HARLEM FIGHTBACK AGAINST WAR AT HOME & ABROAD

OCCUPY HARLEM OCT 28TH!!!

Archive for the ‘News/Analysis’ Category

From BAR: Lynch Law and Summary Executions in Rebel-Held Libya

with one comment

From Black Agenda Report:  Lynch Law and Summary Executions in Rebel-Held Libya

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“The world’s most imperial-dependent, ill-disciplined and whining ‘liberation movement’ is still blaming black ‘mercenaries’ and soldiers from Chad for its failures in the field.” Chad, meanwhile, has officially asked the “international coalition” to protect its civilians from the rebels, who have executed “dozens” of Chadian migrant workers. In rebel-held Libya, black Africans and Gaddafi supporters are the people in need of protection.

Lynch Law and Summary Executions in Rebel-Held Libya

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Dozens of Chadians have been ‘singled out’ and ‘executed,’ falsely accused of acting as mercenaries for Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, according to Chad.”

The African nation of Chad has called on Libya’s Euro-American “humanitarian” overseers to protect Chadian citizens from lynching at the hands of rebels backed by the West. The government in N’Djamena, which certainly has no interest in antagonizing the Euro-American juggernaut that has assumed a “responsibility to protect” whomever it designates as “civilians” in the territory of its northern neighbor, issued a formal request for “international coalition forces involved in Libya and international human rights organizations to stop these abuses against Chadians and other migrant Africa workers.” Dozens of Chadians have been “singled out” and “executed,” falsely accused of acting as mercenaries for Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, according to Chad, 300,000 of whose citizens were among the 1.5 million black African migrant laborers in Libya at the time of the February revolt.

Numerous reports from migrant workers who escaped from rebel-held areas indicate hundreds of black Africans have been lynched, including black Libyan citizens. (See “Race and Arab Nationalism in Libya,” BAR, March 9.) A Turkish oil worker related an especially horrific account to NPR: We left behind our friends from Chad. We left behind their bodies,” he said. “We had 70 or 80 people from Chad working for our company. They cut them dead with pruning shears and axes, attacking them, saying you’re providing troops for Gadhafi. The Sudanese, the Chadians were massacred. We saw it ourselves.”

Western media have lent sympathetic ears to rebel claims that assaults by Gaddafi’s black ‘mercenaries’ drove ‘the people’ to commit ‘excesses.’”

Although many western journalists have been all but embedded with the rebels for many weeks, until recently there has been precious little high profile corporate media reporting on the political complexion of Gaddafi’s armed opposition, atrocities against black Africans, or summary executions of prisoners, which are war crimes under international law. Western media have lent sympathetic ears to rebel claims that assaults by Gaddafi’s black “mercenaries” drove “the people” to commit “excesses.”

As usual, it is only after the U.S. government has embarked irrevocably on the warpath that corporate media reveal the flaws in the rationale. In the April 3 New York Times Sunday Magazine, reporter Robert F. Worth passes on the rebel’s version of one of their first confrontations with “mercenaries” in Benghazi:

The next day, the protests resumed and grew more violent as the first groups of mercenaries appeared, in yellow construction hats, to fight the protesters. Some were Africans; some appeared to be foreign workers, including Bangladeshis and Chinese. Many were not mercenaries at all, but dark-skinned men from southern Libya or hapless African migrants in search of work. Some of the ones I talked to, in makeshift rebel prisons, said they had been tricked with promises of jobs and never paid at all.”

What is obvious from the account, is that the anti-Gaddafi crowd (mob) encountered polyglot groups of yellow-hatted foreign construction laborers (total foreign workers in Libya numbered over 3 million) in their march through Benghazi, and assaulted them, with black Africans receiving especially brutal attention.

They wanted to kill the black soldier.”

The April 1 edition of Britain’s Globe and Mail reports on a “bitter struggle” among the rebels on “how to contain the anger unleashed after decades of oppression.” Translation: How to stop the summary executions of captured, or reputed, Gaddafi supporters – especially the black ones.

“Rebels have frequently treated dark-skinned prisoners more harshly than men of Arab ancestry,” Graeme Smith reported:

“That distinction was made brutally obvious to doctors at the intensive care unit of Al Bayda’s main hospital on Feb. 17 when they admitted two men – one black, the other with the local olive-skinned complexion – who stood accused of fighting the rebels. A crowd gathered outside the hospital, calling for blood. Some armed rebels pushed their way into the ward.

“’They had guns and knives,’ said Mahmoud Anass, 27, a resident on duty that night. ‘It was really scary. They wanted to kill the black soldier.’

“Doctors managed to hold off the enraged youths until a few hours after midnight, when the rebels dragged the two patients into the street.

“’An old man tried to stop them,’ said Faraj Khalifa, a doctor. ‘He said our religion does not permit the killing of unarmed men. But the youths were very, very angry. They hanged the black man in front of the hospital.’

“The patient with lighter skin was beaten, shot, and returned to the emergency room, Dr. Khalifa said.”

Racism against black Africans, including black Libyans, appears endemic in eastern Libya.”

Here we have both a war crime and a racial hate crime – a microcosm of the mob rule that has swept regions of rebel control. As the Globe and Mail wrote: “Paranoia about mercenaries remains strong among the rebels, despite assurances from human-rights groups that most of the fighters among the pro-Gadhafi forces are Libyan citizens.”

More accurately, racism against black Africans, including black Libyans, appears endemic in eastern Libya.

The same article shows convincingly that rebels executed more than a dozen captured government soldiers at the town of Darna early in the rebellion, then buried their bodies at a crossroads next to a wall on which it is written, “killed by Gadhafi.”

