Puerto Rican Patriot, Oscar López Rivera, receives Solidarity Order in Cuba

Source:  Granma
November 14 2017

oscar lopez rivera received medalof homour.jpg

In a ceremony held at the José Martí Memorial, in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, Mercedes López Acea, a member of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) Political Bureau and vice president of the Council of State, presented the Puerto Rican patriot with the Solidarity Order.

Author: Redacción Digital | internet@granma.cu

In recognition of his bravery and resistance for over 36 years while unjustly imprisoned in the U.S., Puerto Rican patriot Oscar López Rivera received, November 14, in the Cuban capital, the Solidarity Order awarded by the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba.

oscar lopez rivera 6c.jpgIn a ceremony held at the José Martí Memorial, in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, Mercedes López Acea, a member of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) Political Bureau and vice president of the Council of State, presented López Rivera with the medal.
The independence advocate, visiting the island for the first time, thanked Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, President Raúl Castro, and the Cuban people for their support and solidarity.
He went on to note that Cuba will continue to be an example for the world at a time when governments are promoting war and exploiting the most vulnerable.
Decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba and President of the Cuban Institute of

Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) Fernando González Llort highlighted the Puerto Rican activist’s many qualities, describing him as a “brave, modest, educated man with a great artistic sensibility,” and “a concerned father, caring grandfather, and committed lover of his island and people.”
oscar lopez rivera 4There are convincing reasons to award him (López Rivera) the Solidarity Order, in fitting recognition of his struggle and his commitment maintained for almost 36 years in prison – 12 of which he spent in solitary confinement – to a single cause: struggling for his country’s independence, stated González Llort.

Arrested May 29, 1981

The ICAP President went on to recall that López Rivera, with whom he spent years in prison, was arrested May 29, 1981 and accused of seditious conspiracy, a strictly political charge used against Puerto Rican independence advocates.
In the presence of José Ramón Balaguer, a member of the PCC Central Committee Secretariat, and head of its International Relations Department, as well as Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba, among others, González Llort reaffirmed the island’s commitment to continue strengthening the fraternal ties which unite the two islands.

Prior to the ceremony, López Rivera paid tribute to Cuban National Hero José Martí, laying a floral wreath at the foot of the monument erected in his honor, in Havana’s historic Plaza de la Revolución.

oscar lopez rivera lays floral wreath.jpgDuring his stay López Rivera will also visit various central and eastern provinces, where he will tour cultural and historic sites such as the Comandante en Jefe’s childhood home in Birán, Holguín and the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, where Fidel’s ashes are interred. (ACN)

Related:  Oscar Lopez Rivera Puerto Rico has been colonized by the US for 119 years

Venezuela Defies Western Attempts at Debt Strangulation

President Maduro: “We have reached an agreement to refinance and restructure the debt with Russia”

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced this Sunday that the government had reached an agreement to refinance and restructure the Venezuelan debt with Russia.

“We have reached an agreement with Russia, this week will be signing an agreement where refinancing is established,” the president said.

“We have complied with all our international commitments,” the Venezuelan leader recalled.

Maduro Tweeted: “This Monday, the first round of renegotiation of the Venezuelan external debt will take place, we are overcoming the economic war, they will not be able to beat us.”  It is worth noting that 91 percent of all holders of the Venezuelan debt will participate tomorrow in the first stage of debt renegotiation and refinance.

Nicolas Maduro Nov 2017 1.jpg

From Niger to Somalia, U.S. Military Expansion in Africa Helps Terror Groups Recruit

Source: Democracy Now

From Niger to Somalia, U.S. Military Expansion in Africa Helps Terror Groups Recruit

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Related: 

“The U.S. Will Invade West Africa in 2023 After an Attack in New York—According to Pentagon War Game” (The Intercept)

“The US is waging a massive shadow war in Africa” (Vice)

Transcript 

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, to talk more about U.S. operations on the African continent, we’re joined by reporter Nick Turse. He’s a fellow at The Nation Institute, a contributing writer at The Intercept, where his latest stories are headlined “It’s Not Just Niger—U.S. Military Activity is a ‘Recruiting Tool’ for Terror Groups Across West Africa,” also his piece “The U.S. Will Invade West Africa in 2023 After an Attack in New York—According to Pentagon War Game,” and at Vice, his latest piece, “The U.S. is waging a massive shadow war in Africa.” He’s the author of the book Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa and his latest book, Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan.

Nick, welcome back to Democracy Now!

NICK TURSE: Thanks for having me on.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s begin in South Sudan. Why did Nikki Haley go there? Talk about the protest that occurred there.

NICK TURSE: Sure. Nikki Haley was dispatched there basically as a result of a speech last month that President Trump gave to African leaders at the United Nations. It was a very tone-deaf speech, where he, in fact, lauded the achievements of an African country that doesn’t exist—Nambia. But in the speech, he also mentioned that there were conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and especially South Sudan that needed tending to, that he was dispatching Haley to do something about it. What it was was never exactly clear. She was on something of a fact-finding mission.

She met with South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. And then, as you mentioned, she went to one of these protection of civilian sites in South Sudan, where there have been, you know, internal—internally displaced people basically stranded there for years, since the civil war broke out in 2013. And things got heated, and she was escorted out of the camp.

AMY GOODMAN: So, explain the situation in South Sudan.

NICK TURSE: Sure. In December of 2013, the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, launched a ethnic cleansing campaign in the capital city, Juba.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s one of the newest countries in the world.

NICK TURSE: Yes, it’s the youngest nation on Earth. And this was, in many ways, a U.S. nation-building project. The United States spent somewhere around $11 billion bringing South Sudan into nationhood. The South Sudanese fought for and died for their independence, but the United States was really the backer of this project. And it all fell apart in 2013. The country has been in a state of civil war since then. And the government has been carrying out ethnic cleansing campaigns across the nation.

AMY GOODMAN: Against who?

NICK TURSE: It started out as campaigns against the Nuer, which is the largest of the ethnic minorities. This is carried out by, as I said, President Salva Kiir, who’s a member of the Dinka, who are the largest ethnic group in the country. Since then, the civil war has spread. And most recently, it’s been affecting the deep south of South Sudan, the Equatoria region, where there are somewhere around 10 to 20 ethnic minorities. They’ve been targeted, and they’ve been leaving the country in droves, mostly to Uganda, about a million refugees across the border since the late summer of 2016.

