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Africa: New Statistics On Immigrant Communities

Somalia: Journalism in Somalia – Booming but Beset By Dangers

Hope for release of jailed journalists as appeal date set

Ukraine Crisis: Pervasive Lying in U.S. & UK ‘News’ Media

Africa: New Statistics On Immigrant Communities

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According to a new brief from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, based on data from 2008-2012, there are approximately 1.6 million people living in the United States who were born in Africa.

Although these numbers do not include children born in the United States, and may well be an underestimate, the data show an extraordinary rate of growth, from 1 percent of the foreign-born population in 1970 (less than 80,000 born in Africa) to 4 percent in 2008-2012.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from this report, which was released in July 2014. The full report, with graphs, tables, and footnotes to sources, is available at https://www.census.gov/ / direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/n52tulc

It also contains brief summaries of new reports on immigrant communities from six African countries, recently published by the Migration Policy Institute.

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletin on migration issues, visithttp://www.africafocus.org/migrexp.php

Ebola Perspectives – Update

Except for the frenzied media spotlight on Dallas, the media has paid little attention to the role of immigrant communities from the countries most affected by Ebola, namely Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

Two exceptions, previously featured on AfricaFocus social media (visit http://www.facebook.com/AfricaFocus) – brief excepts only – click on links for stories.

Note: if readers note other such stories available on the web, please send me the links (at africafocus@igc.org) so that I can highlight them on AfricaFocus social media.

(1) “The fight to save the last Ebola-free district in Sierra Leone,” Washington Post, October 10, 2014 http://tinyurl.com/p5dqwz3 (scroll down after clicking)

“The last region in Sierra Leone untouched by Ebola sits in the rugged, mountainous north, in a place called the Koinadugu district. It is a poor place, dependent on small farms and gold mines, the largest of the country’s 14 districts by land size and home to 265,000 residents. The district borders Guinea, where the current Ebola outbreak began and first spilled over into Sierra Leone. Koinadugu is surrounded by districts dealing with hundreds of Ebola cases.

But Koinadugu has kept the virus at bay.

The district’s success was no accident. It has been the result of concerted, early efforts to staunch the spread of the disease, sometimes turning to novel measures, tailoring details to fit the region’s unique needs. Most of the planning has fallen to a man named Momoh Konte [a Sierra Leonean living in Washington, DC]. He, along with district government and tribal officials, have managed to do what has seemed impossible elsewhere.”

(2) “U.S. Ebola case has local West African community reaching out,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, October 2, 2014 http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/277781221.html

“Within hours of hearing about an Ebola diagnosis in Dallas, rattled leaders in the Twin Cities Liberian community sprang to action.

For local Liberians, the first stateside Ebola case lent new urgency to a tricky double mission: Preach vigilance to the metro area’s community of some 30,000 Liberian natives, the largest outside Africa. Ease anxieties in the wider community and the fallout from them, from Liberian restaurants losing business to Liberians fielding questions from the anxious parents of playmates.” – Editor’s Note

 

The Foreign-Born Population from Africa: 2008-2012

American Community Survey Briefs, ACSBR/12-16

By Christine P. Gambino, Edward N. Trevelyan, and John Thomas Fitzwater

Issued October 2014

[Excerpts only - for full text, including figures, footnotes, and downloadable tables, visit https://www.census.gov/ / direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/n52tulc]

Introduction

According to the 2008-2012 American Community Survey (ACS), 39.8 million foreign-born people resided in the United States, including 1.6 million from Africa, or about 4 percent of the total foreign-born population. In 1970, there were about 80,000 African foreign born, representing less than 1 percent of the total foreign-born population (Figure 1). During the following four decades, the number of foreign born from Africa grew rapidly, roughly doubling each decade.

About three-fourths of the foreign-born population from Africa came to live in the United States after 1990. The timing of this movement was driven in part by historical changes. Outmigration from Africa increased rapidly after World War II, as migrants responded to the pull of educational opportunities and jobs abroad. While the first waves of postwar migrants went to other African countries and former colonial powers of Europe, migration to the United States increased in the 1970s as economies faltered and new restrictions were placed upon immigration in Western Europe.

More immigrants from Africa were admitted to the United States after the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965, which replaced the national origin quota system favoring immigration from Europe with a new law prioritizing skilled labor, family unification, and humanitarianism. In addition, nearly a quarter of all immigrants from Africa to the United States in 2010 entered as refugees or received asylum as a result of ethnic conflict or civil war, particularly in countries such as Somalia, Liberia, and Sudan. The rate of African-born immigrants arriving and staying in the United States accelerated further as immigrant networks grew and pathways were established.

This brief discusses the size, place of birth, geographical distribution, and educational attainment of the foreign born from Africa. Data are presented at the national, state, and metropolitan levels based on the 2008-2012 ACS 5-year file.

 Africans in the U.S. have high educational attainment rates.

Africans in the U.S. have high educational attainment rates.

African Regions and Countries of Birth

Of the 1.6 million foreign born from Africa in the United States, 36 percent were from Western Africa, 29 percent were from Eastern Africa, and 17 percent were from Northern Africa, followed by Southern Africa (5 percent), Middle Africa (5 per- cent), and other Africa (7 percent) (Figure 2, Table 1). Since 2000, the foreign born from Africa increased by over 700,000 persons, up from a total of 881,300. Over 490,000, or about 70 percent of that growth, has been from countries in Western and Eastern Africa.

The largest African-born populations were from Nigeria and Ghana in Western Africa; Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia in Eastern Africa; Egypt in Northern Africa; and South Africa in Southern Africa. Of these seven, the four largest were Nigeria (221,000 or 14 percent of the African-born population), Ethiopia (164,000 or 10 percent), Egypt (143,000 or 9 percent), and Ghana (121,000 or 8 percent), together constituting 41 percent of the African-born total.

Geographic distribution of the foreign-born population from Africa

Four states had more than 100,000 foreign born from Africa: New York (164,000), California (155,000), Texas (134,000), and Maryland (120,000) (Table 2). When combined, these four states represented over one-third (36 percent) of the foreign born from Africa.

Among states with at least 2,500 foreign born from Africa, Rhode Island had the highest percentage of the African born from Western Africa (82 percent), while over half of the African born in Massachusetts and New York (each 52 percent) were from this region. Over half of the foreign born from Africa in three states-Minnesota, Nevada, and Washington-were from Eastern Africa. Minnesota’s Eastern African born represented 61 percent of its African-born population, over double the national percentage and included a Somali-born population of 21,000. Florida and New Jersey (each 33 percent) and Iowa (30 percent) were among the states with the highest percentage of their African-born populations from Northern Africa. California’s large Egyptian-born population (31,000) contributed to its Northern African representation (29 percent), notably higher than the national percentage (17 percent).

The states with the highest percentage foreign born from Africa in their foreign-born populations included North Dakota and Minnesota (both 19 percent), South Dakota (17 percent), Maryland and the District of Columbia (both 15 percent) (Figure 3). Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, and New Mexico each had less than 2 percent foreign born from Africa in their foreign-born populations. Of the ten states with the largest African-born populations, five had percentages of African born in their foreign-born populations that were at least twice the national percentage: Minnesota (19 percent), Maryland (15 percent), Virginia (9 percent), and Georgia and Massachusetts (both 8 percent).

Distribution by Metropolitan Statistical Area

Metropolitan areas with the largest African-born population included New York, NY (212,000); Washington, DC (161,000); Atlanta, GA (68,000); Los Angeles, CA (68,000); and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (64,000) (Table 3). In addition to having a high number of African born, the percentage of the foreign-born population from Africa in the Washington, DC, metro area (13 percent) was more than three times the national percentage (4 percent), and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (20 percent), was five times the national percentage.

In several metropolitan areas with relatively small African-born populations, the African born nevertheless represented a high proportion of the total foreign born. These included Columbus, OH (23 percent); Baltimore, MD (13 percent); and Providence, RI (11 percent), with between 20,000 and 35,000 African foreign born. Most metropolitan areas with a high percentage of African born in their foreign-born populations were in the Midwest and Northeast regions in states such as Minnesota, Ohio, and Maine (Figure 4). It is notable that in many metropolitan areas in the western half of the country, the concentrations of African born were well below the national average. These included Los Angeles (1.5 percent), San Francisco (1.8 percent), and San Diego (2.2 percent).

With the exception of Nigeria, there was considerable variation in the top countries of birth in metropolitan areas with the largest African-born populations (Figure 5). For example, both Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston showed large numbers of Nigerians and Ethiopians. Chicago, Columbus, and New York had significant Ghanaian populations, while foreign born from Cabo Verde figured prominently in Boston and Providence (half of the African born in Providence). The largest African-origin countries for Washington, DC, were Ethiopia and Nigeria. The largest African-born populations in Minneapolis-St. Paul were from Somalia and Ethiopia. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, leading African countries of birth included Egypt, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. The largest African-origin countries in the New York metropolitan area were Egypt and Ghana, each composing just under 20 percent of the total African born.

Educational Attainment

Compared with the overall foreign- born population, the foreign born from Africa had higher levels of educational attainment (Figure 6). High levels of educational attainment among the African born are in part due to the large number of educated Africans who have chosen to emigrate and to many who come to the United States to pursue academic studies. Forty-one percent of the African-born population had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2008-2012, compared with 28 percent of the overall foreign born. Egypt (64 percent) and Nigeria (61 percent) were among the African countries of birth with the highest proportion of bachelor’s and higher degrees.

Nearly one-third of the overall foreign-born population (32 percent) had less than a high school education. This contrasts with only 12 percent for the African-born population, as represented by such countries as South Africa (3 percent), Nigeria (4 percent), and Egypt and Kenya (each 5 percent).

The difference in educational attainment among the populations from different African countries in part reflects how they immigrated to the United States. A relatively high proportion of immigrants from Africa entered the United States on diversity visas (24 percent as compared with 5 percent of the overall foreign born), which require a high school diploma or equivalent work experience. The foreign born from Somalia, who mostly entered the United States as refugees or asylees (82 percent in 2010), not as diversity migrants (1 percent in 2010), were an exception to this overall pattern. Forty percent of the Somali born had less than a high school education.

Summary

The foreign-born population from Africa is small relative to other foreign-born groups, but has experienced rapid growth in the last 40 years. Among the African- born population, the majority were born in Western Africa (36 percent), Eastern Africa (29 percent), or Northern Africa (17 percent). While traditional immigrant destinations such as New York and California have attracted the largest number of African immigrants, they account for a relatively small percentage of the total foreign born in those states. Higher concentrations of the African born in a state’s total foreign-born population are instead found in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Compared with the overall foreign-born population, a higher proportion of African born have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education.

What is the American Community Survey?

The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey designed to provide communities with reliable and timely demographic, social, economic, and housing data for the nation, states, congressional districts, counties, places, and other localities every year. It has an annual sample size of about 3.5 million addresses across the United States and Puerto Rico and includes both housing units and group quarters (e.g., nursing facilities and prisons). The 5-year file of the ACS is designed to provide reliable statistics for small populations and small geographical areas of the United States. For information on the ACS sample design and other topics, visit <www.census.gov/acs/www/

African-Born Population by Metropolitan Statistical Area: 2008-2012 – see details on original post >>

Ten Largest African-Born Countries of Birth in the United States, 2008-2012

Nigeria 221,075 Ethiopia 164,045 Egypt 143,085 Ghana 120,785 Kenya 95,125 South Africa 83,300 Somalia 76,205 Liberia 71,060 Morocco 58,730 Sudan(including South Sudan) 41,070

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2008-2012 American Community Survey, 5-year estimates, Supplemental Table 2 to Brief cited above.

