesday, Bourita claimed that Hezbollah members had met with senior Polisario military leaders recently and that the Iranian embassy in Algeria was used to fund the Polisario.

“The Moroccan authorities’ insistence on repeating their false claims for cutting diplomatic ties with Iran and repeatedly raising baseless allegations against our country is merely a bid to please certain third parties,” Qassemi said.

Bourita also claimed that Iran was in part trying to destabilize the area due to Morocco’s good relations with the US and Europe.

Earlier this month, he had said that Iran and Hezbollah were supporting Polisario by training and arming its fighters, via the Iranian embassy in Algeria.

Algeria, Iran and Hezbollah were all quick to reject the claims as baseless back then.

Iranian Foreign Ministry said there was no cooperation between Tehran’s diplomatic mission in Algiers and the Algeria-backed movement.

Hezbollah also blamed the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia for the diplomatic tensions, saying Rabat had cut ties with Tehran under pressure from the trio.

In turn, Algeria summoned Morocco’s ambassador to protest the “unfounded” claims.

Rabat annexed Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in 1975, and has since been in conflict with Polisario, which demands a referendum on self-determination and independence.

The movement, which aims to end Morocco’s presence in the Saharan region, recently said they sought to set up a “capital” in the region, prompting Rabat to caution it would respond with force.

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Botswana National Front calls for boycott of Israel

Palestine Information Center | May 19, 2018

GABORONE – Botswana’ main opposition party, the Botswana National Front (BNF), has called on the government of Botswana to terminate all relations with Israel. This comes in the wake of Israel’s massacre of 60 people on the Israel-Gaza border on Monday.

In a scathing statement, BNF’s Secretary for International Affairs, Nelson Ramaotwana said:

“The BNF does not only condemn the barbaric acts of Israel but call upon the government of Botswana to terminate forthwith all diplomatic relations, trade linkages, military and intelligence support from Israel. We call upon Batswana from all walks of life to boycott and disinvest from Israel products and businesses in solidarity with 61 butchered and 2700 injured Palestinians.”

May 19, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

France’s Role in Africa

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | May 17, 2018

Fake news, propaganda, public relations, advertising — it goes by many names, but at the core of all these terms is the idea that powerful institutions, primarily governments and corporations, strive to manipulate our understanding of world affairs. The most effective such shaping of opinion is invisible and therefore unquestioned.

Left criticism of French imperialism in Africa provides a stark example. Incredibly, the primary contemporary criticism North American leftists make of French imperialism on that continent concerns a country it never colonized. What’s more, Paris is condemned for siding with a government led by the lower caste majority.

To the extent that North American progressives criticize ‘Françafrique’ they mostly emphasize Paris’ support for the Hutu-led Rwandan government after Uganda/Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded in 1990. Echoing the Paul Kagame dictatorship’s simplistic narrative, France is accused of backing Rwandan genocidaires. In a recent article for thevolcano.org, a leftist outlet based on unceded Coast Salish Territories, Lama Mugabo claims, “the organizations that organized this anger into genocide, and the instruments of murder that they wielded, were outfitted by French colonial power.” In Dark Threats and White Nights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping, and the New Imperialism Sherene H. Razack writes that “French peacekeepers made a number of decisions that prolonged and exacerbated the conflict.” The “post-colonial” Canadian academic also decries “French support for him [Hutu President “Hanyarimana” — her (repeated) misspelling] scuttled any fledging peace efforts.”

In taking up Kigali/Washington/London’s effort to blame France for the mass killings in Rwanda (rather than the Uganda/RPF aggressors and their Anglo-American backers), Razack and others even imply that Paris colonized the country. But, Germany conquered Rwanda and Belgium was given control of the small East African nation at the end of World War I. The nearest former French colony — Central African Republic — is over 1,000 km away.