Now, Nikki Haley, when she was in South Sudan, said that President Kiir could not claim that his soldiers weren’t committing these atrocities. But, in fact, that’s what Kiir has been doing for months now. He’s been claiming that fake news and social media drove these people across the border. But I was there earlier this year. I talked to refugees who had left the country. I spoke to people who were displaced in the country. I saw the burned villages. These people ran because of a government-run ethnic cleansing campaign, massacres, murder, village burnings. All this was going on then and goes on today.

AMY GOODMAN: What is the U.S. interest now?

NICK TURSE: Well, yeah, the United States, I think, especially—it was a bipartisan effort, so there are a lot of people in Congress that believe that the United States has an ongoing role to play in South Sudan. What the White House thinks should be done there is very unclear. Before Ambassador Haley left, she was talking tough about cutting off U.S. aid as a way to leverage U.S. power against the government of South Sudan. But since she arrived there, saw the refugees, she said that she now understands that cutting off U.S. aid would hurt the most vulnerable South Sudanese. It’s really an intractable situation, and it’s difficult to figure out exactly what the United States can do and what Nikki Haley’s mandate is.

AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, visited Gambela in western Ethiopia, where nearly 350,000 refugees flooded across the border from South Sudan amidst the country’s civil war.

NIKKI HALEY: This is an international crisis. This is not just Ethiopia’s problem. This is an international crisis. And when you look at the thousands of people here and you see that they’re supposed to have one health clinic for 10,000 people, and there’s 86,000 people in one clinic, it’s wrong. I mean, they’re trying to make ends meet by, you know, working off of food shortages, but at some point you have to look and say, “No one deserves to live like this.”

AMY GOODMAN: Haley said the United States is considering how to pressure South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, into peace, but said withdrawing aid may not work. Nick Turse?

NICK TURSE: Yes. You know, this is the quandary the United States has been in. At one time, they were giving South Sudan millions and millions of dollars for their military, to train politicians there, technocrats. Now it’s been reduced basically to aid. And, you know, that’s the leverage the United States has. But cutting that off means that so many people in need will be without.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Nick Turse, who is the author of several books on Africa, Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa and his latest book, Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. We’ll talk about the United States presence throughout Africa—6,000 U.S. troops, it’s believed—and what the U.S. was doing in Niger, where the U.S. special ops forces and as well as five Nigerien troops were killed. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: “Africa Dream Again” by Youssou N’Dour. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we talk about the U.S. presence in Africa. I want to turn to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He spoke to reporters last week after a meeting with Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who said the military is shifting its counterterrorism strategy to focus more on Africa.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: The counterterrorism rules under President Obama, I thought, were overly restrictive. They denied us the ability to basically engage the enemy effectively and aggressively. The war is morphing. You’re going to see more actions in Africa, not less. You’re going to see more aggression by the United States toward our enemies, not less. You’re going to have decisions being made not in the White House, but out in the field. And I support that entire construct.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we continue our conversation with Nick Turse. He’s the author of Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa; his latest book, Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. Respond to what Lindsey Graham has said. Talk about what the U.S. is doing in Africa.

NICK TURSE: Well, the U.S. is doing a lot in Africa. He talked about restrictions during the Obama era, but this was an era of major expansion, which, this past year, has, I have to say, jumped to another level. U.S. troops are now conducting, according to the commander of U.S. Africa Command, 3,500 exercises, programs and engagements per year. So that’s nearly 10 missions per day on the African continent, something that I think that most Americans are completely unaware of. I think Lindsey Graham states that he was unaware of the extent of this activity. So it’s a massive increase of late. When AFRICOM began, it was running about 172 exercises and missions per year. So this is almost a 2,000 percent rise in U.S. military activity on the Africa continent.

And this runs counter to what AFRICOM was originally sold as to the American people and to the world at large, that it would be something like the Peace Corps in camouflage, that there would be humanitarian operations, building of orphanages and digging of wells, that sort of thing. But it’s a fully militarized U.S. geographic combatant command, where you have troops running missions that, you know, are often sold as training and advisory, and done in a training and advisory capacity, but really are indistinguishable from combat.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, the discussion this week on Capitol Hill, we keep hearing many senators talking about giving more money to the U.S. military, that the death of the four Special Forces soldiers in Niger means the U.S. needs more money and that Africa is the place where, you know, the U.S. military action will be focused. Now, your story, one of them that you wrote, “It’s Not Just Niger—U.S. Military Activity is a ‘Recruiting Tool’ for Terror Groups Across West Africa,” explain.

NICK TURSE: Yes. This is something that a number of experts told me, that, you know, the United States has been pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into counterterror programs since just after 9/11 in West Africa—Niger, Mali, Mauritania, this entire region. The idea was to make this region a bulwark against terrorism. The thinking just after 9/11 was that weak states, fragile governments, ungoverned spaces, these were places that terror groups could proliferate.

But at the time, the United States didn’t recognize any transnational terror groups in the region. After all this U.S. activity, after running one special ops mission after another, year after year, now there are a proliferation of terror groups all across that region—depending on how you count them, maybe six to 10, including the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, which is the group that reportedly conducted this ambush that killed the four American Green Berets.

AMY GOODMAN: Not all of them were Green Berets, but they were Special Forces. On that issue of these Special Forces, 800 soldiers in Niger? What is the drone base? Why was it being built there?

NICK TURSE: Well, in 2013, the United States began drone operations there, a hundred U.S. personnel dispatched to Niamey, the capital of Niger. And the base was designed for providing what they call ISR—intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance—over the Niger and the greater West Africa region. Since then, the United States struck a deal with Niger to build a much larger base in the town of Agadez. U.S. Africa Command says that this is—they call it something like a temporary contingency location, which sounds like an airstrip with a couple tents around it. But declassified secret documents that I obtained show that this is a $100 million drone base that they’re building.

They chose Niger, these documents say, because the government there was open to them bringing in MQ-9 Reaper drones, which are the larger, newer variant of the Predator drone, a potentially much more lethal drone package. Originally, these were supposed to be carrying out, again, ISR missions, reconnaissance, surveillance. But now, in the wake of this attack, there’s a major push on to arm these drones and have them fly over the region. And this was something else that I also saw in the documents. Niger was the only country in the region that was open to having armed drones based there.

AMY GOODMAN: And both the U.S. and France are active there.

NICK TURSE: Yes. This is because of the collapse of Niger’s neighbor, one of its neighbors, Mali. In fact, a U.S.-trained officer, one of these—one of the officers trained in the U.S. counterterror programs after 9/11, overthrew the government of Mali, because there was an insurgency in northern Mali that this officer didn’t think that the government was taking on in the correct way. He proved incompetent at taking on the insurgency, as well. Islamists pushed his army back towards the capital. And there was a real fear that Mali would be overtaken by Islamist rebels. So France intervened, with the backing of the United States. And now France has been stuck in a counterinsurgency there, that seems that it’s also interminable and that the French cannot find a way to extricate themselves from.