Migration Population Institute, Diaspora Profiles

www.migrationpolicy.org/ – direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/kxhuyrr

There is much additional data about several African immigrant populations in a series of fact sheets published by the Migration Policy Institute in July 2014, drawing on data for 2013.. The African countries included in this series are Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Nigeria. Although these cannot be excerpted here for copyright reasons, they are downloadable from the MPI site and can be used for personal reading and research.

Some quick highlights from each of these:

(1) Egypt: Including first and second generation, there are approximately 240,000 Egyptian immigrants and their children in the United States. Although this group has high educational attainment, there is also extreme inequality, with one in six having incomes above $140,000 while 23 percent live below the poverty line.

(2) Ethiopia: There are approximately 255,000 Ethiopian immigrants, including children born here. This has grown from a small base of about 10,000 in 1980. Nearly half are U.S. Citizens. The largest concentration is in the Washington, DC area, with significant representation as well in Minneapolis, Seattle, and Atlanta.

(3) Ghana: Approximately 235,000 Ghanaian immigrants and their American-born children live in the United States. The majority have arrived since the year 2000. They are widely distributed around the United States, with the largest concentrations in the areas of New York City and Washington, DC. The United States is the second most common destination for Ghanaian immigrants.

(4) Kenya: There are approximately 105,000 Kenyan immigrants and their children living in the United States, about 10% of whom are of Somali ethnic origin. The highest numbers are in Texas and California, with Dallas the city with the largest number of Kenyan residents.

(5) Morocco: There are approximately 85,000 Moroccan immigrants and their children, and is widely scattered around the country. The largest numbers are in New York City and surroundings.

(6) Nigeria: There are approximately 380,000 Nigerian immigrants and their children living in the United States, up from approximately 25,000 in 1980. The largest numbers are in the areas of New York City, Houston, and Washington, DC.

admin @ October 23, 2014

Somalia: Journalism in Somalia – Booming but Beset By Dangers

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“That’s not true. He was killed for the sake of the truth.”

After the evening prayer on October 21, 2012, Mohamed’s brother, a local journalist named Yusuf Warsame, was leaving a mosque in Mogadishu’s Medina neighborhood. As he made his way to a pharmacy to find relief for an earache, two pistol-wielding men stepped out of a doorway and shot him multiple times in the back.

Mohamed was turning a corner onto the same street when the shots rang out; close enough to witness the gunmen fleeing the scene.

“I saw them with my own eyes,” he says. “But I was too far away to gaze on their faces.”

Yusuf succumbed to his injuries one week later in nearby Medina Hospital, becoming the 11th Somali journalist to be assassinated in 2012. He was 22 years old. Though the attack occurred in broad daylight, no witnesses came forward, and no arrest has been made. Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked Islamist group, al-Shabab, is often fingered for killing journalists, but there is rarely enough evidence to determine guilt.

“The ones responsible are ‘unknown gunmen,'” Mohamed says. “We don’t know who they are. A government gang, al-Shabab… we just don’t know.”

Since the beginning of 2013, 23 local journalists have been murdered in Somalia, making it the most dangerous country on the African continent for media workers. Five of the victims worked for Shabelle Media Network, comprised of Shabelle Radio – one of Mogadishu’s most popular stations – as well as its online arm, Shabelle.net. Shabelle’s director, Abdi Mohamed Ismaiil, says he gets about two or three death threats per week, and they tend to adhere to a standard template.

“They tell us we’re working against Islam,” he says, puffing casually on a cigarette. “They describe the kind of car you drive, what you’re wearing — ‘blue t-shirt, black jeans,’ for example — even how you’re standing. When you look around, no one is there.”

Ismaiil says people sometimes prank-call Shabelle staff and pretend to be with al-Shabab, a joke that doesn’t sit well. “Unfortunately there’s no law against that in this country.”

Mohamed, now 19, works as a journalist for Shabelle.net, the same position his brother once held. And it is clear that his brother’s murder has left its mark. When I snap a photo of him typing furiously at his keyboard in the company’s computer lab, he jumps halfway out of his chair.

“Not my face, not my face!”

Mohamed still lives in Medina — the Mogadishu neighbourhood where the majority of journalist assassinations have taken place — and he is terrified of being identified.

“I still haven’t received any death threats,” he says. “But when your brother is killed, you become afraid. The next time I go outside, will they shoot me?”

The following day, he tells me, he’ll be moving into Shabelle headquarters full time, joining the few dozen journalists living in cramped quarters mostly on the building’s rooftop. Many barely go outside for fear of being gunned down, conducting the business of news gathering through mobile phone calls with networks of local tipsters. Moving around the city after dark is considered tantamount to suicide.

Shabelle’s imposing headquarters stands only a few hundred yards outside Mogadishu’s heavily militarized airport compound, and houses Shabelle Radio, Shabelle.net, and a sister radio station and website, SkyFM. Ringed in by concrete barricades and guarded by armed security 24 hours a day, the building resembles a barracks more than a broadcasting studio.

Despite the grim fact that two of his predecessors have been assassinated, Ismaiil has no plans to leave Mogadishu. His willingness to stay, he explains, stems from a profound belief that his work is vital to the recovery of war-torn Somalia.

“I want to do something good for my country,” he says.

It’s a common response among Somali journalist for why they’re willing to risk so much for their profession. That and the slightly less noble “I-want-to-be-famous” explanation. With Somalia’s time-honored reverence for poetry and storytelling, being a journalist – especially a radio broadcaster — promises a level prestige usually reserved for pop stars. This blend of patriotism and glory-seeking might explain why so many young Somalis are eager to throw themselves into such a dangerous and poorly paid job — typically as little as $50 to $100 per month, barely the average wage of a day labourer. That, and a dash of Islamic fatalism.

“Everybody has his day to die,” says Abdirahim Isse Addow, director of the state-owned Radio Mogadishu. “There’s nothing to fear.”

***

Somalia, which exited a 20-year dictatorship in 1991 only to enter a 20-year civil war, is not a place you would expect to find a thriving journalism scene. After the Somali state printing press was ransacked in 1992, state-run newspapers disappeared overnight and the number of private radio stations in the capital exploded. There are now roughly 30 private stations in Mogadishu — though with new ones continually appearing as others vanish, it’s difficult to keep track. Print media has also made a modest resurgence — despite the cost and uncertain security environment — with seven newspapers with circulations ranging from about 500 to 1,000. Online news outlets number perhaps 200, mostly created and consumed by the over 3-million strong Somali diaspora.

The sheer number of media outlets combined with the limited advertisers in Somalia mean that virtually all of them rely on private benefactors. In the absence of any national regulatory framework governing the media, however, critics say that many stations amount to little more than soapboxes for private individuals seeking to advance their interests. It’s an accusation that has dogged Shabelle, whose principal financial backer, Abdi Malik Yusuf, is a London-based businessman. Some suspect Yusuf of using Shabelle as a platform to advance his political ambitions.

“Shabelle has done some really irresponsible reporting,” says Tom Rhodes, the Nairobi coordinator for the press freedom organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in 2013. “Last year there were some completely unfounded stories about the mayor of Mogadishu: that he was HIV positive, that he was linked to some militia. And there are others.”

The sentiment resonates with my own experience as editor of the news website Somalia Report, where in 2012 I managed a network of over 50 local stringers. Though many were highly professional, others peddled anything from stolen photos to an entirely fabricated interview with the Somali prime minister.

“Professionalism and ethics are very low,” says Mohamed Ibrahim, a New York Times contributor and the head of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ). “Most Somali journalists have never been to any sort of journalism school. They have a do-it-yourself mentality.”

Intense competition between media outlets, he argues, often results in a race to the bottom to be the first to report the latest rumours. Sharuur, the practice of asking for bribes in exchange for favorable reporting, is also common.

“Sharuur is the great shame of Somali journalism, and it’s what stopped me from working for local stations,” says Mohamed Odowa, who strings for the German agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA).

Like Odowa, many veteran Somali journalists elect to work for foreign media outlets, where they can earn considerably more than they can at local outlets. This domestic brain drain leaves Somalia’s media scene with a pool of inexperienced reporters whose greatest assets are often bravery and determination. At Shabelle, where many of the employees are under 20 years old and few have had more than cursory training, the newsroom has the feel of a college dorm. Ill-equipped and underpaid, they are sent out to the frontlines of one of the most hostile reporting environments in the world.

“It’s said that you should never shoot the messenger, but in Somalia the messenger is routinely shot, because of the ethos of the radio station he works for,” says Rhodes.

***

It’s Friday night, the Islamic sabbath, and I am lounging in Shabelle’s common room with a handful of resident journalists, sipping sugary tea and watching them flip between CNN and local Somali channels. One of Shabelle’s most experienced reporters, Haji, bursts in breathlessly.

“Big news,” he announces to the room in English. Then, in Somali: “There’s been a poisoning.” An entire family, including nine children, had ingested tainted camel’s milk. All were in critical condition at Daru Shifa, a nearby hospital.

The following afternoon, I tag along with Hamdi Ali Ahmed, a cherubic reporter in her early 20s, to Daru Shifa. The older of my two bodyguards surrenders his assault rifle at the entrance, while the second stands guard outside. After a hasty pat down we make our way through a bleached corridor and into the office of the hospital administrator. But Hamdi is too late: The administrator informs her that all the poisoning patients have been discharged, so she settles for a three-minute interview. On our way back to Shabelle, Hamdi confides some suspicions to my translator.

“He’s lying,” she says. “He’s keeping the patients in isolation.”

Whether Hamdi’s supposition made its way into her final radio report, I do not know. But the episode is telling. In Somalia’s predominantly oral culture, conspiracy theories abound; rumours, innuendo, and outright slander seamlessly assume the mantle of truth. And this cultural impetus often bleeds into local journalism.

Where the rule of law is virtually non-existent, slander is often met with a deadly response. Shabelle’s reputation as one of the country’s most outspoken and controversial stations probably explains why its employees have been disproportionately targeted. But the identities of the killers — and their motives — are largely a matter of educated guesswork. Al-Shabab tends to be the default bogeyman, but determining the precise culpability of the terror group is confounded by the fact that it often claims responsibility for assassinations that it did not actually carry out.

Revealingly, of the 29 media worker killings internally documented by NUSOJ from 2011 to late 2013, only seven cases show convincing evidence of direct al-Shabab involvement — only three more than the number of murders attributed to Somali government officials. In nine cases, NUSOJ was unable even to speculate on the identities of the culprits. That in many cases assassins have been clad in Somali military uniforms — which can be obtained for about $30 at Mogadishu’s infamous Bakara market-does nothing to resolve the ambiguity.

In some instances, however, the killers’ motives are clearer. Both Shabelle director Hassan Osman “Fantastic” and reporter Ahmed Anshur were known to be investigating financial malfeasance at Mogadishu’s seaport at the time of their murders four months apart during the first half of 2012.

“Officials from the government were threatening them before they were killed,” says Omar Faruk Osman, who claims leadership of the NUSOJ along with Mohamed Ibrahim (the organization split into rival factions in early 2011.) “They were saying, ‘Don’t you know this is Mogadishu? You can die for $50 here.'”

Life may be cheap in Somalia, but the fruits of corrupt governance most certainly are not. In each year from 2009 to 2012, between one-half to four-fifths of port revenues went missing, according to financial auditor Abdirizak Fartaag, whose findings have been cited extensively in a World Bank report. In 2012, that amounted to over $25 million — for some, well worth killing for.

The Somali government has, at least publicly, acknowledged the severity of the problem. In February 2013, former Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction related to any journalist killing. That same month, Shirdon established a “Human Rights Task Force” with the aim of ending impunity.

Yet to date, only one culprit — al-Shabab gunman Aden Sheikh Abdi — has been convicted for the murder of a journalist. In July 2013, Sheikh Abdi was sentenced by a military court and executed by firing squad the following month. But it turned out to be a unique case: The journalist he had killed, Hassan Yusuf Absuge, was a direct relation of the president.