What Razack, Mugabo and other leftists ignore, or don’t know, is that Washington and London backed the 1990 Uganda/RPF invasion. Officially, a large number of Rwandan exiles “deserted” the Ugandan military to invade (including a former deputy defence minister and head of military intelligence). In reality, the invasion was an act of aggression by the much larger neighbour. Over the next three and a half years Kampala supplied the RPF with weaponry and a safe haven.

Throughout this period Washington provided the Ugandan government with financial, diplomatic and arms support (Ottawa cut millions in aid to Rwanda, prodded Habyarimana to negotiate with the RPF and criticized his human rights record while largely ignoring the Uganda/RPF aggression). Washington viewed the pro-neoliberal government in Kampala and the RPF as a way, after the Cold War, to weaken Paris’ position in a Belgium colonized region, which includes trillions of dollars in mineral riches in eastern Congo.

Echoing Kigali/Washington/London/Ottawa, many leftists have taken up criticism of Paris’ policy towards a country France never colonized and where it sided with a government from the lower caste (over 85% of the population, Hutus were historically a subservient peasant class and the Tutsi a cattle owning, feudal ruling class). Concurrently, leftists have largely ignored or failed to unearth more clear-cut French crimes on the continent, which Washington and Ottawa either backed or looked the other way.

In 1947–48 the French brutally suppressed anticolonial protests in Madagascar. Tens of thousands were also killed in Cameroon during the 1950s-60s independence war. Paris’ bid to maintain control over Algeria stands out as one of the most brutal episodes of the colonial era. With over one million settlers in the country, French forces killed hundreds of thousands of Algerians.

To pre-empt nascent nationalist sentiment, Paris offered each of its West African colonies a referendum on staying part of a new “French community”. When Guinea voted for independence in 1958, France withdrew abruptly, broke political and economic ties, and destroyed vital infrastructure. “What could not be burned,” noted Robert Legvold, “was dumped into the ocean.”

France hasn’t relinquished its monetary imperialism. Through its “Pacte Coloniale” independence agreement, Paris maintained control of 14 former colonies’ monetary and exchange rate policy. Imposed by Paris, the CFA franc is an important barrier to transforming the former colonies’ primary commodity based economies. As part of the accord, most CFA franc countries’ foreign exchange reserves have been deposited in the French treasury (now European Central Bank), which has generated large sums for Paris.

Alongside its monetary imperialism, France has ousted or killed a number of independent-minded African leaders. After creating a national currency and refusing to compensate Paris for infrastructure built during the colonial period, the first president of Togo, Sylvanus Olympio, was overthrown and killed by former French Foreign Legion troops. Foreign legionaries also ousted leaders in the Central African Republic, Benin, Mali, etc. Paris aided in the 1987 assassination of famed socialist Burkina Faso leader Thomas Sankara.

While undermining independence-minded leaders, Paris has backed corrupt, pro-corporate, dictatorships such as four-decades long Togolese and Gabonese rulers Gnassingbé Eyadema and Ali Bongo Ondimba (their sons took over).

France retains military bases or troops in Djibouti, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gabon, Mali, Chad and Niger. French troops are also currently fighting in Mali and Niger.

Compared to Paris’ role in Rwanda, French influence/violence in its former colonies gets short shrift from North American leftists. Part of the reason is that Washington and Ottawa largely supported French policy in its former colonies (Ottawa has plowed nearly $1 billion into Mali since the 2013 French invasion and gave Paris bullets and other arms as 400,000 French troops suppressed the Algerian independence struggle). Additionally, criticizing France’s role in Rwanda dovetails with the interests of Kigali, Washington, London and Ottawa.

The North American left’s discussion of France’s role in Africa demonstrates the influence of powerful institutions, especially the ones closest to us, in shaping our understanding of the world. We largely ignore what they want us to ignore and see what they want us to see.

To build a movement for justice and equality for everyone on this planet, we must start by questioning everything governments, corporations and other powerful institutions tell us.


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 .