AMY GOODMAN: Where else does the U.S. have drone bases across Africa?

NICK TURSE: Well, there are drone bases that pop up all across the continent, and the U.S. builds them and shuts them down depending on need. In the past, they’ve had drone bases in Ethiopia, in Chad, also in Kenya. I think the drone base that—of recent vintage, that’s been most important to the U.S., is in the tiny, sun-baked nation of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. There’s a major U.S. base there called Camp Lemonnier, but the drone base is a satellite facility. It’s called Chabelley Airfield. And the United States has run missions there that target the African continent. Also they run drone missions that fly to Yemen. And then it was used for engagements against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as well. It’s a very important, centrally located drone base.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you have 6,000 U.S. troops. Do you think that’s the correct number?

NICK TURSE: I think, on any given day, there’s somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 U.S. troops on the continent, depending on the missions that are going on at the time, because troops cycle in and out. But 6,000 is a reasonable number.

AMY GOODMAN: In some, what, 50 countries in Africa.

NICK TURSE: Yeah. The United States is in somewhere around 49 or so African countries, at least over the last couple years. They’re conducting training missions, exercises and, in some cases, you know, commando raids and drone strikes.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Professor Horace Campbell, currently spending a year in West Africa as the Kwame Nkrumah chair at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, a peace and justice scholar and professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University. He spoke on Democracy Now! earlier this week about forces—about U.S. forces in Africa.

HORACE CAMPBELL: So what we must be clear about to the progressive forces in the United States of America, that neither France nor the United States can have any political legitimacy in Africa, when on the streets of the United States of America fascists are walking around with Nazi flags and police are killing black people. I want to go back to the point that we made at the beginning. United States has no legitimacy for fighting terrorism in Africa, because you cannot fight to defend black lives in Africa when black lives are not important in the United States of America.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Professor Horace Campbell. Your response to what he says, Nick Turse?

NICK TURSE: Well, he makes a strong point there. And, you know, I might add that—and this is something in my recent pieces—that the United States’s counterterror activities in Africa have seemed to have the opposite effect, in many ways, that, you know, the U.S. was supposed to be building up counterterror capabilities, but we’ve just seen a proliferation of terror groups all across the continent. So, you know, the legitimacy is lacking, and then also the execution of this. It’s really gone counter to what the United States’ aims have been.

AMY GOODMAN: In your piece in The Intercept, the headline is “The U.S. Will Invade West Africa in 2023 After an Attack in New York—According to Pentagon War Game.” What is this war game?

NICK TURSE: It was a war game that was carried out over several weeks last year. The acronym of it was JLASS-SP. And this was conducted by students at the U.S. military’s war colleges. These aren’t, I should say, West Point cadets or something like this. These are generally colonels in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, some of the best up-and-coming strategic thinkers in the U.S. military, people that will be generals running the wars in the coming years. They ran a very intricate war game, and this was one part of it—but a pivotal part.

The war game posits that there will be a terror attack in New York targeting the Lincoln Tunnel. It will be the largest terror attack since 9/11, the most casualties since then. And it will be carried out by a West African terror group, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, one of these groups that’s cropped up in the region since 9/11. Because of this attack, the United States decides to invade West Africa, starting in Mauritania. And, you know—and it won’t be a surprise to anyone that’s watched U.S. wars since 9/11 that this quickly becomes a quagmire, that the United States goes in thinking that it’s going to be a short campaign, that we can eliminate the terrorists there and withdraw quickly, but it soon turns into an intractable conflict where the United States has to surge in forces just to maintain its occupation, and there seems to be no way to get out of it.

AMY GOODMAN: And what’s the significance of a Pentagon war game?

NICK TURSE: Well, I mean, this is—it’s not an intelligence estimate, but this is something that shows what the United States is thinking about, where it sees threats coming from, what it sees as the “reasonable,” quote-unquote, U.S. response to it. And this generally is the U.S. response. I could certainly see something like this happening. And the results are chilling, especially given what we’re seeing now—talk coming out of Congress about, you know, increasing U.S. military operations in Africa. It’s a sobering account of what this might mean for all of us, here in America and especially in Africa.

AMY GOODMAN: What about Somalia? So the timeline was what? October 4th, that was the time of the Niger killings, of the ambush of the U.S. and Nigerien forces. Ten days later, October 14, though a lot of people learned about what happened in Niger, and Trump did not reveal what happened in Niger until after Somalia, but 10 days later, this double bombing in the capital, what they’re calling the Mogadishu massacre, over 350 people killed, 400 people wounded. And The Guardian reports that the suspected bomber is from the specific community targeted by a U.S. raid last August in a village near Mogadishu that killed some 10 people, among them children. Can you talk about what’s happening in Somalia and the U.S. presence there?

NICK TURSE: Well, the U.S. has had a long-standing presence in Somalia. This has been one of the places where U.S. counterterror efforts have been at their largest in Africa. You know, it’s cited by some in the government as a success story. Al-Shabab has, in many ways, been pushed back. But, you know, there’s a continuing terror campaign from al-Shabab that doesn’t seem to be able to be solved through military means. But this is—this is the way the United States has chosen to deal with it and chosen to deal with what it considers threats all over the continent, that it’s a sort of a counterterror whack-a-mole exercise.

AMY GOODMAN: What does it mean that Trump called it a so-called zone of active hostilities?

NICK TURSE: Yeah, this allowed for a loosening of bonds on U.S. military activity there. It allows the U.S. to pursue a more vigorous military campaign. And because of that, there’s a much greater chance of civilian casualties and a chance of just continuing the cycle. This is something that experts have told me again and again, that U.S. operations on the continent are, in many ways, fueling terrorism, that these U.S. military operations are causing discontent, and by killing, you know, innocent civilians, that you’re just breeding more terrorists, country after country.

AMY GOODMAN: During a news conference last month, President Trump congratulated African leaders for helping make his friends rich.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Africa has tremendous business potential. I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They’re spending a lot of money.

AMY GOODMAN: “They’re spending a lot of money,” President Trump said. Nick Turse, as we begin to wrap up?

NICK TURSE: Yeah, I think Trump has viewed Africa maybe in two ways, that it’s some sort of transactional economic zone, where the United States can extract and make money, and then, you know, as a theater of war. And, you know, that speech was exceptionally tone-deaf. And it was the first time he had really addressed what his Africa strategy might be. And as you might expect, after those words, it became more and more muddled. It’s very difficult to understand exactly what the Trump administration sees for the future of Africa, and they really haven’t even staffed up with experts on it within the administration, at the State Department. So, it seems to be an ad hoc policy. I think you’ll see a lot more military engagement, especially after Niger. And, you know, I’m not sure about the economic empowerment that Trump’s talking about.