There have been reports that four gunmen are currently awaiting trial for the murder of another journalist, Zakariye Moallim, but Somalia’s then-deputy minister of information, Abdishakur Ali Mire, was unable to confirm that the suspects were in government custody. “I cannot say that we currently have other suspects in prison,” he says, “only that the security agencies have been given instructions to bring to justice those who have murdered Somali journalists.”

Yet in July 2013, the Somali cabinet introduced a highly controversial media law, which both domestic and international critics say is more about repressing and regulating the media than safeguarding journalists. Under the proposed law, the Ministry of Information controls the majority of seats on a National Media Council empowered to license media outlets and mandate minimum qualifications for journalists, as well as prohibit “false news” resulting in harm “to the country, the people or the religion.”

To its credit, the current administration has been receptive to criticism of the new law, and the Somali parliament temporarily shelved its passage pending the recommendations of an Independent Media Law Task Force formed in April. Given that the government struggles to control even the capital itself, however, it is unclear how much difference a media law will make for those facing an assassin’s gun.

Mire insists that the administration is doing what it can to improve security conditions on the ground, but balks at the idea of providing journalists with special protection: “The government’s responsibility is to protect all members of society, and journalists are part of society,” he says. “My friend, do you advise me to provide every citizen with a bodyguard?”

***

On 26 October 2013, the National Intelligence and Security Agency stormed Shabelle’s headquarters, battering down the gate and arresting 19 journalists and media workers within. State officials justified the eviction on the grounds that Shabelle had been illegally occupying a government building that once housed the long-defunct Somali national airline. Shabelle journalists — who claim they were beaten up and robbed by government soldiers – cited a contract allowing them to operate in the building until 2015, and say the raid was in reality about silencing the station. Shabelle was forced off the air for two months before it reestablished itself at a new location in central Mogadishu. As of this printing, four Shabelle and SkyFM journalists are still being detained in Mogadishu on charges of high treason and inciting violence, according to Human Rights Watch.

Beset by their own government on one side and Islamist militants on the other, the space in which Somali journalists can operate continues to shrink. The more experienced reporters, deluged with death threats, flee by the dozens to safety abroad only to be replaced by a fresh cadre of green recruits. “They’re exploited for their youth and bravery,” says Rhodes. As recently as 21 June, radio correspondent Yusuf Ahmed Abukar died instantly when a bomb attached to his car was remotely detonated in Mogadishu. The culprits remain at large.

There is no clear solution. The problems faced by journalists are the same intractable woes plaguing the Somali people as a whole, only more reified. Until Somalia regains a functioning government willing and able to protect its citizens, journalism training and new laws can only put patches on a fissure. Caught in an asymmetric war between government forces and insurgents — where propaganda and control of the media are as important as the outcome of a battle – Somali journalists are now seen as legitimate targets on both sides.

*Some names have been change to protect those involved.

Jay Bahadur is a Nairobi-based freelance journalist and author of The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World.

admin @ October 23, 2014

Hope for release of jailed journalists as appeal date set

Posted in: AFRICA | Comments (0)

January 2015 has been set as the date when Al Jazeera’s jailed journalists in Egypt will have the appeals against their convictions considered.

 

The hearing will look at the process behind the original trial, a process that Al Jazeera says was flawed, and is the basis of the appeal. The network hopes the three – Baher Mohammed, Mohammed Fahmy and Peter Greste – will be set free, though a retrial could also be ordered.

 

Baher Mohammed, Mohammed Fahmy and Peter Greste were sentenced to between seven and ten years in June, after being arrested in December last year.

 

Since the appeal was filed, another Al Jazeera journalist in a separate case, Ahmed Mansour, was convicted in absentia to fifteen years in jail.

 

Al Jazeera spokesperson Osama Saeed said: “Baher, Mohammed and Peter have been incarcerated for nearly ten months on the patently absurd charges of falsifying news and being involved in terrorism. In reality, they are fine journalists, convicted on the basis of a weak investigation and a court case riddled with procedural flaws. We hope that the court date of 1 January 2015 means that the new year can herald a new chapter, with the release of our journalists and the betterment of press freedoms in Egypt.”

 

Al Jazeera will mark 300 days since the arrest of its journalists this Friday, 24 October 2014, with 300 seconds of silence on-air, accompanied by images of the detainees and the campaign to release them.

 

Follow #FreeAJStaff on Twitter for updates.

admin @ October 22, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Pervasive Lying in U.S. & UK ‘News’ Media

Posted in: WORLD NEWS | Comments (0)

By Eric Zuesse
Global Research,

The lying is intentional, and it is systematic; but it is so on only the most important news-topics, the ones that affect the nation’s aristocracy as a whole, rather than competing interests within it. On these issues, the lying is pervasive.
What, precisely, are the most important news-topics to America’s aristocracy? The questions that aren’t being asked in a given nation’s press are what show, in the clearest way, what the most important facts are, in order for an ordinary citizen to be able to understand the world without the oligarchs’ systematic distortions and colorations of it.

A case-in-point is the events in Ukraine during this year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhrUX53hQOU

And (to penetrate even deeper into the same topic) what about this cover-up, too? (Especially since there’s also this, and this, that seem to be basic to it?) Russia got slapped with international sanctions for this one — for having supposedly caused the Malaysian airliner, MH-17, to be shot down on July 17th, flying over the Ukrainian civil-war zone — but, as you can see there, the entire presentation was a frame-up, and the real perpetrators were Obama and the Ukrainian Government, both of whom lied, and were allowed (by the Western ‘news’ media) to do it and to get away with having done it. (Similarly, Bush’s stenographic press got away with spreading his lies about “Saddam’s WMD.”)

There’s no demand from Western ‘news’ media to get the evidence (such as the black-box data), much less to investigate it independently (as an authentically free press would be doing); and, when the Ukrainian and U.S. Governments refused to let it be released to the public, Western ‘news’ media simply remained silent about the cover-up, instead of making ceaseless headline news about the government’s lies, until the information becomes forced out, by pressure from the public.

These ‘news’ media, the entire Western press, don’t report certain things at all — they choose instead to participate in the Government’s lies about those matters.

The public are clearly being manipulated, not just by the government, but by ‘our free press,’ which are owned by, and financed largely by advertisements from, America’s aristocrats.

Here is a brilliant, and brilliantly researched and documented, 37-minute video on the history of how this control of the public’s perceptions of public events and of politics in our ‘democracy’ evolved, or came about. You can even see speaking there some of the people who developed it, and who carried it out for the oligarchs — the controlling aristocrats — and who thereby played key behind-the-scenes roles in shaping 20th-Century history. This video comes from the same genius, Aaron Hawkins, who researched and produced the best videos on the Ukrainian coup, and on the resulting Ukrainian civil war, and on the MH-17 shoot-down in Ukraine. Each one of these videos presents the visual and audio evidence, and places it into historical context so that it can be understood truthfully, and it coordinates that evidence with all of the written and other documentary evidence, so as to provide, in each one of these brief videos, authentic history, not myth, regarding its subject-matter. It penetrates through the lies, and gets to the truth about the matters that are being covered.

But, though these videos on the 2014 events in Ukraine were posted to the Internet quickly after the events that they are analyzing, and though each of the videos constitutes, even today, the most-credible reconstruction that’s available about how these historic events actually happened, all Western ‘news’ media ignore them; they ignore the historical evidence. In those videos, you can see and evaluate this evidence for yourself; and, to me, it’s damning against the Western press.

And furthermore, here, from (amazingly, a mainstream news source) the BBC in 1992, is a very long but stunning documentary about the history of “Operation Gladio,” the OSS-CIA operation that started in 1945 and that continues even today, to deceive and manipulate the publics in the U.S. and Europe. Again: the documentation here is of the highest quality; nobody can reasonably contest that what’s shown in this video, and the current applications of it continuing today, are real, are historical, not mythological at all. Moreover, a leading German journalist decided just recently to quit his thriving career and to go public with his having prostituted himself to America’s aristocracy in order to rise to the top in Germany’s major ‘news’ media; and this testimony sounds like a direct extension from what the BBC documentary on Operation Gladio was reporting. (He even explains there the type of “non-official cover” that is used to pay such outside or unofficial CIA agents. The CIA also operates a network of corporations to handle that.)

In a world that has no government, this is how international relations are handled: by subterfuge, deceit, and corruption. The publics just shed blood and pay taxes to fight and finance their wars, using weapons from their factories; and the ‘news’ media fool them to do it willingly — or as willingly as possible.

All that has been discussed here is important history, and (except for that BBC documentary) has been hidden instead of reported by the respected news-media.

Another example of that is this, which concerns the 9/11 attacks. (This was on C-span, which is government-financed but not government-controlled, it’s unique; and the oligarchs consider it to be insignificant, because its audience is small and politically diverse, neither large nor politically partisan nor influential. Anyone who sees this video will recognize that the standard account of 9/11 is mostly lies.)

Sometimes, what a nation’s ‘news’ media don’t cover, is more informative about that nation’s real state-of-affairs, than is what they do cover.

Sometimes, the media actually are the message. They become the message, when they — and not the reality that they claim to be representing — produce or generate the message, which is the regime’s lie, which is then being pumped by all of the regime’s ‘news’ media: that’s now effectively all ’news’ media.

The ultimate lie, in such a matter, is that there is no “regime” — that it doesn’t exist; that democracy is what exists.

Are we there, yet? Have we reached that ultimate lie — the lie about whether our country is a democracy?

Have we yet reached the point where the biggest cover-up of all is the one that all of the ‘news’ media participate in: hiding the fact that, even though the media collectively offer a ‘range’ of ‘news’ and ‘diverse opinions’, they’re all really mouthpieces for the very same group: for the oligarchy that own them, and that pay money to them by advertising in them?

Or, have we perhaps been there ever since the non-existent “Saddam’s WMD,” which supposedly “caused” us to invade Iraq in 2003 (producing thousands of U.S. deaths, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, millions of Iraqis displaced, and over $3 trillion in costs to the U.S. economy), or perhaps even ever sincebefore that (maybe since 9/11, or even before that)?

Why do the public not boycott all ‘news’ media that charge for their ‘news’? These media constantly misrepresent reality. What they charge should be nothing, because deception is actually worth less than nothing.

Why does anyone subsidize any ‘news’ medium any longer by paying a subscription to it, if all of the mainstream, and almost all of the ‘alternative,’ ‘news’ media, are really just propaganda-media — the type of media that cover-up, instead of report about, the Government’s lying (such as all that lying about Ukraine)?

If there’s something like Obama’s coup in Ukraine and subsequent ethnic-cleansing there, that’s so central to the American regime as to be effectively banned from the West’s ‘news’ media, then that must be especially worth the public’s knowing about. When the Establishment — both its ‘left’ and its ‘right’ — is united in a lie, then that lie has to be extremely important to the individuals who collectively hold the real power in a ‘democracy.’

Is this actually a democracy? How can people intelligently vote, if they’re constantly being lied-to about the most-important things?

Where does this con against the public actually end — or is it endless?

Do you subscribe to The New York Times, or Washington Post, or Fox News Channel, or any other propaganda-vehicle? If so: why do you subsidize them?

Here are the authentic news-media that I have found (and though they’re not many, they are all free, and each one of them invites each reader to be skeptical and to check out and verify any factual allegation made, because they’re all online, and most of them issue news-reports that have links to their sources online, and so these news-reports are just a click or two away from being able to be verified or else disconfirmed, which means that the standard form of deceiving the readers of a printed news-medium, which is the inaccessibility of the sources, is not present here; the website cannot so easily deceive, and deceive repeatedly, without suffering a major loss of credibility):

washingtonsblog.com,

rinf.com,

opednews.com,

smirkingchimp.com,

globalresearch.ca,

infowars.com, and

thepeoplesvoice.org.

