Bill Van Auken ■ ["Never letting a good crisis go to waste:"] The Obama administration and the Pentagon have announced the “surge” of 3,000 US troops into West Africa, ostensibly in response to the escalating spread of the Ebola virus in the region. The militarized response to the deadly epidemic has underscored Washington’s increasingly heavy reliance on its residual military superiority in what has become a second “scramble for Africa,” pitting the US against China in a struggle for control of the continent’s markets and resources.
Kicking out the last white farmers may be a ploy to divert attention from an economic catastrophe. ● Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has ordered the nation’s remaining white farmers to be booted off their farms in order that the land be given to black Zimbabweans. In the harshest official policy on race and land reform in a country that has been close to bankruptcy, the 90-year old autocrat said Wednesday that whites may no longer own any land in Zimbabwe. Whites would still be allowed to own businesses and urban apartments. Speaking to farmers in Mhangura, a small mining town about 120 miles north of the capital Harare, Mr. Mugabe said all remaining white farmers should leave – and closed the door even on white families renting farms from black owners, as some several hundred have been doing since most were violently chased away a decade ago.
Former PM criticised over link to United Arab Emirates-funded programme that promises lucrative 'business opportunities' ● Tony Blair has agreed to advise the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who came to power in a military coup last year, as part of a programme funded by the United Arab Emirates that has promised to deliver huge "business opportunities" to those involved, the Guardian has learned. The former prime minister, now Middle East peace envoy, who supported the coup against Egypt's elected president Mohamed Morsi, is to give Sisi advice on "economic reform" in collaboration with a UAE-financed taskforce in Cairo – a decision criticised by one former ally. The UAE taskforce is being run by the management consultancy Strategy&, formerly Booz and Co, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, to attract investment into Egypt's crisis-ridden economy at a forthcoming Egypt donors' conference sponsored by the oil-rich UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Seumas Milne ■ Blair embodies corruption and war. He must be sacked
Sam Kriss ■ Tony Blair, dread creature of the forbidden swamp
Meriam Ibrahim: Sudanese woman freed from apostasy death sentence is re-arrested at airport... and then released again
Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, the Christian woman sentenced to death and later freed after an international outcry, was briefly re-arrested while trying to leave the country for the US before being released again. ■ Eman Abdul-Rahim, her lawyer, said Ms Ibrahim was held with her two children and husband at Khartoum airport. The BBC said Ms Ibrahim, whose death sentence in May for renouncing Islam sparked outrage, was detained by about 40 security agents. Last night, it was reported that she had been freed. Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the US State Department, said the Sudanese government had informed American officials that Ms Ibrahim and her family were “temporarily detained” over issues relating to their travel documents. The family was held 24 hours after Ms Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, who has US citizenship, said they would go to America following his wife’s release.
White man speaking 'fluent British English' led al-Shabaab attack in Kenya that left 60 dead, witnesses claim. ● Several people in Mpeketoni, which was attacked by as many as 40 Islamist gunmen on Sunday, told The Telegraph that the gang's leader was pale-skinned and spoke English and Arabic. One of the witnesses is a primary schoolteacher who speaks good English, unlike many people in the remote corner of Kenya near the Lamu archipelago that earlier this week became the country's latest terror target. The accounts strengthened suggestions that the attackers were part of a well-trained team sent by al-Shabaab under the co-ordination of an experienced foreign jihadi now working with the Somali Islamists. "
I saw a white man who was speaking in fluent British English commanding the rest of the attackers," said Mary Gachoki, who lives in Mpeketoni.
The United States is financing a new 24-hour satellite TV channel in northern Nigeria [allegedly] meant to counter insurgencies by the militant Islamist Boko Haram and other groups in the region, the New York Times reported on Friday. A US official confirmed the project was under way but did not give full details. The official said the United States would "support Nigerian efforts to provide an attractive alternative to the messaging of violent extremists." The project is a result of discussions with Nigeria dating back to late 2012 on ways to cooperate against Boko Haram and the content of the channel will be produced by Nigerians in Nigeria, the official said.