AMY GOODMAN: You talk about the shadow war in Africa. What do you mean?

NICK TURSE: Well, I mean, these campaigns have been going on in Africa for years, but it’s largely unknown to the American people. And when you ask AFRICOM, as I have, about what’s happening on the continent, they’re always talking about training missions, about advisory missions. Well, this is exactly what the mission in Niger was billed as. This was working with local forces in an advisory capacity. But we see that, you know, an advisory or training mission can quickly become combat. And I think that the more U.S. engagement you see, the greater the chance that we’ll have more and more catastrophes like this.

AMY GOODMAN: Is there anything else you want to add that you think people in the United States—certainly, the corporate media hardly focuses on Africa. I mean, when you have, for example, the attack, what they call the Mogadishu massacre, of 358 people dead, almost no attention. Of course, right away, there is a mention of it. But in the aftermath, the devastation, the loss of life. What should people understand across Africa right now and be looking for?

NICK TURSE: Well, you know, I think it’s important to keep an eye on places like South Sudan, which we talked of earlier, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic. These are places where the United States had a more robust diplomatic effort before, but has—the United States has pulled back, in many ways. And these are places where the United States—the United Nations has warned of potential genocide, of ethnic cleansing campaigns. I think these are stories that are completely under-, and sometimes un-, covered in the United States, but I think they’re places that will be making the news in the future, for all the wrong reasons.

AMY GOODMAN: As President Trump expresses, to say the least, a tremendous bellicose intent in various areas, are you concerned what that will mean as he focuses on Africa?

NICK TURSE: I am. You know, I think that this is the primary U.S. bent on the continent, that, you know, while a country like China has promoted economic engagement, the United States has really seen Africa as a counterterrorism problem. And the way to deal with that, in U.S. thinking, is to deploy more military forces, build more bases, deploy more troops.

AMY GOODMAN: And last question, and this goes to a piece you wrote just a few months ago, looking at what’s happened in Cameroon, “Cameroonian Troops Tortured and Killed Prisoners at Base Used for U.S. Drone [Surveillance].” And this was a report that came out by Amnesty International.

NICK TURSE: Yes, I worked with The Intercept, Amnesty International and a group called Forensic Architecture. And what we found was that there’s a small—one of several small U.S. bases in Cameroon, or a Cameroonian base where the United States has an intermittent military presence and U.S. contractors are flying drones. On the same base, Cameroonian forces were torturing and sometimes even killing prisoners, people that were suspected of supporting Boko Haram but, in most cases, were completely innocent and had no ties to the group. This is—you know, one, it’s illegal. Two, it’s building discontent in Cameroon. And it’s just—

AMY GOODMAN: This is at a U.S. base for drone surveillance—I said “strikes” before, but surveillance?

NICK TURSE: Surveillance. It was a—there are U.S. contractors who are flying drones out of this base, and then U.S. special operations forces that cycle in and out to work with—as this is another training mission for U.S. troops. But, you know, our allies are committing gross atrocities on a large scale. And this doesn’t go unnoticed by people in Cameroon. People in the United States don’t know about it, but we might know about the backlash to it in the coming years.

AMY GOODMAN: And this just happened today: Three U.N. peacekeepers from Chad were killed, and two others injured, when their logistics convoy was attacked in northern Mali, this according to the United Nations. The U.N. Security Council condemned the attack on the road. The 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali has become the most dangerous in the world, as Islamic militants routinely attack U.N. convoys across the north. Mali, of course, a neighbor of Niger.

NICK TURSE: Yes. You know, this is what I was talking about. After the U.S.-trained officer, Captain Sanogo, overthrew the government in Mali, it really destabilized the entire country. And because of that, in the north and even in the central part of the country, there have been militant groups operating ever since. They’ve really carved out strongholds. So, you have French and African forces, backed by the United States, conducting counterterror campaigns. But this is an ongoing insurgency, and it shows no sign of slowing.

AMY GOODMAN: Nick Turse, I want to thank you for being with us. We’re going to link to all of your pieces with different news organizations. Nick Turse is fellow at The Nation Institute, author of Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa. His latest book, Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. Nick Turse is also a contributing writer at The Intercept.

This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute with Carl Hart. We’ll talk about the national health emergency that President Trump has declared around opioids. Stay with us.

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Remembering Muammar Qaddafi and the great Libyan Jamahiriya

Source: sfBayView
October 20 2017

by Gerald A. Perreira

The execution of Muammar Qaddafi and those who fought alongside him and the destruction of the Libyan Jamahiriya is one of the greatest crimes of this century.

remembering Qaddafi 1Circa 1970: Muammar Qaddafi with members of the Free Unionist Officers who l
ater formed the Revolutionary Command Council. Far right is Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr
who, at 71 years of age, was captured alongside Qaddafi at the Battle of Sirte.

Oct. 20, 2017, marks the sixth anniversary of the martyrdom of Muammar Qaddafi, revolutionary Pan-Africanist and champion of the Global South. This day also marks the sixth anniversary of the historic battle of Sirte, where Qaddafi, along with a heroic army, including his son, Mutassim Billal Qaddafi, and veteran freedom fighter Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr, fought until their convoy was bombed by French fighter planes. Wounded and demobilized, they were captured by Qatari scavengers and executed by Al-Qaeda operatives.

The courageous men of the original Free Officers’ Union, who were guides and leaders of the then 42-year-old Al-Fatah Revolution, demonstrated extraordinary revolutionary fortitude, heroism and audacity in the face of their enemies. As young men in their 20s, they overthrew the Western-installed Libyan monarchy and ushered in the Jamahiriya and, as elders in their 70s, they refused to leave Libya and instead fought to the bitter end, on the frontlines, alongside their people.

Their example will forever shine as an eternal light in the hearts of all those who struggled alongside them to build the closest thing to a real democracy and a United States of Africa that modern history has ever seen. The execution of Muammar Qaddafi and those who fought alongside him and the destruction of the Libyan Jamahiriya is one of the greatest crimes of this century.