Perfection doesn’t exist, and I am by no means endorsing the veracity of each article that’s on each one of these seven sites. I happen to disagree with some editorial positions of some of them. For example, I believe that InfoWars is more-open to news-reports from conservatives and from libertarians than they should be; that the editor at GlobalResearch bends over backwards to accept news-stories that place things out of a scientific context regarding the existence of global warming (it seems he doesn’t believe in it, though it is true); and that ThePeoplesVoice isn’t sufficiently skeptical of submitted left-slanted articles.

However, I have found all seven of those news-sources to be honest, none of them to deceive intentionally. And, furthermore, very importantly, the percentage of false assertions is far lower in each one of these sites than it is in the mainstream ‘news’ media.

Any ‘news’ site which has covered-up the Obama Administration’s having committed a bloody coup d’etat in late February of this year in Ukraine that installed nazisracist fascists – in control there, should simply be boycotted. None of the seven sites that I list here has covered-up that (though practically all other U.S. and UK sites have). And all seven of them are free: there is no subscription-fee for any of them.

I have had my own news-submissions that deal with other topics than the Ukrainian coup published by mainstream ‘news’ sites, but that’s not the case about the Ukrainian matter. The virtual universality of the ‘news’ blackout on this topic is amazing — far worse than even the blackout on the truth about the 2008 economic collapse. The blackout on the truth about the February 2014 coup and subsequent ethnic-cleansing in Ukraine is nearly total on all U.S. and UK ‘news’ sites, except for the seven authentic news-sites that I link to above. (Each of these 7 sites also has been honest about other things, such as the 2008 collapse, and the 9/11 attacks; however, some of the 7 also go farther into speculation about those partly unresolvable matters than a news-site should. When the government and the mainstream press so constantly lie, speculation as to why that’s happening isn’t entirely bad; it’s forgivable as an attempt to fill in the blanks when the actual evidence is incomplete. But the mainstream press is also full of speculation: only, theirs is dishonest, it is intended to deceive.)

I have also found one honest German-language news site: deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de, “German Economic News.”

In addition, there are hundreds of specialized news-sites online that are also honest, and free, such as, for example, on the subject of economics,nakedcapitalism.com/, ritholtz.com, and wallstreetonparade.com.

So: will someone please explain to me why anyone should subsidize propagandists?

Maybe if we didn’t do that, the oligarchs would just decide to switch to the news-business, and quit the propaganda-business, because a market for truth in news-reporting might actually develop here, somehow?

But, of course, it should only be so easy, to rectify our corrupt political and economic system.

Anyway, this would be a start in the correct direction. And it’s something anyone can do. And it will save wasted money, for anyone who does it.

That’s a good deal, don’t you think?

Url of this article:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-crisis-pervasive-lying-in-u-s-uk-news-media/5408026

admin @ October 22, 2014

U.S. is Responsible for the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Liberian Scientist

Posted in: AFRICA | Comments (0)

By Timothy Alexander Guzman
Global Research, October 17, 2014

A History of Guatemala’s Syphilis Experiment: How a U.S. Led Team Performed Human Experimentations in Central America

Dr. Cyril Broderick, A Liberian scientist and a former professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Liberia’s College of Agriculture and Forestry says the West, particularly the U.S. is responsible for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Dr. Broderick claims the following in an exclusive article published in the Daily Observer based in Monrovia, Liberia. He wrote the following:

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is funding Ebola trials on humans, trials which started just weeks before the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The reports continue and state that the DoD gave a contract worth $140 million dollars to Tekmira, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, to conduct Ebola research. This research work involved injecting and infusing healthy humans with the deadly Ebola virus. Hence, the DoD is listed as a collaborator in a “First in Human” Ebola clinical trial (NCT02041715, which started in January 2014 shortly before an Ebola epidemic was declared in West Africa in March.

Is it possible that the United States Department of Defense (DOD) and other Western countries are directly responsible for infecting Africans with the Ebola virus? Dr. Broderick claims that the U.S. government has a research laboratory located in a town called Kenema in Sierra Leone that studies what he calls“viral fever bioterrorism”, It is also the town where he acknowledges that is the “epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.” Is it a fact? Is Dr. Broderick a conspiracy theorist? He says that “there is urgent need for affirmative action in protecting the less affluent of poorer countries, especially African citizens, whose countries are not as scientifically and industrially endowed as the United States and most Western countries, sources of most viral or bacterial GMOs that are strategically designed as biological weapons.” He also asks an important question when he says “It is most disturbing that the U. S. Government has been operating a viral hemorrhagic fever bioterrorism research laboratory in Sierra Leone. Are there others?”

Well, Mr. Broderick’s claims seem to be true. After all, the U.S. government has been experimenting with deadly diseases on human beings for a long time, history tells us so. One example is Guatemala. Between 1946 and 1948, the United States government under President Harry S. Truman in collaboration with Guatemalan President Juan José Arévalo and his health officials deliberately infected more than 1500 soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners and even mental patients with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chancroid (a bacterial sexual infection) out of more than 5500 Guatemalan people who participated in the experiments. The worst part of it is that none of the test subjects infected with the diseases ever gave informed consent. The Boston Globe published the discovery made by Medical historian and professor at Wellesley College, Susan M. Reverby in 2010 called ‘Wellesley professor unearths a horror: Syphilis experiments in Guatemala.’ It stated how she came across her discovery:

Picking through musty files in a Pennsylvania archive, a Wellesley College professor made a heart-stopping discovery: US government scientists in the 1940s deliberately infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea in experiments conducted without the subjects’ permission. Medical historian Susan M. Reverby happened upon the documents four or five years ago while researching the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study and later shared her findings with US government officials.

The unethical research was not publicly disclosed until yesterday, when President Obama and two Cabinet secretaries apologized to Guatemala’s government and people and pledged to never repeat the mistakes of the past — an era when it was not uncommon for doctors to experiment on patients without their consent.

After Reverby’s discovery, the Obama administration apparently gave an apology to then-President Alvaro Colom according to the Boston Globe:

Yesterday, Obama called President Álvaro Colom Caballeros of Guatemala to apologize, and Obama’s spokesman told reporters the experiment was “tragic, and the United States by all means apologizes to all those who were impacted by this.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had called Colom Thursday night to break the news to him. In her conversation with the Guatemalan president, Clinton expressed “her personal outrage and deep regret that such reprehensible research could occur,’’ said Arturo Valenzuela, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.

The study in Guatemala was led by John Cutler, a US health service physician who also took part in the controversial Tuskegee Syphilis experiments which began in the 1930’s. Researchers wanted to study the effects of a group of antibiotics called penicillin on affected individuals. The prevention and treatment of syphilis and other venereal diseases were also included in the experimentation. Although they were treated with antibiotics, more than 83 people had died according to BBC news in 2011 following a statement issued by Dr Amy Gutmann, head of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues:

The Commission said some 5,500 Guatemalans were involved in all the research that took place between 1946 and 1948. Of these, some 1,300 were deliberately infected with syphilis, gonorrhoea or another sexually transmitted disease, chancroid. And of that group only about 700 received some sort of treatment. According to documents the commission had studied, at least 83 of the 5,500 subjects had died by the end of 1953.

Washington’s reaction to the report is a farce. The apology made to Guatemala’s government was for the sake of public relations. Washington knows about its human experimentations in the past with deadly diseases conducted by government-funded laboratories that are known to be harmful to the public. The U.S. government is guilty in conducting numerous medical experiments on people not only in Guatemala but in other countries and on its own territory. As the Boston Globe report mentioned, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study occurred between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the “natural progression” of untreated syphilis in the African American population. The U.S. Public Health Service and the Tuskegee Institute collaborated in 1932 and enrolled 600 poor sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama to study the syphilis infection. However, it was documented that at least 400 of those had the disease (they were never informed that they actually had syphilis) while the remaining 200 did not. They received free medical care, food and even free burial insurance for participating in the study. Documents revealed that they were told that they had “bad blood” which meant that they had various medical conditions besides syphilis. The Tuskegee scientists continued to study the participants without treating their illnesses and they also withheld much-needed information from the participants about penicillin, which proved to be effective in treating Syphilis and other venereal diseases. The test subjects were under the impression that they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government while they were deliberately being lied to by the same administrators who were conducting the tests. Washington is fully aware of its human experimentations with deadly diseases. The government of Guatemala also knew about the Syphilis experiments according to the Boston Globe:

A representative of the Guatemalan government said his nation will investigate, too — looking in part at the culpability of officials in that country. The records of the experiment suggest that Guatemalan government officials were fully aware of the tests, sanctioned them, and may have done so in exchange for stockpiles of penicillin.

However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the study ‘Fact Sheet on the 1946-1948 U.S. Public Health Service Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Inoculation Study’ and was forced to admit what happened in Guatemala during the syphilis experiments:

While conducting historical research on the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis, Professor Susan Reverby of Wellesley College recently discovered the archived papers of the late Dr. John Cutler, a U.S. Public Health Service medical officer and a Tuskegee investigator. The papers described another unethical study supported by the U.S. government in which highly vulnerable populations in Guatemala were intentionally infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The study, conducted between 1946 and 1948, was done with the knowledge of Dr. Cutler’s superiors and was funded by a grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to the Pan American Sanitary Bureau (which became the Pan American Health Organization) to several Guatemalan government ministries. The study had never been published.

The U.S. government admitted to its wrongdoing, 62 years too late. What Dr. Broderick wrote is not conspiratorial in any sense. The U.S. government has been involved in bioterrorism; Guatemala is a case in point. Dr. Broderick summarized what average people can do to prevent governments, especially those from the West from creating and exposing populations from diseases they experiment with in laboratories:

The challenge is global, and we request assistance from everywhere, including China, Japan, Australia, India, Germany, Italy, and even kind-hearted people in the U.S., France, the U.K., Russia, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and anywhere else whose desire is to help. The situation is bleaker than we on the outside can imagine, and we must provide assistance however we can. To ensure a future that has less of this kind of drama, it is important that we now demand that our leaders and governments be honest, transparent, fair, and productively engaged. They must answer to the people. Please stand up to stop Ebola testing and the spread of this dastardly disease.

After Guatemala’s ordeal with the U.S. government who deliberately infected people with syphilis, West African nations should be extremely skeptical about the U.S. government’s actions combating Ebola. Professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois, College of Law questions the Obama administration’s actions in West Africa. RIA Novosti recently interviewed Boyle and he said the following:

US government agencies have a long history of carrying out allegedly defensive biological warfare research at labs in Liberia and Sierra Leone. This includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is now the point agency for managing the Ebola spill-over into the US,” Prof. Francis Boyle said.

Why has the Obama administration dispatched troops to Liberia when they have no training to provide medical treatment to dying Africans? How did Zaire/Ebola get to West Africa from about 3,500km away from where it was first identified in 1976?”

That’s a good question for Washington, but would the public get any answers? Not anytime soon, since it took more than 62 years for the Guatemala syphilis experiments to be exposed to the public, not by the US government, by a medical historian.

admin @ October 22, 2014

Rwanda and the Criminalisation of International Justice: Anatomy of War Crimes Trials

Posted in: AFRICA | Comments (0)

By Christopher Black
Global Research,

The Nato ordered indictment of Muammar Gadaffi by the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the Nato attack on Libya in 2011 echoed the indictment of President Milosevic by International Criminal Tribunal For Yugoslavia, during the Nato attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. Both men ended up dead as a direct consequence. The indictments of these two men, had only one purpose, to serve as propaganda to justify Nato’s aggression and the elimination of governments that refused to bend the knee.

The international criminal justice machine has become a weapon of total war, used not to prosecute the criminals who conduct these wars, but to persecute the leaders of the countries who resist.