It is likely that scores of soldiers whose bodies were found in a Benghazi barracks, burned beyond recognition, met the same fate. Rebels initially claimed the men were killed by Gaddafi officers for refusing to fight their own people.

The Super-Powered ‘Revolution’

The world’s most imperial-dependent, ill-disciplined and whining “liberation movement” is still blaming black “mercenaries” and soldiers from Chad for its failures in the field – that is, when they aren’t crying about not having a 24/7 umbrella of full-spectrum American dominance of the skies. On March 31, the Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) – half of whose members remain “secret” and many of whom may now be mere fronts – claimed that a unit of 3,600 Chadian troops have killed and wounded thousands of rebels since hostilities began. This phantom Chadian army, fighting more than a thousand miles from its impoverished homeland and supply lines, was supposedly to blame for the rebels’ military setbacks around the city of Brega, according to ITNC spokesman Ahmed Bani – evidence that “paranoia” about black enemies of the Libyan “revolution” is not limited to the mob.

The rebels are in fact stymied by the Americans, who show their Libyan dependents who is boss by periodically withdrawing the protection of U.S. airborne kill-at-will systems. President Obama signaled loud and clear that the council in Benghazi will not rule the country, when he intoned, from Chile, that “forty years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task.” That’s U.S. Imperial-Speak for: We will run the country for you, until you are ready to stand on your own, traumatized feet. Like Haiti.

The Americans show their Libyan dependents who is boss by periodically withdrawing the protection of U.S. airborne kill-at-will systems.”

The U.S. is attempting to regain its regional balance as the winds of the Reawakening whip the Arab world. Washington has seized the opportunity in Libya to appear as an uber-protector of emerging forces for change, while positioning itself to quash any substantive threat to imperial interests. As added bonuses, the largest oil reserves in Africa are to be pillaged by multinationals, and the U.S. military can envision a huge new arena for AFRICOM, much larger than the U.S. facility in tiny Djibouti, on eastern coast.

The militant Islamist presence among the rebels will be worked to U.S. advantage, an embedded rationale to bring Libya wholly and permanently into the War on Terror theater of operations. Should an “insurgency” erupt with the fall of Gaddafi, all the better for a U.S. war machine that runs on bogeymen.

But, don’t be overly shocked and awed by the ferocity of the Euro-American counter-offensive. Arab nationalism, in its many manifestations, represents an existential threat to imperial survival. After generations of suppression of the Left in Arab lands, nationalism (and anti-imperialism) now often finds its expression from the Right, in religious form and language. Nevertheless, all nationalisms among subject peoples are ultimately antithetical to imperial rule.

Racism is often a strong component of particular nationalisms. (White American nationalism is a dramatic example.) Arab Muslim identity in the North African Maghreb, for some, is defined in opposition to darker, “Africans,” whether they are Muslim or not. Without doubt, this strain of racism is a huge barrier to South-North Pan-Africanism, and useful to the Euro-Americans. But, even nationalists who are afflicted with racism will fight to control their own land and resources – which is U.S. imperialism’s fundamental – and insoluble — problem.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Written by harlemfightback

April 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Libya, News/Analysis

Obama’s 5th Column Crumbles

leave a comment »

Obama’s 5th Column Crumbles

Obama’s supporters in the Left have found it increasingly difficult to justify the administration’s actions; see articles below.  Also check out our posts on Bill Fletcher and Amiri Baraka.

Exclusive: Cornel West and other such political opportunists

By Larry Pinkney
Posted on April 8, 2011 by Larry Pinkney

“Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward all research.”—Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]

“Beware of the naked man who offers you clothes.”—African Proverb

The most insidiously dangerous of all systemic gatekeepers are those who masquerade as progressives or so-called leftists but who in reality act as the fifth column for the maintenance of U.S. Empire abroad and internal repression at home.

Perhaps the most egregious example of this can be found in those alleged ‘progressive’ members of the Black and White ‘intelligentsia’ who urged the struggling, everyday, Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people of this nation to support the 2008 then U.S. presidential candidacy of the corporate-backed, war mongering, silver tongued Barack Obama.

Thanks in no small measure to support from black systemic gatekeepers such as Cornel West, Amiri Baraka (aka Leroi Jones), Al Sharpton, and Henry Louis Gates, et al; Barack Obama became and was installed as the 44th president of the United States—the first nominally-black head of the U.S. Empire. It is now the year 2011, and the poor and disenfrachised people of all colors in this nation are suffering increased economic austerity, massive joblessness and home foreclosures, the largest incarceration rate in the world, a de facto police state, an extension and expansion of the unconstitutional ‘PATRIOT Act,’ a continuation of the outrageous ‘extraordinary rendition’ program, the continuance of the U.S. gulag at Guantanamo, and last but by no means least, the bloody U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and now north Africa.

The above-mentioned systemic gatekeeping opportunists knew full well by the middle of the year 2008, that Barack Obama was the darling of the blood sucking U.S. corporate/military elite. Nevertheless, they supported him and urged others to do so. They shamelessly urged that Obama be supported whether “critically” or otherwise. Thus, these systemic gatekeepers did all in their power to neutralize, ignore, marginalize, or stifle those, including Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon, The Black Commentator’s Larry Pinkney and Dr. Lenore Jean Daniels, and former U.S. Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney and her running mate Rosa Clemente etc., who for at least four years now, have been repeatedly disseminating the clarion call as to the enormous systemic dangers of supporting the corporate groomed and backed Barack Obama. On the other hand, the systemic political opportunists, and most particularly those of the Black and White intelligentsia masquerading as ‘progressives,’ were well aware of the fact they were urging everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people in this nation to go against their own interests and court economic and political disaster in the person of Barack Obama.