Heavily armed militiamen reportedly loyal to a retired general with deep ties to the US Central Intelligence Agency stormed Libya’s parliament building Sunday with armored vehicles and heavy weapons, seizing its speaker and armed forces chief Nouri Abusahmain together with some 20 other officials and setting the building on fire. The assault, which the General National Congress described as a “coup,” came just days after the Pentagon ordered some 200 US Marines deployed to a forward operating base in Sicily for use as a “crisis response” force in Libya. [...] Given Haftar’s historic ties to the CIA, there is every reason to suspect that Washington stands behind the coup. At the same time, however, US policy in the region has been characterized by sharp internal differences over the utilization of the Islamist elements that Haftar is attacking as instruments for pursuing US imperialist interests.
Newly intensified violence in Libya is an example of NATO-exported democracy, activist and journalist Sukant Chandan told RT. On Sunday, gunmen loyal to rogue General Khalifa Haftar attacked the Libyan parliament and announced its suspension.
Russia Today: Why do you think he is targeting radical Islamist groups, as he calls them? Does he believe he has the power to eradicate the so-called militia groups?
Sukant Chandan: There are many complex factors and contradictory factors at play here. First of all, Haftar is an old army man. And what has been happening in Benghazi, which hasn’t been reported in the mainstream at all, since 2011, since this pro-NATO death squad rebellion started, nearly 1,000 members of Libya’s former army, police and judiciary have been systematically assassinated in Benghazi and in the eastern region. Also, Haftar is an old CIA man, so it could be that the West, particularly the US, is using him as a trojan to just sound out what he is capable of because, perhaps your viewers will know, that the politics of Libya have become just ridiculous. But, actually the junta in Tripoli has imposed a no fly zone on Benghazi because Haftar has access to some helicopters and fighter jets, which he has been using in Benghazi. So, the situation could be the West testing out what Haftar is capable of in alliance with other death squads in Libya. And don’t forget when one leading death squad or militia that has popularity in the east stopped oil production, but then tried to sell a tanker, the Navy Seals turned up from the US and got back that ship to ensure that the oil was going in the right direction, i.e. into the coffers of London, Paris, and Washington and their primary allies in the Gulf.
The death toll from clashes in Benghazi has risen to 43 with more than 100 people wounded, a Health Ministry official said on Saturday, as a renegade retired general vowed to continue to fight Islamist militants in the eastern Libyan port. ● Friday's violence prompted Libya's prime minister to order the regular military to control any armed groups in the city where militants often clash with the army, and assassinations and bombings are common. The latest fighting broke out between irregular Islamist militants and the military forces of the self-declared Libyan National Army, led by retired General Khalifa Haftar. Residents said Haftar's forces had attacked Ansar al-Sharia and another Islamist militant group which roam unchallenged in Benghazi. They said the city was quiet on Saturday.
"Bring back your girls" message was quickly turned into "Bring back your drones", as soon as Michelle Obama’s picture in support of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls went viral. Michelle Obama appeared in the internet picture last week, carrying a sign unambiguously captioned "#Bring Back Our Girls." The hashtag was fast enough to travel all through the network, sparking debate among internet users of most pressing issues in today’s America and beyond. Michelle Obama’s firm stand with regard to the Boko Haram atrocities, though, was duly praised.
Kevin Barrett: Is Boko Haram a psy-op?
Ajamu Baraka: From Benghazi to Boko Haram
Glen Ford: Kidnapped Girls Become Tools of U.S. Imperial Policy in Africa
Pulse.ng: Villagers Kill 200 Boko Haram Insurgents With Dane Guns, Arrows; Catch 10 Alive
White House officials confirm US is sharing satellite imagery with Nigerian government as well as using manned surveillance aircraft in hunt for more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist insurgents. ● The United States has deployed surveillance aircraft over Nigeria and is working closely with the Nigerian government to find more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist insurgents, a senior Obama administration official said on Monday. "We have shared commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerians and are flying manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets over Nigeria with the government's permission," the official said. The United States has sent military, law-enforcement and development experts to Nigeria to help search for the missing girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants from a secondary school in Chibok in remote northeastern Nigeria on April 14.