Milosevic and Gaddafi are not the only victims of this criminalised international legal structure. The list is long:

President Saddam Hussein of Iraq,

President Charles Taylor of Liberia,

Prime Minister Jean Kambanda of Rwanda,

President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast,

President Bashir of Sudan and

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

The charges against them trumped up, created out of whole cloth. Recently there was talk in the western press of charges against President Putin. We all see how absurd and surreal the game has become.

The structural role these tribunals have played in the attempt by the USA and its Nato allies to create a New World Order has been analysed and described by distinguished jurists and writers around the world. Since I am a trial lawyer, I wanted to contribute to your understanding of the criminal nature of this international justice machine by relating to you some of my experience defending a particular political prisoner held by it. I could tell you about the scandalous practices of the ICTY in the Milosevic trial in which I was involved through his international defence committee but these are well known and have been recounted by a number of eminent persons and writers. There are many victims of these tribunals but I will focus on this one particular case because it stands as an exemplar of the many. However, the criminality was so deep and so extensive that when I began writing down the history of this trial I realised I would need a book to relate it all. So, in the time permitted us, I decided to provide you with a sketch of how these trials work.

So I am going to talk about the Rwanda tribunal because it is the most familiar to me and because the war in Rwanda is used time and again by the United States in its propaganda to justify its wars of intervention, so-called. The US claims that the violence that occurred tin Rwanda in 1994 would not have happened if only America and others had acted instead of standing by and doing nothing. But now, after 15 years of trials and investigations, we know that the America and its allies did directly intervene. It was they who controlled that war and it was they who unleashed violence of an unprecedented magnitude and savagery simply in order to overthrow a regime that was an obstacle to greater conquests and riches in the Congo. Their forces, we now know, did most of the killing and Bill Clinton’s lie that the US was not involved is one of the great lies of history. As Boutros-Ghali told the Canadian writer on Rwanda, Robin Philpot, in 2004, “The Americans are 100% responsible for what happened in Rwanda.” Clinton’s big lie has been accepted and acted on because of the propaganda campaign that accompanied it in the media and the key to that propaganda campaign are the show trials at the Rwanda Criminal Tribunal, set up and financed by the same Nato countries and corporations and Soros connected ngos as control the Yugoslav, Sierra Leone and Hariri tribunals.

In January, 2000, General Augustin Ndidiliyimana, the former Chief of Staff of the Rwanda gendarmerie and most senior ranking Rwandan military officer in 1994, was arrested in Belgium based on an indictment issued by Carla Del Ponte, then prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda, the ICTR. He fled to Belgium in June 1994 after receiving threats on his life. His entry into Belgium was authorised by the then Belgian Foreign Minister, Willy Claeys, later Secretary-General of Nato, who stated at the time that he had saved the lives of many Rwandans.

It is with the arrest that the criminality begins to appear. It was speculated in the Belgian press at the time that it was for political reasons and indeed, 11 years later, this speculation was confirmed when the trial judges delivered their judgement.

They stated, in the judgement dated May 17, 2011 the following: General Ndindiliyimana was considered a political “moderate” during the Rwanda War of 1990-94, a Hutu respected by Tutsis and Hutus alike and, as attested to by many witnesses including witnesses for the prosecution, his gendarmes did not commit crimes against civilians but tried to protect them where they could. So why was he arrested?

Because he was a potential leader of the country, because he refused to cooperate with the RPF regime installed by the United States after the war, because he knew too much about what really happened in Rwanda and who was really responsible for the violence, because he knew that UN and American forces, despite Clinton’s denials, were directly involved in the final RPF offensive of 1994 and the murder of President Habyarimana. All these reasons were no doubt involved in his arrest but it quickly became clear that the prosecutor used his arrest to pressure him to give false evidence against Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the former deputy minister of defence in Rwanda who was their primary target, the “big fish” of the prosecution.

The criminal methods used against him began immediately on his arrest. He and his counsel in Brussles met with two ICTR prosecution staffers who informed him that the indictment was just a formality to give the ICTR jurisdiction over him and that the real reason for his arrest was to accompany them to Arusha, Tanzania, the home of the ICTR, to meet with the prosecutor to be interviewed regarding events in Rwanda. The Rules of Procedure require that an accused be shown the indictment on arrest. He was shown nothing. Yet he voluntarily accompanied the ICTR staffers to Tanzania, and was immediately thrown in prison.

In June 2000 Ndindiliyamana contacted me by letter and asked me to be his counsel. I agreed and he submitted my name to the registrar to have me assigned. But their immediate reaction was to try to dissuade him from engaging me, stating that I had no experience, that I could not speak French, (he spoke no English) both false and attempted to persuade him to take counsel they preferred. This was a frequent occurrence at the ICTY and R and is now the norm at the ICC. Defence counsel who are seen to be too effective and willing to bring out the all the facts and let justice be done though the sky may fall, or, as Kant phrased, it “to let justice reign even if all the rascals in the world should perish from it”, are prevented from representing accused by various means in favour of counsel who are either active agents of the western powers or who will only put up token defences The few strong defence counsel who are able appear are hampered in every way possible and even thrown in prison on charges trumped up by the prosecution, and the intimidation of counsel trying to defend them, as we recently saw in the Bemba case at the ICC. Nevertheless, Ndindiliyimana persisted and, finally, I was allowed to represent him and to meet him later that summer.

The first thing to do obviously was to get hold of the indictment and see what the charges were. But that proved to be very difficult. The indictment was not a simple statement of a criminal charge. It was, instead, a 65 page propaganda tract, setting out the mass media version of the war, all of it false, all of it meant to prejudice the accused in the eyes of the judges but, more especially, meant for public consumption and prosecution press releases. In other words it was pure propaganda, and written as such. The other surprise was that entire lines, sections and even entire pages of the indictment were blacked out, including the names of co-accused.

On his arrival in Arusha the general was not taken immediately before a judge for an initial appearance as required by the ICTR Rules of Procedure. Instead he was held incommunicado for almost 4 months and did not make his first appearance before the judges of the tribunal until April 28th of that year. The delay was a deliberate tactic meant to soften him up psychologically. The same tactic was used against other prisoners, one example being Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, who instead of being brought before a judge on arrest was taken to a location hundreds of kilometres from the tribunal, held incommunicado for nine months and threatened by two Canadian police officers every day to make him confess to crimes he had not committed.

When Ndindiliyimana was finally brought before a judge the lack of a proper indictment was raised by the duty counsel who stated the accused was being asked to plead to a document that was half blank. The judge did nothing.

Upon my arrival at the tribunal, in July 2000, an American woman approached me in a hallway of the tribunal offices and informed me that she was in charge of the prosecution staff and wanted to talk with me. She informed me that she was not only a lawyer. She was also a Colonel in the US Air Force Reserves. She asked to meet me the next day to discuss a deal which was strange considering the charges they had made against my client of genocide. The next day, about 20 people walked into the meeting room where I was sitting alone. The attempt to intimidate me was clear. The American colonel made various proposals for a deal if we agreed to cooperate and testify for the prosecution. Our response was that the charges, so far as we could make them out, were false, that we could not accept his arrest and detention as a means of forcing him to give false testimony and demanded to have a trial. As an aside, I heard a number of times in private meetings with UN staffers, some at high levels, that everyone at the tribunal knew the general was a good man and not guilty of any thing but, as one insider told me, that’s the way the Americans “are playing things here”, and to watch my back.

On my next trip to Arusha, a couple of months later, to argue a motion for his release, I found that he had “disappeared” from the prison. The UN and Tanzanian guards refused to tell me where he was. It took a day of angry arguing with obstructive officials to find out that he had been transferred to a UN safe house in the town of Arusha. The excuse given to me was that he was in danger from other prisoners but in reality it was to keep him isolated psychologically, to weaken him, to soften him up, and to discredit him with the other prisoners by making it look like he was “making a deal.”

We demanded that he be taken back to the UN Detention Unit but all our legal efforts to effect that were useless until I raised the issue in the press and to avoid further scandal, two days after the press raised the issue, he was returned to the UN prison, where, soon after, he was elected head of the prisoners’ committee.

Over the next 4 years we faced constant obstructions in trying to find out what was going on, what charges he actually faced, what they were going to do and when he was going to have a trial. During this period, repeated offers were made by the prosecutors, including dropping all the charges but all were refused; our position being simply that his arrest and detention to pressure him to testify were illegal and immoral and that he would only cooperate as a free man.

Demands for a speedy trial were met with shrugs of indifference. We were not given any relevant disclosure and even at the end of the trial the prosecution kept hidden thousands of documents that were exculpatory and only came to light by accident. So, in effect we never got any disclosure and had to create a defence for what we thought the general charges to be. To compound the problems, we were also refused sufficient investigative missions to locate and meet with witnesses to build our defence.

Two Irish lawyers found out through sympathetic contacts in the UN security office that defence office phones and fax lines were tapped. We learned that at least one defence lawyer was an agent of the prosecutor. Lawyers noticed they were followed and hotel rooms were broken into. Attempts were made to put women net to us who worked for the Tanzanian and Rwandan intelligence services. Rumours were spread in the UN detention unit to discredit defence counsel with their clients.

In 2003, a Scottish lawyer, Andrew McCarten, representing another accused at the ICTR, came to see me in Toronto stating he knew all about how the US and CIA controlled the tribunal at every level and that he feared for his life. He was very agitated. He had just arrived from New York where had tried to meet with Bill Clinton, and had been thrown out of his office. He told me details of the US military and CIA penetration of the tribunal and said he was going to send me documents of even darker things. The tribunal accused him of financial irregularities and kicked him out. Two weeks late he was dead. The police could find no cause for his car going off a cliff in Scotland. He was Scotland’s foremost military lawyer.

On a visit to Arusha just after that I was visited by a major in American army intelligence, accompanied by an intelligence officer from the American State Department Research Intelligence Bureau who wanted to know what our trial strategy was and what my client’s views were of African politics.

The defence lawyers were not the only ones who faced problems. In 1997, Louise Arbour ordered an investigation into the shoot-down of the presidential plane, which resulted in the massacre of all on board, including the Hutu President of Rwanda, Habyarimana and the Hutu president of Burundi, Ntaryamira and the Army Chief of Staff. The invading Ugandan-RPF forces and Americans claimed that Hutu “extremists” shot down the plane.

An Australian lawyer, Michael Hourigan, was assigned to lead the investigation and in due course he reported to Arbour that his team had determined that it was in fact the RPF that had shot down the plane with the help of a foreign power and the CIA was implicated. Arbour, he stated in an affidavit, seemed enthusiastic when he first informed her by telephone but when he was summoned to The Hague to meet with her, her attitude had totally changed to open hostility. He was ordered to hand over his evidence and ordered off the case.

To this day that file has been kept secret and no one named in his report has been charged.

In January 2004 the defence lawyers organised a strike to protest the political nature of the charges and trials, the poor working conditions for the defence, the searches of defence counsel when they went to meet with their clients, and the isolation and conditions for the prisoners. A few weeks after the strike the strike leader, Jean Degli, a Congolese lawyer based in Paris, an excellent advocate and a strong leader of the defence lawyers’ association, was implicated by the prosecution in a financial scandal and forced out from the defence of a senior military officer. He had to go and he was gone. Once he left the tribunal the defence lawyers’ association fell apart and never took any effective action again.

British and American lawyers would sometimes appear in the prison and announce to several accused that they had been appointed their lawyers. But the prisoners had not asked for them, did not know them, did not want them and became convinced that they were sent in by western intelligence agencies to control the outcome of the cases. The prisoners themselves created a list of defence lawyers they believed to work for western intelligence agencies. For those cases the tribunal could not control through friendly counsel the prosecution tried to insert someone inside the defence team to pass on information and to influence defence tactics and strategy. We detected several people who were working for the prosecution as spies.