Article continues at following link:

http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/1451

Awakening From Obama’s Seductive Spell

by Gary Olson

President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, expected to cost more than $1 billion, is underway. Given incumbency and likely opponents, he’ll probably win. Of course ZNet readers understand that won’t make a whit of difference for most Americans. But if you know someone still slumbering in an Obamamania-induced trance, I have a guaranteed spell breaker. Paul Street’s book, The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2010, paperback) demolishes any remaining misapprehension that Obama is anything other than a Wall Street/military-friendly, seductive-sounding servant of concentrated wealth and power. I assigned it as a text this term in my course “U.S. Workers in the Global Economy” and for many students it was a game changer.

This week, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman expressed deep disappointment in the president and asserted that “Mr. Obama is still clearly clinging to his vision of himself as a figure who can transcend America’s partisan differences” (April 11, 2011). Perhaps, but given the facts, Obama’s record as president shouldn’t come as a surprise: Recycling discredited economic advisors like Rubin and Geithner, rescuing ruthless Wall Street speculators, extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the super-rich, abandoning his healthcare “public option” and quickly selling out to private insurers, going back on his pledge to close GITMO, maintaining 50,000 troops in Iraq while substituting mercenaries for others, a pitifully inadequate stimulus package, doing virtually nothing about the real unemployment rate of 18 percent and shrinking paychecks, a record-setting Pentagon budget, pushing anti-labor trade deals, reneging on his campaign promise to reform management-friendly labor laws and reducing payments to social security. Finally, in Obama’s Vietnam, the disastrous and immoral Afghanistan War which costs taxpayers $2 billion per month, 98,000 U.S. troops remain on the ground. In 2010 alone, 499 U.S. soldiers died there and 440 Afghan civilians were killed by U.S. led forces. Last year, U.S. troops in Afghanistan suffered a tripling of amputations of more than one limb. And this is only a short list from Obama’s first term which feels more like Bush’s third term.

More of Obama’s true colors emerged when he refused to utter a word of solidarity with besieged public workers in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere. This is the same person who, while campaigning in 2007, eloquently proclaimed “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collective bargaining when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself and I’ll walk the picket line with you as President of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.” And only a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations could contribute unlimited funds to politicians, Obama named Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, notorious for exporting job and tax avoidance, as his “jobs czar.”

However, contrary to complaints from a few disgruntled liberals, Obama isn’t a morally compromised, spineless individual, betraying his most cherished ideals. Quite the contrary, Street documents via exhaustive examples that Obama has been consistently to the right of center throughout his public career and is doing what he was groomed to do. It was the combination of a brilliant marketing strategy, beguiling rhetoric, and something approaching a cult of personality that put him over the top in 2008.

Article continues at following link:

http://www.zcommunications.org/awakening-from-obamas-seductive-spell-by-gary-olson

The President Is Missing

by Paul Krugman

What have they done with President Obama? What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected? Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular?

I realize that with hostile Republicans controlling the House, there’s not much Mr. Obama can get done in the way of concrete policy. Arguably, all he has left is the bully pulpit. But he isn’t even using that — or, rather, he’s using it to reinforce his enemies’ narrative.

His remarks after last week’s budget deal were a case in point.

Maybe that terrible deal, in which Republicans ended up getting more than their opening bid, was the best he could achieve — although it looks from here as if the president’s idea of how to bargain is to start by negotiating with himself, making pre-emptive concessions, then pursue a second round of negotiation with the G.O.P., leading to further concessions.

And bear in mind that this was just the first of several chances for Republicans to hold the budget hostage and threaten a government shutdown; by caving in so completely on the first round, Mr. Obama set a baseline for even bigger concessions over the next few months.

But let’s give the president the benefit of the doubt, and suppose that $38 billion in spending cuts — and a much larger cut relative to his own budget proposals — was the best deal available. Even so, did Mr. Obama have to celebrate his defeat? Did he have to praise Congress for enacting “the largest annual spending cut in our history,” as if shortsighted budget cuts in the face of high unemployment — cuts that will slow growth and increase unemployment — are actually a good idea?

Among other things, the latest budget deal more than wipes out any positive economic effects of the big prize Mr. Obama supposedly won from last December’s deal, a temporary extension of his 2009 tax cuts for working Americans. And the price of that deal, let’s remember, was a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, at an immediate cost of $363 billion, and a potential cost that’s much larger — because it’s now looking increasingly likely that those irresponsible tax cuts will be made permanent.

More broadly, Mr. Obama is conspicuously failing to mount any kind of challenge to the philosophy now dominating Washington discussion — a philosophy that says the poor must accept big cuts in Medicaid and food stamps; the middle class must accept big cuts in Medicare (actually a dismantling of the whole program); and corporations and the rich must accept big cuts in the taxes they have to pay. Shared sacrifice!

I’m not exaggerating. The House budget proposal that was unveiled last week — and was praised as “bold” and “serious” by all of Washington’s Very Serious People — includes savage cuts in Medicaid and other programs that help the neediest, which would among other things deprive 34 million Americans of health insurance. It includes a plan to privatize and defund Medicare that would leave many if not most seniors unable to afford health care. And it includes a plan to sharply cut taxes on corporations and to bring the tax rate on high earners down to its lowest level since 1931.

Article continues at following link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/11/opinion/11krugman.html

In President Obama, Republicans find a patsy
while progressives get man who wasn’t there

Apr 5th, 2011

by S.W. Anderson.
 
Two years plus in the White House, and President Obama still doesn’t get it that caving in to Republicans only convinces them that all they have to do to get what they want is to be ever more hostile, more demanding and more uncompromising.Case in point, the wrangle over the 2011 budget, about which a frustrated Obama today exclaimed (emphasis ours):

In fact, what we’ve been able to do is to present to the House Republicans a budget framework that would cut the same amount of spending as Speaker Boehner and Chairman Rogers originally proposed — their original proposal for how much would be cut.