Those responsible, including Nicolas Sarkozy, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, David Cameron, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Emir Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani should be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A coalition of the wicked, comprising U.S./NATO forces, the semi-feudal Arab regimes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and a rag-tag bunch of monarchists and al-Qaeda-linked terrorists inside Libya, who had been working with the CIA and M15 for decades, was assembled and united in their goal. For them, total destruction was the only solution.

remembering Qaddafi 2.jpgOctober 2011: A ravaged Sirte is evidence of the ferocity of the heroic battle staged by loyalist forces against the invaders. – Photo: AP

Refusing Qaddafi’s attempt to negotiate a peaceful solution

Every attempt was made by Qaddafi and his supporters to negotiate a peaceful solution, including inviting international observers into the country to see for themselves what was really taking place, something the imperialists could not allow to happen. This was their golden opportunity to destroy Qaddafi and the Jamahiriya, a plan they had been waiting to execute for years.

There were mass uprisings on either side of Libya, in Tunisia and Egypt. The West had already coined the term “Arab Spring” and was busy hijacking revolts elsewhere. Time was of the essence. In fact, in what can only be described as a frenzy, they may have set a world record for the speed with which they managed to push through the illegal resolution at the U.N., their cover for the invasion.

The fake news and false narrative machine was in full swing. Within 24 hours, U.N. bodies had transformed Qaddafi from a person about to receive the U.N. Human Rights Award into a man killing his own people. The Jamahiriya was targeted for destruction and nothing was going to stop them.

Foreign forces, including the CIA, Dutch Marines, French and Sudanese military personnel, Qatari Special Forces, Al Qaeda fighters – facilitated by the Saudis, as they are facilitating Al Qaeda in Yemen today – were all in place weeks before the staged protests began in Benghazi in February 2011. This was a well-planned and coordinated operation.

‘Sometimes the enemy is the best teacher’

Kwame Ture, revolutionary Pan-Africanist and former executive member of the World Mathaba, opined that sometimes the enemy is the best teacher. He instructed us to study the enemy’s strategy and tactics and to remember that the enemy only goes after those whom they deem to be a real threat to their imperial interests. Pan-Africanist and former president of Guinea Ahmed Sekou Toure said, “If the enemy is not bothering with you, then know that you are doing nothing.”

remembering Qaddafi 3.jpgHeroes: the millions of armed Libyan men and women who stepped up to defend their Revolution

The forces of U.S.-E.U. imperialism were always bothering Muammar Qaddafi. They were bent on discrediting, demonizing and finding a way to obliterate him and the Libyan Jamahiriya from its inception in 1969 until they finally achieved their nefarious objective in 2011.

Results of a sinister imperialist game plan

Referring to Qaddafi as “the mad dog of the Middle-East,” Ronald Reagan, in a nationwide broadcast, said that Qaddafi’s goal was “world revolution,” claiming that he (Qaddafi) was promoting “a Muslim fundamentalist revolution, which targeted many of his own Arab compatriots.”

There is an African saying: “Mouth open, story jump out.” What Ronald Reagan was describing sounds like the imperialist plan. It was Ronald Reagan who welcomed leaders of the Afghan Mujahadeen, who were fighting the Soviets at the time, to the Oval Office and referred to them as Jihadi freedom fighters.

Today as we face Al Qaeda and their various offshoots, including the infamous ISIL, we are witnessing the devastating results of this sinister imperialist game plan. Ever since the days when the British colonial forces facilitated the creation of the Wahhabi kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the imperialists have encouraged, supported and funded the growth of Islamic fundamentalist groups.

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Libyans prepare to retake Ajdabiya on March 16, 2011.

They understood that this was imperative if they were to counter the resurgence of an Islamic theology of liberation, in the revolutionary tradition of Abu Dharr al Ghifari, and as propounded in contemporary times by outstanding Islamic thinkers, such as Muammar Qaddafi, Ali Shariati, Kaukab Siddique, Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani, Muhammad Iqbal and Mahmoud Ayoub.

 

Islamic liberation theology

Again, we can learn from the enemy. Just as the imperialists and right-wing Christian fundamentalists waged an unrelenting war against the Social Gospel Movement and Christian liberation theology, as articulated by revolutionary theologians such as Gustavo Gutierrez, Miguel Bonino, James Cone and Enrique Dussel, they knew very well that Islamic liberation theology must be countered.

The enemy understood the power of this theology in terms of its ability to act as a bulwark against the imperial hegemon. They knew that this authentic and revolutionary Islam would prevent them from exercising control over an awakened Muslim world.

The enemy understood the power of this Islamic theology of liberation in terms of its ability to act as a bulwark against the imperial hegemon. They knew that this authentic and revolutionary Islam would prevent them from exercising control over an awakened Muslim world.

Reagan was right about one thing: Muammar Qaddafi indeed had a goal of world revolution – it was a revolution that would put the tenets of Islamic liberation theology into practice. Qaddafi’s conception of this revolution was holistic. His revolution would challenge every aspect of Eurocentric epistemology and its inherent racism.

The Libyan revolution was more than a social, political and economic revolution; it was nothing short of a spiritual and cultural revolution. This confounded not only the imperialist powers but also their reactionary Arab satraps.

The World Mathaba

The World Mathaba, established by Muammar Qaddafi in 1982, had as its stated mission, “to resist imperialism, racism, fascism, zionism, colonialism and neo-colonialism.” The Mathaba denotes a place where people gather for a noble purpose.

remembering Qaddafi 5.jpgThe Libyan people were an armed people and Qaddafi often moved among them with minimal security only present to control the crowds that wanted to greet him and shake his hand. Repressive dictators do not arm their people.

Based in Libya, it became a meeting place for revolutionary and progressive forces from all over the world. Similar to the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, which became a major intellectual center during the Islamic Golden Age, and the University of Sankore in Timbuktu, where scholars of the day converged to discuss and debate ideas and formulate new ideas, the Mathaba became a forum for the advancement of a Third Universal Theory beyond Capitalism and Communism.

Prior to the Mathaba, the only international formations for progressive and revolutionary organizations had been the Soviet dominated Comintern, which demanded an ideological allegiance to Marxism-Leninism and the Socialist International that brought together social-democratic parties. The ideological rigidity of these two international formations excluded organizations and movements that rejected Eurocentric ideologies, including many Indigenous and Pan-African organizations who found a home in the World Mathaba.

Through the Mathaba, Qaddafi assisted all those who were fighting for liberation and self-determination, regardless of whether or not it was in Libya’s geo-political interests to do so. Under Qaddafi’s visionary leadership, material assistance and moral support was provided to the oppressed from every corner of the earth, regardless of religion or ideology.

All were helped – from the Roma people of Eastern Europe to the Kanak people of New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific to the Rohingya people, who are presently being ethnically cleansed by the Buddhist chauvinists of Myanmar, and who the U.N. recently referred to as “the most friendless people.” What the hypocritical U.N. body failed to mention was that they once had a friend in Muammar Qaddafi.