May 19, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Severance of Iran-Morocco ties: Algiers responds to Rabat’s “baseless” allegations

MEMO | May 7, 2018

Algerian authorities rejected Wednesday as “completely baseless” Morocco’s allegations in the aftermath of the cut of diplomatic relations with Iran, over the alleged Teheran’s support of the Polisario Front implicating “indirectly Algeria, reports Sahara Press Service.

Morocco’s ambassador to Algiers was received Wednesday by the secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who expressed “Algerian authorities’ rejection of the completely baseless statements, made by its Foreign Minister while announcing the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Morocco and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and which indirectly implicate Algeria,” said the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdelaziz Benali Cherif.

The Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson responded to the allegations made, the day before, by Morocco’s minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, who announced at a news conference in Rabat that Morocco had decided to cut diplomatic relations with Iran over its “support” to the Polisario Front, the legitimate and only representative of Western Sahara people.

The Polisario Front, which dubbed “big lie” Morocco’s allegations of military relations between the Polisario and Iran, defied Rabat to produce evidence for its “false allegations.”

Polisario Front’s coordinator with MINURSO (UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara), M’hamed Khadad, said Rabat acted out of political opportunism to “circumvent the resumption of direct political negotiations called for by the United Nations” for the settlement of Western Sahara conflict through a referendum on Saharawi people’s self-determination.

Khadad denied any military relations with Iran, saying “the Polisario Front has never had military relations, has never received arms and has never had military contacts with Iran or Hezbollah”.

Iranian authorities said the accusations are “completely baseless, far from reality and wrong.

“They stressed that “one of the most fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy in its relations with other governments and countries in the world has been and continue to be deep respect for their sovereignty and security as well as non-interference in the domestic affairs of other states.”

Lebanese Hezbollah also rejected Morocco’s accusations, saying it was regrettable that Rabat had given in to foreign “pressure.

“The Lebanese political party invited “Morocco to look for a more convincing argument to sever its ties with Iran.”

READ ALSO: 

Morocco to cut diplomatic ties with Iran

Hezbollah accuses Morocco of bowing to US pressure

May 7, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Polisario Front: There Is No Military Presence by Any Foreign Power in Western Sahara

Al-Manar | May 2, 2018

The Polisario Front denied on Wednesday there was military presence by any foreign power in Western Sahara, a day after Morocco cut ties with Iran, accusing the Islamic Republic of providing support to the Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement.

UNews news agency reported that the Polisario Front hit back at Moroccan move to cut ties with Iran, stressing that the movement’s fighters are alone operating in the Western Sahara.

Meanwhile, Mehr news agency reported that the Front spokesman has dismissed the Moroccan government accusations against Iran as baseless and fabricated.

According to the Polisario Front’s website Hespress, the Front’s spokesman Muhammed Haddad has asked the Moroccan government to release any previously alleged evidence showing the links between Iran the Western Saharan movement.

Haddad added “through these maneuvers and accusations, Rabat seeks to refrain from negotiation on the desert, which the United Nations has called for.”

On Tuesday, Morocco’s foreign affairs minister, Nasser Bourita, claimed that Rabat had evidence showing Iranian government had provided financial as well as logistical support to Polisario through its embassy in Algiers.

The Morracan government has announced it will cut diplomatic ties with Iran over the accusations.

The Polisario Front is a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement aiming to end Moroccan presence in the Western Sahara. It is an observer member of the Socialist International. The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people and maintains that the Sahrawis have a right to self-determination. The Polisario Front is outlawed in the parts of Western Sahara under Moroccan control, and it is illegal to raise its party flag (often called the Sahrawi flag) there.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Google, Big Tech and the US War Machine in the Global South

By Michael Kwet | CounterPunch | April 27, 2018

The recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fiasco deepened public concern about the political power and allegiances of Big Tech corporations. Soon after the story went viral, 3,100 Google employees submitted a petition to Google CEO Sundar Pichai protesting Google’s involvement in a Pentagon program called “Project Maven”.