The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it is dispatching a team of US military advisers to Nigeria to aid the government of President Goodluck Jonathan in rescuing over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram, which has threatened to sell them into slavery. ● The deployment of military advisers—who are to be accompanied by FBI and CIA agents and other US officials—was worked out Tuesday in a discussion between President Barack Obama and President Jonathan. It marks a major advance in the steadily escalating military intervention of Washington and its allies throughout the region. There have been calls from members of Congress for a more aggressive US intervention, including from Senator Susan Collins (Republican of Maine), who demanded that US Special Forces troops be sent to rescue the girls. [...] If the US can gain military control over the flow of strategic resources from Africa, it can exert greater pressure on other powers, particularly China, which is poised to supplant Europe as the continent’s number one trading partner and is engaged in massive investment in infrastructure. Fully one third of China’s oil imports now flow from Africa.
John Kerry says Africa has “Natural Resources”, Therefore the US is a “Natural Partner”
Obama Death Squad "Boko Haram" Confesses to African Murders
Boko Haram Kills Over 300 in Attack on Nigeria Border Town
Boko Haram Is A CIA Covert Operation - Wikileaks
Boko Haram: A CIA Covert Operation
A camp on the Libyan coastline meant to train terror-hunters has instead become a haven for terrorists and al Qaeda. ● A key jihadist leader and longtime member of al Qaeda has taken control of a secretive training facility set up by U.S. special operations forces on the Libyan coastline to help hunt down Islamic militants, according to local media reports, Jihadist web forums, and U.S. officials. In the summer of 2012, American Green Berets began refurbishing a Libyan military base 27 kilometers west of Tripoli in order to hone the skills of Libya’s first Western-trained special operations counter-terrorism fighters. Less than two years later, that training camp is now being used by groups with direct links to al Qaeda to foment chaos in post-Qaddafi Libya. Last week, the Libyan press reported that the camp (named “27” for the kilometer marker on the road between Tripoli and Tunis) was now under the command of Ibrahim Ali Abu Bakr Tantoush, a veteran associate of Osama bin Laden who was first designated as part of al Qaeda’s support network in 2002 by the United States and the United Nations. The report said he was heading a group of Salifist fighters from the former Libyan base. In other words, Tantoush is now the chief of a training camp the U.S. and Libyan governments had hoped would train Libyan special operations forces to catch militants like Tantoush.
Photo: KIGALI, RWANDA - APRIL 07: A woman consoles Bizimana Emmanuel, 22, during the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 1994 genocide at Amahoro Stadium April 7, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. Thousands of Rwandans and global leaders, past and present, joined together at the stadium to remember the country's 1994 genocide, when more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutus were slaughtered over a 100 day period. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Declassified U.S. documents show the Clinton administration refused to label the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda as a genocide. One State Department document read: "Be careful … Genocide finding could commit U.S.G. to actually 'do something.'" At a press briefing in 1994, Reuters correspondent Alan Elsner asked: "How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide?" State Department spokesperson Christine Shelly responded, "Alan, that’s just not a question that I’m in a position to answer." Samantha Power, who is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, described the U.S. inaction in her 2001 article, "Bystanders to Genocide." She wrote, "The United States did much more than fail to send troops. It led a successful effort to remove most of the UN peacekeepers who were already in Rwanda. It aggressively worked to block the subsequent authorization of UN reinforcements." We speak to Emily Willard of the National Security Archive, and University of Wisconsin, Madison, Professor Scott Straus, author of "The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda."