A sacred duty

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What we knew all along is now a substantiated and indisputable fact: There was never a mass uprising in Benghazi or anywhere in Libya. The Libyan people in their millions made it clear that they supported the Al-Fatah Revolution.

Qaddafi noted on many occasions that the Libyan Revolution had a sacred duty to help all those who were in legitimate need and suffering persecution, since this was in accordance with the teachings of the Quran, which was Libya’s Constitution. The bedrock of Islam is to enjoin that which is good and condemn that which is wrong and unjust. Any Muslim, regardless of their interpretation of Quranic teachings, will admit that the Quran clearly states that the weakest response to injustice is to hate it in your heart, the second weakest response is to speak against it and the strongest response is to oppose it in every way possible.

A spiritual revolution

Leader of the Philippine based Moro National Liberation Front, Nur Misuari, in a lecture he delivered in 1990 at the Green World Institute in Tripoli, explained that inserting the word “Islamic” into the name of a country or organization, like the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” or “Moro Islamic Liberation Front” did not make the country or organization Islamic.

Declaring yourself an “Islamic” country like Saudi Arabia and Qatar does not make you Islamic. To be a truly Islamic society and nation, there has to be a spiritual revolution – a revolution that raises the spiritual consciousness of the people; a revolution that counters the false Islam that the oppressors promote, that abolishes capitalism and the semi-feudal social relations sustained by the ruling elites in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Sudan.

To be a truly Islamic society and nation, there has to be a spiritual revolution – a revolution that raises the spiritual consciousness of the people; a revolution that counters the false Islam that the oppressors promote, that abolishes capitalism and the semi-feudal social relations sustained by the ruling elites in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Sudan.

This is why Qaddafi was such a threat to the imperialists and their Muslim surrogates. He was not only propounding dangerous ideas, he was building a new society – a Jamahiriya – a state of the masses, a real democracy based on the revolutionary teachings of the Quran, which, according to South African political scientist Themba Sono, “created conditions for the many to rule themselves.”

Sono goes on to explain: “For Qaddafi, this is part of the natural order in which the majority rules themselves rather than for a minority to exercise power over a majority … Qaddafi denies that the emanations from the activity of electoral participants can never be called rule, not only because such rule would be unethical and thereby unstable, but also because it would contradict the very essence and fundamental tenet of democracy, which is, to be tautological, that, naturally, free people must and can rule themselves.”

It was a dangerous precedent that the imperialists could not allow to continue.

As Sono notes in his book, “The Qaddafi Green Syndrome: Shaking the Foundations”: “Qaddafi does not care to investigate whether or not the people are capable of ruling themselves, for he asks the question, how do we do that without giving the people not only the right but the opportunity to do so? Who is to know beforehand and therefore to decide a priori that the people are not qualified to rule themselves?”

Dangerous ideas indeed

Applying the principles of Qaddafi’s Third Universal Theory transformed Libya from one of the poorest countries in the world to not only one of the most prosperous countries in Africa but, in many respects, one of the most prosperous countries worldwide. Facts and figures substantiate this claim.

remembering Qaddafi 7.jpgDuring the invasion of Libya, 1.7 million people – 95 percent of the population of Tripoli and one third of the entire population of Libya – gathered in downtown Tripoli in what has been called the largest demonstration in world history to support Qaddafi and the revolution. Syrians living in Libya can be seen in the center of the photo waving the Syrian flag. – Photo: Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Libya had no foreign debt and actually deposited payments from oil revenue into the bank accounts of its citizens. As is by now well documented, Libyans had access to free quality healthcare, free education from nursery through university level, rent free housing, free electricity, subsidized food – a very high standard of living.

Imperialists hate these types of precedents. What if, upon seeing these achievements, other nations decided to disregard the Western-style systems of governance and the neo-liberal capitalist model that simply widens the gap between the haves and have-nots?

What if countries in Africa, seeing Libya’s advancement and prosperity, decided to rid themselves of the bogus liberal democratic tradition that empowers 1 percent of humanity to rule over 99 percent? What if others decided to reject the multi-party electoral circus, designed to divide and fragment our countries along ethnic and tribal lines and, instead, opted for a Jamahiriya or State of the Masses?

Once asked by a journalist, what was the one thing he wanted to achieve most in his lifetime, Qaddafi replied, “to change the world.” And he was coming close.

Muammar Qaddafi and the empowered Libyan Jamahiriya were leading the movement to establish a United States of Africa, with a united military and a single currency, a dinar backed by Africa’s gold reserves. This would have actually dethroned the U.S. dollar and shifted the global economic imbalance. This would have indeed changed the world.

Muammar Qaddafi and the empowered Libyan Jamahiriya were leading the movement to establish a United States of Africa, with a united military and a single currency, a dinar backed by Africa’s gold reserves. This would have actually dethroned the U.S. dollar and shifted the global economic imbalance.

So, on Oct. 20, 2011, the Satanic forces that had been at war with Qaddafi and the Libyan Jamahiriya from its inception in 1969, dealt their final blow to the man known to revolutionaries throughout the world as the Brother-Leader and to revolutionary Muslims throughout Africa and the world as the “Commander of the Faithful.”

‘If they get past Libya, they are coming for you …’

Six years later and the fallout from this criminal act is still being felt everywhere. Key development projects throughout Africa, financed by Libya, have all grounded to a halt. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, key players in Libya’s demise, are now busy grabbing large tracts of land in Africa. This would not have been possible if Qaddafi was alive.

remembering Qaddafi 8.jpgThousands of Libyan loyalists and migrants from other African countries languish in prisons.

The expansion of AFRICOM, the expansion of U.S. military bases, and the building of new military bases by the Chinese and the Turks in Africa would also not have been possible if Qaddafi were alive. Indeed, there would have been a fierce resistance to the current recolonization and re-carving of Africa if Muammar Qaddafi were alive and the Libyan Jamahiriya were flourishing as before.

Of course, the urgent need to recolonize an Africa that was awakening to its own power and ability to unite and self-determine was the very reason for the overthrow of Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution. It is not surprising that the French led the charge. In March 2008, former French president, Jacques Chirac said, “Without Africa, France would slide down into the rank of a Third World power.” As early as 1957, long before he became president, Francois Mitterrand said, “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century.”

Libya has been transformed into a dysfunctional neo-colonial entity, where an array of militias squabble over territory and spoils. Its vast landmass has become a safe haven and training ground for ISIL and other Al-Qaeda offshoots.