Last week, the Tech Worker’s Coalition launched a petition protesting tech industry participation in development for war, urging Google to break its contract with the Department of Defense (DoD). Will Pichai respond?

Google has a lot to answer for. In March 2016, then US Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, tapped then Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt to chair the DoD’s new Innovation Advisory Board. The Board would give the Pentagon access to “the brightest technical minds focused on innovation” –  culled from Silicon Valley.

More recently, details about Project Maven emerged. The project uses machine learning and deep learning to develop an AI-based computer vision solution for military drone targeting. This innovative system turns reams of visual data – obtained from surveillance drones – into “actionable intelligence at insight speed.”

Because there are many more hours of surveillance footage than a team of humans can view, most of the footage cannot be evaluated by Pentagon workers. Using AI, Project Maven steps in to make sure no footage goes unwatched. The AI performs analytics of drone footage to categorize, sift and identify the items the DoD is looking for – cars, people, objects and so on – and flag the sought-after items for a human to review.  The project has been successful, and the Pentagon is now looking to make a “Project Maven factory”.

Reports of Google’s participation in Project Maven comes amidst news they are bidding alongside Amazon, IBM and Microsoft for a $10 billion “one big cloud” servicing contract with the Pentagon. Eric Schmidt, who is no longer CEO of Google or Alphabet, but who remains a technical advisor and board member at Google’s parent company Alphabet, claims to recuse himself of all information about Google AI projects for the Pentagon, because he also chairs the DoD’s Innovation Advisory Board.

Schmidt’s central role in this story underscores controversy about Google’s close relationship to the US military. In 2013, Julian Assange penned an essay highlighting Google’s sympathy for the US military empire in his essay, The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’– a criticism of Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s co-authored book, The New Digital Age.

In 2015, Schmidt hosted Henry Kissinger for a fireside chat at Google. He introduced Kissinger as a “foremost expert on the future of the physical world, how the world really works” and stated Kissinger’s “contributions to America and the world are without question.”

For many, Henry Kissinger’s “contributions” are drenched in the blood of the Global South. Declassified documents show that during the Vietnam/Indochina War, Kissinger, then a national security advisor, transmitted Nixon’s orders to General Alexander Haig: use “anything that flies on anything that moves” in Cambodia. According to a study by Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan (Director of Genocide Studies at Yale University), the United States dropped more tons of bombs on Cambodia than all of the Allies during World War II combined. Cambodia, they conclude, may be the most bombed country in history. By all reason, Kissinger should be tried for genocide.

Carpet bombing Cambodia is just one of many crimes carried out by Dr. Kissinger. During his time in government, he bolstered “moderate” white settler-colonial forces in Southern Africa to subvert the black liberation struggle for independence and self-determination. The US deemed Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress and other, less-recognized black liberation groups as “terrorist” and “communist” threats to US interests. The apartheid regime subjugated the black majority not only inside South Africa, but in brutal wars across the border in countries like Angola and Mozambique.  More than 500,000 Africans died in Angola alone.

US corporations profited from business in the region, and provided white supremacists the arms, vehicles, energy resources, financial support and computer technology used to systematically oppress black people. IBM was a primary culprit, supplying the apartheid state with the bulk of computers used to denationalize the black African population and administer the state, banks, police, intelligence and military forces.

On April 6, 2018, Kissinger welcomed one of today’s new tech leaders, Eric Schmidt, to keynote the annual Kissinger Conference at Yale University. This year’s theme was Understanding Cyberwarfare and Artificial Intelligence. After praising the ROTC and Ash Carter (both in attendance), Schmidt told the audience it is a “tremendous honor to be on the same stage as Dr. Kissinger, and we all admire him for all the reasons we all know.” In his speech, he spoke of how the US must develop AI to defend against today’s familiar adversaries: the “nasty” North Koreans, the Russians, the Chinese. A couple of Yale students were kicked out for protesting.