They sabotaged our team by trying to trap and arrest our lead investigator, a former Rwandan police major, very useful to us in locating witnesses. On the very day that he arrived in Arusha, I was informed by a sympathetic official that they intended to arrest him on genocide charges, that his work programme had been suspended and that I better get him out of the country. So we had to quickly smuggle him out of Tanzania, at considerable cost, to avoid his arrest or worse. The charges were patently false, as he had been cleared by UN security and Rwanda well before he was engaged as our investigator. But the prosecution tactic effectively crippled our defence for over a year and we were never able to locate an investigator again with his experience and contacts. To this date, our demands to know why he was charged have been met by silence but it is worth noting that after this episode he was accepted into the Dutch police force which did a complete security check on him and determined that he had no involvement in the events of 1994.

The pressure increased when the prosecution circulated rumours that indicated they were intending to charge the general’s wife as well.

Finally, almost 5 years after the general’s arrest, the trial began, in September, 2004. To our complete surprise, at the very start of the trial the prosecutor stood up and filed a brand new indictment containing dozens of new charges including allegations of massacres we had never heard of and personal murders allegedly committed by the general himself. The accusations were of the worst and most sensational kind. It was clear they were meant to prejudice the accused in the eyes of the judges before the trial got going and in fact, as we saw in their judgement many of those were dropped without any evidence ever being presented. It was all a sham. We protested and demanded a delay to prepare a defence. We were denied and forced on and so had to prepare a defence on the run. At that point I was alone without co-counsel as the registrar refused to allow us to have counsel we wanted. The judges’ attitude from the first day was openly hostile and they refused to allow us to discuss certain issues, or to cross-examine witnesses as we wanted. They openly sided with the prosecutors and sat back and did nothing as, each day, the prosecutors launched into vicious personal attacks on defence counsel and the accused.

The prosecution witnesses were mainly Hutu prisoners of the RPF, held without charge for ten years or more, in terrible conditions, many tortured, none of their testimony agreeing with the statements they had made prior to trial, much of it, double and triple hearsay. No RPF officers were called to testify though they did call a few witnesses who were members of Rwandan government propaganda groups. The only evidence they had came out of the mouths of these Hutu prisoners and government agents.

Nevertheless, a number of them, once on the stand, had the courage to state that they had been forced to sign statements and testify falsely in return for release, favours or to avoid execution. We learned from these witnesses that the regime had set up schools in the prisons to recruit and train false witnesses, and the judges heard detailed accounts of how witnesses were recruited in these prisons, and that prosecution staff at the tribunal were involved in this scandal. What the fate of these prisoners was when they returned to Rwanda we do not know but the fate of those that cross the Rwanda regime is always unpleasant and permanent.

Even the judges, selected and groomed to be hostile to the defence, began slowly to become uncomfortable with what they were hearing and disturbed on learning that all the witness statements disclosed to us post-dated the general’s arrest.

The judges threatened my self and other counsel with arrest if we continued lines of questions they didn’t want us to pursue, and there were daily angry confrontations in court between the judges and defence counsel when we tried to protect the rights of the accused and insisted on a fair trial. Throughout the trial, evidence came out that the enemy forces had committed mass atrocities against civilians but instead of the judges asking the prosecution why these forces were not charged they tried to silence us.

In 2005, during my cross-examination of a Belgian Army colonel concerning what is known as the Dallaire genocide fax, we learned that the translators were reading from scripts prepared by the prosecution instead of translating actual testimony of the witness. We demanded an investigation and demanded the prosecutors be charged. The judges again sat there stone-faced and despite our demands, did nothing.

It was during this cross-examination that the Dallaire fax was proved to be a forgery and placed in UN files by a colonel in the British Army. But the prosecution was so embarrassed by this revelation that the fax was never again mentioned in any of the trials at the ICTR and though it was claimed to be the most important prosecution document in our trial, the prosecution never again raised it.

In 2006, the prosecution arranged to have the Appeal Chamber make the astounding declaration that the “genocide” was a judicially noticed fact despite the clear denial by the defence, despite the contrary evidence in the trials and despite the fact that the primary charge all the accused faced was genocide. In effect the tribunal stated the defence could not deny the principal charge against them.

But we persisted in presenting our defence in spite of this decision and in our case, at least, the judges gave up fighting with us day after day and we continued to present the facts.

In September 2006 the well-known prosecution expert, Dr Alison Des Forges, testified in our trial and prepared an expert report for that purpose. The problem was that she removed from that report statements she had made in an earlier report that Ndindiliyimana was a man opposed to genocide and had tried to protect civilians. When she was confronted in cross-examination as to why she had attempted to mislead the judges she refused to answer the questions but it was clear from the reaction of the prosecutors that she had removed those exculpatory statements in an attempt to obstruct justice and did so on the orders of the prosecution. The trial judges took the rare step of censuring Dr. Des Forges for this deceit in the trial judgement.-

In 2007 we witnessed another bizarre scene in which the Judges and prosecutors held a secret meeting on how to eliminate the unwanted testimony of a Tutsi prince, son of the last Tutsi king, and well known personality in Rwanda, named Antoine Nyetera, who testified that the RPF had done all the killing and not the government and that he was a witness to it. Not liking the fact a prominent Tutsi was stating that the mass media version of events was false and that the RPF forces the prosecution refused to charge were responsible for most of the killings, they decided, in a secret meeting with the prosecutors, to announce in court that they were going to eliminate his testimony from the record. When all the defence counsel objected, we were met by a stone wall. To cover up what they did the daily minutes for that day were doctored as well.

Transcripts were doctored. We were given draft transcripts each day in the morning but when we received the final version, certain words or key phrases were changed to the benefit of the prosecution, Again, complaints went nowhere. We were being surveilled by UN security officers when meeting with witnesses in hotels. This was done quote openly and the effect was clearly to intimidate us.

In July 2008, a senior American ICTR official approached me in a café in Arusha, and told me he was a CIA officer, that they had murdered others who went too far at the tribunal, including an American prosecution counsel who he stated was poisoned after ignoring a warning to reveal sensitive information. He told me that if I did not stop my defence work they were going to kill me too. I reported this bizarre conversation to the President of the Tribunal the Norwegian judge, Mose, but again I was met with complete indifference. This was not the first time such a threat had been made. A member of the Rwandan government approached me at the beginning of the trial after watching me cross-examine their witnesses and told me that if I continued I did not have long to live. Complaints to the judges and UN security led nowhere. Tanzanian secret police approached me several times over the years and made similar remarks and it has not stopped even now. In July of this year Canadian intelligence officers came to see me in Toronto to tell me I was on a Rwandan hit list and asked me if I was going to stay active in the Rwandan file. It seemed to me they used the device of warning me of a threat to convey one.

In November 2005 Juvenal Uwilingiyimana, a former cabinet minister in Rwanda, who was being interviewed by two Canadian investigators working for Stephen Rapp, then chief of prosecutions at the ICTR, disappeared when he went to meet these investigators in Lille, France. These were the same Canadians who had kept Prime Minister Kambanda incommunicado for 9 months to extract a false confession from him. Weeks later, Uwilingiyimana’s body was found in a canal in Brussles, naked, with its hands cut off. Just before he disappeared he wrote a letter to the tribunal stating that Rapp and his men were pressuring him to give false testimony and that they had threatened to kill him and cut his body into pieces unless he cooperated. I and other counsel raised this letter and the murder in court and demanded that the prime suspects in the murder, Stephen Rapp and the two Canadians, be suspended and detained pending an investigation. Nothing was done. The Belgian police did no investigation and Rapp was promoted to the position of US roving ambassador for war crimes.

In 2008, a prosecution witness in our trial recanted stating that he was forced, under threat of death, to give false testimony. The defence succeeded in getting the judges to order his recall to be questioned about it and he was brought from Rwanda to a UN safe house in Arusha, The day before he was to testify he disappeared from that safe house and has never been seen since. The UN could not explain how he could disappear from one of their safe houses. Another prosecution witness recanted stating the same thing but in this case the prosecution accused me of bribing him. Two investigations concluded he was telling the truth, which included the fact that a prosecution counsel was involved in suborning perjury.

At about the same time an RPF military intelligence officer who had fled the regime testified that all the sections of the tribunal were penetrated by western and RPF intelligence officers and that the translators all worked for Rwandan intelligence and that the judges were seen as useful puppets.

We noticed the presence several times during the trial of American army officers and senior members of the American Department of Justice sitting with the prosecutors. When we found out who they were we demanded that they be ejected and the judges were forced to order them removed from the courtroom. During the short cross-examination we were permitted of General Dallaire, by video link from Canadian Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, the cameraman made the mistake of pulling back from the close-up shot of the General’s face and torso to a wide angle shot and we were shocked to see 5 senior Canadian Army officers sitting next to him when we had been told he was alone in the room with the technician and a court official. When we demanded to know who they were and who had given them orders to be there they refused to answer and the judges refused to order their removal.

In 2008, I found hidden in prosecution files a letter from Paul Kagame, dated August, 1994, in which he refers to his and President Museveni’s “plan for Zaire,” in which he stated that the Hutus are in the way of that plan but that, with the help of the Americans, British and Belgians, the plan would go ahead. I raised this letter in court the next day as it indicated that the war in Rwanda was just the first phase for the greater war in the Congo that was planned probably as far back as 1990. The prosecution immediately accused me of forging this document, even though it came from their files, and that night I was openly followed by a Tanzanian police detective. I was forced to ask the judges for protection the next day who insisted that I be left alone.

In 2011, despite the overwhelming evidence that Ndindiliiyimana had done all he could to save lives and to restore peace to Rwanda and that he was innocent of all the charges, the judges convicted him for failing to punish subordinates for two alleged crimes though they acquitted him on all the substantive charges and ordered his release. The convictions were absurd on their face as one of the alleged incidents had never occurred and in the other his men were not involved.

When the Appeal Chamber threw out those convictions on February 7 2014, I learned from an inside source that the judges felt they had to convict him of something despite his clear innocence because they were afraid of the consequences from the Americans if they acquitted. It was also speculated by a number of commentators that they had convicted him to justify his long illegal detention. As an aside, the day after the conviction was announced, I was surprised to receive an email from the American woman, the colonel, who had first dealt with the case in 2000 and offered us a deal. She is now a high official in the US State Department. She stated that she was angry that Ndindiliyimana had been convicted, that things were never meant to go that far and that, if ever I was in Washington, she would tell me what was really behind everything. But I have not gone to Washington.

Each trial has its own stories to tell. Each has its own anatomy but the disease is the same in all. It is a very depressing and dark picture. It was a very bitter experience. There is not much more I can say except that it seems to me that international justice worthy of the name cannot exist without an international order that is democratic; a world order in which the sovereignty and equality of nations is fundamental. Law and its legal structures reflect the social, economic and political relations of a society. To rebuild the legal architecture of international justice so that it is fair, impartial and universal we first have to change the fundamental economic, social and power relations that are its foundation. Without this mankind will continue down the path of reaction and war and the list of victims of these truly criminal tribunals will be long and the victims of a world war will include all of us. How is this to be done? I leave that to you.

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admin @ October 22, 2014

Libya: From Africa’s Richest State Under Gaddafi, to Failed State After NATO Intervention

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By Garikai Chengu
Global Research,

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.

In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped.

The militias variously local, tribal, regional, Islamist or criminal, that have plagued Libya since NATO’s intervention, have recently lined up into two warring factions. Libya now has two governments, both with their own Prime Minister, parliament and army.

On one side, in the West of the country, Islamist-allied militias took over control of the capital Tripoli and other cities and set up their own government, chasing away a parliament that was elected over the summer.

On the other side, in the East of the Country, the “legitimate” government dominated by anti-Islamist politicians, exiled 1,200 kilometers away in Tobruk, no longer governs anything.

The fall of Gaddafi’s administration has created all of the country’s worst-case scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.