A court in Egypt has sentenced to death already 529 supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. They were convicted of charges which included murder of a policeman and attacks on people and property. The group, members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, are part of a larger trial of more than 1,200 Morsi supporters. Egyptian authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since Mr Morsi was removed by the military in July. Hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested. The Muslim Brotherhood's general guide Mohammed Badie was among those convicted.
A poll shows that a majority of the French people are opposed to military interventions by France in African states and other countries. ● The survey conducted by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) revealed that 59 percent of respondents said they are against French military interventions in other states, while 34 percent were in favor. Some 1,000 people were questioned in the IFOP survey, conducted from January 22 to 24. In recent years, the French government has deployed thousands of troops to a number of African countries, including Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR) on the pretext of ending conflicts in those countries.
Finian Cunningham: France triggered CAR slaughter
PressTV: EU to send troops to CAR next month: French official
After running one of the world’s biggest and most controversial private military groups, Blackwater founder Erik Prince is starting a new venture providing logistics for oil and mining companies in remote and dangerous parts of Africa. China is increasingly looking to Africa to meet its ever growing demand for natural resources. Trade between the two reached an estimated $200 billion (121 billion pounds) this year. With 85 percent of Chinese imports from the continent being oil or minerals, Prince sees an opportunity. He wants to use his experience of getting people and equipment in and out of remote places, where there is little or no infrastructure, to help companies looking to exploit abundant natural resources in places like Sudan or Somalia.
Amid a very low voter turnout, Egypt’s election committee claims 98.1 percent approval of a new, military-backed constitution in the first referendum since the US-backed Army ousted the nation's first freely-elected president. Egypt's High Election Commission announced Saturday that only 38.6 percent of the country's more than 53 million eligible voters took part in the two-day poll.
Kevin Barrett: Jewish Al-Sisi Runs Egypt; Now an Israeli-Occupied Territory
henrymakow.com: Al-Sisi is a Crypto Jew. Coup is disguised Zionist Occupation
truthjihad.com: Phony unanimity proves Egypt’s “constitution” a sham ■ That 98% figure says it all. Whenever 98% of voters supposedly vote for anything, you know the “election” is a sham. Fake unanimity is the hallmark of dictatorships. People like Stalin, Mao, and al-Sisi are always “elected” by near-unanimous “landslides.” Full article
Abu Dharr: Who exactly is General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi? ■ Born to a Moroccan Jewish mother, his maternal uncle was a member of David Ben Gurion’s political party. How did this Sephardi sleeper stay within the loop without being exposed for so long and rising to the top spot in the military? [...] But who is this al-Sisi? At least one American news report wants us to believe he is an “Islamist” — but a moderate one! There are murmurs and rumors in Egypt about al-Sisi’s mother. Who is she? And the available answers are that she is a Moroccan Jewess. In normal circumstances there would be nothing wrong with being Moroccan or Jewish. But we are not dealing with normal circumstances. Someone whose mother is Moroccan and Jewish and then becomes Egypt’s Minister of Defense, and now the ultimate authority, raises serious questions. Add to that the favorable press he is receiving in Israel and we have exclamation marks hugging question marks all over our mind and psyche. This coup leader, illegitimate ruler, and arbitrary chief executive and commander for the last two months, and before that the Defense Minister — who is he? This Mr. al-Sisi has been complicit with the Israelis in killing innocent people in the Sinai Peninsula. Our source in Egypt who is very active politically and very well versed on Egyptian matters investigated al-Sisi’s family lineage. And what he came up with is that there is reason to believe that al-Sisi is a crypto-Muslim.
A new decree passed by Libya’s parliament banning satellite television stations critical of the government and the 2011 uprising against Gaddafi violates free speech and Libya’s Provisional Constitutional Declaration. The decree was passed January 22, 2014. The government also slashed scholarship funding for students abroad, along with salaries and bonuses to employees who take part in activities “inimical” to the revolution. “
You’d think that Libyans learned long ago that suppressing speech, no matter how harsh, does nothing to foster security or peace,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “
The best way to confront opinions that the government doesn’t like is to challenge them with better ideas that will convince Libyans.”
Over a year later, the Obama administration has finally confirmed that Islamic extremists were responsible for the terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, in Sept. 2012. This undermines then-Hillary Clinton’s State Department and its vehement denial that the Benghazi terrorist attack that was the result of an anti-Muslim YouTube video. This morning, the State Department announced that the Muslim extremists group Ansar al-Sharia was responsible for the attacks. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, two branches of Ansar al-Sharia participated in the terrorist attack—the Benghazi branch and the Darnah branch. Darnah is a port city in Libya, approximately 180 miles northwest of Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia’s Tunisia branch was also behind an attack on Americans in Tunis last year.
As of today, the Ugandan Parliament has passed the draconian "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" ("Kill the Gays" Bill). ● The internet is alight with numerous articles and links spreading this unexpected and shocking maneuver. The bill has, reportedly been revised to remove the death penalty punitive option, but allows life imprisonment to remain on the table. According to one source, part of the jubilation of the people, is that they never received the text of the bill in any of their native languages. There are many groups, each with their own key languages. The bill was provided only in English. A language of which they have little to no mastery.
Initial reports from the Red Cross said the two days of fighting in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui earlier this month left 461 confirmed dead, and likely “over 500.” Today, Amnesty International’s own report suggested the Bangui toll was “nearly 1,000.” ● During the two day period, Muslim Seleka militias moved against Christians in Bangui, while Christian militias moved against Muslims in the nation’s north. The “nearly 1,000” is merely the two-day toll for Seleka attacks in Bangui, with at least 150 others killed in the north, and 60 Muslims killed in Bangui is retaliation for the Seleka strikes. The Seleka militias ousted President Bozize from power in March and were in the process of setting up a new government at the time. Tensions boiled over, however, and the militias quickly turned on one another, and mostly on civilian supporters of their rivals. France and the African Union have both deployed troops to the country to “restore order,” but mass displacement remains the real order of the day, with some 15% of the nation’s 4.4 million population “displaced” form their homes, and unlikely to be able to return any time soon.
Top-secret archive document also reveals that Mandela was 'familiar with the problems of Jewry and of Israel' and that Israeli operatives tried to 'make him a Zionist.' ● Nelson Mandela, the former South African leader who died earlier this month, was trained in weaponry and sabotage by Mossad operatives in 1962, a few months before he was arrested in South Africa. During his training, Mandela expressed interest in the methods of the Haganah pre-state underground and was viewed by the Mossad as leaning toward communism. These revelations are from a document in the Israel State Archives labeled “Top Secret.” The existence of the document is revealed here for the first time. It also emerges that the Mossad operatives attempted to encourage Zionist sympathies in Mandela. Mandela, the father of the new South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, led the struggle against apartheid in his country from the 1950s. He was arrested, tried and released a number of times before going underground in the early 1960s. In January 1962, he secretly and illegally fled South Africa and visited various African countries, including Ethiopia, Algeria, Egypt and Ghana. His goal was to meet with the leaders of African countries and garner financial and military support for the armed wing of the underground African National Congress.
British prime minister says he was being polite when Helle Thorning-Schmidt asked him to take part in picture.
David Cameron and the Danish prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, have brushed off criticism of their decision to pose for a "selfie" photograph at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela alongside the US president, Barack Obama. The British prime minister said he was being polite when Thorning-Schmidt, the daughter-in-law of the former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, asked him to take part in the picture. He told parliament on Wednesday: "In my defence I'd say that Nelson Mandela played an extraordinary role in his life and in his death in bringing people together." The photo went viral on Tuesday, prompting accusations from some of poor taste. Many noted that Michelle Obama looked on stony-faced during the rainy event in Soweto. Thorning-Schmidt described her impromptu snap as "not inappropriate". Speaking to the Danish media she said: "There were plenty of pictures that day. We've taken very many pictures of Obama, and I just think that it was kind of funny. It shows perhaps that when we meet from state and government, we too are just people who have fun together."
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