And several weeks ago, there were discussions between the White House and Speaker Boehner’s office in which we said, let’s start negotiating off of that number, $73 billion. We are now closer than we have ever been to getting an agreement. There’s no reason why we should not get an agreement. As I said before, we have now matched the number that the Speaker originally sought.

Shades of the beginning of the health care reform debate, when Obama kicked off the proceedings by taking a single-payer approach off the table and making it clear he wasn’t that enthused about a public option.Just like that, Obama gave away his bargaining chips. No need for anyone to get huffy because he was going to be oh so reasonable.That’s why 2010 will be forever remembered as the year Obama bound up the nation’s partisan wounds and beat Republicans’ swords into plowshares to be used in a cooperative, fruitful quest for health care reform everyone could support and feel good about.

Only in Obama’s sappy, pushover dreams.

Ever the ones to bargain in bad faith and move the goal post once their demands are met, Republicans suddenly decided if Obama would so easily cave to $33 billion in 2011 domestic spending cuts, he could be made to cave for $40 billion.

Faced with mounting “tea party” resistance, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has rejected the reductions as inadequate and called the Democrats’ proposal “smoke and mirrors.”

According to a senior administration official, Boehner said at the White House meeting that he wanted what amounted to $40 billion in cuts.

That surprised White House aides, who believed Boehner had accepted the $33-billion number, at least if details could be hammered out.

If Obama had a clue about economics and good economic advisors giving him sound pointers, he’d have started out fighting tooth and nail against anycuts to the 12 percent of the budget mostly allotted to helping children, the elderly and needy of all ages. If Obama had a clue, he would’ve insisted that while the economy still needs stimulus spending to promote job creation, and while the states are shredding their safety nets, he’d tolerate no cuts to the 2011 budget.And, if Obama had the courage of any Democratic political convictions, he would’ve been the one to become more hostile, more demanding and more uncompromising.An Obama demonstrating that kind of unbending resolve, that willingness to stand behind and fight for what’s right, is the one we thought were voting for in 2008. It’s the one we’ve needed along.

Sadly, maddeningly, that kind of Obama is the man who wasn’t there.

http://ohpblog.ohpinion.com/?p=4453

Written by harlemfightback

April 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Posted in News/Analysis, Obama

Billion dollar Obama rocks Yemen

leave a comment »

From Asia Times:

THE ROVING EYE
Billion-dollar Obama rocks Yemen
By Pepe Escobar

To follow Pepe’s articles on the Great Arab Revolt, please click here.

Go, go, you coward; you are an American agent
– Protesters chanting in Sana’a, March 24

So far no R2P (“responsibility to protect”). No United Nations resolution. No no-fly zone. No “coalition of the willing”. No Tomahawks. No Predator drones. No C-130 gun ships. No humanitarian imperialism.

Yet so far, protesters are being killed; a dictator refuses to step down; al-Qaeda is thriving, and in the open; counter-insurgency rolls; there’s a lot of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on the ground; and civil war looms. Welcome to the curious case of not-fit-for-humanitarian-imperialism Yemen.

United States President Barack Obama’s mantra on Libya is that “Muammar Gaddafi must go”. Pentagon supremo Robert Gates, asked about the Yemeni Gaddafi, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, answered, with a straight face, that Washington had no opinion, because it does not interfere in internal affairs of other countries.

The evidence points otherwise. The first African-American president – a Nobel Peace Prize laureate – now also holds the dubious distinction of being the only American president to launch a war on an African nation. He has also launched his re-election campaign, which is bound to gobble up a cool US$1 billion.

Meanwhile, Saleh kept killing his own people, and injuring hundreds – like in the southwestern city of Taizz this Monday. Obama had to do something, so he has “quietly shifted positions”, in the quaint words of the New York Times; the new mantra is “Saleh must go”. Contorted rhetoric suggests Washington now wants Saleh to go because it has come to the conclusion that his days in power are gone, even though for over two months, killing spree included, he enjoyed full US backing.

Our cunning bastard
Yemen festers with George W Bush-era special forces-led counter-terrorism – widely expanded under Obama. Saleh is the local contractor. The target is bogeyman al-Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula (AQAP), which is hit by frequent bursts of “kinetic military action” (in White House speak). “Collateral damage” may have reached the low hundreds.

A March 2011 Glevum Stability Assessment found out that no less than 96% of Yemenis believe “the West is at war with Islam”; only 4% approve of the US “war on terror” chapter in their lands; and a majority regards AQAP as involved in “self-defense”. Yet as far as Washington is concerned, the only thing that matters in Yemen is counter-terrorism – not what the locals think.

There are at least 60 million lethal weapons in Yemen. Yet the Yemeni youth uprising has been a model of pacifism. Saleh, truthful to the standard Arab dictator script, branded them “drug dealers”, money launderers and a “small minority”.

North Yemen and South Yemen were united in 1994. Saleh delegates control over much of Yemen to tribal sheikhs whose loyalty is dodgy, to say the least. Saud Arabia runs riot, buying everyone in sight and bankrolling the influence of hardcore Wahhabism. AQAP is just a minor detail in a complex political landscape.

In the north, Zeydi Shi’ites are fighting for autonomy. Saleh’s tactics are to massively bomb their villages, displace hundreds of thousands of civilians, and then attack them. No, no one will slap him with a no-fly zone for it. In the south a peaceful secessionist movement struggling for more equality has been savagely crushed. Some of its members went the guerrilla way.