America is clearly fed up with the two inept governments in Libya and is now backing a third force: long-time CIA asset, General Khalifa Hifter, who aims to set himself up as Libya’s new dictator. Hifter, who broke with Gaddafi in the 1980s and lived for years in Langley, Virginia, close to the CIA’s headquarters, where he was trained by the CIA, has taken part in numerous American regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996.

In 1991 the New York Times reported that Hifter may have been one of “600 Libyan soldiers trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills…to fit in neatly into the Reagan Administration’s eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi”.

Hifter’s forces are currently vying with the Al Qaeda group Ansar al-Sharia for control of Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia was armed by America during the NATO campaign against Colonel Gaddafi. In yet another example of the U.S. backing terrorists backfiring, Ansar al-Sharia has recently been blamed by America for the brutal assassination of U.S. Ambassador Stevens.

Hifter is currently receiving logistical and air support from the U.S. because his faction envision a mostly secular Libya open to Western financiers, speculators, and capital.

Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital and his quest for a strong and truly United States of Africa. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.

In 2011, the West’s objective was clearly not to help the Libyan people, who already had the highest standard of living in Africa, but to oust Gaddafi, install a puppet regime, and gain control of Libya’s natural resources.

For over 40 years, Gaddafi promoted economic democracy and used the nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans. Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free health-care and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now thanks to NATO’s intervention the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse as thousands of Filipino health workers flee the country, institutions of higher education across the East of the country are shut down, and black outs are a common occurrence in once thriving Tripoli.

One group that has suffered immensely from NATO’s bombing campaign is the nation’s women. Unlike many other Arab nations, women in Gaddafi’s Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights.

When the colonel seized power in 1969, few women went to university. Today, more than half of Libya’s university students are women. One of the first laws Gaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law.

Nowadays, the new “democratic” Libyan regime is clamping down on women’s rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are strongly patriarchal. Also, the chaotic nature of post-intervention Libyan politics has allowed free reign to extremist Islamic forces that see gender equality as a Western perversion.

Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history.” Truth is, Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Lest we forget, prior to western military involvement in these three nations, they were the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa with the highest regional women’s rights and standards of living.

A decade of failed military expeditions in the Middle East has left the American people in trillions of dollars of debt. However, one group has benefited immensely from the costly and deadly wars: America’s Military-Industrial-Complex.

Building new military bases means billions of dollars for America’s military elite. As Will Blum has pointed out, following the bombing of Iraq, the United States built new bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Following the bombing of Afghanistan, the United States is now building military bases in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Following the recent bombing of Libya, the United States has built new military bases in the Seychelles, Kenya, South Sudan, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Given that Libya sits atop the strategic intersection of the African, Middle Eastern and European worlds, Western control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

NATO’s military intervention may have been a resounding success for America’s military elite and oil companies but for the ordinary Libyan, the military campaign may indeed go down in history as one of the greatest failures of the 21st century.

Garikai Chengu is a research scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on [email protected]

admin @ October 22, 2014

Global Justice or World Domination

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By Zivadin Jovanović
Global Research, October 21, 2014

History is a teacher of life, says the old proverb. Hence, it should be regarded as a part of life and the future, not only a part of the past.

We recall that the drive for redrawing the borders was one of the key objectives of aggressors in the First World War. The revision of history and results of the First and Second World Wars could prove to be but a front for the revision of borders.

The Great War began following the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum, one that everyone clearly knew that Serbia could not have possibly accepted. At the end of that same, 20th century, Serbia (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) was given A similar ultimatum by NATO in Rambouillet, also one that obviously could not be accepted. The request contained therein was: either accepting unconditional occupation of the entire country, or having war. NATO aggression against Serbia (the FRY) of 1999 was the turning point in global relations, marking the transition from the relative peace and a sort of observance of the UN system, towards the global interventionism and violation of the basic principles of the international relations. Many intellectuals, including the speakers at this Conference, believe that this has triggered the Third World War.

The post-2008 period is marked by a serious global economic crisis. The military spending in the world is heading to reach two trillion US dollars. Step by step, the world has entered a new spiral of arms race. Are we going to respond to it by launching initiatives and activating mechanisms to put it to an end, or are we, just like on the eve of the World War I, going to let this race throw all of us once again into the chasm of disaster?

A short period of global partnership is being replaced by an increasing global distrust. Is there any readiness to seek just compromises in resolving outstanding problems and revert to general interests of the humanity, as embodied in peace and progress for all peoples and nations?

The narrow circles of the privileged ones are amassing enormous wealth. In a stark contrast, misery, poverty, illnesses, extremism and terrorism are on the rise. How can we possibly seek to develop and spread human and civilization values and rights against the backdrop of such misery, poverty, illnesses, extremism and terrorism? Do we realize the danger entailed by the boiling social discontent? Are we ready to concede that the previously applied methods of combating international terrorism exclusively by military force, have instead been actually powering its further strengthening and dissemination?

The poverty suffered by a major share of human kind is not a mere result of the growing population, but rather an outcome of the increasing iniquity in distribution of assets, within the system that defends the privileges of the rich and prevents development of the poor. The roads to both First and Second World Wars were paved by egotism, denial of equality, and trampling the interest of other nations. The ball is in our court. Shall we continue to speak up and fight for a just international order, or shall we assert that the era of liberal capitalism aggression is not the right moment for such an action? Are we aware that external and forcible imposition of internal systems in target countries, pursuant to the “one-for-all” model, gradually emerges as the foundation of global domination, interventionism, and neo-fascism?

The question at hand is, do we opt for the global domination of “exceptional” ones, or for the multi-polarity and a democratic world order of all equal sovereign nations?

What is left out of the UN’s and the OSCE’s functions of preventive action and peaceful resolution of disputes? Should we, really, consent that the policies of force and of double standards have become legitimate or we should oppose it and struggle for civilization of peace, dignity and freedom for all? There is growing evidence that we have entered the age of hybrid democracy and ersatz civic values and human rights. Institutions of democratic state became the service of the most powerful corporations possessing military-industrial and financial capital.

Although the institutional formations persevere, an even the new ones are being created in the international domain, the true power is steadily shifting into the narrow and usually informal groups, councils or commissions directly influenced by such military-industrial and financial capital. Issues of war or peace are rarely discussed in parliamentary proceedings; at best, they are being decided in a summary procedure.

Democratic public debates on vital issues have definitely become a rarity.

The tangible aspect of militarization is expressed in rapid growth in numbers of foreign bases, especially on the European soil. Presently, Europe hosts more foreign military bases that at the peak of the Cold War. Why? After the USA Military base Bond-steel, erected in Kosovo and Metohija in 1999, there mushroomed four more USA bases in Bulgaria, additional four in Romania, and so on. Pre-1999 existing bases are being upgraded, either by anti-missile shields, or by new facilities for revolving rapid-response task forces. All are creeping closer to the borders of Russia. We are witnessing a new edition of the old, almost forgotten doctrine, “Drang nach Osten”. In parallel, the media, including even in countries of the oldest democratic traditions, are having increasingly less freedom.

Is it possible to maintain THIS unipolar world and privileges by inciting wars, fratricidal conflicts, coups, or colored revolutions?

On the eve of the First World War, it was obvious that certain countries were rapidly arming, and, in parallel, that their appetites for territories and resources were growing. The true meaning of these trends was played down. This illusion was, alas, paid dearly, in millions of human lives. The ”September Program”, authored by that-time German Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, dated 9 September 1914, one hundred years ago, openly stated German territorial pretensions aimed at neighbors, customs union in the form of an expanded market, and “German colonial Africa”, as considered by Franz Fischer, a prominent German historian. Hollweg’s “September Program” had a clearly invading, expansionist character. Hollweg’s plan triggers various reminiscences, such as this one:

In April 2000, ten months after the end of NATO’s armed aggression against Serbia (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), Bratislava hosted a summit of heads of governments and states, and ministers of foreign affairs and of defense of that-time candidate states for joining NATO, and senior public officials of the USA. At this Summit, the American representatives presented their plan for rearranging the relations in Europe. Willy Wimmer, Germany’s State Secretary in the Ministry of Defense, and at that time Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, who was present at the Summit, wrote about this “April Plan”:

“European legal order is an obstacle for implementation of NATO plans. For this purpose is much more convenient to also apply American legal order in Europe. During the expansion (towards the East, added by Z.J.), it is necessary to reinstate the same spatial situation between the Baltic Sea and Anatolia (in Turkey, added by Z.J.), as existed at the heyday of the Roman Empire expansion. This is why Poland has to be encircled from the north and the south by democratic states as neighbors. Romania and Bulgaria have to ensure land connection to Turkey, whereas Serbia has to be permanently excluded from the European development. North of Poland, a complete control over the Sanct Petersburg access to the Baltic Sea must be ensured.” (Published in: Actual Issues of Foreign Policy, the Belgrade Forum for the World of Equals, Belgrade, 2006, pages 73-77).

Almost imperceptibly, the war marketing evolved into a new discipline. It seems that we got accustomed to that “science” very quickly and underestimating the risks. At present, even the non-professionals can easily recognize the pattern of preparing, propagating, and justifying all kinds of aggressions and instigating civil wars. The process comprises these steps: choosing the target; demonizing its legitimate leadership via the media; promises of democracy and fast “better life” that serve to disorientate the public; funding and, as necessary, arming the “pro-democratic” opposition; intensification of destabilizing actions of the NGOs; staging massacres/poisoning by chemical warfare/humanitarian disasters, i.e.: event brands like “Markale” in Sarajevo, “Racak” in Kosovo and Metohija, “Majdan” in Kiev; then follows instigating civil wars or armed aggression; toppling legitimate authorities; installing “pro-democratic” opposition in power; and, finally, assuming the target country’s natural and economic resources by the corporations and even by individuals from administrations of the aggressor countries by the so-called transition, also known as the predatory privatizations.

One of disturbing contemporary phenomena is a very extensive interpretation of the notion of national interests. The USA was the first to appropriate the right to proclaim its national interests in practical terms, in any corner of the Planet, and to defend them by armed force. European partners followed suite. Particular attention provoke statements of Joachim Gauck, President of Germany, that Germany must be ready to defend its national interests abroad by force, if needed. State sovereignty over its natural resources is derogated. Brzezinski and Albright openly claim that natural resources in Siberia cannot belong to Russia only, but rather to the so-called international community! The claims for redistribution of natural wealth of the planet are clearly articulated. Here, one may recall the consequences the humanity suffered owing to German ambitions for redistribution of colonies in the run-up to the World War I.

Back in 1914, that-time aggressors solely relied on brute force. Austro-Hungary sought to halt its declining power and decreasing control over other nations’ territories, whereas Germany wanted to effect its burgeoning economic and military might by invading neighbors’ territories, and by imposing its control over the Berlin-Bagdad route and, eventually, over the entire Europe and Africa. The lessons from World War I show that reliance on force exclusively, coupled with arrogance and disregard for the rights and interests of other nations are not advantage but rather a major weakness.

Another great danger for the contemporary world stems from the presence of power centers which believe they are destined to govern the word, and entrusted with this mission by providence. They hold anyone else in the planet to be handicapped and obliged to do as told and obey directives of the “exceptional” ones. Such centers do not recognize profound changes bringing new distribution of global power. They apply the logic of uni-polar world order not recognizing that this concept is gone and that the history cannot be stopped.
Therefore, having regard to the lessons of history, we may conclude, that it is not the time to seek privileges and domination by force; it is in the interest of humanity to accommodate to the new multi-polar reality, to accept righteous compromises and work for peace.

Notes

[i] Address at the International Conference “World War I – Messages to Humanity”
Belgrade, 17 September 2014

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admin @ October 22, 2014

The GMO Biotech Lobby’s Emotional Blackmail and Bogus Claims: Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Crops Will Not Feed The World

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Global Research,

“There are 7.2 billion people on the planet. There will be 9.6 billion by 2050. The demand for food will double… [Using GM food and data science is] the only thing that will enable us to feed the planet without encroaching on the forests and wetlands….This represents a business opportunity, but from a societal perspective, it’s very important.” Robert Fraley, CEO of Monsanto, Winner of the World Food Prize 2013 [1].

The claims made by Monsanto do not stack up. Issues pertaining to the weaponisation of food aside [2], GM food represents little more than a massive business opportunity, a way of enriching a handful of people, all carried out under the guise of altruism.

“It’s difficult, in the short term, figuring out how I am going to make money dealing with people who don’t have money. But in practice the development of agriculture at a village level is something that could make an enormous amount of business sense over time.” – Robert Shapiro, former CEO of Monsanto (quoted in the CBAN report ‘Will GM Crops Feed The World’).

By ‘development’, what Shapiro really meant was allowing Monsanto to take control of agriculture and strategic policy decisions and destroying traditional methods, knowledge and practices in order to recast them in its corporate image [3].

The following quote is indicative of the pro-GMO lobby’s use of emotional blackmail when forwarding its cause and the smearing of anyone who rejects GM crops as being an enemy of the poor and a hypocrite. Such statements are based on spurious claims about the efficacy of GMO technology and divert attention away from the true nature and causes of hunger and food poverty.

“It is shameful to me that the leaders of some South African countries who are apparently well-fed, would rather see their populations go hungry then eat the same food we consume daily in the United States.” – US Republican Senator Charles Grassley, 2003 (quoted in the CBAN report ‘Will GM Crops Feed The World’).

Proponents of GM crops claim that we need such technology to address hunger and to feed a growing global population. We are told by the GM biotech sector that GM crops are essential, are better for the environment and will provide the tools that farmers need in a time of climate chaos. It claims that GM crops provide higher yields and higher incomes for farmers around the world.

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) has just released a fully referenced report [4] that dissects each of these claims and dismisses them one by one. Readers are urged to consult the full report, but its main findings are presented below.

  • Hunger is caused by poverty and inequality. People are generally hungry not because of insufficient agricultural production but because they do not have money to buy food, access to land to grow food or because of complex problems like food spoilage, poor food distribution systems and a lack of reliable water and infrastructure for irrigation, storage, transport and financing.
  • If these deeper problems are not addressed and as long as food is not reaching those who are hungry and poor, increased agricultural production will not help reduce food insecurity.
  • We already produce enough food to feed the world’s population and did so even at the peak of the world food crisis in 2008. Current global food production provides enough to feed ten billion people.
  • The world produces 17 percent more food per person than it did 30 years ago and yet the number of food insecure people is still very high.
  • The recent food price crises of 2008 and 2011 both took place in years of record global harvests, clearly showing that these crises were not the result of scarcity.
  • The GM crops that are on the market today are not designed to address hunger. Four GM crops account for almost 100 percent of worldwide GM crop acreage. All four have been developed for large-scale industrial farming systems and are used as cash crops for export, to produce fuel or for processed food and animal feed.
  • GM crops have not increased yields and do not increase farmers’ incomes.
  • GM crops lead to an increase in pesticide use and cause further harm to the environment. Pesticide reduction was the primary selling point for Bt cotton adoption in India, but overall pesticide use has not decreased in any state that grows Bt cotton, with the exception of Andhra Pradesh.
  • GM crops are patented and owned by large corporations. These companies profit
  • From the sale of GM crops and royalties on GM traits, while small-scale farmers round the world bear the increased cost of buying seeds and the risks that come with using GM crops. GM crops reduce choice but increase risk for farmers, while the likes of Monsanto dominant the agritech sector and rake in enormous profits.

The main message is that hunger, food security and ‘feeding the world’ is a political, social and economic problem and no amount of gene splicing is capable of surmounting obstacles like poor roads, inadequate rural credit systems and insufficient irrigation [5].

The answer to food security, food democracy and local/national food sovereignty does not lie with making farmers dependent on a few large corporations whose bottom line is exploiting agriculture to maximise profit.

As with other reports [6,7], the CBAN report concludes that we need to support diverse, vibrant and sustainable agroecological methods of farming and develop locally-based food economies. After all, it is small farms and peasant farmers (more often than not serving local communities) that are more productive than giant industrial (export-oriented) farms and which produce most of the world’s food on much less land [8]. And in line with previous findings, not least those of Helena Paul [9], it also states that experience with GM crops shows that the application of GM technology is more likely to enhance and entrench the social, economic and environmental problems created by industrial agriculture and corporate control.

Notes

1]http://www.globalresearch.ca/weaponization-of-the-food-system-genetically-engineered-maize-threatens-nepal-and-the-himalayan-region/30512

2]http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/consumer/article4069203.ece

3]http://www.globalresearch.ca/independent-india-selling-out-to-monsanto-gmos-and-the-bigger-picture/5395187

4]http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/Feeding-the-World

5] Glover, Dominic. 2010. Exploring the Resilience of Bt Cotton ’s “Pro-Poor Success Story”. Development and Change, 41(6), pp.955-981.

6]http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/tdr2013_en.pdf

7]http://www.unep.org/dewa/agassessment/reports/IAASTD/EN/Agriculture%20at%20a%20Crossroads_Global%20Report%20(English).pdf

8]http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4929-hungry-for-land-small-farmers-feed-the-world-with-less-than-a-quarter-of-all-farmland

9]http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2267255/gm_crops_are_driving_genocide_and_ecocide_keep_them_out_of_the_eu.html

admin @ October 15, 2014

Argentina and Wall Street’s Vulture Funds: “Economic Terrorism” and the Western Financial System

Posted in: WORLD NEWS | Comments (0)

By Peter Koenig
Global Research,

“Today you pretend making a coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but in fact you’re their allies,” Those are the frank words by Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, the Argentinian President, spoken in a calm and secure voice at the UN General Assembly last Friday, 3 October 2014.

Similarly, she referred to the western financial system as economic terrorism, as in vultures – the vulture funds that thanks to New York judge Griesa have put Argentina – a solvent country, willing and capable of paying their debt, in default. He ruled that the vulture funds, Griesa’s clients and paymasters, needed to be paid in full, i.e. 100%, equal to US$ 1.5 billion, when close to 93% of all creditors agreed on a restructured reimbursement rate of about 20%.

Without any international right to interfere in the affairs of a sovereign country, Griesa would allow the vultures reaping in a profit margin well in excess of 1,000%. — Paul Singer, king of the ‘vulture capitalists’, knows no merci. He is in bed with Wall Street and Griesa – and with whomever other financial hooligans who share his greedy endeavors. Greed is their prayer. It’s knocked around the world. Exploits poor nations, makes them poorer, and keeps them dependent on the powers of money, being well aware that the poor are too weak to defend themselves.

Except for Argentina. Her able President Cristina Fernandez, speaks not only for her country, when she talks about victims of economic and financial terrorism, but for all those African, Latin American and Asian countries which are oppressed by the killing boots of Wall Street and the IMF. It cannot be said often enough – the IMF is a mere extended arm of the US Treasury and the FED.

Vulture capitalism exerted by these usual villains and the European Central Bank, a mere puppet of Wall Street and led by a former Wall Street banker, are responsible for the economic collapse of the western economy. They have driven countries like Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain – and lately also Ukraine – into misery.

They have stolen their social safety nets, pensions, employment, housing, education, health care, water supply and other public infrastructure – by privatizing public capital for their private benefits. They could do so thanks to the connivance of corrupt leaders they first put in place with sham elections – or no elections at all.

Case in point is Greece, where the Parliament decided to dismiss the socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou, who attempted to launch a referendum in December 2011, asking the people whether they wanted the troika’s (IMF, ECB, European Commission) imposed second ‘rescue’ package of 130 billion euros (after a first one on 110 billion euros) that would drastically increase Greece’s sovereign debt and force literally a killer austerity program upon its people. At the onset of the manufactured crisis, in May 2008, Greece’s debt to GDP ratio was a manageable 105%. In 2014 the ratio is 175%.

Under the structural adjustment program social health care was basically abolished. Many cancer and other chronically ill patients were deprived of their free medical attendance, unemployed and destitute could not afford to pay full price for their medication and treatment – and quietly died.

Under extreme pressure from Germany and France – the infamous tandem Sarkozy / Merkel called Papandreou to meeting in Nice at the beginning of November 2011, literally ordering him to withdraw the referendum – or else. Papandreou went home, canceled the referendum on 3 November and resigned. He was promptly replaced by Parliament – without a public vote – by the neoliberal Lucas Papademos, former deputy head of the ECB and – a former Goldman Sachs executive, who allowed the dance of debt and destruction to continue.

Argentina would not allow such financial terrorism on its shores – not since they dared to counter the economically suffocating peso-dollar parity in 2001, allowing the country to start breathing and growing again; a highly distributive GDP growth allowing to cut poverty from above 60% in 2001to below 10% today.

The same escape from the western kleptomania was – and still is – open to Greece and all those southern European countries in the fangs of greed capitalism. But their leaders and finance ministers are goose stepping to the financial marching orders of Washington’s money masters, Wall Street, FED and IMF.

Ms. Fernandez did not mince her words. She also talked openly about western military terrorism, “You killed many innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan under the name of war against terrorism,” or as the new refrain goes – “Making war for Peace”. She referred to the West in general and to Washington in particular, for whom war and conflicts, weapons sales, is a means of economic survival, as the US economy depends to more than 50% on the military / security industrial complex and related industries and services.

Shamefully, many western leaders and representatives left the assembly hall when Ms. Fernandez spoke, of fear they may be associated with her views if they listened to her calling a spade a spade. Perhaps they feared the ridiculous western sanctions, if they don’t behave. It is sad to see spineless world leaders; so-called leaders (sic), who bend over backwards to please the powers that utterly exploit them, stealing their natural resources, putting their people and the environment in peril.

A terrorist is whoever does not conform to the western doctrine, whoever insists on national sovereignty – whoever defends their national interests over the voracious interference of Washington and its European puppets – and their killing bulldozer, NATO.

The UN should make it an obligation and expression of mutual respect that every country leader and representative attending the UN General Assembly must listen to all the speeches. Each country has a message to give – a message that in one way or another concerns all of us, as we are all connected as humans in a solidary union, regardless of political alliances.

The latest economic terrorism inflicted on Russia by the US supported Wall Street et al financial cabal is the down manipulation of the ruble vs the US dollar and other ‘western’ currencies. The ruble has lost 22% of its value since the beginning of 2014 and 15% in the last quarter alone. Call it ‘sanctions’ – if you will – for not bending to the political demands of Washington on Ukraine. The western MSM would like you to believe it has to do with the chaos and continuous murderous atrocities in Ukraine’s Donbass area, for which – of course – Russia is made the culprit, not Kiev’s gang of thugs, a Nazi government, created and funded by Obama and his western puppets.

Russia is now forced to buy dollars and Euros – what they least want and need – to stabilize her currency, the ruble. Buying dollars – playing even more into the sledgehammer of the empire – is certainly the last thing Russia wants to do. Currency manipulation is only possible due to the predatory US dollar system, where all international transactions have to be channeled through Wall Street and cleared through the privately owned BIS – Bank for International Settlements, whose owners are a similar lot of financial shenanigans as are those owning the FED. The expected outcome is a devalued ruble, shunned by investors.Little do they know that this usual western shortsightedness is but accelerating the process of Russia and China issuing a new combined currency, delinked form the dollar-euro fiat money and its SWIFT exchange system. In fact, it has already begun. The Central Bank of China has recently offered a hand to the EU, inviting the Euro as one of several currencies that will no longer need the western clearing system for transactions with China.President Fernandez puts the finger right on the wound when she refers to the entire western monetary system as vulture economics. She knows that such an economy is bound to falter and be replaced – gradually as may be – by one that is based on fairness, integrity and that respects nations’ sovereignty.Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, the Voice of Russia, now Ria Novosti, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

 

admin @ October 15, 2014