In decades past, human rights advocates famously challenged the development of technology for racial capitalism. Activists, including students and workers, pressured IBM, General Motors and other corporations to stop aiding and abetting apartheid and war.

Today, a new wave of technology is being tapped by military and police forces. IBM has partnered with the City of Johannesburg for early efforts at “smart” policing, while Africa and the Middle East are targets of the US drone empire. Activists advocating democracy and equality inside Africa and the Middle East are staunchly opposed to these developments.

The bi-partisan effort to police Trump-designated “shithole” countries with advanced weaponry has Big Tech on its side. Google’s involvement with Project Maven constitutes active collaboration in this endeavor.

An activist campaign about Silicon Valley’s collaboration with the US military could be unfolding. However, it’s going to take grassroots pressure across the world to make technology work for humanity.

Michael Kwet is a Visiting Fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US building huge drone base in Niger

Press TV – April 24, 2018

The US military has started construction for a huge military base in the African country of Niger, which officials say will be used for airstrikes and intelligence operations by unmanned aircraft in West Africa.

US Air Force personnel have been constructing hangars and runways for drones in central Niger for some time now, The Associated Press reported Monday, stating that the base was being built outside of Agadez upon a request by Niger’s government.

It was not clear how many drones the USAF was going to deploy to the base, which unnamed officials said was going to be the “largest troop labor construction project in US history” with an estimated cost of more than $110 million.

The report did not mention how the base was going to help American military plans in Africa, which for the large part have remained secret.

Niger has been playing a key role in those plans as the Pentagon has doubled the number of its troops in the country to around 800 over the past few years.

Additionally, US Army Green Berets have been training Nigerien military forces near the nascent military base.

“Already the US military presence here is the second largest in Africa, behind the sole permanent US base on the continent, in the tiny nation of Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa,” the AP noted.

More light is expected to be shed on the US military’s missions in Niger once the Pentagon concludes a high-profile investigation into a deadly ambush in October of last year that killed four American soldiers near Niger’s border with Mali.

It was a month after this attack that Nigerien Defense Minister Kalla Mountari said his country was open to allowing US drone strikes against terror outfits such as Daesh.

The growing US presence in Niger has stirred concern among the officials of the poor, former French colony.

“We are afraid of falling back into the same situation as in Afghanistan, with many mistakes made by American soldiers who did not always know the difference between a wedding ceremony and a training of terrorist groups,” Nigerian government official Amadou Roufai told AP.

According to the report, the US will use the base to operate the MQ-9 Reaper drone, arguably the most advanced drone in the Pentagon’s arsenal.

With a range of around 1,150 miles (1850km), the aircraft can provide strike support and intelligence gathering capabilities across West and North Africa.

The aircraft can carry GBU-12 Paveway II bombs and four Hellfire air-to-ground anti-armor and anti-personnel missiles.

Once completed, the base would add to the US military’s inventory of over 800 bases in more than 70 countries.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Russian diplomat says Britain deserves title of world’s worst genocide perpetrator

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
TASS | April 19, 2018

MOSCOW – Britain may well be described as the holder of the world’s genocide record, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday in response to claims by UK ambassador in Moscow Laurie Bristow to the effect Russia was allegedly behind a number of contract killings.

“Britain is the world’s worst genocider,” she said. “The thought of how many millions of innocent people were put to death in the British colonies is terrifying.”

Zakharova recalled that according to various estimates, British colonists exterminated up to 90%-95% of the aborigines in the process of colonizing Australia.

In the 1870s, Britain conducted genocide against the Zulus in Cape Colony, and in 1954-1961, against the Kikuyu people in Kenya, she recalled.

“In retaliation for the killing of 32 white colonists the British authorities exterminated 300,000 members of the Kikuyu people and drove another 1.5 million into concentration camps,” she said.

In all, Zakharova made public 17 pages of archive information describing Britain’s unseemly actions in the world scene over many years.