Saleh has been very clever into instrumentalizing AQAP against his domestic enemies, while using the AQAP threat to extort weapons, intelligence and hundreds of million of dollars from the Americans. It worked, up to now. Obama ramped up “military assistance” for Yemen from $67 million in 2009 to $150 million in 2010.

WikiLeaks widely exposed dirty deals between Washington and Saleh – including General David Petraeus lying to Yemenis about who was killing Yemeni civilians during the “war on terror”. But unlike demonized terrorist/rehab/thug Gaddafi, Saleh is one of “our bastards”. He’s cunning enough to smash Zeydis, southern Yemenis, journalists and peaceful student protesters instead of smashing his golden egg, AQAP.

Now that Obama hinted he must go, bets can be made on a scenario of the CIA using AQAP against Saleh. Target: to balkanize Yemen. This is where the legacy of Said al-Shihri comes in – a Saudi freed from Guantanamo sent to Yemen by the Bush administration, and killed on February 12; as well as the influence of American-born Anwar Awlaki, a classic CIA double agent.

The CIA is already instrumentalizing al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Libya; with or without Gaddafi in power as part of a balkanized Libya, AQIM is already a destabilizing factor in the big picture. The modus operandi is the same: the CIA/Pentagon use the al-Qaeda specter to justify the endless war on terror, be it in northern Africa or in the Arabic Peninsula.

For its part, the House of Saud has been fighting tooth and nail for Saleh to stay; he is as much a House of Saud lackey as the al-Khalifas in Bahrain. But without support from the Obama administration, the best the House of Saud can hope for is the usual “stability” and “smooth transition of power” – as in yet one more Saudi Arabia-friendly General. Saudi Arabia wants a “smooth” military coup. They would not be exactly displeased with hard line commander Major General Ali Mohsin Saleh Ahmar as the new leader.

After waves of political, ministerial, ambassadorial and military defections either Saleh goes or there’s civil war (true to script, he says there won’t be civil war only if he stays). The new government in Sana’a has installed a state of emergency. Saleh may last a while longer – as he counts on the Republican Guard, Special Forces and internal security, led by his son and nephews.
As for the opposition party coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), it now poses as a true representative of the masses protesting in the streets when they have always been court jesters. The fact is Yemeni power elites have co-opted the peaceful revolution. What will be precluded is a real road to democracy, what the people in the streets of Yemen have been fighting – and dying – for.

The protests in Yemen started on February 11 with less than 200 Sana’a university students and young activists and only two women. Then the Zeydi in the north pledged their cooperation, and the secessionists in the south stopped their demonstrations and started calling for suqut al nidham (“the fall of the regime”) – the rallying call across the Arab world.

As Yemeni political scientist Abdulghani al Iryani told Nir Rosen, “We’ve never had real street mobilizations … Before Tunisia the opposition had a demonstration of 200. After Tunisia they came in the thousands. After Egypt it became an avalanche. There is a new appreciation of collective power. What the formal political establishment could not do, to bring the people together, the youth protest has succeeded in doing.” Their key demands remain constitutional reform and a new electoral law.

And what about al-Qaeda?
The sprawling US “war on terror” industry – corporate media included – considers it as deadly as a Star Wars plot, unfolding in this ultimate Orientalist dream, the “dangerous deserts and mountains of Yemen”.

Yet AQAP is a joke. Its record of “success” is a failed underwear bomb and a package bomb that, well, bombed. Saleh himself knows they are a joke – an absolutely marginal movement not only in Yemen but all across the Middle East. The real reason the US is in Yemen is because the country is supremely strategic – bordering the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and Saudi Arabia, the key crossroads between the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.

The vicious 2011 Arab counter-revolution keeps working its mysterious ways. Turkey and the BRIC countries are perplexed that the US is now arming the AQIM-infested “rebels” – and may be showering them with juicy bits of the $32 billion in frozen Libyan government assets, plus a share in upcoming oil sales.

Talk about a hot Club Med. Under the Bush administration, al-Qaeda was used as the perfect excuse for bombing and pre-emptive wars. Now, under Obama, al-Qaeda – as in AQIM and AQAP – is being used in the balkanization of selected nations, facilitating the breakdown along tribal, sectarian and criminal lines.

The ghost of Osama bin Laden continues to pull a Cheshire cat. The al-Qaeda franchise is booming like never before. It may even be back in the game in its original status – as a CIA guerrilla army. There’s no war like an endless war.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.



Written by harlemfightback

April 7, 2011 at 9:10 am

Posted in News/Analysis

From BAR: Amiri Baraka and Barack Obama – Then and Now

leave a comment »

Amiri Baraka and Barack Obama – Then and Now

By Glen Ford

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Black poet-author-activist Amiri Baraka has turned his pen on Barack Obama, a man he defended like a pit bull as recently as…it seems like yesterday. “Baraka kept up the abusive barrage against anti-Obama ‘rascals’ of the left, right up to the president’s assault on Libya.” But, a change of heart is not sufficient. Baraka and a bunch of other ex-Obamites need to practice some serious and public self-criticism.

All of a sudden, Obama was ‘a negro selling his own folk, delivering us to slavery.’”

It took a savage assault on Libya by America’s First Black President and his European colonial allies – but Amiri Baraka seems to have finally given up on Barack Obama. Sorry, but I’m not one of those who is ready to say: All is forgiven, Brother Baraka. Because, although he has given Obama a tongue-lashing, in his inimitable, slashing and gutting style in the poem “The New Invasion of Africa [9],” Amiri Baraka has neglected to criticize himself for serving as a Left attack dog for Obama for more than three years. During that time, Amiri Baraka excoriated and defamed [10] Obama’s “Black and progressive critics” as “anarchists,” “criminal” and whatever other insults traveled from his mind to his mouth. He said that it “is criminal for these people claiming to be radical or intellectual to oppose or refuse to support Obama.” That was back in June, 2008. He called Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney a “pipsqueak” and disparaged as “rascals” all Blacks who did not swear fidelity to the Obama campaign. “We should be supportive of what Obama is trying to do,” said Baraka. “We should spend our energy opposing the far right and the Republicans.” Obama was not to be challenged. Instead, Baraka declared [11], “It is time for the left to really make some kind of Left Bloc to support Obama.”