Thousands of Libyans and other African nationals are still detained without trial in what can only be described as concentration camps. Many have been tortured and executed in these same camps, their only crime: being Qaddafi loyalists. Those now in control of Libya hated Qaddafi’s Pan-African objectives. They are Arab supremacists and are persecuting Black Libyans and other African nationals.

Africans who once travelled to Libya to work and send back much needed funds to their families are now crossing the Mediterranean. Entire boatloads of people, including women and children, are drowning as they make the perilous journey.

Africans who once travelled to Libya to work and send back much needed funds to their families are now crossing the Mediterranean. Entire boatloads of people, including women and children, are drowning as they make the perilous journey.

Our ancestors were once captured and forced on to boats against their will. Many perished during that crossing. Today, we are clamoring to secure a place on boats that are not even seaworthy to escape the conditions created by our former enslavers. Many are still perishing.

Qaddafi would often lament, “The world shakes, but it doesn’t change.”

Workers from as far afield as the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Turkey, Germany, England, Italy, Malaysia and Korea lost their jobs.

The entire refugee crisis across Europe is a result of the destruction of the Jamahiriya.

remembering Qaddafi 9.jpgMuammar Qaddafi is remembered with love and held in high esteem by Black
people in Africa and throughout the Diaspora, including in the U.S.

The push to establish a United States of Africa, which prior to Libya’s demise was a dynamic and energized initiative, is presently a dream deferred. Revolutionary Pan-Africanism has suffered a huge setback.

Today’s African leaders, with the exception of a few, are only good for talking Pan-Africanism in the halls of the African Union headquarters. Outside of these confines, they are committed to maintaining the old neo-colonial relationships that keep Africa in bondage.

We salute you

On this day, all those who resist oppression and tyranny worldwide, salute the great freedom fighter and our Brother-Leader, Muammar Qaddafi, and the other revolutionary leaders of Al Fatah. We pay homage to their dedicated and life-long struggle for human emancipation and dignity. We are forever inspired by their steadfast and courageous fight to the end, and by their unwavering faith in, and service to God.

We are grateful for their undying love for the African continent and all of humanity. We salute the millions of Libyan men and women who heroically resisted the invasion of their country and who continue to suffer to this day.

We stand in solidarity with the family of Muammar Qaddafi and the families of all the martyrs. We stand in solidarity with the thousands of political prisoners inside Libya and the more than 1.5 million Qaddafi loyalists exiled from their country.

We commit our full support to the struggle being waged by the patriotic and nationalist forces to liberate and unify Libya once again. For the Green revolutionary, death is not the end but the doorway to a new beginning. Martyrs never die.

Gerald A. Perreira is chairperson of the Guyanese organizations Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP). He is an executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network for Defense of Humanity. He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fatah revolution, and was a founding member of the World Mathaba, based in Tripoli, Libya. He can be reached at mojadi94@gmail.com.

Ghana Honours Kwame Nkrumah

Source:  citifmonline.com
September 17, 2017

Founders Day to be Aug. 4, Sept. 21 to honour Nkrumah’s memory

President Nana Akufo-Addo.jpgPresident Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo is to propose legislation to designate August 4 as Founders Day.

This is according to a statement from the Presidency signed by its Director of Communications, Eugine Arhin.

Kwame Nkrumah.jpgThe birthday of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, on September 21, will be observed as Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday was originally observed as Founder’s Day.

The Presidency’s statement noted that August 4, is “obviously the most appropriate day to signify our recognition and appreciation of the collective efforts of our forebears towards the founding of a free, independent Ghana.”

August 4 is noted as the date for the formation of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society by John Mensah Sarbah in 1897, and the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) in 1947 by J.B. Danquah and George Alfred “Paa” Grant.

The thinking informing this proposal, according to the President, is to acknowledge the “successive generations of Ghanaians who made vital contributions to the liberation of our country from imperialism and colonialism.”

The statement acknowledged Dr. Nkrumah’s standing in Ghanaian history and said: “it is entirely appropriate that we commemorate him for that role, by designating his birthday as the permanent day of his remembrance.”

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“The President has, therefore, decided to propose legislation to Parliament to designate 4th August as FOUNDERS DAY, and 21st September as KWAME NKRUMAH MEMORIAL DAY, both of which will be observed as public holidays.”

“…In the meantime, the President has issued an Executive Instrument to commemorate this year’s celebration of KWAME NKRUMAH MEMORIAL DAY as a public holiday,” the statement added.

The Founder’s Day versus Founders Day debate has been a longstanding one, and was brought into the limelight in 2017, starting with President Akufo-Addo’s speech delivered at Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary parade.

That speech came under attack over what some said was a skewed account of Ghana’s history to suit his father, Edward Akufo-Addo and uncle, J.B. Danquah, who were critical components in Ghana’s fight for independence and the forebearers of the governing New Patriotic Party’s tradition.

Related:  Massive turnout as NDC shows love for Kwame Nkrumah on Founder’s Day (Photos+Video)


Find below the full statement from the Presidency

It is unfortunate that, 60 years after independence, the history of the events leading to it continues to be embroiled in unnecessary controversy, due largely to partisan political considerations of the moment.

It is clear that successive generations of Ghanaians made vital contributions to the liberation of our country from imperialism and colonialism. It is, therefore, fitting that we honour them, as those who contributed to the founding of our nation.

The most appropriate way to honour them is to commemorate the day on which the two most significant events in our colonial political history, that led us to independence, occurred – 4th August.

On that day, in 1897, the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS) was formed in Cape Coast. The Society did a great job to mobilise the chiefs and people to ward off the greedy hands of British imperialism to ensure that control of Ghanaian lands remained in Ghanaian hands. It represented the first monumental step towards the making of modern Ghana, enabling us to avoid the quagmire of land inheritance that our brothers and sisters in Southern and Eastern Africa continue to suffer, from the seizures of their lands by white minorities.

In a deliberate act in the continuum of Ghanaian history, exactly fifty years later, on 4th August, 1947, at Saltpond, the great nationalists of the time gathered to inaugurate the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the first truly nationalist party of the Gold Coast, to demand the independence of our nation from British rule, at a gathering which included “paramount chiefs, clergymen, lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, traders and men and women from all walks of life in the Gold Coast”, according to an eye witness. The inauguration set the ball rolling for our nation’s attainment of independence, and for the dramatic events, including the birth in 1949 of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), that ushered us into freedom.

That day, 4th August, is, thus, obviously the most appropriate day to signify our recognition and appreciation of the collective efforts of our forebears towards the founding of a free, independent Ghana.

It is equally clear that the first leader of independent Ghana, and the nation’s 1st President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, played an outstanding role in helping to bring to fruition the works of the earlier generations, and leading us to the promised land of national freedom and independence. It is entirely appropriate that we commemorate him for that role, by designating his birthday as the permanent day of his remembrance.

The President has, therefore, decided to propose legislation to Parliament to designate 4th August as FOUNDERS DAY, and 21st September as KWAME NKRUMAH MEMORIAL DAY, both of which will be observed as public holidays. In the meantime, the President has issued an Executive Instrument to commemorate this year’s celebration of KWAME NKRUMAH MEMORIAL DAY as a public holiday.
……signed……
Eugene Arhin
Director of Communications
Office of the President

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana

WFDY: Solidarity statement with the Bolivarian revolution of Venezuela

Source:  WFDY
August 26 2017

WFDY logo 1.jpgThe World Federation of Democratic Youths condemns the threat and declarations of military aggression against Venezuela, expressed recently by the president of the USA, Donald Trump.

Likewise WFDT rejects the measures taken against Venezuela by several Latin-American governments which have aligned themselves totally with the imperialistic North American strategy that aims to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution.

We defend the principles of respect for sovereignty and the right to self-determination of all peoples and condemn the policy of imperialistic wars that demonstrates their  opposition to the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, approved by the CELAC in 2014.

Long live Bolivarian Revolution!!!

No to the Imperialistic War!!!

Long live the peace!!!

WFDY HQ
Budapest,
August, 2017

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When Afghanistan Called Fidel and Cuba Answered

Source:  TeleSUR
November 27 2016

By: Fraidoon Amel

One of the lesser known facts of 20th-century world history is Cuba’s military help in Afghanistan during the critical years of the Saur Revolution of 1978.

afghanistan 1.jpgU.S. intervention in Afghanistan has stunted the growth of the country.

One of the most striking world historical beacons in the 20th century is revolutionary Cuba’s meaningful, spartan, and heroic internationalism. While Cuba’s internationalist solidarity still exists in many forms, its military component is what stands out.

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Cuban internationalism

Cuban military aid in Ghana, Algeria, Guinea-Bissau, Congo and Bolivia under Che Guevara, Grenada, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Iraq, Syria during the October War of 1973, Western Sahara, Yemen, and South Africa — the latter Cuba helped liberate from apartheid — shaped the history of Africa and Latin America. It is an exceptional and unprecedented record for a small Caribbean island making it almost too surreal to be true.

Is it bewildering then, that Cuba proudly amassed the rage of the “Empire” in the form of the decades-long genocidal blockade?

However, one of the lesser known facts of 20th-century world history is Cuba’s military help in Afghanistan during the critical years of the Saur Revolution of 1978. Cuba was among a small number of countries who voted against a resolution by the Non-Aligned Movement at the United Nations General Assembly which condemned the Soviet union’s intervention in Afghanistan in 1979.

Fighting against Western imperialism on the Afghan front

Cuba was engaged in the fight against Western imperialism on the Afghan front from 1980 to 1986. These years were decisive for the Afghan Revolution. It was during this time span that the Afghan army inflicted decisive blows against imperialism’s foot soldiers — Afghans and some 50,000 non-Afghans.

The successes achieved at this time were largely due to the presence in Afghanistan of over 5,000 Cuban military personnel who shared their expertise in guerrilla warfare with the Afghan and Soviet armies that were built for conventional warfare. The Cubans also served in combat roles. It is incredibly ironic that years later some of the United States’ “freedom fighters” whom the Cubans fought in the 1980s would be imprisoned as terrorists on south eastern Cuban territory — Guantanamo Bay — occupied by the U.S.

Cuba helped to defeat the counter revolution in Afghanistan

The Cuban help turned the tide of war in Afghanistan. For all strategic purposes, the counter-revolution was defeated. The revolutionary government was able to consolidate power. The revolution became sustainable from a strategic point of view. It had gained the momentum and the upper hand. Western propaganda perniciously labeled the situation a “strategic stalemate.” The West, suffering a humiliating defeat on the battlefield, was now desperately looking to other options to sustain its ultimate agenda — regime change in Afghanistan.

The West resorted to complementing its war efforts with pursuing war by other means. Using the United Nations, the so-called Geneva Talks which had been initiated by Afghanistan in 1984 from a position of strength, was now used to serve the imperialist agenda. It culminated in the Geneva Accords of April 14, 1988, and were meant to facilitate an “honorable” exit for the Soviets.

UN’s plan for the surrendering of Afghanistan to imperialism

Immediately afterward the U.N. launched its so-called Five-Point Peace Plan which was a plan for the surrendering of Afghanistan to imperialism. The latter, in the meantime, never gave up on the military option to effect regime change in Afghanistan, break up state institutions, and destroy the all-powerful Afghan army. It was, of course, the military option that finally materialized.

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Gorbachev’s historic mistake

One significant strategic shift occurred to the West’s advantage. By 1985, Gorbachev came to power and initiated what would become the end of the Soviet Union and its revolutionary legacy, which would also ultimately decide the fate of the ill-fated Saur Revolution. Gorbachev decided to withdraw Soviet troops from Afghanistan to the dismay of his Afghan and Cuban counterparts and against the advice of his generals who believed they needed one more year to completely eliminate the counterrevolution.

Fidel Castro and Afghan President Babrak Karmal, who was forced by the Soviets in 1986 to relinquish power, firmly opposed Gorbachev’s policies. The Soviets chose to leave. Afghanistan which had sacrificed so much in blood to defend itself — and the Soviet Union — against imperialism’s encroaching on Soviet borders was left to fight a hugely asymmetric war on its own.

It was bound to break up into pieces. The U.S. “freedom fighters” did not stop in Afghanistan. The Soviets were made to pay for their historic mistake — and the Russians to this day — in the form of the wars in Tajikistan, the North Caucasus republics of Chechenya, Dagestan, etc.

Afghanistan never ceased bleeding under imperialist experiments

And Afghanistan? Well, it never ceased bleeding under imperialist experiments.

Western imperialism which was engaged in a dangerous geopolitical competition with the Soviet Union for control of Afghanistan, which it saw as geostrategically, finally succeeded in establishing its outposts in the country — military bases included. It officially took charge of the country in 2001 and has since been preparing to project power over Iran, China, and gradually but firmly pushing its way towards Central Asia with Russia being the main target. That geopolitical competition never ceased to exist.

Recent developments in the strategically-located Kunduz province to the north of Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan is an ironic reminder that Russia might be forced to enter into the Afghan war theater, now more complex, to fight a war it left unfinished. But this time, it probably needs a million soldiers as Karmal had warned Gorbachev in the spring of 1985. And without Cuba and Fidel.

Fraidoon Amel is an Afghan writer and activist.