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

War Deaths, and Taxes

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | April 6, 2018

Are the federal taxes coming out of your wages and due this week killing you? Sadly what’s rhetorical for US tax payers is gravely literal for people of eight countries currently on the shooting end of the US budget.

This year at least 47% of federal income taxes goes to the military (27%, or $857 billion, for today’s bombings and occupations, weapons, procurement, personnel, retiree pay & healthcare, Energy Dept. nuclear weapons, Homeland Security, etc.); and 20%, or $644 billion, for past military bills (veterans’ benefits — $197 billion; and 80% of the interest on the national debt — $447 billion).

A ceasefire, drawdown and retreat from the country’s unwinnable wars would reduce this tax burden, and didn’t the president promise to end the foreign “nation-building” that’s breaking the bank? Of course, that was a Trump promise, so:

Seven US airmen were killed on March 15 when a US Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq, with 5,200 soldiers and as many contract mercenaries fighting there.

When VP Mike Pence visited Afghanistan last December he said with perfect meaninglessness: “we are here to see this through.” About 11,000 US soldiers are currently seeing it, and the Pentagon will be sending thousands more this spring. US bombing runs have almost tripled since the Obama/Trump handover, and Pence claimed “we’ve put the Taliban on the defensive” — but during Pentagon chief Jim Mattis’s visit the Taliban shot dozens of rockets at the Kabul airport where the general’s plane was parked.

The 16-year-old war in Afghanistan is now broadly understood to be militarily unwinnable, so a ceasefire and withdrawal would be a quick way to save billions of tax dollars. But US B-52s bombers flying from Minot Air Base in North Dakota are still creating new terrorists every day; the 3,900 US bombs and missiles exploded on the country in 2017 caused countless of civilian casualties.

In Syria, dozens of Russian soldiers were killed Feb. 7 and 8 by US-led forces fighting near Al Tabiyeh. Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar was killed by an IED blast March 29 in Manbij. The US now has about 2,000 soldiers at war in Syria, and in January then Sec. of State Rex Tillerson promised they will be there long after the war with the Islamic State is over. Although Trump said March 29, “we’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon,” Pentagon officials leaked news April 2 that dozens of additional troops will be sent in the coming weeks, CNN reported. The United States’ World War could hardly be more confounding or self-defeating as US ally Turkey has begun bombing US-supported Kurdish fighters inside Syria.

In Pakistan January 25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs charged that remote-controlled US bombing had targeted an Afghan refugee camp, worsening relations with that government even beyond Trump’s cutoff of “security aid.”

Saudi Arabian aircraft, refueled en route by US tanker aircraft, have killed 4,000 civilians in Yemen, according to UN estimates. Suspending arms sales to the Saudis would end its war and begin to alleviate the Saudi-made humanitarian disaster in Yemen, and a cease-fire and stand-down would allow for the urgent relief required to prevent famine.

An end to today’s US bombing and/or military occupation of eight countries — Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq (all ongoing), Somalia (bombed Apr. 1), Libya (8 airstrikes since Jan. 2017), Niger (Oct. 4 battle, four dead; 500 US soldiers in country, now with armed drones), and Yemen (127 bomber & drone strikes in 2017) — would save billions, save lives, slow the wartime creation of terrorists, and reduce anti-US sentiment everywhere. In January, an extensive Gallop survey found 70% of the people interviewed in 134 countries disapprove of US foreign policy — 80% in Canada, 82% in Mexico.

To paraphrase Dr. King, who was assassinated by the FBI 50 years ago this month (“Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King,” by William F. Pepper), “The great initiative in these wars is ours. The initiative to stop them must be ours.”

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

April 6, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton: Love, Kindness and Child Soldiers

By Brett Wilkins | Daily Kos | March 7, 2016

One of the darkest stains on President Barack Obama’s record is his active support for enslaved child soldiers in the name of the “national interest,” an abomination which blackens not only the president’s legacy but also that of Hillary Clinton.