Thus, Amiri Baraka was among those who proposed to create a left flank for Obama, in order to shut down left criticism of Obama. The theory was that Obama would help the left if the left helped him become president, with no questions asked. Which is really too stupid to be called a “strategy” – as history was very quick to demonstrate.

Baraka excoriated and defamed Obama’s ‘Black and progressive critics’ as ‘anarchists,’ ‘criminal’ and whatever other insults traveled from his mind to his mouth.”

Amiri Baraka kept up the abusive barrage against anti-Obama “rascals” of the left, right up to the president’s assault on Libya. Then, all of a sudden, Obama was “the negro yapping” to make imperial aggression “seem right” – “a negro selling his own folk, delivering us to slavery.”

Some of us who have been wise to corporate, center-right Obama for going on eight years consider Baraka’s recent epiphany to have come far too late for redemption. Others say, better late than never. But surely, his new position is incomplete without an explanation and recantation of his politics of the last three years.

Bill Fletcher is an even worse case. Fletcher was a founder of Progressives for Obama, with the same idea as Amiri Baraka: to shut down Obama critics on the left. But, you wouldn’t know that to hear him now. Fletcher claims the left’s mistake was not making demands on Obama from the beginning – without acknowledging his own role in preventing any such thing from happening.

New Black Panther Party leader Malik Zulu Shabazz, who put up a spirited, although weak, defense of Obama at one of our Great Debates [12] in Harlem, right after the election, now shouts that Obama “represents the White Man” and that his wife ought to leave him [13].

And there are plenty of others, too many others, who used whatever influence they had to ensure that Obama was not challenged from Blacks and progressives in 2008 and the two dismal years that followed. Failure to provide a genuine self-criticism reflects not only on their judgment – which is already discredited – but on their character. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com [14].

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com [15].

Written by harlemfightback

April 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Libya, News/Analysis

Galloway On Libya

leave a comment »

Galloway on Libya, From Sky News March 19th

Written by harlemfightback

April 1, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Posted in Libya, News/Analysis, Video

From BAR – Obama’s North African War Face

leave a comment »

From Black Agenda Report:

Whatever happens to Moammar Gaddafi, an independent Libya is not on the U.S. agenda. “Obama hopes to ‘stabilize’ Libya under indirect U.S. dominion through a kind of protectorate involving various ‘international’ entities, on the Haitian model.” The president’s doctrine of “humanitarian” warfare – like his rhetoric – is merely a sweetened derivative of George Bush’s more crudely presented policies. “In the final analysis, Euro-American hegemony means crushing the aspirations of all Arabs in the sand.”

Obama’s North African War Face

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Whatever happens to Moammar Gaddafi, an independent Libya is not on the U.S. agenda. “Obama hopes to ‘stabilize’ Libya under indirect U.S. dominion through a kind of protectorate involving various ‘international’ entities, on the Haitian model.” The president’s doctrine of “humanitarian” warfare – like his rhetoric – is merely a sweetened derivative of George Bush’s more crudely presented policies. “In the final analysis, Euro-American hegemony means crushing the aspirations of all Arabs in the sand.”

Imperialism’s refreshed Obama-face is looking more than ever like a grotesque Halloween mask, and he knows it.”

In Libya, Barack Obama now faces the central contradiction of his presidency: How to accomplish George Bush’s strategic objective, to wrest back America’s post-Soviet global supremacy – a goal Obama has always, and openly, shared – while avoiding becoming embroiled in another Bush-style “dumb war.” This was the trick that Obama promised he alone was equipped to pull off by adorning the U.S. empire with a new, engaging, articulate, colored “face.”

Obama strains to maintain that prefabricated face in the midst of an explosive and wholly unexpected political earthquake in the Arab world. The United States, as we wrote on March 23, “wants desperately to position itself on the ‘right’ side” of the unfolding Arab Reawakening and, if possible, to “appropriate to itself a section of the ‘Arab revolt.’” Having found – and helped create – that opportunity in Libya, the Americans and their European co-conspirators rushed in with a reenactment of George Bush’s “Shock and Awe” – a “full spectrum dominance” assault involving hundreds of cruise missiles that reminded even Moammar Gaddafi’s worst enemies that, in the final analysis, Euro-American hegemony means crushing the aspirations of all Arabs in the sand.

As the U.S. discovered in 2003, “Shock and Awe” repels as much as it impresses. Like the Bush Middle East/Western Asia offensive that initially targeted over 30 governments for overthrow (including Libya) but got bogged down in Iraq, Obama and the French and British are in danger of having “reached too far.” Imperialism’s refreshed Obama-face is looking more than ever like a grotesque Halloween mask, and he knows it.

The Americans and their European co-conspirators rushed in with a reenactment of George Bush’s ‘Shock and Awe.’”

The president’s Monday press conference was an effort to reposition the United States, and to readjust his own face to the Arab world. The lull that followed in “coalition” air strikes on Gaddafi forces, which allowed battered Libyan units to retake ground briefly held by the highly disorganized and foreign-dependent rebels, could serve as a means for the U.S. to squeeze the bravado out of the Benghazi-based fighters – a kind of discipline by denial. Despite the West’s boundless praise for these purportedly democratic “freedom fighters,” the imperial plan does not include allowing them – whoever they are – to form a regime with authority over the country. More cautious elements within the Obama administration may have arrived at an accommodation with NATO member Turkey, whose own interests in the region are incompatible with those of the British and French – and, ultimately, the United States.

Obama acknowledged that the all-out assault on Libya too overtly resembles Bush-style regime change: “To be blunt,” he said, “we went down that road in Iraq…. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.” Yet, regime change is a defining privilege of imperialism and, therefore, Obama reiterated that the American position is that Gaddafi must go.

The contradiction, which causes Obama grief in Manifest Destiny America, is exponentially more acute in the midst of the Arab Re-Awakening. The president’s carefully crafted language indicates that Obama hopes to “stabilize” Libya under indirect U.S. dominion through a kind of protectorate involving various “international” entities, on the Haitian model. The key paragraph is:

Gaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous. Moreover, even after Gaddafi does leave power, forty years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task. And while the United States will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community, and – more importantly – a task for the Libyan people themselves.”

Obama hopes to draw an illusory line between his and Bush’s worldviews, that will be palatable to a new an emboldened Arab audience.”

This is not a formula for rule by the Benghazi crowd, whose Islamist elements are indigestible, if not anathema, to U.S. policymakers and image-spinners. It is a rationale for a long, Haiti-like occupation under a compliant United Nations or improvised multi-national façade. Arab nationalism cannot be allowed free rein anywhere, since imperial rule abhors all nationalisms but its own.

Since the campaign days, Obama has struggled to infuse his deceptive rhetoric – which is really all that separates him from Bush – with the language of “Responsibility to Protect,” or R2P. Cloaked in the cynical camouflage of “humanitarian” objectives, Obama hopes to draw an illusory line between his and Bush’s worldviews, that will be palatable to a new an emboldened Arab audience. It is a doomed mission, not only because of the inherent contradictions between Arab aspirations and imperial dominance, but because American rulers are incapable of speaking to a warlike U.S. nationalism and addressing Arab aspirations at the same time. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the top U.S. diplomat, cannot even maintain the discipline of a consistent lie. She admitted that widespread bloodletting by Gaddafi’s forces was a fantasy and invention:

I know that the nightly news cannot cover a humanitarian crisis that thankfully did not happen, but it is important to remember that many, many Libyans are safer today because the international community took action.”

There was no humanitarian crisis, and it will become increasingly impossible to frame the Euro-American assault in North Africa as anything other than an imperial offensive, designed to keep the Arab world in its place and to usurp African sovereignty over the continent’s resources.

Obama’s “face” is melting.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Imperialism’s refreshed Obama-face is looking more than ever like a grotesque Halloween mask, and he knows it.”

In Libya, Barack Obama now faces the central contradiction of his presidency: How to accomplish George Bush’s strategic objective, to wrest back America’s post-Soviet global supremacy – a goal Obama has always, and openly, shared – while avoiding becoming embroiled in another Bush-style “dumb war.” This was the trick that Obama promised he alone was equipped to pull off by adorning the U.S. empire with a new, engaging, articulate, colored “face.”

Obama strains to maintain that prefabricated face in the midst of an explosive and wholly unexpected political earthquake in the Arab world. The United States, as we wrote on March 23, “wants desperately to position itself on the ‘right’ side” of the unfolding Arab Reawakening and, if possible, to “appropriate to itself a section of the ‘Arab revolt.’” Having found – and helped create – that opportunity in Libya, the Americans and their European co-conspirators rushed in with a reenactment of George Bush’s “Shock and Awe” – a “full spectrum dominance” assault involving hundreds of cruise missiles that reminded even Moammar Gaddafi’s worst enemies that, in the final analysis, Euro-American hegemony means crushing the aspirations of all Arabs in the sand.

As the U.S. discovered in 2003, “Shock and Awe” repels as much as it impresses. Like the Bush Middle East/Western Asia offensive that initially targeted over 30 governments for overthrow (including Libya) but got bogged down in Iraq, Obama and the French and British are in danger of having “reached too far.” Imperialism’s refreshed Obama-face is looking more than ever like a grotesque Halloween mask, and he knows it.

The Americans and their European co-conspirators rushed in with a reenactment of George Bush’s ‘Shock and Awe.’”

The president’s Monday press conference was an effort to reposition the United States, and to readjust his own face to the Arab world. The lull that followed in “coalition” air strikes on Gaddafi forces, which allowed battered Libyan units to retake ground briefly held by the highly disorganized and foreign-dependent rebels, could serve as a means for the U.S. to squeeze the bravado out of the Benghazi-based fighters – a kind of discipline by denial. Despite the West’s boundless praise for these purportedly democratic “freedom fighters,” the imperial plan does not include allowing them – whoever they are – to form a regime with authority over the country. More cautious elements within the Obama administration may have arrived at an accommodation with NATO member Turkey, whose own interests in the region are incompatible with those of the British and French – and, ultimately, the United States.

Obama acknowledged that the all-out assault on Libya too overtly resembles Bush-style regime change: “To be blunt,” he said, “we went down that road in Iraq…. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.” Yet, regime change is a defining privilege of imperialism and, therefore, Obama reiterated that the American position is that Gaddafi must go.

The contradiction, which causes Obama grief in Manifest Destiny America, is exponentially more acute in the midst of the Arab Re-Awakening. The president’s carefully crafted language indicates that Obama hopes to “stabilize” Libya under indirect U.S. dominion through a kind of protectorate involving various “international” entities, on the Haitian model. The key paragraph is:

Gaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous. Moreover, even after Gaddafi does leave power, forty years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task. And while the United States will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community, and – more importantly – a task for the Libyan people themselves.”

Obama hopes to draw an illusory line between his and Bush’s worldviews, that will be palatable to a new an emboldened Arab audience.”

This is not a formula for rule by the Benghazi crowd, whose Islamist elements are indigestible, if not anathema, to U.S. policymakers and image-spinners. It is a rationale for a long, Haiti-like occupation under a compliant United Nations or improvised multi-national façade. Arab nationalism cannot be allowed free rein anywhere, since imperial rule abhors all nationalisms but its own.

Since the campaign days, Obama has struggled to infuse his deceptive rhetoric – which is really all that separates him from Bush – with the language of “Responsibility to Protect,” or R2P. Cloaked in the cynical camouflage of “humanitarian” objectives, Obama hopes to draw an illusory line between his and Bush’s worldviews, that will be palatable to a new an emboldened Arab audience. It is a doomed mission, not only because of the inherent contradictions between Arab aspirations and imperial dominance, but because American rulers are incapable of speaking to a warlike U.S. nationalism and addressing Arab aspirations at the same time. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the top U.S. diplomat, cannot even maintain the discipline of a consistent lie. She admitted that widespread bloodletting by Gaddafi’s forces was a fantasy and invention:

I know that the nightly news cannot cover a humanitarian crisis that thankfully did not happen, but it is important to remember that many, many Libyans are safer today because the international community took action.”

There was no humanitarian crisis, and it will become increasingly impossible to frame the Euro-American assault in North Africa as anything other than an imperial offensive, designed to keep the Arab world in its place and to usurp African sovereignty over the continent’s resources.

Obama’s “face” is melting.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Written by harlemfightback

April 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Posted in Libya, News/Analysis

Reflections Of Fidel: NATO’s Plan is to Occupy Libya

leave a comment »

Full Statement From Fidel Castro On Libya
Reflections Of Fidel:  NATO’s Plan is to Occupy Libya

OIL became the principal wealth in the hands of the large yankee transnationals; with that source of energy, they had at their disposal an instrument that considerably increased their political power in the world. It was their principal weapon when they decided to simply liquidate the Cuban Revolution as soon as the first, just and sovereign laws were enacted in our homeland: by depriving it of oil.
Current civilization was developed on the basis of this source of energy. Of the nations in this hemisphere it was Venezuela which paid the highest price. The United States made itself the owner of the vast oilfields which nature endowed upon that sister nation.
At the end of the last World War it began to extract large volumes from oilfields in Iran, as well as those of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the Arab countries located around them. These came to be the principal suppliers. World consumption rose progressively to the fabulous figure of approximately 80 million barrels per day, including those pumped in U.S. territory, to which gas, hydraulic and nuclear energy were subsequently added. Up until the beginning of the 20th century coal was the fundamental source of energy that made possible industrial development, before billions of automobiles and engines consuming combustible liquid were produced.
The squandering of oil and gas is associated with one of the greatest tragedies, totally unresolved, being endured by humanity: climate change.
When our Revolution arose, Algeria, Libya and Egypt were not as yet oil producers and a large part of the substantial reserves of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and the United Arab Emirates were still to be discovered.
In December of 1951, Libya became the first African country to attain its independence after World War II, during which its territory was the scene of significant battles between German and British troops, bringing fame to Generals Erwin Rommel and Bernard. L. Montgomery.
Total desert covers 95% of its territory. Technology made it possible to find significant fields of excellent quality light oil, currently providing 800 billion barrels per day, and abundant natural gas deposits. Such wealth allowed it to achieve a life expectancy rate of close to 75 years and the highest per capita income in Africa. Its harsh desert is located above an enormous lake of fossil water, equivalent to more than three times the land surface of Cuba, which has made it possible to construct a broad network of fresh water pipes which extends throughout the country.
Libya, which had one million inhabitants upon attaining its independence, now has a population of more than six million.
The Libyan Revolution took place in September 1969. Its principal leader was Muammar al-Gaddafi, a soldier of Bedouin origin who was inspired in his early youth by the ideas of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. Without any doubt, many of his decisions are associated with the changes that came about when, as in Egypt, a weak and corrupt monarchy was overthrown in Libya.
The inhabitants of that country have age-old warrior traditions. It is said that the ancient Libyans formed part of Hannibal’s army when he was at the point of liquidating Ancient Rome with the force that crossed the Alps.
One can be in agreement with Gaddafi or not. The world has been invaded with all kind of news, especially through the mass media. We shall have to wait the time needed to discover precisely how much is truth or lies, or a mix of the events, of all kinds, which, in the midst of chaos, have been taking place in Libya. What is absolutely evident to me is that the government of the United States is totally unconcerned about peace in Libya and will not hesitate to give NATO the order to invade that rich country, possibly in a matter of hours or a few days.
Those who, with perfidious intentions, invented the lie that Gaddafi was headed for Venezuela, as they did yesterday afternoon Sunday, February 20, today received a worthy response from Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, when he stated textually that he was “voting for the Libyan people, in the exercise of their sovereignty, to find a peaceful solution to their difficulties which will preserve the integrity of the Libyan people and nation, without the interference of imperialism…”
For my part, I cannot imagine the Libyan leader abandoning the country, eluding the responsibilities attributed to him, whether or not this news is partly or totally false.
An honest person will always be against any injustice committed against any nation of the world, and the worst injustice, at this moment, would be to remain silent in the face of the crime that NATO is preparing to commit against the Libyan people.
The chief of that military organization is being urged to do so. This must be condemned!
Fidel Castro Ruz
February 21, 2011
10:14 p.m.
Translated by Granma International

Written by harlemfightback

March 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Libya, News/Analysis