As she battles toward the Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton has been preaching “love and kindness” to mainstream voters who view her as a humane alternative to the walking human rights violations named Trump and Cruz. “I’m going to keep saying it,” she said again during her Super Tuesday victory speech, “I believe what we need in America today is more love and kindness.”

However, too many of Clinton’s actions have demonstrated a glaring absence of love and kindness. Ranking high among these is her support for child soldiers. As Obama’s former secretary of state, she signed off on presidential policies that used American taxpayer dollars to provide training and military hardware to armies in which enslaved children are forced to kill, rape, torture, plunder and die, and it seems as if none of the self-proclaimed human rights advocates who support her care. Or maybe they just don’t know. For those who don’t know, here’s a little background info:

In his last year in office, President George W. Bush signed into law the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA), which prohibits US military aid to nations whose armies include child soldiers among their ranks. CSPA contains a “national interest” waiver clause allowing the president to ignore the military aid ban if it is determined that granting such assistance to nations which violate the law serves the national interest.

In 2010, Obama issued a presidential determination granting CSPA waivers to Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Yemen. The president sent his memo to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, arguing that it was “in the national interest” in the war against terrorism to continue providing training and equipment to these countries’ armed forces even though they use child soldiers. He assured that his action was a one-off. Clinton implemented the waivers without any public objection.

The following year, Obama shocked human rights advocates around the world when he once again granted sanctions waivers to the same four countries. There was less surprise in 2012 when Obama granted, and Clinton implemented, waivers for South Sudan, Libya, Yemen and, partially, DRC. This, shortly after Obama delivered a rousing speech to the Clinton Global Initiative—an address attended by Hillary Clinton—in which he condemned the use of child soldiers, saying, “when a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed, that’s slavery. It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world.”

Unless, of course, it is determined that such barbarism is in the “national interest.”

In 2013, Obama granted waivers to Chad, South Sudan, Yemen and, partially, DRC and Somalia. In Chad, US-backed government forces were known to forcibly conscript children as young as 8 years old as recently as 2007. In South Sudan, the United Nations found that more than 9,000 child soldiers, many of them not even teenagers yet, were fighting on both sides of a brutal civil war. In DRC, where a decades-long conflict has claimed millions of lives, widespread child rape is a weapon of war used to terrorize targeted populations into submission. US-backed Congolese armed forces routinely kidnap girls as sex slaves.

By 2014, no one was surprised when Obama again granted CSPA waivers to five countries using child soldiers—Rwanda, Somalia, Yemen, DRC (partial) and Central African Republic (partial). He did so again last year, adding Nigeria and South Sudan to the list of exempted nations. All told, Obama has granted “national interest” waivers to authorize around $1 billion in military aid, including training and arms sales, to countries where child soldiers are exploited.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), who authored CSPA and serves as vice chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights, has called Obama’s repeated decision to provide taxpayer-funded military aid to countries whose armies enslave children as soldiers “an assault on human dignity.”

“Children belong on playgrounds, not battlegrounds,” asserted Fortenberry. “It is unconscionable that the United States of America continues to facilitate the militarization of children, whose innocence is stripped as they are forced to fight and kill—and are subjected to the real likelihood that they will be killed themselves.”

However, Obama has repeatedly calculated that America’s “national interest” trumps the lives of children forced to kill and die, to rape and be raped and to endure and commit other horrific crimes that no adult, let alone child, should ever have to face. Hillary Clinton, who served as Obama’s secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, signed off on the president’s first three rounds of CSPA waivers without objection, just as she supported the Bush-Obama war against terrorism—including the disastrous Iraq invasion—that has claimed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Yet Clinton’s support for child soldiers hasn’t even been mentioned in any of the debates, town hall meetings or even by her Republican rivals. Shining light on this most despicable of practices simply does not serve the “national interest,” it seems.

April 2, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment